How much Chicago Bears coverage is enough? Everyone in the media, including myself, is guilty of ridiculous over-coverage of the team. But 670 The Score is by far the worst offender. And a major reason they do it is to promote their sister station, WBBM, which broadcasts the team’s games on the radio.
Obviously, this is a Bears town first. Whether the team is winning or losing. The Cubs are 1b. to their 1a. when they’re in the playoffs. And Michael Jordan borrowed the city for a decade, making the Bulls come first during the ’90s. (It even helped me remember the difference between bear market and bull market, who was up in the ’90s and who was down?) The Bulls come third, and then there’s a drop off to the White Sox and Blackhawks.
So what WSCR does is simple economics: supply and demand. (on one level) Like the Chicago Tribune devoting half of their always shrinking sports section to the Bears. But I can just skip past all that stuff and start reading the section on page 5/8 or 6/12. CSN Chicago has all their pre-game and post game coverage, and Bears related shows and they devote the biggest portion of Sports Night to the team. But I can just tune out and fast forward through all of that. On the radio there is no DVR. And on The Score EVERY SINGLE COMMERCIAL BREAK includes that damn song “Bear down Chicago Bears” with serious voice-over guy relaying the week’s storyline. “The Bears have lost to the Packers, and have no chance at the division. Will they make the playoffs?” It’s an irritating ridiculously over-played station promo.
Now I’m a loyal listener to the Boers and Bernstein show, and Dan Bernstein has influenced me both professionally and intellectually as much as anyone in the media industry. When he read my work on the air and discussed it this past February, it was a big thrill for me. And when I came on the show to talk about it, I was very excited and honored. But his show on “Bears Monday” is unlistenable. As are Mully and Hanley that day, or Mac & Speigs. The latter is even more unBEARable (bad pun intended) with their HORRIBLE and UNFUNNY parody songs; many of which are about the Bears. And it’s not just Monday. Every day of the week is devoted to the Bears on their show.
In short the station way over-talks the Bears, and way over advertises their Bears talk. And they have to do it because the team is on their sister station WBBM. This is life in the era of media consolidation and so-called “synergy.” It’s grating cross-promotion on an ESPN level. Now I know this town’s obsession with the Bears strikes me a lot harder because I have to consume so much media, sports media, and especially local sports media for my job. So I hear the same storylines over and over. However, I’m sure the casual fan is getting sick of the Bears too. And in a city where everyone is over-doing their Bears coverage, 670 The Score stands above the rest as the worst offender.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.