Shake Up At The Score: Innovation Be Damned!

Shake Up At The Score: Innovation Be Damned!

I listened to two segments of the brand spanking new McNeil and Parsons show today, the first day of the show. Both segments revolved around the Chicago Bears and to a lesser extent, the NFL. That was enough for me. Expect more of the same as the days and weeks pile up.

It was announced on air today and also widely reported throughout Chicago that WSCR 670 the Score revamped their line up.  Mully and Hanley remain as the morning show and Laurence Holmes and Les Grobstein cruise through the night, but the mid-day and afternoon shows got totally redone. Dan Bernstein moves from the afternoon to mid day slot with Connor McKnight and Dan McNeil comes back to the Score with Danny Parsons for the afternoon drive time. There is little to entice me to listen.

Mully and Hanley are, I'm guessing, the longest running sports show in Chicago at this point and it shows. They are about as fresh and exciting as a 1975 Chrysler LeBaron. I'll give them some credit in that they don't do schtick, but they don't do much else. Their observations and opinions are stuck somewhere between 1985 and 1995. Their daily discussions pretty much follow the sports calendar by rote (it's March! must talk about college basketball today!) and are otherwise preoccupied with the biggest sports headline of the day in Chicago, even if it's been treated ad nauseam. There is a generous dollop of gambling discussion, especially come football season. Basically it's your dad on the radio, if you're dad is in his late seventies and prone to trotting out cliches and outdated ideas.

Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight may prove to be interesting, but I'll miss Jason Goff. From the introduction to the few minutes I heard this morning, it doesn't seem like McKnight will be much of a foil for Bernstein. As they were being introduced they both mentioned how alike they are, which made me immediately think, "uh-oh." Being alike might be great for working in the office together but it doesn't make for great radio. I'll admit as McKnight has danced around the dial the past few years, I haven't exactly been blown away. He is taking the place of someone, that I didn't realize, was quite polarizing. After reading some of the comments* breaking the new line up, seems Goff got under a lot of white guys skin. All I can say to that is...good! In my listening to Bernstein and Goff, I never found the discussion of race out of place. Granted, I don't think the discussion of race is out of place, like, ever. We need to discuss race more, not less. With the hiring of McKnight the Score seems to be retreating from any programming that might prove, heaven forbid, thought provoking.

I have a rule about reading comments: I only go as far as the first racist/sexist/homophobic comment. I usually don't get too far. In this case I think I made it 4 or 5. 

I can hear some of white dudes now, "but Laurence Holmes is still there (or is it 'dare?')!" and that is true. Holmes is a great talent often shaking things up on his show, bringing in different voices including, egad! women. However, the time slot for Holmes is 6-10. Between Cubs baseball, Bulls basketball, DePaul basketball and Illini basketball, Holmes's time is severely truncated. For all of his talent and new approaches, he is in a pretty limited roll.

Speaking of limited rolls, it's a shame the Score didn't do something truly unique, promote/hire a full-time woman. I can hear the white bros howling now, but it's too bad the Score didn't give Julie DiCaro a shot at a show. If I missed how polarizing Goff was, I most certainly haven't in DiCaro's case. If you have faith in humanity, just take a stroll through her Twitter feed. Simply put, people, mostly men in this case, just suck.

Which brings me back to McNeil and Parkins. Before his last exit from the Score, McNeil was mailing it in, if he was on the air at all. He couldn't be bothered to talk about much of anything besides the Bears. He took pride in his lack of regard for the Bulls and basketball in general. He claims to be a White Sox fan, but toward the end of his last run, he barely mentioned baseball at all. I can't help but think it will only be a matter of time, shorter than the last, where McNeil's lack of interest in all things not football will dominate his show once again.

The less said about Danny Parkins...yeah. I'll admit, he just hasn't done it for me at all. His pairing with Matt Spiegel always seemed off. The Spiegel and Parkins show seemed far too schticky for me; parody songs, over-produced segments, desperate attempts for laughs, just didn't do it for me. Parkins also shares quite a bit about his gambling which for my money (HA!) is about as riveting as the crop report. Taking McNeil's proclivity for gambling and adding in Parkins's, along with their mutual poor taste in music, and afternoons on the Score may make my ears bleed.

So the Score was looking to shake things up and instead went pretty blah. It could have tried something new, like adding a woman's perspective or reached out to other voices (geez, when will a gay man be on sports radio) or other sports (as world soccer grows, sports talkers will eventually have to talk about it) but instead we get three guys named Dan. Wow, it's middle school all over again. And yet...the Score is still better than ESPN Radio.

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