Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Radio Dazed

A little bit of down time in the mid-week portion of the vacation festivities.  Down meaning "free".  Not down meaning...well, "down".  Some idle thoughts from my idling mind....

Last Friday night - driving home from the last official pre-vacation work day (notwithstanding the several hours I spent at the office on Saturday morning) - I was stuck in a ridiculous amount of traffic.  Apparently an accident at some point between Morristown and Basking Ridge on 287 south had reduced multiple lanes of travel to just one.  That reduction, coupled with the typically insane number of us lemmings migrating south in the evening rush, led to quite an epic traffic jam.  A commute that normally takes 30-35 minutes took more than four times as long.   I was actually relieved to see - when I finally reached the choke point (a/k/a the accident site) that while there were a predictably large number of emergency vehicles at the scene I saw no one who appeared injured.  I might have just been being overly optimistic of course.  In view of how long I was stuck on the north side of the accident scene it is entirely likely that (a) people were injured; and (b) the injured were removed from the scene long before I got there. 

The extra-quality time in the car gave me the opportunity to spend more time than usual listening to the radio.  I was appalled to discover that at least two radio stations in the New York metropolitan area - as of last Friday (a/k/a "ONE WEEK BEFORE THANKSGIVING") had already transitioned into their "All Holiday Music, All The Time" format.  Congratulations to the asshats at 106.7 and 98.3 for adding another entirely unnecessary and unwelcome layer of commercialism to the Christmas season.  Un-effing believable.  If you are that devoid of programming ideas, just play an album of whales farting or some such nonsense.  Almost enough to make me vomit in my own mouth. 

New York is the home of the nation's first successful all-sports radio station.  For the first quarter-century of its existence WFAN occupied a space only on the AM dial.  Earlier this month, they began broadcasting on the FM dial (101.9 for folks keeping score at home).  It is a move that was likely necessitated by the fact that their principal competitor for sports gab - ESPN Radio - moved several months ago from 1050 on the AM dial to 98.7 on the FM dial.  Presuming the NHL ever decides to "unlock" its arenas and actually play some hockey this season, I am looking forward to testing whether the new FM signal for ESPN actually permits me to hear my beloved New York Rangers.  ESPN Radio has been the Rangers' radio home for several years.  On the AM dial, the signal in New Jersey stretched from here almost all the way to the end of this sentence.  Hopefully, on the FM side I will actually be able to listen to the games on the way home from work.  Hopefully there will be games at all.

One night last week (I think it was Thursday) I was flipping around the dial on the trip home and came across the ESPN afternoon drive show, hosted by Michael Kay of the YES Network and co-hosted by Don LaGreca.  I for one love the irony associated with Kay's TV bosses simulcasting on their airwaves the radio show of his biggest rival - Mike Francesca of WFAN.  Nothing makes me chuckle quite as hard as TV spots for Francesca's radio show between innings of YES broadcasts of Yankees games....on which Kay is their lead announcer. 

Last Thursday night Kay and LaGreca were running a contest of some sort.  If memory serves correctly the prize might have been Knicks tickets or something else associated with the 'Bockers.  At the time, the Knicks were undefeated - having won their first five games.  While I cannot recall the prize with specificity I do recall the contest.  

The Knicks won each of their first five games of the season by double digits (sportsguy talk for "ten points or more"), becoming only the third team in NBA history to do so.  The contestants were asked to guess what the Knicks' average margin of victory was through their first five games.  Borrowing from the Showcase concept on The Price Is Right, the contestant who was closest without going over would be the winner.  REMEMBER:  THE CONTESTANTS WERE TOLD THAT THE KNICKS HAD WON EACH OF THEIR FIRST FIVE GAMES BY TEN POINTS OR MORE (I highlight that because it becomes important for purposes of this story). 

When asked to offer his guess as to the team's average margin of victory for its first five double-digit wins, Contestant #1 answered, "Seven".  Upon hearing the same question posed to him, Contestant #2 responded, "Nine".  And with the prize seemingly his for the taking, Contestant #3 declared, "Five".  After laughing hysterically at the sheer absence of intellect of their listening audience (at least as represented by Curly, Moe and Larry who called in to play the game), Kay and LaGreca awarded the prize to Contestant #2.  I suppose someone had to win it. 

Let's just hope that whatever the prize was, it was not something that the winner had to unwrap. 

On second thought, Alvin and the Chipmunks singing "O Holy Night" might not be half bad.



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