Don’t tell Joe Ovies that sports radio is dying or that the medium is obsolete. On Friday, the afternoon drive host on Raleigh’s 99.9 The Fan let loose a rant declaring that “sports radio won!”.
The rant was part of a benchmark feature Ovies does called “Truth Bombs” and was inspired by Spotify boasting that it could “disrupt” the industry with the acquisition of the live audio app Locker Room and the new content opportunities it creates for Bill Simmons and The Ringer. But it wasn’t just digital audio in Ovies’s crosshairs. He also noted that plenty of TV shows have had success aping the sports radio formula.
“Pardon the Interruption, First Take, Undisputed, First Things First. Those are all sports radio shows on TV!” he yelled. After listing several popular sports podcasts and declaring they were all “sports radio delivered to your phone,” he explained his point.
“What do all those shows I mentioned have in common? They take the sports news of the day and other sports related topics and talk about them. Oh! Maybe they’ll even interview someone about the sports topic!”
The kicker to Ovies’s rant comes at the end and will likely become something of a rallying cry amongst sports radio hosts sick of hearing how much more popular podcasts are than terrestrial radio.
“Even more hilarious is when I hear about a podcast quote unquote killing it, I come to find out that the top five percent of podcasts get an average of like 3500 downloads per episode. And I think ‘My goodness. I’d get FIRED if this show had that many listeners every afternoon!”
An irony worth noting here is that Ovies has always been quick to expand his shows’ presence in the digital space. He and ACC reporter Lauren Brownlow routinely record video series like Drive Through Hot Takes and ACC Panic Room for Capitol Broadcasting’s digital platform and Ovies has written extensively in the past about audiences cutting the chord and leaving cable for streaming TV options.
That isn’t lost on Ovies, who acknowledges that his afternoon show, The OG, offers a best-of podcast everyday. His point, he says, is that the product is still the show. No matter how the content is consumed, Ovies insists that “sports talk radio won”.