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Finebaum’s New ESPN, SEC Network Show To Be Caller-Driven (Uh-Oh)

phone-caller-green-acres-poleLast week, ESPN announced that it had hired long-time radio star Paul Finebaum to create a new show for a Southern audience (at first) and a national audience (down the road).  That show will be based out of Charlotte and it will be simulcast every afternoon on the new SEC Network (also based in Charlotte) once that channel launches in August of 2014.

Finebaum is a controversial figure, but no one can deny that he’s a true alchemist… creating a caller-driven show that’s radio gold.

Of course, some — us, for example — aren’t thrilled with the idea of Finebaum’s often bizarro, over-the-top callers getting national attention.  If/when the SEC Network gets carriage on cable- and satellite-providers across the country, Finebaum’s callers are likely to further the stereotype of crazed, hillbilly Southerners.

So will callers still be the focus of Finebaum’s new show?  Or will ESPN and the SEC ask the host to start working in more interviews with actual newsmakers?

According to Finebaum, expect a lot of Legend, I-Man and Tammy:

 

“I get this question a lot, and I’ve seen a few opinion pieces about how the show will change.  And we’ve gone through that for a long time.  When we went from a local show to a statewide and a regional show, those questions came up.  And I don’t think the show has changed very much.  I think the core of the show is the same.  It’s caller-driven.  We have our share of celebrity callers.  And I don’t know why that will change simply because the show is emanating a couple of hundred miles to the east…

Someone asked me the other day: ‘The first week (back on the air) are you going to have (Nick) Saban and Mark Richt and Kevin Sumlin?’ And my thinking was, ‘No.’

It will then be five, six months since we have spoken to callers and I hope the first five callers are Robert, Legend, Tammy, Jim from Tuscaloosa and I-Man.  To me, that’s what I’m looking forward to getting back to — not to listening to a coach say little about the upcoming football season.  We’ll get plenty of that.”

 

Finebaum added that SEC commissioner Mike Slive has — in Finebaum’s words — told him “he wants the program to be compelling.  He wants it to be what it’s always been.”

So get ready, folks.  Paaauuuuulllll’s callers are about to become representatives of the Southeastern Conference.

 


8 comments
gregpomeroy1
gregpomeroy1

Finebaum has had a national radio show for at least a few years now with callers from all over the country.  He smart, funny and insightful.  He may say it's the callers, but his show's success has more to do with the host.  If other radio show hosts were interesting enough to go statewide and then national, they would.  But local sports radio is now the same bland hosts taking the same bland questions from the same bland callers.

yerboyfloyd
yerboyfloyd

Don't worry about the knucklehead faction, John.  Everyone will recognize it for what it is.  It's the same in New York or anywhere - "caller who wants to be a radio star".  No big whoop.

And thanks for the Oliver Wendell Douglass  "Green Acres"picture.  Made me laugh out loud.

SteveBull
SteveBull

I was just typing my last comment when I heard a national sports show host tell a caller to save his (what the host thought were ignorant comments) for the Paul Finebaum Show and the SEC network.

SteveBull
SteveBull

This is more reason why the SEC should have invited West Virginia rather than Missouri. West Virginia fans are "compelling." And I love them...

bangbang22
bangbang22

Tammy is getting cable installed to her trailer just to see PAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@gregpomeroy1 

You seem to think I have a problem with Paul Finebaum.  I do not.  But I do know that you can't read an article about him without seeing the names Legend, I-Man, Tammy and so on.  They are very much part of his show.  They get as much pub as he gets.  And many, many, many people openly admit that they listen to the show to laugh at the crazy callers.

The only problem I have with Finebaum's show moving to the SEC Network is that millions of Americans will view folks like Harvey Updyke as being representative of the South.  Having lived in the North for a while, I can guarantee you many will run with that stereotype.

As for Finebaum being national on Sirius/XM, we tackled that issue in the other article (which was linked to in the piece above).  Sirius/XM has 25 million subscribers.  If the SEC Network matches ESPNU in terms of cable- and satellite-penetration -- as is the stated goal -- then Finebaum's new TV show will go into 75 million households.  That's apples and oranges.

Thanks for reading the site,

John

ErikaSmithJones
ErikaSmithJones

@John at MrSEC @gregpomeroy1 be proud of the south and who we are warts and all. the perception of the south from around the country is what it is and isnt going to change one way or the other because paul's show is available up north. i get annoyed at those who insist on keeping the crazy aunt locked in the closet. this is the south we show off all our crazy relatives.

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