Thank you for all the passion regarding SoundOff. The e-mails and blog feedback seemed to turn toward the show itself this week, no doubt thanks in large part to the "What's Bugging Andy?" on TV ratings. I don't think we've had so many people love a segment this much since Andy tore into the Doppler radar wars several years ago. We'll air some of the e-mails on SoundOff this week. The letters have been non-stop since Sunday night, and 99% positive.
I always appreciate and respect the way many of you have an idea of what the show should or should not be. Of course, we can't be all things to all people, and anything successful attracts haters, but we are pleased that more people are watching than ever, and positive feedback is at an all-time high. I think Andy's return is the main reason. Sometimes you don't fully appreciate someone until he or she's gone. I'd like to think the show evolving is another factor. As for the haters, one thing I've learned, to my amazement, is that they're the most devoted viewers of all. I never understand that, but we'll take it.
It seems like a good time to give background on some of the frequent questions about SoundOff.
We dropped "Sports" from the title many years ago. Sports topics still drive the program, but as longtime viewers know, we like to talk about many things outside the sports world too. I think this is a big reason our most frequent compliment comes from women (and occasionally men) who say some variation of, "I don't like sports, but I love SoundOff".
Inevitably, the flip side of that is the hardcore sports fan who wants us breaking down Drake's match-up zone defense, but that criticism is infrequent, and there are plenty of places to go these days for over-analysis of sports. When we started 11+ years ago, there really wasn't. How much insightful Final Four talk can we give this Sunday night that was somehow missed by six hours on CBS and another two hours on ESPN? Now if we had a local team in San Antonio, that's another story. We'd wear it out. First and foremost, local.
The seasons also dictate passion from you. During college football and college basketball, we talk more sports, and go after laughs and pop culture less. When local teams are done in those two seasons, emotional investment dwindles for many of you. You may love the Cubs, but it's a 162 game season. How worked up can you get over a Sunday loss to the Reds in April?
The most frequent complaint we hear is, hands down, some variation of, "I can't believe how stupid some of the callers are". Now this is a touchy one, because those callers are also our viewers and therefore our customers, but I also try to remember that the vast majority of people watching would never, ever call-in, and then do the show for them. We've also taken fewer calls lately, added other segments including frequent on-set interviews, and tried to do a better job of screening. Now that we're on 7-second delay, it's improved, but it's also meant too many people are watching on TV (7 seconds ago) and not listening on the phone, so they're not ready when we go to them. "Mike in Newton, you're on SoundOff. Mike? Hello, Mike." And yes, we ask them to be ready. We'll keep working at it because many of the calls are great, and occasionally even a bad call is highly entertaining for all the wrong reasons. We don't want to lose that interaction. It's also a nice way to show more game video.
We want you to have fun, learn a little here and there, and occasionally get you to think about something in a new or different way. Humor is subjective, so what's funny to my father is not always funny to my mother (another example: I love Will Ferrell movies. Andy thinks they're stupid). Learning depends on how much you know coming in, or how much you think you know, and "thinking" leads to your most passionate e-mails. If you agree, you're nice enough to let Andy or I know. If you don't agree, then you really let us have it. Perfect. The show, after all, is called SoundOff. (More background: The name came about back when I used to co-host the WHO radio Sound-Off with Mike Newell. We were under the same ownership and roof at the time---we're not any longer---and the TV & radio managers liked the synergy of the host and brand. In other words, WHO radio had a great name, and graciously agreed to let us steal it. Thank you. When you're #1 like WHO, you take it as a compliment, not a threat.)
If you have any other thoughts or questions, I welcome them, and I'll try to answer. Andy and I, as well as Heather, Shawn, Chris, B-Ross and the rest of the crew, love doing SoundOff, and appreciate how fortunate we are to work at a station that turns us loose every week. I'm proud that after all these years, and so many new sports shows on TV & radio that weren't here when we started, that our audience keeps growing. I don't know how long that will last, but we'll keep trying to entertain and inform you, and if we don't, you won't have to run us off. We'll pull the plug on ourselves.
Thank you for caring. Thank you for indulging me.