Much like music or movies, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder when it comes to analyzing sports talk radio. As someone who was raised listening to sports talk all over the country and going to sporting events all over this great nation (thanks Dad), the radio dial was entrenched into my soul at a young age.
Then I took it to another level by taking my first job out of college working for Sirius Satellite Radio on Rivals Radio as a morning show producer. Needless to say, sports talk radio is ingrained in my DNA and is a part of who I am today. As a sports writer and radio host for nearly 10 years, I feel uniquely qualified to cast my ballot in this election, so here is my personal ranking of the best national sports talk radio programs.
And there is little competition for the top slot in my opinion:
1. The Dan Patrick Show
Who/When: Dan Patrick and the Dannettes, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. ET
Network: Fox Sports Radio Network, DirecTV Sports Group
There is one show and one man who stand above the rest when it comes to national sports talk radio. No one cares more about his audience, conducts better interviews, has more fun and does it with the better guests on tricked out sets at sick on-site locations. Dan and his band of merry Dannettes have redefined how sports fans consume sports talk radio programming. Be it gorgeous in-studio appearances by super models, a good-natured rivalry with ESPN, multiple man caves and an innovative HD TV simulcast, fans get the most in-depth, insightful and entertaining sports programming ever created. You can watch @DPShow on the DirecTV's Audience Network and on NBC Sports Network.
2. Mike and Mike in the Morning
Who/When: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, 6-10 a.m. ET
Network: ESPN Radio
Few shows have more power and backing than M&M In the Morning. They are consummate professionals who are as polished a radio duo as we have ever seen in the business. The show can be a bit cheesy at times but that is who they are, they embrace it and it works. Guest lists are huge, radio bits are masterfully produced and ESPN’s backing means this program has more built-in resources than any other program on the airwaves. Be prepared to be inundated with sponsors and ads, but that comes with the lofty ratings territory @MikeAndMike enjoy.
3. The Doug Gottlieb Show
Who/When: Doug Gottlieb, 3-6 p.m. ET
Network: CBS Sports Radio
Sharp, quippy and eager to lock opinions with any and all comers, Gottlieb brings a smart intellect and astute ability to craft an opinion to the CBS Sports Radio family. He played basketball at Notre Dame and Oklahoma State before getting started in the media for ESPN. Many athletes are smart, funny and hard-working enough to develop into excellent radio co-hosts, but few can do a solo show as the host like Gottlieb. Hosting and co-hosting are two totally different skill sets. If you want NCAA basketball information and conversation, there might not be a better place to turn than @GottliebShow.
4. The SiriusXM Blitz
Who/When: Adam Schein and Rich Gannon, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. ET
Network: SiriusXM NFL Radio Ch. 88
You may not love Adam Schein’s voice all the time, but his radio program is gold. Super Bowl quarterback Rich Gannon and the long-time New York-based broadcaster bring a level of insight and information to the NFL arena like nowhere else on the radio dial. @AdamSchein has worked for WFAN and Fox Sports before starting his gig on SiriusXM as well as his nightly SNY television program "Loud Mouths" with Chris Carlin at 6 p.m. ET. If you want exclusive NFL sports talk radio, there is no better place to tune than SiriusXM Channel 88 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. ET every day.
5. SVP and Russillo
Who/When: Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo, 1-4 p.m. ET
Network: ESPN Radio
Scott Van Pelt is following in many classic SportsCenter anchors' footsteps in going from the TV set to the radio booth. He is extremely fair, balanced, willing to listen and generally entertaining. SVP added co-host Ryen Russillo in May of 2009. @RyenaRussillo adds his own flair to the show after working in the northeast for most of his career. @NotTheFakeSVP's love of college sports (and the Maryland Terrapins) makes this one popular amongst the collegiate faithful out there. There are some hilarious bits like “Carl’s Stone Cold Lock of the Century of the Week” from famous "Aqua Team Hunger Force" cartoon character Carl. This is a reasonable, thoughtful and entertaining program and can be followed at @SVPandRussillo.
6. 247 Sports Radio On Campus
Who/When: Bill King, 6-9 a.m. ET
Network: SiriusXM College Sports Nation Ch. 91
The VOX of College Sports, @BillIsKing has forgotten more about college football than every other host on this list have ever known… combined. His depth of knowledge has been built over two decades in the radio business, headquartered in the heart of the Southeast in Nashville, Tenn. He was a heavy-hitter in the national football recruiting business long before the Internet made star rankings chic. King is armed with a deep and often hilarious vocabulary and the ability to form unwavering and rational opinions about the sport he so clearly loves. If you are a college football fan, this is easily the best show on the airwaves. Don’t expect to be overwhelmed with cheesy gimmicks or promotional bits, as this is a no-frills program. And unlike many national shows, expect to have your voice heard as phone calls are part of King’s plan.
7. The Steve Czaban Show
Who/When: Steve Czaban, 6-10 a.m. ET
Network: Yahoo! Sports Radio
A two-decade mainstay in sports talk radio, @Czabe has worked in Santa Barbara, Chicago, Milwaukee, Charlotte, D.C. and for Fox Sports Radio, Sporting News and ESPN Radio. When Yahoo! Sports Radio took over Sporting News, Czaban was tabbed as the morning drivetime host of choice. Various bits like The Daily Czabe, Mancrush, Lock It Up have kept the Round Hill, Va., native in the business for nearly 20 years.
8. The Tim Brando Show
Who/When: Tim Brando, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET
Network: Yahoo! Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio
If you can handle the ocassional pomp and circumstance, @TimBrando show is one of the nation’s best for a couple of reasons. First, he cares. His love of sports, college football in particular, comes through in every segment he does. His long tenure in national broadcasting with ESPN, Turner Sports, Fox Sports Net and CBS Sports gives him a unique and historic perspective on all sports.
9. The Jim Rome Show
Who/When: Jim Rome, 12-3 p.m. ET
Network: CBS Sports Radio and Premiere Radio Network
Few people have ever had the clout, ratings and compensation that @jimrome boasts in this business. However, he has done so appealing to the lowest common denominator. There is rarely any middle ground with Rome, as fans either hate his overplayed shtick or crave his extremely popular bits like the infamous Smack-off. Few people are as powerful in sports as Rome. But his radio show isn’t for everyone.
10. The Nick and Artie Show
Who/When: Artie Lange and Nick DiPaolo, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. ET
Network: Premiere Radio Network, DirecTV Sports Group
This program easily has the least amount of sports content, but it is no less entertaining. DiPaolo and Lange aren’t professional radio hosts, but they are both elite level entertainers, comedians and guy’s guys. Gorgeous women, music, comedy and a killer TV simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience Network have quickly made @NickandArtie a late night gem.
11. Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET
Extremely thoughtful and well-spoken host who makes a living stirring the pot.
12. Mad Dog Unleashed (Chris Russo), SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Ch. 86, 2-7 p.m. ET
Former NYC radio star has moved his powerful rants to the satellite airwaves.
13. Inside Pitch (Casey Stern, Jim Bowden), SiriusXM MLB Network Radio Ch. 89, 2-6 p.m. ET
Longtime journalist and MLB GM take calls, break news and analyze America's pastime.
14. The Morning Drive (Mike Bagley, Pete Pistone), SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90, 7-11 a.m. ET
Entertaining, lively and extremely well-informed. If you like racing, this show needs to be on your dial.
15. Paul Finebaum, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, College Sports Nation Ch. 91, 2-7 p.m. ET
If you enjoy rival fans lobbing hate-filled rants at each other, tune in. Otherwise, be careful.
Others to note:
Loose Cannons (Pat O’Brien, Vic Jacobs, Steve Hartman), Fox Sports Radio, 3-7 p.m. ET
Travis Rodgers NOW, Yahoo! Sports Radio, 1-4 p.m. ET
The John Kincade Show, ESPN Radio, 7-10 p.m. ET
The John Feinstein Show, CBS Sports Radio, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. ET
Ferrall On the Bench (Scott Ferrall), CBS Sports Radio, 10 p.m.-2 p.m. ET
Movin The Chains (Pat Kirwan, Tim Ryan), SiriusXM NFL Radio Ch. 88, 3-7 p.m. ET
— By Braden Gall