What was once One on One Sports Radio from ’93 to ’01 and became Sporting News Radio from ’01 till July of 2011 is now known as Yahoo! Sports Radio.
Beginning in August, Yahoo! Sports took over and has continued to broadcast with a live stream from its website.
They have run promotions claiming to be the most interactive radio network and not just a promoter for television shows. This is with obvious reference to their competition from ESPN Radio and FOX Sports Radio.
Their motto is telling listeners their ‘voice will be heard here’, but they seem to have a constant flow of guest interviews and analysis that is very similar to the other radio networks. And, they heavily advertise their properties just the same, too.
They always run ads about their Fantasy Football League, which is one of the biggest and a huge cash cow, and whenever the Yahoo! Sports website is on a big story, the radio hosts will not let the listeners forget where that story came from.
They have put together a lineup of talent recognized in the business as professional and experienced. They haven’t found their niche yet, and they sound just like the other guys they say they don’t want to sound like, but this is not so important, the bigger question is what’s next?
It’s all about the brand. Yahoo! Sports is already a big player, but it is obvious they want to be an even bigger one in the Sports Broadcasting business.
Buying into a network radio is good marketing. Buying into network television is risky and unnecessary for Yahoo! It is much more cost-effective to be a hybrid.
Yahoo! Sports may end up being the first big-time crossover InternetTV station/network.
They have all the potential. They have the number one rated sports website in the country and they have a program, the Yahoo! Sports Minute, which gets massive viewing from sports fans every day all across the country.
The power of the number one sports website in the country can not be overstated. In the 21st century, it means having an inherent prerogative and capability to transform into almost anything, including a TV network.
It is only a matter of time before their InternetTV goes full-time. When it does, it will probably get picked up by satellite and cable TV for availability on their menus. Technology is moving fast enough to produce this equation.
The next question is how should their programming look like?
A safe bet would be to follow the trail blazed by ESPN and VERSUS. Start off with some sports that are either not as popular to watch or with the minor leagues of more popular sports.
Lacrosse, Cricket, Beach Volleyball, Surfing and Indoor Soccer could make for some good action. One other idea would be to partner with NASL, Soccer’s Division II in the U.S., who is probably looking for partners.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com