Wed. Sep 19th, 2018

I’ve Heard the Future of Sports Radio And I Like It

So I hate to break it to you, but I don’t bet on sports. Don’t really bet at all. I’ve certainly worked at sports stations where you couldn’t get a line out because everyone was putting in their NFL bets. It just never appealed to me. No judgement, just not for me. So when the Supreme Court ruled that states would have the right to legalize sports betting in their states, I was worried–worried for sports radio.

Would sports radio just become “sports betting radio”? Would it be taken over by the infamous touts whose deceptive ads drove me crazy as a PD? 

For those who don’t know what a tout service is, it’s a scam where a company advertises their big pick for a certain NFL or College Football game. When people call in, half are given one team as the “special pick” and the other half gets the other team. That way, the service is right to exactly half the people who call in. Then they sell future picks to the people who called in for the “free pick”. I always argued that it was a big scam that hurt the credibility of the radio station.

Why did stations air them? They ran a lot of spots and were steady money for radio stations.

With the NFL season set to open this past Sunday, I decided to tune into VSIN—The Vegas Sports and Information Network. VSIN is the brainchild of longtime network sportscaster Brent Musburger, his nephew Brian, and his brother, Todd. Todd has been a long time talent agent.

Here’s what you need to know about VSIN as they describe themselves on their web page:

Our goal is to make the Vegas Stats & Information Network your trusted source for exclusive sports gambling news, analysis and data. Why us? Why now? Remember when broadcasters subtly referenced point spreads and the over/under during games? We want to bring an end to those days. It’s time for straight-forward information from authoritative sources who truly understand sports betting.

This mission statement makes sense, and lacks the over-the-top statements and promotion that was the main stay of the tout services in their radio ads. 

Sports betting is now legal and up and running in five states (Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Delaware) with Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New York not far behind. With the opening Sunday of the NFL Season, I decided to reluctantly check out the VSIN Sunday morning show-Point Spread Sunday with Jonathan Von Tobel and Sam Panayotovich. 

Overall, I was extremely impressed by the show and how the information of the upcoming games was presented. Did Jonathan, Sam and their guests talk about point spreads? Absolutely! But it was the way the entire show went that impressed me.

The show treats listeners as intelligent and curious. The hosts guide us through game breakdowns with information that any football fan would be interested in. Guest Mike Lombardi, a former NFL GM, speaks freely about the point spreads but also gave great insights like “Bad offensive lines don’t travel well” and when talking about Jacksonville’s QB Blake Bortles “Don’t trust unpredictable Quarterbacks.”

When I was done listening Sunday I had to admit to something. I had just listened to the future of sports talk radio—and I really like it. VSIN is just frankly ahead of everyone else. The guys know how to talk about gambling and provide information and treat the listeners as intelligent men and women. It’s an extremely comfortable listen. I felt smarter after I listened. 

You can check out VSIN for yourself at VSIN.com or on SiriusXM Channel 204.