NEW YORK — There are 104 stations broadcasting live from this year's Super Bowl Radio Row in New York. Not only do you have stations from Denver, Seattle and New York, the cities that have the most interest in this year's Big Game, but you have also have stations from as far away as Australia that will beam their shows live to their listeners back home.
In the massive Sheraton Times Square Meeting Room, tables are set up from front to back with radio stations, all broadcasting simultaneously. The constant noise can be auditory overload to the untrained ear. There are the typical sports radio brands like "The Fan," "The Fox," "The Game," "The Score," "The Locker," "The Gym" and "Good Karma" (Good Karma? Yes! Good Karma!).
There are a whole host of stations that are branded with ESPN Radio. There's 710 ESPN, 610 ESPN, 570 ESPN and 1110 ESPN. There are so many ESPN-branded stations on Radio Row, you could perceive this is an ESPN Radio Network convention rather than a Super Bowl.
Smaller stations are rubbing elbows with the big market stations. There's New York's WFAN which has been to every Super Bowl since 1991 and for all intents and purposes created Radio Row. WEEI from Boston has its own table in the middle of the room. Stations from Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles also carry a presence. The national radio networks are all there, CBS, Fox, NBC, SiriusXM which had a whole stage to itself, and the national NFL radio rightsholders, WestwoodOne.
The national ESPN Radio shows are not on Radio Row. They're broadcasting either from Herald Square or ABC's Times Square studios.
Guests are paraded from table to table. There are current players plugging various products, former players plugging various products, celebrities plugging various movie and TV projects and a few reporters plugging their respective publications, networks, websites and Super Bowl predictions.
Producers and bookers walk around the room looking for the representatives who will bring the guests to their table. They negotiate when the guest will arrive and how long the segment will last. Once the guest is done with one spot, it's onto the next table to talk with another station. It's this assembly line that keeps Radio Row moving.
Overall, it's a great promotional tool for the stations which get an opportunity to get A-List guests and show their listeners that they can cover the big events. The guests get to plug whatever they're selling for their marketers. And of course, the NFL gets tremendous publicity for Super Bowl Week from the 104 stations that are constantly mentioning the league and the game. Saying "Live from the Super Bowl" carries great weight among the sports radio stations that are in attendance.
Archie Manning with Westwood One's Scott Graham (picture courtesy WestwoodOne Sports)
There's nothing quite like Radio Row and unless you have an opportunity to see it in person, you have no idea how big it is and how much it clicks like clockwork. The NFL has Radio Row down to a science and there's no doubt that it's already thinking of how many stations it will accommodate in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX.