Groundbreaking Talk Radio: The Dan Le Batard Show

by Sam Prince @phisammajamma

I absolutely love talk radio. It is a lost and unappreciated art in the world of the 24 hour news cycle. The radio first connected us to the voices of the outside world. We were drawn in by pioneering personalities, giving us a new perspective on events while shaping popular culture.

Like never before we developed relationships with radio personalities, in a way that wasn’t available through print. During the thicket of America’s Great Depression (after the 1932 stock market crash), Franklin Delano Roosevelt eight days after inauguration began his “fireside chats” over the airwaves.

Today we connect with President Obama and other public officials through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets. However, in 1933 it was unprecedented for the American public to have a personal experience with any public official or celebrity, let alone the president. FDR’s 30 “fireside chat” broadcasts laid a foundation that still influences radio today.

31 years after FDR’s first fireside chat, Bill Mazer hosted the first sports talk radio show in 1964. Since then there have been a litany of talk radio shows, continuously improving each year as the field becomes more diverse.

One person that is pioneering the new era of radio is Dan Le Batard, host of the Dan Le Batard show. Along with co-host Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, Batard is transcending radio in a Cheech and Chong like fashion.

Sure, there have been plenty of excellent sports radio shows prior to the Dan Le Batard Show, but never before has a nationally syndicated sports radio broadcast provided such raw emotion.

Never afraid to show their frustration with the decisions of their corporate entity ESPN, The Dan Le Batard Show champions the cause of the 99 percent. More often than not when you tune into their broadcast you’ll hear them walking the tightrope in defense of the proletariat.

But it doesn’t end there. Dan and Stu have an incredible sense of humor, choosing to find the funny in even the most racy sports news stories. They tackle serious stories the same way corporate America does at the water cooler, and the way the boys busting suds do in the back of (Insert Italian Name Here) Pizzeria in Brooklyn.

Then in the very next segment they’ll hit you with something serious, forcing you to have a conversation about the very things we shy away from, issues like race and domestic abuse. You’ll hear Dan talk about his Cuban heritage, his family’s exile, and the effect of normalized relations with Cuba. Immersed in his pain, Dan takes you somewhere real as a listener. Empathy compels you to hear and to understand, no matter what side of the tracks you are on.

As a radio broadcast, the Dan Le Batard show isn’t afraid to take you somewhere dark, and it is in their fearless approach that their listeners find hope.

They are just like us. They crack borderline jokes, have fears, and are uncertain but courageous, and all of that shines through their broadcast. They connect with people in a way that I’ve never seen from a nationally syndicated sports radio broadcast.

But don’t take my word for it. You can listen to them Weekdays from 10 AM to 1PM EST on the ESPN radio APP.

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