Life is crazy on Super Bowl's radio row

February 1, 2012
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There’s nothing quite like radio row at the Super Bowl media center.

Here at the JW Marriott there are 108 radio stations—with all their equipment and two to five on-air personalities each—crammed into one ballroom. Each day during Super Bowl week, there are more than 200 radio shows broadcast from that one room to sports fans across the country and around the world. (For a quick tour, see video below.)



At any one time from about 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., you can hear broadcasts going out in English, Spanish, German and myriad other languages. Many of the broadcasts happen simultaneously,  and the voices of all these guys carry farther than a Tom Brady pass. It can be enough to make your ears bleed and your head spin.

“You see it all on radio row,” said Eddie White, a Pacers executive who formerly hosted an afternoon sports-talk radio show on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. “You can see anyone from Joe Namath to Adam Sandler in there at any one time.”

Former and current NFL players are regular visitors to radio row, as are movie and TV stars and recording artists looking to promote themselves and their shows or songs. I can't wait until the Material Girl makes the scene.

An otherwise normal level of crazy will erupt into complete pandemonium when one of the big stars come in. They move from one radio booth to the next, waxing poetic about who knows what as a gaggle of print reporters, media handlers and other hangers-on flock around the star like tuna fish crammed together in a massive oceanic bait ball.

There's a lot of free publicity and vanity on display, so naturally politicians also love radio row. The mayors and governors from this year’s host city and state, as well as the host towns for the next two Super Bowls, are sure to make the rounds.

“It’s a great place to get exposure for your community,” said Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association spokesman Chris Gahl. “Where else can you find this many media outlets in one place?”

Speaking of media outlets, Indianapolis is fast becoming the epicenter for sports journalism.

There are nearly 5,100 media members here to cover Sunday’s game pitting the New York Giants against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium. That’s a record number of credentialed media covering the Super Bowl, said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

The previous record was 5,082 credentialed media members at Dallas last year. The next highest number of credentialed media is 4,786 at the 2008 Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

Indianapolis' central location, as well as the inclusion of two large-market teams, have boosted the number of credentialed media at this year's Super Bowl, said reporters in the JW Marriott media center.

The greatest show on turf is coming to town on Sunday. But there is plenty of action, maybe more unpredictable antics, among the legions covering the game and those seeking the media's everlasting attention.


 

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