The big to-do for Day 6 was doing a segment on TuneIn Radio with Brian Webber and Kordell Stewart. They had the whole PFW in Progress gang on and it seemed to go well. Webber is a real pro and even though he probably didn't know us from anyone else in Houston, he led a lively interview. More on that in a bit.
TuneIn was set up on Radio Row in the NFL Media Center. That was located downtown in the George R. Brown Convention Center. I don't know who George was but they built one heck of a convention center in his name. The large venue was perfect for the thousands of media members covering the Super Bowl but also a good place for the NFL Experience. The space made getting around among all the displays and interactive exhibits a lot easier than some of the Experiences of the past.
Walking around Experience was a lot easier than getting there. From what I'm told Houston traffic can be though but add in a Super Bowl and even traveling six or seven miles can turn into 45 minutes. I was hitching a ride with a Patriots VIP and we were at a standstill. Then I saw the convention center in the distance.
"Mind if I jump out here?"
With that I was dodging cars to the sidewalk and hoofing it the rest of the way.
One of the first things I saw once inside the convention center was an exhibit sponsored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was basically a photo booth but the name made me chuckle: "Hall of Famous." Pretty much summed up the repeat discussion we have on PFW in Progress about how all these halls of fame are too lax in who they admit.
With some time to kill before having to get to Radio Row I wandered around taking it all in. Of course I was keeping a mental count of what team was best represented by fans. Patriots gear was the clear winner. Next came Texans gear with the Falcons a distant third. At least that's the way I saw it on this particular Friday afternoon.
On my way to TuneIn I got to thinking about the radio industry as a whole. We are truly in the golden age of content with companies like HBO, NetFlix and others pumping out quality shows unlike any we've ever seen. That goes for audio content as well. Podcasts have been around for over a decade, at least by that name, but now they are booming. Shows like Serial and names like Bill Simmons have attracted huge listening audiences at home, during commutes, at the gym and more and more, in the car.
TuneIn is in an excellent position to take advantage of this surge. As a discovery and aggregation app for radio stations around the world as well as podcasts, it's a must-have. The maniac that I am, I like to tune into Patriots opponents' sports stations after the Patriots relieve them of their manhood and witness their hosts and callers losing their minds.
If TuneIn plays their cards right, continues to seamlessly integrate with cars and invest and improve on smart recommendation algorithms, the sky's the limit.
Speaking of radio, news broke this week that CBS Radio, which owns 98.5 The Sports Hub and is the flagship station of the Patriots, was merging with Entercom, which owns Sports Radio WEEI and is home to Patriots Monday and Friday. Actually, I'm told it was less a merger and more Entercom buying the CBS properties. It's unknown how it will all shake out in terms of what shows survive, or if all do, but it's the law that one company can only operate so many stations in a market. Decisions will have to be made. That said, it's been proven that Boston can support two sports radio stations and at the end of the day it's all about money. If Entercom decides to only have one sports station I won't be surprised if another company comes in and gives sponsors another option to spend their budgets. Certainly as a fan, two is better than one. Nothing ever stays the same. You're either moving forward or you're falling behind.
I like Radio Row, always have. I know it can be crazy for those who have to work on it. You're pretty much shoulder to shoulder with stations from all over but everywhere you look there's a famous athlete or celebrity making their way through the maze and doing interviews. It's an electric atmosphere. Even PFW in Progress drew a crowd when we did our hit on TuneIn.
Kordell Stewart was really good. He might even be a better radio personality than he was a quarterback. As I said earlier, Webber kept the conversation going and one of the places he went was Deflategate. I welcomed the chance to unload.
Late in the afternoon I got word that Bruno Mars tickets had come available (or Bruno Mar as I call him). I like the little guy so I was in.
The venue was a temporary structure hastily built for the Super Bowl. It was outfitted specifically to hold concerts and appropriately called Club Nomadic. Mars came on at 10:45 and while he was good, the place was jammed. I mean, wall to wall humanity. I found myself stuck next to a group of about a dozen frat boy Americas. Each had their button down shirts, khakis and brown shoes. They passed their flasks, took selfies and became increasingly liquid in their movements while failing miserably to stay in rhythm with Mars. It was pretty obnoxious and when Mars decided to bring it down and give the band a rest, I was out of there.
Uber got me home before midnight. Two more days.