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Beer, Babes, and Balls

Masculinity and Sports Talk Radio

David Nylund, Eric Anderson

Publication Year: 2007

Beer, Babes, and Balls explores the increasingly popular genre of sports talk radio and how it relates to contemporary ideas of masculinity. Popular culture plays a significant role in fashioning identities, and sports talk radio both reflects and inspires cultural shifts in masculinity. Through analysis of the content of sports talk radio as well as interviews with radio production staff and audience members, scholar and avid sports talk radio listener David Nylund sheds light on certain aspects of contemporary masculinity and recent shifts in gender and sexual politics. He finds that although sports talk radio reproduces many aspects of traditional masculinity, sexism, racism, and heterosexism, there are exceptions in these discourses. For instance, the most popular national host, Jim Rome, is against homophobia and racism in sport, which indicates that the medium may be a place for male sports fans to discuss gender, race, and sexuality in consequential ways. Nylund concludes that sports talk radio creates a male bonding community that has genuine moments of intimacy and connection, signifying the potential for new forms of masculinity to emerge, while simultaneously reproducing traditional forms of masculinity.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-ix

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

The author, Dr. David Nylund, could have asked a big-name sports personality or on-air radio sportscaster to write the foreword to this book. It is, after all, a work written mostly about white, heterosexual men who love sports. So it is significant that Dr. Nylund has asked me, an openly gay academic, extremely critical of the way sports...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

There are so many people to thank—friends, family, mentors, peers, and faculty who have supported me financially, academically, spiritually, and emotionally—and too many to mention them all by name. So, if I forgot to thank you, please know that I sincerely appreciate all you have done. There are some people, however, that I particularly...

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1. Opening Pitch: Thinking about Sports Talk Radio

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pp. 1-18

I am driving in traffic on a typical harried Monday morning. Turned off by the conservative “hate speech” of political talk radio and bored by Bob Edwards of NPR, I turn on my local sports radio station. A commercial plugging the local station is airing: “Your hair’s getting thinner, your paunch is getting bigger. But you still think the young...

PART I. THE CLIMATE FOR SPORTS TALK RADIO

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2. The Sports Talk Radio Industry: From Rush to Rome

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pp. 21-27

I wake up to sports talk radio. When I am in my car, I listen to sports talk radio. I often go to sleep listening to sports talk. It’s a comfort and pleasure for me to hear familiar voices discussing the day in sports and it helps reduce the stress of the day. Rarely do I think of the production or corporate end of sports talk radio. When I am listening in my...

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3. Inside the Sports Radio Industry: Ads and Lads

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pp. 28-49

This chapter is based on a series of interviews with producers and hosts of both national and local sports talk programs along with participant observation research at a local sports talk radio station. Interviewees included a national sports talk radio host, two local sports talk hosts, a sports talk radio station manager, and a producer of a...

PART II. READING SPORTS TALK RADIO

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4. The Jim Rome Show: “Myspace. om” For Men

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pp. 53-67

In this chapter I look more closely at sports talk radio’s content in terms of the constructions of masculinity that it represents. My textual analysis forms something of a bridge between my analysis of the production of sports radio (discussed in the preceding section) and issues surrounding consumption (covered in Section III). Specifically, I...

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5. Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Jungle

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pp. 68-107

This chapter will use a method of study that Douglas Kellner refers to as ideological textual analysis. Kellner (1995) defines ideology as a system of beliefs or ideas; all media texts are products of ideology. Sometimes the ideological position presented may be explicitly spelled out, as in overt political discourse. More often, the ideology is implicit...

PART III. THE AUDIENCE OF SPORTS TALK RADIO

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6. In the Jungle with the “Clones”

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pp. 111-123

In previous sections, I have examined the texts and industry of sports radio. Now I turn my attention to the third major area of cultural studies analysis: audiences. In cultural studies, the term “audience” refers to the people who attend a particular play, view a film or television show, read a novel, or listen to a radio program. The audience is...

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7. Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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pp. 124-147

The chapter title contains part of the lyrics of the theme song from the hit television series Cheers. The characters in the cast were regular patrons of the bar, Cheers—a place away from home or work where you can meet old Norm, Cliff, and Frasier, see old friends and make new ones, and interact with people who share something with you other...

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8. A Sports Radio Intruder

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pp. 148-154

This chapter highlights a listener to and occasional caller into sports radio, my friend Joan. Joan, a passionate sports fan and athlete on the Sacramento Sirens women’s football team who is openly “out” as a lesbian, listens regularly to The Jim Rome Show and other sports radio programs. Since sports talk radio is marketed toward heterosexual...

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9. My Final Take

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pp. 155-163

I usually had sports talk radio or televised sports in the background while writing this book. Listening to sports comforted me and justified having sports programs turned on as “part of my research.” While I was writing this conclusion, I was listening to The Best Damn Sports Show Period (March 30, 2003) in which Chris Rose and actor...

Notes

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pp. 165-172

Bibliography

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pp. 173-183

Index

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pp. 185-190


E-ISBN-13: 9780791479421
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791472378

Page Count: 206
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: SUNY series on Sport, Culture, and Social Relations
Series Editor Byline: CL Cole

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Radio broadcasting of sports -- United States.
  • Masculinity -- United States.
  • Men -- United States -- Attitudes.
  • Radio talk shows -- United States.
  • Radio and baseball.
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