Callers remain elusive for "Sports Talk with Steve Jones and Brian Tripp," largely because of the show's early afternoon timeslot and in part because callers seem somewhat indifferent to Jones' approach.
Even after Jones offered up an almost sure-fire sports talk-radio topic for this region a couple of times last week, nobody bothered to call. He encouraged callers to talk Penn State-Pitt football -specifically whether they wanted the teams to play every year or not - and nobody took the bait.
He had already stated his preference for fewer games, though, so that probably prevented some potential callers from sharing their opinion.
The lack of callers remains the show's biggest problem, and it seems management, the show's producer (Tripp) and Jones continue working to find a good formula.
More consistent use of guests helps, and the show will go on location for the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in June and the IndyCar Series visit to Pocono Raceway in early July. Those are good things, nice moves for a local show. Until then, though, it's probably more of the same.
Jones brings unrivaled expertise to the job, but he seems to have a hard time convincing listeners they are his No. 1 priority.
Many perceive that he's not doing the show for them, and that comes through when he mentions that he knows information but then does not share it. Even a little thing like Penn State's to-be-named opponent in a holiday men's basketball tournament provides a prime example.
Of course, Jones is not in a position to share that information and never would break protocol. In such an instance, he'd be better off simply not mentioning it. Instead, listeners get a sense he's not on their side, and that dissuades them from making calls or making a strong connection.
n Conversely, Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien continues to connect with fans just by being himself whenever they hear and see him on radio on TV. The 14-minute segment about him on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" aired five days ago and his impassioned news conference a dozen days ago again gave people a sense of his authenticity, personality and perspectives. It's clear what O'Brien stands for, and that he's willing to take a stand -something he's done regularly since taking the Penn State job 505 days ago. Better yet, it's something he has done, no matter where he's coached, for his family every day.
n WJAC-TV's Matt Maisel does good work with his regular job on Channel 6 and similarly good work as a regular guest on several sports-talk radio shows in the region. He's strong on radio because he's measured (rarely piling on just because it's the opinion of the either the host or the majority) and because he's not afraid to share his opinion.
n Today's a great day for auto racing fans. Action begins with at 7:30 a.m. with the Grand Prix of Monaco at 7:30 a.m. on NBC. The Indianapolis 500 follows at noon on ABC and NASCAR's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, caps things when its green flag drops at 6 p.m. on Fox.
n Advertising buys by Penn State hockey to promote season ticket sales during the Stanley Cup playoffs have been a well-timed and wise bit of marketing.
Steve Sampsell may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.