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mezz1962
07-28-2011, 14:02
As a writer I always wondered, what makes a loyal fan? The truly simple answer is someone that follows your work and then communicates their compliments to you, but is that really a loyal follower? As I communicated with WFAN more and more since moving back to New York from South Carolina, my question about "loyalty" naturally extended to these hosts, wondering if they too wrestled with similar concerns.

It's easy to confuse regular listeners with loyalty. For instance, a few years ago I listened to the same announcers in the same time slot, on the same station. To some it may have seemed that I was a loyal listener; however, nothing could have been further from the way I felt. The host in my opinion was wrong about 50% of the time, he also did not possess my attitude about disagreeing on air when a caller made a moronic statement, nor did he question the motives of some callers, or even guests.

I complained about it to anyone who would listen and the only true reason I even listened to this host was the fact that he and I happened to have worked the same schedule. The moment this host moved to a different time slot, and eventually moved to a new station was the last time I ever tuned into him. The point is that you need to scratch below the surface to find out whether someone is loyal or not.

Adam the Bull normally works a floating scheduled on weekends. Most times you'll find he is on WFAN sometime before or just after the New York Mets game, so listening to him is pretty easy to do, and whether you're a loyal listener or not, on weekends you're bound to run into his program.

Sports talk radio is a fickle beast, without notice she can change the conversation quicker than the weather in Wrigley Field. With his varied schedule "Adam the Bull" does a wonderful job of staying in touch with his fan base. Bull has taken full advantage of the new age media and embraced it, communicating with his fans through Facebook, Twitter (@AdamtheBullWFAN ) and his new website www.adamthebull.com to keep him grounded, and updated on what his listeners are most interested in at that moment. So does communicating alone make someone secure that their listeners are loyal? In some ways it does and in other cases it does not.

With Twitter any person can easily watch the number of these host's twitter followers increase at a slow and steady pace. One could easily argue that this was a sign of fan loyalty, but in truth how many of us on twitter follow people who we would have no interest in at all, except they are a fan of the same team you root for. There are a myriad of reasons why you would hit the "Follow" button on twitter, loyalty is one, but it is not the proof that I needed to answer my question.

So my question of "What makes a loyal following?" remains unanswered. My continued struggle with finding the answer actually caused an even deeper "Loyalty" question to emerge, "How would any host know when they have truly earned the respect, and admiration of their listeners?"

One simple answer that most people would come up with instantly would be "If you move to a new station and he did good numbers." In part this would be true, but "how many listeners actually came over?" and "how many listeners were loyal only to that stations time slot, no matter who the host was?" So ratings can in fact be used to answer part of the question, but like so many other times it fails to answer the question fully, and completely.

For months I thought about this question of "Loyalty" but the answer remained shrouded in a deep fog and I feared I never would truly have a definitive answer. Listening to WFAN this week has brought me the answer that I had been seeking for quite awhile.

The answer came to me due in large part to the person who schedules the WFAN host time slots. This week "Adam the Bull" was set to host the weekday 2am to 5-40am slot. By in large, probably the worst shift you could possibly have because even a regular listener would find it difficult to stay awake or get up early when in these times with so many lives complicated with unemployment, low wages, and expensive health care, many people have to resort to working two jobs just to keep above water. With the pressures of work and balancing our families needs it would be so easy to just skip a show or two. With twitter and facebook keeping in touch with "Adam the Bull" or any host for that matter, would be simple and even the most loyal listener can accomplish this without a shred of guilt about not tuning in.

At this moment, being unemployed, I take odd jobs to keep food on the table and still have time for my families needs. To me listening to Adam at 2am did little to disrupt my normal life, but even I had to make a few small sacrifices. Bull's standard "here we go" tweet alerted me to tune into WFAN knowing Bull was about to start. Bull's opening monolog, as so many times before was both on target, and more importantly filled with the blusterous energy his listeners were accustomed to.

Clearly the early morning hour did not effect him, or at the very least he stubbornly refused to disappoint his listeners be it 2pm on a cold winter's afternoon or 2am on a sultry early summer morning, Bull's unique voice was full of the life and energy that us, his customary listeners have grown to expect.

I truly never expected my question of "Loyalty" to be answered in this early Tuesday morning, but as the sun made it's appearance in the far off horizon, the fog lifted and the answer became clear. Adam the Bulls listeners without question sacrificed some part of their day in order to checked in and support Bull during this unique and difficult time slot. Not only did they tune in Tuesday, but everyday this week they remained steadfast in their support.

In my original draft of this article I wrote names that are all too familiar to his many listeners, but I found that to be disingenuous on my part, because I could not possibly write them all. I will say from the bright lights of Manhattan to the emerald green mountains of Spain, the callers checked in to remind Bull that he was special, that he had indeed whether he was aware of it or not, become a small part in all our daily lives and that no matter if we had to sacrifice a few hours of sleep, or drag just a little during the workday, we as a group felt that he was worth it.

To be honest I have never met the man, but I still feel like he is a friend when he calls me "Nuts" or introduces on air as "A man who is completely lost" and this week showed me that I was not unique in my assessment. This week has been special to me because it provided me with the answer to a question that has been with me for years.

Loyalty is when you are not asked, nor are you in any way under any obligation to do it, but you feel deep inside a sense that you don't want to let that person down. Whether our loyalties lie with one person, or a group, whether they are aware of it, or completely oblivious to your sacrifices, it makes little difference because we only know that in some small way they impact our daily lives and we feel that they are important enough to do whatever is needed to support them.

I wrote this article not for myself, but for the many who make it a point to find out when Bull is on so we can continue to support him, and also take pride in his accomplishments and his continued success.

By Dominick Mezzapesa
Twitter @dmezz1120

The Boss
07-29-2011, 10:50
Who are some of the Loyal fans?

Junior
07-30-2011, 00:04
I've heard that guy call a few shows from Spain.

Junior
08-05-2011, 13:48
Did you know bill was leaving Dom? Sounds like you might be house shopping in Cleveland and buying a Cavs jersey