Here at The Empire Writes Back we are going to get to the bottom of exactly which duo are the Kings of midday radio in part 2 of our New York Sports Radio Face off.
If you missed it, check out Part 1 of our New York Sports Radio Face off where we took a look at the the Morning Drive. Now onto part 2.
Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco
Stephen A. Smith is perhaps the most polarizing personality on the New York Sports scene. Many of us love Stephen A. Smith’s in your face, unapologetic style, while others find him to be one of the most egotistical and brash sports personalities on the planet. Most likely you fall into one of these two categories. Smith’s co-host, Ryan Ruocco is an up and comer in the NY sports radio scene and provides the duo with the stability it needs to keep the show from turning into a 2 hour long rant by the often aggravated Smith.
For me, whether or not I listen to Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco boils down to one question – is it basketball season?
There is no denying that Stephen A. Smith, love him or hate him, is an NBA insider in every sense of the word. Smith’s take on developing NBA story lines inside and outside of New York City is unmatched in the radio world. If you love the NBA, then at times Stephen A. Smith is a must listen. Where Smith & Ruocco come up short is in coverage of sports beyond basketball. Although co-host Ryan Ruocoo clearly knows his sports, the duo sounds out of their element at times when covering the NFL, MLB, and certainly the NHL. In fact listening to Stephen A. Smith talk baseball is so unintentionally funny at times that it is worth dealing with his lack of knowledge just to hear his amateurish take on the game.
Another area which makes these two shows so different is the fact that Stephen A. Smith is know for his combative attitude, especially towards callers he does not agree with – which is almost everyone. For a lot of listeners hearing Stephen A. fight with callers is the reason they tune in, others change the dial for the exact same reason. Beningo & Roberts on the other hand are much more caller friendly and have a way of tip toeing around even the most ridiculous callers without making them feel inferior.
Coverage of National sports stories: B
Knowledge of local sports scene: A-
Beningo & Roberts
If you live within WFAN’s broadcasting range and are stuck in a cubicle during the middle of the day then you’re missing out on what might be the best Sports talk radio show in New York. The duo of Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts is nothing short of phenomenal From Joe Beningo who sounds like a truck driver who you just met in 7-Eleven, to Evan Roberts who is one of the best kept secrets in sports radio, this tag team has it all.
One of the most underrated elements of this show is the fact that Joe Beningo (59) and Evan Roberts (29) are separated by 3 decades of experience which brings a unique perspective to the show since it brings the opinions and outlook of the older generation directly in line with the younger generation. Even though Joe Beningo is old enough to be Evan Roberts father the two hosts have a relationship that makes them seem like equals who just happen to view the sports landscape through very different eyes.
The main reason why Beningo & Roberts is such great radio really comes down to the fact that they are so relatable, and come off sounding like you and your buddies talking sports at a backyard BBQ. Some swear by this dynamic and will tell you that Beningo & Roberts are the best there is, while others prefer the in your face approach that Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco bring to the table.
Knowledge of overall sports landscape: B-
Knowledge of local sports scene: A+
Some fans suggest that the problem with Beningo & Roberts is that they are simply too nice. No one would ever say that about Stephen A. Smith, whose ego can be felt through airwaves. Ultimately whether you prefer Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco or Beningo & Roberts is a matter of personal preference. For me Beningo & Roberts are an easy winner is this face off due to the fact that they have a much better grasp on the overall local sports scene than their ESPN counterparts. If hoops is your only concern, Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco are your guys, but the fact that Beningo and Roberts are true 5 tool players gives them the edge here.
Beningo & Roberts
Check back tomorrow for Part 3 of our New York Sports Radio Face-off when we examine the afternoon drive.