Sports are on hold, but sports talk radio continues

Two local sports talk radio hosts discuss their challenges their job brings in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Radio microphone
Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 19:32:57-04

APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) -- While sports have gone silent, sports talk radio has not.

At 95.3 "The Score" in Appleton, the show must go on. The station is still running all of its regular local programming even in the midst of a complete sports shutdown.

The main problem? Finding enough content to break down.

"I wasn't concerned when all of this started to happen because I think at times we have the ability to get out of sports as well and get into (other things)," B.J. DeGroot, the host of 'The Score's' 'BJ and the Bear' morning show said. "But certainly this is testing the normal, every day conversations that are just so easy to have."

The lack of sports content has forced DeGroot and his co-host - former Badgers basketball star Brian Butch - to get creative.

Just how creative? DeGroot said he's bringing his four-year old daughter on the show Tuesday as a form of entertainment.

"She's four years old and she asks a lot of questions," he laughed.

"It will be interesting," Butch added. "She asks a lot of interesting questions of me while we've been over there hanging out as friends so it should be fun."

It's a gimmick that fits right in with the happy-go-lucky style they've established throughout their run together on WSCO.

"We're typically a bit of a looser morning show," DeGroot said. "We tend to look at things and have fun with things a little bit differently so I think that's what we'll do here coming up."

"We haven't really had a lot (of sports to talk about)," Butch said. "But we know from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. in the morning if somebody wants to come in and be entertained a little bit we hope they join us."

The coronavirus outbreak hasn't just impacted their content - it's changed the structure of their show, as well.
With an emphasis on social distancing, DeGroot does the show from the studio, with Butch joining him from home via Skype.

"I've been able to kind of do it from my closet a little bit if you can believe that," he laughed. "The acoustics are great so it works out but it's really, really different."

DeGroot said their social distancing policy will stay in place as long as its necessary. The Score is owned by Woodward Communications and has a family of six sister stations that share the same offices. DeGroot said ordinarily they have upwards of 50 people in their offices - but lately, he hasn't seen more than five at a time.

Both DeGroot and Butch said that as the sports shutdown continues, their jobs may become less about sports and more about using their outlet to help the Fox Valley community.

"B.J. and the Bear" runs from my 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on 95.3 and 99.1 'The Score.'