I listen to 1050 ESPN radio a lot--for at least a couple of hours each day. I prefer listening to ESPN radio over watching shows like SportsCenter because there's more in-depth discussion, you get to know the hosts more, and of course, because of the people that call in and comment. Listeners are given the opportunity to call in and offer their take on the discussion topic, and either make a fool of themselves or make a good point. The downside to calling in is that you often have to wait for an hour+ and calling from the car is discouraged.
ESPN streams all of the shows on the 1050 website so that anyone in front of a computer can tune in. In case you miss a show you really want to hear, they are all made available as podcasts to download. For a while now, shows have also welcomed emails from listeners. Anyone can easily shoot an email to the host so the message can be read on air, in place of phone calls. More recently, hosts have started to use Twitter as a way of communicating with listeners.
In my first blog post I mentioned the game "Late Night Hash Tags" on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and how great it is to contribute to and participate in network television. 1050's use of Twitter is even better than this because of the sheer number of people that get to participate in each show. Ryan Ruocco and Robin Lundberg probably feature the most extensive use of Twitter in their show, frequently citing stories originating on athlete's Twitter accounts, telling listeners to tweet about certain topics, and even having debates over who is the best "tweeter." Brandon Tierney of The McDonald and Tierney Show has a presence on Twitter and also reads tweets from listeners. Mac and Tierney read "Trending Topics," which is an outline of the topics they will cover, such as Carmelo Anthony coming to the Knicks.
There are segments when show hosts do not accept any calls and instead only talk about different topics. They introduce the story, give their argument, and why it is good or bad. Listeners can't call in at these times, but can still send messages through email, Twitter, or even Facebook group pages. Hosts frequently read their incoming messages as they speak on the air, and respond to comments as they work into their discussion. New media allows listeners to constantly keep in tough with the host, and contribute to the show.
I really like the use of Twitter in so many of the 1050 radio shows, and how it encourages listeners to participate. Radio used to be primarily an old medium. You could listen to it, enjoy it, and then turn it off. Calling in was one way to contribute to talk radio, and still is. Now through, Twitter shows us how an old medium can be made new.