I’ve just been reading a fascinating study on ‘dysfunctional’ sports fans who over-identify themselves with their team and become abusive and confrontational during matches. There was one incidental finding which was only based on a small sample but has the potential to explain a great deal about radio phone-ins: dysfunctional fans were overwhelmingly more likely to call into sports talk radio shows.
Here’s the bit directly from the article:
Interestingly, although relatively few people are frequent callers to sports talk radio in this sample (n = 25; 5.5%) of predominantly highly identified fans, a disproportionate number of those who frequently call sports talk radio shows are highly dysfunctional (n = 9; 36%) fans and very few could he classified as less dysfunctional fans (n = 3; 12%).
Perhaps at least as interesting, 68% of this overwhelmingly highly identified sample of fans reported never calling into sports talk radio shows. Of these who never call in, 82.8% can be classified as non-dysfunctional fans…. Consequently, these results have intriguing implications regarding the makeup of the individuals who dominate the sports talk radio airwaves as callers.
More research is clearly needed into this important issue, even if it does confirm what we all already suspect.
Link to summary of study on ‘dysfunctional sports fans’.