In May 2019 Irish national radio station Today FM broadcast its final episode of Premier League Live. The radio station had provided live coverage of a Saturday 3pm kick-off to radio listeners, and no doubt countless others online, for 21 consecutive seasons. I must admit, despite often listening to the show on the radio, I did not become aware of the decision to end the broadcast until the start of the 2019-20 season.
I was both disappointed and surprised that the show had come to an end. For me, it was something that I habitually listened to on Saturday's and acted as a reference point in both my week and calendar year. As I reflected on the ending of the show in the weeks ahead, my surprise at the decision declined, but my disappointment remained. However, the game has changed over the past 21 years and the decision to end Premier League Live probably reflected this - and all of this before Covid-19.
When I think of my consumption of the show it primarily occurred while I was in a car. I wonder how many others were in the same position? If I didn't happen to drive on Saturday afternoon, I probably didn't listen.
A second issue must have been the television schedule that has become more and more important in recent seasons. The 3pm Saturday kick-off is now the home of many of the lesser games during the season. The 'big' fixtures generally take place at lunchtimes on Saturdays, on Sunday afternoons or Monday evenings. I wonder how much demand for listening was impacted by the games taking place.
The arrival of a 3pm game on television - the blackout does not apply in Ireland - was no doubt another blow to the radio show. Sometimes the game on TV was the same as that broadcast on radio. Of course, the televised game was behind the paywall, but could be viewed in most pubs.
And one has to wonder if the show would have survived this season, had it not been cancelled. The continuation of football behind closed doors means almost every game has a different kick-off time. Every game is broadcast on television, making the radio an inferior good. Well for most anyway.
With television today effectively having a match on numerous times a day, every day of the week, radio broadcasts may soon be a thing of the past entirely.