Archive | Science & Technology RSS feed for this section


11 Sep


This week’s question is sent to us by13 year old Ricky Freeman from Chapel Hill Elementary School:

Dear Dr. P,

Do all the people who call Sports Radio talk shows have really low IQ’s or are they mentally challenged?

This is a very interesting question Ricky, but I don’t think it qualifies as a science question. It’s more sports related, but since our sports reporters are on vacation I think that I’ll handle it.

People who listen to sports radio programs generally have average IQ’s, in the range of 90-109. You may, in fact, be in this group yourself, as 50% of the population falls into this range. We tested some sports radio listeners from all walks of life and the results confirmed our suspicions- this specific group of people are no different than any other group that we have tested when it comes to intelligence.

Upon further investigation a strange anomaly was found when we tested the IQ of actual callers into sports radio talk shows. The average IQ of this group was quite alarming- well below 70, which is basically very low intelligence on the borderline of mild mental retardation. It was remarkable. We picked 10 of the biggest sports radio stations from all around the country and asked them for a list of their most frequent callers. We chose 5 from each station and gave them all a standard intelligence quotient test. The average IQ for this group of  people was 64, which is considered very low intelligence or the equivalent of a Bolivian tree frog.

Why is this? It’s difficult to ascertain why this would be, but as I listened to several different broadcasts, I began to make some observations.

The callers are predominantly male (90%), generally between the ages of 30-50, almost always single, usually unemployed, and tend to live with an elderly widowed parent (usually mother). They are impervious to sarcasm and make repetitive statements, calling different shows on the same station throughout the day (and night). They have a childlike fascination with hearing their own voices on the radio and are usually out of touch with reality.

Here is a sample of some of the calls I listened to when researching this topic:

Lenny from Leechburg said: “I think the Pirates should re-sign [Roberto] Clemente. No outfielder playing today has an arm like him, he could really turn the team around. Hitting, fielding, throwing, running, he can do it all. What do you think about that?”

The host agreed with Lenny that Clemente’s talents as a baseball player were unmatched, but said it was going to be hard to sign him since he died almost 40 years ago, and even if he weren’t dead, 77 years old is not the optimum age for a starting right fielder.

Roy from River Oaks asked: “Why don’t the Cowboys move [Tony] Romo to another position like receiver and trade for a quarterback like [Tom] Brady? Romo is athletic and knows all the plays, so keep him and just move him. Brady is a better quarterback. To me it’s a no-brainer. I wonder sometimes what the GM is thinking, because it’s pretty obvious to me. I should be the GM.”

The response to this call was silence, then laughter, then this- “Roy, It sounds like you’d be one heckuva GM, you have it all figured out. Why don’t the Cowboys just go out and get Tom Brady? It makes perfect sense except for a few crucial details. Tony Romo is a quarterback, and a pretty good one at that, he doesn’t play any other position except quarterback. He throws the ball, that’s what he gets paid to do. He is currently in the middle of a 6 year $67 million contract. He could probably be a receiver at the family picnic, but not on the professional level. Now as for Tom Brady, why would the Patriots get rid of arguably the best quarterback in the history of the NFL who is still in the prime of his career.  He’s won 3 SuperBowls for them, what possible reason would make them do that Roy? Who are they going to replace him with? Roy why don’t you send us your resume and we’ll forward it to some NFL teams for you, I’m sure your phone will be ringing off the hook with great ideas like this.”

So Ricky, yes, it seems that callers to Sports Radio talk shows have an intellect level comparable to that of a boiled egg and will probably not be admitted into MENSA anytime soon. Thanks for the question.

(Send all questions for The Science Spot to Dr. Harry Proboscis c/o The Daily Drivel)