It is not a dark day, necessarily—nobody died or became paralyzed from the neck down in a freak zipline accident—but it is certainly not sunny either. This is because the Query & Schultz Show on 1260 WNDE is no more, and nothing sports radio does or doesn’t do is capable of inflicting emotions at the polar extremes of the emotional spectrum. The AM bandwidth is not equipped for that.
Sports radio, by and large, is soothing background noise for all but the meatiest of meatheads fighting through the Fall Creek or Midtown traffic at rush hour. Its greatest qualities are what it’s not: pop music … politics … NPR’s 6-part report on how an obscure, indigenous people’s farming commune in New Zealand is close to figuring out how to cross-pollinate yams and seaweed, et cetera. When done well, sports radio is mindless, calming, comforting calories for the irritable soul, and it tends to not to take sports too seriously.
Of course, @Linebacker4Life6969 and @JVcoachMcBenchpress and their humorless brethren strongly disagree. They want their sports radio filled stem-to-stern with the super-technical intricacies of how the Pacers’ defensive rotations were suboptimal against the Sixers, for example. Or they demand an aggressive analysis of the Braves middle-reliever’s 4-seam splitter, and more specifically why it’s the real reason Atlanta is an impressive 739-and-322 through June. This “stick to sports,” #AllLivesMatter crowd of mouth-breathers and Bob Knight fans had no use for the rambling normalness of Query & Schultz—and vice versa—and that is what made the show uniquely great on a daily basis. Addition by subtraction.
The least entertaining thing about the Query & Schultz Show was sports. The most entertaining was everything else.
It was an ongoing text chain between old friends disguised as an AM radio show, except nobody involved was “old friends” at all. Not in the traditional sense of things. We were all just made to feel like we were.
And that, I think—when you boil it all down—was the secret sauce of the show. Their individual and collective personalities pulled you in and kept you there, day after day, sometimes in your car in your driveway long after your actual commute was done.
There were countless inside jokes and charitable endeavors and weird, recurring references that everyone was in on, things I don’t need to nor want to explain here. They rarely involved sabermetrics or serious sports analysis. You are either familiar with them all or you stopped reading somewhere in the first paragraph, because “SPORTS ARE LIFE!” or something. Good riddance, @FireArchieMiller3742, you stupid bastard! We never liked you anyway. You were never in on the joke because you were the joke.
Maybe there are other sports shows in town with the same camaraderie—the same sense of irreverence and decency and general indifference to the nuts and bolts of quote-unquote “sports”—but I wouldn’t know. I don’t listen to them and never thought to try. I’d rather listen to my grinding teeth for the duration of my miserable drive. Because the older I get, the more I realize how dumb and pointless sports actually are. There are trillions of things more important than discussing the 2029 NFL Draft class of pass-rushers, for example, more interesting and more substantial things that Query & Schultz brought to the single-A airwaves of AM radio each day.
That they no longer are able to do that isn’t a catastrophe. It isn’t a tragedy. But it’s not great either, and this city is a bit darker in their absence. A bit more self-important. A bit less fun. A lot less connected.
That rocketship burned brightly in the Indianapolis dusk-time skies for longer than anyone thought it would, but not nearly as long as we all wanted. An AM sports radio show can aspire to be many things, but “genuinely missed” could not reasonably be one of them, not by sane people tethered to reality.
But that is exactly what the Query & Schultz Show is, and what it will be until it inevitably returns in some form.