Radio Row just getting tuned in

INDIANAPOLIS — The Super Bowl Media Center features plenty of attractions, but the centerpiece unquestionably is Radio Row.

Located in a massive ballroom on the third floor of the JW Marriott, Radio Row is the central nerve center for more than 100 radio programs that broadcast remotely during Super Bowl week.

Hall of Fame TE Shannon Sharpe (left) was one of the first to make the rounds on Radio Row on Monday. (Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

As the week rolls on, the Row becomes a magnet for current and former star athletes, as well as entertainers. The hosts get to talk football with a big name, and the big name gets to plug his or her movie/charity/golf club/etc. It’s a perfect marriage wholly unique to the Super Bowl.

It must be an epic challenge dealing with the logistics (and egos) involved with Radio Row. To confirm this, we tracked down Brian O’Connell, the man in charge of running the operation.

“It’s kind of like seating a huge wedding where everybody has a special request,” said O’Connell, who also serves as the Seahawks’ assistant director of broadcasting.

O’Connell, who has worked this event for five years, said the hardest part of his job is done now that the various “locations” are set up. He’s now bracing for the madness that always erupts later in the week.

“When you get in here on Thursday or Friday, you can’t swing a stick without hitting a celebrity,” he said. “Especially on a Friday afternoon, there will be movie stars, Hall of Famers, Pro Bowl guys, everywhere you turn.”

There also will be fans. For the first time ever, Radio Row are offering non-media personnel a chance to attend the event Wednesday through Friday (free of charge) and see all the stars.

In a related story, the NFL is outrageously popular.

— Dan Hanzus

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