Burlington-born jam-rock band Phish have been an extremely popular touring group for 30 years, but the band is rarely heard on commercial radio or, most importantly, television.
So why is Phish featured so much on World Series broadcasts on Fox?
At the end of last year’s baseball championship coverage, the network posted an article about tracks from Phish and like-minded band The Grateful Dead, which regularly appear as outro music before the commercial breaks, attracting huge social media interest from dedicated fans of both groups. .
“The music has the right kind of riffs and produces the right kind of feeling,” said Jacob Ullman, senior vice president of production and talent development at Fox Sports, in the article by Martin Rogers. “Few other bands would get this kind of reaction from their music played on a TV show.”
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According to the article, Joe Carpenter, Fox’s chief baseball engineer and Grateful Dead aficionado, performed “a significant amount of Grateful Dead and Phish numbers” during last year’s World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays. “Jake Jolivette, a devoted Phish fan, had a similar effect on Thursday Night Football shows, and both were encouraged by Ullman and associate director Bryan Biederman to continue the trend.”
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The band members noticed it.
“I have a blast every time I hear our stuff,” Phish keyboardist Page McConnell, who lives in Burlington, told Fox last year. “I texted the group right away to let them know.”
Phish fans last year started a Reddit thread titled “List of Phish Songs Used for Fox Sports for Bumper Music” in which they post the songs they hear on broadcasts.
“First hit – match 5 round the fifth round,” a Reddit user by the name of “flashnash” posted about a song by Phish during last year’s World Series.
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“Yes, they seem to use First Tube more than their other songs,” wrote another commentator, “errbodywangchung2nyt”. “But it works really well; just such a good heavy rock song.
Most of the commentary on this thread is from last year’s World Series, but Phish fans elsewhere online are also taking note of their group’s airing this year.
“More #Phish!” Commented Jed Marshall, a Twitter user in Kansas, during Tuesday’s game between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves. “Maybe that’s why I keep watching World Series games.” An hour and a half later, he followed up with another Tweet, simply reading “#FirstTube”.
Contact Brent Hallenbeck at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Brent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BrentHallenbeck.