“We’ve all got great ideas. Everybody on the street has an idea.”
- ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd
What’s the difference between a good show and great show? Topic development. At least that’s the case if you ask ESPN Radio Network host Colin Cowherd who discussed it at length in an interview with the Radio Stuff podcast.
“The one thing I’m really proud of is topic development. We love Wednesdays. Monday and Friday we’re trapped talking about football, but we love Wednesday shows. You come in and find a little blip on a transaction wire and we’re like, ‘that’s funny!’ and ‘that makes me think…’”
4 KEYS TO TOPIC DEVELOPMENT ACCORDING TO COLIN COWHERD
Don’t worry about being right, be interesting.
“I take stuff from my kids, I take stuff from sit-coms, books, ideas. I always think – just try to be interesting. It’s not about being right. Guys tend to want to be right, instead of get it right. Just be interesting. Try to find compelling topics that everybody can play along.”
Personalize the story
“I think how would I react? I think about that with athletes; Would I retire now? Would I take less money to be surrounded by better teammates like Kobe Bryant now? Because, we’re all human no matter if you’re rich or a school teacher or a basketball player or you’re a local dentist or a baker. We’re all human beings. Men have the same basic needs and wants and ego. Women have the same needs and wants. We’re all the same. It’s just some people have different economic stratus and different interests.”
Put in the hours
“I think about my radio show a lot. Radio never leaves you. It’s not like being a garbage man where your run is done for the day and you’ve done it — or a mailman and then you go home and you don’t have to worry about it until the next day. Radio is with you almost like being a doctor. You’ve got clients, you’ve got things that are constantly swirling in your head and I write down notes several times a week.”
Get a producer who wants to produce
“A really good radio producer, to me, doesn’t want to be an on-air person. They want to be a producer. And they get really good at it. And they try to elevate the on-air person with good guests, playing to his strengths, playing to her strengths, staying away from weaknesses.”
“Radio is fun, TV is make-up, and writing is bleeding to death. Writing a book is hard. I’m really, really proud of it. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, but it’s a lot of work.” – Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio host and author of “You Herd Me! I’ll Say It If Nobody Else Will.”
The cover of Colin’s book is rather revealing and the Radio Stuff podcast got to the bottom of it.
Here’s how it came about according to Colin:
The publisher said, “Listen, I don’t want to do the typical sports radio guy book that nobody buys.” He goes, “Why don’t you unveil yourself, show yourself taking shots. We’re going to mimic a Cassius Clay Esquire cover in the ’60s. You’ll do the exact same pose, with the exact same arrows – and we’ll make yours play arrows, not like Ali’s — and you’re kind of unveiling yourself. You’re taking your clothes off, you’re taking shots from the critics.” And I said yeah, why not? Initially, I wasn’t sure it was a publisher’s idea it’s gotten a lot of attention and fortunately I always try to eat right and do a few a sit-ups. So I didn’t completely humiliate myself.
The book is for sale at Amazon.com, Costco, and all major book sellers.
“I’ve got a book now, I’ve got a twitter account. I’ve got a radio show. I’ve got podcasts. I do a TV show on Sunday.”
“I realize at this point and time in 2013 I’m not going to be your only source of information, I just want to be one of them. And so I’ve got to give you as many opportunities to find me as I can. We live in a multi-layered world of media. So, I’ve got to be on Facebook and twitter and radio and podcasts and TV and at different times of the day; morning-drive and afternoon. People are busy. My job is to find other avenues to connect with the public. And that’s what the book is and that’s what my Sunday morning show is.”
“I think, more than ever, now it is important — even Rush Limbaugh just came out with one (a book.) I mean Rush is making so much money it doesn’t matter, but he has the tea brand and the book. I look at twitter and I post a couple times a day. If I can get you to think about me once-a-day, when I’m off the air, that’s not a bad thing. I’ve got a book now, you’ll think about me during the holidays.”
So how does a guy like Colin have time to do it all?
“It seems like I put in these infinite, bizarre hours, but no more than an attorney, a doctor, or an executive. I’m very time efficient with things I do. I come in and grind my radio show and then I have time for a good 90 minutes a day to talk to radio stations and talk to advertisers. I think we all have time in our day; you just have to be more efficient.”
Don’t be a dumbass when talking about Dumas.
One of the hardest things for an announcer is saying names properly and one of the most embarrassing things is when you’re caught saying words, names or places incorrectly. There’s help out there. If you belong to a wire service, like AP, or a network like ABC, ESPN, CBS or others pronunciation guides are available. But, what if you’re in a hurry and you don’t trust the guy sitting at the microphone next to you?
Here are six websites to consider trying out.
HOWJSAY This is a free online talking dictionary of English pronunciations.
PRO•NOUNCE This is a website run by Voice of America and provides information on how to correctly pronounce names and places around the world.
PRONOUNCE NAMES This site has three main purposes; look-up pronunciation of a name, submit pronunciation of a name so others can pronounce it correctly, request pronunciation of a name that you don’t know and would like to find out.
HEAR NAMES - Pronounce names from around the World.
INOGOLO The practical, easy-to-use website devoted to the English pronunciation of the names of people, places, and miscellaneous stuff.
THE NAME ENGINE This site provides the correct name pronunciations of athletes, entertainers, politicians, newsmakers, and more.
50 years ago today the news of JFK’s assassination spread throughout the world by young radio reporters covering a once-in-a-life-time event. What they didn’t know is the impact covering that story would have for the rest of their lives. Asked to retell what they did, how they felt, what they knew and when they knew it each November 22 for the next five decades.
Gary Delaune is one of those guys. He was a 30-year-old anchor preparing for the one o’clock news at KLIF in Dallas with plans to rush out to see the President’s speech immediately after.
“I was in the studio by myself at the time. I had just done the Noon news. That’s when I got a phone tip asking me what I knew about the shots being fired at the motorcade and both Kennedy and Connelly being hit.”
Delaune was a guest on the Radio Stuff podcast.
“I signaled the DJ and at about 12:36:55 during a song called the Chiffon’s “I Have a Boyfriend,” 1:38 deep into the 45 r.p.m., the old-style record, we broke in and had the bulletin and of course at that point on it was almost incessant.”
Now, 80-years-old, Delaune remembers every detail, every character, everything except Saturday. He reported all day long, but doesn’t remember doing any of it. Sunday, was different. He was witness to the Lee Harvey Oswald perp walk and assassination by Jack Ruby.
“He was on one side of the cameraman and I was on the other with Bob Baxley, the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer. As Oswald came out Jack took a step and a half from the crowd of newsmen and pumped him full right into Oswald’s gut.”
Jack was no stranger to Dulaune and was even hanging around the day of JFK’s shooting.
“Jack Ruby was at the Dallas Morning News and he serpentined his way through the streets and got to KLIF. He was a groupie. You know, one of those guys who is a hanger on. He wanted to be somebody and hung around KLIF and radio stations. And he started answering the phone, ‘Jack Ruby, KLIF News’ – anything he could.”
Delaune’s full account and complete retrospective of radio’s role in covering the events that weekend are explored in this week’s Radio Stuff podcast.
We all have the same sources and information to produce news, talk and, but it’s what we do with that information, how we tell the stories, how deep we dive and how we surprise our audiences that sets us apart. So, why not share our favorite bookmarks?
One must know website is www.headslinger.com. A site which allows you to view headlines from all your favorite sites in one spot. Check it out.
I asked 20 hosts, producers, reporters and anchors what their ‘go-to’ websites are for stories. Aside from social media sites, especially twitter, here are the 72 sites they listed. What’s missing?
UPDATED: 4:32am 11/19/2013
National Newspapers & Magazines
Chicago Tribune www.chicagotribune.com
Daily Beast www.dailybeast.com
Dallas Morning News www.dallasnews.com
The Guardian www.guardiannews.com
Los Angeles Times www.latimes.com
New York Times www.nytimes.com
San Francisco Chronicle www.sfgate.com
Seattle Times www.seattletimes.com
Time Magazine www.time.com
USA Today www.usatoday.com
Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com
National News Sites
Associated Press http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/fronts/HOME?SITE=AP
The Business Insider www.businessinsider.com
Consortium News http://consortiumnews.com/
NewsLink – LINKS All US Papers, Radio & TV http://newslink.org/
Science News www.sciencenews.com
Yahoo News http://news.yahoo.com/
Aggregators, Entertainment, Gossip, Commentary
All Access Talk Topics www.allaccess.com/talktopics
American Journalism Review http://ajr.org/
Boing Boing www.boingboing.net
Breaking News www.breakingnews.com
Bust Magazine – fierce, funny, and proud to be female www.bust.com
Buzz Feed www.buzzfeed.com
The Daily Caller www.dailycaller.com
Daily Swarm – music news www.dailyswarm.com
Drudge Report www.drudgereport.com
Google News https://news.google.com/
The Hollywood Reporter www.hollywoodreporter.com
Huffington Post www.huffingtonpost.com
Movie City News www.moviecitynews.com
The Onion – parody – www.theonion.com
Reddit – www.reddit.com
Rolling Stone www.rollingstone.com
538 Blog by Nate Silver www.fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com
Data Ferrett www.dataferrett.census.gov data analysis and extraction tool-with recoding capabilities-to customize federal, state, and local data to suit your requirements.
Hot Air www.hotair.com
National Review Online – conservative commentary – www.nationalreview.com
Real Clear Politics www.realclearpolitics.com
Talking Points Memo –Commentary from a political left perspective www.talkingpointsmemo.com
Technology & Digital Culture
International News Sites
Daily Mail www.dailymail.co.uk
One World http://us.oneworld.net/
The Sun www.thesun.co.uk
National TV Networks & Shows
ABC New www.abcnews.com
CBS News www.cbsnews.com
Fox News www.foxnews.com
NBC News www.nbcnews.com
OWN – www.oprah.com/own
Today Show – www.today.com
Bar Stool Sports www.barstoolsports.com
Fox Sports http://msn.foxsports.com/
SB Nation www.sbnation.com
Sports Grid www.sportsgrid.com
Sports Illustrated www.si.com
Sports Press Northwest www.sportspressnw.com
Yahoo Sports http://sports.yahoo.com/