This is one of the times of the year when sports radio hosts like to go on the air and tell listeners that there’s nothing much going on in the sports world. I hear hosts calling this a “dead time;” right after the Super Bowl and before March Madness. When hosts do this they are not only turning off listeners and advertisers, they are telling them to go away.
Listeners are tuning into radio, in part, to escape the realities of their everyday life. No one wants to tune in to hear someone whine about how slow their day is going and babble on about nothing in particular. Strange as it is, this idea of a “slow time” only happens in the sports format. You never tune into a talk format and hear Rush Limbaugh droning on about how slow it is in Washington. I’ve never heard a rock DJ say, “boy this is a dead time for music, I really don’t have anything worth playing today.” Think about it this way, if you turned on CNN and they announced, “No real news today to report.” You would turn to another channel. Same goes listeners of sports talk.
Not only will announcing to the listeners that is a slow time for sports make your radio station more of seasonal listen than it already it is, it could also lead to less revenue. Advertisers are looking for the biggest bang for the buck. If I was an advertiser on a station and I heard a host lamenting about how it’s a slow time and there’s nothing to talk about, I would have to reconsider how I invested my ad dollars. I likely would cancel my order and place my commercials on a station that is excited about its content and is compelling fans to listen.
These are the days that hosts earn their money. This is when they prove their worth to a station and company. It’s a host’s job to make fans care about something. Regardless of what’s going on they have a responsibility to be creative, passionate and compelling. It may be a slower sports day than they like, but that is a YOU problem. Hosts need to work harder to find great story lines, tease them, develop them and pay them off.
Programmers, GMs and sales teams need to hold the hosts accountable to help drive ratings and revenue, not drive it away.
Every station puts a different spin on Super Bowl coverage. Due to the NFL’s rules, we all find creative ways to tell listeners we are covering the Super Bowl, having a party, or holding a contest around it without actually saying “Super Bowl.”
In Atlanta, the Two Live Stews are throwing their annual “Stewper Bowl Party.” Around the country, there are a lot of variations of “The Big Game,” including Big Game Party, Big Game Sunday, and Big Game Break Down.
Some stations are hosting a “GameDay Super Party.” Others feature “Sights & Sounds from Dallas.” “SB45″ and “DFW XVL 411″ are clever too.
If none of these work for you, this year may I suggest you just call it the ”Super Brrr.”
This Super Bowl week, I thought it would be appropriate to share some inspiration and insights that I learned from one of the great NFL coaches Herm Edwards. When I was at ESPN, Herm was invited to speak to a group of managers and I was lucky to be included.
“Our greatest obstacles in life are created by people who try to put limitations on us.” This is how coach Edwards started his speech. Simply put, don’t let others define what is possible for you. However, he stresses the importance of going about your life’s journey with integrity and vision. We are all leaders. People are watching and following our lead. It doesn’t mean you have to make a big speech or even be liked. A true leader, according to Edwards, lifts people’s vision and performance beyond their normal talent level. Do you help make people exceed their expected potential?
Another area coach Edwards touched on was “accountability.” He says you need to know and do your job. Take responsibility. Hold yourself and others at a high standard. Do the right thing on purpose. Your words and your actions should match up.
And finally some parting words from coach Edwards…
- Stay true to your vision. Do not let circumstances distract you.
- Trust those who work for you and with you – and sometimes that means taking a risk.
- Set an example – perform tasks that you would ask others to perform. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.
- Stay humble. There were a lot of great things accomplished before you were born.
- Remember, you chose your profession. It didn’t choose you.
If you don’t have a local sponsor or two or four for your Super Bowl coverage you missed an opportunity. There are a lot of ways to tie into “Super Week” or whatever you want to call it so you don’t get in trouble. Here are some that have been successful for me in the past…
1. Even if you aren’t sending a local show to radio row, own the “coverage” of the week with promos touting your team coverage. (ie. “690 The Fan is sending Mike & Mike and Colin Cowherd to North Texas for Super Week to get you ready for the Packers and Steelers, plus exclusive interviews and expert analysis with Smokey on Sports. It’s Super Week “team coverage” – brought to you locally by Gifford Tires on 690 The Fan.”) Notice, no mention that this station has the game, or that they are sending a local show. Just reselling what the network has already sold. Support this with sponsor liners through the show and live mentions during your local show whenever they talk Super Bowl.
Here is a promo I produced for last year’s super bowl for 710 ESPN LA: KSPN 011609 30 Countdown to Kickoff_Colin.
2. Host a listener viewing party for the Super Bowl and give away a lot of free stuff; tickets, game consoles, T.V.s, swag. Have a bar, casino or other establishment invest in the hosting sponsorship.
3. Partner with sponsors do a Super Week of Ultimate Giveaways leading up to the big game; Big Screen TV, Home Theater, PS3 with Madden Football, man cave makeover, tailgate party with all the fixins delivered to your house for the game, etc.
4. Punt, pass, and kick competition for listeners.
5. …or create your own event like 610 WIP in Philly…WING BOWL!
As a service to the masses of sports radio hosts, producers and managers who are preparing to descend upon Dallas for the Super Bowl and festivities, LarryGifford.com conducted a survey on where to eat when you’re there.
Others include: Nick & Sam’s, Perry’s Steakhouse, The Mansion, Al Bernats, Del Frisco, The Palm and Craft.
Not in the mood for a steak, no problem. Here are the best of the rest of the restaurants in Dallas/Ft. Worth.
• Kincaid’s Burgers (Ft. Worth) — an old grocery store turned into a burger joint
• Dickey’s Barbecue Pit• Reata (downtown Ft. Worth )
• Chef Tim Love’s Lonesome Dove (Stockyards)
• Fearings at the Ritz-Carlton
• Stephan Pyles – New Southwestern Cuisine
• Trece – contemporary Mexican kitchen and tequila lounge
• Mia’s Tex-Mex — a destination for Dallas Cowboys and local celebs
• Shinsei — Sushi Bar with Pan-Asian kitchen
• Carmines Pizzeria — New York style pizza
Finally some friendly advice from radio folks in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area…
1. Fort-Worth and Dallas cultures are quite different. Fort Worth is very laid-back and easy for getting around. Dallas is more high-tone and can be somewhat snobby. It’s also about a 30-40 minute drive between the two.
2. We have a lot of a-hole drivers, mainly idiots in pickup trucks. People rarely pay attention to road signs and will often go 20mph+ in the left lane.
3. We don’t have horses and there aren’t any dude ranches in town. Not everyone speaks with a country accent. There are no oil derricks and very few wear cowboy hats.