Posts Tagged ‘Sports’

NY Radio Owes Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter’s final days as a Yankee boosted Sports Talk Ratings in New York. There’s not conclusive evidence in the article linked that it was entirely a Jeter phenomenon, but media aren’t allowed to post daily ratings and I suspect you can track the listening patterns directly to his farewell tour. Sure, no doubt NFL is helping these stations too.

But, taking the idea that Jeter’s final days drove ratings increases at face value; what are the lessons for radio here? That was the first question issued in Tuesday night’s sports radio twitter chat (#srchat). Refreshingly, there are many.

Play the hits. That was my first reaction along with @TimFisherOnAir. But there’s more to this than that.


Connecting with your community is paramount to success. Radio hosts must capture the passion, imagination, and conversation of the listeners and reflect it back to them. The “hit” is knowing WHAT to talk about, knowing HOW to talk about — the context — is what makes it resonate and stick with your listeners.


I agree with @bksportstalk that stories are powerful tools to drive listening especially when a community has a common or shared experience. Few hosts are telling great, compelling stories instead they just skip from fact to fact to fact leaving out the emotion, the details, and the arc of the story which are the most compelling parts.


@ChaddScott makes a great point here. Personalities drive ratings. Find the WHO in your stories and start from there. I used to work with a host who insisted all stories be pitched to him with this opening line, “There is this guy/gal who…” Stories about people are more engaging than stories about things. Stories about famous people provide a quick hook.

I’ll also add that the Derek Jeter story is one of legacy, celebration and at the very core; heroes and villains. Everybody enjoys a story about a hero or a villain. And Jeter filled both roles for New York baseball fans.


Are You Ready For The NFL?

The NFL deal is almost done (It’s 7:58a PT). Sundays this fall won’t be wasted on chores and church socials — and the fantasy football smack talk will continue per usual. Are you ready? Is your station ready? Are the promos locked and loaded? Is the website ready to go? Did you proactively plan for this moment — or are you scrambling in reactive mode today? If you aren’t ready for this — which we all knew was coming – what else aren’t you ready for?

Here’s the latest NFL timeline.

The Really Super Big Game Sunday

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.”

A Super Week For Sports Talk To Cash In

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!

Lessons from the NBA

Radio managers, producers and talent show up and, for the most part, grind through each day. The stories change, but our process tends to remain the same. Too often things at a radio station are done or said without thinking of how it impacts the fans or clients, without considering the carefully crafted brand, and without a conscious awareness of the core values and unique attributes of the company, station or show. The very people who are responsible for embracing these concepts and working each day to reflect these defining characteristics often times don’t know what they are. It’s time to stop thinking of radio as a playground and become more strategic with what you do and why you do it.

A year ago, the NBA released its core values and unique attributes. They are as follows:


Regardless of age, sex, and race – fans agree that these four things are what attract them to the NBA.

  • Passion
  • Intensity of Competition
  • Power of Teamwork
  • Respect for History & Tradition


These are the qualities that make the NBA so special and differentiate it from other pro sports

  • Exhilarating – from the pace of the game to the in-arena experience
  • Progressive – the innovations, social responsibility of the players, teams and league, and willingness to evolve
  • Inclusive – NBA fans and players are from all cultures and walks of life and the NBA celebrates culture
  • Charismatic – the NBA has the most recognizable and magnetic personalities in all of sports

All of these values and attributes apply to a radio station too. Whether on the air, preparing for a live remote, throwing a party or in a pitch to a client, you should bring passion, compete with intensity, use teamwork to maximize effectiveness, and have respect for traditions and history. You should be exhilarating, progressive, inclusive and charismatic in your presentation and approach. Doing these things reflects a general fan perspective of your product and will allow you to engage more fully with our customers and clients.

 However, I would recommend you and your team (whether managers or show units) create your own core values and unique attributes. Doing this exercise gets everyone on your team on the same page; it focuses your daily efforts and gives you a way to judge your content (ie.  Is what you’re planning to do or say in congress with your core values and unique attributes?)

What are the four things that attract fans and / or clients to your station or show? Are you doing enough of these things? You do what you do to attract listeners and clients, so why not give them more of what they want?

What are the unique qualities that make your station or show so special and different from other stations or shows? How can you better capitalize on these points of differentiation?

If you haven’t thought about these things, you cannot know your product or brand well enough to maximize results.

Double Standards

November 9, 2010 1 comment

I find it interesting how talk show hosts are quick to call for the firing of coaches and quarterbacks when they under perform, but these same hosts can’t understand how and why they are yanked from the line-up, when it’s obvious they don’t prepare for their show, create compelling content and/or grow ratings.

You are the coach and quarterback of your radio show. Listeners have the same expectations for your show as you and other fans do for Wade Phillips, Phil Jackson, Brett Favre, and Lebron James.  Hosts bang on Shaq for not being good at free throws, but cringe when PDs bang on them for failing to prepare for an interview or fall flat on basic formatics.

You get out of your show what you put into it. If you “wing it,” it will sound like it. If you didn’t watch the big game, the listeners will know. If you don’t care about what you’re talking about, neither will anyone else.