5 Rules for Choosing Sports Talk (or Podcast) Topics

When I was hosting sports talk radio in San Diego, I sometimes struggled to choose topics for my show. This was especially true in mid-summer when the Padres were bad and the Chargers season hadn’t yet started.

What do you talk about?

Fortunately, there are 5 rules you can use to prep the topics your audience wants to you hear you discuss.
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Conversational Sports Talk: 4 Tips for Sounding Natural On Air

Recently, I listed to the first demo tape I ever made. I was a sophomore at the Princeton of the Plains, Kansas State University. The cassette (yep – cassette) included mostly sportscasts and live reports from K-State football games for various radio stations around the conference.

As I listened, I blushed with embarrassment. I was bad. The sportscasts sounded scripted and rehearsed because . . . well, they were scripted and rehearsed. Yikes.
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How To Use Actualities to Improve Your Show

During four years as a sports talk host at ESPN Radio Network, I never figured out what to do with actualities. I knew it was supposed to improve my show to include them so I played them, but I didn’t know how to use them to make my show better.

Here are two tips I wish I had known then . . .
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How To Stay Positive During a Job Search

A sports talk host once called me because they were considering quitting. They had introduced themselves to the right people. They had built relationships. They had improved their craft. Yet, they were repeatedly frustrated in their attempt to move to a larger market.

During our call, I reminded the person that the people who get to the top in sports broadcasting aren’t always the most talented. They are the ones who persevered. Four months later, this person was hired in a large market as a host and programming assistant. They went from doing a daily show as a part-time employee and barely making any money to full-time host in a large market, full-time salary and benefits.

They earned their dream job because they stuck with it.
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Underappreciated at Work? Use this mindset

When I worked at XTRA in San Diego, one of my co-workers was a legend in the sports broadcasting industry. Chet Forte had been the longtime director of Monday Night Football in the days of Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and Dandy Don Meredith. After Chet’s well-publicized gambling problems forced him off the broadcasts, he got his life in order then got back into broadcasting working as a sports talk host at our station.

Chet passed away while employed at XTRA Sports. The entire staff wanted to attend the funeral to give respect to Chet and support to his family. Chet had been great to all of us – so kind, generous, and fun. I especially enjoyed attending the high school basketball city championship with Chet, then him treating me to dinner at a nearby Black Angus streak house.

We all owed a debit of gratitude and appreciation to Chet.
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What’s better to wear on TV – coat and tie or polo?

In 2003, I was doing play-by-play and sideline reporting for a startup TV network called The Football Network. It was all football all the time, before the NFL Network.

The first several broadcasts we did we wore coats and ties. About a month later, management gave us polo shirts with the company logo and asked us to wear them for our next broadcast. Ironically, the game was in my hometown of San Diego.
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Critical Components of a TV Sports Anchor/Reporter Demo

A TV news director was hiring a sports anchor/reporter. One applicant caught his attention but his reel featured a highlights montage and nothing else. The employer liked what he saw but didn’t ask the applicant to send additional video. He already had enough similarly qualified applicants whose reels provided what he needed.

Don’t miss out on a job because your reel is improperly constructed.
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What are you doing NOW to get a football TV gig this fall?

Early last August, a football play-by-play guy asked how he should go about trying to get a job calling games in the coming season for one of the regional TV networks.

He had already made one big mistake. He waited too long.

Follow these steps if you want a shot at a football play-by-play gig on a regional TV network this fall . . .
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