Top tips for sports talk hosts to create inside sources

There is a sports talk host in San Diego who I love listening to because I know he is connected with the local teams. When he shares opinions, especially about the Padres, I love to read between the lines, knowing there is a good chance that what he is passing off as opinion or observation is actually information he got from an inside source.

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Make it a point to attend practice regularly
Photo credit: sandrafdzh via photopin cc

Most hosts don’t have such insight because most hosts don’t make the effort to develop inside contacts. It’s hard to do because it takes time that many hosts aren’t willing to invest.

Here are four top tips for building insider relationships with the teams that you cover:
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Choose Your Pregame Segments With Money in Mind

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When play-by-play broadcasters ask me what segments their pregame show should include, I tell them to think less about content and more about sponsorable segments. The more money your show can bring in, the more your sales staff will love you and the more job security you will have.

I hosted pre game shows in two markets — McPherson, KS and San Diego, CA. The formula worked equally well in both places.
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Consider This Before Your Critics Get Under Your Skin

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I couldn’t have worked in sports broadcasting today. My skin is too thin.

Even if 99% of the Internet comments about my talk show or my play-by-play were great, I would dwell on the 1% that wasn’t. I would dwell on it to the point that I would consider tweaking what I was doing to appease the 1%.

Big mistake. Don’t be me. Be realistic. Be mentally strong.
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Off-the-Shelf Questions For Your Postgame Interviews

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When I was on ESPN Radio, I used to hate when my producer Jason McBride would pop into my headset and say, “We have so-and-so on from the baseball game. They just won 3-1.”

Great. What am I supposed to ask the guy? I didn’t see the game – I was on the air!

Tired of getting caught unprepared, I put together some standard, off-the-shelf questions. Most of them aren’t very insightful, but at least they can get the interview started. From there, you can spontaneously ask more thoughtful questions based upon the answers you receive.
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How Kobe Bryant’s Legacy Should Influence Your Sportscasting

When Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA, he was asked about his post-career plans. He replied that he wanted to write books and make documentaries.

He said he wanted to inspire through stories.

Everybody loves stories. It begins in childhood with bedtime stories, and we never really outgrow them.

There are ways you can use stories to distinguish your sportscasting.
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The Jim Rome Move to Instantly Improve Your Sports Talk Ratings

There are two sports talk radio shows I especially enjoy listening to. One is Jim Rome. The other is a local show. I love the content from both shows. However, I’m prone to tuning out the local show.

Why would I do that? Because sometimes the local show buries the main topic under five minutes of small talk. When they do, I change the channel even though I’m otherwise dedicated to the show.

On the other hand, Jim Rome immediately gets to the topic. If I tune in to hear his take on the big story of the day, I don’t have to wait long for him to get right to it.
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4 Ways To Instantly Increase Your Sports Talk Radio Ratings

On the day of the first time I presented the Jim Nantz Award at the National Sports Media Association Awards Banquet, I went for a swim in the hotel pool. It was two hours before the banquet started. When I emerged from the water, my eyes were on fire. I looked in the mirror and they were bloodshot from the chlorine. “My goodness,” I thought. “I’m attending this banquet for the first time and everybody is going to think I’m on something.”

I needed instant results.
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