Surprise! One thing you don’t need to be a great sports talk host

A sports talk host recently contacted me feeling somewhat frustrated. He had chosen a segment from his show that he wanted to use on his demo, but it included a prediction that turned out to be wrong. I asked him if the segment was entertaining. He said yes. I said, “go with it.”

sports talk hosts dont have to be right

A great sports talk host doesn’t have to be right. They just have to be entertaining.
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New shows take longer than you think to develop

Two Los Angeles radio stations that I enjoy listening to debuted new team shows a few years ago. The Beast 980 introduced Plaschke and Zelasko, and news talk KFI AM 640 unveiled Gary and Shannon.

Plaschke-Zelasko

Whenever I hear new team shows, I always remind myself not to make snap judgments. You don’t give birth to an adult. It takes at least a year for a new show to hit its stride.Read More

5 tips to ensure you are welcome in the locker room

When I was covering San Diego Chargers and San Diego State Aztecs football in the early 90s, I would escort a female reporter friend of mine into the locker rooms. She would hold my elbow, keep her head down, and ask me to lead her to the players she wanted to talk to. Whether it was for religious or personal beliefs, this was part of her locker room etiquette.

locker room

For the most part, the etiquette inside the locker room is the same as on the outside.Read More

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.

photo credit: sandrafdzh via photopin cc
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

pregame-interview
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

mobile phone

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

interview

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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