Sports Talk Show Hosting
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.
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.
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.
The key to being entertaining on sports talk radio? Matt Perrault says it’s to be a constant student of your audience.
How can you stand out in the competitive sports talk radio field? Mark Wilson says it’s all about working at your craft.
In my last post, I shared some tips for improving your sports talk show from Scott Masteller, Sr. Director at ESPN Radio Network. Scott is a true sports talk pro. He was a speaker last year at STAA’s One Day Ticket to Sportscasting Success seminar and I’m pleased that he will be joining us again at ODT14.
What follows are some of the tips Scott shared for getting your next gig.
Feedback is critical
You won’t improve unless you know what to work on. “Don’t wait for the job to get the feedback. Get the feedback before you get the job,” Masteller says. If you don’t get the job, ask the employer for feedback. Not all employers will provide their feedback, but some will. Masteller suggests, “You want to try to learn from the experience.”
Talk show hosting is the most difficult genre of sports broadcasting to master. It’s not even close. Not only are the subtleties of sports talk hosting not taught in schools, but many program directors don’t teach it either. They either don’t know how or they don’t make the time.
One guy who knows sports talk radio as well as anyone is Scott Masteller, Sr. Director at ESPN Radio Network. He’s a George Whitfield for sports talk hosts.
Scott spoke last year at STAA’s One Day Ticket to Sportscasting Success seminar. What follows are some of the tips he shared for improving your sports talk show. Look for a bonus post with Masteller’s tips for getting your next gig on Friday.
Play the hits
Figure out what your audience wants. Masteller says when he worked in Dallas, he quickly realized that fans wanted to talk Cowboys football year around. “Programmers have to go where they feel the most audience is.”
Last week I was a panelist at the RadioInk Sports Radio Conference in San Diego. Some of the biggest hitters from the programming side of the industry were there – Bruce Gilbert, Scott Masteller, Mark Chernoff and Jack Silver, just to name a few. Super Agent Leigh Steinberg delivered the opening keynote. The two-day event was full of fabulous information.
Here are the top ten tips I heard for talk show hosts and program directors:
“If only someone would give me a chance, I know I would do great.”
I hear this all the time from folks who want to be sports talk show hosts. They’re all the next Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd or Jim Rome. All they need is for some sports radio PD somewhere to give them a chance.
Instead of complaining about it, do something about it. Create for yourself the opportunity you seek to put your money where your mouth is. Podcast. It’s a great, easy and inexpensive way to hone your skills and demonstrate why you are sports talk radio’s next big star.