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 hear you discuss.

1. Know your market

If you’re in Boston, you can talk hockey year around. In San Diego, you can’t talk hockey much at all. Football is big in Texas. In St. Louis, it’s baseball. Do your homework and get to you know your listeners.

2. Watch social media

Pay attention to what fans in your market are discussing on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. That is what you need to be talking about.

3. Use sidebar stories

If I’m in San Diego, the story isn’t that the Padres lost again. It’s that one of their players homered for the third straight game. Or their star outfielder is going to spend another month on the disabled list.

Sidebar stories are often where you will find gold.

4. Read website comments

Contrary to most advice to avoid comments on the internet, they can be a useful source of topic inspiration.

Check the audience comments on your favorite website for local sports news. The number of comments and the passion of the posts following each story will tell you which ones your local fans are most interested in.

5. Don’t choose based upon personal interest

This is a huge one. Don’t choose topics based on your personal interests. When I was at ESPN Radio, the hardest thing for me to do was talk hockey. I had to, though. The show aired across the U.S. and Canada. Just because it wasn’t my interest didn’t mean I could avoid it.

You must discuss what is of interest to the majority of your audience and not choose topics based on your personal likes and dislikes.

You may be passionate about Frisbee golf. Your audience isn’t, so don’t discuss it.

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