There is a sports talk host in the South who is beside himself because his program director says he needs to improve his ratings but he’s not giving the host guidance for how to do it.
Here is a six-pack of ways to improve your sports talk show.
1. Play the hits
Talk about what your audience is talking about. Discuss the hot topics in your market and revisit them throughout your show. Don’t repeat what you’ve already said, but, share a variety of different angles.
The Topic Tree is a valuable tool to help you formulate different takes on the same topics so that you can play the hits.
2. Remember that smart content wins
There’s a lot of content out there but little of it resonates with listeners. Invest the effort to develop unique takes on the topics everyone is discussing. Give your listeners content they can’t get anywhere else.
3. Be prepared
Great radio sounds spontaneous but every show, and every segment within the show, is planned.
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.
4. Support your opinions
It’s not enough to say that somebody made a mistake or that you like or dislike a coach’s decision. Take it further and explain why you feel that way. You will make your money by supporting your opinions with facts and history.
5. Use production elements liberally
Actualities are especially valuable but there are a variety of production elements – movie lines, song lyrics, music, sound effects, etc. Use them generously to further discussions, add entertainment value, and provide a “second host” on solo shows.
6. Avoid open phones
Open phones are show killers. Listeners are not trained to be entertaining. Usually after 20 or 25 seconds they will either get off topic or begin repeating themselves.
Both are boring.
If you do use the occasional phone segment, you set the topic that people will be calling about. Don’t let the tail wag the dog.
The bottom line is to drive ratings and revenue. Your show will thrive as long as it’s bringing dollars to the station.