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.
I cruised to the local drug store, picked up a small bottle of Visine, put those drops in my eyes and – BAM – got the red out immediately, just like the commercials promise.
Do you love instant results?
Here are four ways to instantly increase your sports talk radio ratings.
1. Have opinions
Research, support and defend them. Too many hosts simply tell me what I already know. Assume your audience already knows the big stories of the day. They’re tuning in to hear what you think of them.
2. Dig deep
Ask yourself what’s new, what’s next and what’s possible. Answering those three questions will go a long way towards developing your takes on the day’s hot topics.
Also use the topic tree. I learned it from Bruce Gilbert when we were at ESPN Radio Network. It will help you organize your thoughts.
3. Make it relatable
Hard-core sports fans listen to anybody. If you want casual and non-sports fans to listen, you must make sports topics relatable to everyone.
I’ll always remember a bit Colin Cowherd did when an NBA player was caught cheating on his wife. Colin’s take was that when you marry certain professionals, you have to understand what you’re getting into. If you marry a coal miner, he might get black lung disease. If you marry an accountant, he’s going to be busy during the spring. And if you marry a professional athlete, they’re going to cheat.
Colin made the topic relatable to non-sports fans. That’s how you get big ratings.
4. Tell stories
Your listeners think you have the coolest job in the world so take them behind the scenes. Let them know what it’s like in a post-game locker room. Or what it’s like when you’re planning your show with your producer.
Supplement your takes on the day’s hot topic by telling stories of personal experiences or stories you’ve heard elsewhere. Strive to share one story each monologue segment.
Consistently doing those four things will instantly increase your sports talk ratings.