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.”
A great sports talk host doesn’t have to be right. They just have to be entertaining.
Of course you must be factually correct, but don’t worry about whether your predictions come true.
When USC hired Pete Carroll, I was hosting on the old XTRA Sports 690 in San Diego. I was passionate in condemning the choice. I provided facts to support my opinion and drew parallels to similar hires in other sports that didn’t work out. I even told a story about a company who had hired someone with a mediocre past who went on to produce mediocre results for his new employer.
As it turned out I couldn’t have been more wrong about Carroll, but the segment was still entertaining and worthy of inclusion on my demo.
In 2002 when I was at ESPN Radio, I picked the Rams to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I turned out to be wrong, but it was still an entertaining segment that deserved a place on my demo.
You don’t have to be Nostradamus to be a sports radio host.
If you worry about whether your predictions or opinions are right, then you’ll stop sharing them and a host without opinions isn’t worth listening to.
Great sports talk hosts aren’t evaluated on the accuracy of their predictions, the number of callers they get, or the size of the market in which they work.
Great hosts are measured by how entertaining they are.