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TexAgs lives in a world different from traditional media

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A good sports talk show host, a good talk show host of any kind, really needs to have a little ego. He or she must believe that they are good at the job. Confidence is part of what makes a host an artist and not just someone speaking into a microphone.

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Being a great host means you know how to command an audience. It means you know how to conduct a conversation and be interesting. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have an idea of ​​what the audience wants to talk about today. You would be surprised how many hosts, in top positions, when left to their own devices, will not include the headlines in their recap.

You can object and say that a good artist can get their audience to follow them anywhere. It may be true, but is it the best way to build loyalty? Plus, it’s exhausting to think like this every day.

The best communicators in this industry start by figuring out where their listeners’ brains are, and then get there. Which is why, in the midst of a very compelling NBA Finals, an Oklahoma City host will lead his show talking about a Sooners team who are still over a month and a half away from the start of their season. This is what most of the sports fans in this city are thinking about right now.

Ego is a necessity for success in the media world, but strategically deployed humility can push ego-generated confidence even further.

This means that a program manager should pay attention to the show summaries. If a host makes all of these decisions and those decisions don’t make sense to the PD, then the PD must intervene. This could mean allowing a producer to step in and direct the process. This can mean implementing a content clock that dictates something like 50% of every hour will be dedicated to a particular hospitality team. A programmer has a lot of options for getting the right conversations on the air.

Sports radio is full of former players. Many hosts in major markets are also personalities on league networks or appear on certain teams’ shows. It’s natural for these guys to feel comfortable talking about their particular area of ​​expertise, but if that’s all they think they can do, you need to step in.

Guys like that have a lot of connections in their favorite sport. A former player is a great way to score interviews with current players and coaches. However, there must be a governor on the rolodex. Some guys just like to show off their access. If the Colts aren’t playing the Raiders on Sunday, what’s the value in having Jon Gruden on an Indianapolis radio station that week? Regardless of the size of the star, if there isn’t any obvious and immediate local relevance, it’s worth asking what’s in this interview for listeners.

Courtesy of: Kelley L Cox

Having a good compass for content isn’t just about what you talk about. It’s also about how you treat the subject. If you’re in Seattle and hit the extension draft once on Thursday morning’s show, have you served your audience well? The Kraken will finally have a list. It will be an important conversation for local sports fans.

Choosing good content is all about choosing which angles to pursue. On the day of a major event like the Extension Draft, you should review your recap and ask if you are doing enough. Hitting on a few major and available names and then moving on to other topics just isn’t going to cut it.

That’s why I advocated last week for the radio guys to be at the forefront of the app stack when it comes to producers. If a host is the type who enjoys incorporating as many topics as possible into a show, the host needs a creative partner who can motivate them to talk about a single topic in different ways.

Content selection can really make or break a show. I spoke to local hosts who in the past would look for someone to tell them their show would be better if they were about the biggest national stories instead of having to talk about a local varsity team or ‘a local pro team that is in the middle of another mundane season.

I always answer the same way. Can you do a better job with national history than ESPN or FOX? Can you book a better guest? Can you, with your one producer, create a more compelling segment with stats, opinions and sound than a network show and its three, four or five producers? Maybe, but it’s unlikely. So if the other sports station in town is showing subscription programming, isn’t the winning piece being local? Even if the national show touches on a topic in your city, they shouldn’t be able to create better content with the story than you can.

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You might not like to describe yourself that way, but hosts, producers and programmers in any radio format are artists. There is no formula to guarantee the success of what we do. All you can do is make judgments and hope they are right.

The difference between radio and the visual arts is that there is still a part to be won in our case. We all want to win, so if you’re questioning your host’s judgment on content, why not make it easier for them to make the right calls?

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