“I think sports radio went through a real ugly, almost pre-teen, period that–thank God–we worked ourselves out of.” – Bruce Gilbert
Bruce Gilbert has heard the best and the worst of sports radio.
And the former ESPN Radio general manager will be there first to tell you, there was a dark time for the format.
But in the ears of the new Senior Vice President of Sports at Cumulus & Westwood One, sports talk is alive and well as a format. That doesn’t mean, though, that the format still isn’t behind the times in a couple of different departments.
Even so, there’s not many more trusted names than Gilbert to break down what is working and what isn’t in the industry. He gets into a lot of that in our discussion.
Check out more of the show notes below to get a feel for what you will hear in this edition of The PASR. I hope you enjoy and, as always, leave a comment to get out anything that this podcast had you thinking along the way.
- How did Bruce get the ‘bug’ for this industry? [1:01]
- Bruce talks about how family holidays were still built around radio discussion. [3:40]
- Sports radio is failing at “selling ourselves.” How do we fix it? [4:53]
- Bruce talks about what social media has done to the sports talk radio format. [6:57]
- How does Bruce feel about phone calls at a sports talk station? [9:04]
- Bruce has a theory as to why phone calls work in the northeast, specifically. [10:28]
- What are the biggest differences in the sports radio industry now compared to when Bruce Gilbert first got started in the biz? [11:56]
- Sports radio’s “Angry White Guy” period. [13:06]
- What will the next “cycle” of sports radio look like? [17:21]
- Why is sports more of a mainstream “social currency” than ever before? [19:41]
- Why is there not enough diversity in sports radio? [21:28]
- What could Bruce do to a station in a week? [23:12]
- What is the biggest mistake programmers are making? [24:47]
- What Bruce finds himself telling hosts over and over again. [26:28]
- How important is self-deprecation? [30:10]
- Bruce’s take on the way ratings are tabulated in radio. [33:20]
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE…
FROM THE GUEST
- Bruce’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Here’s some bonus audio that we left off the podcast just for you junkies. More with Bruce Gilbert.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Producers Podcast – Billy Gil, The Dan Le Batard Show
Billy Gil relives the show’s exit from ESPN, talks about what he has learned about being part of the cast on a big show, and explains the value of being polite.
Brady Farkas is a sports radio professional with 5+ years of experience as a Program Director, On-Air Personality, Assistant Program Director and Producer in Burlington, VT and Albany, NY. He’s well versed in content creation, developing ideas to generate ratings and revenue, working in a team environment, and improving and growing digital content thru the use of social media, audio/video, and station websites. His primary goal is to host a daily sports talk program for a company/station that is dedicated to serving sports fans. You can find him on Twitter @WDEVRadioBrady and reach him by email at email@example.com.
Seller to Seller: Adam Shifrin, Westwood One
Jeff Caves is a sales columnist for BSM working in radio, digital, hyper-local magazine, and sports sponsorship sales in DFW. He is credited with helping launch, build, and develop SPORTS RADIO The Ticket in Boise, Idaho, into the market’s top sports radio station. During his 26 year stay at KTIK, Caves hosted drive time, programmed the station, and excelled as a top seller. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter @jeffcaves.
Media Noise: ESPN Shake Up Adds Local Flavor to New York Sports Radio
Demetri is joined by Derek Futterman and Garrett Searight this week as Media Noise does a deep dive into ESPN Radio’s lineup change, taking both a national and New York-centric view.
Demetri Ravanos is the Assistant Content Director for Barrett Sports Media. He hosts the Chewing Clock and Media Noise podcasts. He occasionally fills in on stations across the Carolinas. Previous stops include WAVH and WZEW in Mobile, AL, WBPT in Birmingham, AL and WBBB, WPTK and WDNC in Raleigh, NC. You can find him on Twitter @DemetriRavanos and reach him by email at DemetriTheGreek@gmail.com.