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Why Put a Non-Sports Show on a Sports Station?

Demetri Ravanos

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Last week we posted a story about a station in a large market that is putting on a new morning show. The show has a history in its market and the hosts have some name recognition.

Is it a former jock paired with a host that is returning home? No.

Is it a duo that broke up at the height of their popularity that has finally found a station willing to pay the right price to bring them together again? No.

The station hired a syndicated conservative talk duo. It wouldn’t be insane, I guess, if the show was turning in an all-sports direction. All indications though, are that is not the case. The syndicated show just needs a new origination point and the station needs something in morning drive that will create…a stir I guess?

I know it isn’t unheard of necessarily for sports stations to have shows that deviate from the primary format in their weekday lineup. I mean, the single most iconic sports station in America used to have Don Imus in morning drive. Imus had a sports guy and occasionally talked about sports stories, but that wasn’t really a sports show.

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And Imus isn’t the only example. 102.5 the Game in Nashville had financial guru Dave Ramsey in middays for a year in 2013 after Ramsey and his original flagship station, Super Talk 99.7 failed to reach an agreement for a contract extension.

Whether it is well-established or still in the building stages, the foundation of your brand is that your station is where listeners turn for sports. It can be analysis, interviews, or live play-by-play. The name of your station promises sports, so you better give them sports.

There might be a financial incentive for taking on a show that deviates from the format for a significant period of time. Maybe management decides the influx of revenue is too good to pass up. It’s their right, but it is the wrong play for the long term.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how we talk about Donald Trump and when and how much is appropriate on a sports station. I’m not backing off of anything I wrote there. I still think when the conversation is germane to the sports news of the day, it isn’t off-limits to talk about the president or the political climate. I am also not backing off of anything I wrote back in April about sports talk hosts knowing what the right pop culture topics are for their audience.

I will firmly plant the #StickToSports flag in the idea that stations can deviate completely from the game plan without it harming the station. It would be like if Waffle House decided that it would continue to stay open 24 hours a day, but for three of those hours every Monday through Friday, it was going to stop cooking and serving food and instead only sell children’s shoes.

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Even if every pair of Hush Puppies the obese septuagenarian waitstaff brought out was scattered, smothered, and covered, the folks walking into that Waffle House for the first time would immediately think they were in the wrong place. The next time they wanted breakfast, Waffle House wouldn’t even be an option for them, because as far as they are concerned, that is a shoe store.

And what about the people that know Waffle House serves breakfast and love their ham and cheese omelettes? They may be loyal customers when food is being served, but for those three hours when kids’ footwear takes centerstage, Waffle House is telling them not to even bother coming in. If those customers get hungry during that window of time, Waffle House is basically begging them to go to Denny’s instead.

I don’t own a sports radio station. I don’t even program a sports radio station, so I guess you can take all of this with a grain of salt if you prefer, but think about the Waffle House example. People that have never sampled your station before and pop in when you’re airing a financial advice or political talk show may never come back, because as far as they know, there is no sense in turning to your station when they are looking for sports talk. You are handing the loyal listeners that know that sports talk will resume eventually on your station a permission slip to check out the competition for three hours a day.

Every decision has both immediate and long term effects. If none of those listeners ever come back, was the revenue generated by a non-sports show in the short term worth it?

 

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

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iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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