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The Joys And Challenges Of Talking Sports At Night

“. The topics that we’re discussing have already been brushed through 5 to 6 times by the previous shows.”

Tyler McComas

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I’ve always had a fascination of wanting to try and host a show during the late evening hours. There’s just a different feel behind the mic compared to the other shifts during the day. It’s more relaxed, you can be a little bit more aggressive with your topics and how you present them, the callers are a complete wildcard, anything and everything can happen during those hours which really creates a unique and fun environment.

You should have a deep appreciation for the guys that are able to entertain so many people in the late hours of the night. It’s no easy task to sit with no co-host, talk about the same topics that have been discussed for the past 12 hours, bring an energy that will keep the listener both engaged and awake, while still delivering an entertaining show with few guests. 

But as Mike North told Jonas Knox when he was set to host his first ever weekend overnight show: “Jonas, stay focused and f*cking fire away, baby.” 

That’s about as solid of advice as you can get. 

Jonas Knox – Fox Sports Radio – Friday: 11pm-3am – Saturday 1-5pm – Sunday 5-8 pm – Pacific Time

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Tyler McComas: You always want to bring energy to the show, but seeing as you’re on late Friday nights, do you want to bring even more energy during that time slot? 

Knox: Oh I think about it every single time the light goes on. I learned a long time ago from Andy Furman and Mike North that it’s all about energy. Guys like that, who have been around for as long as they have, you’d be hard-pressed to find two hosts who bring more energy. Energy can deliver your point of view in a manner that has a greater impact than if you said the same thing but in a quieter tone.

If you emphasize what your thoughts and philosophies are with a certain tone and a certain energy that can be somewhat infectious, regardless if you disagree with somebody, you appreciate the fact they’re bringing it and it doesn’t sound like they’re mailing it in.

One the most frustrating things to me is when you hear a host that sounds like they’re tired. If I’m up in the middle the night and I’m driving around, whether I’m working the graveyard shift as a security guard or I’m throwing papers as a third job or I’m driving a truck across the country, I’m working, I’m really working. I’ve got to be there, because I’ve got to make ends meet. If you can’t find it within you to muster up a little bit of energy and a little bit of excitement to talk sports for four hours, then you shouldn’t be doing this job. We are so blessed and lucky to have what we do and I hear more complaints and more frustration than I do appreciation. That part gets to me a little bit.

TM: So how do you handle the biggest story of the day or what you think is going to be your biggest segment? Do you have a designated time or just lead with your best? 

JK: I think you always open up the show with the biggest story. That’s always been my thought. If there’s a 1A and 1B story then you can maybe split up that first segment.

What I try and do is find the biggest stories, so I’m not repeating exactly what my thought is, I don’t have just one take on a story, that story has legs. The topic tree philosophy, to where you have an overarching story and you have branch off segments from each of those. I try to layer those in throughout. Just because it’s the first segment for me doesn’t mean it’s the first segment for somebody else. The first segment for somebody else could be 1:15 or 1:45.

I don’t want to be pigeonholed as just, oh he’s only built for weekend overnights. So what I’ve done and I’ve talked to my boss Scott Shapiro about it, and just said I want my show to be able to play at any time slot, but also to recognize it’s the middle the night and that you can get a little bit edgy with certain things, but still be cognizant of what the ultimate goal is, which is to place it anywhere on the network at any time.

TM: How do you approach the fact the biggest story of the day has likely been talked about for 12 hours before you go on?

JK: One of the things I think is a mistake, when you work on the weekends, people will sometimes go back to something that happened on Monday or Tuesday because it’s been their first opportunity to get a crack at it. I never do that. If there’s not a new element to that story by the time my show comes around, then I’m doing outdated stuff. Unless I have a thought on it that’s unique and a different perspective. So you do have to be a little bit open minded. But for the most part I try not to do stories that are old.

If something comes up like, oh hey, this happened on Thursday, I can say the most interesting part about this is this to me. If it’s unique and a different approach then I think I’m more open minded to it then.

Colby Powell – 107.7 The Franchise – 6-8pm – Central Time

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TM: What’s the biggest challenge of hosting a show from 6-8? 

CP: Hosting a show from 6:00 to 8:00 is so much different because every take on whatever the big story is has already been taken. It’s 6:00 and our station has been on for 12 1/2 hours. The topics that we’re discussing have already been brushed through 5 to 6 times by the previous shows. For us it’s about trying to have fun and keeping it light for people after their day of work.

We want to talk about sports, but we want to give people a reason to laugh. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’ll make fun of ourselves, get a little self-deprecating, all that good stuff. By the time 7:30 rolls around we’re just trying to have fun with the listener, we’re not trying to hammer OU football down their throat.

A couple of weeks ago Russell Westbrook got traded at 7:20. That’s probably the one exception where you go full sports. But other than that you’re just trying to have fun with the listener at that point of the day.

TM: What about Thunder games that start at 7:00? You’re on from 6-7 with the pregame show and then the final hour is your regular show. How do you handle those nights? 

CP: On those nights, whenever there’s a Thunder game airing on our rival station, at that point, we keep it even lighter and even more off the rails. We’re talking about fun sports stories, non-sports stories, if anything crazy in the game happens we might mention it, but our thing isn’t doing play-by-play for the on-going Thunder game.

We don’t really talk much about the basketball game while it’s going on. Whoever is with you at that point, those are the diehards and the people that listen to you regularly. We get pretty decent engagement at those times when the basketball game is on.

TM: So is the thought, well, whoever wants to watch the Thunder is probably doing so on TV? Is your goal during those times to serve the listener that doesn’t enjoy the NBA? 

CP: I should probably split it up because I was talking only about Thunder season. But let’s say it’s the last week in October and OU has a big game on Saturday but the Thunder play Friday night at 7:00. We’ll do our Thunder pregame from 6:00 to 7:00, but from 7:00-8:00 we now have the advantage of being able to hammer OU football for an hour.

The OU football fan, who hasn’t switched their brain into basketball mode yet, those people aren’t going to be listening to the basketball game, they’re going to be listening to us talk about OU football. Until December 1st that’s a huge advantage, or I should say a week later because OU wins the Heisman every year. When it’s just basketball season, we’ll talk NFL because it extends well into a basketball season. And then, of course, we’ll talk about some general NBA things, as well.

Joe Ostrowski – 670 The Score – 6-10 pm – Central Time Zone 

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TM: You have the transition segment with McNeil and Parkins before your show actually begins. Do you like being able to tease what’s happening for the next four hours on the show, seeing as it’s not during peak hours? How much does it really help?

 JO: I think it’s a good thing. If you don’t have it it’s just kind of weird, when you have that cold ending and you really don’t know what’s going on in the next show. You have this opportunity to pitch your show and you should take advantage of that.

A lot of people probably hear me during those transition segments that don’t normally listen to the show. If they like what they hear they’re going to hang out. There can even be, oh, you have a guest at this particular time that I want to hear. I’m going to make sure I tune in for that segment. It’s important to sell your show doing the few minutes that you have.

TM: Since you’re on from 6-10, have you found it harder to book guests compared to an afternoon show host? 

JO: I don’t think it’s that difficult. Most media members understand that it’s not just a 100 percent favor that they’re doing, they’re getting some publicity themselves when they come on the air. But I did forget how tough it is on Friday night to book a guest. Even if I’m the one that’s reaching out, it was always a struggle as a producer and it’s a struggle now is a show host.

It’s a Friday night so I completely understand it, so I’m not opposed to coming into studio a couple of hours before to do a pre-recorded interview. As long as it still going to be timely by the time I re-air the interview. But that’s really the only time I’ve seen it as a challenge

TM: Let’s say you’re on the air this year during a Bears game on Thursday night. How will you handle it? 

JO: (Laughs) I’ve done those shows before, I’ve gone against playoff games, NFL games, yeah, you’re up against it. This goes back to not treating your audience like they’re a bunch of idiots. They know what’s happening. But I’m not just going to sit around for four hours and focus on it the entire time, we have a sister station that broadcasts all the Bears games. But on nights like those I do have enough counter programming to get through the shows. You just have to except that not a whole lot of people are listening.

TM: What do you enjoy most about your time slot? 

JO: It’s an interesting position being, for the most part, the first show that’s really on after Cubs afternoon games. But how am I going to take a topic that’s been beat to death all day on our station and spend it with a fresh view point by the time I come on the air? That’s a challenge every day and something I certainly appreciate. 

BSM Writers

The NFL Hopes You’re Lazy Enough to Pay Them $5

“This app reportedly doesn’t even have any original content of it’s own. NFL Films produces content for ESPN+, HBO Max, Peacock, Tubi, Epix, Paramount Plus, and Prime Video. It has also reportedly had discussions about producing content for Netflix. Unless they plan to bring all of those shows in-house, what kind of shows could NFL Films produce for NFL Plus that you couldn’t already find on all of those other apps?”

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NFL Streaming

Corporate goodwill is a hard thing to ask for. It’s not something that is a requirement for any entity to engage in. But it can go a long way in establishing a deeper bond for the future. According to Sports Business Journal, NFL owners are contemplating launching a streaming service for the league.

The app would feature podcasts, content created by teams and radio content. It’s unknown where the podcast content will come from but one can assume it’ll include the various podcasts the NFL produces with iHeartRadio. Team content that is expected to be featured could come from videos and audio that is already posted on team websites and social media platforms such as YouTube.

Various organizations across the league have expanded their YouTube efforts over the last couple of years as the Google-owned site has slowly set itself apart as a leading source for viewership. My hometown team, the Baltimore Ravens, for example promotes a talk show with cornerback Marlon Humphrey where he interviews players and other key figures from the team about their lives and careers and how they got to where they are today.

The most important part of this app will be NFL games itself. On Sunday afternoons, whatever games are airing in the specific location you’re in while using the app, those are the games you have access to watch. If you’re in Baltimore and a Ravens game is airing on CBS while the Commanders are on Fox, those are the games the app will offer. If you’re in Boston and a Patriots game is on CBS while a Giants game is on Fox – you won’t have access to the Ravens game airing on CBS in Baltimore or the Commanders game on Fox in Baltimore even if that’s where you normally live. These games used to be a part of a deal with Yahoo Sports and Verizon – who distributed them on their apps for free.

JohnWallStreet of Sportico notes, “longer term, the existence of a league-owned streaming platform should help ensure broadcast rights continue to climb.” But at the end of the day, how does this help the fan? The increase of broadcast rights is going to end up costing viewers in the long run through their cable bill.

ESPN costs almost $10 per cable customer. The app, as of now, isn’t offering anything special and is an aggregation of podcasts, games and videos that fans can already get for free. If you want to listen to an NFL podcast – you can go to Spotify, Apple Podcasts and various other podcast hosting platforms. If you want to watch content from your favorite teams, you can go to their website or their social media platforms. And if you want to watch games, you can authenticate your cable subscriptions and watch them for free through your cable company’s app or CBS’ app or the Fox Sports app.

It’s nothing more than a money grab. Games are already expensive to go to as it is. Gas prices have reached astronomical highs. Watching content has become extremely costly and it’s debatable whether buying streaming services is cheaper or more expensive than the cable bundle. And now the NFL wants to add more stress and more expenses to their viewers who just desire an escape from the hardships of life through their love of a beautiful game? It seems wrong and a bit cruel to me.

The beauty of paying for content apps is that you’re going to gain access to something that is original and unique from everything else in the ecosystem. When House of Cards first premiered on Netflix, it was marketed as a political thriller of the likes we had never seen and it lived up to its expectations for the most part. The critically-acclaimed series led viewers to explore other shows on the app that were similarly a more explicit and unique journey from what had been seen on television before.

This app reportedly doesn’t even have any original content of it’s own. NFL Films produces content for ESPN+, HBO Max, Peacock, Tubi, Epix, Paramount Plus, and Prime Video. It has also reportedly had discussions about producing content for Netflix. Unless they plan to bring all of those shows in-house, what kind of shows could NFL Films produce for NFL Plus that you couldn’t already find on all of those other apps? Even YouTube has partnered with NFL Films to produce behind the scenes footage of games that is available for FREE.

If you’re going to force viewers to pay $5 to watch games on their phone, the least you could do is give fans access to speak with players and analysts before and after the games. Take NFL Network over the top so that we can wake up with Good Morning Football. Offer a way for fans to chat while games are being watched on the app. The ability to watch an All-22 feed of live games. A raw audio options of games. The ability to screencast. Even a live look at the highly paid booths who are calling the games.

Five bucks may seem small in the grand scheme of things but it is a rip-off especially when the content is available for free with a few extra searches. Goodwill and establishing a person to person online relationship with fans could go a long way for the NFL. It’s not going to work using these tactics though. And after facing such a long pandemic, offering it up for free just seems like the right thing to do.

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BSM Writers

Sports Talkers Podcast – Danny Parkins

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Danny Parkins opens up to Stephen Strom about why he is so passionate about defending Chicago. He also gives his best career advice and explains why a best friend is more important sometimes than an agent.

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BSM Writers

Marc Hochman is The Lebron James of Miami Sports Radio

The Hochman and Crowder Show with Solana isn’t like anything you’ll hear in most major markets. But they wear that distinction with a badge of honor. They’re not interested in breaking down why the offensive line can’t get a push on short-yardage situations, they want to make you laugh, regardless if it’s sports content or not. They’re perfectly Miami sports radio. 

Tyler McComas

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Marc Hochman

There’s 30 minutes to go until Marc Hochman’s summer vacation and he’s suddenly overcome with emotion. Instead of staring at the clock, he’s staring at an article from The Miami New Times, which has just named him Best Talk Radio Personality in its “Best of 2022” awards issue. It’s an incredible honor in a city that has several worthy candidates, including the man sitting right next to him, Channing Crowder. 

But it’s not just the honor that’s catching Hochman’s eye, it’s also the paragraph where the newspaper compares him to Lebron James. No, seriously. Compliments are nothing new for the Miami radio veteran, but being compared to one of the best basketball players of all-time is new territory. Part of the paragraph reads like this:

“His current domination of the afternoon drive simulcast on both WQAM and 790 The Ticket (WAXY) is akin to Lebron playing for the Lakers and Clippers simultaneously. Could he do it? Probably. Does Hochman do this daily? Yes. Advantage, Hochman.”

Talk about incredibly high praise for a sports radio host. Especially one in Miami where there’s still a lot of hard feelings towards Lebron. But the praise is accurate, because the Hochman and Crowder Show with Solana airs on two different Audacy stations every day. It’s an interesting dynamic, especially for a market the size of Miami/Fort Lauderdale. 

“We have a joke that if you don’t like what you’re hearing on 560, feel free to tune in on 790,” laughed Hochman. “But it’s fun and I think in some strange way it’s increased our audience. As crazy as it is to say in 2022, there are people who listen to a particular radio station and don’t ever change it. I do think being on both stations has expanded our audience. We have fun with it. The show is on for four hours on 560 WQAM and three hours on 790 The Ticket.”

It’s cool to see Hochman get this type of honor during his 10th year of being an afternoon host on 560 WQAM. Especially since he’s originally from Chicago, but has carved out an incredible career in a city he’s called home since the late 80s. It’s funny to think Hochman had no interest in sports radio in 2004 when his college friend Dan Le Batard offered him a job as an executive producer at a startup station in Miami. Now, 18 years later, he’s being voted as the best to do it in the city. 

“Everybody likes to be recognized for what they do,” said Hochman. “We get recognized all the time by the listeners, but when someone out of your orbits writes their opinion of what you’re doing, and it’s that glowing of an opinion, it’s great. I’ve been compared to Lebron before, but it’s always been my hairline. It was nice to be compared to him for another reason. That was super cool.”

The best part about all of this is how Hochman will use this as a funny bit on the show, because, above anything else, he’s instantly identified as someone who’s incredibly gifted at making people laugh on the air. There’s no doubt it will become a theme on the show, both with him and his co-hosts, Crowder and Solana. 

“The award came out about 30 minutes before I was leaving for my summer vacation, so I had about 30 minutes on the air to respond to it,” Hochman said. “So I’m sure it will become a bit on the show, I certainly will refer to myself as the Lebron James of sports talk radio in Miami. Although, there’s still some hard feelings here towards him.

That was the one part that jumped out, obviously, to me, Crowder and to Solana. I don’t think I’m Lebron James but Crowder said on the air that sometimes you have to acknowledge when you’re playing with greatness, and he said “I used to play defense with Jason Taylor and Junior Seau, now I’m doing radio and I will acknowledge greatness.”

With or without this honor, it’s pretty evident Hochman is the happiest he’s ever been in sports radio. He’s surrounded with two talented co-hosts, but the sentiment is that Hochman does an incredible job of putting both Solano and Crowder in situations to be the best versions of themselves on the air. However, Hochman sees it differently. 

“I think that’s more on the people around you,” he said. “If you have great teammates, they’re great. Crowder and Solana, those dudes, if you want to make a basketball comparison, we have ourselves a Big Three.

Solana is the best at what he does, Crowder is the absolute best radio partner I’ve had in my career. He’s so aware of what it takes to entertain but also has broadcast sensibilities at the same time. I actually think he’s the one that makes us sound better than what we really are. He has a really incredible knack for entertaining but also informing.”

The Hochman and Crowder Show with Solana isn’t like anything you’ll hear in most major markets. But they wear that distinction with a badge of honor. They’re not interested in breaking down why the offensive line can’t get a push on short-yardage situations, they want to make you laugh, regardless if it’s sports content or not. They’re perfectly Miami sports radio. 

“I would say Miami is the strangest sports radio market in the country,” said Hochman. “I grew up in Chicago so I’m intimately familiar with Chicago sports talk. Miami sports talk, which is Le Batard, who redefined what works. In Miami, that’s what it needed. It’s more guy talk than sports talk. We certainly can’t break down a third inning in a Marlins game and why a runner should have been running when he wasn’t, the way that New York, Philadelphia or Boston radio could.”

“That doesn’t work here. When Crowder and I go on the air everyday, we’ve always said, our goal is we want to laugh the majority of our four hours on the air. If we’re laughing, we assume the audience is laughing, as well. That’s our personality. We both like to laugh and have fun. I like to do it, no matter what is going on. That translates to the radio. Luckily, Miami is a sports radio market that embraces that, because I don’t think we could do a show any other way.”

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