Sports Radio Has Been Like A Wild Ride For Scott Ferrall
“I did the filthiest show ever and it was repulsive and disgusting and absolutely kick ass. People dug it fast and hard.”
It’s easy to do a raunchy show with no restrictions. Extremely talented hosts have done it on the years, arguably even some of the best, but you can really tell how gifted someone is at sports radio when they’re doing a clean show. That’s the opinion Scott Ferrall has, who’s probably more qualified than anyone to speak on the subject, seeing as he’s made his career doing both unrestricted radio with no rules and network shows that operate under strict guidelines.
There’s arguably nobody in sports radio that’s had the wild time Ferrall has had over his career. He’s done multiple shows at strip clubs, appeared on David Letterman twice and has even been in movies. He truly understands the entertainment aspect of sports radio.
Maybe he’s always had that in him, seeing as he looked up to Howard Cosell at a very young age. But his loud, opinionated, funny and entertaining persona has separated Ferrall from the rest of the pack since his early days in radio.
His journey has taken him from the Indiana basketball beat covering Bob Knight, to hosting on Howard 101 to calling games for an NHL team and a whole lot more. His journey should be both talked about and celebrated in equal sense.
Tyler McComas: So Howard Cosell is your idol growing up and then a major publication compares you to him. Can you even describe that feeling?
Scott Ferrall: I mean it was crazy that the Wall Street Journal said that. I’ll never forget it and I have it to this day in my house. It was the one thing that, I guess, mattered to me in media. I’ve had millions of stories written about the show and about my career – magazines, newspapers, everywhere. I respect all those, but that was the one that really stood out. When I woke up and saw that I was on the cover the Wall Street Journal with one of those dotted pictures that they used to be famous for and it said I was Generation X’s Howard Cosell I just really thought I had arrived.
TM: Did you ever get to meet him?
SF: No, I didn’t. But it’s strange, I always said on the show that the Monday Night Football booth they did, and everything he did, in sportscasting and boxing, his interview style, his smarts, he’s a genius. That’s what appealed to me. I thought he was smarter than everybody and I thought they were very entertaining.
I’ve always said they’ve never been able to replace him. Ever. They’ve been chasing that dragon since the day that ended. It’s never ever lived up to that. When they were in there, Gifford and Meredith and him in that booth, forget about it. That was it. Those are the ones that last forever, booths like that.
TM: Early in your career you’re covering IU hoops and Bob Knight. He’s never been nice to the media. Did that give you confidence that, man, if I can cover this guy I can interview anyone?
SF: That’s an interesting theory, because that’s pretty much the deal. I wanted to go be around Bob Knight as a kid. I wanted to be Howard Cosell and then I wanted to cover Bob Knight. I just felt like, what could be cooler than being around that guy?
I’ve always said that the guy had a huge influence in my life. Just a gigantic piece of me came from that guy. Being around him every single day for five years and covering that team seeing them win a national championship in New Orleans in the last game I ever covered, that was pretty special. I love him and I’m one of the few. He meant a lot to me and he always came on my show for all these years later. He called me ‘asshole’ for 35 years. He said, ‘I can’t believe somebody would marry you, asshole!’ and then, ‘I can’t believe they let you have kids, asshole!’. If he was your friend, he was a really good friend. If he was your enemy, I always said, you should probably move.
TM: Was there anything ever more thrilling than doing a show at a strip club?
SF: I worked at a lot of them. I have a couple of different stories I can throw at you. One of them was when we had a strip club golf tournament in the Bahamas and got raided by like The Federalis. They came crashing into the golf course and there was a lot of bad things going on. That was pretty wild.
Then I did the Playboy Pillow Fight, or something like that, in Indio and Palm Springs, California. That was just rather wet and naked. I’ve done shows like that over the years and they’ve always been pretty wild. That kind of stuff got me a reputation, then I ended up doing tons of stuff with Penthouse and then all of them when I worked with Howard Stern. There were a lot of porn stars and everything else. It’s strange, that’s like a wild ride.
I’m down with meeting whoever, athletes, rock stars, entertainers, actors, actresses, whether they’re on the big screen, which I’ve done, I’ve done a couple of movies, that’s cool, or working with porn stars, I’ve done all that and I’m cool with it. But I know it’s something that probably my wife doesn’t dig that much or that I want my kids around, but it’s funny. I’ve always said that they wanted to bang my wife. So what’s the difference?
TM: So what’s that balance? At that time, you’re obviously who you were on the air. How’s balancing that with your family?
SF: Pretty much, when I stopped doing shows for Howard Stern on Howard 101 and I had to go back and do Vatican radio at CBS Sports radio, it was clean, family sports talk. I think at the time I did the filthiest show ever and it was repulsive and disgusting and absolutely kick ass. People dug it fast and hard. There were a lot of pranks flowing. I was just the craziest show ever. Then I had to go and do this really candy ass show but it was a good show.
The show had to be thought out, in terms of, I think it’s a lot harder to be smart and clean than it is to be dirty on the air. I mean it’s easy to just be filthy. Most people would love to do an uncensored, raw, completely no-rule show. And then they all started doing podcasts so now everybody does whatever they want. But radio, that doesn’t happen. On AM or FM radio it would never happen with the FCC and everything else. When I went to Howard 101 on satellite radio that was unheard of. Now everybody’s cussing so it’s no big deal. But you find out who’s good when you have to do a clean, family sports talk show, or any show for that matter, which has to be clean and sophisticated.
They didn’t want me doing anything dirty at CBS, they can barely handle suck or ass or anything like that. I did a completely different show so I say it all ended when I stop doing dirty for Howard. I love Howard and I always will. He’s the man, I look up to him, and it’s the greatest thing I ever did in my career. It was a blast. But it was too easy to do that raunchy style, and now I’m doing clean TV every day and radio, again.
TM: Most hosts only joke about it, but what’s it like when the FCC is really coming after you?
SF: Well, they went after me several times. Nothing ever materialized with any of it so I never really did anything that I felt was worthy of it. They tried to get me in Miami and that didn’t work. Then they tried to get me in New York and that didn’t work. After a while, they just realized I wasn’t doing anything that bad and I think when I went away and did satellite, they forgot about me. Then I came back and started doing it clean, while trying to be really sophisticated and smart. I think they got a whole new impression of me. I think they were all blown away, because I’ll be honest with you, when I got the gig to go back to CBS Sports Radio they were scared to death of me and they felt that I would last for about five minutes doing clean radio.
My goal was to blow them away. I won them over after about four years and then the last three years I rode that surfboard in deep barrels and it was fun. I got along with everybody and the bosses that didn’t originally want me there, wanted me to be there until the bitter end, when I left to go to SportsGrid. I had a great run there and they didn’t think it would happen. The suits that ran that place wanted no part of me. Chris Oliviero is the one that brought me in from Howard to CBS again. I had already left CBS once and they didn’t like me, so to get back there and win them over and be successful was capitalism at its finest.
TM: What’s a move you made in your career that you thought was risky at the time, but ended up being a great decision?
SF: I mean I guess going to do the hockey for the Atlanta Thrashers was very risky. I walked away from a lot of money to do it, but I loved hockey more than I love money. I’ve always said that I wanted to do it. It was an expansion team, it was pretty exciting and the whole thing was pretty cool how it evolved. The guy that basically ran the Olympics came to me and said, we’re trying to sell hockey in the south. I was really popular in Atlanta. I was gargantuan in Atlanta doing my show from 3 to 7. I owned Atlanta. Who can sell hockey to rednecks better than me? I think that’s why they gave me the shot.
They put me in a room and I called a game with no rosters or anything. I looked at the Blues and the Red Wings, that’s who was playing, and all I did was make everyone in the room’s jaw drop. I did a bunch of fights that were exaggerated, and I did it until I was like soaking wet sweating and they were just staring at me like I was going to drop dead or something. And then like 20 minutes later they gave me the gig.
At the end of the day I did it, it was a grind, I didn’t like it because of the sameness of it every day. The buses, the planes and the hotels. I guess I was just used to doing a show and I was crazy. At the time I was young and wild and I partied. The team sucked, they won like 11 games the whole year. So at the end, they didn’t want me to stay and I didn’t want to stay, either. Luckily for me it was a good deal. They paid me for four years and I only worked for one. I always say it’s the best job I ever had. I got paid a lot of money to do nothing.
TM: Have you listened to anyone where you say, hmm, he reminds me of a younger version of myself?
SF: Gabe Morency who I worked with at SportsGrid. When I met him the first time he was doing Hardcore in Toronto. It was like the satellite version of our SiriusXM. It was a hard-core, uncensored sports channel that they ran up there. He was doing a show up there with a whole lot of heavy metal, radical high-octane show and he had a gravelly voice like me and wild like me. He used to say he wanted to be me.
When I first met him, he was younger and a rock and roller. He was in a metal band and switched to do sports talk. At the time, when I first started, it was just me doing it, right. That’s how it evolved. And Jim Rome got into it and it kind of grew from there. Now there’s 5 million shows that are national here.
TM: Is anything off limits right now, when it comes to guests on the show?
SF: I try to get really cool people that people dig and they do something that matters. I had Tony Hawk on last week and we go back. He’s a magnificent dude. He’s a giant and a titan. Guys like him, who I have a relationship with, Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons GM, coaches, players and GM’s around the league, a lot of play-by-play guys and analysts, great writers and actors, actresses and I love putting comedians on.
I’m constantly putting comedians on and I try to do it at least once a month, where we have a kick ass comedian on. We had Dan Soder on from Billions the other day. I bring back Howard guys. Every guy that I met Don Jamieson Gino Bisconte, all these comedians. I’m going wherever cool people are and try to get them on the show. I love getting unique guests. I love getting players right off the floor at the games. That’s what I like doing.
TM: Do you feel like your style over the years set you up to do a show during a pandemic with no sports?
SF: We’ve done it. I’ve been on every single day and we’ve been live doing the 4 to 6 Eastern on SportsGrid every day. I’ve had great guests on and we just dig for killer stories that we can turn into topics for the show. My guys get involved, I’ve always been a guy that supports others being involved in the show. I’ve done a lot of shows with the other SportsGrid hosts. The show isn’t just constantly doing the normal thing. It’s different doing the show from home every day and never leaving my crib. You would think I’d be in this plush penthouse in New York City and I’m sitting in my house with green screens and cameras, lighting, cable lines out of the room, it’s crazy. But we’ve just done it every day like normal.
TM: I can’t imagine a sports radio host being on Letterman these days. You were twice. How was that?
SF: Honestly, that was like floating. That’s how gigantic David Letterman is. When I got to do his show, for me, it was like I was floating and like it wasn’t even real. I couldn’t fathom that I was going on Letterman. And then, it wasn’t just once, it was twice. It’s funny, I’ve seen people go on there multiple times, way more than me, but for me, just once, was exotic and twice was just absolutely crazy. The fact that he would have me back on again was just absurd. I must’ve done something right.
I won’t deny that I was lit. When I went out there I was so nervous and so excited but so lit. Like absolutely lit. I went out there and was predicting who was going to win the title games, because it was around the Super Bowl, I started doing kicker windmills on stage. Dave was cracking up, the audience was roaring. I was whipping my leg a million miles an hour and I have no idea what I was doing. My leg could’ve flown off my body. And then the other time I did Letterman, and I thought I had the top the first time, I was wild, I did my thing and I made him laugh. Paul and him were going back-and-forth.
Second time I did it I announced that I was leaving radio to do the Thrashers gig and I stripped down all through different jerseys until I got to the point where the final thing I had on my body was a Thrashers jersey. That’s how I announced I was going to the NHL. I remember going off the stage on Letterman and my boss called me and fired me, I said, it’s a little late. I already signed with the hockey, but nice knowing you
Tyler McComas is a columnist for BSM and a sports radio talk show host in Norman, OK where he hosts afternoon drive for SportsTalk 1400. You can find him on Twitter @Tyler_McComas or you can email him at TylerMcComas08@yahoo.com.
Ian Rapoport Is Competing Against Everyone
“When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive.”
The 2023 NFL Draft was a weekend filled with speculation, intrigue and musing among football fans and experts alike. After two quarterbacks were selected with the first two picks – C.J. Stroud by the Jacksonville Jaguars; and Bryce Young by the Houston Texans – Ian Rapoport had the inclination that something was about to break at the event in Kansas City.
The third pick of the night was held by the Arizona Cardinals, but through previous intel, Rapoport knew there was a chance the team would trade it. His phone then lit up with a text message from a source that simply read, “Texans trading.” Receiving a message of this magnitude takes years of networking, credibility and immense trust from the people you cover. Rapoport has worked hard to attain all of them.
He replied by asking, “Did the Texans trade up to three?,” as the team was not set to pick again until No. 12 overall. Once he got confirmation of the scenario, he began to visibly shake in excitement and captured the attention of the NFL Network team.
“I sit there with a camera in front of me that’s not always on air – this is during the Draft – and the producer gets in my ear and he goes, ‘Can you go on air with whatever you have?,’ and I just say, ‘Yes.’” Rapoport recalled. “And then I hear Rich Eisen go, ‘Ian, you have news,’ and I was able to break that the Texans have traded up to three to go get Will Anderson.”
This is the craft through which Rapoport has cultivated a successful journalism career, ultimately distinguishing him as NFL Network’s goto insider. He hardly ever separates himself from the job, equipped with an unparalleled work ethic to ensure he can communicate messages accurately and in a timely manner. While some people may argue that he is in direct competition with others in his position, such as Adam Schefter of ESPN, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports, the reality of the situation is that it is Rapoport vs. the world.
“It’s such a small world now and everyone is interconnected – and with Twitter, literally anyone could break a story and have it go viral,” Rapoport said. “Obviously, you want everything first, but really you’re competing against everyone that exists because anyone could get the story at any moment.”
Work-life balance in such a role is usually quite insurmountable in today’s dynamic, interminable breaking news environment. Rapoport strives to find some level of normalcy in his life by playing golf and attending his sons’ sporting events. In the end though, he knows the world of football never sleeps, and it is up to him to remain in the know at all hours of the day, essentially always on standby to break the next big story.
“I do not turn my phone off because that’s actually way more stressful,” Rapoport said. “At least now when my phone’s on and near me, if something crazy happens, I can react rather than having a fake relaxation moment and then being caught off guard with something.”
Rapoport recognized that journalism was the field for him almost immediately after stepping onto the Columbia University campus. He worked his way up at The Dial to ultimately become its associate sports editor. In the summer preceding his senior year, he landed a coveted internship with ESPN where he gained invaluable experience in the world of television production.
By the time he graduated, Rapoport envisioned himself becoming a nationally acclaimed sportswriter, but he knew it was going to require he start small. Three hundred eleven job applications and two interviews later, he landed a part-time role with The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y. covering high school sports. It gave him a start in the highly-competitive business – and kept him close to home while trying many new things.
Two years later, he found himself moving from the bright lights of New York City to the quaint town of Starkville, Mississippi for a notable opportunity. He had landed a job covering the Mississippi State Bulldogs for The Clarion-Ledger in the nearby capital city of Jackson and was under the direction of sports editor Rusty Hampton.
“I knew how to write, but I really didn’t know how to report,” Rapoport said. “He was probably the best [at] showing me, ‘This is all about reporting. It’s all about telling people something they don’t know rather than how well you can pen a sentence.’ To be really valuable to society or your newspaper, you really need to inform rather than entertain. I think he was probably the first and best person to teach me that.”
After spending two years in Mississippi, Rapoport became a beat reporter for The Birmingham News tasked with following the Alabama Crimson Tide. Just months into his new role, the program made a coaching change and hired Nick Saban, who has since led the program to six national titles.
Rapoport learned the thoroughness necessary to cover the Southeastern Conference as he rapidly watched the program become a perennial contender. In turn, he became an eminent college football reporter and his work began to be consumed nationally.
Simultaneously, Bill Belichick, another accomplished football head coach in his own right, was in the process of trying to lead the New England Patriots back to championship glory. Known to be stoic and restrained in his press conferences, reporters asking him questions knew extrapolating answers was not the easiest of tasks.
When Rapoport saw a job opening to cover the team with the Boston Herald that required NFL experience, he knew that he was not qualified verbatim per se. Yet he figured the experience he had in covering Saban and Alabama would serve him well in the role, and articulated such in a protracted email to the newspaper’s editors. His strategy worked, proving why Rapoport is considered one of the industry’s best communicators at the micro and macro levels.
“You don’t see a lot of sources within the Patriots or sources within Alabama – there’s not a lot of that,” Rapoport said. “So I learned to report despite that and kind of work the edges and get the information I needed, despite head coaches who weren’t always the most forthcoming with information.”
NFL Network oftentimes has local beat reporters on the air to interact with studio talent and give their perspectives about teams, and it was something Rapoport did while at the Boston Herald. He had no television experience outside of other appearances he made on Comcast New England and certainly no intention to pursue the medium as a career.
In Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants overcame the New England Patriots, who were undefeated for the year entering the game. Rapoport was on hand for the proceedings, and shortly afterwards was called into a meeting with NFL Network executives.
He didn’t know he was interviewing for a job until he asked just why he had been summoned. He expressed his lack of television experience to the executives, who said the network would teach him everything he needed to know.
Once the meeting concluded, Rapoport called his wife, who he had met while living in Starkville, Mississippi, and told her what had just happened. She tempered his expectations, warning him not to get his hopes up as he remained optimistic. One month later, Rapoport received a job offer and found himself moving once again – this time to the Lone Star State.
“I hired an agent and moved to Dallas and basically spent the next year reporting on the Cowboys and some other things being very, very bad at TV, but learning and eventually figuring it out,” Rapoport said. “At the time, this guy, Eric Weinberger, who was our boss, kind of mentioned to me the possibility of transitioning [me] from reporter to insider.”
Rapoport acknowledged that he did not have the contacts necessary to effectively work as a league insider for a national outlet, but through his years of experience, he knew how to network and he was ready and willing to take the challenge.
Once he began the new position, Rapoport, along with reporter Michael Silver, was on the road for Thursday Night Football and contributed to its pregame and halftime coverage. While his television skills improved, Rapoport was hard at work bolstering his contacts and took somewhat of a geographical approach.
Every time he arrived in a new city, he would contact anyone and everyone he could conjure up, including general managers, scouts and head coaches. If he could not schedule a meeting time with them, he would introduce himself by roaming the sidelines at practices and before games. He engaged in a similar practice before the NFL Draft Combine, training camps and the Super Bowl along with other premier events, always staying focused on the task at hand.
“It probably took me five or six years to get a baseline of sources where if something happened, I had someone to call,” Rapoport said. “And then it took me a couple more years to get to the point where I would know before a lot of people when something was about to happen. It’s all a multi-step process, and just [the] layering and layering and layering of sources is really the sort of engine that drives this thing.”
Ian Rapoport always attempts to triangulate his sources to verify information before he releases it publicly. There is no guarantee sources are always truthful or acting in a professional manner. Therefore, it is incumbent on a journalist to ensure the validity of content before publishing it themselves.
“If you’re only right some of the time, then none of it is really worth it,” Rapoport expressed, “because then you say something and they’re like, ‘Well, wow, that’s a big story if this is true.’ The whole point of doing this is when I pop up on TV or when people see my Twitter alerts or whatever, they have to know that it’s true – they have to know.”
One day, Rapoport was having a conversation with a source and discovered through their conversation that Rob Gronkowski had informed the New England Patriots that he would return to the game of football under the stipulation he be traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reunite with quarterback Tom Brady. There had been much speculation pertaining to Gronkowski’s future after he had worked as an NFL analyst with FOX Sports, and now Rapoport realized he had a monumental scoop – that is, if it was true. Within six minutes, Rapoport verified the story with three sources, contacted his editor and reported to the world Gronkowski’s intentions. The story was picked up virtually everywhere.
“I just think about the job all the time, and I make little lists for myself of things that I need to track down, and I just make a lot of phone calls for it,” Rapoport said. “When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive. It ends up just a brain full of football thoughts, and then I spend the rest of the time trying to figure out what I can learn from it.”
Working for a league-owned entity can sometimes epitomize an inherent conflict of interest. For Rapoport however, he has found working at NFL Network to be hassle-free. He knows, however, the nature of his job means he will not be universally liked.
“Whatever you do, you’re going to report and the people you report on are going to be happy or upset or neutral – or whatever it is,” Rapoport said. “I’m never going to criticize a referee, for instance, because that’s a nuanced thing and people might say, ‘NFL criticizes referees.’ I’m never going to do that, but I wouldn’t do that anyway.”
Rapoport continues to appear on a variety of external media outlets, perhaps most notably The Pat McAfee Show, which recently concluded its “Up to Something Season.” The grand conclusion of the proceedings was McAfee announcing he would be bringing his show to ESPN’s linear and digital platforms starting in the fall.
While McAfee is retaining creative control and has expressed on multiple occasions that his show will not be changing, many have wondered whether insiders employed by other networks will be able to continue making appearances. It is an answer Rapoport himself does not know, nor has he asked about.
“When the news broke, my phone blew up with all sorts of people saying all sorts of different things,” Rapoport said. “I have no idea. I really don’t.”
Even so, Rapoport is elated for McAfee and his team taking the next step in their show’s journey and is genuinely glad to see them succeed. He does not think McAfee’s goal was to reshape sports media, but rather to cultivate a distinctive sports talk program built for fans and today’s generation of consumers.
“You get to know someone and you think they’re a good person and you respect the way they work. Some people have success and some people have a little success and some people don’t. It’s really rare to see someone who has every bit of success that’s essentially possible and deserves every bit of it, and that’s kind of how I thought about Pat. It’s really cool, honestly. He’s built it himself.”
It was on McAfee’s show where another prominent football insider – Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports – said it would be a matter of “when,” not “if” the NFL would have games seven days per week. While devoted football fans like Rapoport are open to such a proposition, he is not sure the league would ever go that far.
“I don’t even know that it would affect my schedule that much,” he said. “It sort of doesn’t matter. I’ll report all year round anyway.”
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Face-to-Face Sales Meetings Have Never Been More Valuable
“With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F.”
When did you last attend a face-to-face (F2F) in-person sales call? Let’s imagine for a second.
In New York, Sarah, a determined sports radio salesperson, got tired of chasing a major client for months. Despite her calls, emails, and text, she couldn’t break through to get a meeting.
Throwing caution to the wind, Sarah decided to go for it. She loaded her deck and took her burning desire via airplane to Florida to make the pitch. She showed up unannounced at the client’s office and startled the decision-maker. She was given the meeting and won over the client, getting a substantial annual contract and a movie deal in Hollywood.
We have all seen that storyline. F2F meetings used to be the obvious choice over a phone call, and most buyers were open to that idea. We even conducted market trips to meet our buyers in person and create better relationships.
With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F. Lots of us work and listen from home.
Gartner Research points out that live, in person selling is superior to virtual selling in financial services or, as I think, in radio sales. Now, prospecting new clients F2F is much more difficult. You have never met them, you don’t know who you are looking for, and gatekeepers and remote decision-makers make walk-ins more challenging.
How about getting out and seeing your current or former clients F2F? 65% of outside account executives attain quota, 10% more often than inside reps. Here are some simple strategies to get outside and F2F:
STAY IN TOUCH
Turn the sales faucet on ‘drip’ and contact your current clients with whatever works: phone calls, emails, or texts. Tell them you are checking in to see if anything has changed, give them a local business lead, or share your latest insight on their favorite team. When doing so, tell them you want to meet F2F and go deep into the next quarter’s ad plan or a new idea to get them back on the air. They may start looking forward to your communication.
Schedule an annual review ahead of their busiest time of year to review the upcoming messaging in ads. Go over what worked or didn’t last year. Share a success story of a similar advertiser in another market or show them a new opportunity that fits.
Be upfront that with F2F, we can get more specific, work with better feedback, and partner on hitting their goals. Be the person who looks ahead and helps keep your client focused.
Organize workshops for your current clients. Teach that about streaming, OTT, or Google ads. Get your digital person involved. Let them know you are bringing in other local businesspeople they may want to know or network with and meet F2F! A Mortgage broker may want to meet a realtor who wants to meet a wealthy local businessperson interested in meeting the local head coach. Stand out as a leader in the industry and watch clients brag about working with you.
HIT A TRADE SHOW
Attend trade shows where your current clients will be. This will show you are serious about their business and want to stay current so you can learn and earn. Set up a meeting over coffee or a drink. Share what you learned.
Client Appreciation Events held at your town’s most meaningful events or places. Do whatever it takes to get hospitality tents at big games and concert suites to show appreciation and bond with your current clients. Host a luncheon at the hottest new local restaurant. Focus on providing an atmosphere or experience everyone wants, but not many can attend. Be the exclusive person in town.
GET PERSONAL REFERRALS
Leverage your existing client relationships to seek referrals. Do it in person. Tell them you want to see them and ask for help and advice. Ask for introductions to potential new clients they know, and you will be surprised how much they like working with you.
Bring your Digital manager to them and do a free review of their SEO, PPC, whatever. Working off your client’s pc and bringing them an expert at no charge or obligation is much easier. Watch your partnership grow by providing so much expertise at no extra expense.
Don’t forget the value of F2F meetings. It’s a great way to build trust, connect, and unlock new opportunities. We are in a people business doing business with tons of local directs who still make most of their money serving retail customers F2F. Let’s get out and sell!
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 email@example.com or find him on Twitter @jeffcaves.
All Jason Timpf Needed Was A Moment of Clarity
“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this.”
There was once a time when Jason Timpf always included Colin Cowherd in his commute to work. As he made his morning drive to a sales job at Verizon, The Herd was appointment listening each morning for Timpf. The ex-college basketball player would marvel at Cowherd’s ability to make relatable references and break down all of the same basketball games he would watch the night before.
One of the unique things Timpf can remember from listening to The Herd during that time was Cowherd saying if FOX ever put someone in front of him, he could tell in five seconds if that individual had the skills to be a host. It was far from a hot take on the Lakers, but still a distinct moment that stuck with Timpf for many years. Little did he know at the time but Cowherd would soon give a five-second evaluation of Timpf’s career.
Jason Timpf was a late-bloomer in basketball. He played college hoops at an NAIA school in Utah, but not until his third year, after being a regular student the first two. After graduating, he pursued a basketball career overseas in India. However, after the league folded, he left the game for a normal job in the States.
There was a real desire for Timpf to get into the sports media business, but he was having difficulties finding the right fit. He wanted advice on the best way to start, but the tips he received just didn’t feel like the right initial path.
“I’d hear, hey, go bang on a radio station’s door and ask if you can work the soundboard,” said Timpf. “Or, try to go to a journalism school. Another big one that everyone was doing was the SB Nation blogs and FanSided blogs. I briefly tried to do that a little bit. But none of it was materializing the way that I had hoped.”
But then the lightbulb went off for Timpf and it happened during the middle of a podcast interview. In October of 2020, Jason Maples of Blue Wire reached out to Timpf to talk hoops on his podcast. It was in the middle of that interview when it all made sense. It felt exactly like the camaraderie he enjoyed with his old teammates and friends talking basketball. It was relaxed, fun and what he used to do for enjoyment. The perfect fit had just found Timpf organically.
“It was, ‘this is it,’” said Timpf. “‘This is how I want to do it.’ It was like a moment of clarity. Like, this is the way I want to talk about the game. Fortunately, I was working in real estate at the time, so I was super flexible, so I literally was just trying to fake it until I made it.”
While Timpf was grinding away on his new platform choice, he was constantly putting out his content on social media. For a handful of years, he had used Twitter as an outlet for basketball talk – not because he was trying to build his brand, but because it was his preferred method of sharing his takes during and after basketball games.
“My wife actually played basketball in college but she, like a lot of people, got out of it and was like, ‘actually I’m so sick of basketball, since it’s all I did growing up, that I’d rather not talk about it,’” laughed Timpf.
As Timpf had built up years of basketball takes on Twitter, he also built up followers. Not a crazy amount, but enough to have regular interactions with several basketball fans. He had no idea at the time, though he remembers occasionally interacting with him, but one of his followers in the beginning was Logan Swaim, who just happens to be Head of Content at The Volume.
Being such a huge fan of Cowherd, Timpf was absolutely familiar with The Volume, a company started by the FOX Sports Radio host. In fact, during his first plunge into podcasts, he quickly took note of how much success The Volume was having with instant reaction and video content. He wanted to emulate what they were doing and would host a Twitter Space after each Lakers game.
Swaim kept up with Timpf’s journey and continued to be impressed with what he saw. He was so impressed, in fact, that a video eventually made it in front of Cowherd’s eyes. It was the moment Timpf had always heard about while driving to his job at Verizon. Cowherd was about to make a declaration on Timpf’s abilities.
“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this,” Timpf said. “That was a huge boost of confidence for me, because it meant somebody I deeply respected believed I could work in this business.”
Timpf made his dream come true. He was offered a job by The Volume hosting Hoops Tonight. As much of a dream as it was when he was initially hired, the experience since has been nothing but ideal for Timpf. He gets to cover his favorite sport the way he wants to cover it.
“When I first started and Logan and I were structuring out the show, he kinda viewed it as my show would be the slower, more methodical pace, where I work through my thought process of a game. And also that I’d be a guest on other Volume shows for more conversational podcasts. I really wanted to break down pick and roll coverage. It’s just going to take me a while, so trying to do that in a debate show format or conversational format can get hard. It’s a place where I can let more of my crazy depth out. And I can also have a side format where it’s more conversational.”
Timpf has learned prep for podcasts is one of the biggest elements to being successful. As Hoops Tonight continues to draw impressive numbers over audio and YouTube, he’s figured out the best method to prepare for a long-form podcast where he’s hosting solo.
“I digest the game from the simple concept of how the game was won,” said Timpf. “Where was it won? There’s 100-something possessions in this game, there’s seven different storylines and several runs and sequences and sways in momentum, but what’s the one? Usually I’ll target that first in the opening segment of the show.
“While I’m watching the game I’ll take ancillary notes. About five minutes before I record, I sift through everything I’ve written down and limit it down to the things I think are most important. But generally the flow of the show is how the game was won.”
The whole experience has been gratifying and a full-circle moment in many ways for Timpf. Not only has it been vindicating to do things his way and see it become a success, but he’s gotten to do it with someone who he considers an idol.
Sure, Timpf always envisioned growing up he would be talking to Cowherd as a pro athlete, but talking to him as a colleague is certainly the next best thing. So when he got the call to talk with Cowherd during last year’s West Conference Finals, he didn’t hesitate.
“I was so incredibly nervous, as you could imagine,” laughed Timpf. “But I immediately remember him making me feel comfortable and confident. It immediately calmed me down.
“This is probably my favorite part of the entire experience, I think a lot of people think that these networks try to shove people in certain directions and The Volume has given me such freedom to cover the game exactly the way I want to and nobody is telling me to say crazy stuff. Nobody is pushing me in certain directions, it’s like total creative freedom. The way that Logan and Colin have been letting me do me, so to speak, has been so cool. To see my version of what I want it to look like makes me feel vindicated for talking about it the way I want to.”
Tyler McComas is a columnist for BSM and a sports radio talk show host in Norman, OK where he hosts afternoon drive for SportsTalk 1400. You can find him on Twitter @Tyler_McComas or you can email him at TylerMcComas08@yahoo.com.