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LeBron is LeGone, Giving Way To A Reviled Superteam

With James likely finished as a champion, his influence remains in the form of the Brooklyn Nets, a merger of three corporations who now loom as unpopular NBA title favorites — unless they beat themselves

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As a student of Hollywood and a mogul in progress, LeBron James knows how to squeeze a story line. And his personally calculated script would have been as triumphant as any known to sports: Win two or three titles with the Lakers, produce a summer cinematic hit in “Space Jam 2,” chop it up on his barber-shop show with Jay-Z and other entertainment legends, then play one final season with son Bronny.

Everything We Know About SPACE JAM 2 - Nerdist
Courtesy: Warner Bros.

Eat that, Michael Jordan.

But as an athlete who has played basketball without pause since age nine, and a celebrity who has been in the global blast furnace since 18, James also knows the realities of life. Such as: Humans age, bodies break down, and the hunger to dominate fades to passivity. Those dark sides converged Thursday night in a postseason narrative that spun backwards, not according to plan, and one he’ll have to accept the rest of his waning career.

Without his partner in championship crime, Anthony Davis, who is so brittle that Charles Barkley calls him “Street Clothes,” James again turned to putty in the defining early moments of Game 6. He didn’t attack the basket until the mesmerizing Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns had built a 29-point lead with a three-point barrage. When TNT analyst Grant Hill, hardly known for slicing critiques, zinged James on the broadcast — “He’s just not being aggressive,” he said — you knew this was a crossroads in sports history where a legend’s arrow pointed south. When a comeback failed, and James was eliminated for the first time in the opening round, it was time to perform the autopsy.

He no longer can depend on his health in a game, basketball, where he can’t be pocket-protected by 2,000 pounds of blockers like a certain 43-year-old quarterback. Nor can he win a series by himself, unable to summon fire and purpose among so many Dennis Schroders and Alex Carusos after Davis’ problematic groin gave out in the first quarter. Nor is he America’s darling, dividing the nation with proud but polarizing activism last year, then pissing off even his supporters by not revealing if he has been vaccinated while breaking NBA policy by appearing at a tequila-brand event.

The King’s twilight finally is upon him, summoning the truth. He never was going to one-up Jordan in history, his legacy vacillating to the end between Mount Hoopsmore and intermittent disappointment. And now, with the ouster of the Lakers coming just eight months after they won the Disney Bubble, he’ll limp toward his 37th birthday knowing that better NBA story lines have passed him by in the fast lane.

“I think about the moment we entered the Bubble to today. And it’s been a drain — mentally, spiritually and emotionally draining,” he said. “Every team had to deal with it. May the better man win. The Suns were the better man.”

He exchanged jerseys afterward with Booker, his protege, in what seemed like a passing of a generational torch. But James isn’t ready to give in to the new stars, dynamic as they are. He says he needs to rehab his ankle, which has bothered him for months, and needs for Davis to stay healthy. Both are ambitious goals, but in his mind, he’s still LeBron. Good luck, old man. “I don’t need motivation from anybody in this league. I motivate myself. I’m motivated by my family, my kids,” James said. “We have some young guns in this game — Luka (Doncic), Book, Donovan Mitchell, Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum — and those guys are great. But my motivation doesn’t come from them.”

And, no, he won’t play in the Tokyo Olympics. The budding mogul has a movie to sell and a red carpet to walk. “I’m trying to beat the Goon Squad,” he said of his “Space Jam 2” release next month. “I didn’t have success against the Suns, so I’ll focus all my attention on the Goon Squad.” He’d better start attacking the basket, or the Goon Squad will beat him, too.

This as a more compelling story, Booker and the Suns, reduced James to an afterthought. Said Booker, making Kendall Jenner and the desert people proud in a 47-point show: “That’s the way we wanted it. We knew we weren’t going to get where we want to go without going through them. I’ve been working my whole life for this moment. It wasn’t time to shy away from it.”

LeBron is LeGone, exiting stage right while Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden blur past him, realizing he’s no longer in their way. The Nets of Brooklyn borough are the conversation piece of a sports nation now, for better or worse, and don’t laugh when I suggest their second-round duel with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks IS the NBA Finals. With appropriate slack-jawed reverence for Doncic — who channels the shotmaking of Larry Bird, the court command of Magic Johnson, the showmanship of Steph Curry, the muscle of James and the late-game inevitability of Jordan — the Mavericks aren’t ready to win a championship. Nor are the Suns, who have won 44 of their last 58 but still must worry about the injury factor of Chris Paul, whose insurance commercials couldn’t be more fitting. Utah looks best in the West, with their three-point flurries and big man Rudy Gobert anchoring the league’s best remaining defense, but are the Jazz experienced enough to win a title? Philadelphia, in the East, would have posed a legitimate threat to the Nets and Bucks … until Joel Embiid, playing the best ball of his life, succumbed to his latest injury, a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.

76ers star Joel Embiid diagnosed with meniscus tear, will be day-to-da
Courtesy: USA Today Sports

So like it or not — and many do not — the Nets emerge as the epicenter of the playoffs. They are unpopular, almost reviled, because they came together like a corporate merger. Durant, a mobile corporation, left Golden State to prove he can plan his own parade after being treated like a rent-an-outlier. He was joined by Irving, bitter in Boston and moody about life, in a tag team. The third to follow this empowerment pattern, Harden, demanded out of Houston and hopped on the speed train. All three left behind hard feelings and frayed franchises, not healthy for the league, and in this sense, LeBron’s influence remains as he departs. He was the one who created the superteam concept 11 summers ago by uttering the words, “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.” Among those taking notes during “The Decision” were three young players with militant streaks who eventually sought to control their individual narratives. They don’t care how they’re perceived, which is fortunate for them because few fans can muster a liking for such a premeditated contrivance.

“I don’t even know what that means, villains,” said coach Steve Nash, dutifully defending his guys. “A lot of it is just narratives. People love to talk hoops and barbershop — whatever. It’s not like we did anything illegal. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do, not try to add to our roster, and just sit pat? That’s the idea of this league is to try to put together the best team you can.”

The owner of this once-dismal franchise, Joe Tsai, saw a poll that called the Nets the most hated team in sports. Durant, Irving and Harden seem to embrace the animus, if not ignoring it all together. Said Blake Griffin, a former superstar used to hearing catcalls: “Everybody always wants to have a team to build up but also hate at the same time. There’s always that thing. I don’t know that we pay that much attention to the villain aspect. We don’t take what everybody else is saying to heart. So what’s being said doesn’t bother us.”

Finally on the court together, after a regular season when their injuries looked suspiciously like rest-for-the-playoffs schemes, the Big 3 have a chance to be remembered as the most potent group ever. First the Nets must win a championship, and to hear them, it’s all but a foregone conclusion.

“We just don’t want to take any of this time for granted,” Irving said. “This doesn’t happen too often kind of in our culture, in our history, where three of the best scorers to ever play the game are on one team.”

“I think if us three are on the same page and play well and communicate with the rest of the guys, where to be on both ends of the ball, I take our chances against anybody,” Harden said.

Here’s where the matchup turns delicious, even as a morality play of sorts. Antetokounmpo, too, could have chosen the superteam route, coveted as he was by the Lakers, Heat and Warriors. Instead, he assumed the more difficult challenge of signing his max deal with a small-market team and trying to win an NBA title without a sidekick superstar or two. In that sense, he becomes the widespread rooting interest as the Greek in the heartland angling to take down the New York power players. Durant is smart enough to remind the world of Antetokounmpo’s status in the league, knowing he carries his own burden to win a championship after recent playoff letdowns.

Giannis Antetokounmpo focused on season, not contract situation | NBA.com
Courtesy: Getty Images

“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Durant said. “I mean, he’s a two-time MVP and Defensive Player of the Year for a reason, so we’re looking forward to the challenge. He’s long, athletic. He plays hard. He cares about teammates. He cares about winning.”

The rap on Giannis is that he can’t elevate his game, or lift his supporting cast, to a consistent championship level beyond the regular season. Does he want it badly enough? He is issuing no proclamations before this series, which begins Saturday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but he did take a playful nibble on a question about his routine as a family man. He was asked about his daily routine at home.

“OK, so I wake up. The first thing I do in the morning? I pee,” he said. “After I pee I take a shower. After that? I drink two bottles of water. After that? I go to practice. Prepare mentally to go to practice. Come to practice. Do whatever I got to do. Lift some weights. Shoot some shots. Ask coach, even, what I can do to get better. How can I help the team be better. After that, I just go back to my house. Special time with my son. Put him down for a nap and after that? I watch Netflix for like eight hours. My home has no basketball talk.”

Meanwhile, Durant is either meditating, sparring with strangers on social media or planning his next film project, while Irving is declaring war on the world in general and the media specifically. In that sense, it’s possible only the Nets can beat the Nets, which is where Nash enters the equation. So far, he has managed to steer this monster joyride to the title favorite’s role, not thought possible when Irving said before the season, “I don’t really see us having a head coach. You know what I mean? KD could be a head coach. I could be a head coach.” Nash wasn’t bothered by the comment, knowing he was hired to manage superegos, and Irving eventually acknowledged, “I think I’ve got to take back my comments in terms of a head coach back a few months ago.”

Yet knowing how Durant, Irving and Harden have had turbulent moments in defining career settings — Durant vs. Draymond Green, Irving vs. his Celtics teammates and fans, Harden vs. himself in the playoffs — at what point does Nash have to lay down the law? And will they even listen? Late in a Game 4 rout of Boston in the first round, the Big 3 still hadn’t been pulled. Why risk injuries? “Those guys didn’t want to come out,” Nash said. “So just let them go a few more minutes.”

So far, anyway, there has been no dissension, no arguing about box-score totals, no beefing from Harden about having to play point guard and distribute the ball. Durant makes sure he regularly props up the turbulent Irving, saying this week, “His mind is so different that stuff he brings out is just unexpected — one-legger off the right leg, shooting off the glass, left-handed finishes, ball-handling. He’s a joy to watch and play with.”

Said Irving, finally finding bliss: “Just grateful that we have a chance to be together in the trenches, me and my teammates.”

At some point, though, someone will have to awarded a final shot in a huddle during a tight game. Egos will be tested, especially when Harden is the only one of the three without a title and, startling as it seems, is the third option in clutch situations. Durant makes sure he buffs up Harden, too. “He comes into the gym every day, and it’s just excitement to play basketball,” he said. “The energy is just infectious, and you can tell everybody was drawn to James since the day he got here. His presence was just key for us.” 

Chances are, the championship will be won by a team with limited injury drama. Because of the short, 71-day layoff between the Bubble season and a new regular season, and a compressed 72-game schedule, attrition has been the dominant theme. Embiid, James, Davis, Paul and Doncic all have dealt with playoff setbacks. Durant, Irving and Harden are fresh. Too bad Curry didn’t have a healthy team around him, as a Warriors-Nets Finals would be an all-time combat collision. Too bad we can’t pit the Nets against the sport’s greatest showmen — Doncic and Curry and Booker and Embiid and Damian Lillard and Trea Young, enthralling story lines all.

We just want to see the Nets challenged. Hell, I’ll go so far to say I hope they lose. If they’re going down, the Bucks have the best chance to slay the superteam. Otherwise, I fear more headlines such as this whopper in the New York Times Magazine: “Kevin Durant and (Possibly) the Greatest Basketball Team of All Time.”

Brooklyn Nets: What did we see from Kevin Durant in his debut?
Courtesy: Getty

Jesus. The Jordan vs. LeBron argument has ended, once and for all, and now we’re going to argue Nets vs. the Jordan Bulls? Nets vs. the Showtime Lakers? Nets vs. the Kobe/Shaq Lakers? Nets vs. the Bird Celtics. Nets vs. the Russell Celtics? Or, in the superteam division, Nets vs. the LeBron Heat? And — ready — Durant’s Nets vs. Durant’s Warriors?

Please, someone just beat them.

BSM Writers

OutKick 360 Isn’t Just Talking To The South Anymore

“We came in with an understanding of Nashville, North Alabama, Southern Kentucky, East Tennessee, West Tennessee and then they email us saying, ‘let’s go for everywhere and see how this thing can grow’.”

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When Jonathan Hutton, Paul Kuharsky and Chad Withrow announced they were leaving 104.5 The Zone in January of last year, no one doubted where they would end up. The show, formerly known as The Midday 180, was clearly bound for OutKick. After all, the three hosts had been friends with Clay Travis for years.

The only real question was how would it be delivered to the audience? OutKick wouldn’t be the first company to re-launch what was once a radio show on a digital platform. That wasn’t enough for the trio though.

At The Zone, Hutton, Kuharsky, and Withrow had built a loyal following. It showed in the podcast and streaming numbers, something they didn’t think was valued properly, and it showed in the ratings. This show had a future on terrestrial radio. It was just a matter of introducing it to other stations in the geographic footprint that made the most sense.

“The root of the tree for us is Nashville, Tennessee, the southeast, and it kind of spreads from there,” Kuharsky says. “Based on where we did the show for 10 years, where our initial expertise is, where we have the deepest roots and all of that, it just makes sense.”

OutKick isn’t a little mom-and-pop business. Even before FOX bought the site, it had significant backing behind it. It’s not like the crew, now re-branded as OutKick 360, was flying completely solo.

When you are trying to syndicate a sports radio show though, you may as well be on your own if you do not have the backing of ESPN, FOX Sports, or CBS Sports Radio. Hutton said he was going to rely on that regional expertise as the sales pitch. These are guys that know what sports fans in the Southeast want. He was going to make sure Southern programmers knew that.

“On a Monday morning in April, if you wake up, chances are, if you’re listening to the coast to coast radio, they’re leading off with something New York Knicks or Lakers or they’re going to talk Yankees or they’re going to be discussing the New York Giants or whatever it might be,” Hutton pointed out. “But you can talk now, SEC football, coast to coast and people will tune in as well. NFL sells. Ratings prove that. And that’s what we were going to bring. We’re going to play the hits and speak to an audience in the heartland of America that wants to talk football 365!”

Hutton, Kuharsky, and Withrow have adopted a tag line for their show that makes their priority clear: “bringing sports back to sports talk.” Sure, there may be distractions. FOX Sports suits really got a kick out of Kuharsky talking about how much he spends on Christmas decorations for instance. At their hearts though, these three are sports fans.

That is assumed of all sports radio hosts. When you put the OutKick brand on a show though, people make other kinds of assumptions. After all, the site’s founder Clay Travis has made a hard swerve into the political realm and has made it clear that when he sold the site to FOX, his vision was that it could be “a bridge between FOX Sports and FOX News.”

Hutton says he has a simple message for people that approach the show with preconceived notions: just listen first.

“I would hope they would listen to the show and judge us based on the product. We are the sports branch wherever we have been or will go. And, you know, being agenda-free can be what our show is about when it comes to sports. I don’t care what channel you turn on, there is an agenda there. So our goal is to be agenda-free, and to be authentic in what we’re doing instead of laying down a preconceived line of thinking one way or the other.”

OutKick 360 Reveals New Logo, The First of the OutKick OTT Expansion –  OutKick

It doesn’t mean that the show is nothing but Xs and Os. Withrow admits that sometimes, the conversation may make you uncomfortable, but just because it might go that direction doesn’t mean it is a political statement.

“If we were to come on and say, you know, ‘this race-baiting episode by ESPN is pathetic,’ well, 95% of sports fans feel that way, but 95% of sports media won’t say it. So when we say it, someone’s going to say, ‘Oh, well, they’re just being political, they’re falling in line’ and I don’t see it that way. I see it as no, this is how sports fans who want sports think.”

Withrow continued, “They think it in black and white, not race. They think in wins and losses, and who’s the better quarterback? So stop infesting everything with some political leaning or just whichever way the wind is blowing. To me, that’s what OutKick was founded on, being fearless and saying what you think, regardless, if it’s going to be popular or not. Certainly what Clay has done has gone into the world of politics, but what we’re doing, if you listen to our show, we really don’t get into politics at all.”

When FOX completed its purchase of OutKick, plenty in the industry wondered what it meant for Hutton, Kuharsky and Withrow. Would FOX want to be in the broadcast radio network business?

Not only was the answer yes, but Withrow says one of the first notes the company had for the OutKick 360 hosts was “think bigger”.

“As Hutton said, we started with a very localized plan with radio stations and we told FOX that’s what we’re going to do. They looked at us like, ‘why the hell not Ohio? Why not Joplin, Missouri? Why not everywhere? You guys are thinking too small’. We came in with an understanding of Nashville, North Alabama, Southern Kentucky, East Tennessee, West Tennessee and they’d email us saying, ‘let’s go for everywhere and see how this thing can grow’.”

So there was the growth plan. OutKick 360 was going to live and die with football, the country’s most popular sport, it was going to be agenda-free in how it talked about the storylines on and off the field, and the hosts were going to be authentic in how they presented themselves to the audience.

There was actually one more ingredient that Hutton wanted to stress. The show was going to sound good.

Back when Covid began and radio shows everywhere had to learn to broadcast from home, it stood out to Hutton just how bad everything on his station sounded. The three asked around and got recommendations for what the right microphone to have was. A friend told them it was the Blue Yeti microphone, so they each went out and got one.

Now, OutKick 360 is broadcast from a state of the art studio and the equipment is upgraded from a $75 podcast microphone. In fact, BSM President Jason Barrett paid a visit to the trio’s 6th & Peabody location during a November business trip, and raved about the setup. He said it was private enough to allow the crew to focus on what was needed for the airwaves, yet also accessible for the hosts to interact with fans and host client events on-site. 

Withrow says the location has been a hit and the upgraded technology is important, but in a time when even the biggest shows and networks are getting away with terrible audio quality, the real asset is the people dedicated to upholding a particular standard.

Playoff Styles Clash, NFL Coaching Search Update, Primary Complaint + OK's  Don't @Me's Dan Dakich - YouTube

“The advantage that we have is David Reed, our producer, who’s great with audio quality and is a stickler for it. Hutton and David Reed came up in the same school with Titans Radio on audio and quality of the broadcast being paramount to everything. He really carries that with this show.”

OutKick 360 is distributed by Skyview Networks. Just because FOX owns their platform doesn’t mean the show can only do business with FOX Sports Radio affiliates. In fact, Hutton says Skyview has helped “take the show to a completely different level and scope.”

“They provide the horsepower for the OutKick 360 engine, and that allows us to bring advertisers and listeners together with our sports brand. We had several partners and stations already on board, and they were thrilled to learn Skyview was handling the daily distribution for us.”

The trio may have a little more muscle behind them now and the bosses may want them thinking bigger, but Kuharsky says they still have the same attitude when it comes to growing their network.

“It’s certainly open to whatever may come our way or wherever we can get our foot in the door.”

Radio stations interested in adding OutKick 360 can learn more by reaching out to Skyview Networks by clicking here.

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BSM Writers

Is There A Right Answer To The Olympic PR Problem At NBC?

“NBC is in a no win situation right now.”

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Some businesses allow you to operate with a moral compass. You can look at people, companies, or situations and do some quick math on what the blowback would be if you are associated with them and steer clear. Sports media, particularly when it comes to live game rights, isn’t one of those businesses.

NBC is in a no win situation right now. They have to get as many eyeballs as possible on the Beijing Olympics. The network is asking advertisers to spend upwards of $600,000 on a thirty second ad and have made promises about the size of the audience that will see those advertisers’ messages.

At the same time, the network is the focus of public scrutiny for even being in China to begin with. That criticism will be amplified if there is no mention of the many human rights violations the Chinese government has been accused of for decades.

What do you do? You don’t want to give people a reason not to watch. At the same time, you don’t want to give critics ammunition to discredit you as a news organization.

This isn’t just an NBC problem by the way. FOX faced similar scrutiny when it carried the 2018 World Cup, which was played in Russia. It will likely face a lot of the same scrutiny this fall when it carries the 2022 World Cup, which is being played in Qatar. That event in particular has been the subject of some truly horrific stories about the way the people building the new stadiums have been treated.

So what is the path forward? Fans always do some moral calculus when it comes to the ugly side of sports. How much are we willing to tolerate the exploitation of unpaid college athletes? At what point can we no longer tolerate the NFL looking the other way on head injuries?

International sports is a conundrum all its own because you are dealing with laws and customs that may not jive with our culture. Add truly deplorable organizations like FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to the mix and NBC, FOX, and other networks don’t have time for moral calculus. They are checking any concept of right and wrong at the door.

NBC dropped $7.75 billion in 2014 on broadcast rights to every Olympics, both summer and winter, until 2032. The financial terms between FOX and FIFA remain a mystery, but the network will carry both the men’s and women’s World Cup through 2026. The price tag may be very similar to what NBC paid the IOC.

Organizations like FIFA and the IOC want that big pay day. That is why long-term deals are negotiated. Between contractual obligations and the need to turn a profit on a huge investment, networks’ hands are tied.

Given all of the backlash, whether it is because the games are in China, skepticism over how necessary it is we do this in a pandemic (remember, NBC isn’t even sending live broadcast teams to the games), or just a general sense of fatigue given this once-every-two-years event just happened eight months go, NBC might like the option to tag out of the 2022 games. And honestly, who could blame the network for feeling that way?

But NBC and the IOC have a deal. FIFA and FOX have a deal. These American networks are pinned in a corner by having to lock in a significant financial commitment to an organization that has no qualms about doing business with international bad actors.

Truthfully, I don’t know what the right answer is for these networks. It is easy to say “Well, China is bad and Russia is bad and Qatar is bad, so don’t do business with FIFA or the IOC as long as they keep going to those places.”

Reality dictates that isn’t going to be the path NBC, FOX, or any other network takes going forward. These multi-week sporting events provide a lot of inventory and bring with them the chance to rack up huge ad buys.

Events like the World Cup and the Olympics also are more than just sporting events to these networks. They are a chance to generate content for news divisions and a free commercial for their upcoming slate of shows. There is a reason networks see the billions of dollars of value in them that they do.

No one wants to take a PR black eye. Right now, for the most part, at least as far as the American public is concerned, those have been reserved for the governing bodies.

How long does that remain true?

NBC is a major partner of the Olympics that brings a lot of attention and revenue to the table. Forget objectionable host countries. What happens in 2028 when the Games are in LA and then suddenly NBC is the face of silencing Americans raising legitimate concerns about what hosting the Olympics can do to a city?

At some point, every company and private citizen has to do moral calculus. The scariest part for these networks is dealing with broadcast partners like the IOC and FIFA requires having to give an answer before all variables can be revealed to you.

Not every big score requires that kind of risk, but not many events offer what the Olympics and World Cup do. Any network that wants to do business with the IOC and FIFA has to decide if it is willing to swim in the swamp with gators. That usually comes with a few bites.

The moral calculus is pretty simple. How many bites can you take from a gator before the ad buys start to take a hit?

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BSM Writers

Don’t Let Good Content Disappear, Never To Be Heard Again

There were so many times I’d be frustrated that a good piece of content would be allowed to simply vanish into thin air.

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Good content comes out of the speaker daily from the many talented hosts that work in our industry. Unfortunately, the life span of this content is far too short. It happens and then disappears into the ether. 

When something good happens on a show, you need to do more than turn it into a promo. You need to repurpose it. 

If you work on the content side of the building, here are some key things I feel you should keep in mind to help give your material more staying power.

SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS EVERY DAY, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT

When I was working as a content director, there were so many times I’d be frustrated that a good piece of content would be allowed to simply vanish into thin air, never to be heard or referenced ever again. 

When a host or guest says something that stands out, blast it to EVERY social media channel that you’re on. Do this consistently, not just on the days following a big story. Get everyone in the habit of believing and understanding that good content is put out there EVERY show and they need to keep their ears open for it. 

Don’t use audio clips; remember that social media is a VISUAL experience. If you’re videocasting your shows (and you should), put the video up online. If you’re not, create a cool-looking graphic with the quote (or quotes) of what was said. Create a template for every show, so it’s “plug and play” for producers to upload before they leave for the day. 

You’ll be surprised how often you can go viral.

MAKE YOUR CONTENT SNACKABLE

People consume content in small portions. No one has the time or the attention span to listen to an entire show or even an entire segment. Yet we deliver content to them in a primarily longform way. 

The solution? Make your content snackable.

Take a page out of what every professional sports league does. They realize that few people actually sit and watch an entire game. So they make a point to run well-produced highlight compilations and even condensed games, and upload them to all of their digital platforms. 

Radio stations should do the same. 

For on-demand consumption, don’t just load your show audio hour-by-hour. Make sure you’re uploading what you felt were the best parts of the program. 

Take it a step further and do the same for ALL of your shows. Create a daily “greatest hits” compilation that consists of the best moments from each show, every day. This can not only be loaded onto apps and digital channels, but can also reside comfortably in the smart speaker space. Imagine a consumer coming home from work after a long day and simply saying “Alexa, play today’s greatest hits from 101 The Fan!” They’d get a highlight real of all the good things that they missed. 

Naturally, these can be sponsored, which is certainly another plus and always justifies the extra work that goes into making this happen.

OFFER IT AS MATERIAL FOR OTHER SHOWS

I’ve said this before, some of the best content that I’ve heard was hosts talking about what other hosts said on their shows. 

It doesn’t happen often enough, and the biggest reason continues to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks for virtually every industry: lack of communication. 

Every show should have a written recap of what was discussed and when it was discussed, and that should be sent out to everyone who has a hand in content. (Hosts, producers, board ops, production staff, marketing, etc.)

Go the extra mile and have the actual audio of the good content sent out to the other shows so they don’t have to hunt for it on their own. This was something, even during my days managing stations, I would do on the regular. If I heard something great on the morning show, I would find the audio and send a clip of it to the midday and afternoon shows. Even if they didn’t use it, it would get hosts and producers in the habit of paying attention to what was said on our other programs.

If you have a sister spoken-word station in your cluster, get in the habit of sharing material with them when and where it fits.

Sometimes, the back-and-forth that can go on between shows ends up being legendary. It’s an opportunity you don’t want to waste.

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