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Jeff Van Gundy Continues to Evolve

“We have an easy job,” expressed Van Gundy. “We watch the game and we try to convey what has happened, what could happen or what should happen. That’s not about preparation as much as it is [about] studying the teams over the course of the year.”

Derek Futterman

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Jeff Van Gundy
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While ESPN altered its NBA Countdown crew this year to include Mike Greenberg, Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon and Jalen Rose, the network declined to alter its lead broadcast team. Calling his record 15th NBA Finals, play-by-play announcer Mike Breen led the booth beginning in Game 3, with his absence in the beginning of the series being due to a positive COVID-19 test result. For 14 of those 15 NBA Finals broadcasts, Breen has been joined by two former NBA head coaches – Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy.

Van Gundy never played professional basketball, and has not coached in the NBA since his stint with his hometown Houston Rockets from 2003-2007. Growing up in a basketball-oriented family, both he and his brother Stan have served as head coaches in the NBA, and their father Bill was a head coach at the college level.

Van Gundy began his professional coaching career with the New York Knicks, first as an assistant coach and then as the team’s head coach. In this role, he led star players Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Allan Houston and his current broadcast colleague Jackson in the team’s quest to bring a championship back to New York City. While Van Gundy was never able to capture an elusive championship as a head coach in the NBA, he was never afraid to take risks – one of which was resigning as head coach of the team 18 games into the 2001-02 season. Although he came to admit that the decision came out of “momentary frustration” in a 2013 interview on The Michael Kay Show, what resulted was the start of a new chapter in his basketball life.

“I had no intention of broadcasting at all,” said Van Gundy. “I got into it because Marv Albert, who was the Knicks broadcaster at the time I was coaching the Knicks… pushed for me to get a chance at TNT in-between my time coaching the Knicks and going to the Rockets.”

Van Gundy’s first game as an analyst with Turner Sports came shortly after his departure from the Knicks, working alongside Albert and Mike Fratello. While he was coaching, Van Gundy was perturbed by the objectivity Albert communicated when broadcasting Knicks games on the MSG Network, and the two hardly spoke to one another. Despite the apparent animosity before they were colleagues, Van Gundy is grateful for Albert for believing in him and showing him the ropes of broadcasting, especially in a three-man booth.

“I was just fortunate when I started with Marv and Mike for television that they embraced me because I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t really know anything about broadcasting,” said Van Gundy. “Because I had three-man booth experience when I went to ESPN after I was done coaching the Rockets, I found it a lot easier.”

Few teams employ a three-man television booth on regional sports networks; however, most of the national broadcast booths consist of a play-by-play announcer and two analysts. Throughout his time in sports media, Van Gundy has usually been one part of a three-person booth, a variation of the traditional broadcast he prefers.

“I enjoy the three-man booth more than the two, which I think is a little bit… unusual because I love being around my friends,” said Van Gundy. “Mark and Mike taught me so much about broadcasting because when I came in, they had a lot of experience.”

Most broadcasters engage in extensive preparation for each game they call – whether it be through talking to team personnel, pouring over statistics and box scores or documenting key notes and storylines in personalized charts. For Van Gundy though, having a copious amount of notes can be counterintuitive – sure, there may be more information available for him to convey, but reading them in the midst of game action takes his eyes off the court, attenuating the effectiveness of his analysis. As long as he has kept up with the latest news around the NBA, and while at the arena, found dessert and a Diet Coke prior to tip-off, Van Gundy is ready to contribute to each broadcast.

“We have an easy job,” expressed Van Gundy. “We watch the game and we try to convey what has happened, what could happen or what should happen. That’s not about preparation as much as it is [about] studying the teams over the course of the year.”

Instead, Van Gundy and Jackson let Breen lead each broadcast, relying on his voluminous basketball knowledge and broadcasting ingenuity, along with his detailed preparation for each game. As analysts, their role is to enhance the points Breen is making, and center their comments on the game action, dispersing them when appropriate throughout the broadcast.

“Mike sets the tone, [and] we play off him,” said Van Gundy. “He’s like a great point guard, and you share. You don’t get to talk all the time, and that’s cool because that’s what being a part of any good team is – it’s about sharing and sacrificing. It’s not hard because I enjoy who I’m doing the games with.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world of sports has had to remain vigilant in taking health and safety protocols to slow the spread of the disease with the understanding that players, team personnel and other employees, along with close contacts, could be sidelined from entering the arena with an inconclusive or positive test result. While Van Gundy was placed into health and safety protocols prior to Game 1 due to an inconclusive test result, he quickly returned for Game 2 after subsequent negative rapid tests. Yet Breen, along with ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, remained in protocols upon Van Gundy’s return, meaning that Van Gundy would work with play-by-play announcer Mark Jones for Game 2 of the Finals. Fostering a working chemistry between Jones, Jackson and himself was not difficult for Van Gundy though since he gets to work with a variety of different broadcasters throughout the regular season.

“Because we work with everybody during the course of the year, I thought it was really easy to work with Mark,” said Van Gundy. “Mark’s an outstanding broadcaster; he loves the NBA; he works exceptionally hard, and he just has a positive vibe to him.”

Sports media as a whole has and is continuing to experience changes because of evolving technologies, changes in consumer habits and increased accessibility for different groups of people to share their opinions to a larger audience. One of the changes that the industry has seen is the evolution of secondary or alternate broadcasts, especially following the success of Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli, also known as the Manningcast, and the recent introduction of Sunday Night Baseball with KayRod.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the NBA, ESPN broadcast a throwback broadcast of a matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks, complete with graphics and visuals from various decades. Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson dressed in the signature ABC Sports gold jackets made famous by Howard Cosell, welcomed guests including Marv Albert, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton and featured special looks back into the storied history of the league.

“I enjoyed it tremendously,” remarked Van Gundy. “It’s a totally different thing than watching the [standard] broadcast that was done.”

Even though Van Gundy enjoyed calling an alternatively-presented basketball game, he still deviates towards the traditional broadcast style when it comes to watching the game for the sake of  closely viewing the action on the court.

“Options are always good, and I haven’t seen the Michael Kay-Alex Rodriguez one yet, but I did tune in every once in a while to the Manning brothers, and they’re obviously incredibly accomplished, knowledgeable and likable,” said Van Gundy. “I thought it was really good, and again, I’m not going to watch the whole game on one of those, but I love tuning in and then going back to a regular broadcast as well, so I think choice and options are great.”

Many NBA players are looking to be present in the media for more than solely showcasing their athletic skills, along with partaking in an occasional interview. A growing group of players characterize themselves as catalyzing a “new age” of sports media in which fans obtain analysis directly from active players, whether it be during the season or in the offseason. For example, Warriors forward and four-time NBA champion Draymond Green hosts his podcast, The Draymond Green Show, on Colin Cowherd’s podcast network “The Volume,” and also joined Turner Sports on a multiyear contract as a contributor on Inside the NBA.

Additionally, throughout the playoffs and at other points during the season, active players, such as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley and New Orleans Pelicans guard C.J. McCollum, have appeared across ESPN’s programming to give their opinions on the game at large and participate in debates. As this age of “new media” has evolved, some basketball pundits have criticized these players for having other commitments outside of those on the court. As a former head coach, Van Gundy sees no issues with their endeavors – that is, unless they begin to interfere with their play.

“This is professional sports; how you spend your free time and what you do in your free time [is something] I had no interest in, other than making sure you prioritize your job,” Van Gundy said. “[In the] offseason – like McCollum and Beverley – I applaud them [because] they’re trying to position themselves for what’s next after playing, and these guys think a lot about that.”

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant recently made headlines when he stated on Twitter that analysts such as Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe have changed the game of basketball for the worse. Additionally, Durant applauded McCollum and ESPN analyst JJ Redick for ambushing Smith on-air about discussing Russell Westbrook’s appearance at new Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham’s introductory press conference. As a former head coach, Van Gundy cannot speak directly to NBA players feuding with the media; however, he recognizes how fewer topics of discussion stay internal than ever before.

“It’s just so different because you tried to keep everything in the locker room,” Van Gundy reflected. “Now nothing stays in the locker room. It’s just different.”

Creating content has become much like an elevator pitch in the sense that you need to grab the attention of the consumer within the first few seconds to genuinely captivate them. As the average attention span of human beings continues to dwindle within a culture built on the principles of both immediacy and spontaneity, it may be time for professional sports to adapt before the issue becomes more aggrandized.

“I think every demographic would appreciate shorter games,” said Van Gundy. “I think trying to cut down the window to a two-hour window would be terrific. I would be for eliminating more timeouts, doing ads during free throws because no one cares about free throws until the last couple of minutes [in] a close game… I don’t even know if I’d have halftime – just play four straight quarters.”

The median length of an NBA game has been two hours and 12 minutes, and has remained within a few minutes of that figure over the last five years. Yet nationally-televised games, according to research published by Thehoopsgeek.com, averaged five minutes longer than games on regional sports networks this past season, largely because of additional time allocated for commercials.

Between the lines, Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are both on the path to basketball immortality because they changed the game through mastering the three-point shot. Four championships later, these “Splash Brothers” continue to prove to be must-see TV year-in and year-out, and seeing them live at the brand-new Chase Center in San Francisco costs a family of four an average of $740 according to a study by TeamMarketing Report. That figure ranks second in the league, only trailing the New York Knicks, an iconic original team in the NBA that consistently sells out games at Madison Square Garden, although the franchise has not won a championship since the 1972-73 season.

The Warriors are consistently televised nationally and are often talked about as the blueprint for success in the last decade, and their franchise value has soared to $5.6 billion valuation, second-highest behind the aforementioned Knicks. None of these accomplishments would have been possible though had it not been for a cognizance of where and how to improve. Outside of the lines, the same mindset has been adopted behind the scorers’ table since games began being televised, and now 20 years later, ESPN continues to position itself at the forefront of innovation and sustained success.

“In most cases after every broadcast, everybody says ‘Great job. Great job. Great job,’ [but] that’s not really helping you improve,” said Van Gundy. “[Mike Breen] thought it was imperative [for] everybody to find someone with the expertise in broadcasting who will tell you the truth…Having someone in this business be a truth-teller versus a back-slapper is incredibly important.”

Van Gundy knows he is lucky to call his colleagues his friends, and having that relationship has enhanced the quality of the broadcast over the last 15 years he has been on the other side of the scorers’ table.

“I had known Mike and Mark, and became friends with them for 30 years,” said Van Gundy, “and [I’ve known] Lisa since I came to ESPN and Tim Corrigan, our producer. That core group – I’ve developed deep and abiding friendships with. That’s what makes it truly enjoyable; you can do something with people you care deeply about.”

As his career in sports media continues, Van Gundy might want to try his hand at sideline reporting for either hockey or college football, but only as a substitute if one of the broadcasters has to miss the game. Other than that, he considers himself fortunate and looks forward to the years to come as a member of the ESPN broadcast team.

“To be able to go right from coaching to this [and] do it with friends – I’m just really beyond fortunate,” expressed Van Gundy. “I’m just thankful everyday that I’ve got a job.”

BSM Writers

Chris Broussard Is No Longer Just A ‘Basketball Guy’

“There’s no doubt that gets attached to you and that can be good because you’re seen as an ‘expert’ in one sport which is great.”

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After embarking on a career in sports, Chris Broussard made a name for himself as a writer, specifically as it pertains to covering the NBA. Whether it was covering the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, covering the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets for The New York Times, or doing television hits for ESPN, Broussard had always, whether it was justified or not, been pigeon-holed as a “basketball guy”.

That was the perception then, but today, the reality is different.

“There’s no doubt that gets attached to you and that can be good because you’re seen as an ‘expert’ in one sport which is great,” said Broussard, the co-host of First Things First on FS1 and the co-host of The Odd Couple on FOX Sports Radio. 

“But what was good for me was that at ESPN, I had done First Take with Skip Bayless a lot.  There were a few years where it was a rotation and I was in that rotation. That enabled me to at least do the other sports.” 

Broussard has certainly made a seamless transition from print to electronic media.

After joining The New York Times in 1998, Broussard started to get television exposure doing local hits and then appearances on the various ESPN platforms would soon follow. He joined ESPN full-time in 2004 as a writer for ESPN The Magazine, but that also included regular guest appearances and fill-in hosting opportunities on shows like First Take and the opportunity to be a co-host for NBA Countdown for the 2010-11 season.

With that gig came the opportunity to work with Michael Wilbon, Jon Barry, and his childhood hero Magic Johnson.

“I think that may be have been the pinnacle because Magic is Magic,” said Broussard. “He was my favorite player until Jordan came along and (with Wilbon and Barry), we just had great chemistry.”

After one season, Broussard and Barry were replaced by Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose. A few years later, Broussard would make the move that would bring him to the next chapter of his career.

In 2016, Broussard left what amounted to being just a reporters role at ESPN for a new opportunity at FS1 where he would also be an analyst as well as a regular panelist for shows like Undisputed, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, First Things First and Lock It In.  In 2018, he began co-hosting The Odd Couple radio show with Rob Parker on FOX Sports Radio.

And then in August of 2021, Broussard was named the full-time co-host of First Things First, something that almost had happened when the network first launched.

“When they asked me to come on as a full-time co-host, it was great and maybe a long time coming,” said Broussard. “I know when Jamie Horowitz first brought all the people over from ESPN to be on FS1 in 2016, he was considering doing a show where Nick Wright and I were the co-hosts.”

Broussard now co-hosts the show with Wright and Kevin Wildes.

“I thought that I really just fit right in with the chemistry and it’s just been a great trio,” said Broussard. 

Born in Baton Rouge, Broussard and his family also lived in Cincinnati, Indiana, Syracuse, Iowa, and Cleveland.  He was a star football and basketball player for Holy Name High School in Parma Heights, Ohio and went on to play basketball for Oberlin College, an NCAA Division III school in Ohio.

Believe it or not, his first love was not basketball.

“My favorite sport growing up was football,” said Broussard. “I played football through high school. I played basketball at Oberlin College but they recruited for me football and basketball. I even played baseball up until I was about 16 years old.” 

So much for being just a basketball guy, right?

After college, Broussard had a decision to make. He knew he wanted to be a sports reporter but wasn’t sure if it was going to be print or electronic media. When he was an intern at The Indianapolis Star, he spoke to people in the know about which direction to go.

“I was told that it’s just easier and there are more spots in print journalism than there are in television and radio,” said Broussard. “I chose print because I thought I had more opportunities.”

Broussard’s first taste of covering pro sports was in 1995 at the Akron Beacon Journal when he was a backup writer covering the Cleveland Indians who would go to the World Series for the first time since 1954. Then came covering the Cavaliers for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and then it was off to New York and a bit of culture shock for Broussard.

During his 2 ½ years covering the Cavaliers, Broussard typically wore a rugby shirt, jeans and sneakers at games. But he noticed that when the Knicks and Nets would come to Cleveland or when Broussard travelled to New York and New Jersey when the Cavaliers visited the Knicks and Nets, that the New York writers would typically wear suits and ties when covering the games.

So, when he interviewed for the job with The New York Times, Broussard had an important question for his future editor.

“I asked him when I was being interviewed for the job do they require that your writers dress up,” said Broussard. “He said no but they do generally in New York because they know television opportunities are there. So, when I started working at The New York Times, I started dressing up wearing a suit and tie or sportscoat and tie whenever I would cover games.  Ultimately that led to television.”

And the rest is history.

This coming week, Broussard will be busy co-hosting his shows from the Super Bowl in Arizona. It’s one thing to host a radio show or a television show from a studio but it’s really something special to do it from a live event, especially on the giant stage of the Super Bowl.

And this week, Broussard will be center stage in front of a lot of ears and eyeballs.

“It’s always great,” said Broussard. “FOX Sports Radio always has one of the biggest and best platforms on radio row. It’s always fun when you’re doing these live shows at the big events and you’ve got an audience, it really can kind of bring out the best in you. I’m excited about it both for TV and radio.”

Chris Broussard has certainly come a long way in his career in sports. 

From his days as an athlete in high school in college to getting his start as a write to a transformation into a radio and television personality, Broussard has worked hard to get to where he is today.

“I haven’t written a word since I went to Fox,” said Broussard. “I do feel fortunate that I’ve been able from morph from a writer into TV and radio. What you want to do in this business is stay relevant and you want an audience and a platform. There’s not that many people who get that opportunity to do it.”

He’s no longer just a “basketball guy”. He’s a “sports guy”.

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BSM Writers

Radio Row Is One of Sports Radio’s Worst Weeks

Radio Row is a great opportunity for hosts, PDs, and executives. But it isn’t an inherently great opportunity for your listeners.

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From strictly a listener’s perspective, sports radio the week of Super Bowl’s Radio Row is one of the worst weeks.

Before I was a sports radio programmer, I was a sports radio listener. And while I didn’t realize it at the time, I was listening to sports radio with a programmer’s mindset. And every year, I would spend the entire week listening to shows produced live — or pretending to be live — from Radio Row at the Super Bowl. And each year, I would wonder “What the hell is the point of this?”

And now, as a former sports radio programmer, I will sit this week and listen to shows produced live — or pretending to be live — from Radio Row at the Super Bowl. And each day, I will wonder “What the hell is the point of this?”

Who does it serve? Let’s take an in-depth look at that question.

It serves the NFL. Hundreds of media professionals are stationed at its largest event, talking about it, ensuring it stays at the forefront of the public consciousness and providing millions in value for its sponsors.

It serves NFL players. Both past and present. Dozens of current and former stars will flock to Radio Row to record dozens of interviews. They’ll be paid thousands of dollars to pitch their wares as often as possible while expanding their brands outside the cities in which they currently or formerly played.

It serves the sponsors of NFL players. Radio Row provides a one-stop-shop for sponsors to send their endorsers down a line of interviews to continually get in front of new audiences. Scale, baby!

It serves the hosts, PDs, and executives. You get a working vacation! It’s awesome! I live in the Midwest, and yesterday was one of a handful of days I’ve seen the sun since November. Being in Arizona in early February is phenomenal! Plus, you get to hob knob with celebrities, get your photos taken, go to awesome parties with extravagant hor dourves and open bars, and it’s fantastic. You deserve the little break Radio Row provides; better yet, it’s all on the company dime. You get some bonding with your co-workers, you get to network, and it really is an awesome opportunity.

But you know who isn’t served? Your listeners. At least, the vast majority of them. Because here’s the reality: While it’s really cool that you’re hanging out with other radio folks, and you’ll have a plethora of former and current players swinging by for interviews, your listeners really don’t care. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s the truth. While there’s a subset of listeners who are living vicariously through you — and that can’t be completely shortchanged, it’s a big deal — the overwhelming majority couldn’t be less invested in your Radio Row interviews.

Think of it from a listener’s viewpoint: Outside of the Bay Area, do you think anyone has thought “Man, I wonder who Kyle Juszczyk thinks is gonna win the Super Bowl?” I’ll tell you that, no, they haven’t thought that, and they don’t particularly care what he thinks. Furthermore, they definitely don’t care that he’s sponsored by Old Spice, which gives him the P-P-P-Power!™

And it would be fine if there was one interview here or there, but there are some shows — both local and national — that will completely fill out their rundowns with interviews with people your listeners don’t especially care about, ask questions that your listeners don’t especially care about, and end the interview by asking who they think wins Sunday, why they think that way, and allow them to pitch their boner pills or whatever else they’re schlepping. Every day. For five straight days. For two, three, four, or even five hours.

It stinks.

Self-serving isn’t bad as long as you recognize it’s self-serving. And that could be potentially the biggest issue. Now and then, you’ll get a host that is sanctimonious and pretends they’re doing the listener a favor by spending a week away from their family in a warm weather destination, rubbing elbows with some of the greatest players — both past and present — in the game. You’re not. You’re spending a week eating all the free food you can find, drinking all the free beer you can find, and taking pictures to post on your Instagram. And that’s fine, but don’t pretend like it’s something it isn’t. You can talk yourself into its importance, but it’s important to you.

Radio Row is a great opportunity for hosts, PDs, and executives. But it isn’t an inherently great opportunity for your listeners. You can turn it into one with thoughtful questions, a unique spin on the traditional interview, or avoiding the same boring questions your subject has been asked 1,000 times during the day, but you’ve gotta go the extra mile to accomplish that. And I hope that’s not something you lose sight of this week.

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BSM Writers

What Are The Right Social Media Answers For Sports Radio?

“What are the limits of social media for radio brands? Are there any?”

Demetri Ravanos

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Social media does not stand still. The platforms that matter today can fall out of favor with the general public in the blink of an eye. Conversely, the right feature or attention from the right people can catapult a site’s importance in the social pecking order.

How does a radio company determine what matters? Are all formats received similarly on social media or is sports radio such a unique animal that brands have to be much more deliberate in how resources are allocated? To answer these questions, I turned to some experts. 

Tom Izzo doesn’t exclude any platform when he is plotting WFAN’s social strategy. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter may each attract a different type of sports fan, but they all matter in building and serving the larger audience.

“There is sports radio audience on every social media platform, you just have to talk to them differently depending where you are,” he told me. “The language and audience on Twitter is different than the language and audience on Facebook, but there is audience everywhere.”

Audience is everywhere. That’s what is at the heart of the conundrum. How do you best utilize your assets in a landscape that isn’t just constantly changing? It’s also constantly growing!

Lori Lewis has overseen social media strategy at an executive level for Cumulus, Westwood One, Jacobs Media and iHeart among others. Now she coaches companies on creating great content with her own company, Lori Lewis Media

She told me that the key for not just sports stations, but for any brand, is understanding what their audience prioritizes. That doesn’t mean it should be the brand’s only focus though.

“Obviously, for sports radio, it’s Twitter. But don’t sleep on short-form vertical video,” she said in an email. “When done right, you’ll see success (meaning converting views into new fans) with YouTube Shorts and/or Instagram Reels as well as playback videos on Facebook (those are visual replays from the audio show).”

Converting views into new fans was taken to a bit of an extreme in Nashville. 104.5 The Zone launched Zone TV in 2021. Will Boling took the lead in creating the product. He says that launching a proprietary video stream was never about moving away from other social platforms. It was about giving listeners more access to better content in more places.

“Our video platform affects a lot of our social strategy,” he said. “On Twitter, we don’t want to just be seen as a radio station, but as a media company. Our Twitter stream allows us to react to breaking news while also sharing our broadcast at the same time. And with Twitch’s video producer, we can create featured clips from shows whenever we want. That allows us to push video out of featured guests, funny callers and anything in between to promote our podcasts from each show too.”

Video matters so much more than ever before. It does not matter who you talk to or what platform it is you are talking about. The answer always comes back to using video to attract more eyeballs.

TikTok, our most controversial social video platform, is trying to figure out what its reach could be without the visuals. Last month the company announced that it would experiment with its version of podcasts – a mode on the app that would allow users to experience TikTok content as audio-only entertainment.

I asked all three of my experts what their initial impression of the story is. Only Izzo expressed reservations.

“Probably no need for us to be first anywhere if there isn’t any particular benefit to doing that,” he said. “We’ll watch and see what happens and if it turns out that people like consuming podcasts on TikTok we will certainly address that.”

That doesn’t mean WFAN hosts and bosses won’t keep a keen eye on the feature. I would anticipate that there may be some experimental posts that either don’t receive much of a push or perhaps never see the light of day at all.

Boling is adamant that any use of TikTok is a wise one for stations. He says anything set up with an algorithm that rewards creators for posting content the audience connects with is an asset that cannot be ignored.

“We use social media to push listeners to our YouTube channel because it’s an algorithm based platform. If we get someone to click on our page once, then our channel will get recommended to them the next time they get on YouTube. TikTok helps radio companies accomplish that and own every space in the digital market right now.”

Unsurprisingly, it’s Lori Lewis that approaches the feature in the most scientific way. Do TikTok podcasts represent a sort of new frontier for audio brands? Sure, but just like Grogu and the Mandalorian, you have to go there and poke around before you can figure out how it will work best for you.

“If TikTok expands to audio, how might you complement the mothership (The FM/AM stick) and build on the trust you’ve earned from your show? What’s a unique way to tap into new features? As social media evolves, so should our approach.”

What are the limits of social media for radio brands? Are there any? Since the onset of the pandemic, so much listening has shifted from terrestrial signals to digital streams. We have totally rethought what we are. Why should it stop with how our audience consumes our content? 

I asked Lewis if we are too narrow in thinking about how social media can serve us. Are we so focused on what is that we have not considered what could be? Can a brand have one identity on air and use social media to create something that does not mirror it, but instead compliments it?

“Depends on why you’re using social media,” she answered. “If you’re leveraging social media for increased awareness and building trust to drive more engagement during your show, it might not make sense to be different on social than on-air. But, if you’re a vanilla brand limited to creativity on-air, why not? Throw yourself out there. Show your real, relatable self (assuming it’s legal and appropriate, ha-ha). Relatability wins every time.”

Do we have to be deliberate in sports radio with how we allocate our social media resources? Yes, but that doesn’t mean there is a single correct answer. 

Strategy matters on air. It’s no different on social media. But in order to figure out the best strategy, you have to be open-minded and eager to play around with new offerings to determine what works.

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