Cooperstown, New York is the home of baseball’s immortal legends of the game. A place in which the greats from Ty Cobb to Babe Ruth; Tom Seaver to Pedro Martinez; Ted Williams to Jackie Robinson – and more are enshrined. Approximately 1% of all players who have taken the field at the major-league level have been granted membership into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
This is more than just a building; it is a pinnacle of achievement in the game of baseball – and it recognizes more than just former players. Throughout the museum, commissioners, front office staff, coaches and other team and league personnel are honored for the contributions they have made to America’s Pastime, and artifacts from all facets of the game are on display. That, of course, includes within media, and as the means of distribution and content demands have shifted over the years, those working in the profession have adapted to find new and innovative ways to cover the game both on and off of the diamond.
One of those members of the media – Tim Kurkjian – was honored this weekend by receiving the highest honor bestowed by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA): its career excellence award. Kurkjian has worked in the game of baseball for over four decades, developing an affinity for the sport from the time he was a child. But at that time, he never thought he would be reporting about the game across multiple platforms despite having ambitions in journalism.
Kurkjian attended Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland, the eponymous education locale named in honor of former Washington Senators starting pitcher Walter Johnson. Fittingly so, the school newspaper was named The Pitch, and Kurkjian contributed to the publication throughout his time there, serving as both a writer and the sports editor. At the time, Kurkjian was a novice in journalism but possessed a deft knowledge about baseball, empowering him to continue to pursue his dream of working within the walls of a ballpark even when times became difficult.
“I was a terrible writer in high school,” Kurkjian said. “After one especially bad story, one of my gym teachers told me: ‘Tim, that might be the worst story I ever read in the school paper. I hope you’re not planning on making this your life’s work.’”
Baseball was the vernacular for Kurkjian as a child, especially with his dad and brothers having played the sport. While he played both baseball and basketball at points in his childhood, he knew that it was unlikely he would ever make it professionally – not because of not possessing enough passion for sports. Instead, he felt he was simply too small, graduating high school at 5-foot-2 and weighing 110 lbs.
Through repetition, persistence and a determination to succeed, Kurkjian eventually made it to the big leagues as a writer – but not after several different stops along the way. Just as basketball legend Michael Jordan was left off of his high school varsity team and Orel Hershiser was cut from both his high school and college baseball teams, Tim Kurkjian experienced plenty of rejection early in his career. In his freshman year at the University of Maryland, he applied to write for the college’s newspaper The Diamondback, and was rejected. The next year, he re-applied and was rejected again. That pattern held for both his junior and senior years of college, leaving Kurkjian no choice but to find an opportunity off of the school campus.
“Instead of showing up every day to say ‘I need to work here,’ I just kind of said, ‘Alright, if you don’t want me, I’ll go and work somewhere else,’” Kurkjian said. “I went to The Montgomery Journal [and] it was critical that I got to write as much as I did.”
“It’s like anything else,” Kurkjian affirmed. “If you want to be a great free throw shooter, you have to shoot a lot of free throws. If you want to be a great shortstop, you’ve got to take a lot of ground balls. If you want to learn how to write, you’ve got to write as much as possible. That’s what The Montgomery Journal gave me was a chance to write, and I took it.”
After graduating college in 1978 with a journalism degree, Kurkjian was resolute in his pursuit of a job in journalism, so much so that he pleaded with management at The Washington Star to be hired by following up with the publication eight times. His final attempt was successful. He was hired to cover high school sports as a freelancer; however, he also answered phones, ran errands late at night and documented game statistics, scores and sports news. Kurkjian did whatever it took to succeed in sports journalism, learning mostly through observation and recurrence.
In January 1981, Kurkjian was brought on as a full-time staff member reporting on sports, an exciting and rewarding moment in his career. By August of that year though, the newspaper had gone out of business and Kurkjian was unemployed. While he was quickly able to pick up another job writing at The Baltimore News-American, that newspaper also folded a mere two months later because of financial shortcomings.
Thankfully for Kurkjian, his former boss at The Washington Star had landed a new job as the sports editor at The Dallas Morning News, and he was able to offer Kurkjian a sports reporting job that eventually transitioned into being the publication’s beat reporter for the Texas Rangers beginning in the 1982 season. In this role, he was replacing Skip Bayless, who had recently switched publications, and began the daily routine of following a team, interviewing its personnel and spending long days at Arlington Stadium and on the road.
Before the 1986 season, Kurkjian moved back to Baltimore, to cover the Baltimore Orioles as a beat writer for The Baltimore Sun, a role he would keep through the 1989 season. Even though the team was not always the most exciting to cover in terms of its success on the field, Kurkjian began evolving into even more of a sought-after talent and continued to enhance his career as a journalist. In fact, from the 1982 season-on, Kurkjian has had the opportunity to cover every World Series game for the outlets by which he was employed.
“It was the greatest job I’ve ever had; it was the hardest job I’ve ever had, and it prepared me for every other job I’ve ever had since then,” Kurkjian said of working as a beat writer. “It was so difficult because you’re away from home all the time, and even when you are home, you’re at the ballpark every night. You’re writing four stories a day; you’re writing on deadline; the pressure is enormous especially with the competition of the other newspapers. Once you do that, I think you can do anything else in this business.”
Following the conclusion of the 1989 Orioles season, Kurkjian was hired by Sports Illustrated (SI) as a baseball writer, continuing to cover the players, coaches and other personalities associated with the game. By 1997, Sports Illustrated and CNN had merged to create a sports news network called “CNN/SI,” and Kurkjian and his colleagues were delivered a message straight from upper management.
“The SI people told the writers, including me: ‘All you guys are on TV now,’” Kurkjian said. “I said: ‘I don’t want to do TV.’ They said: ‘You don’t have a choice – we’re doing TV now.’”
And thus, Kurkjian’s career as a television analyst and reporter began, requiring him to learn on the job how to transition his sports reporting, generally written and edited, into transferable, multi-platform content. One year later, Kurkjian made the move to ESPN to serve as a senior writer and a reporter for Baseball Tonight and expected to finally receive the assistance he was anticipating to learn how to work in television.
“I just assumed when I got to ESPN that they would tell me: ‘Okay, we’re going to teach you how to do television,’” Kurkjian said. “[Instead,] they said: ‘Look, there’s no time. You’re a reporter; you’re a writer; you know how to do this,’ and bang, I was on TV every day.”
Kurkjian credits his time working as a baseball beat writer for allowing him to seamlessly make the transition to television, notably his ability to write on deadline. In that instance, the ability to disclose information in a clear and concise manner, while also continuing to remain precise, accurate and fair, was a challenge he was acutely aware of and ready to take on.
“Get to the point and get out of there,” said Kurkjian. “That’s what TV teaches you – efficiency. But I’ve learned to love TV because it’s so spontaneous. For a newspaper, I’d have to wait until the next morning to see my work; at SI, I’d have to wait a whole week to see my work. Now on television, I can weigh in on a World Series game right now, and there’s something really cool about that.”
Journalists who have risen through the industry prior to significant development in the digital age are almost always finding ways to build their own brand and disseminate their content across multiple platforms, regardless if it is written or spoken. Peter Gammons, who began his career at The Boston Globe before moving to Sports Illustrated and ESPN, was, according to Kurkjian, the first writer to appear as a contributor on television while still writing, a practice that has become common.
“To me, Peter is the greatest baseball writer of all-time, and I can’t even begin to tell you the influence he had on me,” Kurkjian said. “….I’ve kind of followed Peter around – and my thinking there is: ‘There’s no better person to follow around than Peter Gammons.’”
As his time at ESPN continued, Kurkjian hosted a special edition of SportsCenter featuring two other baseball writers, Buster Olney and Jayson Stark, to report the news from the perspective of those who work in the press box. Working with both Olney and Stark, Kurkjian learned how to better dissect box scores and be more deft in searching for interesting statistics or notes about the game. From there, he had the opportunity to work on both Wednesday Night Baseball and Monday Night Baseball, and has contributed to Little League World Series coverage across the network, taking his talents into the broadcast booth and, sometimes, adjacent to the dugout.
“I just love being a part of a baseball broadcast because you’re in on every pitch,” said Kurkjian. “….I just hope I get more and more opportunities to do that. I do games on the radio too, [and] I’ve loved every bit of that because I grew up listening to games on the radio like every other dinky little kid in the ‘60s with a transistor radio to my ear.”
This past Sunday, Kurkjian’s family got to watch him receive the honor of a lifetime when he accepted the 2022 BBWAA Career Excellence Award in Cooperstown, officially cementing his place among the legends of the game. Learning he won the award constituted a moment he would never forget, especially receiving the news from former Cincinnati Reds catcher and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, and the weekend was surely emotional and memorable.
“It’s the greatest achievement of my professional career, and there is not a close second; there will never be a close second,” Kurkjian stated. “This is the greatest honor that a writer can achieve, and to be on the same list with so many great writers over the years from Shirley Povich to Roger Angell to my dear, dear friends Dan Shaughnessy, Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark, Rick Hummel – all these guys. There are so many days that I just wake up thinking: ‘This can’t be happening to me.’”
As the game of baseball continues to evolve in its presentation and style of play, Kurkjian hopes that fans appreciate the action on the field rather than being distracted by other debates or small details, including sabermetrics and player valuation. The atmosphere of the ballpark and the unpredictability of the action have nurtured Kurkjian’s love of the game for so many years and it has been the catalyst for all of his other endeavors, including authoring three books.
“I think it’s so critical that we never lose sight that the games are all that truly matters,” Kurkjian said. “….Nothing makes me happier than being at the ballpark and watching a game, and now calling a game or writing about a game. It is still why baseball is the greatest – is the games separate themselves.”
For aspiring journalists who look to cement themselves in the sports media industry, showing up and working hard may seem jaded pieces of advice, but their importance truly cannot be overstated enough. The differentiating factor for Kurkjian that comes from his innate proclivity towards baseball is his curiosity to learn more and be scholastic in his reporting. The writing figured itself out in the end and now Kurkjian is immortalized in a village in upstate New York that oozes a passion and love for the game.
“When something happens, ask yourself: ‘What happened there? When’s the last time I saw that? I need to understand that,’” Kurkjian said. “Then, go ask somebody, preferably the manager or a player: ‘What happened on that play? I need to learn about this.’ That’s the most important thing beyond being prepared and working hard – all the clichés – and it’s just [to] be curious. Open up your eyes and open up your ears to what’s going on around you. You’ll learn an awful lot if you keep doing that.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he serves as the production manager for the New York Islanders Radio Network and lead sports producer at NY2C. He has also worked on live game broadcasts for the Long Island Nets and New York Riptide. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks and wrote for The Long Island Herald. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
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.”
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 Akron Beacon Journal, 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. He shifted to covering the Cavaliers 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”.
Peter Schwartz has been involved in New York sports media for over three decades. Along the way he has worked for notable brands such as WFAN, CBS Sports Radio, WCBS 880, ESPN New York, and FOX News Radio. He has also worked as a play by play announcer for the New Yok Riptide, New York Dragons, New York Hitmen, Varsity Media and the Long Island Sports Network. You can find him on Twitter @SchwartzSports or email him at DragonsRadio@aol.com.
Radio Row Is One of The Worst Weeks For Our Listeners
Radio Row is a great opportunity for hosts, PDs, and executives. But it isn’t an inherently great opportunity for your listeners.
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.
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.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio. Reach him at email@example.com.
What Are The Right Social Media Answers For Sports Radio?
“What are the limits of social media for radio brands? Are there any?”
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.
Demetri Ravanos is the Assistant Content Director for Barrett Sports Media. He hosts the Chewing Clock and Media Noise podcasts. He occasionally fills in on stations across the Carolinas. Previous stops include WAVH and WZEW in Mobile, AL, WBPT in Birmingham, AL and WBBB, WPTK and WDNC in Raleigh, NC. You can find him on Twitter @DemetriRavanos and reach him by email at DemetriTheGreek@gmail.com.