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McCown Shares Broadcasting Tips

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Bob McCown, the famously cantankerous broadcaster, just marked 25 years as the host of Prime Time Sports. He has interviewed legends, earned his own nickname (“The Bobcat”) and has hung up on more than a couple of notable callers. Lately McCown has been focused on brand expansion, launching his own production company and buying Stoney Ridge Estate Winery in Ontario’s Niagara region. Here he shares some of the secrets to his success, and explains that he’s not really a jerk (he only plays one on the radio).

New passions fuel old projects

Over the past few years, friends were always saying to me that I should be “expanding my brand.” I didn’t really think much of it at first, but then about three years ago I made a list of other sorts of projects that I might be interested in getting involved in. I picked my two favorites, which were to form my own production company and to own a winery. I did both of those things, launching Fadoo Productions and buying Stoney Ridge Winery. Both have been going even better than I could have predicted. The production company recently shot the new Rush concert video which went to No. 1 on Billboard the first week it was out. It’s funny because the whole reason for starting these projects was to see if the value of this brand I had created could translate to ventures outside of broadcasting, but what I didn’t realize was how being part of new projects would contribute to my existing work. It’s not something you can quantify, but there is no question that I was at a point where the broadcasting was feeling a bit like an assembly line. Now I go into the workday feeling so energized and excited. Putting yourself in unfamiliar territory will do that.

They don’t have to love you, as long as they listen

When I started the radio show I was relying on my knowledge of sports. I thought that was what qualified me to be on the air, but I soon figured out that that wasn’t the way this industry works. I remember one night where I finished a tough show and came to this realization that despite my knowledge base, I simply wasn’t an interesting enough person to compel people to listen to me. So instead of focusing on being the authority, I started to think about the job in terms of acting. I thought about Robert De Niro in some great movie – that’s not him, that’s his character. To create my own character I literally sat down with a pen and paper and made a list of characteristics. I decided this guy would be a know-it-all – impatient, arrogant, obnoxious. Of course there was the possibility that he might anger people so much they wouldn’t listen, but they weren’t listening anyway, so it wasn’t a big risk. The very next night “Home Bob” left and “Show Bob” showed up. I would hang up on people, insult people on the air. And you know, success came almost immediately. People didn’t like me, but they listened.

The best preparation is an open ear

I’ve never gone into an interview with a list of questions. I may have a direction that I want to go in, but my philosophy for a long time now has been that an interview is nothing more than a conversation, and a conversation is predicated on reacting, rather than planning. The key is not to be so caught up in your own role that you lose the ability to listen. Same thing with a list of questions – if you have them in front of you then invariably you’re thinking about the next question rather than listening to the answer. The answer will give you the next question and then that answer will give you the question after that. The subject’s response always sets the road map for the interview. After it’s over, someone might ask me, “Did you get what you wanted?” and I’ll say, well I didn’t know what I wanted, but I got something. And it was a real conversation. For me, that’s the goal.

Silence is golden

I never went to broadcast school, but as far as I know they still teach this concept that dead air is a terrible thing and that as a radio host, your most important function is to fill it. I totally disagree. For me a silence in an interview can be a dramatic pause – either an exclamation point or a “dot, dot, dot” like a drumroll. People don’t change the channel. If anything they turn up the volume to see what’s coming. In an interview the willingness to be silent is a great technique for getting your subject to go off script. Let’s say someone has given me an answer and it’s the typical, party line kind of stuff that they always say. When they finish talking I will just wait. The silence makes most people uncomfortable and they will feel like it’s their job to fill the space. That’s when you get the good stuff – when they’re scrambling and saying things that they didn’t prepare. You get that one unexpected nugget and then, as a host, you attack.

It’s not a gimmick!

It’s funny because I’m sure a lot of people think that the sunglasses thing was a planned gimmick or me trying to look Hollywood. In fact they are a totally practical measure. When we started to simulcast the show on television, we began shooting in a room with a bunch of very bright lights. We were doing a week of testing before the TV broadcast actually started and on that first Monday I got the most brutal headache. The same thing happened on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. I honestly thought I might have a tumour and then on Thursday, I was driving into work and it happened to be a really sunny day, so I was wearing my sunglasses and I just forgot to take them off when we were filming and of course – no headache. I’ve been wearing them ever since. Most people who have achieved a level of recognition wear sunglasses to hide their identity. For me, if I want to go unnoticed, I take the glasses off.

Confidence trumps knowledge

I don’t watch anywhere near as much sports as I used to and mostly I don’t talk about the things that other sports talk-show hosts address: Who’s going to play left wing? How did the quarterback play last night? I find all of that stuff boring. I’m more interested in the relationship between sports and business, rule changes, societal pressures. When I first started, I felt like I had to watch absolutely everything. Now I have a comfort level where if someone mentions last night’s game, I’ll say, well I didn’t see last night’s game. Why don’t you tell me about it and we can talk about it. I’ve also stopped talking to athletes almost entirely. An athlete only becomes interesting after they retire. They all go to media school – they learn the catchphrases. Go watch Bull Durham and how Crash Davis teaches him what to say in an interview. There are only a few phrases – play hard, give 110 per cent – that’s what you get. It’s a waste of time. For me the big get is the commissioner, owner, head of the television network.

Credit to the Globe and Mail who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Industry Analyst Predicts Crypto Will Surpass Gambling In Sports World

Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year.

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Industry insiders have believed for quite a while that sports betting was the future for sponsorship and advertisement revenue, but it appears that there is a new venture on the rise that is quickly surpassing it.

Crypto.com made a huge statement in purchasing the Staples Center in what will be known as Crypto.com Arena come Christmas Day.

SponsorUnited Founder and President Bob Lynch believes that there is no doubt that Crypto and Blockchain will far exceed sports betting as the premiere revenue money maker for the sports industry over the next decade.

“They’re essentially buying equity,” which would be particularly valuable in an industry that is still widely doubted, Lynch said on Crypto.com’s purchase of the arena. “The Lakers and Clippers have global exposure, media value and mentions that give instant brand legitimacy with top-of-mind awareness through national/global TV exposure,”

Crypto has already started to push its way into major advertisements for key events in the world of sports. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX purchased an ad in this upcoming Super Bowl, and already has the backing of the biggest star in professional football. Tom Brady has an equity stake in the company.

Crypto.com is already the sponsor of FOX‘s college football studio show, Big Noon Kickoff, on top of running ads during broadcasts of the game as well.

Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year. It seems that the possibilities are endless for crypto within the sports landscape. While sports gambling certainly isn’t going away from the public eye, it could be overtaken by crypto in terms of ad spending and sponsorship visibility very soon.

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Sports Radio News

Colin Cowherd: Lincoln Riley At USC Is Good For Networks

“Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches.”

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FS1

Colin Cowherd is a self-professed college football fan. When the sport is interesting, he talks about it. The sport may never be more interesting than when the coaching carousel is spinning.

On Mondy’s edition of The Herd on FS1 and FOX Sports Radio, Cowherd dove in on USC’s hire of Lincoln Riley. He says that it is good for college football that Riley left Oklahoma for Los Angeles.

“My phone blew up yesterday, not only because people know I’m kind of a USC honk, but network people,” Cowherd said. “They’re like ‘do you understand how big this is for networks?’”.

Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches. He noted that when USC lost to Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl, ABC scored a 22.5 rating in the city.

“The networks want USC to be good. You know why? Because New York, DC, and Boston have never watched college football. Chicago does and LA does. So the Big Ten being good is good for college football TV ratings. But LA doesn’t watch college football anymore. They will now.”

As for the hard times USC has fallen on and been stuck in mostly since Pete Carroll bolted for the NFL, Cowherd is not particularly worried. He pointed out that Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame were all down before they hired the right coach. Programs at the blue blood level in the sport have a way of bouncing back quickly.

Network executives are hoping Cowherd’s assessment is correct. USC is the only brand on the West Coast capable of resonating on a national level.

The Los Angeles sports landscape has changed though. When USC was a celebrity program under Pete Carroll, the city did not have an NFL team. Now it has two. The Dodgers were not annual contenders in Major League Baseball. The Lakers had stars, but the Clippers didn’t. Now both do.

Does LA love college football enough for the Trojans to turn some heads in the city with the most stars in the sports world?

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee’s Wife Shares Couple’s Pregnancy Struggles

“Saying that now the couple is no longer able to conceive naturally, Samantha went on to tell her followers that she and Pat will be pursuing in vitro fertilization when they are ready.”

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As hard as it can be as a celebrity, or as the spouse of a celebrity or popular media figure, to keep your personal life private and out of the limelight, sometimes it can be uplifting to put your personal struggles out there for all to see.

Enter Samantha McAfee, the wife of popular sports radio host Pat McAfee. Samantha took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to share a heartbreaking update on the couple’s journey to conceiving a child.

“On Tuesday, I had what we thought was a ‘normal’ miscarriage, it was painful and miserable,” Samantha wrote in part. “However, Saturday morning I woke up in extreme pain so Patrick took me to the ER. They found that I had internal bleeding again due to the pregnancy being in my (fallopian) tube and it had burst. I needed emergency surgery to remove my remaining tube.”

Samantha shared that this was not the first time she had experienced complications in the beginning weeks of a pregnancy. She said she had her right fallopian tube removed in 2020 due to an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy where a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus.

Saying that now the couple is no longer able to conceive naturally, Samantha went on to tell her followers that she and Pat will be pursuing in vitro fertilization when they are ready.

Additionally, McAfee noted that the point of her sharing the update was to give others who may be going through similar difficulties hope, but to also shed a light on the reality of fertility issues and emphasize that she will have a child someday.

“I KNOW I WILL BE A MOTHER somehow some way, I know Patrick and I will be the best parents we can be whenever the universe thinks it’s the right time,” she said.

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