Title: The Sharp 600 – Episode 33
Date: October 18th, 2017
Length: 11 minutes and six seconds
Host: Joe Fortenbaugh
Extra: You can subscribe and comment on ITunes
One of my favorite things about reviewing podcasts is discovering how people are separating theirs from all the others. There’s tons of sports podcasts out there. Why should I listen to yours? What makes yours different from any other podcast I can download and listen to? It seems that half the battle of creating a successful podcast is thinking outside the box and finding an idea that draws in listeners. In terms of finding a different niche, The Sharp 600 passes with flying colors.
In the span of 600 seconds, Joe Fortenbaugh runs through an entire podcast centered on the best bets of the college football weekend. This idea is brilliant, however, there’s two critical components: Can you give me enough information in that short period of time, plus the obvious one, are your picks hitting the mark?
The Sharp 600 hits on both of those in episode 33, as Fortenbaugh went 2-0 on his picks against the spread, while backing up his reasoning with great information. I also enjoyed the touch of bringing on Las Vegas professional handicapper Bryan Leonard for a few minutes to talk about his thoughts on the upcoming NFL action. Leonard adds good content to the podcast, as he reveals interesting nuggets for each game. Anyone can come on and claim they’re a ‘professional handicapper’ but Leonard’s information on every game across the board made him a very quality guest.
There’s no secret as to why this podcast is a success. Simply put, it’s not time consuming like some others. Think of the family man that drives to work, does his job, drives home and then has to attend to his family as soon as he walks through the door. He may have a huge appetite for sports, but he probably has limited time for it. This podcast satisfies that appetite, all the while keeping him entertained and informed during the few minutes he has available during the day to enjoy it.
As I think about the target audience, it doesn’t just range to the 38-year old father of two kids. It also appeals to the 25-year old single male who just got his first job out of college. For the first time in his life, he finally has a few bucks of his own to enjoy. With the booming success of the sports betting industry, maybe he wants to use some of that cold hard cash to bet on football games. However, since he’s a millennial, maybe he doesn’t want to sift through a 45-minute podcast to find good information on the games of the weekend. Instead, The Sharp 600 gives him what he wants in a short amount of time. Hey, I’m a 27-year old millennial and my attention span is awful.
Fortenbaugh thought outside the box and came up with a very quality niche. I give him props for that. The production quality was solid for a one-man podcast, and I enjoyed the short drops he provided. One suggestion, I think he should mix up some of the drops he utilizes across different episodes. Don’t play the same ones every podcast, mix it up and keep it fresh. It goes a long way with the audience.
All in all, this podcast is a success because it caters to a wide range of people. No matter your age, you’d have an interest in taking a listen. In honor of The Sharp 600, this review is, well, you guessed it, exactly 600 words long.
Asking The Right Questions Helps Create Interesting Content
Asking questions that can get a subject to talk about their feelings is a much better way to get an interesting answer.
When ESPN’s Mike Greenberg interviewed Paolo Banchero in the lead-up to the NBA lottery on Tuesday, he asked what I’ve concluded is the single most maddening question that can be asked of any athlete preparing for any draft.
“Why do you believe you should be No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?” Greenberg said.
Before I point out exactly why I have such a visceral reaction to such a harmless question, I want to point out the positives because Greenberg’s question avoids some of the most common pitfalls:
1) It is an actual question. That’s not as automatic as you think given the number of poor souls who are handed a microphone and say to their subject, “Talk about (whatever issue they want a quote or a sound bite on).” This is the mark of an amateur, creating the opening for an uncooperative subject to slam the door by saying, “What do you want me to say?”
2) Greenberg’s question can not be answered with a yes or a no. Questions that start with the word “Can you …” or “Did you …” may sound like they’re tough questions for the subject, but they’re actually fairly easy if the subject wants to offer an answer. Now, most interview subjects won’t take that one-word exit, but some will in a touchy situation.
The problem with Greenberg’s question has to do with the result. Why do we ask questions of the athletes we cover? Seriously. That’s not rhetorical. What’s the goal? It’s to get interesting answers. At least that’s the hope whether it’s for a quote that will be included in a story, a sound bite to be replayed later or — like in this situation — during an interview that is airing live. The question should be engineered to elicit interesting content, and there was very little chance that the question Greenberg asked Banchero was going to produce anything close to that.
I know that because I have heard some version of this question asked hundreds of times. That’s not an exaggeration. I attended the NFL scouting combine annually for a number of years, and if a player wasn’t asked why he should be the first overall pick, he’d get asked why he should be a first-round pick or why he should be one of the first players chosen at his position. Never — in all that time — have I ever heard what would be considered an interesting or informative answer. In my experience, players tend to talk in incredibly general terms about their own abilities and then seek to compliment their peers in an effort to avoid coming off as cocky.
Here’s how Banchero answered Greenberg’s question: “Yeah, thank you all for having me, first off., I feel like I’m the number one pick in the draft because I’m the best overall player. I feel like I check all the boxes whether it’s being a great teammate, being the star player or doing whatever the coach needs. I’ve been a winner my whole life. Won everywhere I’ve went, and when I get to the NBA, that’s going to be the same goal for me. So just combining all those things, and knowing what I have to work on to be better is a formula for me.”
There’s nothing wrong with answer just as there was nothing wrong with the question. It’s just that both are really, really forgettable. ESPN did put a clip on YouTube with the headline “Paolo Banchero: I’m the best overall player in the NBA Draft | NBA Countdown” but I think I’m the only who will remember it and that’s only because I’m flapping my arms and squawking not because there was anything bad per se, but because there was nothing really good, either.
First of all, I’m not sure why it matters if Banchero thinks he should be the number one overall pick. He’s not going to be making that decision. The team that holds the top draft pick — in this case Orlando — is. Here’s a much better question: “How important is it for you to be the number one overall pick?” This would actually give an idea of the stakes for Banchero. What does this actually mean to him? Asking him why he should go number one is asking Banchero to tell us how others should see him. Asking Banchero how important it would be go number one is asking him to tell us about his feelings, something that’s much more likely to produce an interesting answer.
The point here isn’t to question Greenberg’s overall competence because I don’t. He’s as versatile a host as there is in the game, and anyone else in the industry has something to learn from the way he teases ahead to content. What I want to point out not just how we fail to maximize opportunities to generate interesting content, but why. Interviews are a staple of the sports-media industry. We rely on these interviews as both primary content that will be consumed directly, and as the genesis for our own opinions and reaction yet for all that importance we spend very little time thinking about the kind of answer this question is likely to produce.
The Client Just Said YES, Now What?
We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES.
One of the most significant moments in radio sales is when the client agrees to your proposal and says YES. But, when they do say YES, do you know what’s next? We better have an answer!
We spend a lot of time getting ready for clients with research, spec spots (thank you, radio sales trainer Chris Lytle-go to 22:30), proposals, and meetings. All of our focus is on getting the client to say YES. We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES. For example, getting newer sales reps to sell annual advertising contracts would be ideal for building a list. They would have less pressure, more job security, and could spend more time making the advertising work for their clients. But, since most newer reps don’t know the business yet, they don’t bite off more than they can chew and sell a package of the month.
When a client says yes to the weight loss promotion, it’s pretty clear how to write the ads, what the promos will say, etc. BUT, if a newer sales rep starts selling annual contracts to a direct local client who needs a resource, how will that work? Let’s make sure we paint the picture right upfront. More experienced reps know that they need to assume the client will say YES to the weight loss promo and have a plan accordingly.
They have the next steps to building copy and promos, a credit app or credit card payment form, and any other detail the client must provide. But, when we ask a direct local client for an annual advertising contract, watch out! You have just made a partnership. Why not lay out, upfront, what that will look like. And I understand not every local client needs the same level of service.
A car dealer has the factories pushing quarterly promotions, agencies producing ads, and in-house marketing directors pulling it all together sometimes. Other clients need your help in promotions, copywriting, or idea generation. Make a plan upfront with your client about when you will meet to discuss the next quarter’s ad program. Include your station’s promotions or inventory for football and basketball season, a summer NTR event, digital testimonials with on-air talent, etc., in your annual proposal. Go out as far as you can and show what you have to offer to the client and how you can execute it. This exercise is good for you and, once mastered, guides the client on how you will take care of them after the sale. It also opens your eyes to what it takes to have a successful client partnership inside and outside the station.
Media Noise – Episode 74
This week, Demetri is joined by Ian Casselberry and Ryan Brown. Demetri talks about the NBA Draft getting an ABC simulcast, Ian talks about Patrick Beverley’s breakout week on TV, and Ryan reminds us that Tom Brady may be the star, but Kevin Burkhardt is the story we shouldn’t forget.