Unless your station is in New England or Los Angeles, you will be covering Super Bowl 53 for your market as a national rather than local story. Having been to Super Bowl Radio Row with The Score in Chicago and 610 Sports/Kansas City, I want to help your station plan and execute a great week of programming from Atlanta leading up to the Super Bowl.
What members of the Rams and Patriots are from your market or went to college in your market? Target them for special guest appearances or even a daily SB “diary” for your station. When the Broncos went to the Super Bowl XXXII and Super Bowl XXXIII they had a fullback named Howard Griffith who was from Chicago and played at the University of Illinois.
While the rest of the media world was playing the same 15-second sound byte from Terrell Davis and John Elway at the time, we had a local Broncos player sitting with us at our spot on radio row for an hour. Howard Griffith showed the personality and insight that has made him an excellent analyst since his retirement from football.
The best part was him rolling up in a super stretch limo to the media hotel to sit with Dan McNeil and Terry Boers on the Score. And by the way Griffith scored two touchdowns in Super Bowl XXXIII. So before your team gets on the road to Atlanta, make sure you’ve identified and contacted any players, coaches, or front-office members from your market.
Additionally, when your station is talking to national experts about the Super Bowl, don’t forget the stories that involve your home NFL or college team. Get their take on your new head coach, changes on coaching staff, the draft.
Too many times I hear shows broadcasting at a special remote without any imaging that makes it sound unique. Think of every piece of sound that makes you sound like you’re at the Super Bowl—Highlights from all previous Super Bowls, coach and player sound from NFL Films, movie/tv clips and music that talks about Atlanta or the Super Bowl.
I would consider using a different voice than the normal voice talent you use for your regular station imaging.
Can you use the play-by-play voice of your local NFL or College Team? Make it sound big, loud, local, and unique. Songs like “Oh Atlanta” by Little Feat, “Welcome to Atlanta” by Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris, “Atlanta” by Stone Temple Pilots and “New Atlanta” by Migos to name a few.
For movie clips, check out the movies “ATL” and “Flight” for Atlanta based sound. You’ll definitely want to grab audio from the movie “Heaven Can Wait” for clips about the LA Rams. TV Clips from the show “Atlanta” starring Donald Glover and “Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta” are also valuable.
This just scratches the surface, but it should give you a good start for your unique imaging and shows.
FORMER PATRIOTS AND RAMS
Have your producers track down former Patriots and Rams of note. If you can find Rams who played in Los Angeles like Eric Dickerson and Jack Youngblood–even better. Luckily, due to the Patriots recent success there are a lot of former Patriots out there who played in Super Bowls for the team.
Extra points for Super Bowl MVP’s Kurt Warner (who now works for Westwood One) and Deion Branch. Despite their lack of Super Bowl success there are a lot of great former Rams like Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Nolan Cromwell and Orlando Pace. Tracking down former players is fun and many of them are thrilled to be remembered.
LOCAL ATLANTA SPORTS STARS AND CELEBRITIES
Atlanta is a great town and a lot of sports stars and celebrities call it home. The list includes TI, Outkast, Usher, Evander Holyfield, T.I. and Michael Vick. Track down current Falcons stars Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Vic Beasley. Look at sports celebs outside of football like Hank Aaron and Dominique Wilkins.
Certainly some of the big local celebrities will be part of the radio row media tours, but don’t count on them to make your programming. And remember the guests touring radio row judge your station by market size. The larger the market the better the chance of getting the guests you want.
Remember that 99% of your listeners will never get a chance to go to Super Bowl week so bring them there during your shows. Give them the experience during every minute of your time in Atlanta. Be great. Make it special and have fun!!
Mike Greenberg Asked a Fine Question, But He Can Do Better
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.