Don’t worry, this column has NOTHING to do with politics. Just inspired to write the impeachable offenses of Sports Radio. Here are the five things that are inexcusable and I cringe every time I hear them on a local or national sports station.
Bumper music with lyrics: Probably nothing I hear drives me crazier than bumper music with lyrics competing with your host(s) talking. There’s no reason with today’s quick and easy digital editing tools to not have a clean music bed under your hosts. The lyrics just compete with what the hosts are saying and make for a sloppy on-air presentation.
Formulaic Show Promos: You know you have heard this promo before. The promo starts with the name of the show and maybe the showtime voiced by the voice guy. Next, it’s the host introducing a guest edited to a comment by the guest from the interview. The promo closes with the show name and show time voiced by the voice guy.
Unless you have top-shelf guests every day or the guest says something unbelievable, a promo needs to give me a reason to listen to the show. Preferably something the host or hosts say or something as simple as the host telling me what to expect on the next show. The generic, formulaic promo is not only weak promotion, but it is lazy.
“Hour 2 of the Show”: This one is specifically for sports radio hosts. No one is listening to your show from beginning to end. Not even the biggest P1s of your show and station will do that. So please stop talking about what happened in “hour one” of your show or what’s coming up in “hour two” of the show. Fans aren’t listening like that and have very little idea when “hour one” was and when “hour two” starts.
If something in the first hour of your show was that good, play me a clip now and tell me why it’s so amazing. If you’re promoting something coming up later in the show, let me know what it is and what time to listen to it. That’s it. Simple. No one, not even your PD is listening to all 3, 4, or 5 hours of your show. No offense.
Boring Guests: This one is 95% on the producers. Please, Please, Please stop booking guests who aren’t interesting or entertaining. You are producing a radio SHOW.
You are not booking someone to just provide information. Information is everywhere in 2019. If you can’t find an interesting or entertaining guest to talk about a certain topic, you are way better off getting sound about the topic and having your hosts talk about it.
On this topic, please do not book a guest for the sake of booking a guest. The other 5% is on the hosts. Stop requesting boring guests from your producers. Additionally, if you know a guest is not good on your show, wrap it up as soon as you can. I hate when hosts feel like every guest is worth the entire length of the segment. Some guests are worth only 5 good minutes and that’s fine. Do something else for the rest of the segment.
Hosts Leaving Early: If you’re in a smaller market or just getting your career started you may not think a host or hosts would ever, regularly, leave their show early. I hate to break it to you but it happens. I know daily and weekly shows that will replay an interview or multiple interviews so they can leave as much as 30 minutes before the end of their show.
I’m sure this has spurred other “impeachable offenses” in your mind that are inexcusable on sports radio, but these are my top five. What drives me crazy about the five “impeachable offenses” above is that they all come down to people being lazy. Not acceptable.
Don’t Make Assumptions to Fit Your Sports Opinions
Curiosity leads to asking questions instead of making assumptions.
I also thought San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel was white.
Maybe “assumed” is the better term, given the saying of what that does to you and me.
But I — like this guy Sean Beckwith — saw those videos from McDaniel’s press conference last week on Twitter. I legit thought it was a comedy bit at first. When I realized he was, in fact, the offensive coordinator, I thought it made sense that the NFL’s first flat-brimmer of a head coach would have a super-chill OC who sounded like a dude accustomed to microwaving burritos at 3 a.m.
I also learned McDaniel was childhood friends with Dan Soder, a comedian whom I enjoy on Billions. I was informed by people who know better than me that McDaniel is a well-regarded young coach in the league and that’s about where my opinions on the phenomenon of Mike McDaniel stopped.
If only Sean Beckwith had done the same, he might have avoided a major embarrassment. He might still have a Twitter account. Instead, he took even less information than I had, shook vigorously, and poured it out into a story published on Deadspin that warned McDaniel was about to become the next white guy to jump the line.
Except McDaniel is not white. Yeah. This fact is painfully embarrassing for the author, the website that published it, the people who own that website, and just about everyone concerned with equity in the hiring practices of NFL coaches.
I’ll include myself in that latter category, and I’ve cringed at how this story has been used as an example of the problems that come with including race in the discussion of sports, though. This is actually an example of the problems with including race in the discussion of sports when your head is firmly wedged in your hindparts as Beckwith’s seems to have been.
That was the real issue here, and while mislabeling McDaniel as white is an inexcusable and unconscionable mistake, it wasn’t the only problem with this particular story. Brandon Staley was included as one of the young white men hired to be a head coach because of his offensive pedigree. Staley is a defensive coach. Matt Rhule was cited as an example of a young white man hired to be a head coach because of his offensive pedigree. Rhule is not particularly young and as a former college head coach at Temple and Baylor, he certainly doesn’t fit the hiring pattern Beckwith was describing.
The problem at the root of Beckwith’s approach was that he wrote that story with a confidence both unearned and unwarranted, and while it’s easy to write him off for being unbelievably careless, it should give anyone who talks or writes about sports for a living a moment’s pause to consider the number of assumptions that are made in formulating content.
Here, in no particular order, is a list of things I try not to assume:
1. Whether a woman is — in fact — pregnant. A friend of mine said her rule was that she wouldn’t mention pregnancy until she actually saw evidence of the baby, at which point the question of pregnancy would actually be moot.
Race should probably be on this list, too, but it’s usually not. Most of us go off what we see, and I include myself in that category. Like I said, I thought McDaniel was white, and I initially didn’t realize David Culley was Black when the Texans announced him as their next head coach. Of course, I didn’t go out and formulate a story based on my assumptions, but like I said, Beckwith’s error provided a reminder of the dangers in just assuming what I think is true.
Now, I’m not recommending that we go and ask each and every person we talk about to fill out a census form. I am stating that we should be very careful about taking what we see — or what we think we see — and then cramming it with both hands into a storyline that we’ve heard or even one we believe. Each person we talk about has their own unique story, their own personal background, and the more we assume to know about that without actually having done the research, the more liable we are to make a career-changing mistake like this one.
Be curious. The character Ted Lasso said that in one of the better scenes from the first season of that show, though I’m somewhat reluctant to mention it for fear I’ll come off like one of those fans of this particular show who I’ve found just will not shut up about it. (For the record: I liked the show. Thoroughly enjoyed the first season. Haven’t watched the second season and somehow I’m doing just fine, thanks.)
Curiosity leads to asking questions instead of making assumptions. Curiosity might lead you to look up more about the coach in particular or hiring trends in general. Curiosity is what keeps us searching for a more complete understanding of the sports figures we’re writing about and the trends we’re discussing instead of adopting a smarmy tone of the know-it-all, which is especially dangerous if you’re not even a know-it-some.
In this case, being curious might have led Beckwith to search for more about McDaniel and find the story from Matt Maiocco — a great reporter for NBC Sports Bay Area — in which McDaniel discussed his background. Being curious would have led Beckwith to find out who Andrew Hawkins is instead of using ignorance of the former NFL wide receiver to dismiss his praise of McDaniel’s coaching acumen as an example of Internet groupthink.
Now, I’m not sure if being curious would have kept Beckwith from believing he had a better handle than Hawkins on how race might impact the promotion and hiring of NFL coaches. Curiosity almost certainly wouldn’t have prevented Beckwith from snidely referencing the quote regarding racial justice that is in Hawkins’s Twitter profile.
But that gets back to the root of the problem in Beckwith’s column, which is the confidence with which he presided over a subject of which he was regrettably ignorant.
Media Noise – Episode 59: Paul Finebaum
How much Alabama can we pack into one podcast? Demetri Ravanos talks to Paul Finebaum about Finebaum’s rise in radio, how he feels about his callers being used for content by other hosts, and college football’s year-round spot in the national sports conversation.
10 Ways to Make Sales Work From Home Productive
Create a home workspace that is pure business. Post quotes and keep track of your sales. Let this be your workplace and concentration zone.
Do you need the energy of others around you to work harder or smarter? Are you the type who struggles to contribute to Zoom meetings? Do you lose focus quickly? Then maybe you need a check=up from the neck up about how you work from home.
For me, the challenges of working from home mainly stem from interruptions from pets, spouses, delivery people, and home chores. I need more discipline to stay on track to hit sales goals and not get distracted.
Here are 10 ideas for radio sellers adapted from Dan Disney of LinkedIn fame.
1. To-Do List
You need a plan for your day, just as you would at work. But building in some household chores would be wise. Remember, you are trading in the morning rush out the door and afternoon drive home for a walk to your computer and then to the TV at the end of the day.
For most of us, that’s at least an hour a day saved by staying home. Spend it as you wish but make sure you schedule it outside your prime selling hours.
2. Stay in Touch
This shouldn’t be hard for most of us with a corporate CRM tracking our moves. But don’t forget to plan social time with people from work who you enjoy.
3. Be Self-Employed
We are who we are when nobody is watching. This is your opportunity to have your own business and work independently. A promotion from work could be next if you conquer this stage.
4. Take a Break
You took them when you were AT work, so why change? Don’t forget the internet surfing you did, the errands you ran, and the time you wasted hearing about your workmate’s problems. Try to make those breaks more productive by cleaning, paying bills, or playing with the dog. It’s good for your mental health.
5. Get Help
If you need help keeping things quiet for client calls, negotiate with anybody you have at home to help you. If you live alone and have a pet who interrupts things, consider taking your dog to daycare once a week so you can schedule your calls on that day and help guarantee you won’t be distracted.
6. Create an Office
Create a home workspace that is pure business. Post quotes and keep track of your sales. Let this be your workplace and concentration zone. If you pick up a paper, book, or report, don’t put it down in any other place but where it belongs! Please keep it clean each day you are done and all business.
7. Let Your Hair Down
If you have a good client who you have known for a long time but has never been to your home, here is your chance. Show ’em around! Take a Zoom call on the phone and show them your backyard, BBQ, or home theatre room. Let your dog bark at them or have your partner say hello.
8. Take Rewards
You are home and it will be easier than ever to achieve some personal goals by focusing on some self-care. Eat better. Exercise more. Be calmer. Maybe even consider the gas you are not buying as savings for a big night out.
9. Be Positive
Let positive quotes, blogging, and motivating YouTube hits be your distractions. You need positive reinforcement and will have to work at getting some.
Study Zoom, social media, and other forms of prospecting. Dig into this new reality and see if you can make it work for you AT HOME.
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