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Get To Know Everyone On Stage At The BSM Summit

“I hope you enjoy learning new details about these distinctive people in the sports radio business.”

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The 2020 BSM Summit is here, baby! There is a plethora of on-air and programming talent in attendance at this year’s conference. Many of these people happen to be featured in this piece that you’re about to read, retweet, print out and frame. (Two out of four ain’t bad.) You’re sure to recognize many names and might already know plenty of details about these people. However, there are so many facets to a person that you might not be aware of other noteworthy qualities.

I asked each person to provide a fun fact about themselves — something that isn’t widely known. It could literally be about anything; something funny, a passion they have, or maybe a quirk that many people didn’t know existed. Something like Scott Shapiro once having a mullet and Maggie Gray liking broccoli on her pizza. I mean goodness; that’s worth the price of admission right there. I hope you enjoy learning new details about these distinctive people in the sports radio business.

Gregg Giannotti – WFAN, New York
I was an All-State musician in high school playing the string bass. Went to college as a music education major for three years before I changed to a communication major. I also was robbed at machete point in the Dominican Republic on vacation. Doesn’t sound all that funny but the full story is. All good, didn’t get hurt. Went to the beach right after.

John Mamola – WDAE, Tampa

Once worked as a parking attendant at the Ballpark In Arlington. Once taught Ozzie Smith how to run a radio soundboard. Also introduced Grammy-nominated band Hatebreed when I worked for Rebel Radio out of Chicago!

Peter Rosenberg – 98.7 ESPN, New York

I’m incredibly passionate about my dog, Bear, and take him all over the city with me. I can regularly be seen shopping for sneakers or clothes with an adorable corgi mutt.

Scott Masteller – WBAL, Baltimore
Many people may not know that I spent five years calling minor league baseball at the AA level. I called games for two years in my hometown of Williamsport, PA. I then took a job as the play-by-play announcer with the Wichita Wranglers in the Texas League for the San Diego Padres affiliate. Our team won the Texas League Championship in 1992 and I even got a champagne shower after the final game!

Matt Nahigian – 95.7 The Game, San Francisco

I was on The Newlywed Game and lost because I didn’t want my grandma to know what our secret term was for sex.

Jason Barrett – Barrett Sports Media
Something that isn’t commonly known about me is that I’m a huge memes guy. Every morning before I get out of bed to dive into the day’s news and my responsibilities of running BSM, I try to take 15-20 minutes to browse stupid stuff on social media that makes me laugh. It doesn’t matter if it’s cheesy, mildly offensive, or flat out disturbing; humor is different to everyone and I don’t take many things personally. I enjoy the social distraction before the avalanche of work appears in my inbox. It certainly puts me in a better mood starting off my day.

Bomani Jones – ESPN

I’ve had malaria twice when I was three years old. Michael Cohen once tried to call me in for something I said about Donald Trump in 2014.

Michael Kay – 98.7 ESPN, New York

I am one of the worst eaters of all time. I don’t eat condiments. Never had mustard, mayo or ketchup. And never had fish or an egg. I’m very odd.

Howard Deneroff – Westwood One
I do not go to the movies because I will ALWAYS fall asleep when sitting still in a dark room after a few minutes. The last real movie I saw in the theaters may have been Titanic…seriously.

Despite having produced network radio broadcasts of Super Bowls, NCAA Tournaments, Stanley Cup Finals, Olympics, World Series, and other sporting events for 30 years, if you Google my name, you will more likely find entries for me being a passenger/witness on a JetBlue plane in 2010. That’s when the flight attendant, Steven Slater, jumped off the aircraft while cursing on the intercom to quit his job. In the week that followed the incident, I appeared as a guest on the CBS Evening News, The Today Show, CNN, the BBC, the CBC, and too many other shows to mention.  I prefer being behind the scenes for sure.

Maggie Gray – WFAN, New York

I once ate an entire large NYC pizza in two hours while simultaneously hosting a radio show. I realize how sad that is. It was a plain pizza from Joe’s in the West Village — and it was the size of a wagon wheel! My favorite pizza is mushroom, broccoli, and black olive (an odd combo, I know). 

Phil Mackey – SKOR North, Minneapolis
I was a band geek in high school. I won multiple awards as a jazz trumpet player, including a soloist award at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Although I haven’t picked up a trumpet in years, I now get my music fix through belting out high harmonies at karaoke dive bars around the Twin Cities. 

Tony Bruno – Tony Bruno Show

I consider myself somewhat of a foodie, yet don’t like many common foods. I love eggs prepared every way except hard boiled; they gross me out! Also, despite being Italian, I’m not a big fan of cold meats like charcuterie (i.e. salami or pepperoni) although I like them on pizza. Same thing with tuna; I’ll eat seared filet, but can’t be near canned tuna fish or cold salads with tuna in it. I leave the room when someone is eating it near me and have thought of opening the emergency exit doors if someone brings one with raw onions on an airplane.

Bruce Gilbert – Cumulus/Westwood One
I’m not even close to being the most talented person in my own marriage. I’m married to the former Amy Williams who many of you knew as one of the ESPN Radio Affiliate sales reps from 1999-2006. Prior to that, Amy was very successful as a promoter in the music industry. She is currently co-hosting the First and Tens podcast with long-time Dallas radio personality Jasmine Sadry. In addition to being an amazing mom to our son, Hudson, Amy has become an established artist. She is a self-taught glass mosaic artist, specializing in customized, one-of-a-kind art pieces, using acoustic guitars as her canvas. You can see her amazing work at glassaxes.com.

Chris Canty – 98.7 ESPN, New York

I went to four different high schools in two different cities. I started out as a freshman in the marching band (playing the clarinet) to an All-State tight end on a state championship football team.

Don LaGreca – 98.7 ESPN, New York

I love movies. Have no problem watching a movie 100 times if I love it. Drives my wife crazy.

Justin Craig – ESPN Radio
When I was in high school, I once spent six weeks working for the town highway department where I grew up. I was part of one of the road crews that would go around picking up sticks, leaves or whatever junk was put out on the curb by residents. I only lasted six weeks because I couldn’t take the ridiculous amount of breaks that they took. It felt like we spent more time at McDonald’s on coffee breaks than actually doing anything. Not to mention it was cutting in to my time of listening to the great Brother Wease on WCMF.

Erika Nardini – Barstool Sports

Realizing that Starbucks lets you put heavy cream in your coffee has been a personal game changer. A venti red eye is my favorite.

Dave Tepper – Altitude Sports 92.5, Denver
I got into talk radio from being a professional stand up comic at the Laugh Factory in LA. Some coworkers are surprised because they don’t find me funny. My most memorable boos and heckles came when the club manager had me MC Latino night. They started on me right away. After plowing through my act and battling hecklers the best I could, my time was mercifully up. First act I introduced was Carlos Mencia who took the stage and destroyed the crowd for not giving me a chance. That meant a lot. Best memory — Green Day was at a show and pulled me aside to say I was their favorite comic of the night.

Chris Carlin – 98.7 ESPN, New York
I found my love of broadcasting because a drunk guy punched out an off-duty cop in a bar. He did color for football on the student station. He was asked to not return to the broadcast. They needed someone quickly and a friend at the radio station knew I loved sports and football, so I gave it a shot. Fell in love.

Gavin Spittle – 105.3 The Fan, Dallas
I have a huge passion for sports logos. So much so that I created a t-shirt line of fake, funny sports logos and made a business out of it — awesomesportslogos.com. My favorite logo is The Macon Whoopee. My favorite logo that I’ve created is The Cocksville Blockers.

Ryan Porth – 102.5 The Game, Nashville

Outside of sports, my #1 passion is music, which makes living in Music City that much better! My favorite genre is country and my favorite performers are Luke Combs, Eric Church and Foo Fighters. I’m not afraid to admit that a close second is The Bachelor / The Bachelorette. Go ahead, take away my man card.

Carl Dukes – 92.9 The Game, Atlanta

I love Frank Sinatra. I still practice in the mirror. I’m a good golfer. I love being on the water — fishing and boating. I also collect and love unique bourbons.

Fred Jacobs – Jacobs Media

I had a bagel route at the age of 12 in Northwest Detroit. I also danced with Little Steven Van Zandt and a group of go-go girls at a Jacobs Summit in Cleveland.

Julie Talbott – Premiere Networks

My brothers, sisters, and our families have had the same Christmas tradition since we were born. No matter where we are all living, we meet for Christmas Eve at our parent’s home and our grandparent’s farm for Christmas — all in Kentucky. We are up to 62 people!

Jason Fitz – ESPN Radio

I’m presuming most people know about the music stuff. Non-music: I don’t know how to swim OR ride a bike. I also have a crazy love of toys. Funko pops to vintage. Always out of the box. Not collected! Played with!

Spike Eskin – 94WIP, Philadelphia

I was in a band in my mid-20s called Project Mayhem (Fight Club reference). My roommate and I had never been in a band before, and we somehow found a bass player and a drummer who had never been in a band either. We did mostly covers of nu-metal songs from bands like Godsmack and Papa Roach. We played a total of four gigs, one in a WYSP listener’s backyard (called Backyard Fest). We wrote one original song, called “Tony Blair,” named after the British Prime Minister.

Demetri Ravanos – Barrett Sports Media

My dad is a chef. He made me start going to work with him when I was nine. The first thing I ever got paid to do was wrap baked potatoes and peel onions. I don’t even think he gave me minimum wage.

Amanda Gifford – ESPN

I played on the boy’s golf team in high school. To be fair, anybody was able to play, but I was the only girl. In the four years I played, I think I only played against another girl one time. I was usually the #4 or #5 golfer (top six played in the matches) and there are no “ladies tees” when you play in high school — everybody hits from the same tees no matter male/female. I never felt weird playing against male competition; it was part of the fun, but always funny to see their expressions when I showed up on the tee.

Mark Chernoff – WFAN, New York

My son, Mike, and I (he’s the general manager of the Cleveland Indians) make sure we have a baseball catch at least once a month. (Remember he lives in the Cleveland area and I live in the NY metro), but we make sure we do and have been doing it since he was a kid.

Armen Williams – Sports Radio 610, Houston

I played tuba for 12 years. In college, I marched in the Goin’ Band from Raiderland at Texas Tech University. My first game was inside the Horseshoe at Ohio State. During the halftime show, I was so nervous — pretty sure I played a total of six notes — I had to look straight up just to see the sky. The atmosphere was incredible. 

This was also the first game for Ohio State freshman running back Maurice Clarett. He had a record-breaking day with 175 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 8.3 yards per carry. Guess we know which true freshman had the better debut. 

Scott Shapiro – FOX Sports Radio

I was that 3rd grade kid who played basketball with a headband, wristbands, and goggles. Yes indeed! Oh, and a mullet to top it all off. When you have no shame even at a young age, you just let it all go. Now that I think about it, I was Kurt Rambis just without the mustache (nor was I ever clotheslined by Kevin McHale)!

Chris Kinard – 106.7 The Fan, Washington, DC

My first big sports memory was the 1988 Redskins Super Bowl victory. When I started in the business 10 years later I certainly never expected it would be 20 years in sports radio before I worked a championship parade. Or that two would come in consecutive years!

Freddie Coleman – ESPN Radio

I was at Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985 THE WHOLE DAY!!! Saw so many of my favorite bands and had a chance to shake hands with Billy Ocean, Phil Collins, Ron Wood and Tina Turner.

Rodney Lakin – Arizona Sports 98.7, Phoenix

The BSM Summit will be my first trip to NYC. Never been before, which would probably make me the only person in America excited to leave sunny 70-degree weather for the cold and rain in New York. Happy to be here, though.

Mitch Rosen – 670 The Score, Chicago

Guilty pleasure; I read People magazine every Friday as it’s delivered to my house. I also reflect on one of my fondest memories in radio — producing Game 7 of the World Series when the Cubs won live on the Score. The first World Series Championship since 1908 and it happened on the Score — the first season the station had the broadcast rights. Sitting next to Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer on the call. It was radio and sports history. That was special and I was able to watch and hear it live along with over half of the listening audience in Chicago per Nielson.

Don Martin – FOX Sports Radio
I grew up an Army brat. Born in Nuremburg Germany to an American GI and a German mom. Thus I was raised speaking English and German.

I was the TV play-by-play voice of the now defunct “CAC” (Colorado Athletic Conference), which was absorbed into the RMAC in 1996. My analyst was legendary high school coach Sam Pagano. Both of his sons are NFL coaches (Chuck now with the Bears, and John is with Denver).

Jeff Rickard – 93.5/107.5 The Fan, Indianapolis

Like many before me, I have become a full-time limo driver with daily stops to the Orchard School, basketball practice, piano lessons, Math Bowl and Mathnasium with twice weekly appearances at the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. I have also been a board member at Fishers Montessori School.

Heather Cohen – The Weiss Agency

I sometimes respond to the name ROB because years before I became a programmer, and then broadcast talent agent, I started as a board operator. I found myself running the board for the legendary syndicated talk host, Bob Grant, on WOR in NY. He refused to call me Heather and would refer to me on-air as ROB. So, I became known as ROB during that period of my career.

Mike Thomas – ESPN 1000, Chicago

Long before my sports radio days I did afternoon drive on a country station in Southwest Michigan. I was known as Mike “Bubba” Thomas. Garth Brooks was HUGE and I would answer to someone shouting “BUBBA” at me!

Brandon Tierney – CBS Sports Radio

I attended an all-boys semi-military high school in Manhattan and played the glockenspiel in the military band as a freshman. I’m an avid fisherman — hooked an 800-plus-pound shark last summer in South Carolina and a 23-inch brown trout in Utah a month later on my second ever fly-fish cast. I’ve visited 45/50 states so far. My musical tastes are pretty eclectic, but I have a few go-to artists since college when it’s time to dig in/write/tap into creativity: Billy Joel, Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens and Pink Floyd.

Justin Dove – Core Image Studio

I’m a born and raised Newfoundlander (east coast of Canada) in a small fishing town called Too Good Arm — population 80 people. Currently residing in Calgary, my wife Karla and I give a lot of time to the local rescue called Pawsitive Match. In 2019 alone, they have fostered and helped find homes for over 30 cats.

Brian Noe – FOX Sports Radio / NBCSNW, 620 Rip City Radio – Portland

I never set my alarm clock at the top of the hour. Instead of something like 8:00am — it’s 8:01. I have no idea why this feels right.

I also don’t drink. My dad struggled with alcoholism when I was growing up. I could see myself likely fighting the same battle, so I just stayed away from it. I’m very proud of my dad; he’s been sober for over 13 years now. It doesn’t bother me when friends and other people drink around me. I’d actually be rich if I received a nickel each time a friend jokingly asked before a liquor store run, “B, Jack and Coke? Jack and Coke, right?”

BSM Writers

Adam The Bull Is Giving Cleveland Something It’s Never Had Before

“It was only more recently that I was like why do I have to only be a radio guy?”

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After spending 22 years on the radio, Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber was ready for a new adventure.  In fact, the former co-host of Bull and Fox on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland did not have a new job lined up when he signed off from his 11-year radio home last month.

“I was already leaving without having a new project,” admitted Gerstenhaber during a recent phone interview with BSM.  “I left before I knew for sure I had a ‘next project’.”

Gerstenhaber was preparing for his final show with co-host Dustin Fox on April 1st when he was contacted by an executive producer for TEGNA, a company that was developing a Cleveland sports television show on YouTube.  The executive producer, who had just found out that Bull was a free agent, made it clear that he wanted Bull to be a part of the new project.

It all came together very quickly. 

“Let’s talk on Monday,” Gerstenhaber told the executive producer. “And within a week they signed me up.”

The Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show on YouTube featuring Gerstenhaber, former ESPN personality Jay Crawford, 92.3 The Fan’s Garrett Bush, and rotating hosts to make up a four-person round-table show, made its debut last Monday.  The show, which airs weekdays from 11am to 1pm, features passionate Cleveland sports talk, live guests, either in-studio or via Zoom, as well as interaction from the audience through social media.

“I’m very excited,” said Gerstenhaber.  “It’s a definite adjustment for me after 22 years on radio doing television.  For the last 11 years, I’ve been doing a radio show with just one other host and I was the lead guy doing most of the talking and now I’m on a show with three other people and it’s such an adjustment.  So far, I’m having a ball.”  

And so far, the reaction to the show has been very positive.

A big reason why is that it’s something that Cleveland didn’t have and really never had, unlike a city like New York, where there are local radio shows that are simulcast on regional sports channels. 

“There’s nothing like that in Cleveland,” said Gerstenhaber.  “And there was certainly nothing like this with a panel.  Cleveland is such a massive sports town and now people that don’t live in Cleveland that are maybe retired in Florida or Arizona, now they actually have a TV show that they can watch that’s Cleveland-centric.”

The new venture certainly represents a big change in what Bull has been used to in his radio career.  He’s enjoying the freedom of not having to follow a hard clock for this show. In fact, there have already been some occasions where the show has been able to go a little longer than scheduled because they have the flexibility to do that on YouTube.

Doing a show on YouTube gives the panel a great opportunity to go deep into topics and spend some quality time with guests.  And while there is no cursing on the show at the moment, there could be the potential for that down the road.

Don’t expect the show is going to become X-rated or anything like that, but the objective is to be able to capture the spirit and emotion of being a sports fan and host.

“It’s something we may do in the future,” said Gerstenhaber.  “Not curse just to curse but it gives us the option if we get fired up.  It is allowed because there’s no restrictions there.  The company doesn’t want us to do it at the moment.”  

There’s also been the shift for Gerstenhaber from being the “point guard” on his old radio show, driving the conversation and doing most of the talking, to now taking a step back and having Crawford distributing the ball on the television show.

For a guy called “The Bull”, that will take some getting used to. 

“Jay is a pro’s pro,” said Gerstenhaber.  “He’s the point guard for this but he’s also part of the conversation.  I’m not used to not being the point guard so I have to adjust to that.  I think it’s gone pretty well and the chemistry is pretty good and with time we’ll get used to the flow of it.”  

Gerstenhaber’s move from sports radio to an internet television show is a perfect example of how the industry is changing.  A good portion of the listening and viewing audience these days, especially those in the younger demographic, are not necessarily watching traditional television or listening to terrestrial radio.  For a lot of sports fans, watching and listening on a mobile device or a computer has become a very important way of life.

The desire to adapt, along with a shorter workday, was very enticing to him.

“It was only more recently that I was like why do I have to only be a radio guy?” wondered Gerstenhaber.  “There were things about my job that I was unhappy about.  I was doing a five-hour radio show.  It’s too long. That’s crazy.  Nobody should be doing a five-hour radio show at this point.” 

Broadcasting on the internet has arrived and it’s not just a couple of sports fans doing a show from their garage anymore.  The business has evolved to the point where the technology has provided more opportunities for those who have already enjoyed success in the industry and are looking for new challenges.

Kind of like Adam The Bull!

“I think years ago, probably like many people in the radio business, we looked at internet and podcasts as like whatever…those guys aren’t professionals…they’re amateurs,” said Gerstenhaber.  “But the game has changed.”

Gerstenhaber, Crawford and everyone associated with the “Ultimate Cleveland Sports Show” should not have much of a problem attracting the younger audience. That demographic is already accustomed to watching shows on YouTube and other streaming platforms.  The challenge now is to get the more mature audience on board. There are certainly some obstacles there.

I know this from experience with trying to explain to my mother in Florida how she can hear me on the radio and watch me on television simply by using her tablet.

Bull can certainly relate to that.

“My mother is still trying to figure out how to watch the show live,” said Gerstenhaber with a chuckle.  “The older fans struggle with that. A lot of my older fans here in Cleveland are like how do I watch it? For people that are under 40 and certainly people that under 30, watching a YouTube show is like okay I watch everything on my phone or device.  It’s such a divide and obviously as the years go by, that group will increase.” 

With the television show off and running, Gerstenhaber still has a passion for his roots and that’s the radio side of the business.  In the next couple of weeks, “The Bull” is set to announce the launch of two podcasts, one daily and one weekly, that will begin next month.  But he also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to terrestrial radio at some point.

“I have not closed the door to radio,” said Gerstenhaber.  “I still love radio.  I would still, in the right set of circumstances, consider going back to radio but it would have to really be the perfect situation.  I’m excited about (the television show) and right now I don’t want to do anything else but I’m certainly going to remain open-minded to radio if a really excellent opportunity came up.”

The landscape of the broadcasting industry, particularly when it comes to sports, has certainly changed over the years and continues to evolve.  Adam Gerstenhaber certainly enjoyed a tremendous amount of success on the radio side, both in New York and in Cleveland, but now he has made the transition to something new with the YouTube television show and he’s committed to making it a success.

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BSM Writers

I Heard A Lot of Boring, Uncreative Sports Radio On Friday

“Sometimes your first idea is your best one. You don’t know that though if you stop thinking after one idea. That is what it feels like happens a lot the day after NFL schedules are released”

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Maybe this one is on me for expecting better. Maybe I need to take my own advice and accept that there are times the sports radio audience just wants a little comfort food. Still, this is my column and I am going to complain because I listened to probably six different stations on Friday and all of them were doing the exact same thing.

The NFL schedule was released on Thursday night, so on Friday, regardless of daypart, every show seemingly felt obligated to have the same three conversations.

  1. How many games will the home team win?
  2. What does the number of primetime games we got mean for how much respect we have nationally?
  3. Why do the Lions still get to play on Thanksgiving?

Football is king. I get that. Concrete NFL news is always going to take priority. That is understandable. But where was even an ounce of creativity? Where was the desire to do better – not just better than the competition, but better than the other shows in your own building?

I listened to shows in markets from across the league. The conversations were the same regardless of size or history of success. Everyone that picked in the top 5 in last month’s draft is going to go 10-7. Every team that got less than 5 primetime games feels disrespected. It was all so boring.

Those of us in the industry don’t consume content the way listeners do. We all know that. Perhaps I am harping on something that is only a problem to me because I listen to sports talk radio for a living. If you don’t ever want to put more than the bare minimum of effort into your show, decide that is the reason for my reaction and go click on another article here.

Consider this though, maybe the fact that I listen to so much sports radio means I know how much quality there is in this industry. Maybe it means that I can spot someone talented that is phoning it in.

I want to be clear in my point. There is value in giving your record prediction for the home team. Listeners look at the people on the radio as experts. I will bet some futures bets in a lot of markets were made on Friday based on what the gambler heard coming through their speakers. All I want to get across is there is a way to have that conversation that isn’t taking two segments to go through each week one by one. I heard no less than three stations do that on Friday.

Sometimes your first idea is your best one. You don’t know that though if you stop thinking after one idea. That is what it feels like happens a lot the day after NFL schedules are released. It’s a very familiar rhythm: pick the wins, get a guest on to preview the week 1 opponent, take calls, texts and tweets with the listeners’ predictions.

I didn’t hear anyone ask their listeners to sell them on the over for wins. I didn’t hear anyone give me weeks that you could skip Red Zone because one matchup is just too damn good. I didn’t hear anyone go through the Sunday Night Football schedule and pick out the weeks to schedule dates because the matchup isn’t worth it.

Maybe none of those ideas are winners, and that is fine. They are literally three dumb ideas I pulled out of the air. But they are all ways to review the schedule that could potentially leave a smile on your listener’s face.

Show prep is so important, especially in a group setting. It is your chance to tell your partner, producer, or host that you know you can do better than the idea that has just been thrown out. Quit nodding in agreement and challenge each other! It may mean a little more work for you, but it means more reward for the listeners. And if the listeners know they can rely on you for quality, creative content, that leads to more reward for you.

And lay off the Lions. It’s Thanksgiving. You’re stuck at home. The NFL could give you Lions vs Jaguars and you’d watch.

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BSM Writers

Why You Should Be Making Great TikTok Content

“We’re specially trained in the world of TSL (time spent listening), and the longer people view your content on TikTok, the more the app rewards you by shoving your content into more and more feeds.”

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It feels like there’s a new social media platform to pay attention to every other week. That makes it easy to overlook when one of them actually presents value to your brand. It wasn’t long ago that TikTok was primarily used by teenagers with the focus being silly dance trends filmed for video consumption with their friends and followers alike. Now, as the general public has become in tune with how this complicated app works, it’s grown far beyond that.

TikTok is now an app used by all types of demographics and unlike TikTok’s closely related cousins Instagram and Facebook, this app provides a certain type of nuance that I think people in our line of work can really excel in. 

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of how you can use TikTok to your advantage and how to make your videos catch on, I think it’s important to first mention why this matters for you. Now, if I’m being realistic, I’m sure there are some that have already stopped reading this or those that could scroll away fast enough when they saw the words TikTok. You might be thinking that this doesn’t fit your demo, or maybe that it’s a waste of time because productivity here won’t directly lead to an uptick in Nielsen ratings. But I’m not sure any social network directly leads to what we ultimately get judged on, and we aren’t always pumping out content directly to our core audience.

TikTok, like any other app you may use, is marketing. This is another free tool to let people out there know who you are and what you offer in this endless sea of content. And the beauty of TikTok is that it directly caters its algorithm to content creators just like us. Bottom line, if you are a personality in sports talk, there’s no reason you can’t be crushing it on TikTok right now. All it takes is a little direction, focus, consistency, and a plan. 

Unlike Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter where you can throw a photo up with a caption and be done for the day, TikTok’s whole model is built on creative videos that keep users engaged for longer periods of time. This approach works. According to Oberlo, a social media stat tracking site, people spend more time per day on TikTok than any other popular social media application. 38 minutes per day!

This is where this is good news for us in talk radio. We’re specially trained in the world of TSL (time spent listening), and the longer people view your content on TikTok, the more the app rewards you by shoving your content into more and more feeds. TikTok’s algorithm doesn’t care how many followers you have, your level of credibility, or the production on your video. All ir cares about is 1) Is your content good. and 2) Are people watching it. 3) How long are they watching it. The more people watch and the longer they watch creates a snowball effect. Your videos views will skyrocket, sometimes within hours. 

So, how do you create content that will catch on? It’s really not all that different than what you do every day. Create thought-provoking commentary that makes people think, argue, or stay till the end to get the info you teased up for them. I’ve found through my own trial and error that it’s best if you stay away from time-sensitive material, I’ve had more success the more evergreen my content is. That way, the shelf life expands beyond just that day or week. This is different for everyone and there’s no one-size-fits-all, but this is where I’ve seen the most success. 

Also, put yourself out there, don’t be afraid to say something that people are going to vehemently disagree with. Again, it’s not unlike what we do every day. It’s one thing to get someone to listen, it’s another to get them to engage. Once they hit you in the comment section, you’ve got them hooked. Comments breed more views and on and on. But don’t just let those sit there, even the smallest interaction back like a shoulder shrug emoji can go a long way in creating more play for your video. 

If you want to grow quickly, create a niche for yourself. The best content creators that I follow on TikTok all put out very similar content for most of their videos. This means, unlike Instagram where it’s great to show what a wildly interesting and eclectic person you are, TikTok users want to know what they’re getting the second your face pops up on that screen. So if you are the sports history guy, be the sports history guy all the time. If you are the top 5 list guy, be the top 5 list guy all the time, and on and on, you get the point. 

Other simple tricks

  • Splice small videos together. Don’t shoot one long video. 
  • 90 seconds to 2 minutes is a sweet spot amount of time. 
  • Add a soft layer of background instrumental music (this feature is found in the app when you are putting the finishing touches on your video) 
  • Label your video across the screen at the start and time it out so that it disappears seconds later. This way a user gets an idea of what the content is immediately and then can focus on you delivering your message thereafter.  
  • Research trending hashtags, they are far more important than whatever you caption your video. 
  • Use closed captions so that people can follow your video without sound. 

Finally, don’t be intimidated by it or snub your nose at it. Anything that helps your brand is worth doing and anything worth doing is worth doing well. 

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