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What Is The Ideal Format For A Radio Show’s Podcast?

“If we understand most of your listeners aren’t listening to every hour of your show, chances are they also don’t have the time to listen to every hour of the show in podcast form.”

Demetri Ravanos

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NBC turned some heads at the end of last week with the announcement that by year’s end, NBCSN will be just a memory. The company is putting major emphasis on adding more sports content, including live events, to its young streaming service Peacock. Heads turned again at the beginning of this week when it was announced that the streamer reached a billion dollar deal to be take over the WWE Network.

What does movement like this mean for sports radio? It means the future is digital. You don’t need me to tell you that though. That idea has been hammered into every programmer and broadcaster’s head for over a decade.

One thing that has become clear as ESPN3 has given way to ESPN+ and DAZN and Peacock has come on the scene is that every company wants more content options than anyone viewer can ever hope to get through. What can sports radio learn from that?

I asked a programmer and a host their views on the best way to present podcasts to listeners. Do we give them just the gold to make it more appealing for download? Do we put up everything in a variety of ways? What model do we follow – radio or streaming?

Jeff Rickard of 93.5 and 107.5 the Fan in Indianapolis is a fan of giving listeners everything. To him, that means posting shows in their entirety, although he will put the spotlight on individual segments when warranted.

“If there’s a really great segment, we’ll feature it on its own, but for the most part if there’s something you really want to hear you can find that segment and that day on the website,” the programmer told me.

Joe Ovies, host of The OG on Raleigh’s 99.9 the Fan, feels differently. He is adamant that stations get more response by offering listeners shorter, best of podcasts for each show.

“For starters, most podcasts are way too long in duration,” he says. “If we understand most of your listeners aren’t listening to every hour of your show, chances are they also don’t have the time to listen to every hour of the show in podcast form.”

Episode 123 - Joe Ovies 99.9 The Fan and WRAL Sportsfan with Sierra, Olde  Hickory & D9! | Tales From the Cask

I tend to agree more with Jeff’s approach more than Joe’s. Why are we trying to be in the business of telling listeners what they want to hear when there is no reason we can’t post entire shows? ESPN+ isn’t making judgements on what you should want to watch. That is why you can find a variety of Division III football games on the platform on Satrudays in the fall.

Joe Ovies and I have known each other for a long time. One thing I know for sure about him is that his opinions are backed up. He is an advocate for best-of podcasts because he doesn’t think radio should be giving everything away on a platform that doesn’t incentivize listeners to come to the show when it is on live.

“The pull of live radio is the spontaneity of whatever might happen in real time. By all means, give the listeners a bite-sized portion of what they might have missed on the show, but you still want them to come back for the main course on the radio. There’s a reason why podcasters make a big deal out of a ‘live podcast recording’. It’s what we do every day!”

It’s an interesting argument. I can’t say I totally disagree with it, but I do wonder if that is clinging to an antiquated or soon-to-be antiquated idea. Do we need listeners to come to the live show?

Certainly it is ideal, but as more stations figure out how to package their various ratings and downloads into a single number, is live radio unequivocally the most important part of the conversation anymore?

Dan Dakich, the mid day host at Rickard’s station is tremendously popular with his audience. The PD says he knows listeners consume that show all kinds of ways and he wants to make it easy for them to continue to do so.

“There are enough people that want to listen to Dan’s show in its entirety that will get mad if we don’t post the second hour. Now, I realize that is probably the minoroity of people, but in this day and age when you have the ability to turn it around so quickly and so effortlessly, why not? Why not put it all up there? I just don’t see it, in today’s world, as that big a deal of not being able to do that.”

Ovies is a believer in podcasts and digital content. He hosts podcasts about running and beer. He hosts digital video series for 99.9 the Fan and sister television station WRAL. He knows what good digital content is and what it isn’t.

To Joe, best-of podcasts aren’t about what the listeners miss. It is about trimming the fat and giving them more of what they want.

“Use the good radio habits of getting right to the story and opinion to combat what I find the worst aspects of podcasts, such as meandering intros and uninteresting tangents,” he says. “Get in, get out, don’t waste my time.”

I think the strategy of most companies in the streaming entertainment future is pretty easy to understand. More content options are better. Is everyone rushing to Disney+ to stream Dinosaurs? No, but it is there, so if you ever feel like you need to relive the adventures of the Sinclair family, you know where to turn.

Maybe it isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison with podcasts. But I’m not sure it is exactly apples-to-oranges either.

On the importance of comparing apple to apples | by Adam J. Grushan | Medium

I might disagree with Ovies on a grand scale, but his point about cutting out set up and housekeeping is valid. Less time doesn’t necessarily have to mean less content.

Still, I’d rather not be constrained by the rules of PPM in a world where they don’t matter. We need to adjust our thinking to fit the on-demand world of media. To me, that means letting the listener have access and make them responsible for deciding how to consume it.

BSM Writers

The NFL Hopes You’re Lazy Enough to Pay Them $5

“This app reportedly doesn’t even have any original content of it’s own. NFL Films produces content for ESPN+, HBO Max, Peacock, Tubi, Epix, Paramount Plus, and Prime Video. It has also reportedly had discussions about producing content for Netflix. Unless they plan to bring all of those shows in-house, what kind of shows could NFL Films produce for NFL Plus that you couldn’t already find on all of those other apps?”

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NFL Streaming

Corporate goodwill is a hard thing to ask for. It’s not something that is a requirement for any entity to engage in. But it can go a long way in establishing a deeper bond for the future. According to Sports Business Journal, NFL owners are contemplating launching a streaming service for the league.

The app would feature podcasts, content created by teams and radio content. It’s unknown where the podcast content will come from but one can assume it’ll include the various podcasts the NFL produces with iHeartRadio. Team content that is expected to be featured could come from videos and audio that is already posted on team websites and social media platforms such as YouTube.

Various organizations across the league have expanded their YouTube efforts over the last couple of years as the Google-owned site has slowly set itself apart as a leading source for viewership. My hometown team, the Baltimore Ravens, for example promotes a talk show with cornerback Marlon Humphrey where he interviews players and other key figures from the team about their lives and careers and how they got to where they are today.

The most important part of this app will be NFL games itself. On Sunday afternoons, whatever games are airing in the specific location you’re in while using the app, those are the games you have access to watch. If you’re in Baltimore and a Ravens game is airing on CBS while the Commanders are on Fox, those are the games the app will offer. If you’re in Boston and a Patriots game is on CBS while a Giants game is on Fox – you won’t have access to the Ravens game airing on CBS in Baltimore or the Commanders game on Fox in Baltimore even if that’s where you normally live. These games used to be a part of a deal with Yahoo Sports and Verizon – who distributed them on their apps for free.

JohnWallStreet of Sportico notes, “longer term, the existence of a league-owned streaming platform should help ensure broadcast rights continue to climb.” But at the end of the day, how does this help the fan? The increase of broadcast rights is going to end up costing viewers in the long run through their cable bill.

ESPN costs almost $10 per cable customer. The app, as of now, isn’t offering anything special and is an aggregation of podcasts, games and videos that fans can already get for free. If you want to listen to an NFL podcast – you can go to Spotify, Apple Podcasts and various other podcast hosting platforms. If you want to watch content from your favorite teams, you can go to their website or their social media platforms. And if you want to watch games, you can authenticate your cable subscriptions and watch them for free through your cable company’s app or CBS’ app or the Fox Sports app.

It’s nothing more than a money grab. Games are already expensive to go to as it is. Gas prices have reached astronomical highs. Watching content has become extremely costly and it’s debatable whether buying streaming services is cheaper or more expensive than the cable bundle. And now the NFL wants to add more stress and more expenses to their viewers who just desire an escape from the hardships of life through their love of a beautiful game? It seems wrong and a bit cruel to me.

The beauty of paying for content apps is that you’re going to gain access to something that is original and unique from everything else in the ecosystem. When House of Cards first premiered on Netflix, it was marketed as a political thriller of the likes we had never seen and it lived up to its expectations for the most part. The critically-acclaimed series led viewers to explore other shows on the app that were similarly a more explicit and unique journey from what had been seen on television before.

This app reportedly doesn’t even have any original content of it’s own. NFL Films produces content for ESPN+, HBO Max, Peacock, Tubi, Epix, Paramount Plus, and Prime Video. It has also reportedly had discussions about producing content for Netflix. Unless they plan to bring all of those shows in-house, what kind of shows could NFL Films produce for NFL Plus that you couldn’t already find on all of those other apps? Even YouTube has partnered with NFL Films to produce behind the scenes footage of games that is available for FREE.

If you’re going to force viewers to pay $5 to watch games on their phone, the least you could do is give fans access to speak with players and analysts before and after the games. Take NFL Network over the top so that we can wake up with Good Morning Football. Offer a way for fans to chat while games are being watched on the app. The ability to watch an All-22 feed of live games. A raw audio options of games. The ability to screencast. Even a live look at the highly paid booths who are calling the games.

Five bucks may seem small in the grand scheme of things but it is a rip-off especially when the content is available for free with a few extra searches. Goodwill and establishing a person to person online relationship with fans could go a long way for the NFL. It’s not going to work using these tactics though. And after facing such a long pandemic, offering it up for free just seems like the right thing to do.

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BSM Writers

Sports Talkers Podcast – Danny Parkins

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Danny Parkins opens up to Stephen Strom about why he is so passionate about defending Chicago. He also gives his best career advice and explains why a best friend is more important sometimes than an agent.

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BSM Writers

Marc Hochman is The Lebron James of Miami Sports Radio

The Hochman and Crowder Show with Solana isn’t like anything you’ll hear in most major markets. But they wear that distinction with a badge of honor. They’re not interested in breaking down why the offensive line can’t get a push on short-yardage situations, they want to make you laugh, regardless if it’s sports content or not. They’re perfectly Miami sports radio. 

Tyler McComas

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Marc Hochman

There’s 30 minutes to go until Marc Hochman’s summer vacation and he’s suddenly overcome with emotion. Instead of staring at the clock, he’s staring at an article from The Miami New Times, which has just named him Best Talk Radio Personality in its “Best of 2022” awards issue. It’s an incredible honor in a city that has several worthy candidates, including the man sitting right next to him, Channing Crowder. 

But it’s not just the honor that’s catching Hochman’s eye, it’s also the paragraph where the newspaper compares him to Lebron James. No, seriously. Compliments are nothing new for the Miami radio veteran, but being compared to one of the best basketball players of all-time is new territory. Part of the paragraph reads like this:

“His current domination of the afternoon drive simulcast on both WQAM and 790 The Ticket (WAXY) is akin to Lebron playing for the Lakers and Clippers simultaneously. Could he do it? Probably. Does Hochman do this daily? Yes. Advantage, Hochman.”

Talk about incredibly high praise for a sports radio host. Especially one in Miami where there’s still a lot of hard feelings towards Lebron. But the praise is accurate, because the Hochman and Crowder Show with Solana airs on two different Audacy stations every day. It’s an interesting dynamic, especially for a market the size of Miami/Fort Lauderdale. 

“We have a joke that if you don’t like what you’re hearing on 560, feel free to tune in on 790,” laughed Hochman. “But it’s fun and I think in some strange way it’s increased our audience. As crazy as it is to say in 2022, there are people who listen to a particular radio station and don’t ever change it. I do think being on both stations has expanded our audience. We have fun with it. The show is on for four hours on 560 WQAM and three hours on 790 The Ticket.”

It’s cool to see Hochman get this type of honor during his 10th year of being an afternoon host on 560 WQAM. Especially since he’s originally from Chicago, but has carved out an incredible career in a city he’s called home since the late 80s. It’s funny to think Hochman had no interest in sports radio in 2004 when his college friend Dan Le Batard offered him a job as an executive producer at a startup station in Miami. Now, 18 years later, he’s being voted as the best to do it in the city. 

“Everybody likes to be recognized for what they do,” said Hochman. “We get recognized all the time by the listeners, but when someone out of your orbits writes their opinion of what you’re doing, and it’s that glowing of an opinion, it’s great. I’ve been compared to Lebron before, but it’s always been my hairline. It was nice to be compared to him for another reason. That was super cool.”

The best part about all of this is how Hochman will use this as a funny bit on the show, because, above anything else, he’s instantly identified as someone who’s incredibly gifted at making people laugh on the air. There’s no doubt it will become a theme on the show, both with him and his co-hosts, Crowder and Solana. 

“The award came out about 30 minutes before I was leaving for my summer vacation, so I had about 30 minutes on the air to respond to it,” Hochman said. “So I’m sure it will become a bit on the show, I certainly will refer to myself as the Lebron James of sports talk radio in Miami. Although, there’s still some hard feelings here towards him.

That was the one part that jumped out, obviously, to me, Crowder and to Solana. I don’t think I’m Lebron James but Crowder said on the air that sometimes you have to acknowledge when you’re playing with greatness, and he said “I used to play defense with Jason Taylor and Junior Seau, now I’m doing radio and I will acknowledge greatness.”

With or without this honor, it’s pretty evident Hochman is the happiest he’s ever been in sports radio. He’s surrounded with two talented co-hosts, but the sentiment is that Hochman does an incredible job of putting both Solano and Crowder in situations to be the best versions of themselves on the air. However, Hochman sees it differently. 

“I think that’s more on the people around you,” he said. “If you have great teammates, they’re great. Crowder and Solana, those dudes, if you want to make a basketball comparison, we have ourselves a Big Three.

Solana is the best at what he does, Crowder is the absolute best radio partner I’ve had in my career. He’s so aware of what it takes to entertain but also has broadcast sensibilities at the same time. I actually think he’s the one that makes us sound better than what we really are. He has a really incredible knack for entertaining but also informing.”

The Hochman and Crowder Show with Solana isn’t like anything you’ll hear in most major markets. But they wear that distinction with a badge of honor. They’re not interested in breaking down why the offensive line can’t get a push on short-yardage situations, they want to make you laugh, regardless if it’s sports content or not. They’re perfectly Miami sports radio. 

“I would say Miami is the strangest sports radio market in the country,” said Hochman. “I grew up in Chicago so I’m intimately familiar with Chicago sports talk. Miami sports talk, which is Le Batard, who redefined what works. In Miami, that’s what it needed. It’s more guy talk than sports talk. We certainly can’t break down a third inning in a Marlins game and why a runner should have been running when he wasn’t, the way that New York, Philadelphia or Boston radio could.”

“That doesn’t work here. When Crowder and I go on the air everyday, we’ve always said, our goal is we want to laugh the majority of our four hours on the air. If we’re laughing, we assume the audience is laughing, as well. That’s our personality. We both like to laugh and have fun. I like to do it, no matter what is going on. That translates to the radio. Luckily, Miami is a sports radio market that embraces that, because I don’t think we could do a show any other way.”

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Barrett Media Writers

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