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The Worst Time of the Year for Sports Radio Can be a Great Time for Sales and Marketing

Well, here we are again. The NBA and the NHL have wrapped up their seasons, college baseball crowned a champion and the proverbial ‘countdown to football’ has begun. Yes, we still have baseball, and the Olympics will happen, but most sports radio stations look at this as the slow time of the year.

Tune in around the country and you will start to hear your ‘5 Best Cereals’ or ‘Top Sports Movies of All-Time’ segments as the hosts scour the internet for something, anything interesting to talk about. If only they had prepared for this time they knew was coming.

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The funny thing about the sports calendar is that it rarely changes. You have things like the Olympics or your team doing well in a particular postseason which can change up the schedule a bit, but for the most part, we know when things will be heavy and when they will be light.

This is where it is important to plan, and the time to do that planning was towards the end of last year. If you woke up at the end of June and decided to first think about what you will spend July and August talking about, you’re already dead. Keep searching the internet and social media, perhaps you will get lucky.

If you planned properly, this can be a great time to do some specialty programming, features or events that can be a hit with the sales team and the bottom line. Programming segments don’t typically cost anything, yet advertisers love being tied in with special programming and getting some great frequency in a short period of time.

Are you in a market where football is not only King, but Queen, Prince and Princess as well? What about a list of top players from the area or the top games ever played? Perhaps something you could have listeners weigh in on through a poll or a nomination process, something to get them engaged and something that gives the sales team a digital product to sell in addition to an on-air sponsorship.

I have talked a few times in this space about nostalgia. It hits. This would be a great time to play into the nostalgia of your local sports market and have programming geared towards highlighting former players, coaches, broadcasters and more.

Take a page out of what SportsRadio 610 did in Houston did recently and pick a day to look at the history of your radio station and bring back old voices. Or look at what ESPN Chicago has coming up with their event to kick off the football season with Adam Schefter and Field Yates in attendance.

Or look on TV and see what ESPN does on the SEC Network with their SEC Takeovers.

It’s summer, people are looking for activities and always love to interact with your station personalities. Do you have a summer event, or something planned that brings your audience closer to your station personnel? These things become harder to do as the fall rolls around and football gets underway.

Heck, it could even be just a simple ‘Countdown to Football’ that could be sold and turned into an on-air segment each day. The point is, there is time to do some out of the box ideas and drive some additional revenue.

In situations like these, I would always like to gather my staff together and have a brainstorming session with programming, sales and marketing all included. Get creative and figure out what fits the market, figure out where there is a hole that needs to be filled. If a great idea comes out of it, start testing it by pitching it to advertisers and get their reaction.

I was always a big believer in getting buy-in on things like this early. If the programming and sales teams had something to do with the brainstorming and coming up with the idea, they will be that much more likely to support it the way something like this needs to be supported. If it becomes something where programming management came up with an idea and the sales and programming teams were simply told what the station was doing, there is a greater chance it flops.

This to me is where we separate the good from the great people in our industry. It’s easy to figure out what the station will talk about when football is going on and the other sports get ready to get started. It’s when it is ‘dead time’ that real thinking and creativity needs to happen.

By the way, if you’re wondering, my answer in no order is: Crunch Berries, Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.


The Best Thing I Heard/Watched Recently

Am I allowed to pick Sean McDonough two weeks in a row? I suppose since last week was an interview and this week was a call of a game, I can do it just this once.

I didn’t watch most of the Stanley Cup Final, just popped in here and there. Game 7, however, I was all over. Not much else in sports can compare to the most important hockey game of the year. McDonough was up to the task and then some. After being sick for part of the series and getting ripped for a lack of energy because of the illness, McDonough shut everyone up and had a banger of a broadcast.

Andy Masur chronicled McDonough’s Game 7 in a column and you can listen to the final moments of the game by clicking here.


In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week, Derek Futterman had the chance to catch up with the great Jim Nantz to talk golf, football, basketball and life. In the feature you learn how much longer Nantz wants to call The Masters, you learn his thoughts on this year’s Super Bowl call by he and Tony Romo and much more.

“I can’t quantify it any other way than just the kindness that comes in my everyday life from people that want to say ‘Hello’ or say something nice or take a picture or whatever it might be,” Nantz told Futterman. “I’m touched that it means something to them because I long for nothing [and am] grateful for everything, but when I was a little boy, this was the life I wanted. This was the life that I obsessed and prayed for, and I’ve been given that chance and I will never take it for granted – never.”

You can read the full feature by clicking here.

Dave Greene
Dave Greene
Dave Greene is the Chief Media Officer for Barrett Media. His background includes over 25 years in media and content creation. A former sports talk host and play-by-play broadcaster, Dave transitioned to station and sales management, co-founded and created a monthly sports publication and led an ownership group as the operating partner. He has managed stations and sales teams for Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media and Audacy. Upon leaving broadcast media he co-founded Podcast Heat, a sports and entertainment podcasting network specializing in pro wrestling nostalgia. To interact, find him on Twitter @mr_podcasting. You can also reach him by email at [email protected].


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