If you listen to sports talk radio, you know there are hosts that hold your interest and those that don’t.
The good ones stick to the big stories, but never without tacking their own strong opinions onto the news. Phone calls are taken, but callers better have something to say, or bang! They’re gone before they know what hit them. Guests get pointed questions, and the host uses music and even sound effects to keep the fun going. One host who didn’t want callers wasting his time with “hello, how are you?” chatter used the sound of dynamite exploding to blast them off the air.
Bad hosts, in contrast, dryly report sports news, treat big and small stories equally, and let callers ramble on and on. Such hosts are soon blasted off the air themselves, when ratings show listeners “heading for the parking lot” before the show is half over.
The difference is that good hosts know the secrets of the job, developed over years of experience. We’re going to teach you those secrets, including:
- How to brainstorm ideas for upcoming shows.
- How to judge the value of stories to talk about.
- How to formulate your opinions, backed up by facts.
- How to use the “topic tree” approach to developing multiple slants on the same big story so you can talk it up for hours, without repeating what’s already been said.
- How to interview guests for maximum insights into their thinking.
- How to use storytelling to take listeners “behind the scenes” into locker rooms, training camps, and other venues fans seldom get to visit.
- How Arbitron rates radio shows, and the importance of “Time Spent Listening (TSL).”
- How to use teasing techniques to keep listeners tuned in and increase TSL.
- How to work with a call screener to allow only the kind of calls listeners want to hear.
- How to keep callers on the subject and avoid them rambling and repeating.
- How to keep “branding” your show so listeners never forget who they’re listening to and what station or network is bringing you to them.
- How to work in a talk show team (think ESPN’s “SVP and Russillo,” for example), developing your own character in the mix and splitting up what role each team member plays.
You Need Broadcasting Skills, Too
Reading that list, can you recognize some of the things top notch talk show hosts do? Well, you’ll learn to do them too … from a professional sportscaster. Who’s better to teach sportscasting than someone who’s done it.
But that’s not all you’ll learn with SMG training. We’ll also teach you the broadcasting skills you need:
- Proper vocal delivery.
- How to operate the equipment you’ll use.
- How to work in commercials, product placements and other sponsor needs.
- How to write both ad and show copy.
- How to interact with the technical and administrative people you’ll work with in any pro broadcasting situation.
Without these skills, even if you land a coveted talk hosting job, you won’t last long doing it.
How SMG Trains You for Sports Talk Show Hosting … Play-by-Play
How does the SMG program get you up to speed to apply for a professional hosting position? Here’s our play by play:
- You contact SMG and tell us you’d like to be a professional sports talk host. You also tell us four or five local radio stations that broadcast sports.
- We set you up with a professional sportscaster right at one of the stations. You two talk, and if both are happy with working together, the sportscaster becomes your mentor.
- You follow a carefully laid out training course put together by top sportscasters, including:
- Bruce Gilbert, head of Sports Operations at Clear Channel radio
- ESPN program directors Larry Gifford and Jeff Schwartz
- Play-by-play superstar Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton of XTRA Sports 1360
- Rob Buska of NBC Sports
- The course materials will ask you to put together your own sportscast starring you as the host.
- You and your mentor meet weekly right at the local station. No need to travel to some far-off, high priced, brick and mortar broadcasting school that teaches you to be a DJ or news guy when all you want to learn is sportscasting.
- Your mentor offers feedback and suggestions. Over time your work improves to meet professional standards.
- At the program’s conclusion, you get a diploma from SMG certifying you for professional sportscasting work. SMG and its sister company, Broadcasters Mentoring Group, are highly regarded in the broadcasting industry as a source of new on-air talent.
But you also get something more…
The Make or Break Value of Contacts
Because you’ve trained at an actual radio station, the professionals there have been able to watch your skills grow. And if you work hard, they become interested in seeing your career advance.
Almost everyone in broadcasting has a wide network of contacts in the industry, who report back when jobs open. This increases your chances to know about them before any outsider does, and when you apply, you’ll carry recommendations from your mentor and others. Contacts often mean the ball game in getting a job in broadcasting. In fact, industry data show that six of every 10 new broadcasting hires happen through contacts.
No wonder Crys Quimby, program director at WCBS-AM, flagship station of the New York Yankees, says, “The mentoring model SMG uses is an outstanding vehicle for someone trying to break into the business. It’s not just WHAT you know. It’s WHO you know.”
Best Program, Lowest Cost
But SMG has another winning edge, especially compared to traditional broadcasting schools that only offer sportscasting as a small part of their program. We’re up to 20 times less expensive compared to these schools, when they’re part of a college degree program, and less than half the cost even when they’re not. Plus, financing is available.
Take the First Step … Free
So here’s the drill: If you want to be a sports talk talk host, you’re the one who has to make the first call. It’s easy to do and won’t cost a cent. Just read on in the SMG website, and especially the FAQ page, or, even easier, just fill in the Contact form below or call SMG at (818) 879-0858. We’ll put you in touch with one of our counselors for a free career consultation. There’s no obligation of any kind to learn more.
Sportsradio fans are waiting to hear from you. So are we. Contact SMG today!