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(SPORTS TALK) Content And Teasing


Any radio host who delivers content from out of the market is automatically losing in the PPM war. You have to remember, with PPM you're delivering a service to the listener and most listeners don't care what's going on in New York City if they live in Miami. The content for each market is very different and the host has to study the marketplace and who he's actually talking to. I spoke to Gary Marince of  Clear Channel, the guy who invented the modern PPM system, when he was at Arbitrion. He said many times, "The radio host has to have a profile of the radio listener he's talking to."

Radio hosts should be profiling the radio listener he's talking to. Radio companies should implement profiling like the FBI profiles serial killers. They can find a serial killer with a strain of hair. Take that same premise and apply it to profiling radio listeners. Salary, cars owned, age of the listener, is it a double-salary household? The more you know the listener the more you'll know what content works. There are markets like Miami and L.A. that are trendy. They have very little interest in talking hardcore sports. It's more about what's trending now. A host must know the marketplace.

Broadcasters like Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh are amazing storytellers. They deliver content better than any other host in America. Ask yourself this question: If Rush Limbagh and Howard Stern have the same access to the same content you have, why don't you get great numbers like them? It's the delivery of the content. Most people read the news. I like to listen to people actually preach their views on the content they present to listeners. It shows the passion they have for what they're saying and it will come through that microphone loud and clear.

Onto teasing. Here's one of my favorite teases. "Is Manti Teo gay?" (Hard break). Not that I care, but it was what everyone was talking about at the time. By the way, you'd better have a PD who will back you up and support your show when you go out on a limb to make these types of teases. Here's a horrible tease. "Coming up after the break, we'll take your calls." What are you teasing? The listener's calls? That suggests to the audience that callers drive the show. That's the worst radio on this planet. You've heard hosts say this: "My show is caller driven." Most of the time callers will drive your show right into the ground!

Teasing is so important. That's why you need to develope a flow going to breaks. The more seamless the better. I'm a huge fan of hard breaks. The closer you can take the listener to the break, the better chance you have of achieving success in your ratings. There are triggers that a listener will tune out on, like, "Coming up next" or "After the break." Listeners are like me. They have ADT, and the attention span of a gnat. Going to break has become so important in a PPM world, you can actually hear the radio hosts that practice the right fundamentals, and the ones that don't. I promise will be replaced!

I was taught a great lesson from Howard Stern. Don't look or listen for great radio. Listen for bad radio. The quicker you fix the latter, the faster you'll climb the ladder!

Dan Sileo, also known as "The Bonecrusher," is a sports talk show host who has worked at KGO & KNBR-WDAE and WQAM. He can be reached at and on Twitter at @dansileoshow

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