Sports Media 101 – Intro to Radio

by mike (in boston) @mikeinboston – hatemailaccount (a t) gmail (d o t) com



Like most of you, I have been listening to sports radio and reading sports columns for a long time now. In this series I will be offering a free online course to members of the media on how to do their jobs, based on what I have observed and heard over these many years.



So you have a sports radio show. Congratulations! But coming up with intelligent and well-informed opinions is pretty hard. Life is going to get in the way sometimes, and you'll have a show coming up but nothing to talk about. Fear not – here is a step by step guide to filling the time with minimal effort.



Step 1: find someone saying something extraordinarily stupid on Twitter. (This step should be easy).


Step 2: start your radio show by talking about how "the fans" think _____ (insert the stupid opinion here).


Step 3: explain why what "the fans" think is dumb, being careful to note that "I'm not saying this is what all the fans think." (don't quote any reasonable fan opinions though, and don't point out that you've picked the stupidest opinion as your starting point. Also don't point out that the dumb opinion is a minority position and that it has already been widely discredited by others).


Step 4: bask in the glory of having defeated an idiotic argument (note: there may not be any actual glory in defeating an argument only dumb people hold, but don't let that get in the way).



This strategy is foolproof. So, if you're lazy, or didn't actually watch the game, or didn't have time to read what reasonable people are saying on blogs, or just don't want to think very hard, go to this handy plan. One word of warning: this can become a bit of a crutch. Once you get used to pillorying straw men it can be hard to go back to debating sensible adults.


Enjoy your radio show! And don't worry – it is incredibly hard to be fired from a radio gig unless you are truly terrible. Even if that happens, chances are you'll either be snapped up by the competition and hailed as a hero for switching sides, or you'll still be asked to fill in from time to time.


Study Question: name someone who has been fired from the FAN or TSNR in the last 10 years who is not working in sports radio or TV? Difficulty: no Krystal, no Goddard, no dead people.



  • comment-avatar
    Another Steve 8 years ago

    I’d like to suggest a different topic, if I may.

    (Sorry to be like this, Mike – but complaining about the hosts of the Toronto radio stations becomes rather tiring – at least to me).

    A couple of months ago I started listening to Slate’s sports podcast “Hang up and Listen.” It was a bit of a revelation to me, and a great way to fill my Tuesday morning commute to work. I hadn’t realized that there were sports podcasts out there that were articulate and intelligent, and hosted by people who were interested in journalism.

    Anyway, my question is this – what sports podcasts are other people listening to that some of us may not be familiar with? I’m really curious to know.

    As far as I am concerned, nothing on 590 or 1050 is ever worth listening to via podcast. Rather, for me it’s just filler when I drive.

    But I know that there is a big wide world out there and I imagine that a few people here must have some interesting suggestions.


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    With podcasts, I listen to the BS Report if I like the guests/topic. James Allen On F1 is great for F1 junkies like myself, and I also catch the audio podcast of PTI from time to time.

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    Guardian Football Weekly
    Men in Blazers
    Jonah Keri podcast
    Beyond the Pitc
    Espn FC
    Tuesday Club
    Bbc 5 live football daily
    World football phone in
    SI soccer pod
    Sports media journal
    Awful announcing
    Marek v wyshynski
    Fighting talk

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    As for other podcasts, I like “Mike and Mike”, Dan Patrick, PTI, MMQB and ESPN Football Today. I’ve washed my hands of Toronto sports radio, maybe 10 minutes a week if I can’t avoid it, even in podcast form, so these podcasts, 680 News and TuneIn Radio are all anyone needs.

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    Andrew 8 years ago

    For PTI listeners, there’s Tony Kornheiser’s daily radio show from 10:00 – noon on ESPN 980. It doesn’t totally focus on sports, but it is 2 hours of Mr. Tony, which does keep the littles happy. I think it winds up on iTunes a day later if you can’t stream it.

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    “name someone who has been fired from the FAN or TSNR in the last 10 years who is not working in sports radio or TV? ”

    Hmm… man, not sure I can name one! Don Landry?

    “what sports podcasts are other people listening to that some of us may not be familiar with? I’m really curious to know.”

    Over the last few months I’ve become a bigger and bigger fan of the Dan LeBatard Show. Comes out of Miami, but they’ve just gone national on ESPN radio over the last month.

    In my opinion it’s the best show on sports radio. Totally unique. They don’t really break down games, preview games or do any of the often cliched, hacky stuff we’re used to in sports radio. Really, really excellent show. Highly recommend it.

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    The two best sports radio of last ten years mentioned above: Kornheiser’s old show at 980 (before he went to Wapo Radio)and Lebatard’s show (before Hoch and Stugotz broke up).

    Non sports sports shows. And rarely any callers.

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    Hoch and Stugotz had a falling out?

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    Mike S 8 years ago

    There haven’t been many people dismissed by 590 in the last 10 years, other than the purge in June 2010 (Landry, Stellick, Hogan, etc)……………is Rumack working in sports radio or TV?……………..Toth is at 1010 so he is still in sports radio

    Since 1050 has only been on the air for less than 3 years there haven’t been many people dismissed there either, except Cybulski I guess

    I have heard that the Kornheiser podcast is very good but I haven’t listened to it much…………….I’ve never been a big fan of LeBatard so I doubt I would enjoy his podcast but many people seem to really like it

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    Didnt Hoch go to the morning show a year or so ago?

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    Did anyone notice that was a shot at Greg Brady? haha

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    thanks all for the podcast suggestions. I’ve downloaded a sampling and will listen to a few on Monday when i have to spend 5 hours in the car. Maybe I’ll do a podcast review for next week’s Seen & Heard.

    I’ll recommend the baseball podcast Effectively Wild. I haven’t listened to it yet, but my brother the baseball junkie raves about it.

    This post wasn’t directed at anyone in particular … i’ve heard many radio hosts fall prey to it (some more than others). I was just pointing out that it’s a lazy and intellectually dishonest way to discuss a topic. It’s in the same vein as Glen Beck’s “some people say …”

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    Friday 7 years ago

    enjoy, personal.