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PASR28: Bruce Gilbert – SVP Sports Cumulus/Westwood One


“I think sports radio went through a real ugly, almost pre-teen, period that–thank God–we worked ourselves out of.” – Bruce Gilbert

Bruce Gilbert has heard the best and the worst of sports radio.

And the former ESPN Radio general manager will be there first to tell you, there was a dark time for the format.

But in the ears of the new Senior Vice President of Sports at Cumulus & Westwood One, sports talk is alive and well as a format.  That doesn’t mean, though, that the format still isn’t behind the times in a couple of different departments.

Even so, there’s not many more trusted names than Gilbert to break down what is working and what isn’t in the industry.  He gets into a lot of that in our discussion.

Check out more of the show notes below to get a feel for what you will hear in this edition of The PASR. I hope you enjoy and, as always, leave a comment to get out anything that this podcast had you thinking along the way.

  • How did Bruce get the ‘bug’ for this industry? [1:01]
  • Bruce talks about how family holidays were still built around radio discussion. [3:40]
  • Sports radio is failing at “selling ourselves.” How do we fix it? [4:53]
  • Bruce talks about what social media has done to the sports talk radio format. [6:57]
  • How does Bruce feel about phone calls at a sports talk station? [9:04]
  • Bruce has a theory as to why phone calls work in the northeast, specifically. [10:28]
  • What are the biggest differences in the sports radio industry now compared to when Bruce Gilbert first got started in the biz? [11:56]
  • Sports radio’s “Angry White Guy” period. [13:06]
  • What will the next “cycle” of sports radio look like? [17:21]
  • Why is sports more of a mainstream “social currency” than ever before? [19:41]
  • Why is there not enough diversity in sports radio? [21:28]
  • What could Bruce do to a station in a week? [23:12]
  • What is the biggest mistake programmers are making? [24:47]
  • What Bruce finds himself telling hosts over and over again. [26:28]
  • How important is self-deprecation? [30:10]
  • Bruce’s take on the way ratings are tabulated in radio. [33:20]




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