Mon. Nov 12th, 2018

Commit To Your Weekend

I have heard countless Sports Radio programmers say things like “just worry about Monday-Friday 6a-6p.” Sure, that’s where most of the listeners are, but why can’t you win weekends, too? Most major sporting events are on weekends–College Football, NFL, The Final Four, and The Super Bowl to name a few. Plus, just think of how often you’re in your car on the weekends driving your kids from place to place. If your kids play sports, you are in the car A LOT—especially early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. 

So here are four good reasons to invest in your weekend programming:

1. Ratings

You will get better ratings with a local show than most weekend network shows. This is no offense to the many national sports radio networks, it just makes sense that someone in Chicago would rather hear content about Notre Dame and the Bears on a weekend show as opposed to the Patriots, Cowboys, or Alabama.

2. Shoulder programming around play by play

If you’re in a college football market like Columbus, Ohio you build your weekends around your gigantic College Football Team. 97.1 The Fan in Columbus hits the air this Saturday morning at 6:30am Eastern (yes my East Coast friends, Ohio is in the Eastern time zone) ahead of a Noon OSU kickoff against Nebraska. They’ll stay live with postgame until 6:30pm. So you’re looking at a 12 hour block of programming including a three to four hour football game in the middle of it. 

You’ll see similar day long Sunday programming for Sports Radio stations that are NFL flagships. Check out a Sunday on WIP in Philadelphia or 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. It may not be totally accurate to call pre and post-game shows on non-flagship stations “Shoulder” programming, but it is big. You can find full Sundays of pre and postgame coverage of your local NFL team—not on the flagship. I love it, too when stations use their main weekday talent to do a show leading up to a major sporting event.

3. Special Shows

Weekends are a great spot for former full-time talent or night show hosts to be featured more prominently. There are great examples of this across the country including Howard Eskin’s Show Saturday morning on WIP in Philadelphia and Matt Spiegel’s triumphant return to Saturdays on The Score in Chicago. 

4. Try-out talent

As a programmer this is my favorite part about programming weekend shows. Weekend shows are a great way to try out new hosts or combinations of hosts. It’s when the “mad scientist” in me put crazy and some not so crazy shows together. In Chicago, I threw Eddie Olczyk and Stephen Bardo on the air. The weekends are where Holden Kushner learned to host a show by himself. 

Is there a host from a smaller market you want to try out—hear how he/she would sound on your airwaves? What about some different combination of hosts? How about a current or former athlete in town or a witty sportswriter? Try it out on the weekends. It’ll be fun and new for your station and its listeners—who knows, you may have made your next great show.