A year ago I wrote a column talking about Sports Radio dealing with its “dead time” in February and early March–typically from the end of the Super Bowl until the start of March Madness. It has been fun to watch some stations across the country make some strong programming decisions throughout this period.
In Chicago, 670 The Score is the Cubs’ Flagship station. So broadcasting from Cubs Spring Training in Arizona is nothing out of the ordinary. But instead of just focusing on the team and interviews, they decided to rent a house and turn the entire time into what can be best described as a reality show meets a sports radio remote.
You can see the house at this video intro here, brilliantly shot and edited by Score video guy Brian Gertsch:
I found it to be a great way to bring the personality on the road with the shows and to give fans more than just the normal coach and player-speak you get during spring training broadcasts. This included a great discussion about what is in Pringles, Afternoon Show host Dan McNeil sauteing scallops for the group, and Midday hosts Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight playing catch outside.
It was a brilliant idea and a great use of video and the website to supplement what would normally be fairly standard remote radio broadcasts.
The NFL Scouting Combine
Here in Washington, DC 106.7 The Fan sent their Redskins beat reporter Craig Hoffman to Indianapolis to cover the scouting combine. Craig is not only a good reporter, but he is excellent on the radio. So throughout the day he’d check in with the various show and talk about the latest news from the combine. A lot of the talk I heard was about Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and the potential of the Redskins pursuing Arizona QB Josh Rosen.
It was an excellent way to make sports fans feel like the radio station was everywhere as there were shows at Nationals Spring Training as well during the combine. It really made the station sound BIG!
Just when you thought every variation of “March Madness” had been created, WFNZ in Charlotte is once again doing “Douche Madness” headed up by afternoon show host Kyle Bailey. Bailey has listeners nominate the 32 worst people on the earth via twitter in order to create a bracket and create matchups like the NCAA Tournament.
They just started asking for nominations today. The fan nominations include: Coffee snob guy, front runner guy, finds a problem for every solution guy, too much cologne guy, stands up immediately after the plane lands guy, blowing nose at the dinner table guy. There are already a ton of fun suggestions. Check out the hashtag #DoucheMadness on twitter and you’ll see some clever thinking on a great Feb/March topic.
There’s really two ways to look at the “Dead Time” in sports radio — either as a problem or an opportunity. The stations above clearly saw an opportunity to do something during this period that would engage listeners on-air, online, and on social media. Hopefully your listeners will appreciate what you’ve done for them during this period.