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Social Media & Sports Talk Results

March 11, 2013

Yesterday I put together a quick survey to crowdsource how to best use social media for sports talk radio show hosts. The exercise was meant to be completely self-serving as I wanted to use the data to fine tune how I use social media for my show. It led to many of my fellow sports talk radio friends reaching out for the results.

I’ve put together the results below with a small amount of analysis.


Q1 Thoughts:

With over 400+ people checking in, I was a little surprised that local sports talk dominated so heavily. We are spoiled and want customized sports talk crafted around our teams. Of the 12% that checks in with syndication, I would imagine that 75% that crowd is Mike and Mike with ESPN. Rome hasn’t moved the needle with CBS with his launch, and not many other national shows have the appeal as they did 5 years ago. Sports talk fans want it live and they want it local.


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 11.27.22 AM

Q2 Thoughts:

The future is here. I figured that normal old fashioned radio dials would rule the roost here, but I’m shocked that the online/App listening is already in such high demand. I do believe the number is a little high as this survey was done via Twitter/Facebook, so I would imagine the tech savvy crowd helped inflate the number from the norm. Regardless, the future of radio is here. App based listening will change the game. It will make the horrific monopoly of Arbitron ratings a thing of the past, and will show that content is slowing gaining on distribution. 7 years ago, you had to be on a major syndication signal to be heard….but now if you have good content, people can find you. {Rant on how Arbitron is killing itself and radio to follow in summary}


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 11.35.28 AM

Q3 Thoughts:

What a idiotic question this was. I’m a dumb ass for including this, please move on.


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 11.38.08 AM

Q4 Thoughts:

A pretty dumb way to word the question, but what I gather from this is that there are a lot of lurkers on your Twitter feed than you realize. In sports talk radio, we know that a VERY small % of listeners actually have stones to call-in. When I first started radio 10 years ago, I judged if people were listening by if people were calling….again, idiotic. People are listening to your show, and “listening” to your Twitter feed. 23% are lurkers, and 47% will only respond if it’s a thought provoking statement.


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 11.43.46 AM

Q5 Thoughts:

3 questions in a row that I wish I worded differently, but very key point from this info. You can’t be a one trick pony on Twitter. Yes, it’s great to present yourself with only sports facts, but you are leaving your chance to make a mark with the follower by getting off course every once in a while. I’ve got more feedback from live tweeting a 13 year old’s club volleyball tournament (no comment) and drunk family Monopoly as I did on my thoughts after a major win/loss of any sporting event. Open up the doors a little bit. Sports in the foundation why people listen/follow, but they remember you more for the fringe stories/thoughts than they do your sports takes. Anyone can do “box score” radio. It’s the one’s that mix in their personal life both on-air and on Twitter that truly develop connection with fans.


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 11.49.41 AM

Q6 Thoughts:

VERY shocked at this result. Social media has allowed us break one of the unwritten rules in media, we are now allowed to take pictures of events under the guise of “painting the picture”. You see if all the time, the media humblebrag of taking the cliched picture of the field before the game, the food spread in the press box, stars in the crowd….etc. The crazy thing….people like it. 68% want us to take them along for the ride. Only 3% find it as bragging. Paint the scene for those who can’t be there, as long as you don’t make it about you. Self deprecating comments with photos are a pretty good way to keep yourself in check from the dbag factor.


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 11.55.38 AM

Q7 Thoughts:

Well Crap….I’ve been doing it all wrong. I’m intrigued by these results as I thought people would want to know right before the topic/guests comes on-air as a reminder. People want a 30+ minute heads up on a big topic/guest. Obviously this is good info as we continue to “tease” upcoming guests to play to dumb PPM game. I’ve got a new rule on my show that I only will do the interview if the guest will promote their appearance via Twitter. When you ask guests to do that most will, as it’s a way to brag about doing a interview without really bragging.


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 12.01.17 PM

Q8 Thoughts:

Rather than list the 230+ accounts I got recommended, there were comments attached that kept coming up.

  1. Wide range of topics: People want a follow that is not just sports, but everything in life
  2. Humorous – Twitter is home to the unsigned comedians of snark, but also makes fans for life
  3. Interactive – Not shocking, but RTing followers, reading tweets on-air makes fans feel a part of the show
  4. Facts – Snark is great, but to mix in hard sports opinions helps balance the fun.
  5. Live Tweeting: Not just sports, but big events. “Oscars/TV Shows/Life Events”


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 12.05.48 PM

Q9 Thoughts:

Another stupid question by me which lead to many replying “Why the hell would I follow someone that is annoying?” Yup…..point taken. The usual suspects showed up here: Bayless, Stephen A, Rovell….etc. Basically if you have a boat load of Twitter followers, people hate you. A few comments on why others showed up:

  1. Overtweeters – Especially when it comes to off sports topics. Followers can handle clogging up time line if it’s about a major sporting event and it’s not play-by-play. But to comment on every piece of news in the world, knock it off
  2. Too mainstream: People want to see an edge. Don’t be a machine, show some emotion
  3. Too cool – People hate the cool kids table tweeters. They see you only RT or replying to your cool media friends
  4. Negative: Occasional constructive criticism is welcomed, to be downer 90% of the time hurts you


Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 12.14.13 PM

Q10 Thoughts:

My takeaway here is that if they follow you on Twitter, they are tuning in. Twitter is sports talk radio 24/7. It allows you to talk to the masses even when your show in not on. I recently talked to a league source who told me that social media is becoming more important teams rather than TV/Radio appearances. Teams are finding that if there are both internal and external audiences to reach. Yes, a TV interview might reach a large “external” number of viewers, but the tweet from a respected host not only goes to a large “external” group and can grow much quicker virally, but the “internal” audience is the most important. Chances are other media “thought leaders” are following you and if they see your analysis, they are more apt to think that way.

Final thoughts:

I wish I would have mapped out the questions a little better, but it gave me few thoughts on how to best use Twitter as a host. Considering that in major market, a comment you say on air might reach 5,000-15,000 people at a given time…..when on Twitter, a tweet could reach 100,000+ people in a span of seconds with the right about of RTing from others.

We are moving to a point where content is king. With app based listening improving each day with smart phones, the future is not with radio dials, but rather online/app listening which can be driven from anywhere. The radio ratings system devised by Arbitron is killing it’s own livelihood. In major markets, there are sometimes only 20 of the ratings “PPM Meters” in play for sports talk radio. 20 people decide on if cities of millions listen to the product. Advertisers are growing keen to the fact of the rigged ratings game, and are focusing on people with more “social media reach” than ever before.

Many big stations have to have a sports talk “Matrix”. Which is a sheet that tells you what the 20 people like to hear. It’s killing sports talk radio across the country. Social media is a way to take back personality in sports talk.

Thanks for taking the time to read. I welcome any feedback @PeterBurnsRadio.


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