‘Rome was not built in a day.’
In sports media, this Rome would refer to Jim Rome and ‘The Jungle.’ If you listen to Rome’s show enough, you often hear about the early days of his show and all the dues he had to pay before he hit it big. Once again, the path to sports talk radio starts with creating your own style that is unique, creative, and commands the attention of listeners. Once those details are worked out, actually gaining some airtime is the next challenge, especially since there are so few sports themed radio stations in a given media market.
College radio stations are a great way to begin since volunteering behind the scenes can eventually lead to your own block of time on the college radio station.
Regardless of the number of station listeners, it is a great way to gain experience and start to develop your style. Another great way of gaining experience is to intern at the local sports talk radio station in order to start networking.
Working behind the scenes, even doing grunt work is a way to at least get noticed and get your foot in the door. Getting your name out there and having station managers listen to your audition tapes can pay dividends within the network of radio stations. Interning behind the scenes may eventually lead to filling in for station regulars when on vacation and thus gain more experience. Even filling in to do hourly score updates during the graveyard shift helps one build a resume of experience.
Starting at a small market station represents another option in this case also. Small market stations are a known training ground and launching pad for future sports talk radio shows. If you’re good, station directors recognize that talent and are ready and willing to recommend you for open positions in other markets. With more and more radio stations being acquired by a few large media conglomerates, word spreads when great talent emerges in smaller markets. Thus it is imperative to get your name and show out there for others to discover.
How to Break In – Broadcast journalism classes, college radio stations, interning at a radio station, small market radio stations
Recommended Skills – Unique style, creativity, knowledge of all sports and current events, command of the language, speaking articulately, networking, sense of humor, interview skills
Salary Range – $0 to $1,000,000+ depending on the market size and show popularity