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Does Your Show Have Listeners Or A Community?

“Building your own army of TOLOs and FALs starts with acknowledging your listeners as a special club and doing it often.”

Demetri Ravanos

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I want to tell you about one of the funniest sports fans I know. We have a whole series of references we run through when watching sports together. It has taught me how much closer a relationship can be when you share an exclusive vocabulary.

The fan is my son. His name is Aaron (named after Hank). He’s 8-years-old and absolutely loves sports.

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Here are some of our codes/common sayings:

  • We call Notre Dame fans “undercover cops” because no one likes to tell other fanbases and players to quit having fun more than Notre Dame fans. I don’t like Notre Dame but boy, this kid haaaaaates Notre Dame.
  • We call the triple option “patriotic football” because every service academy runs that offense.
  • We refer to the Washington Wizards (his favorite team) as “what makes him humble.” This kid has been to Disney World more than once for every year he has been alive because of his mom’s job. He gets a lot of presents for his birthday and Christmas. He’s an Alabama football fan. I once told him that God made him a Wizards fan to keep him humble, and because this kid has a steel trap mind, it stuck.
  • We call Jameis Winston “baby shark,” because he plays like doo doo. Other parents will get that one.

I could go on. Those are just my four favorites.

Now look, Aaron is my son. I would like watching sports with him even if we sat on the couch in silence. It is just more fun with this language that is just for us. It’s our own little club.

Plenty of shows follow this theory. Think about all the shows you know that have a nickname for their listeners. The Morning Men on SiriusXM have their FALs. Ben & Skin have their TOLOs. The nickname tells listeners that they are every bit as important to the show as the people behind the mic and behind the board.

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Naming the community is only the beginning for so many shows. Think of Jim Rome. He wouldn’t have gotten to where he is if he and his staff didn’t create entertaining radio, but part of what makes his clones so loyal is the vocabulary they all share. Hair is “lettuce.” Good calls are met with “rack him.” They countdown to the end of the workday by noting how many hours they have “in the tank.”

Shows do more than just create their own slang. There is a whole weird culture associated with ESPN Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. Fans on Reddit have detailed Stugotz’s personal record book. They try to one up each other with the Looks Like game. People that attack Dan on Twitter are often met with a slew of “YOU DON’T GET THE SHOW” messages accompanied by an image or gif of Papi.

Building your own army of TOLOs and FALs starts with acknowledging your listeners as a special club and doing it often. Incentivize them to take pride in being part of your club and evangelizing for the show!

It’s hard to create an exclusive vocabulary or a common behavior out of thin air. You can hammer that vocabulary constantly like Romey did. You can turn some of that behavior into benchmarks like Le Batard did with the Looks Like game. Whatever tact you take, the important thing is that listeners feel the benefit of participating.

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My son and I are sports fans. We only share one favorite team, that’s Alabama football. I have roommates from college and plenty of relatives that love Bama too. I prefer to watch college football with my son because we laugh at its absurdities together and through that, we have come to love the sport the same way. He’s my community.

Building a community is hard, but it is worth it. A community supports its own. It listens to one another. Building your show’s community won’t just help your ratings. These are the people that will make it possible for your sales staff to say “this guy’s listeners support the businesses that support the show.” They’re the ones that get the show through downturns in the ratings and help the show push through to new levels of popularity.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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