by Kent Sterling
It’s not quite that simple. If you are like me, I talk back when I listen to the radio. I look crazy as I drive, but that’s alright. No one has ever gotten a ticket for talking to a radio.
For most of my life, I’ve wanted to host a talk radio show. I’ve always worked in media, but have always felt that radio is the coolest of all because of the one-on-one intimacy between the two people on either end of the microphone and speaker.
A twist and turn here and there, and my career path took me into talk radio management, and I loved the process of helping hosts succeed at a slightly higher level, enjoy their jobs a little more, and understand the amazing potential that exists during every moment the microphone is open.
I always felt that my life would be happier if I found myself behind a microphone instead of behind a desk, but if people thought I was an effective manager, who was I to argue. The money was good, and there was definitely a thrill in hearing talent improve.
Eventually, each of us decides to either bet on ourselves or not. We either go all in based on what we love or we settle for something to make ends meet and put food on the table for our families. It took me some time, but when my wife and son were self-sufficient in the very best way, I figured the time was right and I pushed my chips in – at least some of them.
I talked to 1070 the Fan – the station I helped launch as program director over four years before – about the possibility of returning to host a weekend show with Fox 59 sports director Chris Hagan. They agreed, and I got to see whether I would have the ability to sit behind a microphone for a couple of hours and be interested in what I said.
The most important battle hosts wage is in remaining fascinated by their own words. If hosts are not somewhat compelled by their own words, there is no chance people in their cars will be. After ending a year’s worth of shows with Chris on 1070 the Fan, I meant it when I told people those were the two best hours of my Saturday.
The management at CBS Sports 1430 in my hometown of Indianapolis asked if I would like to be their first local host, and I moved the rest of my chips to the middle of the table. I love Indianapolis, sports, and have learned from some very smart people how to put together a show, so my yes was very enthusiastic.
Today, I start hosting a three-hour daily show on CBS Sports 1430 from 3p-6p, and I’m committed to it being a representation of the very best I can do every day, and I can’t wait.
My only goal in hosting is to be as good as I can every segment of every show. Radio is like golf. You play against the course, not your opponents, and to be honest, JMV and Query & Schultz aren’t competitors. The more good radio – especially on the AM dial – the more people who are going to listen, so I’m going to try to bring more people to radio.
The signal at 1430 AM is solid, and the facilities are excellent, so the potential for success is there. The test everyday will be whether enough people know the show exists, and whether I am compelling enough to get people to return once they sample the show.
It takes two years to discover whether a show works or not, and that’s true for talk radio and talk TV. There are few incontrovertible rules of talk, but that is one of them. With Mike & Mike, it took two years. With Conan O’Brien, it took two years. With David Letterman, it took two years. With everybody it takes two years. With this show, it will take two years.
Radio is a magical medium, and I can’t wait until 3p. I have listened to and worked with men and women dedicated to preparing like hell and performing with joy. In a few hours, I get to be one of them.
If you live within 50 miles of Indianapolis and want to listen, tune to 1430 AM. If you are outside the area, go to www.CBSSports1430.com and click to listen, or click here.