Kent Sterling Show on CBS Sports 1430 – Four weeks in, it’s still more fun than I ever imagined

by Kent Sterling

Not sure there is anything more fun than hosting a show that has been put together with hard work and great care.

Not sure there is anything more fun than hosting a show that has been put together with hard work and great care.

There are a lot of people in radio who resent the grind of the job, and feel preyed upon because they need to deliver relevance to an audience with specific expectations for a show.  Whatever else I may be, I will never be one of those people.

I have been a weekday radio host for all of four weeks, but everyday is still more challenging and thus enjoyable than I ever thought it might be.

As with every other job, effective preparation is the key to comfort, and comfort is the key to creativity and performance.  I’m so far from perfect that I can’t see excellence yet, but I’m having a great time holding myself to the same standard that I employed with talent I managed.

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The effect of managing for several years on my own performance has been interesting – at least to me.  Where I would be very patient with talent, wanting only to see steady and incremental improvement from week to week, I am far more demanding on myself.

A bad day is intolerable to me.  Last Tuesday was the first show of the 20 we have done where I felt like the audience didn’t get what we promise every day, and I was steamed.  The result was more focused work, and a commitment to having more fun.

Corrections like that are routine, and disappointments less frequent as a result – or so I hope.

Segments where nothing happens send listeners station hopping, but they are worse for talent.  They make you feel hollow and empty.  Without expressing joy, dissatisfaction, anger, or love – or allowing an interesting guest the platform to inform or share a unique perspective – my spirit would drain behind a microphone.

There is no amount of money that would make it worthwhile for my to sit in a studio and bore myself.  Boredom is what has prompted my professional failures in the past (a couple of firings in Chicago taught me the need to be vigilant in selecting jobs that provide unique daily tests), and there is no excuse for it in talk radio.  If the host isn’t interested, there is no chance listeners will be, and just as was the case for me in all years and phases of school, I refuse to be bored.

From kindergarten through sixth grade, I had one teacher who taught another year after hosting me in their classes.  If ADD or ADHD had been an acronym for kids whose psyches demand constant challenge or entertainment, I would have been the poster boy and I still am.  My apologies to Mrs. Courtney, Mrs, Stuart, Mrs. Zimmer, Mrs. Georgevich, Mr. Zoerner, and Mr. Hammond for driving you into retirement or other professions.

Whether or not listeners will find their way to CBS Sports 1430 in Indianapolis from 3p-6p to have their brains fed or distracted every day or not, time will tell.  But I can guarantee that at no point during any of the 12 segments of each show will I find the show tedious.  If I bore myself, my head will explode.

It’s not being wacky and unpredictable that captures my own attention, but the preparation of a show that I will find interesting to host.  I want to interview people about issues that interest me.  I want to share perspectives and seek the truth in a way that is compelling.  I want to express joy and outrage about those issues that deserve either.

For four weeks that has been the marching order I have given both myself and producer Nick Bosak, who has been a wonderful partner in this daily marathon of preparation and performance.

What we do each day is put together the absolute best we have to offer and then turn the microphone on and bring every bit of energy the show we have assembled deserves.  It will never be perfect, but if it is relevant (sportstalk shows should be about sports), authentic (for all my flaws, being myself has been one of the biggest – although it can be a very good thing in radio), fun (that’s all I have ever demanded of life), and innovative (the toughest of the four traits of great radio to master), then we can leave the station after the show with a sense of pride.

Can’t wait until Monday at 3p to enjoy the very best three hours of my day.

6 thoughts on “Kent Sterling Show on CBS Sports 1430 – Four weeks in, it’s still more fun than I ever imagined

  1. David Spellman

    Originally I had intended to post comments on July 23…one calendar month in. But Kent beat me to the punch.
    Great self-assessment.
    I have heard about 40% of the show during the past four weeks.
    A few observations:
    1. Kent does not take segments “off.” Each segment sounds like he gave his best effort. I have yet to click off the streaming sound because I was bored, disinterested.
    2. Kent listens to what his guests say.
    Wow, novel huh?
    That is, Kent sounds as if he is NOT reading from a list of prepared questions…he reacts and follows-up and segues all based on what the guest said. If I were teaching a young lawyer how to listen to the witness when conducting a deposition, I would instruct him/her to listen to ten interview segments by Kent.
    3. No canned bored guests that I have heard. You know, the “Jerry Rice teams up with Prilosec” kinds of interviews. If that happened, I mercifully missed it. To me, those are radio hell.
    4. Kent is funny, spontaneous, thinks on his feet.
    5. Nothing is dumbed down…Kent respects his audience.
    6. I love the trivia segment.
    7. My gut tells me that Kent has a demo of high income and high education. Sales would be smart to focus on high end car dealers etc.
    8. Content is king. I hate to shut my stream to meet with a client because it feels as if I will be missing something. The content is rich and varied.
    I did not hear Tuesday’s show (we were at the Mayo Clinic for our annuals) so I don’t have a sense of what disappointed Kent.
    Bottom-line…this has been as strong a maiden voyage as could humanly been expected.

  2. Mike harris

    Wondering when the weekly outdoor segment comes to the program? From biking to kayaking to fishing and hunting…always ways to add this to inventory.

  3. Mittchell Langrey

    OMG Just heared your interview with some angry African-American. In your spineless fear of being called a racist you allowed him to insinuate that a black men get killed for as you said “petty theft”. NO! He grabbed a cops gun then bull-rushed the cop when he didn’t succeed in getting his gun. now he’s dead.
    Yea we should just ignored his STRONG-ARM (not shoplifting) theft of the cigars so the miscreant could – IN TIME use a gunnon a teenage 7-11 clerk and blow them away. Your an idiot!

    RE: the statement “WE AS A GROUP” referring to the history of slavery/racism 50-200 yrs ago. LEAVE WE out of it. MY ancestors were Quakers on both sides; some running an underground railroad. SO THEY OWE ME!

    I left that worthless 1070 JMV show thinking you might be the answer; but you are a pathetic mindless spineless parrot and could not stand to listen to you non anything ever again.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      You have your incidents mixed up. Jay and I were talking about the NYC incident where a man was wrestled to the ground by a group of policemen and died. I have spoken to members of the IMPD about this, and they say that the police acted inappropriately and should have been indicted. We were not talking about the Ferguson killing.

      As for your assertion about me lumping all whites together as a group, my point is that we tend not to enjoy talking about race with blacks because – and this is only one possible explanation – there is an entrenched guilt some whites about their treatment through history. There are exceptions.

      If you are going to call me names like, “pathetic mindless spineless parrot,” you should listen closely enough to know what I was talking about.

      Neither the show nor I are perfect. There are times a combination of words come out of my mouth during a three-hour show that I might have chosen differently, but that segment isn’t among them.

  4. fog horn leghorn

    Pretty cool listening to my son and an old friend chat about sports.have
    Hope things are well with you.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Great to here from you, Les. Things are good. Finally figured out what I was supposed to do. Lucas is on his way to some very good things. He’s very talented. You should be proud.

      Hope all is well for you and that I’ll see you at the reunion.


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