Years ago I was flipping through radio stations on a very long drive and stumbled upon the Tony Kornheiser show. Kornheiser is a sports sports writer turned radio talk show host and TV host of the groundbreaking ESPN show Pardon the Interruption with fellow sports reporter Michael Wilbon. I liked this sports personality and listened for a while and realized that the radio show was far more meandering than the tightly timed TV Show. Kornheiser had a number of additional people on air with him, the topics flowed between sports and non-sports, and the radio show had a definite stream of conscious vibe. The show must have been a few days after that year’s Super Bowl because Kornheiser started talking with his crew about Listener’s complaining about some of his takes. One comment in particular read my mind and then has stayed with me to this day. Apparently a listener had written in to complain and suggested that He, the Listener, could host the show better than Kornheiser. I was shocked when he agreed! What stayed with me though was his reason.
Kornheiser agreed that there were probably thousands of people that could do a better radio show than him the day after the Super Bowl. Thats easy. The difficult part of being a sports radio host is dealing with the day in and day out expectations of being on the air. What kind of show can someone put on in mid-March when nothing is happening in the sports world? What kind of show can someone put on after being on the air 4 hours a day – 5 days a week? What kind of show does someone put on when they just feel lousy and don’t want to talk to anyone?
That’s being a sports radio show host.
Engage the audience every day not just when the content is interesting. Engage the audience even when there is nothing to say. Engage the audience even if you don’t feel like it.
The more I think about it…. That describes being a teacher too.