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Monday Memo: The Boys Are Back

| March 18, 2019

By Holland Cooke


RED SOX NATION — “Play ball!” will be the magic words fans have been waiting to hear after a long winter.  MILK IT.  Mathematically, baseball may be affiliates’ best friend for the next several months, when play-by-play invites new cume, and tune-in to fringe hours; and is full of suspense and commercial inventory that sells without numbers.

Three tips:

1.       OUTSIDE games, use your on-hour ID to plug team-and-time of next game. Why:

  • Doing so really signs the station’s name to the team. Play-by-play was more of a franchise before SiriusXM and streaming audio made them available elsewhere.  So be known for having the games.
  • In The Age of Trump, station imaging that invites tune-in to on-hour newscasts WILL produce more Occasions of Listening, so the on-hour ID is beachfront real estate. Too many stations squander this opportunity by saying that the news “STARTS RIGHT NOW.” Like printing “banana” on the yellow peel.
  • At client stations where – in locally hosted hours – the host reads it live over a station logo bed, talking-up the on-hour news, hosts are into it.
  • Face it, we’re not going to talk anyone who isn’t a fan into listening to the game. So – other than Sales sponsorship commitments – longer promos don’t accomplish much. What matters to fans is who-we-play-and-when, a 10-second message.
  1. IN-GAME, use your legal ID to plug morning drive.Why:
  • Fans may only cume the station for games. And because most baseball games are on at night, the next daypart most fans hear is morning drive, prime time.  So give them a reason to come back “first thing tomorrow morning!”  Ideally, your morning host voices a crisp daily topical promo (which begins with a question that includes “YOU” and/or “YOUR”).
  • Least-useful in-game ID promo I commonly hear: station imaging voice, or team players, telling me that this is where to hear the games…DURING games. Like printing “banana” on the yellow peel.
  1. Sales reps: For your tickler file: After much of the USA shivered through a C-C-COLD winter, The Boys of Summer are a welcome sound to fans, and a great branding opportunity for local retailers. I don’t know WHEN I’m going to buy a tire, but I already know WHERE, because that advertiser owns “tire” in my brain via Red Sox games.
  • Set a June 1 reminder in your smartphone: “Update copy for baseball advertisers?”
  • “Baseball is back!” might’ve been great to hear in April spot copy. But, to listeners, it’s blah-blah-blah in July. And to your client, it screams neglect.

Go Sox.

 Holland Cooke ( is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” available exclusively from Talkers Books.  Click the ad banner on this page.  And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America.  Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

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Category: Advice