One of my vices is sports talk radio. It’s bombastic, annoying, and, oddly, entertaining.
It’s also relatively new—at least as it relates to the history of radio.
The first all-sports talk radio station launched in 1987 in New York. The second was in Philadelphia.
Yesterday, the best I’ve ever heard do it—Angelo Cataldi—retired.
For 33 years, Cataldi yelled about the Philadelphia Eagles, invited others to do the same, and probably became the best personification there is of the Philadelphia nickname “Negadelphia.”
It was no secret that he was a caricature of the people, not really the voice of them, so that he could keep our attention. Everything was done to the extreme.
He talked about that on his last show yesterdays:
“You may notice I have not named one sports hero. You know why? Here’s the real secret of how we succeeded... They were never integral to the success of WIP. How they felt about us never mattered. All that mattered was you. If you liked what you were hearing, you would keep listening, we would stay in business, we would grow an audience. The only people that mattered were the people listening and calling into our show.”
Simple, perhaps oversimplified. But we often overcomplicate things and we often lose sight of who our customer is as we think about ways to get more of them.
Cataldi, really, is nothing more than a startup story, just a different version of it. He figured out who the most important people were to his success—the listeners, not the subject matter, not the advertisers—and he focused on them.
A familiar lesson, sure, but a good one.