How to Kill The Program – With Soren Petro
Last week, I wrote about how 610 Sports should drop Jim Rome and go “live and local” all day with a mash-up of the talent they are already grooming for bigger things.
But make no mistake, if you are going to make the massive change and go up against Soren Petro’s midday “The Program” show, you’re going to need to be loaded down with more than just a marshmallow gun and a winning smile.
Petro is, arguably, the second biggest name in Kansas City Sports Talk and he won’t go down without a fight.
So, if you’re not ready to go 10 rounds with him and ultimately beat him, then you shouldn’t step in the ring.
In my continuing efforts to make a 6-figure salary as a media consultant (and yet, giving my services away…) here is how to kill the 60,000 pound gorilla that is Soren Petro and “The Program”. (No intentional slight to the media “fatty”. Mostly.)
To beat your opponent, you must first understand your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Strengths of the Program:
- There is no better statistical analyst in this town (or nationally?) than Petro. He keeps copious records on games, teams and even his guests. If you’re going to battle with Petro on sheer “brain-power” you will lose.
- His show is tight. The recurring segments are second to none. Plus, his chorus is one of the best in radio. Doug Stewart, Kurtis Seabolt and Craig Brenner are the perfect chorus to Petro.
- They have a great presence on Twitter. The @DougStewart1 account is not shy about mixing it up with the listeners and @TheProgramKC account is a great follow during big live events like Chiefs games. The @craig_a_brenner rarely talks about sports but if you’re into comic books and random indy bands, that’s the account for you.
- The guests Petro gets on a recurring basis are legendary. Petro’s segments with Doug Gottlieb are must listen radio during the basketball season as are his segments with national baseball reporters during Royals season. The relationships are mature and you can tell in these interviews.
- Common sense. Petro, while explosive, at times, usually has the most level head of anyone in KC Sports Radio. He tends to ague FOR the athletes and coaches involved and give a “put yourself in their shoes” philosophy.
- Weaknesses of The Program
- There is a LOT of towel-snapping. I actually like this element of the show, but there are times that it’s pretty clear a particular day is light and the towel-snapping radio is heavy.
- Some recurring segments are completely worthless. Check out his weekly visit with Frank Boal. Or don’t. You won’t be missing anything. (Same goes for you, Border Patrol.)
- The team is getting a little older and crankier. Soren has never been mistaken for a “happy” guy, I’m guessing. But lately, it seems that more and more small things are bugging him resulting in 20 minute rants. Last week he was at Walt Disney World and has gone on for days about how “Splash Mountain” was closed for 4 days for maintenance. He seemed to forget that Disney World covers 40 square MILES. Head over to the teacups and move along.
- Too statistical? If given an opportunity, you could easily see Petro doing 2 hours on the L/R batting splits of Yuniesky Bettancourt. That’s not necessarily a good thing.
So… how do you counter-program someone with such a deep knowledge of the city and manage to overtake him in the ratings WITHOUT going National?
Simple Answer: Don’t try to out-Petro Petro.
You’ve got to be fresher and younger than The Program. You’ve got to stay away from statistics as much and be a true COUNTER-program for his show. You can’t beat him on trivia or statistics, so just go the other way.
What his show lacks often is fresh creativity. Comedy bits. Fresh takes that might not get made on Petro’s show. You might even want to mix in a troll whose name is not Bob Fescoe.
A little trolling is great. When it’s your entire act, it’s easy to identify. Nick Wright has an outstanding knack for being able to subtly troll without just being a complete ass.
Beating Petro and his merry band of men is going to be a monumental task. The key is to make sure you’ve got your shit together before you fire the first shot.
Is there a formula out there that can take him? Danny Parkins has the sports knowledge, but would get absolutely evicerated by Petro on statistics – especially local sports knowledge. Carrington Harrison and Mark Carman could provide the “fresh” and “creative” angles, but you wonder if they have the energy to do an entire show every day.
If they do bring in someone from outside it needs to NOT be another Syracuse voice as the local marketplace is getting too saturated with Syracuse grads (Petro, Parkins and Nick Wright are all Syracuse graduates.)
Does 610 have the weaponry to not only start the fight, but finish the fight? My bet is that the trigger is pulled before baseball season starts.