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Volume 21 No. 2
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Chris Oliviero, SVP, programming, CBS Sports Radio

Chris Oliviero’s career is steeped in radio, having started as an intern with “The Howard Stern Show” in 1996. A longtime executive with CBS Radio, Oliviero now is responsible for CBS Sports Radio, which launched at the start of this year. He oversees its day-to-day operation as senior vice president of programming.

— By John Ourand

Photo by: CBS RADIO

There’s a huge trend of ex-athletes choosing sports radio for a second career. Boomer Esiason, NFL MVP, has a great career going on local sports radio in New York, on WFAN. Donovan McNabb just signed to do a national show with NBC Sports Radio. Tiki Barber signed up with us nationally on CBS Sports Radio.

What works in sports talk radio?:
Sports radio is more based about going behind the numbers. It’s more about dissecting the game and fan interaction. So it’s really more opinion based; it’s commentary based. It’s more arguments and heated discussions.

What doesn’t work?: Don’t be boring. … It’s got to be interesting. You might know what you’re talking about, but if you don’t know how to deliver it with a little bit of style and a little bit of pizzazz, it’s going to literally fall on deaf ears.

Identify an industry trend: The migration of sports talk radio from being an exclusively AM-only product to also now residing on FM, which historically has been the home of music stations.

The national radio market: What we love about our approach at CBS is that we’re doing both local and national sports radio. Right now, in seven major markets we have a duopoly set up with two sports stations: a local one and a national one. … We totally are dedicated to local sports; we think the opportunity is to complement that with the national approach.

What can sports radio learn from Howard Stern?: Respect your audience. One of the hallmarks of Howard’s longevity is the relationship he’s built with his audience. Everyone in sports should follow that. Never take the fans for granted. They pay all of our checks.

Who would make a good sports radio host?:
Charles Barkley. He’s clearly opinionated, he doesn’t shy away from tough topics, he’s a great personality, he’s a great showman. He’s an entertainer at heart.