Brian Sinkoff had a good idea on how a sports talk show should be presented in order to be successful — combine phone calls from listeners with contests.
After one year as host of “Sound-Off with Sinkoff” on WTMM-FM (104.5), he has a winner of a show. The program, which is on from 3-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, has become must-listen radio.
Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the show for Sinkoff, who joined WTMM after he was let go from his sports director’s job at WTEN (Ch. 10).
“I think the show has come a long way,” Sinkoff said. “Regent [Communications, WTMM’s owner] has never had an afternoon show. When they came to me a little over a year ago, I had ideas for the show, and I had a direction I felt the show needed to go. In looking back, we stuck with that vision. We’ve tweaked here and there as we’ve gone along.”
Some of Sinkoff’s popular segments include “Sink or Swim,” in which Sinkoff offers an opinion on a topic, and gives listeners a chance to disagree (sink) or agree (swim) with him.
Sinkoff also has had a number of contests during the year. Games such as “Retro Rosters” and “Sinkapedia” have been fun to listen to, especially when callers are way off base with some of their guesses.
Sinkoff said the show has averaged 60 to 80 callers per day.
“I just knew that caller interaction, games and trivia is what works,” Sinkoff said. “When I listen to sports radio, I always thought here’s what I want to hear, here’s what I think would be interesting. I just went out and did it. A lot of it is just me being me. Whether you like me or you don’t like me, I’m me. It’s my views, my opinions. My friends will tell you the way I am on the radio is the way I am in person.”
Sinkoff credits the station’s affiliation with ESPN Radio with helping to build the show’s popularity.
“The brand was already established, and the station already had ears,” Sinkoff said. “There were already people listening to the station.”
Sinkoff wasn’t worried about making the transition from TV to radio, even though it had been a while since he had done radio. He was the play-by-play voice of Maryland-Baltimore County men’s basketball and men’s lacrosse.
“I never really had [a thought] that I’m going to fail,” Sinkoff said. “I thought it was going to do OK. I think I can speak for people [at Regent], saying that I don’t know if anyone thought it would take off like it has. I’m floored by the response.”
Albany River Rats play-by-play announcer Owen Newkirk has been let go by Capital District Sports Inc., which runs the Rats and Albany Firebirds. Newkirk was also the public relations contact for both teams, and that position has been eliminated.
Newkirk’s last day will be tonight, when the Rats host Binghamton. AHL Live will have the game at 7 p.m.
“The past two years working in Albany have been a fantastic time for me,” Newkirk wrote in an e-mail. “I have truly enjoyed getting to know and working with each and every one one of you, and I hope that I will get the opportunity to continue these relationships in the near future.”
Newkirk’s departure is a loss for the Rats and their fans. He did an outstanding job calling the games in his two years here. He will be difficult to replace.
It also makes you wonder if the Rats will have a radio deal next season.
MLB ADDS GAMES
MLB Network announced Thursday morning that it will televise Saturday night games, giving it a second day of broadcasting games. The first Saturday broadcast is tonight at 8, when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit Arizona.
MLB Network also has a Thursday schedule. That started two days ago.
Games involving the Mets and Yankees will be blacked out on MLB because of SNY and YES.
Here is MLB’s Saturday broadcast schedule through May.
Tonight — L.A. Dodgers at Arizona, 8 p.m.
April 18 — San Diego at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
April 25 — Philadelphia at Florida, 7 p.m.
May 2 — Oakland at Seattle, 9 p.m.
May 9 — St. Louis at Cincinnati, 7 p.m.
May 16 — Colorado at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Broadcast start delayed
SNY won’t be able to show the start of tonight’s Mets-Marlins game because the start time occurs during Fox Sports’ exclusive window.
The Mets-Marlins game is starting at 6:25 p.m. But Fox has the rights to televise games between 4 and 7 p.m. Any game not carried by Fox that starts between those hours can’t be televised until 7 p.m., when Fox’s exclusivity ends.
SNY will start its broadcast at 7 p.m.
Marlins president David Samson told The Associated Press on Friday the early start is to accommodate a postgame concert by Flo Rida.
“We found an overwhelming demand from our fans to start the games earlier,” Samson said.
“Tomorrow night, we will have a crowd larger than opening day.”
Florida drew 34,323 for its opener against Washington on Monday.
The game originally was set to start at 6:10 p.m., but the Marlins agreed to push back the start time by 15 minutes following discussions with the Mets, who also spoke with the commissioner’s office.
“I understand from their perspective. For them, it’s an important marketing and ticket initiative, where they’re doing these postgame concerts,” Mets executive vice president David Howard said. “They feel that to start the game at 7:10 in their market would start the concert too late. Those are all valid issues and concerns.”