Blog & Tackle: Beat the clock in KQBST contest

April 10, 2009 | Chris Pika

At home on a Friday afternoon since the office is closed, I get a chance to listen in to WNST on the computer. Since the King (or Queen) of Baltimore Sportstalk contest is underway, here are some observations.

That five minutes that Nestor Aparicio allows each contestant is just like someone getting a shot at open mic night at a comedy club. You don’t understand how long five minutes can actually be when you are doing a monologue. The only difference is that you are not being heckled from the audience when you struggle. It’s just you and the clock.

Most people don’t realize how fast they actually talk when they are nervous. You have a ton of things you want to go over in your head, but it comes out in one big stream. I have a tendency to do that when I’m on the air with Nestor or Bob during the week, and I have to take a breath between thoughts. Relax and take your time. Don’t be Jim Rome with huge long pauses between words, but don’t race to the finish line to make your points. You have more time than you think.

That said, five minutes is nothing compared to an hour, two hours or four hours on the radio every day. It is incredibly hard to do and do well, as Drew Forrester, Bob Haynie and Nestor show on WNST.

Luckily, contestants can prove themselves in different ways in order to get a chance at WNST glory. Writing is big component of this web site. If you can communicate — either in a short blog, a longer commentary, or even breaking news coverage — by the written word, you have a better chance to win.

Radio and blogging share one thing in common. It’s a conversation between the host/blogger and the audience. The trick is to engage the audience to contribute to the discussion by calling in or leaving comments on the blogs.

There is no set formula to writing for a web site. Some can be good in 200 words, some take longer to get there. But, one thing is a MUST: read your stuff two or three times before you hit the publish button. Make sure the blog is the best you can make it — spell check, fact check and grammar check your writing. A well-crafted blog informs, entertains and gives readers something to think about.

The best advice I can give is not try to hit a home run out of the gate either on the radio or on the blog. Be consistent, and show that you can carry on a conversation like you do at the dinner table or while out with your friends (before the drinks kick in).

The audience knows the difference between someone who knows what they are talking about and those who don’t. If you don’t know something, admit it and brush up on that knowledge. Don’t try to fool them … just be yourself and learn along the way.

Have fun and best wishes to everyone participating!