Joe Ostrowski is a Host/Executive Producer and Update Anchor at 670 The Score. Chicago’s original and still highest rated sports talk radio station. You can hear Ostrowski nights after White Sox baseball when he hosts the “Joe O. Show” often till midnight or 1 a.m. And then of course, it becomes “Grobber Time” after that. Ostrowski is definitely a guy you should talk Fantasy Football, over/unders and spreads with.
He’s also a fantastic follow on Twitter (@Joe0670) as he enjoys Jay Cutler in '80s outfits pictures as much as I do. We're fellow countrymen too. (Banks is an Anglicized name, I'm 1/2 Half-Polish...I know you DOOOOON'T CAAAAARE)
Let’s talk shop shall we?
Paul M. Banks: Very honored to “have you on my show,” as it is. Tell us how you got to where you are today. Who are some of your journalism role models and mentors?
Joe Ostrowski: I’ve been listening to The Score since the day it launched on January 2nd, 1992. Checking out “Coppock On Sports” with my father was part of our nightly routine. I still remember some of those Macho Man interviews. The Score (820 am) was so different than anything my 12-year-old ears had heard before. At that point, I really knew where I wanted to work when I grew up.
Since starting my “Mike North Show” internship in 2002, I’ve worked every shift. Just like any other job, it’s about taking advantage of opportunities that are given to you.
Journalism? Yeah, radio can pass for that, but don’t let your fellow scribes hear you calling it journalism- even the ones that have crossed over to the dark side in every market. There isn’t anyone who does it right all the time. Nobody wants that.
I respect guys that have a different style and will try new things. Some ideas will be a swing and a miss. That’s okay. It didn’t work in Chicago, but I really enjoy Jim Rome. I don’t care how many writers he has. I’m engaged every time I hear him. He has a take and doesn’t suck.
My biggest mentors are Jonathan Hood and Laurence Holmes. They’re good friends that I’ve learned a great deal from and love discussing the business with. Both of them still have a passion for radio in an era where that is hard to find. They’ve taught me you always need to be working and thinking about your next show. I have the utmost respect for those two men.
Banks: What advice would you give to people trying to break into radio today?
Ostrowski: At the risk of sounding like I want you to get off my lawn, the majority of those that come in for internships nowadays act like you owe them something and just don’t want to work hard. Whether you’re a host, producer, reporter, update anchor, program director, it’s obvious to your co-workers and listeners how hard you work. Wear as many hats as possible.
That’s what will make you more valuable and open up other opportunities. Yes, we’re a radio station, but cbschicago.com is a big part of our brand too. Many successful radio hosts also have a newspaper column, work in television, blog on our website, are play-by-play announcers etc.
Banks: Sound advice. And I’ve had similar experiences with this generation too. I’ve had a few interns at Sports Bank who seem to believe everyone just gets a trophy. I’d like your opinion on the two main differences I see between The Score and ESPN 1000 (And I plan on asking this to a WMVP personality too; to get balance here) And if I’m wrong, please feel free to tell me how/why I’m wrong.
1.) I feel both stations let everyone express their voice. And everyone should. But when those voices are idiotic, The Score is more likely to call those people out for sounding like idiots, and rightfully so.
2.) WMVP seems much more narrow and rigid in their array of guests. They seem to almost always have someone on from within the ESPN/ABC/Disney family as analysts. Rarely have outsiders. Also, their programming seems a little more focused on guests/interviews than The Score is.
Ostrowski: I agree and disagree on your opinions of the differences between the stations. I don’t think you can paint 670 The Score with a broad brush. Every show is completely different. Some are guest driven, others are caller driven. The production on each show sounds very different. It all start with the hosts & each show moves at a different pace. All of ESPN’s mediums focus on their brand. They have access to personalities/analysts we don’t. ESPN employees aren’t allowed to appear on The Score. We’re certainly allowed to get away with more.
Banks: Interesting, I didn’t know that. Who was that NFL expert from Dublin you had on a couple weeks ago? I can’t remember the website. But he was very very knowledgeable and entertaining. I learned more from that interview than in pretty much any segment I’ve seen on NFL Network this summer.
Ostrowski: The guest you’re talking about is Sam Monson of profootballfocus.com. He’s been a regular guest of mine for years. Their site has been at the cutting edge of new statistics for the sport this country is obsessed with. Bears GM Phil Emery has mentioned before that he uses them. I always try to put on new, informative, entertaining guests with Laurence Holmes or myself. One of the problems with sports radio is there are many shows that just rotate the same 15-20 guests.
Banks: Very true. What do you make of the upcoming battle between Fox Sports 1 and ESPN? How about NBC mixing it up too? Adding EPL and NASCAR to their mix; showing they’re serious about competing now.
Ostrowski: Competition and options are always great for business and consumers. This feels like the first time a network is coming right at ESPN. We can forget that “Best Damn Sports Show Period” thing. I enjoyed a FS1 college football preview show I caught over the weekend. Looking at their schedule, I’ll give their NFL/college football programming a try. Not a UFC guy, but I understand why they’ll be pushing that.
Overall, I’ve been disappointed with The NBC Sports Network. I really like Pro Football Talk & Dan Patrick, but I am very confused by the rest. I don’t see the impact from all the money spent on getting Michelle Beadle to leave SportsNation. They didn’t seem to take advantage of having the NHL rights during hockey season. I expect EPL to give them a bump. I’ll be interested to see what happens the next time tv contracts are up for the mainstream sports.
Monday Night Football on cable was a game changer.
Banks: Have you said “DON’T CARE” to any callers when they do the “I’m 58 years old and I’ve been a die-hard White Sox fan for 47 years, I’ve lived on the South Side my whole life…..” bit?
Why hasn’t Jay Cutler hasn’t been able to win over hearts and minds here as much as other Bears quarterbacks? Do you think it’s just all about wins and losses, or do you think his personality has a lot to do with it? In my opinion, it seems like every time he appears in public, he looks like he’d rather be anywhere else; doing anything else. That’s why the media and Bears fans alike eat up anything in which Jay is portrayed with personality (80s outfits, smokin’ memes etc.). His interviews are usually boring, so the Bears media and Bears fan base manufacture an image of Cutler being colorful.
Ostrowski: We say DON’T CARE around the station all the time.
It is all about winning. Jay Cutler is such a polarizing figure, but the Bears quarterback always is.
Some spend time discussing press conferences, but I DONNNNNNN’T CAAAARRREEEE. His attitude isn’t the only reason he’s polarizing. His performances of dominating versus below .500 teams and struggling against playoff teams is all part of it. If he wins a Super Bowl, nobody will discuss his body language ever again. He’ll need to be consistent and find someone other than #15 to have a chance at that.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)
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