NYF’s Radio on Radio interview series features New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Grand Jury’s views on the transformation taking place in the radio industry today.
NYF’s international Grand Jury of award-winning directors, producers, journalists, writers, actors, creative directors, composers, on-air talent, and programming executives are actively involved in creating the innovative radio programs heard on radio today. Who better to share their insider information on the wonderful world of radio than this respected group of prominent industry thought leaders?
This week NYF’s Radio on Radio will explore the evolution ever changing radio landscape with 2017 Grand Jury member, Howie Sylvester. For the past 8 years, Howie has been the Patriots & Bruins Executive Producer at WBZ-FM98.5, The Sports Hub, the flagship Station of the Bruins, Patriots, Celtics & Revolution. Previously he was a Producer for Westwood One and his production background also includes stints at both WBCN and NHL Radio. Before moving to the production side, Howie served as an engineer at ESPN Radio.
In 2016 Howie earned the Silver NYF Radio Awards Trophy for “Too Many Memories: the Bruins-Canadiens Rivalry” the documentary, produced to coincide with the NHL’s Winter Classic between the two teams, covers the most important events in the 90-year history of their rivalry. It aired repeatedly during the holiday season on the Bruins Radio Network’s flagship station, 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, which serves the Greater Boston area, southern New Hampshire and much of Rhode Island. The title references one of the most infamous events in the rivalry, when the Canadiens eliminated Boston from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1979 due to a too many men on the ice penalty assessed to the Bruins in Game 7 of their series.
In the interview below, Howie shares his thoughts on the how the delivery mode of radio has changed, his dream show, and why freedom of press is so important in this era of multiple sources.
New York Festivals: How will radio transform in the coming years? What is the biggest shift you’ve noticed this past year?
Howie Sylvester: The mode of delivery will change; it already has to a great extent. More and more people are consuming our product on their mobile devices, and since very few of them have radio tuners, internet broadcasters have a real chance to be heard—the playing field is definitely being leveled. That said, content is still driving the bus. I produce live sports events, and that’s still programming that people will seek out.
New York Festivals: Is there a revolution going on today in radio content?
Howie Sylvester: No, not that I’m aware of. I work on commercial terrestrial radio, and listen to a lot of satellite radio. I don’t hear a lot of innovation. I DO hear a lot of replication—what works in one market is copied in another, especially with the consolidation of radio companies—a successful morning show on a CBS station in Boston gets copied on a CBS station somewhere else.
New York Festivals: What would be your dream show to create, budget no object?
Howie Sylvester: I just did it! I interviewed a number of members of the 1976 New England Patriots for a documentary on that season. With all the success the franchise has had recently, many forget their first great team; one that came one questionable call from a potential championship. This is the 40th anniversary of that season, so we decided to remind New Englanders that there was a time when we DIDN’T expect to win the Super Bowl every year. I love working on documentaries, and I was very happy with the way this one came out.
New York Festivals: Will you talk about the importance of freedom of press?
Howie Sylvester: Just look at the headlines. There has never been a time in my recollection when a free press has been more important. End runs around the media designed to bypass the normal channels of delivery are nothing new, but true is still true and false is still false—it’s our job to tell the difference. The sheer number of sources today makes that job a little tougher, but we’ve got to make sure we don’t get lazy and report what’s spoon-fed to us.
Join New York Festivals Monday, June 19, 2017 as we honor the World’s Best Radio Programs at an awards ceremony at in New York City. To view the 2016 World’s Best Radio Program Ceremony Gala, please visit: http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/media/rp/2016/