Upon the heels of Audacy adding seven broadcast stations to the “BetQL Network” portfolio last month, I wrote about how sports radio is working to keep up with the rapid growth of the sports betting industry.
Nick Kostas was kind enough to give me his perspective on the changing landscape as it pertains to his show, alongside co-host Ken Barkley, “You Better You Bet,” which airs weekdays from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. ET on Audacy’s network.
Having been the host of the show since 2019, Kostas is a seasoned veteran in this space. He’s mastered the balance of providing his audience with both betting-related content and entertainment, something he likes to call “wagertainment.”
While it was interesting to learn about Kostas’outlook, I wanted to get the perspective of someone who is newer to doing sports betting radio full-time, so I reached out to Ryan Horvat.
Horvat is the co-host, alongside Quinton Mayo, of “BetMGM Tonight,” one of the two new shows Audacy launched in late June. The other new show is “The Daily Tip,” featuring Michael Jenkins and Chelsea Messinger.
While new to “BetMGM Tonight,” Horvat isn’t new to sports radio, serving as a part-time on-air host, reporter and producer for 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee since 2017. Having been a part of traditional sports radio for years – and even a small weekly gambling segment on The Fan’s morning show – Horvat has embraced the shift that comes with hosting a daily gambling show.
“I actually do not miss traditional sports radio because on our show we are lucky enough to follow live games and react to all of the night’s action,” said Horvat. “I prefer reacting to what is happening live rather than what happened the night before. Every night we cover something new, rather than discussing the same topics every day.”
During the 4-hour show, Horvat and Mayo offer in-game props and advice on how to find an edge when live-betting the action. Having a show centered around live-action has the potential to attract a diverse audience in terms of bettor education level.
On one hand, those that are live-betting are more likely to be experienced bettors. On the other hand, Horvat knows the importance of also being able to appeal to the casual sports fan.
“I like to provide content for both the educated gamblers as well as the casual sports listener,” said Horvat. “I feel like there are entertaining ways to please all listeners and make sports betting more fun. For example, I taught my mom all about player props on episode one of “BetMGM Tonight.”
Preparing for a show that follows live-action is much different than preparing for a show that reacts to a previous night’s game the following morning. To do so, Horvat says he looks at trends and numbers but also makes sure not to overlook the day’s biggest stories, which goes back to ensuring his show is tailored to a wide array of listeners.
“We are a sports gambling show, but if, for example, Aaron Rodgers does not show up to training camp, we will obviously discuss the story and how it will affect the Green Bay Packers,” said Horvat.
Horvat also noted that while he understands the importance of not dismissing these big stories, traditional radio is also beginning to recognize the importance of not neglecting sports betting content.
He mentioned that fantasy sports and daily fantasy have become popular in traditional sports radio. Shows are also incorporating lines into game previews and recaps, making me wonder, at what point will betting content consume so much of traditional programming that it too turns into “wagertainment?”
Kate Constable is a daily news writer for BSM. She has worked on-air and behind the scenes for a number of media outlets including Stadium, NBC Sports Chicago, KAAL and KARE television, and The Daily Iowan. You can find her on Twitter @KateConstable.