Listen in — Mike’s talkin’


Silva interview with Gary CarterMany people listen to sports talk radio shows. Mike Silva, however, does more than just listen: He hosts his own show.

It’s called New York Baseball Talk.

The show started on a local Long Island station, running there until the end of August. It then shifted to BlogTalkRadio where it airs three times a week in 30-60 minute segments.

In his show, Mike covers the whole spectrum of baseball in New York, from the pros, the Mets and Yankees, to the amateurs at the college and high school levels. Though the show’s not yet ready to challenge big name ones such as WFAN’s Mike and the Mad Dog, Mike’s developing a niche for his show and has succeeded in getting former Mets and Yankees guests, including Scott Brosius, Gary Carter, and Darryl Strawberry. In addition, he’s chatted with Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell and one-time Red Sox outfielder Fred Lynn.

You can listen to past shows at any time.

Describing his show, he said “No other show will put on a blogger like Matt Cerrone, then Adam Rubin, a Daily News reporter, and follow them with an interview with Scott Brosius or Mackey Sasser or Darryl Strawberry all on the same show.”

My interview with Mike began with a question about BlogTalkRadio.

Question: What are the main differences between BlogTalkRadio and regular radio?

Mike Silva: Not much. The sound quality is slightly poorer, but not enough to impact the enjoyment of the listener. I have to set up a studio in my home-office and use voice-over IP technology versus using audio equipment at a radio station. To be perfectly honest, the reach [of] the standard radio signal was only 1,000 watts.

Question: Did you have a background in radio before you started your first show?

Mike Silva: No, but I always wanted to. I listened to WFAN, Mike and the Mad Dog. About four years ago I came across the web site for AMA, Assisted Mentor Program. For a fee Philip Trout would find you a radio station mentor and help you get on-the-job experience. I got mentored for several months by Frank Bruno, a producer for ESPN radio. Frank couldn’t stick with the program after work, so I did the same kind of training with a friend of mine, Joe Bono, who worked for Fox Sports radio.

Late 2006, I started to write for New York Baseball Online. But I would really rather have dialog; conversation is more of my forte. Out of the blue, in January, I was informed about an opportunity to broker time on local Long Island radio station, 1240 AM WGGB. Rob Cole was doing a sports show there. I studied what he was doing. I realized “I can do this.” So I started my radio show. My niche would be New York baseball.

Question: When did your radio show start?

Mike Silva: The actual concept of my radio show came to life in January of this year … I scheduled my first show for March 26th and spent the next eight weeks preparing my concept. The show that you see today is vastly different the original concept which was a one-hour, once a week show that aired on 1240 AM WGBB. In August I made the decision to move the show completely to the Internet due to cost and the ability to reach more listeners with the Internet medium.

Question: How did you get into BlogTalkRadio?

Mike Silva: I came across the BlogTalkRadio site back in March when I first signed up with 1240 AM, WGBB. I thought being at a radio station would initially hone my skills as a talk show host. Being around the studio made it feel no different then what you would experience at ESPN and WFAN.

Question: Why did you decide to host a show focusing on New York baseball?

Mike Silva: The decision to do a show about New York Baseball was actually very easy. First, baseball is a 12-month a year sport in this town. That would allow me ample opportunity to discuss issues with the largest audience possible. Baseball also provides the daily “soap opera” drama that makes for good radio. Emotions of both the Mets and Yankees fans have changed almost weekly since its debut in March. It makes for good conversation, spirited debate, and overall good content.

Question: Which interview with a Met stands out the most in your mind? What made it stand out?

Mike Silva: Gary Carter stands out because it was my first athlete interview, Anytime you take on a project like this you get a bit starstruck in the beginning. Also, this stands out because of the stress involved in scheduling. I confirmed in late March through the Gary Carter Foundation an April 22nd interview date. I could only hope that Gary would call in. Fortunately, he followed through on his word, completing a 25-minute interview on the air live. My first interview with a “celebrity” will always stand out just like a players first major league hit.

Question: What’s unique about your show?

Mike Silva: I just delve into New York baseball … I want to do is to get it from all angles. Let’s get professional opinion, athletes’ opinion, fan opinion, blogger opinion. When you have all the opinions together you’re really able to get a feel about what’s going on. I had contributor from yankeesboard.com who talked about Joba Chamberlain early on.

Question: How does your blogtalk show differ from New York’s other radio shows that talk baseball?

Mike Silva: The main difference is that I give a voice to the independent journalists that have become a huge part of the reporting of the game. Sites like Gotham Baseball Magazine, NoMaas.org, Metsblog, etc. have all played keyed parts in reporting on the happenings with the local teams. I believe by incorporating that perspective with those of the professionals you get the most balanced view of the game anywhere. Plus, since we are focused on just baseball we can discuss details that traditional radio might not have the air time in which to dedicate.

Question: How do you see BlogTalkRadio developing in next few years?

Mike Silva: It is going to be a niche in next couple of years. It can only make traditional radio better. One works off the other. It’s going to be a player, and traditional radio will take notice.

Question: What’s the toughest part of being a radio host?

Mike Silva: Separating being a fan versus being an objective reporter of the facts. I am a Mets fan, but I feel that has not clouded my analysis. Also, there are days when you are just not feeling into the show because of a bad performance by your team. Those are the days you have to shake it off and remember you committed to doing this in good times and bad. The object is not being a fan, but rather executing a solid show.

Question: What’s your goal?

Mike Silva: I am trying to build the “gold standard” for New York baseball discussion. There is no other Internet radio show that is dedicated to talking just New York baseball. My long-term vision is to have the #1 Internet radio show with respect to the Mets and Yanks. A lofty goal, but there is a plan behind this and, although it will take time, I believe it will happen.

Question: What would you like people to know about your show?

Mike Silva: Soon, it will be merging with a non-traditional media outlet that has a lot of equity: The show will be on that outlet. The same show but branded under that media outlet.

Question: How will that benefit the show”

Mike Silva: It will be good for a couple of reasons. I will have access to guests that are in the clubhouse, up-and-coming journalists. It will also provide the infrastructure for a web site I don’t have now. About November 1 you’ll hear about that.

Question: Which Met whom you have not yet had on your show would you most like to have? Why?

Mike Silva: This is a tough question, but I am going to surprise you by saying Gregg Jeffries. Jeffries symbolized much of the demise of the late eighties/early nineties Mets. I think his story would be interesting, especially since no one has heard from him in quite some time. If anyone is reading this and knows how to get in contact with Gregg, please let me know!

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