If you want to learn about what it takes to make it as a radio personality, it helps to get a gig interning for one of the top shows around.
Years ago, Sam Roberts, 31, landed an internship on “The Opie & Anthony Show,” which he has turned into his own daily Sirius radio show, “Sam Roberts’ Show,” and a podcast about pro-wrestling.
amNewYork spoke with Roberts.
What goes on during a typical “Sam Roberts’ Show”?
I always try to hit whatever people are really talking about, whether it’s a news story, or something trending online … and give my perspective on that. I think people are listening for a fresh perspective on things, honest, no [expletive], it’s funny, it’s light, entertaining, kind of absurd at times, too. I’ll hit that, I’ll bring up my personal life a lot and whatever’s going on with me and how it might relate to the people listening. And I’ll bring in guests all the time — comedians, musicians, actors, pro-wrestlers. My purpose in the interview is to bring out their personalities, not necessarily to get sound bites, but to leave people with an understanding of who they are.
How did you get involved in the world of wrestling?
I’ve been a wrestling fan forever and it started when I was an intern. Every now and then, one of the WWE stars would come into [Gregg “Opie” Hughes’] show. … Seven years ago, I started going to the press conferences, and at first it was to get interviews to play clips of on Opie’s show. … At first it was stuff that I would air on my show that was on during the week, the weekly shows. Then I started videoing everything, so it became a YouTube thing, and I started building this audience on YouTube that just knew me for wrestling interviews. … Now I have a really great relationship with the WWE. They’ve always been helpful and good about giving me access to talent and also doing other projects, whether it’s on the WWE Network or wherever it is.
What do you think about the state of radio?
I think radio is in trouble. I think aside from Sirius XM, there’s really nowhere in radio that’s allowing personalities to prosper. No broadcaster is going to be successful in radio unless they’re giving themselves up on air; unless they can come to the air with a personality that people are attracted to. What’s he going to say about this? What’s he going to say about that? What’s going on in his life? If you don’t have the power to be creative anymore — which you don’t, really, anymore, except for Sirius XM — it can’t happen.
What did you learn from working on “Opie & Anthony”?
Working with “Opie & Anthony” was the most valuable experience in my career. It’s the greatest radio school that’s ever been. Just getting to be in the studio with them every day, and not only watch what they did, but be a part of what they did — it gave me this thickest skin of anybody in broadcasting. … Also, learning this stuff in front of one of the biggest audiences in radio is a high-pressure situation for someone like me, but it really forces you to be your best because there are so many ears listening to that show. You got to either step up or you’re not going to survive.
Listen: The “Sam Roberts’ Show” can be heard weekdays at noon on XM 103/Sirius 206 and on Sirius XM On Demand. “Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast” is available every Wednesday morning on iTunes, Sticher and notsam.com.