You don’t have to be an expert on sports to pitch to Only A Game, but you should be an experienced narrative-style radio reporter with excellent writing and technical skills and a conversational delivery style.

We’re looking for great storytelling set in sports, with the emphasis on story. We are not looking for game reports or team profiles. If it’s the kind of thing you’re likely to hear about on traditional sports talk radio, it’s probably not going to work for Only A Game.

Think instead about…

– Character-driven profiles that focus less on a person’s struggles on the court (or field, pitch, course, pool, locker room, etc.) and more on the person’s personal or internal struggles. Pro athletes are great, but also consider coaches, administrators, amateurs, college students, kids and “everyday” fans.

– Plot-driven features that follow a person, event, social issue, or sport through time. There should be strong characters, surprises, challenges, a turning point (or points) and some sort of resolution. Telling us who walked away with the trophy isn’t enough. We need to know what our characters learned or what greater truth they uncovered.

Many of our listeners don’t consider themselves to be sports fans. Ideally, all stories should lead to an idea or insight that resonates beyond the world of sports.

How to Pitch:

All pitches should be sent via email to oag@wbur.org. Please title your email “Story Submission” to keep it from being lost in the sea of spam. Your pitch should answer at least some of these questions.

  1. Who is your main character or characters?
  2. Has your subject agreed to talk? Are you certain you can get access to the people you’d like to include in your story?
  3. Does your story require a special setting? Will you be able to record at that location? Will you be able to do anything special there? (E.g. Lift weights with an Olympian at his/her gym; practice on a driving range with a golfer.)
  4. What’s your story arc? We need a beginning, middle and end.
  5. What about the theme of this story makes it appealing to people who aren’t sports fans?

All pitches should be accompanied by a 2-3 links to your recent radio stories. This is not optional.

When to Pitch:

Whenever possible, we book freelance stories at least a month in advance.

Our stories need to stay fresh for an entire weekend. So, we’re especially interested in stories that acknowledge a big sporting event without being dependent on that event’s outcome. Anniversary or historical lookbacks and personal remembrances can work. Stories that speak to social issues in sports are also good candidates.

Payment:

Rates can be discussed with OAG’s senior producer after your pitch is accepted.

Payment will be made through Boston University, and is subject to the university’s employment procedures. You will receive instructions on how to submit a W-9 and an invoice. You should expect to receive your check within 4-6 weeks of submitting your paperwork.

Expenses:

We pay reasonable travel expenses. (“Reasonable” is also defined as staying reasonably close to home. Please don’t ask us to send you to California if you live in Florida!) Expenses must be pre-approved. Please let us know of your expected travel costs during your original pitch, as those additional expenses will be a factor in whether we’re able to accept your story.

Technical Considerations:

If your pitch is accepted, you will be sent a long document full of technical specs. Please read them and follow them!