Inspector Sands wrote:
Definitely profitable, but a success story?
5 Live has 5.77million listeners, Talksport 3.09million. Not really sure I can call it a success story.
They're different products though, 5 Live isn't just sport. I'd tune to 5Live when there's a big news story
I rarely do these days, as often BBC World Service has far better coverage, in my opinion. About the only times I actually tune into 5 Live these days is for the sports coverage, and from what I've heard, I'm far from alone on this.
I'd say it's a massive success story: as you say it's profitable, has a 2% audience share, has expanded and won contracts to supply commentary abroad. After a rough start, it found a format and made it work and it's been pretty stable in terms of format and programming for many years - no massive relaunches or crisies.
It's really only been stable since about 2009. There was a lot of instability and problems before then. From Wikipedia...
June 2000: Talksport caused a stir with the BBC after it was revealed Talksport had been broadcasting their live commentaries of matches at Euro 2000 from television monitors rather than from each of the stadia due to the lack of available broadcast rights. Talksport's commentary team included Alan Parry, Jim Proudfoot, Mark Tompkins, Alvin Martin and Frank Stapleton.
April 2002: Tommy Boyd and his production team were sacked from Talksport after a call from someone who wanted to shoot the Royal Family went through on air. Boyd went on record that he did not share the views of the caller
June 2002: Talksport broadcast unofficial coverage of the 2002 World Cup taking place in Japan and South Korea. The station flags up their inability to broadcast live from the stadia, with them taking out full page advertisements in national newspapers containing the tag line "It's unauthorised. It's unofficial. And it's brilliant." Jim Proudfoot and Alvin Martin are Talksport's main commentary team from their studios in London
February 2003: Talksport received over 200 complaints for giving a platform to the controversial Muslim extremist cleric Abu Hamza. Hamza and his aides are invited into the station to contribute to a religious debate on The James Whale Show, alongside other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim delegates. On the night of the live broadcast, 24 February, a mass of protesters gather outside the station's London studios. Despite this, both Whale and head of programming Bill Ridley defended the station for having invited Hamza onto the programme.
March 2004: Alan Brazil is sacked by Talksport after his failure to show up to present The Sports Breakfast on Friday 19 March after spending three days at the Cheltenham Festival. Less than three weeks later, Brazil is reinstated to his role.
May 2006: Alan Brazil is reportedly given three months notice by Talksport after bust-up with the station's management. Less than two months later, Brazil and Talksport management held talks and the former Scotland international footballer signed a new long-term contract with the station.
June 2006: The Sports Breakfast presenter Alan Brazil got in trouble with Ofcom for referring to the Japanese as "the nips" during the World Cup in Germany
August 2007: Mike Mendoza and Garry Bushell made derogatory comments about gay people, and the station was subsequently censured by regulator Ofcom. Bushell left soon after, when his six-month contract expired.
May 2008: James Whale was dismissed by Talksport after twice urging listeners to vote for Boris Johnson in the 2008 London Mayoral Election. The station was subsequently fined £20,000 by Ofcom in December 2008.
November 2008: Controversial presenter Jon Gaunt was fired for repeatedly calling a local councillor a "Nazi". Gaunt has since sought legal action for unfair dismissal, but any potential case has yet to go to court. His campaign was backed by Liberty activist Shami Chakrabarti, who had previously been one of Gaunt's pet hates.
November 2008: Rod Lucas was dropped by Talksport and claimed they "no plans to use him in the immediate future" after the membership list of the BNP which was leaked on a Google blog named him as one of its members. The station clarified that this wasn't a sacking as Lucas was only a temporary member of staff. The presenter himself claimed that his membership of the party was part of a covert research project.
February 2011: Talksport hired former Sky Sports pundit and commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys a fortnight after the pair were sacked from Sky Sports for being at the centre of a sexism controversy.
Also, they are the only commercial sports talk station in this country. No real competition to make them improve their product, and let's be honest here, quality of their product is severely lacking.
Really? It's not my sort of thing at all, and I suspect it's not yours either, but from what I've heard I don't think you can say it's bad quality - maybe 10-15 years ago not now.
Most Sports Talk is abominably poor in my view. Less than 10% of all Sports Talk is listenable, and less than 1% is actually any good. Good Sports Talk is really enjoyable, interesting and truly informative. By far the majority is just dross that is filling time.
TalkSport's live coverage of sport though on TalkSport & TalkSport 2 is much improved on what it used to be, but still has room for improvement. It's on a par with some of BBC Local Radio's sports coverage, but not quite up to the 5 Live standard, though perfectly listenable and enjoyable.