With his disarming personality and no-fear attitude, TSN's Cabral "Cabbie" Richards has charmed some of the biggest names in sports. He says his particular style of journalism – entertain first, inform second – has allowed him to carve out a unique identity (and to ride in Kobe Bryant's helicopter). Here, the host of Cabbie Presents shares some of the secrets to his success.
Don't be any guy, be that guy
I went to Ryerson for radio and TV and then my first internship was at a sports station. I was doing the usual stuff – gathering data and stats. Then I pitched this idea of being a man on the street. That was based on my big, silly personality. I've always been that guy in the group of friends, the one idiot who will go and lick the frozen pole. When I'm interviewing, I'm never going to ask those cliché questions. Instead, I'll ask Kobe Bryant if I can come and stay at his house. Being a little bit different makes people remember. It got me onto Kobe Bryant's helicopter and it has produced a lot of memorable moments.
Achievement according to The Terminator
I remember I was watching Arnold Schwarzenegger being interviewed on 60 Minutes once and he said that when people set goals, they are always too vague – I want to be a better person, to be more healthy, et cetera. Arnold said you have to make your goals specific and that is something that really resonated with me. For more than a year now, I set goals for each month, with the idea that I have 30 days to work on them. I write them down on pieces of paper and stick them above my mirror so that I have to look at them every morning and I can't just push them out of my mind. It has been very successful, though the weight-loss goals don't work as well. I'm a master of late-night eating. Everything after 2 a.m. tastes amazing.
You can't imitate authenticity
There used to be this idea that broadcasters were all supposed to have that same deep, serious broadcaster voice, like the classic newsman. I think with all kinds of people creating their own content, that is changing, and that's a great thing. Authenticity is so important and that's what I would say to people just getting into broadcasting. Sometimes you'll see young students trying to sound as if they are Brian Williams and you want to tell them to just be themselves. So what if you have a nasally voice, or whatever you have? Of course, if a subject is serious, it needs to be treated that way, but if you're reporting on the opening of the CNE, have fun, open up, be a normal person.
Behind the scenes is besides the point
One of the sayings I love is something that [former president and general manager of the Maple Leafs] Brian Burke said: 'Don't show me the bathwater, show me the baby.' In this job, so much of the work and the headaches happen behind the scenes, but it's important to remember that the audience doesn't care if you were at the office transcribing until 3 a.m. or that you were having issues with the crew. It's all about the final product. Another sort of related idea involves picking your battles. This is particularly true behind the scenes of the broadcasting world, where you encounter so many little things every day. When something comes up, I have learned to ask myself: 'Is this the hill you want to die on?' Almost always the answer is no, and then you can put it behind you and move on.
This interview has been condensed and edited by Courtney Shea.