TSN SportsCentre’s Cabbie calls the shots


The first time you do it your palms get sweaty, your heart starts to beat faster, your mind goes blank and it’s over so quickly you don’t even remember what happened.

Whether you’re a journalism student, a newbie in the broadcast industry or in the legal field, you will have to conduct interviews and learn the dos and don’ts along the way.

You’re going to have to do it a lot more than just once, but it gets easier each time and, eventually, you’ll be a pro.

“I’m very comfortable now since I’ve had so many repetitions,” says Cabral ‘Cabbie’ Richards, host and producer of SportsCentre’s Cabbie Presents, on TSN.

Richards, 36, interviews professional athletes and has been at TSN for the past three years. Before that, he had a segment on The Score called Cabbie on the Street where he would interview people just like that – on the street.

“I walked around on Queen St. W. and found random people to ask them about the national anthem being played before sporting events. That was the angle of the first segment,” which aired on Aug. 12, 2001, he says.

Born and raised in Toronto, Richards graduated from Ryerson University in 2000 from the Radio and Television Arts program, building an impressive resume.

Aside from being a face on The Score, from 2007 until 2010, Richards hosted the Hardcore Hoops Show on The Score on Sirius Satellite radio.

In early 2011 he joined the Marilyn Denis Show on CTV as a correspondent, contributing a male perspective in relationship and food conversations with guests on the talk show.

His first professional athlete interview was less than a year after that first segment aired on The Score in 2001, and the topic was in true Cabbie fashion.

Richards’ interviewing style is different than that of a typical sports broadcaster.

His unique approach to interviews is what has made him one of the most entertaining sports reporters on TV today connecting with both audiences and interviewees.

Richards says his interview subjects are fans of his casual approach.

“They like it ‘cause it’s a break from the normal style of interview. They can relax and let their guard down, which is a great experience for the audience.”

The first time he interviewed professional athletes, he spoke to three Toronto Maple Leafs, Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Wade Belak. The topic? What they ate before games.

Richards admits he was a bit nervous before doing the interviews and that being in the Leafs dressing room was “a little intimidating,” before adding that Belak was “super nice.”

Looking back on it now, Richards says he wouldn’t change anything about it if he could. “It was a great learning experience,” and it went well, from what he can remember.

We need to start somewhere, he says, and we can learn a lot from terrible experiences.

Learning from doing is key in anything we do, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared and have a heads-up with some great advice. Here are a few tips Richards has on the art of the interview.

• Owning the material and knowing it so well that it comes out naturally is one of the things he says is key in a successful interview.

• “Build relationships,” says Richards. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions [from other media or PR staff], get a lot of reps in,” and, “work on your writing.”

He admits clever writing separates you from others, and it’s beneficial to learn all the facets like shooting, editing, writing, hosting and producing.

“The more you can do yourself, the more valuable you are.”