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The 3 L’s: Laugh, Learn and Likeability

Jason Barrett

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During my time in St. Louis, I had the privilege of hiring Rick Venturi as a talk show host. Aside from being a very talented communicator, Rick had spent his entire adult life coaching college and professional football. More than 35 years were spent designing schemes, motivating players and gaining knowledge with the ultimate goal being to use it all to help the teams he worked for win a championship.

While Rick didn’t win a Super Bowl or National Championship during his career, he had a wealth of knowledge to share and after working with great leaders such as Bill Belichick, Mike Ditka, Jim Mora, Jon Gruden and Jim Haslett, I was curious to find out what made each of them and their teams unique and successful.

What I remember most was a discussion we had about the importance in every team having an identity and philosophy that was understood and shared by every member inside the organization. During our chat, Rick mentioned how he could look at a team in the NFL and know if they were a sound organization with a strong game plan or if they were a collection of parts just hoping to stumble into the right place. In most cases, he felt it was reflective of the Head Coach and GM’s attention to detail and overall vision for the organization.

I recall asking specifically about Bill Belichick because Rick had worked under him in Cleveland from 1994-1995 and following a number of Super Bowl titles in New England, I felt Bill knew a thing or two about winning and getting the most out of his players. Bill not only had a strong plan but he also surrounded himself with outstanding leaders who understood his vision and were committed to helping him realize it.

If you look back at the group that Belichick assembled in Cleveland it’s one of the best groups of all time. Nick Saban, Eric Mangini, Al Groh, Jim Schwartz and Kirk Ferentz were all coaches under Belichick and every single one of them went on to be a Head Coach. Inside the organization, the team employed Scott Pioli, Thomas Dimitroff, Ozzie Newsome, Michael Lombardi and Mike Tannenbaum. Each of them went on to become a General Manager.

While the Browns didn’t deliver on the field the way they should have given that amazing array of expertise, if you look at the Patriots of the past 14 years they’ve been one of the NFL’s most consistent and elite franchises. Once again Belichick surrounded himself with great people. Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Bill O’Brien and Josh McDaniels all have worked under him and each has gone on to become a Head Coach too.

What jumped out to me when I spoke to Rick was how quickly he could tell you what a Bill Belichick football team looked like. He took me through the way Bill looked at various positions on a football team and what he expected out of those positions from a performance standpoint but even more important, he could tell you every detail of what the position should look like from the player’s height, weight and speed. If a player didn’t fit the description of what they looked for, more times than not they’d take a pass.

I asked Rick to provide a few examples and he was able to do so without missing a beat. He mentioned how Bill would look for physical running backs who could take a toll but wouldn’t necessarily be the fastest guy on the field. He liked wide receivers with a chip on their shoulders who weren’t afraid of contact. He liked taller corners who could play man to man and punish a wideout for 60 minutes even if they weren’t the fastest at their positions and he preferred heavier defensive tackles who could clog the middle and stop the run, even if it meant less ability to sack the QB.

When I took a look at Belichick’s teams I was blown away by the similarities. From Andre Rison in Cleveland to Randy Moss and Wes Welker in New England. At RB he went from Leroy Hoard, Tommy Vardell and Kevin Mack in Cleveland to Kevin Faulk, Antowain Smith, Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney in New England. All very much similar type of players from a height, weight and style standpoint. If you log on to Pro Football Reference and look at some of those Browns and Patriots rosters you’ll be really surprised at how many similarities exist for players at each position.

Now when you ask Rick about his time with the St. Louis Rams, it’s not something he enjoys spending much time talking about. While he liked and respected Scott Linehan and was grateful for the opportunity to coach with the Rams, Rick knew the team was in trouble the first day he walked into the locker room.

He’d recall how each position had inconsistencies when it came to player attributes and styles. The vision on draft day would be cloudy which caused confusion on what the team was trying to become and when it carried over to the field, the organization lacked an identity and as a result finished with an 11-25 record under Linehan.

That isn’t to suggest that Scott Linehan can’t coach because he did a nice job for the Detroit Lions as their offensive coordinator and now he’s the passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys but it illustrates the importance in knowing what you want your team to look like, feel like and ultimately play like in professional sports.

When you think of how that applies to sports talk radio, the comparisons are endless. Every detail inside an organization is critical to having success and it’s very true that much of the personality of the leader is reflected in the mindset and overall attitude of the team.

When I started programming radio stations I didn’t think about this at all. I was just trying to focus on helping guys out with doing a good show while also trying to convince myself that I was ready for the opportunity I had been handed. I didn’t know what I wanted out of each position on my radio stations, I just knew I wanted to win.

While that goal was one that everyone shared, having a plan for how to do it was absent. I certainly didn’t have enough of the right type of people around me to reflect my vision, but that wasn’t their fault, it was mine. I didn’t create the identity and brand vision that was needed for everyone to have success.

Since that time, I’ve grown a lot as a leader. It started at 101 ESPN in St. Louis and has continued for me in San Francisco with 95.7 The Game. The best thing to happen to me was going through a bad situation at 590 The Fan in St. Louis. Because the end result was failure and a 6-month stay on the beach, I used my free time to analyze every aspect of my game. I thought about what I wanted to accomplish if I got another chance, and who would be part of my team to carry out my vision if I got the call.

What I ultimately came up with was, any Jason Barrett programmed radio station was going to carry with it the identity of the 3 L’s. While there are other things that are important to a show or radio station’s success, these are the core principles that I believe in and seek out of my personalities. If I don’t feel an individual possesses these traits, then it’s difficult for me to bring myself to adding them to my team.

Learn: On the radio station’s that I have programmed, I have hired on-air personalities who possess the ability to help our audiences learn something new about the subjects were discussing. Any talk show host can throw out a basic statement and get an audience to react if they do it with passion. I want my hosts to dig deeper and give me some piece of insight I can’t get anywhere else. I should always feel as a listener that the host on the radio station is smart, prepared and informed and gives me things to think about that I can use with my friends to make myself look good. A few examples of hosts who’ve worked with me and fit this bill would be Bernie Miklasz, Greg Papa, Ric Bucher, Chris Dimino and Randy Karraker. There are plenty of others too.

Laugh: Let’s face it, the audience looks to us to take them away from the stress of their day. We are in business to entertain people. If you can’t laugh at yourself or with the audience, then what’s the point? Sports is supposed to be fun. So is doing a sports radio show. We’re not digging ditches or searching for the cure for cancer. Those are tough jobs. This is a labor of love, a passion play if you will. If you don’t have the ability to laugh, make people laugh, be vulnerable, and make an audience feel like they’re entering a sports bar to have a beer and shoot the shit with you, then you’re missing the point. Laughter brings people together and our job is to form a bond with our audience. When I think of hosts who deliver the laugh trait consistently I immediately think of John Lund, Zack McCrite, Whitey Gleason, Tim McKernan and Damon Bruce. Once again, I’m leaving some others out.

Likeability: This is the toughest of the 3 because the audience ultimately decides whether or not you’re likable but there are some factors that I look at that play into it. For example, are you willing to put your heart and soul into your content and let your audience into your world? If so, that matters to people. Can you acknowledge you’re wrong when you miss on an opinion or statement? It’s OK to be wrong in this business. You can strive to be right but need to be smart and own up to it when you’re not. People appreciate it because it tells them you’re human and you make mistakes just like them. Last but not least, are you approachable when you’re in front of people or are you the person who can’t wait to break away from the crowd? We’re in the people business. If you don’t like being around people, then that’s going to make it really hard to build lasting relationships. When I think of some hosts I’ve worked with who have the Likability characteristic, D’Marco Farr, Chris Duncan, Rob Ellis, Guy Haberman and Frank Cusumano all come to mind. Yes I know, I’m leaving a few others out too.

While I may seek personalities for my brands who possess the 3 L’s, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be successful if you have them. You could have a slow pace show that bores the audience. You could conduct 30 minute interviews each hour that fatigue the audience. You could talk fast and loud and cause the listener to only listen in small doses. Or, you could use references to help your positions that the audience simply can’t relate to.

In each of those cases, I believe coaching can help make a difference. Having the ability though to make an audience laugh and learn and come across as someone who’s likable is something you either have or don’t. It’s kind of like following the Belichick system. You can check all the boxes but if you’re not a good football player eventually you’ll be exposed.

The purpose of this exercise isn’t to instruct you to go back to work tomorrow and implement the 3 L’s, it’s to get you thinking on what makes you or your brand unique and what strategies you plan to use to help you further establish that philosophy.

Think about how it compares to sports since that’s what our format focuses on 24/7. Bill Walsh teams were known for playing the west coast offense and the players who were picked to play for his teams either fit that system or they played elsewhere in the NFL.

This didn’t mean that other players like Dan Marino, Lawrence Taylor or Marcus Allen couldn’t adapt and fit in, it just meant that the people who were already in place fit the system so well and helped the team win so much that there was no need to worry about changing anything. The same applies to the radio business.

There are always talented people out there who could help us perform. The question you must ask though is, do they fit the organization and my philosophy or not? If they don’t then it doesn’t matter how good they are because the end result will be your own dissatisfaction. That’s not just for a PD either. It can be a Host’s view of a Producer. A Producer’s view of a Board Operator or any other part of your organization.

Yes we all want to win but we also want to win with people who we enjoy working with and who we believe reflect the values and mission statement of our brands. Having an understanding of who you want to be and how you’re going to become that type of team is essential to determining whether or not you’re built to succeed or fail. Knowing or not knowing could be the difference of whether you become Bill Belichick or Scott Linehan.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

“Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.”

Jason Barrett

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It’s taken years of hard work, adjustments, and a whole lot of trial and error to turn this brand into a trusted source for industry professionals. It’s been exciting and rewarding to tell stories, highlight the industry, and use my decades worth of knowledge and relationships to help the brands I work with make progress. But while I may prioritize the work I do for others, I’ve also got to balance it with making sure BSM and BNM run smoothly.

Each day, Barrett Media produces nearly fifty social posts, one to two newsletters, and twenty to thirty sports and news media stories and columns. I didn’t even mention podcasts, which is another space we recently entered. Making sure we’re delivering quality not quantity is vital, and so too is promoting it consistently and creatively.

Today, we have thirty people on our payroll. I never expected that to be the case, but as needs have increased and deeper bonds have been formed between the brand, our audience, and our clients, it’s allowed us to find new ways to invest in delivering insight, information, and opinion to our readers. Writing, editing, and creating content for a brand like ours isn’t for everyone. I just spent the past three months interviewing nearly forty people, and there’s a lot of quality talent out there. But talent for radio and journalism doesn’t always mean the fit is right for BSM and BNM. Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.

First, please join me in welcoming Garrett Searight to BSM and BNM. Garrett has been hired as our FT Brand Editor, which means he will oversee BSM and BNM’s website’s content M-F during normal business hours. He will work closely with yours truly, our nighttime editors Arky Shea and Eduardo Razo, and our entire writing teams to create content opportunities for both of our brands. Garrett joins us after a decade long stint in Lima, OH where he most recently worked as program director and afternoon host at 93.1 The Fan. He also programmed classic country station 98.5 The Legend. His first day with us is August 1st, but he’ll be training this month to make sure he’s ready to hit the ground running.

Next, I am excited to welcome Alex Reynolds as our Social Media Coordinator. Alex’s creativity and curiosity stood out during our interview process, and we’re excited to have him helping with social content creation and scheduling for BSM and BNM. He’s a graduate of Elon University, a big fan of lacrosse, and he’ll be working with Dylan Barrett to improve our graphic creation, schedule our content, and further develop the social voice for both of our brands.

Speaking of our two brands, though we produce content on the website for both sports and news, how they get promoted on social is changing. When I started this company, the website was known as SportsRadioPD.com. That worked perfectly with my Twitter and Instagram handles, which were also @sportsradiopd. But since we switched our URL to BarrettSportsMedia.com and started ramping up content for both sports and news it’s become clear that we needed dedicated brand pages. It’s harder to expect people to share an individual’s content, and the mix of sports and news often feels off-brand to the two different audiences we serve. It feels even stranger if I’m buying social media ads to market content, a conference, and other things, so it’s time to change things up.

Starting today, you can now follow Barrett Sports Media on Twitter @BSMStaff. You can also follow Barrett News Media on Twitter @BNMStaff. Each brand also has its own Facebook page. Moving forward, we will promote sports media content on our sports accounts, and news media content on our news accounts. We started with that approach for BNM when the brand launched in September 2020, but expecting people to read another site and follow other social accounts was a tall order for a brand that was finding its footing. We made a choice to promote both sports and news under the same social accounts for the past year in order to further grow awareness for the content, and as we stand today, I think many would agree that BNM has made great strides. We’ve built a kick ass team to cover the news media industry, and I’m hoping many of you will take a moment to give BNM’s pages a follow to stay informed.

One thing you will notice is that the @BSMStaff account has replaced the @sportsradiopd account on Twitter. Let’s face it, most people who have followed me on Twitter have done so for BSM or BNM’s content, not for my NY Knicks and pro wrestling rants. I am keeping my @sportsradiopd handle but that is being developed as a brand new personal account. That said, if you enjoy sending DM’s my way, give the new @sportsradiopd account a follow so we can stay in touch. The only account we will use to promote content from both brands under is the Barrett Media account on LinkedIn. Instagram is not a focus right now nor is TikTok or Snapchat. I realize audiences exist everywhere but I’d rather be great at a few things than average at a lot of them.

Now that we’ve tackled the social media changes, let me share another exciting piece of news. I’m thrilled to welcome Jessie Karangu to our brand as a BSM weekly columnist. Jessie has great energy, curiosity, and a genuine love and passion for the media industry. He’s worked for Sinclair television, written for Awful Announcing, and has also hosted podcasts and video shows on YouTube. His knowledge and interest in television is especially strong, and I’m looking forward to featuring his opinions, and perspectives on our website. His debut piece for the site will be released this Wednesday.

With all of this happening, Demetri Ravanos is shifting his focus for the brand to a space he’s passionate about, audio. His new title is BSM’s Director of Audio Content. This means he will be charged with overseeing the editing, execution, and promotion of our various podcasts. He will also work closely with me in developing future Barrett Media shows. We have 3 in weekly rotation now, and will be adding Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves next week, and The Jason Barrett Podcast the week after that. The goal is to increase our audio library in the future provided the right ideas, talent, and interest are there.

Another goal of mine moving forward is to grow our advertising partnerships. Between our website, social media channels, podcasts, and newsletters, we have many ways to help brands connect to an affluent, influential, and loyal industry audience. We’ve enjoyed working with and helping brands over the years such as Point to Point Marketing, Jim Cutler NY, Steve Stone Voiceovers, Core Image Studio, Skyview Networks, Compass Media Networks, ESPN Radio and Harker Bos Group. That doesn’t include all of the great sponsors we’ve teamed up with for our annual BSM Summit (2023’s show will be announced by the end of the summer). I’m excited to add to the list by welcoming Backbone as a new website and newsletter partner. We’re also looking forward to teaming up in the near future with Quu and the Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and hope to work with a few others we’ve had recent dialogue with.

When it comes to marketing, I try to remind folks of our reach, the value we add daily across the industry, and the various ways we can help. I know it’s human nature to stick with what we know but if you work with a brand, I invite you to check into BSM/BNM further. Stephanie Eads is awesome to work with, cares about our partners, and our traffic, social impressions, and most importantly, the quality of our audience is proven. To learn more about what we can do, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Yes we continue to grow, and I’m happy about that, but just because we’re adding head count doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to be better. It takes every person on a team holding up their end of the bargain, creating killer content, setting expectations, and paying attention to the follow through. We take pride in our work, value the support of our partners, and are extremely thankful for the continued readership of our material. That consistent support is what allows me to add to our team to better serve fans, partners, and industry professionals.

It may seem small, and unimportant but those retweets, comments, and mentions on the air about our content makes a difference. To all who take the time to keep our industry conversations alive, thank you. This is an awesome business with a lot of great brands, people, content, and growth opportunities, and the fact that we get to learn from you, share your stories, and help those reading learn in the process makes waking up to do it an honor.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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Barrett Blogs

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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