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10 Tips For Getting Hired In Radio

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Every Program Director has a different approach when it comes to hiring people so take that into account as you read through this column. I can only speak to my own philosophy and experiences but for what they’re worth, I’m happy to share how I do things. As you pursue future opportunities in the industry, don’t assume that my way is going to work for you in other markets because chances are it won’t. None the less here’s a few things I consider important in the hiring process.

1. Build Relationships First: If you’re looking to be considered for a position at any radio station, don’t wait until you see a job posting for an open position. This is a business that is very much built on who you know and what you’ve done. You can go into Walmart and apply for a job and they’ll call you if they have an opening, Radio works differently. Chances are, I’ve got a number of people in mind for an opportunity before I even post the position for my radio station. Why? Because any solid PD is thinking about the change in his or her building before anyone else is. During the posting process I’ll receive a few applications which stand out and catch my eye but usually I’ve already got an idea for a few different roads to pursue before I turn to the unknown. All the more reason why getting to know the PD prior to a job posting can be important.

2. Follow Instructions: If a job is posted and gives specific instructions of how to proceed and you don’t have a relationship already with the PD, follow them precisely. For example, if it says “no calls please” don’t be the one person who thinks they’re going to stand out because they did what the posting said not to do. While you may think that type of aggressiveness is going to stand out, it will but in a very negative way. If I’ve taken the time to tell you how to approach me and the company for a possible opportunity, following instructions is important. If your first move is to show me that you can’t follow instructions then how can I trust you if I were to hire you? In the past I’ve had people follow me into elevators, approach me in the urinals at ballgames, show up at radio station events when I was with my family and even track me down at a train stop after I posted that I was heading home on Twitter and in every situation, the candidate was not hired. I recognize you’re hungry for an opportunity but so are others who follow instructions and trust in their body of work being good enough to generate attention and a response.

3. Are You Qualified For The Opening: If you’re applying for an on-air position and have never done a radio show, why exactly are you applying? I realize it’s a cool job and we all think we can do it but just because you make your friends laugh or you know every sports stat known to mankind doesn’t mean you’re qualified to entertain an audience for 45 minutes an hour. I may think I can do a better job than the president but that doesn’t make me qualified to run the country and occupy the white house.

4. Are You a Proven Difference Maker: If you’re an on-air talent and haven’t had ratings success, PD’s will find out. If you’re in a weekend or night-time position and looking to take the next step, PD’s will ask you why those in your own building don’t think you’re good enough to crack their daytime lineup yet you expect someone else to see you differently who hasn’t even worked with you. I’m not saying that to be a hard ass or to crush your dreams, I’m sharing it because when you’re hired as a weekday talk show host in a prime daypart, there’s an expectation that comes with it. The PD is saying to his/her bosses that you’re good enough to generate ratings, experienced enough to deliver results for advertisers and the type of individual who will be a great teammate, a strong representative for the brand in the community and someone who will foster relationships with teams and local players which will be beneficial to the product. I’m not saying you can’t go from weekends/evenings in a market to prime time in another because it has happened but I’m telling you that it’s not easy and doing it in a top 5 market or on a national network is going to be extremely tough.

5. Show Your Unedited Work: When you submit a demo, don’t send something that makes you look good for 2-3 minutes but can’t be duplicated when you get in front of a microphone. Numerous times I’ve received a good MP3 or CD and I’ll follow up with a candidate and when I have them come to the studio to hear how they sound, I find out that they had 2 good minutes courtesy of a good Adobe Audition editing job. The reality is this, unedited tape doesn’t lie. Chances are you’ll send me an hour of tape and I won’t listen to all of it. That said, something interesting or funny right away will get my attention and keep me intrigued. It’s no different than what I tell my on-air hosts and what other PD’s tell theirs. If you don’t grab a listener’s attention quickly, they’ll tune you out. Come to the table with something that showcases your style, originality and unfiltered opinion and you have a shot at keeping my ear. If you can do that, I’m likely to at least touch base to have a discussion. Also understand that if a PD doesn’t like your work right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. If they tell you to work on some things, apply the feedback and make sure the next time you submit something that it reflects progress. That attention to detail tells a PD you’ll accept coaching and that’s something PD’s seek out of the people they hire.

6. Network, Network, Network: Between the radio station’s website where you can obtain the email to the PD and social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where many of these same PD’s have accounts, are you connected to them on any platform? Furthermore, have you gotten to know others who work inside the radio station? The more people you know and the more relationships you build, the more likely you are to attract people’s attention. I remember being at 590 The Fan in St. Louis and a guy came in the door wanting to pick the brains of some of our personalities just to find out how they approach their jobs. His research stood out and he was a young guy looking to break into the business. About 2 years later I was launching 101 ESPN in St. Louis and the same guy applied for a Board Operator job just to get his foot in the door and I wound up hiring him. It was that initial visit to my previous building and a few notes in between that caught my attention and impressed me. His name was Aaron Goldsmith and he was the first board operator to put 101 ESPN on the air and now he’s the play-by-play announcer for the Seattle Mariners. He understood the value of networking and so should you.

7. Set Realistic Goals: PD’s talk to one another much like NFL Head Coaches talk to each other. We may not discuss strategies or company secrets but we do provide feedback when asked for it. If you’re an individual sending resumes and airchecks to 20 PD’s in 20 different markets, chances are everyone knows you as the “I’ll work anywhere” candidate. If you’re applying for the board operator, producer and on-air host position then you’re the “jack of all trades, master of none” candidate. I mention these two specifically because any dynamic and entertaining on-air personality who can move the needle for a radio station would never apply for a Board Operator or Producer position. Be smart when you apply and remember, PD’s have long memories. We know when you’ve applied 6 months earlier, 2 years earlier and in some cases even 5-10 years earlier. Know what it is you want to pursue, give good evidence to support why you believe you’re qualified and then follow up when appropriate. If you’ve got the talent to attract a PD’s attention, trust me they’ll be in touch. If they’re not then either you’re not a fit for that specific PD or market or your talent for the position may not be as strong as you may think it is. I will also tell you that if two people are equally qualified for a position and one is local and one isn’t, almost 99% of the time the call is going to go to the person who is already in the market and knows the local scene. If you want to work in a specific market and you’re not there, you may want to think abut relocating first and then continuing to chase opportunities at the radio station.

8. Understand The Job Description: Too many times candidates interview for a specific job and then proceed to explain why the radio station should adapt to fit them as opposed to the individual explaining how they can help fit the position. You may eventually land a bigger opportunity in the company if you’re good but it’s not going to come without doing the current job in front of you first. If a baseball team needs a lead-off hitter who can take pitches, draw walks, get on base and steal bases, do you think they’re going to put someone in that spot who hits for low average and swings at every pitch they see? It’s no different here. If I need a producer who can book guests, produce promos and rejoins, screen calls and make quality cuts, that’s what I expect to be done. If your true ambition is to be on the air that’s fine but you’re not going to get that opportunity at the expense of a prime time talk show. Do the job you were hired to do, request to earn more opportunities and be truthful about your goals and if you’ve built a good relationship with your PD, they’ll give you a chance to go into a production room and put some material on tape, critique it and if it’s good enough, throw you a weekend or overnight shift to see how you do. It’s all about going through the process and having the talent to do the job but you’ve got to touch first base before you proceed to second.

9. The Actual Interview: When you get called to come in for an interview, be on time. You should also show up looking professional. You don’t need to be in a 3-piece suit but you may want to save the running pants and short sleeve t-shirt for another day. Andre Agassi once said “image is everything” and whether it’s fair or not, PD’s want to know that they’re bringing in people who understand that they’re working in a place of business and can present themselves well. In addition to being punctual and presenting yourself well, let the PD guide the conversation. You’re walking in and trying to sell yourself and why you can help the brand but for the PD they can only find out about you by asking questions and seeing how you respond. If you’re confident in yourself they’ll see it and those who can adapt and stay loose, conversational and engaged in discussion will stand out. If you’re shy, quiet, nervous or breaking out in a sweat, chances are the PD’s made mental notes and they’re not going to be favorable.

10. Follow Up: If you interview for an opportunity and don’t get the nod, your career isn’t over. The right thing to do, is follow up and thank the PD for their consideration and let them know you’d like to be kept in consideration for future opportunities. In many situations there are a lot of qualified candidates for an opening and only 1 person gets hired. Those who act professionally when they don’t get the call stand a better chance of being thought of favorably in the future, especially if they remain employed in the business and continue working at their craft. I have a number of people in this business who I keep on a short-list and if situations pop up and I need help, I’m very likely to call on them. What doesn’t work is when someone follows up and proceeds to blast the candidate I hired or fires personal insults my way because they weren’t hired (it’s happened before). Before I got my opportunity with ESPN in 2004, I had reached out a year earlier to Bruce Gilbert and what I was pitching wasn’t needed by the network at that time. I thanked him for considering me, asked him to hold on to my materials and reminded him that if a need came up in the future, I was ready, willing and able to get to work. As luck would have it, one year later he had an opening and because I connected well during the previous process, I was given a chance to interview and ultimately landed the job. While the call may not always come the first time, it certainly won’t come a second time if you don’t conduct yourself the right way.

As I finalize this column, I’d like to share a personal story that applies to this subject. When I entered this business, I hoped to one day be good enough to work at WFAN in NY. For years I reached out to Mark Chernoff seeking his feedback and because I didn’t bombard him regularly, he’d provide me with some of it. I gained a solid understanding of what I’d need to do in the future to earn consideration for a job there, and I’d keep working on the things he told me needed improvement.

After 8 years, I finally received an offer to work for WFAN as a FT Producer and as crazy as it sounds, I rejected it. ESPN presented a great opportunity at the same time, and I couldn’t say no. If I had given up after my first or second attempt, I’d never have been in that position. Because I had a little bit of talent, was accepting of feedback, and didn’t overwhelm Mark with my approach, it allowed me to stay on the radar of one of the industry’s best PD’s.

Many times in this industry, being hired for a position comes down to relationships, fit, financials and subjective opinions. If you don’t get the call today, don’t be discouraged. It’s amazing how a perceived setback on your end can actually be a blessing in disguise and an opening into something even more amazing. Sometimes a great NFL or MLB player has to wait a few turns to get a call to the Hall of Fame and the same type of things happen in radio. If you have talent and want it bad enough, people will eventually find you. You’ll just never know who, when or why they’re watching so always present yourself well, don’t be overbearing and let your body of work do the talking.

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Black Friday Sale TODAY For 2022 BSM Summit Tickets

“BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets will begin at 12:01am ET on Friday November 26th and expire at 11:59pm later that same night.”

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There are less than 100 days remaining until the 2022 BSM Summit takes place in New York City. We’ve announced 31 participants for the show so far, and have more to reveal in the weeks and months ahead. I think you’re going to like what’s still to come.

Putting this conference together isn’t easy. It requires months of meetings, brainstorming, promotion, selling sponsorships, pursuing speakers, and creating everything that attendees see on stage over a two day period. I’m thankful to have help from some amazing partners, but as I’ve mentioned previously, this isn’t an event that makes us rich or ends with 5-10 new clients signing up to work with BSM. The goal each year is simple, make sure the conference is valuable for those who attend, and don’t run BSM out of business by doing it. As long as those two things remain solid, it’s worth doing.

Some might wonder, why go thru months of headaches if you’re not going to break the bank or immediately add clients. That’s fair to ask. If you look at it from a pure business standpoint, one could easily make a case that pouring this type of energy into something else could be more lucrative. But money was never the motivation for doing this. I felt the sports media industry lacked a signature event where smart, successful media professionals (who don’t often cross paths) could gather at one location to laugh and learn together, and I wanted to change that. If over a two day period attendees could gain insight, information, ideas, and introductions, it’d put everyone in a stronger position to remain successful.

I’ve unapologetically loved the sports media business since I started listening to Mike & the Mad Dog on WFAN and watching SportsCenter on ESPN. I was fortunate to live and work in a number of cities over the past two decades, learning how different companies and people operate, and I remain involved today thru my work with BSM. I mention this because I also know media people. They tend to wait until the last minute to book hotel rooms, airfare, and purchase tickets, even if they can save money by acting sooner. I know, I used to do it too. I can’t control when you book your room or plane ticket, but I do want to give you an added incentive to buy your ticket to this year’s show. Seating is limited, and once the last seat is filled, that’s it. We can’t make extra room.

With that in mind, most of you are either taking today off or working inside a much quieter building. If you’ve thought about coming to the Summit, take 5-10 minutes to log on to BSMSummit.com to take advantage of our special Black Friday sale. We’ve reduced tickets for the day, so whether you’re planning to attend in NYC or watch the conference online, there’s a discount to help you out. Just $199.99 for live tickets, and $124.99 for virtual.

BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets expires at 11:59pm tonight. In the meantime, Hotel Edison in NYC is offering rooms for just $109 + taxes to Summit attendees. Click here to take advantage of the special room rate we’ve secured for this year’s show. Those of you planning to fly to NYC for the show, there have been a ton of great deals offered by American, Southwest, United, JetBlue and Frontier. It might be worth checking into today since Black Friday often has even better sales on travel.

If you’re interested in learning more about the industry, staying a step ahead, forming new relationships, strengthening existing ones, exploring potential business deals, and celebrating the business you’re in, I hope you’ll join us either online or in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit. I’m making it easier on you, by offering lower ticket prices today. The rest is up to you!

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Craig Carton, Fred Toucher, Mike Felger To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit

“Few understand what it takes to deliver success in this format consistently like Craig, Fred and Mike, and I’m glad they’re making the time to share their knowledge with us.”

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When you talk to industry people about successful brands in sports talk radio, most conversations include WFAN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. The New York and Boston sports radio brands are consistently recognized for their ability to deliver large audiences and revenues.

Helping to create that success is a mixture of strong play by play partnerships, skilled programmers and even more importantly, some of the most dynamic on-air personalities in the format. Fortunately for us, a few of those gamechangers will be present to share their opinions and insights on content matters in New York City at the 2022 BSM Summit.

Starting in New York, it’s an honor to welcome WFAN afternoon drive host Craig Carton to the 2022 BSM Summit. Heard daily on ‘Carton and Roberts‘ alongside Evan Roberts, which is also featured on TV on SNY, Carton has made his presence felt ever since returning to the airwaves in November 2020. Prior to taking on the challenge in afternoons, Craig spent a decade partnering with Boomer Esiason on ‘Boomer and Carton‘, forming one of the most successful sports radio morning shows in the country. In addition to enjoying success in New York, Craig has also experienced the ups and downs that come with performing in different markets. His radio travels have taken him to Philadelphia, Denver, Buffalo and Trenton, NJ. The Syracuse graduate and outspoken host is expected to join BSM President Jason Barrett for a one on one conversation at this year’s Summit.

Shipping up to Boston, it’s a pleasure to welcome two of the format’s highest rated performers to New York City. They’re heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub in morning and afternoon drive, and at the Summit, they’ll interact together during an in-depth content conversation with BSM President Jason Barrett.

Fred Toucher is one half of the Sports Hub’s popular morning show ‘Toucher & Rich‘, which recently added syndication. The Detroit native started his career in Georgia before moving to Boston in 2005. Toucher & Rich, which includes Rich Shertenlieb, officially moved into the sports talk format in 2009. Since making the format switch, the duo have consistently produced some of the best ratings in the entire format in mornings during the past fifteen years. Toucher & Rich have also been recognized by industry executives as one of the top two morning shows in the format each of the past three years in the BSM Top 20, including taking top honors in 2018.

Mike Felger on the other hand is heard on the ride home alongside Tony Massarotti on The Sports Hub. The Marconi Award-winning afternoon radio show has been a fixture in Boston since the station’s inception in 2009. During the past twelve years, Felger & Mazz have been a steady force atop the Men 25-54 ratings including recently delivering an impressive 18.9 share in the summer book to finish 1st. The Milwaukee native also hosts a show for NBC Boston, and has previously served as a columnist for the Boston Globe. Similar to Toucher & Rich, Felger & Mazz have earned high praise from format execs in the BSM Top 20. They’ve been voted one of the top 2 afternoon shows each of the past 2 years including grabbing the top spot in 2019.

We’re excited to add all three of these men to the lineup for the 2022 BSM Summit. As vital as it may be to spend time on business issues in order to stay ahead of a rapidly changing media climate, without great talent and content, the rest is irrelevant. Few understand what it takes to deliver success in this format consistently like Craig, Fred and Mike, and I’m glad they’re making the time to share their knowledge with us.

To reserve your hotel room, purchase tickets or learn more about the speakers we’ve lined up for the 2022 show, visit BSMSummit.com. We hope to see you online or in New York City this March.

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BSM Summit Adds Borrell, Crain, Cutler, Goldstein, Scott, Shapiro & Thomas

“The Summit is just 104 days away, so if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do so. Half of the room is already full and seating for the conference is limited.”

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The 2022 BSM Summit continues to add firepower to the sports media industry’s premier conference. After previously announcing the first twenty one participants to take part in March’s event in New York City, another seven talented media professionals have been added to the speaker schedule.

Making his BSM Summit debut in 2022 will be the media industry’s leading business analyst Gordon Borrell. The well respected and accomplished CEO of Borrell Associates is featured frequently in the trades and mainstream publications for his insights on advertising trends and forecasts in local media. Borrell will join Amplifi Media CEO Steven Goldstein on stage at the Summit for an in-depth discussion on the advertising climate in 2022. The two men will offer insights and opinions on what advertisers value most, where they’re expected to invest future dollars, which categories will continue to rise and decline, and what brands can do to position themselves better to increase revenue. Additionally, Borrell will be hosting his local advertising conference in Miami a few days after the Summit. Those interested in heading to South Beach and learning more about the marketing world can learn more by clicking here.

Switching to the content end, the Summit is thrilled to welcome The Volume’s Jake Crain to New York City. The host of The JBoy Show will also be making his debut at the conference. Crain will be part of a talent panel along with John Jastremski and Kazeem Famuyide.

Also making his debut at the Summit will be Carl Scott. Meadowlark Media’s Executive Director of Audio will join our podcasting panel featuring Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones and The Volume’s Head of Content Logan Swaim. Hubbard Radio’s Digital Content Director Phil Mackey will guide the conversation.

Not everyone participating at the Summit will be new to the audience though. Returning to the stage as part of our GM’s discussion will be newly appointed Audacy Boston Market Manager Mike Thomas. Thomas recently led ESPN 1000 in Chicago as the station’s GM after working with Mark Hannon to turn 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston into one of sports radio’s top performing stations. It should be noted that each time Thomas appears at the Summit it follows a recent promotion. We figure by 2023 or 2024 he’ll be running the entire industry.

A Summit isn’t complete without attention given to programming matters. To help us address some of those key issues, we’re excited to welcome back the Vice President of FOX Sports Radio & Podcasts Scott Shapiro. The passionate network executive who oversees many of the nation’s top national programs is always a great listen for folks interested in learning how programmer’s view and tackle the industry’s most important affairs.

Last but certainly not least, voice talent extraordinaire Jim Cutler will return to the stage to lead a session on storytelling. One of the industry’s prominent station voices and creative minds has a penchant for putting on entertaining and informative sessions. If you’ve attended the conference before, you’re already aware. To those planning to catch this one, you’re in for a treat.

Keep an eye out over the next two weeks. We’ll be making additional announcements involving a few high profile talents we’ve lined up for the 2022 BSM Summit. A reminder, the event is just 104 days away, so if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do so. Half of the room is already full and seating for the conference is limited. I realize some folks may prefer to wait until the last minute to make sure the world is safe. If you’re not comfortable flying to NY for the show, we do have an option in place to enjoy the conference virtually thanks to NuVoodoo Media. For more information on tickets, click here.

That said, the in-person environment is excellent. If you haven’t attended the Summit before I think you’ll find the two days in New York City to be time well spent. This conference is not open to the general public. You must either presently work in an area of the media industry or be pursuing a degree in the broadcasting field.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we still have some sponsorship opportunities available for the show. We’re thrilled to have the support of great partners, ESPN Radio, Premiere Networks, FOX Sports Radio, Stone Voiceovers, Compass Media Networks, Point to Point Marketing, and Core Image Studio. If you’d like to be part of the event too, email JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com for additional details.

One final note, airfare is low right now. There are roundtrip flights to and from New York from many major cities for less than $200.00. We’ve also secured a low hotel rate of $109.00 per night at Hotel Edison in NYC to help companies and individuals keep costs down. The sports media industry has endured two years of difficulty due to the pandemic, preventing many from networking, learning, celebrating, and growing. The two days we spend together in the big apple won’t solve every issue facing our business, but I promise you’ll leave the show more informed, more connected, and better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Hope to see you in New York on March 2nd and 3rd.

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