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Seeing The Bigger Picture

Jason Barrett

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I’m losing a producer this week at 95.7 The Game….and I’m happy about it. You’re immediately thinking “they must have screwed up” or “what the heck is he doing throwing that employee under a bus and running him over“. Actually far from it on both accounts.

kyleI’m excited to lose the individual (Kyle Englehart) because he’s done a good job for us and earned the right to take the next step in his career. He’ll be leaving us to join my good friend Brian Long in San Diego where he’ll become the Executive Producer for Fox Sports XTRA 1360. I see Kyle’s career growth as a reward for the time I invested in him the past two and a half years and it makes me proud because it says that someone else who I respect and trust has the same opinion of his ability to make a bigger difference.

When the situation came about and I was asked if it would be ok to talk to Kyle I didn’t hesitate to say yes because I’m a firm believer in helping people take steps in this industry. It would be different if the move was lateral or backwards or if he was in an on-air position but he’s been working his way up the ladder, doing a great job and trying to find out what he’s capable of. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t looking out for his best interests and pushing him to take on bigger challenges.

I bring that situation to light because I want to pose a question to you. If someone on your team/show had a similar opportunity tomorrow and it meant your own situation would be effected, would you do what’s best for them?

diseaseofmeI’d like to believe the answer is yes but we both know that’s not always the case. Too often people focus on their own agendas and success and the last thing they want to endure is that scary six letter word – change! Now I do recognize that there are plenty of people who will root for their colleagues to succeed but there’s a big difference between rooting for them to succeed because it benefits you/the station and rooting for them to succeed because it benefits them.

Ironically what some lose sight of is that an individual’s success and departure for a bigger opportunity, paints a picture even more positively of your show and radio station because it tells others in our business that it’s the type of environment where they can learn, grow and win. That’s never bad for business.

Many people enter this industry in their early to mid twenties, not sure of themselves and wondering what goes on inside of a radio station. To most, this is a cool job and to be paid to talk about sports and go to games for free sounds very appealing especially when you’re young and unsure of what awaits you down the line. Most don’t know the difference early on between a producer and Executive Producer or a Reporter and Anchor and let’s face it, dollars are not high so thinking of the job as a potential career can be difficult. That is of course until you discover your passion for it and find out what you’re capable of.

happyOne of the things I’m most proud of during my career is having had the chance to work with many talented people who have gone on to build bigger careers for themselves. Some of them include Chris “Hoss” Neupert (101 ESPN-St. Louis), Ben Boyd (KMOX-St. Louis), John Semar (CBS Sports 920-St. Louis), Amanda Gifford (ESPN Radio), Joe DeCamara (97.5 The Fanatic-Philadelphia) and Jeremiah Crowe (95.7 The Game). The most recent one to join the list is my previously mentioned producer Kyle Englehart.

I list those people because they’ve gone on to become a Program Director, Assistant Program Director or Executive Producer. While each possesses great passion, talent and intelligence for what we do in this industry and have earned the recognition and opportunities they now have, I’d like to think I’ve rubbed off on them along the way and played a small part in helping them take a step forward in their careers.

When I see people who I’ve worked closely with advance to bigger positions in our business it makes me extremely proud because it says that the hard work we’ve put in together has paid off. I feel equally the same about some of the great talent I’ve had the pleasure to coach, develop and challenge along the way in multiple markets. If we get into that list though I may never finish this column and chances are I’ll leave someone out.

As I examine the sports radio industry today, I can’t help but have tremendous respect for programmers like Bruce Gilbert and Scott Masteller and personalities such as Dan Patrick and Mike and Mike. Not only are they good at their own jobs but they help others create bigger situations for others too.

dp4In Dan Patrick’s case, myself, Owen Murphy (KFWB PD-Los Angeles), Rob Dibble (97.9 ESPN-Hartford), Sean Salisbury (Yahoo Sports Radio), Darren Smith (Mighty 1090-San Diego) and many others have benefitted from working with him. His current cast (The Danettes – Todd, Paul, Patrick and Andrew) have been given the ability to escape from the shadows and build their own identities and there’s no doubt that his influence and impact on people has rubbed off. Keep in mind, I’m only talking about the radio side of things. That list grows even higher if you add television into the equation.

In the case of Mike and Mike, I know that Justin Craig (ESPN NY-PD), Pete Gianesini (ESPN Radio PD) and Scott Shapiro (ESPN Radio PD) have all gone from producing the show to becoming very good managers. While they had the ability to earn those spots, I’m sure many of their skills were made stronger by working with Greeny and Golic on a regular basis.

For Scott Masteller, he played a strong role in delivering Colin Cowherd to Bruce Gilbert at ESPN Radio. He also helped Dave Shore (ESPN Los Angeles Operations MGR/On-Air Host), John Lund (95.7 The Game-San Francisco Talent and Former ESPN Dallas PD) and Amanda Gifford (ESPN Radio PD) land bigger career opportunities in addition to helping numerous talents advance their careers on the local and network levels.

Last but not least is Bruce Gilbert who not only helped me develop but also played a role in many other people’s career advancement. Larry Gifford (Former ESPN Radio PD), Dennis Glasgow (Former ESPN 980 PD-Washington DC), Justin Craig (ESPN NY-PD and former ESPN Chicago-PD) and Chadd Scott (1010XL Jacksonville-APD) are just some of the people who have landed bigger opportunities and had the benefit of learning from Bruce. He was also responsible for hiring Colin Cowherd, Doug Gottlieb, Erik Kuselias and Freddie Coleman at ESPN Radio and putting the network’s focus strongly behind Mike and Mike which  sent them on their way to becoming a major brand in our industry.

treeIf you look at professional sports the role of an NFL Head Coach is very similar to what programmers do. Our jobs are to coach our people and help them realize their full potential. The path to reach that destination is where the fun and pain is discovered and you can’t avoid it if you want to make a lasting impact.

I look at coaches like Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Bill Walsh and Marty Schottenheimer and truly appreciate them not only for their win-loss records but for their impact on their people. When you look at how many Assistants became Head Coaches who learned from those strong leaders, the list is rather impressive. In each of their cases, they prepared their people for future success and when opportunity came knocking, they sent them on their way to realize their dreams while finding others to fill their voids.

In my opinion, that’s one of the changed responsibilities for a PD today. It’s not just about coaching shows, delivering ratings and putting out fires inside your building. It’s also about developing the future leaders and stars of our format.

torchA former boss Scott Carlin once said to me “Who are you developing today that will replace you tomorrow“? When he uttered that question I was very confused because I was a small-market PM drive host who was being asked to add PD duties and this was what I was being asked as I was accepting the position. I responded by letting him know I didn’t understand and how he summarized things made perfect sense. He told me that the mark of a great leader is what you leave behind and when others take notice of your work and you leave us for greener pastures, who will be next in line to add to what you’ve built?

Instantly I knew that it was not only my job to run the station and host a good show but to also make sure I grew my staff and prepared them for future success. I still remember that line to this day and I approach my position with that belief. My current APD Jeremiah Crowe has been trained to become a PD and he will be one in the future. To know I’ve prepared him for the challenge is fulfilling and he knows, when that day comes, it’s his job to have someone ready to occupy his chair and make sure we don’t lose ground. If he hasn’t done that then he’s missed his opportunity to leave his own imprint.

I’ll end on this note. You can be remembered in this business for many things. For me, I try to focus on making people better, helping them advance their careers and delivering ratings for my employer. It’s up to you to decide how you want to use your influence to benefit your peers and carve your place in the industry. Choose wisely.

 

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Jeff Catlin, John Mamola, Gordy Rush & Maggie Clifton Join The 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

Jason Barrett

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We’re less than two months away from the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles. This year’s conference takes place on March 21-22, 2023 at the Founders Room inside of the Galen Center at USC. Many industry professionals are set to attend but sports media folks tend to be a last minute crowd whether it’s buying a ticket, reserving a room or committing to be a sponsor. Yes, tickets, rooms, and a select few sponsorships are still available, but the longer you wait, the more you risk not being in the room, featured as a partner, and paying higher prices for travel. To make sure you have a seat and a place to stay, log on to BSMSummit.com. For sponsorship inquiries, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

I am really excited about this year’s Summit. The venue is tremendous, the agenda is coming together nicely, and there’s no doubt we’ll have great weather when we gather in LA. Some have asked me why I don’t reveal the full schedule of sessions months in advance, and it’s because I believe in swinging for the fences and trying to do big things. To do that, you’ve got to be willing to invest time and explore every opportunity that can be impactful. It’d be much easier to fill the schedule and be done with everything but if it’s going to take a little longer to deliver the best speakers, discussions and experiences for all in the room, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Those involved in the creation of this conference know that I set a very high standard for it. We’ve run some great events over the years, and it’s because we put everything we have into making sure each session is valuable to a different segment of the industry. My goal each year is to present an action packed agenda that helps people learn, gain access to information to improve themselves and/or their brands, and create a few connections and memorable moments to justify it being worth a few days away out of the office or studio. If we can do that, it makes the sacrifices worthwhile. If we can’t execute at a high level, then I’d probably pass on doing it.

Before I tell you about the four people we’re adding to our speaker lineup, I do want to remind you that we recently announced a contest for California college students. We’re giving away ten (10) FREE tickets to the show courtesy of Steve Kamer Voiceovers. If you know a student in California please let them know about this. If they’re not in California but want to attend the event, we’ve created a special college rate to make it affordable for young people. Everything is listed on BSMSummit.com.

Now, for the new additions to the lineup.

I’m excited to welcome Jeff Catlin of The Ticket in Dallas to the Summit. This will be Jeff’s first Summit visit, and I appreciate him making time to share his programming wisdom with the rest of the room. Jeff will be part of a programming panel that kicks off day #2. That panel will include Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Raj Sharan of Denver’s Sports Station 104.3 The Fan, and our next addition, John Mamola of WDAE. John has been at all of our events dating back to our first test event in Chicago. I’m looking forward to giving him an opportunity to offer his programming insights alongside this talented group.

Also joining the Summit lineup is Maggie Clifton, Blue Wire’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. Maggie has played a vital role in growing Blue Wire’s revenue, and I’m looking forward to having her join Barstool Sports’ SVP, Head of Sales Matt Berger, and Magellan AI’s Chief Revenue Officer John Goforth on a panel that focuses on digital monetization.

Guiding that conversation will be Guaranty Media’s Gordy Rush. The Baton Rouge Vice President and General Manager who doubles as LSU’s sideline reporter on football broadcasts is well versed in monetizing content, and understanding the opportunities and challenges broadcasters face. I’m confident those in the room charged with maximizing digital revenue for their brands will gain great value from these four professionals.

There’s much more in the works that I’m looking forward to announcing in the coming weeks. Whether you own a company, manage a cluster as a GM, lead a sales team, host or produce a podcast or radio/TV show, buy advertising, oversee a brand’s social media strategy or program a network or local outlet, there’s something for every sports media professional at the BSM Summit. I invite you to come see for yourself. To do so, visit BSMSummit.com.

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Jimmy Powers to Receive The Mark Chernoff Award at the 2023 BSM Summit

“Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award.”

Jason Barrett

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As a former programmer turned consultant, I pay more attention than most to those who lead brands, manage talent, and create consistent success. When you look across the country at the hundreds of stations delivering sports radio content, and analyze who operates at a high level, there’s maybe ten to twenty who are changing the game, and others who are rising and hoping to become a bigger part of the conversation.

What makes this annual award special in addition to having Mark Chernoff’s name on it, is that it’s voted on by eighteen industry heavyweights. These are folks tasked with overseeing radio companies, major networks, and having exceptional track records of broadcasting success. So when they vote and an individual earns an honor, it means a little more.

If you’re in the business and follow sports radio, then you’re aware of Mark Chernoff’s accomplishments as a program director. He was one of the true architects and consistent winners, and his ability to excel as a sports radio manager has influenced and shaped many careers. Mark graciously agreed to be part of our awards ceremony a few years ago when I approached him with the idea in New York City. I’m thrilled to share that although he doesn’t attend many industry conferences on the west coast, he will be with us at the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles for the ceremony.

Which brings me to this year’s winner.

It is my honor to congratulate the leader of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Jimmy Powers. Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award. He follows Rick Radzik of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, and Mitch Rosen of 670 The Score in Chicago. Jimmy will be in attendance at the Summit to pick up the award, and will take part in a program director panel at the show. Further details on that to be shared next week.

“It’s such a great honor not only to be mentioned in the same breath with Mark Chernoff, but to receive the ‘Mark Chernoff Award’ is really, really cool” shared 97.1 The Ticket Program Director Jimmy Powers. “With so many great program directors across the country who are deserving of this award, I truly appreciate the recognition.”

Since late 2009, Powers has led the Detroit sports radio station to unmatched local success. Brought in to build upon what was created by the late great Tom Bigby, he’s helped The Ticket become one of the format’s best examples of success. The station has consistently dominated the Male 25-54 demo, while also becoming a ratings force with Persons 12+ and Adults 25-54.

“Jimmy has done an amazing job over the years running 97.1 the Ticket,” said legendary sports radio programmer Mark Chernoff. “He knows how to work with talent, and maintain balance while managing relationships with the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons, which is not an easy job. The ratings remain high, and the Ticket continues to be one of America’s top sports stations, which reflects the great work Jimmy has done as the station’s program director.”

In addition to delivering double digit shares, quarterly ratings wins, and presenting a star studded lineup and Michigan’s top sports franchises, The Ticket has taken home plenty of hardware too. The station has won the Marconi award for best sports station in 2016 and 2022. And now, they can add the 2023 Mark Chernoff Award to their trophy case.

“2022 was another big year for The Ticket, and many in Detroit deserve credit for the brand’s consistent success, but none more so than their exceptional brand leader, Jimmy Powers,” added BSM President Jason Barrett. “Jimmy has been a staple of consistency, guiding one of the crown jewels of sports radio, managing top personalities, important play by play partnerships, and helping the brand generate large revenues. I’m thrilled that our industry voters took notice of the fantastic work Jimmy has done and look forward to celebrating his career and accomplishments in Los Angeles this March.”

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California College Students Earn Chance to Win 10 Free Tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit Thanks to Steve Kamer Voiceovers

“In order to win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event.”

Jason Barrett

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With a new year comes renewed energy and optimism for the sports media business. Yours truly is looking forward to showcasing the best our business has to offer when we gather the industry in Los Angeles, CA at the 2023 BSM Summit at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California on March 21-22, 2023. Our conference is returning to the west coast for the first time since 2019. We’ve announced some super talented speakers. We’ve got additional things in the works and I plan to make additional announcements in the next few weeks.

People often ask me what the biggest challenge is putting this event together. My answer is always the same, it’s getting people to leave the comfort of their office and spend two days in a room together learning and discussing ways to grow the business. We have great sponsorship support and exceptional people on stage and are fortunate to have a lot of folks already set to attend. Our venue this year has extra space though, so I’m hoping a few more of you make time to join us. If you haven’t bought a ticket or reserved your hotel room, visit BSMSummit.com to make sure you’re all set.

If there’s one thing our industry could get better at it’s opening our minds to new ideas and information. There’s more than one path to success. Just because you’re in good shape today doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow. Building brands, growing audiences, increasing revenue, and examining new opportunities is an ongoing process. There are many shifts along the way. We may not solve every business challenge during our two-days together but you’ll leave the room more connected and informed than when you entered it.

Each year I’ll get two or three emails from folks sharing that they learned more about the industry in two-days at the Summit than they have in ___ years inside of their building. That’s truly gratifying and what I strive to achieve when I put this event together. I remember when conferences like this didn’t exist for format folks and I take the risk and invest the time and resources to create it because I love the sports media industry and believe I can help it thrive. I see great value in gathering professionals to share ideas, information, and meet others who can help them grow their business, and if we do our part, I’m confident some will want to work with us too. That’s how we benefit over the long haul.

But as much as I focus on serving the professional crowd, I also think we have a responsibility to educate young people who are interested, passionate, and taking steps to be a part of our business in the future. The BSM website is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and it’s become a valuable resource for folks who enjoy sports radio and television. I think it’s vital to use our platform, influence and two-day event to connect generations and I’m happy to announce that we will once again welcome college students at this year’s Summit.

Most of us who’ve been in this line of work for two or three decades learned the business without podcasts, YouTube, social media, the web or conferences delivering two full days of sessions that taught you more about the business than what’s available inside of a class room. We learned by doing, and hoping we were right. Then we copied others who had success. Some of that still exists, and that’s not a bad thing. But where our business goes in the future is going to be drastically different.

I’d like to see the difference makers in our format remembered for years to come, and practices that have stood the test of time remain valued down the line. Change is inevitable in every business and I’m excited about the road that lies ahead especially some of the technological advancements that are now available or will soon become a bigger part of our industry. I think we can embrace the future while enjoying the present and celebrating the past. The best way to do that is by bringing together everyone who is and is hoping to be a part of the sports media universe.

So here’s two things we’re doing to make sure future broadcasters have an opportunity to learn with us.

First, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Steve Kamer Voiceovers. Thanks to Steve’s generosity, TEN (10) college students will be given FREE tickets to attend the 2023 BSM Summit in March. Steve is a USC graduate (Class of 1985) and he bought the ten tickets to help young people learn about the industry, save money and make valuable connections. When I first received his order, I thought he hit the wrong button. I reached out to tell him a mistake was made and I needed to refund him. That’s when he told me what he wanted to do for students who were pursuing their broadcasting dreams just as we both did years ago. A very classy gesture on his part.

As it pertains to the contest, here’s how it’s going to work.

To win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event. Included in your email should be a list of steps that you’ve taken or are pursuing to explore opportunities in the media industry. If you want to pass along a resume and audio or video clips too to showcase your work and experience, that’s fine as well. BSM will accept submissions until February 17th. The winners will be announced on Friday February 24th.

Helping me select the winners will be an exceptional panel of media executives. Each of these folks below will choose one person to attend our L.A. event. The final two will be picked by Steve Kamer and myself.

  • Scott Shapiro – Senior Vice President, FOX Sports Radio
  • Justin Craig – Senior Program Director, ESPN Radio
  • Jeff Sottolano – Executive Vice President, Programming, Audacy
  • Bruce Gilbert – Senior Vice President of Sports, Cumulus Media & Westwood One
  • Amanda Gifford – Vice President, Content Strategy & Audio, ESPN
  • Jacob Ullman – Senior Vice President, Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports
  • Greg Strassell – Senior Vice President, Programming, Hubbard Radio
  • Scott Sutherland – Executive Vice President, Bonneville International

To qualify for the BSM Summit College Contest, students must be enrolled in college in the state of California, pursuing a degree that involves course work either in radio, television, print or the digital business. Those attending local trade schools with a focus on broadcasting are also welcome to participate. You must be able to take care of your own transportation and/or lodging.

This is a contest I enjoy running. We’ve had great participation during our prior two shows in New York City but haven’t done it before on the west coast. I’m hoping it’s helpful to California students and look forward to hearing from many of them during the next month.

For students who live out of state and wish to attend or those enrolled at local universities who enter the contest but aren’t lucky enough to win one of the ten free tickets from Steve Kamer Voiceovers, we are introducing a special two-day college ticket for just $124.99. You must provide proof that you’re currently in school to take advantage of the offer. This ticket gives you access to all of our sessions inside the Founders Club. College tickets will be limited to forty (40) seats so take advantage of the opportunity before it expires.

The 2023 BSM Summit will feature award ceremonies with Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan and legendary WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, sessions with influential on-air talent such as Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, and Mina Kimes, big picture business conversations with executives from groups such as Audacy, iHeart, Bonneville, Good Karma Brands, Barstool, The Volume, Omaha Productions and more. For details on tickets and hotel rooms visit BSMsummit.com.

I look forward to seeing you in March in Los Angeles!

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