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Discovering New Talent

Jason Barrett

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This week I had the privilege of spending a few days in Bristol, CT at ESPN among some of the brightest minds in the sports radio industry. As usual there was a ton of conversation on ways to improve our business but one specific question jumped out to me and it’s something I have a strong passion for – discovering new talent. Everyone has their own ideas on how to find new blood and introduce tomorrow’s sports radio stars to local audiences but for me this is something that I believe is critical for every person who programs a radio station.

risksafeMore times than not when you look around the industry, stations are quick to take the safest approach possible and hire familiar names and voices to the market rather than introduce someone who requires more explanation. It makes sense most times because familiar names draw quicker reaction from local audiences and when you add advertising dollars into the conversation, it’s easier to sell something familiar than something foreign. What gets lost in that equation though is that sometimes the short-term gain is not as strong as a long-term one and usually it takes a mixture of market proven performers and new exciting personalities to give a radio station a fresh feel.

As a programmer, it’s not easy to tell your bosses, staff and listeners to wait for future success and look at the big picture. We live in a “win now” society where people focus more on the next day than they do on the next year. I remember growing up watching baseball and you’d hear about players spending 5-6 years in the minor leagues before being brought up to the major leagues. Today, once a player shows an ounce of potential, he’s rushed up to the grand stage.

In radio, it’s not much different. We seek broadcasters who can get on the air and make an immediate impact, even if that isn’t always realistic. In a world where ratings are critical to deciding how advertisers invest in your brand, it’s imperative that when you introduce new talent to the marketplace that it works. Sometimes you’ll get some time to let someone develop but usually the leash you’re provided is very short.

I’ve been fortunate twice during my career to build new stations and have a chance to develop people slowly and in each situation, we had success. Once that success is obtained though, it becomes much harder to do that because people become accustomed to success and fearful of losing it as a result of change, especially if it involves unfamiliar personalities.

scoutWhen I think about the role of a Program Director as it applies to scouting and discovering talent, I compare it to the role of a professional scout in the NFL or MLB. There are tons of roads to navigate and some will work and some won’t but you’ve got to always be looking and planning for the “what if” scenario. Part of that includes consistent evaluating of people inside the industry as well as keeping an eye on those who display potential while climbing up the ladder.

Last week the NY Times published a piece on Derek Jeter which covered how the Yankees Shortstop was discovered in 1991. I found myself thinking of the numerous scenarios that have unfolded in my own career that have led me to finding talented people and putting them on the road to have great success. Clearly they had to have the ability to get the job done but someone also had to recognize their talent, take a chance on hiring them and provide them with the tools, coaching and positive reinforcement necessary to help them.

In this piece, the scout (Dick Groch) talks about how he wasn’t even supposed to attend the camp where he discovered Jeter but yet when he watched him perform, he knew instantly that he had the tools that would translate to the highest level. In my business we call this “having an ear” or an “eye for talent“. There’s no way he could have known for sure that Derek Jeter would play 20 years in the big leagues, win 5 world titles and become a future hall of famer but his instincts told him this was a kid worth going to bat for. By doing so, the Yankees front office performed further evaluations and ultimately agreed with the reports and selected Derek when the chance to draft him was presented.

Colin Cowherd ESPN RadioWhen you think of sports radio, we don’t get an annual draft but there are plenty of Derek Jeter’s out there. One example comes immediately to mind. Scott Masteller was sharp enough to recognize Colin Cowherd’s talents in Portland and provide him with an opportunity to do local radio. Bruce Gilbert was smart enough to recognize what Scott saw and bring Colin to ESPN Radio. Obviously Colin had to be uniquely talented in order to earn those opportunities but even a great talented individual needs someone who’s willing to take a chance on him.

The problem I see sometimes in our business is that not everyone takes the time to look for new talent or take the risk of hiring someone unproven. Instead there’s a lot of people waiting for their doors to be knocked on or resumes and airchecks to show up in their emails and quite frankly, I don’t believe that you find the world’s best talent that way. Sure there will be some diamonds that come through the system that way but there are plenty of other options to exhaust as well. Unfortunately it’s much more dangerous to risk your own position on the unknown than it is to take the chance on someone who’s familiar.

If you watched the remake of the movie of “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler, there’s a scene (see video below) where Sandler goes to the basketball court to try and recruit Michael Irvin who’s seen as an intimidating guy and top notch athlete. When Sandler makes the comment “This guy must be quite the athlete huh“, Irvin responds with “You risked bringing your ass in the jungle because you know I am“. When I think of that scene, I can draw an easy parallel to sports radio because if you want to find great personalities, you’ve got to be willing to look in many different places. The great ones don’t usually apply through your company’s website, they expect you’ll find them when needs arise.

http://youtu.be/de2Rv5eijvA

I was talking with Chris “Hoss” Neupert who programs 101 ESPN in St. Louis (my former station) and this subject came up and he mentioned how former St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher Brad Thompson has done a great job adjusting to the business and has become a strong personality on his station on his afternoon show. If Chris had waited for an application, resume or demo tape from Brad, he’d never have received one. It’s not like former St. Louis Cardinals players are sending in applications on a daily basis.

bradthompsonChris recognized Brad’s ability to communicate intelligently and passionately, explored a few conversations with him, gave him a few looks filling in and observed that Brad had an ability to do this job. Once he knew Brad was ready to move on from his baseball career and pursue a second career in the sports radio industry and a change took place inside his radio station, a move was made to bring him in. He’s since been rewarded by Brad’s show (which includes Randy Karraker and D’Marco Farr) being rated #1 in the St. Louis market in afternoon drive.

Speaking for myself, I’ve gone about things the same way. My job is to constantly be looking for talented people and think of how to best utilize them on my radio station if a future situation comes up. Major market audiences might not have been treated to the radio talents of Chris Duncan, Aubrey Huff, Eric Davis, Ric Bucher, Rick Venturi, Tony Softli, Zack McCrite, Meredith Marakovits, Rob Ellis, Guy Haberman or many others had I not been looking in various places to find good talent. This is something I take a lot of pride in and actively spend time doing. While I may miss from time to time, I never stop trying.

So when it comes to finding new talent, how does one do it? Where do you go to look? Is there some magical formula available to make it work? The answer of course is no but getting the job done is possible and yet it requires exploring a variety of possibilities. Let me share a few examples of ways I’ve done it that I think can help in the future and if you’re an on-air talent or aspiring broadcaster reading this, I encourage you to pay attention to this too because you never know when that call could be coming your way.

promotionDevelop From Within – Producers, Board Ops, Interns and others inside your building are going to spend more time learning the ins and outs of your product better than anyone else. Most times, guys reach a certain level in their careers and begin thinking about the next challenge. While some aren’t cut out to be on the air, some are and for those who possess a solid voice, good knowledge and a decent idea of what goes into doing a talk show after working on your key shows for a while, they certainly deserve consideration.

For example, in Seattle at 710 ESPN, Program Director and On-Air Host Mike Salk looks for producers who have an ability to help produce shows while also sharing a passion to do on-air work. He’ll reward them with some air time in lesser important time slots and that’s helpful for people having a chance to grow.

One of my current on-air personalities Zakariah spent six months interning for me and working on his delivery, hosting and update skills inside a production room before I gave him his first shot to hit the airwaves. I saw his passion and commitment to improve and I heard progress and he earned my trust to hit the air on a weekend shift and eventually do it consistently. He’s since gone on to host nights, weekends, weekday fill-ins and afternoon updates.

Businessman looking through binocularsSearch Other Markets – My current 10a-12p host Guy Haberman was doing afternoons in Fresno, CA when I first heard him. The market was small but provided a great opportunity for him to get reps and those reps helped him develop. When I had an opening on our night show pop up, I brought him in for an audition and he did a nice job and it was an easy decision to hire him. Had I not taken the time to listen to him though on my own (and have my APD Jeremiah Crowe do so too), he’d have never been brought in for an audition. Because I believe in scouting, we found ourselves a pretty great on-air host who people enjoy listening to.

It doesn’t always have to be smaller markets either. People who live 60-120 miles away from the big city typically aspire to make it to bigger markets but so do people in other markets. Sometimes there’s a personal connection to a certain city. Sometimes they see a certain city as a great move for their career and other times they’re drawn to your location because of positive feedback they’ve heard about your brand from people they like and respect in the business. I’ve lured guys to work for me due to all three of those scenarios. Regardless, I always keep an eye out on other markets and who performs in them and I try to form my own opinions on who has the style and attributes that fit well with my market.

Additionally, I’ll give my APD Jeremiah out of market listening assignments from time to time and I’ll do some myself too. First it’s helpful because sometimes you get ideas of other cool things people are doing on-air to create good radio. Secondly it’s positive because it allows you to discover who’s extremely talented. Third, it can teach you what you don’t like about certain styles or introduce you to others on a show/station that you might not have been familiar with.

I’ll add one last thing on this for on-air talents, be focused and approach your show with passion and enthusiasm each day. You have no idea who is listening to you or when they’re listening to you and if tomorrow you discovered that your worst segment was the one heard by someone who could have made you rich and successful for the rest of your life, are you going to be able to sleep at night? Probably not. You control your presentation and consistency and you owe it to yourself to make sure you’re on at all times. It can be the difference between landing a major opportunity or being quickly forgotten.

createCreating Promotions – In San Francisco I ran a contest called “Lucky Break” and in other markets similar promotions have been created to find undiscovered talent. These things work great sometimes and other times they don’t but I’ve always said that if American Idol hadn’t existed the entire music business would be without Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson so what do you have to lose?

While those artists aren’t really my cup of tea, they’ve all sold tons of records and if they didn’t perform, the record label could have easily dropped them. Since then we’ve seen other shows become hits such as The Voice and X-Factor and they all had one thing in common, discovering new musical talent.

As it applies to the radio station, you can only benefit by doing this. You have the chance to discover a hidden gem but if that doesn’t happen, you can also cut bait with the winner quickly. It doesn’t exactly have to be done on the air either. The reward can be a one-day talk show, an update anchor shift, a podcast, a produced talk show inside a production room or something else. You’ll be amazed at how much response you get from local people who want to be part of what you do. If luck breaks your way, you’ll find a few new exciting voices to feature.

Take a second and look at how many TV shows today are doing this. Whether it’s Shark Tank, Top Chef, Dancing with the Stars, America’s Got Talent or any other similar program dominating television today, the need for great talent exists in all forms of business. If other outlets see value in looking for undiscovered talent, maybe it makes sense for you to do so too!

youtubeThe Power of YouTube – Voice talent Jim Cutler brought this up a few years ago at a Sports Radio conference I was at in Phoenix and he was dead on. First of all, YouTube allows people to get reps and develop their own following and that’s such a great advantage compared to what was available to people 10-20 years ago. If someone has passion, a unique style and an ability to speak, I’m a firm believer that it will stand out regardless of the forum.

When I was paying my dues and trying to get better at hosting talk shows, I had to work in a production room, host a weekly weekend shift or voice commercials just to get reps. The only thing you could do back then was perform play-by-play while playing a video game. Today, people have many more advantages to continue practicing and if they’re willing to put it on display for you to evaluate, why not look at it?

As an example, my current morning update anchor Anna Kagarakis on 95.7 The Game, had a number of local television videos on YouTube. When I had a need for a new anchor, I reviewed her work, watched it, liked her style and energy and reached out to chat. If I hadn’t utilized YouTube, she might not have wound up on my radio station.

An even more unlikely scenario was my discovery of Clayton Miller. I was looking for someone who does sports voices to contribute to my morning show and aside from Frank Caliendo (who’s brilliant but very busy), I knew it would be difficult to find someone who fit the bill. Thanks to YouTube, I landed on Clayton’s page and after laughing at a number of his impressions and running his work by a few of our guys, I reached out to him to discuss doing a few calls to see how things go. We’ve since used him on our morning show a bunch of times and had it not been for YouTube I would not be aware of him.

networkingNetworking – This industry has thousands of people in it and those who are good at it can recognize others who are good at it or on the right track to doing so. When I get a call, email or social media message from someone I know, respect and trust in the industry suggesting that I look at someone for possible future employment, I’ll usually follow up on it. I might not always hire the person and sometimes I may disagree with their evaluation but I will usually check into it. My belief is that a professional person is not going to risk their reputation to send me bad advice because they don’t want their own name soiled.

For those of you reading this who are pursuing opportunities, I encourage you to get to know PD’s other than when you’re pursuing them for a job. I also recommend chatting with other on-air talent, producers and anchors in the industry to pick their brains too. When you become familiar with people, it strengthens your views on them and if you’re going to move for a new job and work for certain people, I always believe it’s better to know what you’re getting into.

theboxExplore Unconventional Places – Look around the industry today and take a look at how many athletes perform on the air. I’ll bet you 90% of them didn’t apply for a job or show up at the radio station’s door requesting a few minutes with the PD. In most cases the PD paid attention to how the athlete spoke during their career and they got feedback from their own people, the athlete’s agent and gave the athlete a chance to come in, do a few shifts and see how things go.

Why do guys from the sports world matter? Because your audiences already know them and support them and if they have the ability to perform in this medium, they’re likely to command an instant audience. None of that matters though if you don’t keep an ear on them while they’re going through their careers.

Also to be considered is looking for people with unique and interesting backgrounds. For example, Joe Beningo on WFAN was a passionate caller from Saddle River, NJ who was given a chance to do a one time show on the station as a result of winning a contest. That led to him getting some formal training at Connecticut School of Broadcasting and doing a show on a small station in Elizabeth, NJ before WFAN offered him a chance to do overnights. He’s now hosting middays from 10a-1p and has been with WFAN for 20 years. If he doesn’t call the radio station, he’s never discovered.

If you look around our business today you’ll see guys like Jay Mohr who has a background in movies and comedy, Steve Gorman who plays music for the Black Crowes, Dave Dameshek who has done comedy writing and performing plus many other on-air personalities who have transitioned from other radio formats to the sports talk radio scene. Great talent can come from anywhere so whether you’re at the bar, a comedy club or listening to a radio station that doesn’t do sports, never close your mind or your ears to a different possibility.

To sum this up, we work in a business where change is frequent yet new options seem limited. To keep moving forward, we’ve got to keep hunting for great personalities because they are the number one reason why our format works. To suggest people aren’t interested in this line of work or that younger talented people aren’t out there is rubbish. They are but it requires more than waiting for the phone to ring or emails to appear in your inbox. The real question is, are you willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to find them?

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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