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The Blurred Lines of Play By Play Partnerships

Jason Barrett



In the broadcasting business, a “flagship station is the broadcast outlet which originates a television or radio network, or a particular radio or television program. The term itself derives from the naval custom where the commanding officer of a group of naval ships would fly a distinguishing flag. In common parlance, “flagship” is now used to mean the most important or leading member of a group, hence its various uses in broadcasting.

In my world, the phrase “flagship station” is one which seems to carry an expectation that the radio station which broadcasts a local market team’s games, will spend the majority of content time talking about that particular team and do so in a positive fashion. From where I sit, that’s not only inaccurate but it goes against every core belief I have as a programmer.

yourwordSports fans expect honesty, strong opinions and content on the stories that have the greatest local appeal. Whether a station gets paid by a team or pays for its local rights, if the content has lesser appeal or if the story surrounding the team is negative, your job as a personality and programmer is to tell the truth and share how you feel about it. There’s a way to present it without being overly critical but even at times when harsh truths are required, your job as a broadcaster is to serve the audience, not the team.

Two of the biggest issues I see in the broadcasting industry today on this issue are a reflection of poor expectations set on both sides. First, its the radio stations job to inform the team prior to conducting business of how they will approach the relationship outside of game broadcasts. Your team/partner, should not be blind sided and surprised by the tactics you employ on the air to engage a local audience. They don’t have to agree with you but they should know your strategy for approaching the content.

Secondly, the team needs to understand that the station’s credibility gets damaged when truths aren’t told. Furthermore, the radio station’s obligation is to provide the team with clearance for the  game (and Pre/Post in most cases), not ownership of the content inside of talk shows. Anything discussed during shows is the station’s call, not a directive from the team.

honesty2I’ve seen a ton of these issues pop up across the country and when they do it’s extremely disappointing to me because fans today are not idiots. They know when their teams are bad, players say or do stupid things and when games are worth attending and when they’re not. To suggest otherwise is insulting to the customers who support each of our brands on a daily basis. It becomes even harder for the on-air talent when they’re doing the job they’re paid to do, only to have someone suggest they compromise who they are and how they present their opinion on the air.

I remember when I was in St. Louis, the Rams had started the Steve Spagnuolo era in Seattle with a bad loss. Richie Incognito had taken a personal foul penalty which got him thrown from the game and Josh Brown (who had prior success kicking in Seattle while with the Seahawks) missed two field goals which hurt the Rams and ultimately led them to a loss.

Following the game I spoke with our Rams broadcast crew and we agreed that the two people to talk with would be Incognito and Brown since the Rams had lost and their actions in the game had impacted the result. We got them both on the air, both were candid and excellent interviews and we felt we had served the Rams fan with the information they’d have the most interest in. Or so we thought!

phoneyellerThe next day, I received a scathing phone call from a member of the team who was livid that we’d put on Incognito and Brown. They felt the team was presented in a negative light and wanted explanation why we’d go to them under such circumstances. I explained how the result (28-0 loss) was what it was and all we could do was tell the story of how it happened.

That wasn’t what this gentleman wanted to hear. He wanted to know why we wouldn’t have put on Ron Bartell since he had 5 tackles in the game and I reiterated how our job was to tell the story of the game and focus on the most important items which led to the final result. After being berated a few more times I finally exploded and asked “Did you want us to ask Ron Bartell what it was like to be burnt for 3 Touchdowns“? Needless to say, we never agreed on the issue but moved forward.

At the end of the season, we sat down to review the good, bad and in-between and most of everything was excellent but the issue of “partnership expectations” came up and we each made our points. I told the folks I was chatting with “I won’t ever compromise the integrity or credibility of the radio station” and they asked me not to paint the team in a negative light when there were other options to consider. Once again, both sides couldn’t agree but we moved forward.

integrityThe point of this is to shed some light on how this issue impacts every sports station across America and why it’s so vital for those involved in this format to protect the brand at all times. Yes we want play by play events on our airwaves and the benefit of a strong association by working with our local teams. But you can’t compromise your talent to obtain that association. I want our business partners to feel proud of being connected to us and I want them to experience a ton of favorable moments on our shows, provided they recognize that there will be other teams discussed too and when stories warrant a negative spin, it’s our job to deliver it.

I was at the Arbitron radio conference in Annapolis, MD in December 2012 when a sports radio panel was conducted and among the panelists was Chris Olivero of CBS Radio. Chris was asked about this exact situation and he said “when making play-by-play deals, make it clear to the team that outside of the games, personalities need the freedom to take the team to task when it’s called for”. I agreed with him then and still do now and that’s the approach I believe is necessary in order to make sure your weekday content is protected.

When you carry a teams games I believe you owe them the benefit of the doubt before you crush them for something bad. That doesn’t mean though that you should refrain from expressing disappointment or embarrassment when a bad situation occurs. Obviously everyone should be pulling for the team to do well but when things don’t work out, it’s our job to tell the truth and express how we feel, not sell the narrative provided to us. I understand that the team wants to limit the damage and negativity because it makes it harder to sell tickets and advertising but there’s a simple solution to that – win games!

soulsaleOne of the other real issues when it comes to this subject isn’t even the teams issue, it’s our own internal issue. Sometimes our own people sell their souls to land a play by play deal and after they do, they can’t handle the pressure that comes from the team bitching when the talent deliver strong on-air takes. Rather than reminding them of the separation between church and state and the fact that in most cases the station is paying for the rights to air their games, people often bend and do whatever it takes to avoid hearing more complaints.

From my chair, complaints aren’t a bad thing. If a personality says something strong enough to make you remember it and reach out to call, email, tweet or text me, chances are it was really good or bad enough to be fired over. Thankfully, more times than not it’s been really good.

The other internal issue I see is that our own people are hesitant to cover topics that are uncomfortable surrounding the team that a station may be affiliated with. Giving the team the benefit of the doubt is fair and shows you’re conscious of the business relationship, but having the ability to do ones job and speak passionately and candidly about a situation should not be something we have to fight for. If a pitcher loses 12 straight starts and a host says “he’s garbage and shouldn’t be on this team“, there’s no evidence to suggest he’s wrong. Even if someone wants to disagree, that’s ok. It’s strictly an opinion and it’s our job to share it.

expectThe other touchy issue that pops up is when local teams expect more coverage time than others in the market. For example, if you listen to WFAN in New York, you’ll hear Mike Francesa during afternoon drive and he’s a proud Yankees fan. Prior to 2014 when the station landed the radio rights to the NY Yankees games, WFAN carried the NY Mets for 26 years.

Anybody who listened to Mike or Mike and the Mad Dog over the years, knew that the Mets games were on the air but the Yankees discussion was going to dominate the majority of the conversation on the afternoon show. Did the Mets like it? Probably not, but the content focus was done that way for one reason, the Yankees have a larger draw in the NY market than the Mets. If you’re playing a game of delivering ratings and trying the attract the most people possible to your business, you give them the content they seek most.

Sure they could have went full throttle with Mets coverage and maybe they could have mixed it in more but it’s hard to argue with the data in the market. I went thru the same thing in St. Louis and am doing so again here in the Bay Area. In St. Louis, the Cardinals drive the bus. You can try to program against it but the reality is, that’s what people want. You either give them a strong dose of it or they’ll find someone else who does.

raiders49ersIn the Bay Area, it’s more like the NY situation. There are 2 football teams and 2 baseball teams and the fan bases for them couldn’t be more different. The Giants and 49ers deliver the strongest amount of interest but my station carries the A’s and Raiders. Nobody wants to see the Oakland teams win more than me for selfish reasons but to ignore what 75% of the market likes would be irresponsible and stupid. Our hardcore fans for the teams we carry may not like it or agree with it but we are running a business and trying to serve the largest amount of customers possible.

I’ve told people when asked about this “if you live in an area where people love to eat steak and you open up a restaurant and don’t offer steak, expect them to eat everywhere else besides your place“. I didn’t create the local market interest or geographical dominance for the Giants and 49ers, their results and better venues did. If their business model has the most appeal to the local audience, then it’s my job to serve that brand of content to them. This article by the NY Times shows what some regions face and this becomes really challenging for stations who operate the format in these places. You can ignore the facts and do it differently but I believe in programming to the strengths of a market and I expect my hosts to do the same.

Not everyone who has worked for me has agreed with that philosophy. I have seen guys with hardcore Giants affiliations wish we’d do more Giants and I’ve seen guys with hardcore A’s passions wonder why we’re not doing 100% A’s programming. In St. Louis I had a few guys who thought we should do nothing but Rams/NFL and ignore the Cardinals and others who thought we should focus on the Cardinals exclusively and ignore the Rams altogether. They all had legitimate reasons for their views but once again, you’ve got to make a decision and stick with it and realize that you can’t please everyone.

The bottom line, you’ve got to have a blend. In a market with divided interests, serving both sides of my market is important. In St. Louis, serving the Cardinals fan was critical but so was satisfying the appetite of football fans. Yes the ratings will be higher for the SF teams and the Cardinals but I do believe that there is a responsibility to drive higher interest in the brands you’re affiliated with too. To use my current brand as an example, we’re 4 years into the development of the radio station and the interest in the A’s has grown significantly since we started, even though it still pales in comparison to the Giants. A new ballpark and continued success could eventually see that gap become smaller which is what we’re all hoping for.

People that I work with know that the term “flagship station” doesn’t sit well with me. I prefer “home of“. That tells the audience that we carry the games and are going to promote them as much as possible and you can expect us to talk plenty about the team. What it doesn’t say though is that we’re planting our flag in the ground for the team we carry and promising to deliver only the good news and ignore the bad.

I also believe in doing weekly partnership agreements with local players, coaches, general managers and executives and in most cases everything runs smoothly but there are a few times where it gets bumpy. I’ve told agents and those I do deals with “we’ll be fair, honest and give you the benefit of the doubt but if things don’t work out or the organization has a negative situation on its hands, you’ve got to understand the position of our people and respect that they’re going to ask about it“. Luckily guys like Billy Beane, Trent Baalke, Steven Jackson and Isaac Bruce have understood that over the years and it’s worked out well.

koolaidWhile this is how I see things when it comes to play by play relationships with sports radio stations, there are plenty of others who disagree and win differently. I’ve seen brands only talk positive about the teams they cover and stay away from discussing the other local teams in a market and if that’s the way you prefer to go, more power to you. There’s clearly more than one way to skin the cat.

I firmly believe that honesty, strong opinions and a balance of discussion on local market teams is important and sports radio brands can’t just be spitting the message of what they’ve been told to deliver. It’s easier when you’re wearing the shoes of ESPN and can remind the NBA you spend 1.4 billion per year for the right to carry games and be honest but whether a brand spends 1.4 billion or 1 dollar, honesty and delivering the truth in a passionate way, is something that should never be for sale.

Your job is to play the hits that matter to the audience and speak honestly about how you feel about them. Audiences will respect and appreciate you for that and you’ll see it reflected in your ratings. Anyone who asks you to compromise your core beliefs and ignore the best interests of your listeners, is not thinking about you or your brand, only themselves. No amount of money or affiliation is worth that exchange.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Names Dave Greene Chief Media Officer, Adds Perry Simon, And Reveals 2024 Plans

“I’ve spent most of the past 8 years reinvesting in content, staff, events, etc. and with Dave Greene on board, I’m confident we’ll take bigger steps in the right direction.”

Jason Barrett



Apologies in advance for the length of this column. Today is both exciting and important for yours truly. I’ve spent months analyzing every part of our business, interviewing candidates, and I’m anxious to share with our partners and readers what’s on the horizon for BSM and BNM as we get ready to enter 2024 and look ahead to 2025.

When I wrote my eight year anniversary column in September, I alluded to 2023 being a tough year. Business wise we’ve been strong but managing staff, content, and workload has been harder. Just yesterday I had to deal with a writer bolting without notice. It’s a pain in the ass. Creating and installing a content plan is easy, but if the algorithms change and your team isn’t passionate about the work or in the right roles, growth stalls. You either make changes or accept not being able to reach your goals. For me, the latter is not an option. I’m far too driven, invested and excited by what I do to accept the status quo. I expect us to grow, work hard, make a difference, and enjoy it. If it means having to rattle a few cages to get to where we need to be, then that’s what I’ll do.

The hardest part of 2023 has been knowing we had to move through the present to get to the future. I’ve had to be more protective of my time this year, saving it for clients, partners, staff, Summit planning, content analysis, creating advertising packages, and meeting with potential partners, attending business functions, recruiting staff, and taking a greater role in day-to-day content management. I’ve missed out on calls with friends who wanted to chat about the business, and reduced my writing and podcast involvement because it was necessary. BSM and BNM are both healthy, and as others vacated the space or slowed down, we’ve ramped up and continue to invest in strengthening our coverage.

Before I get into the specifics of what lies ahead, I want to recognize Garrett Searight, Alex Reynolds, Andy Drake, and Stephanie Eads for helping to keep the brand on track during the past few months. I also want to thank all of our writers for continuing to create great content. After the BNM Summit concluded in Nashville, there was so much to do and not enough time. Though it forced many of us to take on more than we wanted to, we got through it, and grew our traffic and impact. That’s a credit to our team, and the trust we’ve built with our audience.

Having set the table now, let me share what’s on the horizon, what’s ending, and where we’re hoping to go in 2024.

Chief Media Officer: I’ve gone through a long, extensive process to identify the right leader to help us grow Barrett Media. The conversations started in May and ran through November, and I had a chance to meet a lot of smart, talented people, and learn a lot about the way our brands are viewed by professional candidates. To everyone I had a chance to interact with along the way, thank you for the interest. It was a pleasure connecting with all of you.

But in the end, there was only one job to offer, and I’m excited to announce that we found exactly what we were looking for. It is my great pleasure to introduce Dave Greene as Barrett Media’s new Chief Media Officer.

The experience Dave brings with him to this position is extensive. He’s been an integral part of building the Podcast Heat Network alongside talented pro wrestling podcaster Conrad Thompson. The company has created, distributed, and monetized podcasts featuring star talents such as Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett and others. Before joining the Podcast Heat Network with Conrad, Dave spent two decades in the radio business, working as a VP/GM, GSM, PD, Owner, and and On-Air talent. He has worked for Audacy, Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media, and Flinn Broadcasting. Among the sports and news brands he’s had the pleasure of helping include KMOX and 590 The Fan in St. Louis, 610 Sports in Kansas City, The Ump and WVNN in Huntsville, and KHMO in Quincy. He’s also served as co-owner and publisher of St. Louis Sports magazine, and was one of our first weekly columnists when we started adding writers in 2017.

When I made the decision to add someone to help me manage the content and grow the company, I knew I’d be looking for a unicorn. I initially sought an Executive Editor but as this process moved along, I realized I needed a leader who provided more than just writing and broadcasting skills. They needed to be adept at content and sales, have a passion and ability to write, connected across the industry, experienced in event creation, and equally as important, they had to know our brands and see growth potential in our business the way that I do.

I took my time with this hire because it was too important to make a rushed or bad choice. Since launching BSM in 2015 and BNM in 2020, I’ve seen other comparable media outlets earn seven to eight figure valuations. We’re not at that level and may never be but I believe we’re on the right track to larger success. Though I have zero interest in selling BSM and BNM, and plan on running this company for 15 more years, it only makes sense to make our brands the best they can be, and elevate our value with each passing year. I’ve spent most of the past eight years reinvesting in content, staff, events, etc. and with Dave on board, I’m confident we’ll take bigger steps in the right direction.

Dave’s immediate focus will be to learn the staff, manage the day-to-day workflow, find and write news stories, add a weekly column, contribute on special projects, and execute our editorial calendar. Additionally he’ll work with Stephanie to improve our sales operation, and collaborate with me on new ways to grow events, traffic, newsletters, and audience data. After previously competing against each other in St. Louis, I’m looking forward to being on the side and working together to maximize the full potential of Barrett Media.

Internal Promotions: In addition to strengthening our team with Dave’s addition, I am equally excited to announce three internal promotions. First, I’m thrilled to elevate Alex Reynolds to the role of Digital Director of Barrett Media. Alex has served as our social media coordinator since August 2022, playing a key role in executing our social media strategy. Moving forward, he will continue overseeing our social media plan, while getting further involved in affiliate marketing, website/content partnerships, newsletter creation, podcast/video production, data analysis, and audience growth strategies for our social channels and newsletters. He will also write a brand new original series, ‘Social Studies‘, which debuts in January on BSM.

The second internal promotion I’m pleased to share involves Derek Futterman. Derek is being officially promoted to the role of Sports Media Reporter. Since joining BSM in May 2021, Derek has learned a ton as a Contributing Editor and News Writer. He started by occasionally writing stories, got further involved with daily news, and in the past few months, has taken on the challenge of writing features on executives and broadcasters. He’s covered industry events, the BSM Summit, established relationships, and continues to grow. I’m eager to help him take another step by having him produce three features per week, contribute to special projects, involving him as our backstage interviewer at the BSM Summit, and having him contribute to daily news, while additionally managing BSM’s Jobs section.

The final internal promotion involves Garrett Searight. Garrett joined us in August 2022 as an Editor, and worked his tail off but learned quickly, this is different from working inside of a radio station. Over the past few months he’s raised his game, and I’m pleased to promote him to Managing Editor of BNM starting January 1st. Garrett will report to myself and our Chief Media Officer while writing daily news, and two weekly features for BNM. He’ll also become the point person for our BNM columnists and features writers. We’ve seen BNM make major strides over the past year despite not having a dedicated leader. I can only imagine how much better the brand will be with Garrett fully focused on it. One thing that isn’t changing, he’ll continue to write his weekly sports media column for BSM, and manage BNM’s Jobs section.

Website Redesigns: You’ve likely noticed that BSM and BNM look different today. We have modified both websites to make it easier to find content. Our main pages are often filled with news stories, making it hard to find things. These new layouts allow us to feature six stories in the main sections, and nine in each of the key lower sections, sports/news radio, sports/news TV, and sports digital/media business. The site will also display better on mobile, and we’ve added a sports betting bar on BSM, conference calendars to the lower right of articles on both sites, and we’ve retained the media stock ticker on BNM. All are available for sponsorship. We’re also turning on the comments to allow readers to chime in on our stories.

BSM Writers: To help us elevate BSM in 2024, we’re adding a few new writers, adjusting roles of a few of our contributors, and saying goodbye to a few of our teammates.

Starting with the additions, I’m excited to welcome Moses Massena as a weekly columnist. Moses is a sports television veteran, who spent 14 years at MLB Network, working as a researcher, segment producer, and producer, winning 7 Sports Emmys for his contributions to “MLB Tonight”. He has also worked a producer at MSG Network, and served as a researcher for FOX & ESPN. His professional television career began with SNY from 2007-2009. 

Next, I’m pleased to welcome Jeff Kotuby to BSM as a daily sports television writer. Jeff has written content for many broadcasting and pop culture sites, including The Streamable, eBaum’s World, Twin Galaxies, and more. He has already begun diving in on BSM, and I’m looking forward to our readers becoming more familiar with his contributions in the future.

Moving to the internal adjustments, starting in January, Jordan Bondurant will take on a more defined role writing news stories each night on sports digital matters. Garrett Searight will add local and national sports radio content until Dave has a handle on the daily content, and Peter Schwartz and Demetri Ravanos will continue writing weekly features and helping with original projects. Peter will also add a new monthly feature, ‘Where Are They Now?’, which will run the last week of each month starting in January.

Though most of the news is good, we do have to unfortunately share some bad. Brian Noe and Ricky Keeler will be leaving us at the end of December. Both have been with BSM for a long time and have done a great job for us. In Brian’s case, he was one of the first writers to join BSM in August 2017. We wish both of them well, and appreciate all of the contributions they’ve made to our coverage along the way.

I am still looking to add another weekly sports media columnist to BSM. The ideal candidate will have industry experience, a track record of success, and a passion to write about the business. If you or someone you know fits the bill, send a resume and writing sample to [email protected].

BNM Writers: BSM has earned a strong reputation in sports media circles, and we’re determined to make sure BNM is highly regarded as well. To help us continue making progress, we’re excited to announce a few additions. First, please join me in welcoming Perry Michael Simon to BNM as a weekly columnist. Perry’s column will be published every Thursday on the site starting on December 7th.

Perry served as VP and Editor/News-Talk-Sports/Podcast for after previously working as a Program Director and Operations Manager for KLSX and KLYY in Los Angeles and New Jersey 101.5 in Trenton. His contributions to All Access were excellent, and his knowledge of the industry, and his willingness to challenge it helped many broadcasters learn, adjust, defend, and grow to appreciate his point of view. After a well deserved break following the shutdown of All Access, Perry is refreshed, refocused, and ready to offer his smart, snarky, and strong opinions on the media business. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for our readers.

In addition, BNM is pleased to announce the arrival of Krystina Alarcon Carroll. Krystina joins us in a hybrid role, writing two weekly features and adding a weekly column. She freelances currently for WPIX in New York and previously worked on live, streamed, and syndicated TV programs at NY1, Fox News Digital, Law & Crime Network, and Newsmax. We’re excited to add her to our team, and you can read her first story today on BNM.

As our readers recently learned, we’ve unfortunately had to say goodbye to Jim Avila. Jim did an excellent job for BNM but a great television opportunity came his way, and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward. Ryan Hedrick has also exited. I’m accepting resumes and writing samples from industry pros who have a passion to write daily news TV stories and weekly features. If interested, click here. We have more evaluations to make in the next month to make sure we’re built for success entering 2024. One thing for certain, we are going to keep building BNM and make sure news/talk media professionals have a daily destination to visit and enjoy reading about their format and business.

Two New Newsletters: Another exciting addition coming in 2024 will be the introduction of two new daily newsletters, the BSM Press Pass, and the BNM Wrap Up. We will distribute both starting on January 2nd. The BSM Press Pass will be delivered daily at 5pm ET. The BNM Wrap Up will go out at 6pm ET. We’ll have a different look and approach for both, which I think media folks will enjoy and find useful at the end of the work day.

With the arrival of the Press Pass and Wrap Up, we will continue sending out the BSM 8@8 at 8am ET. The BNM Rundown though will move to an earlier time, going out each morning at 9am ET. The same look, structure and valuable content will be available in both. If you haven’t signed up for BSM’s newsletters, go here. If you wish to receive BNM’s newsletters, go here.

Editorial Calendar: When BSM was born, I wrote and created a lot of features and original stories. From 5 Podcasts in 5 Days to the Sports Radio Draft, the Greatest SportsCenter Anchor Tournament, and a full-day spent with Mad Dog Sports Radio, creative pieces performed well for us. But as day-to-day news grew and our staff expanded, we got away from some of that. We’ve still done things like Meet The Podcasters and Countdown to Coverage, and they too have been well received, so in 2024, we’re going to put more focus on original projects on both BSM and BNM. We have an editorial calendar ready for 2024, and will begin reviewing plans on Tuesday during a zoom call with some of our staff. We’ve got some great things planned for BSM and BNM, so keep an eye out for it.

Member Directory: Since April 2020, we’ve featured the BSM Member Directory to help industry professionals and aspiring broadcasters display their work to PDs, agents, executives, etc.. All members receive jobs listings by email a few times per month, get featured in the BSM 8@8 newsletter, are promoted in content when they have career news to share, and our annual subscribers get a 20% discount on BSM Summit tickets. Memberships are $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year. For 2024, we’re going to explore new ways to deliver more value and grow our member base. Dave, Alex and I will be brainstorming ideas this month in hopes of introducing new benefits to existing and future members during Q1.

Jobs Listings: We’re often asked to post Jobs for companies due to our ability to reach the right people. Knowing how hard it is to find good help, and having used LinkedIn, Indeed and other sites myself, I know it’s not cheap. Other trades charge a few hundred dollars per month to promote openings, and starting today, we’re going to do the same except we’re keeping costs low. For $99 per month companies can now promote open positions through our websites. If you click on the Jobs tab on BSM or BNM, you’ll see the latest listings. If you use the dropdown menu and select ‘Place An Ad on BSM/BNM‘ it allows you to submit an ad and get it posted on the site within 24-hours. I’m hoping it’s helpful.

Ratings Reports: I know the ratings matter to PDs, hosts, and executives. Yet many get upset with the ups and downs of measurement. Maybe it’s not perfect, but this is your report card, and whenever we highlight the industry, it benefits broadcasters, advertisers and listeners. We’re going to write quarterly ratings reports next year for both sports and news/talk radio. We will not do monthlies. All I ask is that we receive the PPM Data reports for each quarter so we can be fair and accurate to all. We write these reports to showcase the strength of two valuable formats, and to recognize all who contributed to each brand’s success. Nielsen is still the king when it comes to measurement, and our stations don’t benefit if they don’t promote their wins to the rest of the business world. My thanks to Harker Bos Group for supporting these stories. I look forward to digging into the data to highlight those who are making an impact in 2024.

JB Column and Podcast: I acknowledged earlier that writing columns and hosting podcasts became harder in 2023. That said, I realize I have a voice that matters. Starting in January, I will begin writing a weekly column on BSM. I will also be bringing back The Jason Barrett Podcast for 26 episodes next year. Half of those episodes will focus on sports media. The other half will explore the news/talk space. We will also video the shows and make them available through the Barrett Media YouTube page. If I was going to do the podcast, I wanted to add a new layer to it. I think this will help us do that and I look forward to hosting it in April 2024. It’s possible that we’ll add other podcasts and video shows in the future, but for now, we’re going to take it one show at a time.

Return of Guest Columns: BSM and BNM have featured guest columns before from Craig Carton, Erick Erickson, Dan Zampillo, Mo Egger, and Bo Thompson just to name a few. I’d like see more media people use our platforms to highlight issues or causes that are important to them. Whether you’re an owner, executive, PD, salesperson, media buyer, host, agent, imager, producer, podcaster or social media director, if you have knowledge to share, and interest in writing a one-time guest piece for BSM or BNM, email [email protected].

BNM Top 20/BSM Top 20: Our two biggest traffic drivers of the year, the BSM Top 20 and the BNM Top 20 will continue to serve the sports and news/talk radio industries. A huge thanks to Steve Stone Voiceovers for signing on as the exclusive sponsor of the BSM Top 20, and JJ Surma Voiceovers for coming on board as the exclusive partner of the BNM Top 20. The BNM Top 20 of 2023 drops December 11-15 and December 18. Voting for industry executives expires later today. The BSM Top 20 of 2023 will be released February 5-9 and February 12. Voting for that series will start in late December, early January. We’re also looking at a few additional projects to recognize the best in the industry. More to come on that in 2024.

BSM/BNM Summits: The BSM Summit returns to NYC on March 13-14, 2024. We’ll be live at the Ailey Theater both days, and have announced 16 top speakers so far and have more still to come. You can purchase tickets to the show here. For those in the news/talk world, we’re going to host our second BNM Summit in September 2024. We’ve chosen the host city and venue and hope to announce our plans after wrapping up this year’s BNM Top 20. Running our next show two months before the election is going to be excited. Stay tuned!


For eight years, we’ve grown traffic, influence, events, consulting clients, and our writing team by following a simple philosophy, focus on serving the right audience, not the largest. When you commit to quality over quantity and refuse to chase clicks at the expense of relationships, you land in a much better spot. We are where we are today because of our consulting clients, advertising partners, and earned trust and respect with our readers and industry professionals.

That said, while we have proven our value to top talent, executives, agents, and media buyers, some marketing folks have been harder to reach. Stephanie Eads and I have attended many zoom calls and in-person meetings to share our story, and we’ve created packages large and small to accommodate all budgets. I’m hoping that as we enter 2024, those who have been slow to respond or who have stuck to doing the same things repeatedly, take a chance to discover why BSM or BNM should be part of their media mix.

In closing, I am ecstatic about adding Dave Greene to help us grow BSM and BNM. We have a lot of work ahead of us but I’m confident progress will be made. I appreciate everyone who visits our websites, receives our newsletters, attends our Summits, follows and shares our content on social media, and let’s others know about of our existence. Most importantly, I’m grateful to our consulting clients and advertising partners who give us the support we need to be able to continue doing this. We can’t raise the bar without you, and I’m fortunate to be in this position serving an industry I love, respect, believe in, and root for.

Here’s to Barrett Media’s future. 2024 is going to be awesome, and I’m glad to have you along for the ride!

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Nick Wright, Danny Parkins, Andrew Fillipponi and Omar Raja Join The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Jason Barrett



The buildup to the 2024 BSM Summit continues with our next speakers announcement. Media professionals looking to attend March’s show can secure seats at We’ve already announced Jeff Smulyan, Mark Chernoff, Don Martin, Bruce Gilbert, Scott Sutherland, Chris Oliviero, Scott Shapiro, Spike Eskin, Mitch Rosen, Paul Mason, Bonnie Bernstein and Damon Amendolara will be part of the event. We’ll have additional big names to reveal in the weeks and months ahead too so stay tuned for more.

Before I get into the latest group of speakers, I want to pass along some Barrett Media news.

First, when you log on to BSM and BNM on Monday December 4th, you’ll notice both sites operating with a new, cleaner look. We pump out a lot of daily content on our websites but finding all of it can be intimidating. We’re hoping the modifications make it easier to find and digest our content and look forward to your feedback on what we roll out next week.

Secondly, I’ve spent months going through a process to identify an Executive Editor for Barrett Media. The type of leader I’ve been looking for different from what exists at some online publications. I’ve spoken to a lot of smart, talented people during this process, many who I know could make us better. However, there is only one job available. Fortunately after going through an extensive search, I’ve identified someone who I’m interested in teaming with to help take Barrett Media to the next level. I hope to announce that hire and the addition of a number of new writers next week. I think our readers, partners and clients will like what’s on the horizon.

Third, we have opened up voting on the Barrett News Media Top 20 of 2023. The deadline to cast votes for News/Talk PD’s is next Monday December 4th. We will present the News/Talk radio format’s collective feedback December 11-15 and December 18 on

There’s other stuff on the way as well, but I’ll save the rest for next week. Let’s dive now into the latest additions to the Summit.

It is my pleasure to announce the additions of Nick Wright of FS1, Danny Parkins of 670 The Score in Chicago, Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, and Omar Raja of ESPN to the 2024 BSM Summit speaker lineup. All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Starting with Omar Raja, the work he did building House of Highlights into a powerhouse social brand is well documented. He now serves as a commentator for ESPN’s digital and social content, which includes being the leading voice behind ESPN’s SportsCenter Instagram account, and providing strategic social programming across ESPN’s social platforms. It’s not every day industry professionals gain an opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s top social media minds, so I’m hoping to see a lot of folks present when he shares his wisdom at the Summit.

Shifting from digital to on-air talent, one session I know many will be present for will include three personalities who have been highly successful in each of their careers, and share a lifelong bond through the friendships they formed while attending Syracuse University together. Nick Wright, Andrew Fillipponi, and Danny Parkins are three of the best in the business today, and all three will be on stage together to discuss their individual paths, their differing approaches to content creation, measuring and managing success, and much more. Having Damon Amendolara, another Syracuse graduate who’s been highly successful on the air, guide the session should make it even more interesting and entertaining for all in the room.

With these latest four individuals added to the lineup we’ve now secured sixteen top speakers for March’s show. I’m hoping to reveal the next group of participants in a few weeks. Once we get past the holidays I’ll start revealing the awards winners and a few executives who will be part of the conference.

I want to thank Steve Stone Voiceovers, Good Karma Brands, Bonneville International, Silver Tribe Media, Premiere Networks and the Motor Racing Network for returning as sponsors of the 2024 BSM Summit. If your group would like to explore a sponsorship opportunity for the show or review website or newsletter options for 2024, email Stephanie Eads at [email protected] to receive a copy of our advertising decks.

That’s the latest for now. More to come in December.

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Barrett Blogs

6 Speakers Added To The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

“Two of these individuals have built successful careers as on-air talent. Four remain involved in management and programming roles.”

Jason Barrett



Each year the BSM Summit welcomes a star studded group of high-profile talent, accomplished executives, top programmers, and successful digital leaders to examine the top issues facing the sports media business. The information provided arms each attendee with actionable ideas and solutions to improve their brands, shows, and individual performance, and our 2024 event in New York City promises to deliver more of what the industry has come to expect.

If you missed the initial announcement, we’re excited to be joined once again by Spike Eskin, Don Martin, Scott Shapiro, Mitch Rosen, Jeff Smulyan, and Mark Chernoff. Each of these men have enjoyed great success in the sports radio industry, and we appreciate them making time to join us and offer their insights at the Ailey Theater in NYC on March 13-14, 2024.

Today though it’s time to reveal the next group of speakers who will be part of our show. Two of these individuals have built successful careers as on-air talent. Four remain involved in management and programming roles for Audacy, Cumulus, and Bonneville International.

Starting with the on-air talent, I’m looking forward to having SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio morning host Damon Amendolara, and Emmy Award-winning American sports journalist and media executive Bonnie Bernstein join us for the 2024 BSM Summit. D.A. was part of our 2020 show in the concrete jungle. For Bonnie, this is her first time appearing. Specific sessions highlighting their involvement will be announced closer to the event.

On the executive side, I’m thrilled to welcome back Cumulus Media and Westwood One SVP of Sports Bruce Gilbert, Bonneville International EVP Scott Sutherland, and Audacy New York VP and Market Manager Chris Oliviero. I’m equally excited to have 104.5 The Zone Program Director Paul Mason make his first appearance at the conference. The collective knowledge, success, and relationships these men enjoy across our industry speaks volumes of why they’re trusted to lead and grow their respective brands and companies. It’s important for folks in the room to learn the business, not just the world of content, and I’m grateful to Chris, Scott, Bruce and Paul for helping us further educate the room.

We have a lot more lined up that we’ll announce in the weeks and months ahead. As has been our strategy throughout the years, we like to build the show and increase excitement for it. If you work in the media industry and wish to attend, tickets can be purchased by visiting On the conference website you’ll also find details about our hotel partner, M Social. Make sure to visit the Hotel page and book your reservation asap to avoid being left without a room later on. Our room block expires in mid-February.

Additionally, for those looking to be a part of the Summit as a marketing partner, please reach out to Stephanie Eads at [email protected]. We’ve already had a number of sponsorships for the event get scooped up, and the demand for show involvement is usually high. Before they all go away, check with Stephanie to see what’s available.

Expect another announcement prior to Thanksgiving. This is going to be another action packed event, and I look forward to once again seeing everyone as we bring the industry together to explore solutions to move the business forward.

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