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Leaving California

Jason Barrett

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Many of us in this business have heard the phrase “the bigger the risk, the bigger reward“. In theory it sounds good but when push comes to shove, most people prefer a sure thing over the unknown. I don’t blame them. The unknown is scary and unpredictable.

101groupWell, anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I don’t fear taking risks. It may not always be popular or look good at first glance, but that approach has put me in position to run four radio stations in three top-20 markets over the past nine years and thanks to working with some great people it’s led to a lot of success.

Today is bittersweet for me because while I’m staying true to that approach, it’s for a very different reason. I’ve spent the last nine years making choices based on what was best for my career. Today, I’m making a decision based on what’s best for me and my family rather than worrying about how it might look or impact my career.

To the surprise of many, I’ve informed my friends and family at Entercom that I will be leaving San Francisco and my position as Program Director of 95.7 The Game at the end of my contract when it expires this June!

 

JBWHBefore the rumor mill swirls with all sorts of created controversies and half truths, let me state that this has zero to do with being unhappy with my staff or company. It has zero to do with wanting more money or power and it has zero to do with my company’s faith in me. Truth be told, I’ve loved this place from the moment I arrived in June 2011, Entercom has treated me and my family incredibly well and if they had their preference, I’d be staying here.

Saying goodbye to people who I’ve grown close to and care about is not easy but I didn’t arrive at this decision overnight. This is something I’ve contemplated for a long time and while it may catch some people off guard, I know in my heart that it’s time.

So the natural question is, why am I leaving?

DDJI wish I had some complex answer but it’s really simple. I’ve reached a point in my life where returning home to New York and being there for my son as he enters his teenage years is critical for me. My parents are also starting to slow down in their later years and I want to be there to help them as much as I can. As much as I love radio, building brands and coaching and motivating people, I love my son and family more and it’s time to put my focus on them in a much stronger way.

For some who know me, that might be hard to digest given how much passion and effort I put into this line of work. Sure I’ve balanced things pretty well over the years but I never drew up a plan to have my son and I separated by thousands of miles. I was dealt those cards and had to adjust to make it work. On the surface it may seem like I found the solution to juggle it but you haven’t seen me every other Friday morning and Sunday evening in New York when I’ve been fighting to stay awake and be available in conversation or fight back emotions as I say goodbye to my son and head to the airport to catch another flight.

JBAIRPORTFor nine years, my schedule every 2-3 weeks has consisted of flying on a plane to/from NY, renting a car and driving two hours upstate to share a bedroom with my son in my parents house for three days. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting and I can’t do it anymore.

I’ve been lucky to have great support from my son and parents and I know they’d be in my corner no matter what I decided. At some point in life, we all have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we’re ok with the decisions we’ve made and I won’t look back regretting the fact that I was absent from my son’s life during his entire childhood. These next 5 years of his life are critical and will heavily influence what type of man he becomes and I won’t miss the opportunity to help lead him down the right path as he inches closer towards chasing his own hopes and dreams one day.

jbraiderI recognize some cynical people will suggest this is corporate spin or that there’s more to the story that I’m not sharing. I can’t control other people’s thoughts and actions, only my own. I wouldn’t exit a situation without a guarantee elsewhere unless it had a bigger meaning to me and I wouldn’t be sticking around for a few more months to help with a transition if I wasn’t still wanted here.

Before I discuss my future, I’d like to thank some people who have been a huge part of this journey the past four years. Without their trust, support, respect and friendship we would not have had great success at 95.7 The Game.

JBDWFirst, my former GM Dwight Walker and Entercom’s President of Programming Pat Paxton were the ones who hired me in San Francisco. They believed in me and my vision for 95.7 The Game and supported me every step of the way. I will be forever grateful to each of them for having trust in me to shape the radio station the way I saw fit. Did I get it all right? No. But we enjoyed a lot of success and they had my back every step of the way and were great professional colleagues who I respect tremendously.

JBRISEGUYSSecondly, my entire team at 95.7 The Game has been special and afforded me four of the best years of my professional career. From our initial lineup of the Rise Guys, Chris Townsend, The Wheelhouse w/ Lund, Papa, Urban & Steinmetz & The Drive with Brandon Tierney & Eric Davis to our current crew of Flight 957, Papa & Lund, Haberman & Middlekauff, Damon Bruce and Towny & Zakariah, we’ve created great radio together and I’ve enjoyed being a part of the ride with you.

jbflightWhile I’m intense, driven and a pain in the ass at times, I hope those who’ve worked with me in San Francisco realize that my goals were to make people better and grow the radio station. If you took 2-3 things away from me and used them to improve as a broadcaster, then I’ve done my job. Numerous people have left situations in other cities and companies to be part of this and words can’t express how much it’s meant to me that you took the leap to come here.

957originalWe launched in August 2011 in 25th place with Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p. In December 2014, we were in 8th and we’ve peaked as high as 6th in June 2014. That’s great progress in a top five market in a little more than three years. And to think, this team haven’t even hit its peak yet.

957staffTo say I’m extremely proud of the progress we made as a team would be a massive understatement. I have no doubt that the person who takes the controls of this radio station next will take the product to an even higher level because it’s a building full of smart, hard working people who care about creating great radio for local listeners and the talent level is too strong to not continue doing big things. The station also has great corporate support from Entercom. As a PD that’s half the battle. Whoever earns this opportunity in the future is walking into a winning situation.

334Third, I want to thank current Entercom San Francisco GM Steve DiNardo and Entercom CEO David Field. Steve got thrown into the fire last January and had never dealt with the chaos of overseeing a sports format. Rather than come in and try to put his prints all over it and act off of emotion, he stepped back, observed, let his people do what they do best and allowed me to lead the way I was comfortable. He also maintained a great demeanor during difficult times and has done a really nice job bringing our building together. I’ve enjoyed being a part of his team.

David on the other hand has been as cool of a CEO as you can hope to work for. He’s extremely passionate about sports, believes in the format strongly, supports it by allowing you as a leader to make moves to grow the product and most importantly, he’s willing to engage in spirited discussion and allow you to disagree with him without it feeling like you’ll pay the price for not being a yes man. That kind of candor and passion is what makes working for him a thrill and it’s a big reason why Entercom is one of the best broadcast companies around. I’ve enjoyed my numerous conversations with him over the years and they’ve helped me grow as a leader.

DADDYLI’d also like to thank Dwight, Pat, Steve and David for their patience and support in allowing me to get back and forth to NY to see my son over the past four years. Not every company offers the flexibility to be out of the office every other Friday to stay active in your child’s life but Entercom afforded me that just as Bonneville St. Louis did and that speaks volumes about what they stand for as companies and people.

JBCROWEFourth, I want to thank current Assistant Program Director Jeremiah Crowe and our Imaging Director Jeff Schmidt. Crowe has endured a ton being the middle man, much of which can be very uncomfortable when dealing with a dominant presence like myself. Through it all he’s kept growing and finding ways to make us better. I have no doubt he’s ready to run his own radio station. Making a suggestion vs. the final decision is very different but you can’t show what you’re capable of unless you’re thrown into the fire. I’m rooting for him as he goes through this process.

chimpsaysAs for Jeff, it’s his twisted brain and creative genius that allowed 95.7 The Game to establish the identity we hoped to create when we launched the station. His commitment to doing killer production is what keeps the station sounding fresh and while he can be a pain in the ass like myself, and make you question your own decisions, I value that because I want honesty and conviction out of people. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing 150% and have the confidence to stand by it, defend it and sell your team on it, you’ll get trampled in a room full of alpha males. Jeff has no problem speaking his mind and challenging the status quo to help a brand strive for greatness. His imaging work is second to none.

rickscott2Fifth, I want to thank our consultant Rick Scott. Not only is he the best in the business at what he does but he’s a dear friend and someone who’s friendship, trust and respect I appreciate deeply. He was instrumental in helping me build 101 ESPN in St. Louis into a strong local and nationally recognized brand and he has done the same thing here in San Francisco helping us establish 95.7 The Game. To have the benefit of swapping ideas and getting into the weeds of some tough situations with him on a weekly basis is a big reason why 95.7 The Game has taken steps in the right direction. I’m sure he and I will remain collaborating in the future and spend countless hours continuing to talk about the sports radio format and how to make it better.

957fansLast but not least, I want to thank our listeners. Growing up as an East Coast guy I was clueless to how passionate people on the west coast were about their teams. I constantly heard how New York, Boston and Philadelphia sports fans were great and how fans on the west coast were too casual, passive and disinterested. Having lived it for 4 years now, I know that couldn’t be further from the truth.

This audience is as engaged, informed and passionate as anyone and just because they don’t scream and yell with every phone call doesn’t mean they don’t care. From seeing how people responded to our Lucky Break auditions, Gridiron Gala parties, AM/FM campaigns and sharing their views on our shows/radio station on social media, I learned that people wanted to root for us yet also express their opinions about our brand. For that I’m extremely appreciative.

JBCREWYou may not have always agreed with the decisions I’ve made and you’ll always have preferences for things that matter most to you as an individual but through it all, you rooted, supported and connected with us and that’s what makes sports radio fun. Thank you for allowing me, our staff and our radio station a chance to be part of your lives the past four years. I trust you’ll continue connecting with 95.7 The Game because there are some very talented personalities on these airwaves and they won’t stop working hard to gain your time, trust and feedback.

I could spend all day listing individuals who I’m grateful to but the list is endless and I’ll likely forget someone plus I don’t want to put readers through a column which takes three hours to finish. If I didn’t list you specifically, don’t think for a second that you didn’t play an important part in what we did here together. The past four years don’t happen without every single person making a contribution to help us build a great radio station.

NYCSo the next obvious question is “JB where are you going to work“? As of today, I know one thing, I’ll be located in New York. Professionally I have some possibilities that I’m entertaining and I have my agent Craig Fenech exploring those discussions to see what makes the best sense for my future. It remains possible that I’ll stay with Entercom in some capacity but we’ll have to see how things unfold.

When I have further details to share I’ll make everyone aware but right now this isn’t about my future, it’s about the final chapter of my time in San Francisco. All I’m thinking about right now is my upcoming six day vacation to Hawaii on Wednesday and returning to work next Tuesday to make sure 95.7 The Game is set up in strong fashion for my team and the next PD of this radio station to have future success.

JB Raiders interviewOn a personal level, I’ve not been a free agent contractually in over six years so it’s nice to be able to step back, relax and take a look at the possibilities that exist while also getting a better sense of how my peers and colleagues in this industry view my work. Rest assured, my days in the industry are not over and I haven’t lost the passion or drive to do this. I’ll just be doing it from a different address. After living in eight different towns over the past nine years, I’m excited about re-establishing my roots, having my family near me and calling someplace home for a change.

JBGURUWhile the future may appear cloudy today, I’ve never been afraid to embrace change and take chances and in doing so, it’s helped me build a very strong eighteen year career in this industry. I’ve learned that you rarely know what’s being planned inside each company and the availability of talented people often dictates whether or not other situations can be created. I was told a long time ago to always trust my gut and that approach has never let me down. It won’t this time either.

As I prepare to exit San Francisco, I want to make sure people are in good situations here just as I did when I left 101 ESPN in St. Louis a few years ago. I’ve often used the quote “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish” and I’ll be leading by example and finishing up strong.

daddylanWhile the face of station leadership may change, the success of the staff and company will only get stronger. This was my baby and I’ve helped raise it and I’m very proud of what it has become. Even long after I’m gone, a part of me will always be inside this building and I’m grateful for that. But it’s time now to give the keys to the radio station to someone else and give my own TLC to the one who deserves it most, my son.

Hey Dylan, dad is coming home!

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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