If you’ve ever watched the show “Shark Tank” or “The Voice“, you’ve watched people present themselves in front of the coaches or sharks, hoping to get them excited about what they do. If they perform well, multiple people on the show could be vying for their services and within a matter of seconds, they’re forced to make a decision on who they wish to partner with. If they make the right choice, it could pay huge dividends. If they choose poorly, they’re back to square one and kicking themselves for not reading the room differently.
Well it’s no different in our business. One of the toughest decisions we face is the decision to accept or reject an opportunity of employment. If you’re in a manager’s shoes, you also have to decide whether or not someone is a good or bad fit for your brand. On a personal level, people want to make a good living so they can take care of their families and they want to be surrounded by people who they respect and like working with. They want to perform for a company with a good track record and be seen as a valuable member of the organization but too often during the process, they allow personal friendships and large sums of money to cloud their decisions. They stop doing their homework on the people and companies they may work for because a few good pieces of feedback and a high salary number that meets or exceeds expectation, is enough to turn a blind eye to some potential warning signs.
Equally in danger is the employer. They’re the ones having to decide whether or not you’re worthy of leading the organization, being the face of the brand or an individual worth attaching a client’s message to. They have to be sure that an employee is a reflection of what their company represents and they’re the ones on the hook for large sums of money. They also have to endure battles and have their ducks in a row when explaining the brand’s results and personnel choices. If they don’t pan out or fail to meet expectation, they then have to address those same subjects internally and externally and figure out solutions to get things fixed.
I’ve learned over the past 9 years of programming that the process for hiring someone is much harder than anything you might imagine. I’ve hired people who walked in the door with baggage and I’ve been rewarded strongly for it and I’ve hired people who appeared to be clean as a whistle, yet ended up being dirty. That said, one thing I take pride in and consider extremely important is doing my homework on anyone I hire. I may not end up being right all the time but it won’t be for a lack of due diligence. In numerous cases I’ve spent months evaluating someone before pulling the trigger on hiring them and usually when I’ve operated that way I’ve made smart choices.
In my opinion, this is a big part of every manager’s job. Not being privy to what every building and company does, I’m not sure if every programmer, personality or radio executive values this the same. Often personalities get blinded by the lure of a bigger time slot and paycheck which feeds their ego and makes them feel more important. General Managers, Sales Managers and Corporate Executives will sometimes look at a person’s track record of ratings, market size and industry reputation and move forward with that person quickly out of fear of losing them rather than dig through the weeds to find out what that person’s background is like.
One of my favorite situations during my career took place in April 2011. I was brought into San Francisco by Entercom to discuss the PD position for what is now known as 95.7 The Game. The discussions and meetings I had been involved in up to that point had been fantastic and I was excited by the possibility of competing in market #4. I knew the company’s reputation and commitment towards doing local sports talk throughout the county was strong and I felt the offer to join them in San Francisco would be to my liking.
On Friday night, my girlfriend Stephanie and I headed to a Sharks playoff game with my former General Manager Dwight Walker and on Saturday we were given time to scout the area and make sure it was a good personal fit. I was blown away by the market and knew I wanted to live and work here for the next 4 years. I also was excited about the possibility of working for Dwight and I sensed he felt the same way about having me lead his operation.
Then on Sunday morning, Stephanie and I joined Dwight for breakfast to put the finishing touches on a deal which would bring me to San Francisco. Before we could get to the end of the process though, my girlfriend asked if she could ask a question. I was sitting there thinking “don’t screw this up for me Steph” and after Dwight gave her the nod to ask away, she asked him “why do you want to hire Jason“? It was a simple question but yet very important because it would tell me a lot about what Dwight really knew about me and the way I work.
To his credit, he responded by talking about my passion, leadership qualities, track record and values and I could tell he had done a good job of reading me. However, he wasn’t aware of how I operated on a daily basis. My girlfriend then asked “Are you prepared to receive a 6 paragraph email at 2am telling you what needs to be fixed with the radio station to make it perform better? Can you handle it when people in other departments start complaining to you because he has a vision and won’t let them get in the way of it, especially if it relates to the on-air product? What will you do when you hear him passionately getting into it with an on-air personality because he expects stronger preparation and better performance out of them“?
I sat there both stunned and impressed because she knew what my style was like and how much I put into my work and she wanted him to be sure he knew what he was getting into. To Dwight’s credit, he handled it perfectly and said “I guess I’ll have to read more, ask him to keep it down a little from time to time and I’m not interested in hiring someone who can win popularity contests, I want someone who can lead us to the top and stop at nothing to get there. If Jason comes here he will have my full support to do what we need to do to win“.
To his credit, he lived up to every part of that during our time working together! Because we both did our homework on one another and felt comfortable with what we were each getting, the radio station was built and put in a position to succeed. Anyone who worked inside those walls during the time Dwight and I worked together knew that he and I were on the same page and the expectations were to work hard, continue to grow and not stop until we were a success.
Often when people interview for a job, we react to what they did previously and it’s easy to get caught up in how good they look on paper. We’ll point to their track record and say “He was in the top 3 in market X, sold a ton of endorsements and his style is perfect for this place“. While success in other places is important, it doesn’t always mean it will translate to another market.
For example, I under performed and socially did not connect in St. Louis during my first 2 years there. I spent a ton of time feeling like a fish out of water and was counting the days until I could exit 590 The Fan KFNS and go someplace else. I walked into a situation where my employer was struggling, the morale inside the building was low and I wasn’t completely locked in the way I needed to be. It was a difficult situation for all involved. Here I was, as an East Coast guy living for the first time in the Midwest, going through a divorce and being separated from my son, and all I wanted to do was have enough success to get the heck out of here. I was emotionally drained and unsure if my east coast style was a good fit in St. Louis.
Then one of the best things and turning points of my career happened. I reached an agreement one year later to leave KFNS and spend 6 months on the sidelines clearing my head. Being unemployed for the first time in 10+ years wasn’t easy but I needed to hit the reset button and find out what I was about and what I wanted. It was also the first time in a while that I had failed at something and I had to either pick myself up off the ground and learn from it or continue blaming everyone and everything else for what transpired.
I was positive I would leave St. Louis and put it in my rear view mirror and I thought for sure I was going to go to Detroit or Houston but as luck would have it, my next opportunity would be less than 5 minutes away. When I accepted my next job working for Bonneville as the first programmer of 101 ESPN, I went into it mentally focused, appreciative of a second chance and excited about where I was living and much more confident in my abilities to perform there. I learned from the mistakes I made during my first run with KFNS and built a special culture inside the walls of 101 ESPN which continues there today. I also learned that there were a lot of good people in St. Louis who loved radio like I did and I was thrilled that I didn’t allow one bad situation to define my opinion of the market. After going thru that experience, St. Louis became very special to me and when I was faced with a decision to leave, it was really hard to say goodbye.
When I reflect back on those two experiences, there’s one valuable lesson that I learned – doing your homework is vital! When I accepted 590 The Fan’s offer I did so while knowing that my family were unhappy in Philadelphia, they felt more comfortable in St. Louis and there weren’t any other PD jobs available. I was also blown away by the company’s performance in Atlanta but I didn’t consider that just because they were performing strong in one place didn’t mean they would succeed somewhere else. Both markets were very different. I was also a big baseball fan and I loved how passionate St. Louis fans were towards the Cardinals and I figured I’d fit right in and have a chance to succeed if I could tap into that connection. Altogether it took me less than 3 weeks to complete the process going to KFNS and my lack of research on what I was getting into put me in a bad spot. That’s nobody else’s fault but my own.
On the other hand, when I went to work for Bonneville in St. Louis we spent nearly 3 months talking and going over various scenarios before the job was offered. I encouraged my former General Manager John Kijowski to do his homework on me and he did. He talked to people who knew what I was about professionally and I asked him to talk to people who weren’t fans of mine too. I wanted him to know what he was getting if he brought me in. I also did my homework on the company, John and the entire market to make sure I could create a plan that would work. There was no hesitation on either end when we reached the finish line together and by going through an exhausting hiring process, Bonneville got my very best and I benefited by working for a great company which supported, trusted and helped me.
If you’re a programmer, sales manager, corporate executive or GM, think back on some of the decisions you’ve made on talent, producers, board operators, reporters, anchors or any other member of your organization. When you’ve hired people to work for you, have you truly done your due diligence? The ratings story can be deceiving and your former co-worker may have great things to say about an individual but do you really know the ins and outs and critical pieces of information that you need to know about who you’re hiring? If a situation hasn’t worked out, why didn’t it? Did you go against your gut and ignore the signs or were you under pressure to get something completed that you rushed to judgment? If you’ve gone through a failed experiment (we all do), how have you learned from those situations and how are you more prepared now when you make hiring decisions than you were 2-3 years ago?
Too often in this industry people read press clippings and form opinions off of them and while I understand the importance of researching information based on what’s been written, there’s always more to a story than what you read. If you’re going to hire someone great who moves the needle, don’t be surprised if they produce a few unpopular opinions online when you google their name. If the job is to generate an audience and create buzz for a show, those with strong opinions who toe the line and sometimes step over it are going to be on your list of targets.
For example, I am glad that I didn’t allow a few articles and media critics to influence my decision to hire Damon Bruce in San Francisco. Most great talent have their legion of fans and critics and Damon is no exception. At times he’ll say some things that ruffle a few feathers and we’ve had a few passionate disagreements along the way but I also know him as a person off the air and how much he puts into his work. When I did my homework on him I asked numerous people for feedback and I spent months examining whether or not the fit would make sense. When I reached my decision I felt very comfortable with bringing him on to our team and without question it’s been paid dividends and benefited all involved.
I’ve also nearly hired Tony Bruno and Sean Salisbury during my career and if you google their names you’ll find an unflattering story or two but if you got to know them, what they’re about, how they work and how they perform, you wouldn’t even question whether or not they can help improve your product. All you need to do is look in Philadelphia and Houston and you’ll see them having success and being valuable members of their respective organizations.
The same can be said for other top personalities such as Scott Kaplan, Mike Missanelli, Chris Dimino, Stephen A. Smith, Dan McNeil and Sid Rosenberg. All of them possess outstanding talent and strong track records but all have a blemish or two on their resume. Some of them I know well and I wouldn’t hesitate to hire tomorrow if I had a need and they fit my market and brand, and some of them I don’t know and would need to do more homework on. That said, that’s why you go through an extensive hiring process to make sure you’ve given yourself, your company and the candidate the best chance to have a successful relationship together.
While it’s easy to shine the light on this situation from a programmer’s point of view, if you’re an on-air talent there are things you should be examining too before accepting an opportunity.
- Do you analyze how the company operates and performs in other markets?
- Do you talk to people involved with those stations to find out how they like working for the company?
- Do you talk to current or former employees who’ve worked for your potential PD to see how they feel about them?
- Do you ask advertisers what their perspective is on the company and why they do/don’t buy the product?
- Do you talk to the local teams or the networks that the radio station partners with to see how they perceive the brand?
- Have you directly asked the PD or GM what their long-term plans are with the operation?
- Have you checked into whether or not the company may be looking to sell?
That’s a lot of questions but each one is critical in helping you make a decision about whether or not to explore working for someone.
If you’re accepting an opportunity based on money and a higher profile time slot you’re setting yourself up for disappointment down the road. An employee-company relationship is a two way street and I remember my friend Pete Gianesini at ESPN Radio once telling me “you’re interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you” and that’s so true. This is your life and your career and this next move could be the catalyst to something big for you professionally or it could be the start of a downward spiral. While the best of intentions may exist today, that’s not always the case tomorrow and both sides need to know what they’re getting into. If you don’t, then it’s going to eat at you again and again if it doesn’t work out!
I stress this not only to the on-air people but to the folks on the company side as well. Whether you’re a GM, Sales Manager, Corporate Programmer or CEO, every sales person, engineer, traffic person, programmer or on-air personality hired, is a reflection of what the company stands for. These people represent you and your brand and that should matter a great deal because you earn or lose respect with every decision that’s made.
- Are you trusting your managers to hire people independently or are you talking to the candidate as well?
- Do you know why a person who’s had success or failure in their career had those experiences? Was it a result of their performance or the company’s decisions?
- Do you know which people inside your building are future leaders and why they’re capable of stepping up or are you just listening to someone who you like/dislike and allowing it to influence how you think?
- Do you talk to people inside your building to get a read on how they’re connecting with their manager or do you just assume everything is fine and rely on the manager’s feedback to impact your thoughts?
Managing is not easy and nothing puts a bulls eye on your reputation more than the decisions you make. Company’s who are generating millions of dollars are trusting their hosts, programmers, sales executives, GM’s and support staffs to create products that will help them make even more money and you need the right people to implement the plan. No company is in business to not be profitable and one wrong decision can cost you millions if you miss! If you’re going to risk a few million dollars on your next decision, don’t you want to know everything you can possibly know before you act on it?
Do you know what really stings? Having to go to sleep at night, not being able to do the job you love anymore because you skipped a few steps, made mistakes and damaged the brand you represented. Take it from someone who’s been to both ends of the spectrum, the view is much better from up top! So be smart and do your homework. Regardless of how it turns out, you’ll sleep much better at night knowing you did everything in your power to get it right.
Angiolet, Borod, Craig & Sottolano Added To 2022 BSM Summit
“If you’re planning to attend, please buy your tickets as soon as possible. We have limited room and it’s first come, first serve.”
We promised we had more great news to share regarding the 2022 BSM Summit. Just four days after revealing the addition of ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro to this year’s show, we’ve added four more heavyweights to March’s sports media industry conference.
First, it’s a pleasure to welcome for the first time, DraftKings Chief Media Officer Brian Angiolet to the BSM Summit. Brian joined DraftKings in April 2021 after two decades with Verizon where he helped the company strike a number of multi-billion dollar broadcasting, sports and entertainment content and advertising deals. Some of the key groups to do business with Verizon during Brian’s tenure included the NFL, NBA, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM. DK has been a large advertiser and supporter of the sports media industry for many years, in addition to becoming a larger content provider following the acquisition of VSiN. We look forward to having Brian join our sports betting executive panel (hosted by ESPN’s host Joe Fortenbaugh) to share his insights on how he sees sports betting groups participating now and in the future in the sports media content world.
Second, it’s an honor to add Fanatics Chief Commercial Officer Ari Borod to the sports betting executive panel for his first appearance at the BSM Summit. Ari’s fingerprints have been all over the sports betting business for years, first with FanDuel, then with the Action Network. He joined Fanatics in June 2021, reuniting with former FanDuel CEO Matt King, and in less than a year, the company became the official trading cards partner of MLB, purchased the Topps Trading Company, and applied for a sports betting license in New York. Possessing a massive customer base, deep executive knowledge of the sports betting business, and a desire to make a larger dent in the sports betting arena, we’re thrilled to have Ari lend his perspective on how Fanatics views the future of sports betting and the evolution of the sports media industry.
Next, I am thrilled to have Audacy’s EVP of Programming Jeff Sottolano appear on stage for the first time at the Summit. In his current role, Jeff is responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across all broadcast and digital platforms. Jeff has played a key role in the launch, development and growth of the BetQL Network, while also helping Audacy evolve its position as one of America’s top audio companies. Jeff will be part of one of my favorite sessions, The Power Panel, which includes SVP of Premiere Sports and EVP of iHeart Sports Don Martin, Cumulus and Westwood One SVP Bruce Gilbert, and SiriusXM SVP of Sports Programming Steve Cohen. All four men will participate in a lengthy discussion on sports talk programming and the various challenges facing brands, talent, and programmers today.
A BSM Summit can’t just feature new faces though, especially when familiar ones add valuable knowledge to important programming conversations. ESPN Radio Program Director, former colleague and longtime friend Justin Craig will join us for our Programmers Masterclass alongside a few other notable leaders. The group will examine what does and doesn’t work from a content standpoint when trying to capture ratings. They’ll also share which ingredients are essential in successful talent/shows, and provide an on-site review of a piece of audio content. Those interested in learning how great programmer’s think will want to be present for this panel.
If you haven’t purchased a ticket to the Summit but are planning to attend, please do so before seats are no longer available. We have limited room inside the theater and it’s first come, first serve. Additionally, all attendees in New York will receive an online registration to be able to watch the show on-demand afterwards. This can be helpful when looking to share insight with local staffs who aren’t able to attend.
For those not able to travel but interested in enjoying the Summit, we do have virtual tickets available. Details on tickets, speakers, and hotel rooms can be found on BSMSummit.com. I hope to see you there!
ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit
“Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.”
The largest player in the sports content business today is ESPN. From television to radio to streaming, social, podcasts, websites and more, the network remains a force in satisfying the appetites of sports fans around the globe.
But creating sustainable global success isn’t easy. It requires investing billions of dollars in key programming partnerships, holding off competitors who seek to elevate their own standing, and hiring and retaining talented professionals and providing an environment for them to thrive in. If that wasn’t difficult enough, a company must also embrace new technology, and accept that certain things will fail while pursuing a path to excellence.
The man charged with making sure ESPN thrives in each of these areas is Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, and I’m excited to share that he’ll be joining us in March in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit.
I’ll have the pleasure of spending 35 minutes on stage with Jimmy discussing the state of the sports media industry, the opportunities and challenges facing operators in 2022 and beyond, the growth of sports betting, network radio, podcasts, subscriptions, social, and many other issues. No matter what space we’re talking about, ESPN has held a dominant position among all media brands. Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.
Jimmy has been with the Walt Disney Company since 2010. He became ESPN President in 2018 and was elevated two years later to his current role as Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content. You can learn more about his professional background by clicking here.
A reminder that the 2022 BSM Summit is an industry-only event. You must work in the media business in order to attend the show. This includes sales, public relations, advertising agency professionals and agents, as well as programming folks. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet of attending the Summit, feel free to visit our YouTube page to see some clips from past shows. It’ll give you an idea of what you can expect. You can also see the full list of speakers scheduled to appear at our 2022 show by visiting BSMSummit.com. We’ll announce a few more executive additions to March’s event later this week.
For those who manage brands and have joined us before in New York, Los Angeles and/or Chicago and are planning to come but haven’t bought a ticket yet, please do so asap. Seating is limited and once we’re full, we can’t add seats inside the room. You can also take advantage of a great hotel deal ($109 per night) with our partner Hotel Edison by clicking here.
One additional note, for those who are concerned about traveling, there is an opportunity to buy a virtual ticket. This year’s show is available both online and in person. For those planning to join us in NYC, in addition to receiving your live ticket, you’ll also get an online account so you can view the event on-demand afterwards. This can be especially helpful if you wish to replay a session or use any information afterwards to help members of your team. A big thanks to our virtual partner Nuvoodoo Media for helping make it happen.
We’re just 49 days away from putting on a spectacular show for industry folks in the big apple. We hope to see you there!
BSM, BNM Ready To Grow In 2022
“We’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners.”
It’s commonplace in our business to self-reflect when a new year full of possibilities arrives. We should probably do it more often rather than reserving it for the final day of the year or the first day of the next, but in the media business, finding time isn’t always easy.
As I look back at 2021, and the obstacles, adversity, accomplishments, enlightenment, and unpredictability that awaits BSM and BNM in 2022, I’m grateful to be able to do work that many enjoy and benefit from. Since I left the programming world in 2015 not a day has passed where I thought ‘I need to get back to running a radio station‘. That may sound crazy considering I spent two decades inside of buildings, loving the job, and living and breathing it 24/7, but from the second I moved into this space, I knew it was where I needed to be.
I had my fun building brands, chasing ratings, leading corporate programming calls, and making good money, but that restricted me to working in one city for one company with one brand and one staff. Now, I get to wake up each day and help clients in multiple cities, and run my own brand, collaborating with a great group of people to tell stories about the business we love. Combine that with hosting an annual conference, working with advertising partners and industry friends to create cool content and examine ways to grow their businesses, and connecting with folks to stay plugged in on details that others won’t know about until weeks or months later, and I consider myself very lucky. The added bonus, I get to do it in running pants and t-shirts inside the comfort of my home office/studio.
But with operating a business comes a different set of challenges. In 2020, we ended the BSM Summit on a high only to watch the entire world spin out of control weeks later due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That created a bunch of short-term issues, which fortunately we were able to overcome. Fast forward to this year, and we’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners. I never assume we’re in the clear because things can change quickly, but the support we’ve received is appreciated. It fuels me to reinvest in others to continue growing our operation and helping the industry.
So let’s talk a little bit about how we’re doing that in 2022.
First, we merged Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media in May 2021 to bring news and opinion from both the sports/talk and news/talk worlds under one roof. We tried running them independently initially but that wasn’t the best strategy for a new brand. Since bringing them together, BNM’s exposure has increased, the content has been read more regularly, and though we have more to do to get the brand on par with BSM, we’re making progress. BSM had a 5+ year head start on BNM, and though I know at times it may seem weird to read a sports media and news media story on the same website or social media account, as I tell those who ask, sports and news have mixed together since the invention of television, radio and newspapers.
Boosting BNM’s awareness and content is a goal for 2022, and to do that I want to share two things we’re creating to help us make progress.
I’m excited to share that we are launching The BNM Rundown. This will be a newsletter we distribute 3x per week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) via email similar to what we’ve done with the BSM 8@8. The Rundown will go out around 5pm ET on each of those three days, and it’ll contain ten (10) news media stories, five (5) advertising slots, and the latest stock prices for radio groups. There will be additional content and advertising added in the future, and we may increase delivery to five days per week down the line. I’m happy with the layout and think you’ll enjoy it. If you’d like to receive the BNM Rundown or discuss advertising opportunities inside of it, click here to sign up. A big thanks to Ryan Jaster for all the work he’s done getting it ready for distribution.
In addition to the newsletter, 2022 will become the first year where we roll out BNM’s Top 20 of 2022. Similar to how we’ve produced the BSM Top 20, we are going to do the same for the News/Talk format. Categories will be announced at a later time, and we’re expecting to present our results towards years end. There’s a lot to be done to make it a success, but if we’re able to do for News/Talk what we’ve done for Sports/Talk during the past 6 years, I’m confident folks will appreciate it.
When I look at BNM right now, I see a number of excellent writers on the site. If you’re not reading Pete Mundo, Jerry Barmash, Douglas Pucci, Rick Schultz, McGraw Milhaven, Ryan Hedrick and Eduardo Razo, you really should. Each of those guys have been rock stars for the brand, but we need more help, especially another columnist or two. If you work in news radio or TV, love writing, and live and breathe the business, email: JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Though we do need to add columnists, a bigger hole has been a dedicated Assistant Content Editor. I’ve poured my heart and soul into BSM over the years, Demetri Ravanos has as well, and that’s helped us build a strong connection with sports radio folks. For BNM, that love, interest, and unwavering passion for telling stories about news radio and news television has been missing in the editor role. Though frustrating at times, it’s all part of building a brand. You have to go thru a few things before it all starts to click. Now after talking to a bunch of talented people over the past two months, and thinking about the brand’s need for TLC, I’m happy to announce the internal promotion of Eduardo Razo.
Since joining us Eduardo has been a steady fixture on the site, writing news, scheduling social posts, and putting an extra set of eyes on the content that comes in from our team. He cares about the site being clean, conducts himself neutrally and professionally when adding news, and he believes in the brand. If hours go by and the site doesn’t have new content, he’s the one who points it out. When Eduardo first joined us he was just learning the ropes. Over the past fifteen months he’s been consistently excellent, and I have no doubt he’ll make even more progress in his new role as BNM’s Assistant Content Editor.
Making sure Eduardo has support to help him though is also important. I’d love to be that person myself, but client projects require much of my focus, so having a strong #2 is key. I’ve been lucky to have a great one in Demetri Ravanos who I’m excited to share is being elevated to the new role of Director of Content. In his new position, Demetri will continue producing columns, creating original feature stories, and hosting a weekly podcast. He’ll also be responsible for daily social creation and scheduling, working with yours truly on client projects and Barrett Media events, recruitment of writers, growth of the BSM Member Directory, BSM merchandising, additional BSM audio projects, and oversight of BSM and BNM’s Assistant Content Editors.
That last line implies that there will be multiple editors involved in shaping BSM and BNM’s content, and with Demetri and Eduardo promoted, that means we’re adding someone to help grow BSM. I’m thrilled to welcome Ian Casselberry to our team as BSM’s new Assistant Content Editor. Ian is familiar to many in the sports media universe for his work with Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He’s also contributed to Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, SB Nation Detroit, and MLive.com among others.
I’ve read Ian’s work for years and have always appreciated his passion for sports radio and sports television. Adding someone with his experience, creativity, and attention to detail has been a huge priority for me. I’m looking forward to turning him loose on January 17th when he officially begins working with us. Under his direction, and in tandem with Demetri and I, we’re going to aim to produce more quality sports media content, and continue expanding BSM’s footprint across the industry.
As awesome as all of these moves are for creating interest in reading the site, if you don’t have someone in position to help sell it, the upside is going to be limited. For the past six years I’ve been the one making those sales myself. But I’ve also had to be a consultant, social scheduler, content creator, summit organizer-creator-host, finder of new clients, and the one in charge of billing and payroll. I love being busy, but a brand’s potential can’t be maximized without help.
Placing the company’s sales efforts in someone else’s hands though requires trust. I’ve learned the past few years that unless you’re inside my world and understand everything that goes on with BSM and BNM, it’s not an easy brand to sell. Media sellers are used to working with more assets, bigger dollars, and they expect things to move faster. They’re also used to corporate environments where a crew provides support from the beginning to the end of a sale. That’s not how it works here. This is more of a family business. Our success depends on one on one relationships, accessibility, being a self-starter, and patience. It means keeping in touch with industry friends and partners even when there isn’t a sale to be made. Nobody knows this brand, business, and who we serve better than the person who’s lived it with me for the past six and a half years, Stephanie Eads, my new Director of Strategic Partnerships.
Not only has Stephanie worked in sales and customer service most of her adult life, she’s honest, organized, and outstanding with people. She’s been exposed to every aspect of my radio life for the past sixteen years, and if you’ve been to a BSM Summit before then you already know how on the ball she is at making sure things get done. This is something we’ve talked about for years, but the timing was never right. Now it is, and I’m excited to watch her blossom. Having her add extra support to help me with billing and payroll is an added bonus.
The BSM brand will also welcome a few additional writers starting this week. First, I’m glad to have Danny O’Neil joining us as a weekly columnist. I got to know Danny in Seattle at 710 ESPN Seattle over the past six years, and he’s always been smart, passionate about media, and an exceptional writer. He’s now based in NYC and his debut column will hit the site this Friday. Also joining us in a daily news writer role is Will Dundon. Will is based in Nashville where he works as a producer for 102.5 The Game. Having him involved will help us stay on top of day to day news stories.
In terms of upcoming content, the BSM Top 20 of 2021 will be released February 7-11 and 14-15. The series moves back a week this year in accordance with a later Super Bowl date. During the seven day span we will highlight the best local sports radio stations, program directors, and morning, midday, and afternoon shows. We will also recognize the best national sports talk shows and original sports podcasts. To do that, we will once again involve more than 50 program directors and executives in the voting process.
One thing we will do differently this year is create an extra piece which recognizes the top performer in twenty smaller categories. These will be determined by a combination of BSM staff and select experts for specific fields. Some of these categories will include Best Sports Betting Content Brand, Best Wrestling Audio Show, Best Sports Radio Social Brand, and more.
After the Top 20 concludes, we’ll turn our attention to the 2022 BSM Summit, which is scheduled for March 2-3, 2022 in New York City at the Anne Bernstein Theater. The show will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. I’m excited about the guest speakers we’ve lined up for this year’s event, and have more tremendous additions to announce later this week and next week. I realize the Omicron/Covid-19 situation has created some concern over the past month, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. As of today, we’re planning to host the event. If the situation were to worsen and we couldn’t keep people safe and comfortable, we’d reschedule the show. I’m hopeful of seeing familiar faces and many of sports media’s best and brightest in sixty days. If you haven’t bought your ticket, log on to BSMSummit.com and do so before you’re on the outside looking in. In the meantime, stay tuned to this website and the BSM 8@8 for details. We should all know more January 15th when New York State updates everyone on their mask ordinance.
Other content projects are in the works as well for March-December. We’ve got a number of ideas we’ve talked about for March Madness, and the NFL Draft. Items like last year’s Meet The Market Managers or a programmer’s version of it may also land on the content calendar. Not to be forgotten is the importance of continuing to improve the BSM Member Directory to help people stay informed, ready, and land in front of the right decision makers when job openings arise. Seeing a few of our members earn gigs the last 4-5 months of 2021 was very cool, and we hope to see more of that in 2022. Last but not least, I’m hopeful of giving the website a new layout in either quarter 2 or 3.
As I bring this column to a close, I’d like to remind you that BSM and BNM exists because we love the business and advocate for it daily. Since 2015, I’ve prioritized professional storytelling, research, industry news, relationship building, social media marketing, and consulting. Inside information and building relationships are important, and sure, it’s occasionally fun being first, but I’ve never worried about clicks, scoops, cash grabs or ruining reputations to elevate my own. I try to think about the big picture, even if it means missing out in the short-term. That applies to who I work with in a consulting capacity as well as how I operate the site. There’s no better example of it than last week. Most of our crew had the week off. It was tough missing out on stories when we were taking a mental timeout, but people come first. If you want long-term productivity and a staff to stick with you, support and sacrifice are essential.
If there’s one thing I know, this outlet has been a great resource for industry professionals. I wasn’t as fortunate during my studio days to have a site this rich in content to learn from, debate with, and stay connected to. We’ve hired 20+ contributors to help serve the industry, and I’m honored to have each one of them here. The additions we’ve made to improve the brand in 2022 will make us even better. We’re not perfect by any stretch, but we try to be fair and accurate. I also try to be accessible, especially when difficult situations arise. There are going to be times when our crew deliver strong opinions or tackle sensitive issues, and when those instances occur, I hope you’ll remember what I said about accuracy and fairness. We won’t operate as shills for the industry but we’re also not going scorched earth on folks.
Our goal here is simple, help folks stay informed about the sports and news radio/television formats, overdeliver for clients who place their trust in us, connect our advertising partners and members to others who can benefit from their services, and give industry people access to content from other professionals so they can do their jobs better.
If we can do these things consistently we’ll be in great shape. If we miss along the way, we’ll clean up the mess, and try to learn from it. We’re nine months away from celebrating seven years in operation, and we couldn’t have made it this far without your full support. Thanks for riding with us, now let’s make 2022 a year to remember.
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