Connect with us
Register for the BSM Summit Now

Barrett Blogs

Being The Brand At All Times



If you follow the sports media industry, you’re likely aware of the drama involving Britt McHenry of ESPN. To make a long story short, Britt had an incident a few weeks ago when her car was towed. As a result of the situation, she said a number of things to a clerk at Advance Towing that I’m sure she wishes she shouldn’t have. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it.

When I heard about the story it saddened me because I think Britt does excellent work for ESPN. I’ve seen these types of incidents happen before and end up crippling people’s careers. I’m not one to pile on nor play judge and jury, because I wasn’t there, and I don’t know all of the other factors that occurred off camera. However, it bothers me to see someone with talent, and a great platform, lose it over a bad decision.

slatenWhen I worked in St. Louis from 2006 to 2011 I saw this occur a number of times. I witnessed Kevin Slaten damage his reputation by getting into issues with fans, coaches and other media colleagues. He even went as far as putting pitching coach Dave Duncan on the air without his permission, a decision which cost him his job at 590 The Fan, KFNS. An example of those issues can be found here.

jackI watched Jack Clark put himself in a vulnerable spot when he accused Albert Pujols of being a steroid user despite having no proof to validate his claims. As a result of attacking Pujols’ character on the radio, Pujols’ camp threatened legal action. Shortly afterwards, CBS Sports 920 parted ways with Clark less than one week into his employment.

I also observed an incident where my own guy, D’Marco Farr, became the center of controversy at a Super Bowl party when it was captured by TMZ’s cameras. This one bothered me a great deal because to the viewer watching at home, they saw D’Marco as a mean spirited jerk who thought he could say and do whatever he wished. If you knew anything about the man, you’d know that he was a first class human being who always tried to do the right thing and treat people well. This particular episode was a set up. D’Marco’s mistake was that he took the bait.

The next day in St. Louis, local TV stations piled on and one website ran a poll question asking “Has your opinion of D’Marco Farr changed as a result of this incident“? I spoke to my boss about the situation, and filled him in on some of the facts surrounding the story (some which weren’t reported), and was then asked by the local newspaper for a comment.

dfarrI remember sharing a hotel room with D’Marco during this trip and we talked about it and he felt terrible that he lost his cool. He was determined to make up for it and learn from it. It was important to him that people in the St. Louis community knew this wasn’t who he was, and without even having to push it, he took to the airwaves the next day to apologize and address it.

I stood up for him when the incident happened because I knew that he was a good person with good values, and he was a talented guy who everyone at the radio station liked. He was great with our clients, a respected teammate and valued member of the community. I felt he would earn back the community’s trust and respect by conducting himself the way he had 99% of the time prior to that moment.

For the sharks in the water though, they wanted more blood. Could I have satisfied their appetite and thrown him out the door? Sure. But is that always the best decision to make? I didn’t think so then, and I’m glad I didn’t cave in to public pressure. If I had, it would have been the wrong move.

stonesThe last time I checked, we’re not all perfect. We make mistakes, and with social media as dominant as it is today, every single decision of ours is under a microscope. Companies react to bad publicity a lot faster than they ever have, and a great 10-15 year career can be forgotten in an instant if you’re not smart.

It doesn’t matter who threw the first punch, what someone said when you’re out in public, or if someone was antagonizing you on Twitter. If you respond poorly, it’s Media Person X of Company Y who responded. Whether that’s fair or not, that’s how it is!

If a regular person working for an insurance company acts out poorly, it doesn’t make news. But you are the news because of your public persona. With your position comes a different set of rules. You’re expected to take the high road, and recognize the danger signs when they appear before you.

good decisionOne bad decision can harm your personal brand, and your employer. If a company loses sponsors, viewers/listeners, and ultimately dollars, good luck getting them to stand by you. This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with someone, or respond to a negative comment on your social media page, but understand that the world is watching, and sometimes even recording. The material you choose to post in a public space doesn’t get deleted as fast as you think.

We may want to see the good in everyone, but some people have agendas. You’ve got to catch yourself before you do something that permanently ruins your career. An easy way to avoid these situations is to do great work and conduct yourself in a classy manner. That rarely leads to negative headlines.

britt2I don’t know ESPN’s views of Britt McHenry’s work and whether or not she’s a good teammate and person. I’ve had a few limited interactions with her and always found her to be classy. Based on that knowledge, I’m going to assume that she simply had a bad moment. Hopefully for her sake this doesn’t define her career and she learns from it.

If there’s anything to take away from these situations if you’re a broadcaster or public figure, it’s to remember that you are the brand at all times! It says so on your business card, website and social media page. Don’t lose sight of that. One poor decision on your part could be the one that defines your career and prevents you from working in the industry. Don’t make the mistake of letting that happen!

Barrett Blogs

John Skipper To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit

“In January 2021, Skipper’s plate became even more full when he reunited with Dan Le Batard to create Meadowlark Media. Since joining forces, the group has raised millions of dollars in funding, lured key talent to join the brand, and in April, Meadowlark closed a deal with DraftKings for a reported fifty million dollars over three years. Not too shabby for year #1.



Putting on a two-day industry conference comes with a fair share of challenges. Months are spent building sessions, selling sponsorships, and talking to so many people that by the time the event rolls around, all I can think about is reaching the finish line and avoiding major issues.

But then the event happens, and there are moments where I’m able to block out the noise for 30-40 minutes and just be present in conversation. It’s what I enjoy most. Being able to sit across from an industry leader who’s been successful in business, and pick their brain on the past, present and future of our industry is both personally and professionally fulfilling. Not only does it provide me with an education, but it helps everyone in attendance too. That’s my motivation for running this conference.

When we return to New York City on March 2-3, 2022, I’m thrilled to share that I’ll have a chance to do that once again with someone I’ve professionally respected and admired for a long time. It is an honor to announce that Meadowlark Media CEO John Skipper will join us for a special on stage conversation at the 2022 BSM Summit.

If you’ve worked in this industry or aspire to, then you’re likely aware of what John has accomplished. He’s seen the business from many different points of view and remains very much involved in helping shape its future. But before we discuss his present involvement, let’s revisit the past.

During his tenure with ESPN, John spent five years serving as company president where he secured a series of long-term, multiplatform agreements with key rightsholders such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, Major College Conferences, US Open Tennis, FIFA, the Masters Tournament and British Open, the College Football Playoff, and the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls. He also oversaw the evolution of several brands including The Undefeated, Grantland, five thirty eight, and espnW among others.

Prior to becoming company president, John held the position as EVP of Content, which he earned after helping create and introduce one of the most successful magazine launches of the 1990’s with ESPN The Magazine. His understanding and belief in digital helped ESPN move ESPN. com forward in 2000, adding a paid section, ESPN Insider, and delivering a revamped site approach to generate more advertising. His foresight also spurred the launch of ESPN3, a television network producing more than 4,000 live events on the web and through mobile devices. If that wasn’t enough, John also supported the creation of the Watch ESPN app, played a key role in elevating the careers of many of the industry’s top sports media stars today, and oversaw the growth of ESPN Films, ESPN Radio, and many of ESPN’s key television programs.

After exiting the worldwide leader, John signed on as the Executive Chairman of DAZN. In January 2021, Skipper’s plate became even more full when he reunited with Dan Le Batard to create Meadowlark Media. Since joining forces, the group has raised millions of dollars in funding, lured a number of key talent to become part of the brand, and established a strong presence in podcasting and on YouTube. In April, Meadowlark closed a deal with DraftKings for a reported fifty million dollars over three years. Not too shabby for year #1.

What I’ve appreciated about John is that he’s never been afraid to roll the dice and take risks. Some of his moves have worked out, others haven’t. The wins have been recognized across the industry, but so too have the losses. He’s had to lead a company thru high profile talent controversies, cord cutting challenges, understand the world of video, audio, print, digital, advertising, subscriptions, talent, and rights deals both domestic and internationally, all while keeping his finger on the pulse of the present state of the media business while turning an eye towards the future and knowing which areas the company should make significant investments in.

John has been thru all of it as a media executive, and he’s still doing it while building the Meadowlark brand. A recent story in Bloomberg captured some of his views on growing the Le Batard empire and navigating various parts of the industry. I highly recommend taking time to read it. You can do that by clicking here.

We have five and a half months until we’re inside the Anne Bernstein Theater in New York City, so who knows where the industry will shift during that time. One thing is for certain, John Skipper will be ready for whatever lands on his doorstep. I’m eager to spend time with him in New York treating industry professionals to his insights, opinions and leadership lessons. I’m confident those in attendance will gain value from hearing his perspectives on the industry.

I invite you to join us either in person or virtually for the 2022 BSM Summit. Tickets to the event can be purchased by clicking here. For information on sponsorship opportunities, email

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

2022 BSM Summit Adds Pablo Torre, Joe Fortenbaugh, Kazeem Famuyide & John Jastremski

“By the time March’s conference rolls around, we’ll have somewhere between 50-60 people announced to participate at the two day Summit.”



The announcements continue for the 2022 BSM Summit. After recently sharing the news that former ESPN Radio executive Traug Keller would join us in the big apple to accept the Jeff Smulyan Award, and previously revealing the first fourteen participants scheduled to appear, it’s time to inform you of a few key talent who will participate in sessions at March’s show.

I’m thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Pablo Torre to the 2022 BSM Summit. Pablo’s been with the worldwide leader since 2012. During that time he’s served as a senior writer for, the host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and has appeared on shows such as Around The Horn, Highly Questionable, and The Dan Le Batard Show. He also previously co-hosted High Noon with Bomani Jones. Prior to joining ESPN he spent five years writing for Sports Illustrated. Having worked with a mixture of talent from various backgrounds, I’m looking forward to having him share his insight and opinions on the value of it at the show.

Pablo isn’t the only ESPN personality joining us in New York for the conference. I’m excited to welcome back a great friend and one of the smartest sports betting analysts on television, Joe Fortenbaugh. Joe is regularly featured on ESPN’s sports betting program Daily Wager. He also appears on other ESPN programs and segments on television, radio and digital platforms. Prior to joining the network he hosted 95.7 The Game’s morning show in San Francisco, and hosted “The Sharp 600″ sports betting podcast. He’ll moderate a conversation with sports betting executives at the show.

Given that this two-day sports media conference is taking place in the heart of New York City, it’d be silly to not include someone who’s passion, energy, sound, and content embody what New York is all about. The Ringer’s John Jastremski will make his BSM Summit debut in 2022. The ‘New York, New York’ host is known to many for his years of contributions on WFAN. It’ll be fun picking JJ’s brain on the differences between performing on a traditional platform and the digital stage.

Jastremski isn’t the only one with a connection to The Ringer who will participate at our 2022 event. My next guest is someone who I’ve followed on YouTube and Twitter for years, has infectious energy and likeability, and has taken his life experiences and sports passions and turned them into opportunities with MSG Network, SNY, The Ringer, Bleacher Report, WWE, The Source and various other outlets. Kazeem Famuyide will join us to shed light on his journey and offer his perspective on the value of traditional vs. non-traditional paths.

By the time March’s conference rolls around, we’ll have somewhere between 50-60 people announced to participate at the two day event. I’ll be announcing the addition of a very special executive in mid-October, as well as a few high profile speakers and awards recipients in the weeks and months ahead. I’m appreciative of so many expressing interest in speaking at the conference, and as much as I’d like to include everyone on stage, I can’t. Keeping the Summit informative, fresh and focused on the right issues is important, and to do that, I’ve got to introduce different people, perspectives and subjects so our attendees gain value to further improve the industry.

A reminder, the 2022 BSM Summit is strictly for members of the sports media industry and college students aspiring to work in the business. It brings together people from more than thirty different media companies and focuses on issues of relevance and importance to media industry professionals. The show takes place March 2-3, 2022 in New York at the Anne Bernstein Theater on West 50th Street. Tickets and hotel rooms can be secured by visiting For those unable to attend in person, the Summit will also be available to view online. Virtual tickets can be purchased by clicking here. Hope you’ll join us!

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Traug Keller Named 2022 Recipient of the Jeff Smulyan Award

“Former SVP of ESPN Audio and President of ABC Networks Traug Keller has been chosen as our 2022 recipient of the Jeff Smulyan Award.”



Photo Credit: ESPN Images

Sometimes decisions are difficult. Other times they’re not. This was one of the easiest ones I’ve made since launching the BSM Summit in 2018.

If you haven’t attended the Summit before, one of the cool parts of the conference each year is that we take time to honor people who have left a permanent mark on the industry we love. Awards ceremonies are held both days to recognize difference makers who have made positive contributions to the sports radio business. At our 2022 BSM Summit, I am pleased to share that a great man will be celebrated for his life’s work.

It is my honor to announce that former SVP of ESPN Audio and President of ABC Networks Traug Keller has been chosen as our 2022 recipient of the Jeff Smulyan Award. Keller becomes the third industry executive to earn the honor. Kraig Kitchin and Dan Mason were the first two to be recognized at the 2019 and 2020 BSM Summit’s.

Upon learning that Traug had been selected as the next Jeff Smulyan Award winner, Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan said, “Traug Keller has left an indelible imprint on not only sports radio, but on all of broadcasting through his remarkable career. I’m proud to call him my friend, but I’m just one of the legions of people who have loved every minute of their time with him. He’s a broadcaster’s broadcaster, but more than that he’s one of the best people I’ve ever known.”

“I am humbled for sure but thrilled to be receiving an award with the name of my good friend on it, Jeff Smulyan,” added Traug Keller, now the EVP and COO of American Media. “Jeff did what all too few leaders in business do, he took risk and action against all kinds of headwinds and the rest of us in the great business of Sports Audio were the beneficiaries of it. Thanks to BSM for this great honor and I look forward to seeing a bunch of old friends in March!”

Anyone who has crossed paths with Traug over the past three decades knows how important he was to the success of ESPN Radio. He’s been a friend to many, a great partner to hundreds of radio affiliates, and a champion for talent. His support for BSM has also meant a lot.

Perhaps even more impressive was Traug’s ability to connect with his affiliates, clients and colleagues, offering steady leadership and on-air stability for ESPN Radio. No executive leaves with a perfect record, but Keller had a knack for landing on the right side of many decisions. None as impressive though as retiring from sports radio in February 2020, one month before the sports world came to a screeching halt and a global pandemic rocked the entire advertising industry. Talk about timing Traug, haha.

In all seriousness, having Traug and Jeff together on the same stage in front of the industry to give folks an opportunity to show their appreciation for their accomplishments is a real treat. So many enjoy professional success today due to bold and smart decisions made by each of these men, and I couldn’t be happier to spend time with both in New York City this March.

For tickets, hotel and additional details regarding the 2022 BSM Summit visit

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.