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Welcome To The 2015 Sports Radio Draft

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If you’re like myself and most other sports fans on the planet, you spent last night immersed in NFL Draft coverage. Whether you were glued to ESPN, the NFL Network, Twitter or another media outlet, the draft had your undivided attention and you couldn’t get enough of it. As the process unfolded, you found yourself playing arm chair General Manager as you second guessed a number of decisions. Then, you drifted off to fantasyland where you questioned what you would’ve done had you been given the responsibility of making selections for one of the 32 professional sports franchises.

schneiderWhen it comes to the sports talk radio industry, the role of a Program Director is similar to that of a NFL General Manager. Yes it can be fun to pick the talent that will reflect your brand’s vision but with that responsibility comes a number of different options and pressures. Before any critical decision is made, a myriad of factors must be taken into account and every stone must be unturned. Once the decision is made though, then the PD’s job is to do everything in their power to support the choice and turn it into a winning situation.

Most programmers that I know, go through a hiring process which includes asking a number of questions and talking to a wide variety of different people who can provide additional insight on a potential candidate. Questions are asked such as “Can this person generate ratings? Will they be a good teammate? Will they work with the sales team to help generate revenue? How will they interact with fans and critics? Are they coachable? What’s their work ethic like? How do they relate to the audience? Do they attend games and develop relationships? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

The PD will also analyze past performance, review how a host conducts themselves in the social space, listen to the host’s show numerous times to make sure it’s consistently great and spend time with the individual to see how they conduct themselves outside the work place. Once the process is completed, then it’s time to trust your gut and make a call, knowing that there’s a 50/50 chance of being rewarded or criticized.

decisionsWhile there are many parts of the job that a PD must focus on, nothing is more important than making good hiring decisions. Much like an NFL GM, one false step can cost your team and organization dearly if you misfire. When it comes to professional football I believe a GM and scout have one job to do when it comes to selecting talent – be right! The same rule applies to a PD when hiring talent.

The process can be extensive and at times exhausting but the more information you gather, the better your percentages are at hiring someone who will do a good job for your radio station. While nothing in life is guaranteed and anybody can be fooled, you owe it to yourself and your brand to be as thorough as you can be. Then you have to hope that the person you’ve given your trust and commitment to, returns the favor and performs favorably.

While I was watching the draft last night, I kept wondering, what if the sports talk radio format held an annual draft and every PD in the country had the chance to better their brand by selecting the best talent available. I’ve always enjoyed lists and debates so when media outlets like Radio Ink and Talkers put together their annual “Best Of The Sports Radio Format“, I’ll read them and do what everyone else in our industry does – agree with some and disagree with others. My only issue, is that I never know who’s part of the process or what the criteria is for measuring each show and personality.

spdI decided to try something fun and interesting by tracking down 32 programmers who I respect in this industry, and having them take part in the first ever sports radio draft. Using ground breaking technology (32 names in a hat) and a list of every single sports radio personality working on a local station or national network, I challenged each PD to select a personality who they found to be compelling, informative, entertaining, opinionated and someone they could win with if they had them on their airwaves.

I encouraged the group who took part in this process to avoid choosing someone based on past ratings history, revenue generated, market size, personal friendships, internal jealousies or annual salaries because if we are building a radio station and focused strictly on winning in the present and the future, then it’s all about identifying great talent who we think can make a difference. I also asked each person to identify individuals rather than shows because while some shows are strong as a whole, the best personalities in the format can adapt and thrive in any situation.

I want to thank all 32 programmers who took part in this exercise and put their names behind their selections. I also want to congratulate those on-air personalities who were thought highly enough by some of the best programming minds in the country to make our list of 32. While each programmer has a different perspective on what makes a sports radio personality great and various markets and networks operate differently than others, the process for identifying great talent and developing strong shows is very similar to what you see transpire in the NFL.

jameismarcusCurrently, there are hundreds of people delivering sports talk radio shows all across the country each day and some are very good and some need more seasoning. But just like an NFL Draft, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and selecting great talent is an inexact science. There will be can’t-miss talents who live up to the hype, others who have all the tools but can’t put it all together and hidden gems who weren’t seen as more than adequate role players yet have proven that even the brightest minds in our business miss sometimes. That’s what makes hiring people interesting, challenging, rewarding and devastating.

And on that note, it’s time to unveil the 32 selections in the 2015 Sports Radio Draft! Let the debate begin!

Order

Programmer/Station

Personality/Station

1.

Scott Masteller, WBAL-Baltimore

Colin Cowherd-ESPN Radio

2.

Don Kollins, 590 The Fan-Toronto

Boomer Esiason-WFAN

3.

Rick Scott, Rick Scott & Associates

Damon Bruce-95.7 The Game

4.

Brian Long, XTRA Sports 1360-San Diego

Dan Patrick-Fox Sports Radio

5.

Dave Shore, Detroit Sports 105.1-Detroit

Stephen A. Smith-SiriusXM

6.

Ryan Hatch, Arizona Sports 98.7FM-Phoenix

Mike Valenti-97.1 The Ticket

7.

Chris Kinard, 106.7 The Fan-Washington DC

Craig Carton-WFAN

8.

Kevin Graham, WEEI-Boston

Mike Francesa-WFAN

9.

Matt Nahigian, 97.5 The Fanatic-Philadelphia

Mike Missanelli-97.5 The Fanatic

10.

Dave Tepper, NRG Media-Omaha

Josh Innes-Sports Radio WIP

11.

Tom Parker, 105.7 The Fan-Milwaukee

Steve Czaban-ESPN 980/Yahoo Sports Radio

12.

Nate Lundy, 104.3 The Fan-Denver

Scott Van Pelt-ESPN Radio

13.

Mike Salk, 710 ESPN-Seattle

Fred Toucher-98.5 The Sports Hub

14.

Ryan Maguire, 560 WQAM-Miami

Gregg Giannotti-CBS Sports Radio

15.

Allan Davis, WGR 550-Buffalo

Nick Wright-610 KILT

16.

Brad Lane, ESPN 1500-Minneapolis

Dan Lebatard-104.3 The Ticket/ESPN Radio

17.

John Hanson, 610 Sports-Kansas City

Dan Barreiro-KFAN 100.3

18.

Dan Zampillo, ESPN 980-Washington DC

Terry Boers-670 The Score

19.

Gregg Henson, 970 ESPN-Pittsburgh

Bob Wojnowski-97.1 The Ticket

20.

Dennis Glasgow, 99.9 The Fan-Raleigh

Mitch Levy-950 KJR

21.

Jeff Austin, 1080 The Fan-Portland

Ian Fitzsimmons-ESPN 103.3

22.

Ari Temkin, 1250/94.5 ESPN-San Antonio

Bomani Jones-ESPN Radio

23.

Bob Agnew, 830 KLAA-Los Angeles

Tom Tolbert-KNBR

24.

Brad Carson, 92.9FM ESPN-Memphis

Chris Vernon-92.9 ESPN

25.

Len Weiner, 104.3 The Ticket-Miami

Jon Weiner-104.3 The Ticket/ESPN Radio

26.

Brian Lopez, ESPN 1320-Sacramento

Mike Greenberg-ESPN Radio

27.

Hoss Neupert, 101 ESPN-St. Louis

Kevin Wheeler-101 ESPN

28.

Dave Zaslowski, 97.9 ESPN-Hartford

Freddie Coleman-ESPN Radio

29.

Armen Williams, 104.5 The Team-Albany

Shan Shariff-105.3 The Fan

30.

Amanda Gifford, ESPN Radio-Bristol

Tom Waddle-ESPN 1000

31.

Jeremiah Crowe, 95.7 The Game-San Francisco

Ryan Ruocco-ESPN New York 98.7

32. Bruce Gilbert, Cumulus/Westwood One-Dallas Rich Shertenlieb-98.5 The Sports Hub

Barrett Blogs

Two Great Formats, One Kickass Supersite

“This is a strategic move aimed at making things easier for the reader, and showcasing the best of two great brands and formats on one kickass supersite.”

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It’s an exciting day for all of us at BSM and BNM, because today marks the start of something special. Yes we have an awesome new look and layout for our content, made possible by the great Andy Drake. I encourage you to sift thru a few of the different tabs at the top of the website. You’ll find popular features from our writers in the Originals section, podcasts we’ve produced over the years, the Member Directory featuring nearly forty radio professionals, access points to content from all twenty four of our writers, and shortcuts to our sports and news media sections. We’ve even built three columns to the right on the main page to make it easier to maneuver thru daily sports and news content, and the latest columns from our writing teams.

If you were reading carefully, you picked up on my use of BNM in the first sentence, and the word news in the last sentence. And if you browsed the website today, you likely noticed news and sports are now presented in the same location.

I took the risk and launched Barrett News Media eight months ago. We came out of the gate with a staff of twelve, which was twelve more than Barrett Sports Media had when it was born in September 2015. Like with most new brands, tweaks were needed, and lessons were learned. I initially wanted to put BNM and BSM under the same roof, but there were too many unknowns. For that reason, I launched the brand as a separate entity.

I had to find out if my interest in news would remain high or fade out after a few months. I had to learn if our staff would produce content consistently or leave us plugging holes regularly. I had to discover if media stories would remain hot after a heated presidential election. As important as those all were, one mattered even more – would anyone read our work?

After studying the peaks and valleys of our news brand for nearly a year, I know that people will consume our content if it’s original, interesting, and timely. But asking them to follow us in two different places is a tall order. It’s also harder to reach people in the news media space because social media activity is lighter due to a lack of trust in big tech, and some folks in the format still don’t know me.

Since launching, I’ve overseen two websites, two staffs, two email addresses, and multiple social media accounts, worrying about maintaining separation when I had no reason to worry in the first place. Newspapers have spent decades blending sports and news, online brands across the internet do the same today, and Chrissy Paradis, Pete Mundo, Rick Schultz, Douglas Pucci, Ryan Maguire, Ryan Hedrick, Eduardo Razo and Jordan Bondurant have done more than enough good work to deserve having their material presented to the most amount of people.

So now we move forward as one unit, fully dedicated to serving both the sports and news/talk formats in one location. We will continue prioritizing columns from experienced professionals, the latest industry news, and original ideas that spark interest and discussion. Our email blasts will come from one source, social media promotion will emanate from our BSM channels, and all of our website content will be housed in one spot. If visitors type in the URL for BarrettNewsMedia.com it will automatically redirect to the BSM website.

To help us manage the content cycle and strengthen our brands further, I am pleased to announce a few new additions. First, Troy Coverdale joins BNM as Editor, McGraw Milhaven as a weekly columnist, and Jordan Bondurant and Ryan Hedrick add opportunities to write feature stories multiple times per month. Meanwhile, BSM will gain the writing talents of Ryan Maguire, and semi-regular contributions from Rob Taylor and Scott Seidenberg. Kate Constable and Ricky Keeler will also get more involved writing features. I also plan to add one more news writer soon to fill Brandon Contes’ position.

The new look of the website has me fired up and excited about the possibilities ahead. A big tip of the cap to Point To Point Marketing, Core Image Studio, and the great Jim Cutler for helping us pull this off. I’m eager to increase connections with news radio and television professionals, and showcase their great work. With that in mind, if you have a news tip or story idea for either of our brands, send it by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. With the website makeover complete, I’ll now focus on the next project – the 2021 BSM Summit. I’ll have news to share one week from today, so stay tuned.

If you’re a fan of what we do for sports media coverage, have no fear. The same great content experience you’ve come to enjoy for the past six years is not affected. If news radio/television coverage interests you but didn’t know much about BNM, now you’ll be able to access the content without jumping thru extra hoops. This is a strategic move aimed at making things easier for the reader, and showcasing the best of two great brands and formats. I’m pleased with BNM’s start, but know that if we can do a few things for the brand that we’ve done for BSM, it’ll make the content experience better, the industry relationships stronger, and the work more meaningful. And that is the reason we do this in the first place.

Thank you for continuing to visit, and afford us the opportunity to inform and entertain you. We understand the media business and are passionate about it, and that’s reflected in our team’s writing. Some you may know that about. Others you may not. But having them all under one roof should make your ability to find out a whole lot easier.

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BSM’s Sports Media MVP Tournament Bracket

“The field of 64 for the BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament is now set! “

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The field of 64 for the BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament is now set!

Congratulations to ESPN’s Jeff Passan on knocking off FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal to earn the final entry in this year’s tournament. To see the full schedule of when matchups will take place, scroll down below.

A reminder, all voting for each round of the tournament will be done on Twitter thru @sportsradiopd. The people’s votes determine who advances, and who goes home. Be sure to print off your bracket, make your picks, and follow along to see how they stack up against the actual results.

As I mentioned previously, there are no layups in this tournament. Round 1 features many difficult and compelling matchups. Those who advance will have even harder matchups awaiting them in future rounds. There will likely be debate over who should’ve made the list that didn’t, and who deserved a higher or lower ranking. We expect that noise, and welcome it. But this is the bracket, we feel good about it, and whoever wins this tournament, will have gone down a long tough road to earn the voters respect, and ultimately the MVP championship.

So, let’s have some fun, and find out who is the MVP of the Sports Media industry.

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Barrett Blogs

BSM Presents ‘The Sports Media MVP Tournament’

The BSM MVP Tournament begins with a play-in game on March 16th. Tournament play gets underway on March 18th.

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A year ago at this time, Barrett Sports Media rolled out its ‘Greatest SportsCenter Anchor‘ tournament. It was a fun event that generated over 4 million social media impressions, hundreds of thousands of votes thru our numerous poll questions, big traffic on the BSM website, content on sports radio shows that were working without live events, and recognition for Scott Van Pelt who edged out Stuart Scott in the finals to be selected as SC’s best of all-time.

Given where things stood in the world at that time, the SportsCenter bracket was a fun needed distraction. Most were worried about the coronavirus and how it might hurt them or their families. Would it have an affect on their job? School? Church? The American way of life? How soon would it be until we could enjoy some sense of normalcy again?

Fortunately, here we are one year later, and though we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, things are heading in the right direction. Games are back on our television screens and radio airwaves. Teams have started welcoming fans back into buildings. Vaccine shots are being distributed to millions of Americans, and god willing, we’ll soon be past the nightmare that we lived thru in 2020, and on our way to greater prosperity.

So with sports back, and optimism higher, a bracket contest isn’t necessarily needed to add light during a dark time, but as we learned last year, fun is contagious, and there’s never a bad time to use a creative event to bring people together.

Right after we wrapped up the BSM Top 20 in February, Demetri Ravanos and I started talking about ideas for this year’s bracket contest. A conversation about difference makers in the industry and who was critical to their brands success got my wheels spinning, and as we dove in further, we quickly realized there were hundreds with a case to be made. That laid the groundwork for creating BSM’s Sports Media MVP Tournament.

Choosing 65 people to complete a 64 person tournament bracket like this is not easy. The mixture of accomplished studio hosts, debate specialists, analysts, reporters, play by play voices, radio hosts, podcasting personalities, etc. made for some exhausting email exchanges and phone conversations, but time, thought, and effort is necessary if you want to create cool things. What was especially important to us with this year’s tournament was trying to capture some of the same spirit and fun from last year, without focusing on a particular brand, show or company. Too many people in this industry make a difference for various groups and we want to highlight as many of them as possible.

But when you put 64 of the industry’s biggest difference makers against each other in a tournament style bracket, who’s truly capable of going through five tough rounds to emerge as the most valuable performer in sports media? Better yet, who has strong enough staying power to keep fans on social media invested in their advancement?

Well, we’re about to find out.

We’ll kick things off with a play in game for the final spot in the tournament on Tuesday March 16th. That play-in game will feature ESPN’s Jeff Passan vs. FOX Sports/The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Voting will be done for the play-in game and ALL tournament matchups on Twitter for a period of 24 hours. The results of the play-in game will be revealed on Wednesday morning March 17th. Whoever has more votes between Passan and Rosenthal when time expires, will gain the final spot in this year’s BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament.

The release of the full bracket will take place right after the results of the play-in game are known on Wednesday March 17th. I will though let you know which four individuals earned #1 seeds in this year’s tournament, along with the naming of each of their regions. They are Stephen A. Smith (Stay Off The Weed Region), Colin Cowherd (Backwards Hat Region), Dave Portnoy (To The Moon Region), and Tony Romo (That’s My Quarterback Region).

The official start to the tournament will begin on Thursday March 18th. Matchups will then continue each week until Monday April 5th when the final contest takes place. The results of that last battle will be announced on Tuesday morning April 6th. At that time, we will officially put a bow on this year’s tournament and crown the champion. To see the breakdown of the upcoming schedule, click here.

Before the floodgates open and complaints are made about some people getting in, others being left out, and certain folks having harder matchups than others, remember that this is supposed to be fun, everything in the sports media industry is subjective, and regardless of one’s matchup, if they’re seen as the best at what they do, they’ll move on regardless. There are very few layups in this tournament. We knew it’d be impossible to create a field of 64 without leaving some super talented people out, so if you work in the industry and didn’t make the cut, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t make your accomplishments or value to your brand any less important. It simply speaks volumes of how stacked this tournament is with successful people.

I will point out that we involved eight people in the voting process to help us determine this year’s field of 64. There were 225 sports media professionals on our initial list. That got trimmed down to 85, and eventually to 65. The play-in game will be how we get down to 64. As is the case with the NCAA Tournament, the NFL Hall of Fame, the NBA All-Star Game or MLB MVP or Cy Young award voting, there’s always a case to be made for someone who didn’t get in. But when you’re reviewing game changers from multiple areas of the industry and a number of different brands and companies, it’s impossible to please everybody.

What I hope you’ll take away from this year’s tournament as it picks up steam is that there are a lot of really talented people in the sports media industry, many with different styles and approaches to success. Earning the top spot in this bracket will take consistent voting support, respect from fans and friends both in and out of the sports media business, and a whole lot of luck.

We extend our thanks in advance to everyone who will participate in this year’s voting process, as well as to the 64 men and women who will be part of this year’s tournament. We can’t wait to share the full bracket with you next week. It’s going to be a fun few weeks, so let the madness begin!

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