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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

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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.”

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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 ESPN.com, 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 BSMSummit.com. 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!

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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.”

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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 BSMSummit.com.

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14 Participants Announced For The 2022 BSM Summit

“The industry is rapidly evolving, so as a professional, it’s vital to learn new skills, build relationships, discover what clients want in order to generate more revenue, understand audience behavior, and pick the brains of your peers to create new ideas.”

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To most people, six months is far enough away to not think much about it. But when you’re building a conference, it feels way too close to get everything done in time that’s required to execute a high caliber event.

By now you’ve likely heard that the 2022 BSM Summit is returning to New York City on March 2-3, 2022. I shared that news on July 19th, but didn’t provide many details other than the date and venue (Anne Bernstein Theater). Tickets weren’t even put on sale because I wanted to make sure a few other items were nailed down first before we started accepting payments.

Before I discuss some of those details, I want to remind folks that for the first time ever, the Summit will be available to attend both in-person and virtually. A big thanks to Nuvoodoo for partnering with us to make the Summit available online. If you’ve been to this event before, then you know the live experience is extremely valuable. That said, due to the ongoing issues in our country with Covid-19, some may prefer not to travel and watch it online instead. We’ve gone to great lengths to make this valuable for industry professionals, including pricing tickets differently on BSMSummit.com to account for the live vs. online advantages. If you’re planning to attend, you can now purchase tickets on the website.

As far as other key items are concerned, finding the right hotel partner was important. I’m pleased to share that Hotel Edison will serve as the official hotel of the 2022 BSM Summit. I know that keeping travel costs low is vital yet industry professionals also want to stay in a nice location close to the event. I think we’ve pulled that off again. Hotel Edison is only a 3-block walk to the Anne Bernstein Theater and they’ve provided an excellent rate for attendees. Rooms will go fast though, so click here to reserve your room asap to avoid missing out.

The next part of this process involved gathering sponsors. As an independent operator who focuses more on content and consulting than sales, this part isn’t always easy. I don’t have a sales team working for me nor do I have 40-hours a week to focus solely on Summit sponsors. Fortunately, I’ve built a few great partnerships over the years, so I’d like to thank ESPN Radio, Compass Media Networks, and Stone Voiceovers for offering their support once again. I know other clients will return too, but there are many other broadcasting companies and businesses with products targeted to industry professionals who haven’t been part of this event before. So here’s an opportunity to change that. Check out our Advertising page, and if you see something that appeals to your group, get in touch so we can discuss how we might be able to work together. Your support allows us to continue doing this event for the industry.

Now that we’ve taken care of the business, let’s talk about the thing that everyone cares about most, the speakers. I usually start off by announcing some of the high profile personalities who will be part of the show. This year though, I’m going to start by focusing on some of the top programming minds in the industry. It’s an honor once again to welcome Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, Premiere Radio Networks SVP of Sports Don Martin, Westwood One and Cumulus Media SVP of Sports Bruce Gilbert, SiriusXM SVP of Sports Steve Cohen, Audacy New York Market Manager Chris Oliviero, former WFAN Program Director Mark Chernoff, current WFAN Program Director Spike Eskin, 670 The Score and 1250 The Fan Program Director Mitch Rosen, and Hubbard’s Director of Digital Content Phil Mackey to the BSM Summit.

As great as it is to have those nine gentlemen part of the event, I’m equally excited to welcome a few new faces. Joining us for the first time will be Blue Wire Podcasts CEO Kevin Jones, The Volume’s Head of Content Logan Swaim, Nuvoodoo Media’s CEO Carolyn Gilbert and EVP of Research Analysis Leigh Jacobs, and WFNZ Program Director and the creator of 92.9 The Game in Atlanta and 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Terry Foxx.

If you’ve followed how we promote this event over the years, you know that I don’t share all the details at once. The credentials of these fourteen individuals are well documented, and having them involved is important to me. By the time March rolls around though, we’ll add 30-40 others with similar qualifications. I won’t tell you who else has committed to join us for the show, but there’s some serious firepower to be announced in the coming weeks and months. I’m especially excited to spend time on stage with one well respected executive during one of the Summit’s featured sessions.

What I value most about the Summit is that it brings the industry together and allows us to examine many different layers of the industry over a sixteen hour period with a lot of smart and successful people. In doing so, folks are able to return home with valuable knowledge and action steps to help themselves and their brands. This conference started with a focus on radio but has since expanded to cover podcasting, social media, sports betting, marketing, video, print, etc.. The industry is rapidly evolving, so as a professional, it’s vital to learn new skills, build relationships, discover what clients want in order to generate more revenue, understand audience behavior, and pick the brains of your peers to create new ideas. The more informed you are, the better your chances of being successful, and the education provided at the BSM Summit will absolutely help you grow as a professional.

Look for our next announcement early next week. There’s a lot to dive into in New York and I’m eager to spend time with the industry’s best and brightest, as we work on making 2022 a huge bounce back year for the sports media business.

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