Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

Barrett Blogs

Standing By Your Brand

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

I was reading Richard Deitsch’s column on Sports Illustrated when I stumbled onto something that got my juices flowing. It was a response from Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski as told to Jason Smith on Fox Sports Radio about his approach on why he puts out information on draft night before the actual announcements are made on television.

wojWojnarowski said “Nobody allows me to do it, I’m going to do it. No one is going to tell me what to do. I’m not going to ever work at a place where I could be told [otherwise]. Listen, this is what it is. When I have news, I’m going to report it. I don’t care about ESPN’s television show, I could care less about it. The draft is a ceremony; the decision to draft a player has already been made. Should I sit around a wait for teams to send out press releases when they’ve traded for a player or signed a free agent? I’d be out of work. So I just look at the draft as an extension of free agency or the trade deadline. When I have the information and it’s accurate, that’s when I’m going to report it, whether or not they’ve had their ceremony where they announce it. I can’t even imagine not reporting news when you have it or being told by somebody. I don’t know how they do in the NFL, but come on, if you have news, you report it.”

Anyone who follows Wojnarowski on Twitter knows that he is hands down one of the best reporters in the sports business and his information on the NBA dwarfs his competitors. He clearly works hard to develop relationships and trust and gather information inside NBA circles that is accurate, and he’s built up a connection with his followers where they trust him.

From where I sit, I respect his view and approach and I think we need more of it in today’s media world. What Adrian is saying and doing is right, and as a consumer of content, fans appreciate this and want more of it which is why he has over one million followers despite not having the promotional power of the ESPN machine. Adrian’s main objective is to inform his audience and because he makes serving them his number one priority, they reward him by reading, posting, commenting and promoting his work. That’s the ultimate relationship between a content generator and a consumer of content.

goodellThe reason his words stand out to me are because I’ve watched our industry make a number of giant mistakes in dealing with professional sports franchises, leagues and athletes. For example, when multiple media outlets surrendered power to the NFL on draft night to not release draft information on Twitter, that was wrong. Not only did they cut their own reporters legs out from under them, but more importantly they failed to superserve their fans. If someone doesn’t want to know what’s happening, they’ll simply not follow along on Twitter and stick to watching the television show. But if they’re on Twitter during the NFL Draft, they’re there because they want to learn more information about what’s happening.

If a television network or radio company is going to partner with a team or league to air games on its channel, one of the first things that should be understood is that the media company can not and will not compromise its integrity to break news and deliver accurate information. Issuing policies to deny reporters the ability to do their jobs or sending down mandates to prevent personalities from talking candidly about their feelings on specific subjects that might not be comfortable, only creates a bigger divide and strains the relationship. We are in the business of entertaining and informing and nothing should compromise our ability to do that.

snyderSecondly, if a media outlet is going to pay large sums of money to carry these games and give up massive amounts of inventory, shouldn’t they have the right and the ability to decide what they do inside the remainder of their own programming? When did the league or team become the program director of the rest of the media company’s programming? They didn’t but because our business is reliant on delivering ad dollars and making budgets each month, those who are battling to keep our companies profitable on the business end, often don’t want to take on the challenge of dealing with a frustrated franchise owner and risk the possibility of losing a team’s rights or bruising the relationship. While I understand the trepidation, there are sometimes where you’ve got to defend the lifeblood of your company’s existence.

Somewhere along the way, media groups began giving back too much power to those who they are supposed to be business partners with and if it doesn’t change down the road, quality talent will be lost and audiences will eventually go elsewhere where the content isn’t compromised. Think that’s rubbish? ESPN has the most powerful sports platforms on the planet yet when it comes to the NBA they get beaten by TNT on the television side and by Adrian Wojnarowski on the news breaking side. You can have the platform but if the content isn’t as strong, audiences will go elsewhere to find it.

applemusicTake for example what Apple is about to do to the music industry. It’s exciting, refreshing and based on the company’s track record, likely to be a smashing success. On Monday the company announced they wouldn’t accept traditional advertising and instead would focus on weaving sponsors in through the use of spoken word sponsorships. Think that might be keeping a few CEO’s up late tonight?

What a novel concept – hire great talent, deliver high quality programming, limit the amount of interruptions, connect the sponsors in ways that make them sound part of the brand through the use of DJ endorsements and created content, and keep the focus on serving the listener. By standing up to the advertising community and setting a tone for what will and won’t be permitted, Apple has placed a huge focus on the audience and I’m willing to bet that they’ll be rewarded for that approach in very large numbers.

Currently, Spotify has seventy five million people using their service, Pandora has eighty five million and YouTube has over one billion. Why are people flocking to these services? Because they’re content rich and focused on serving the user. They’re not forcing fifteen to twenty minutes of spots per hour on listeners and they’re putting the advertising in places where it sounds natural and does minimal damage. They’re also not letting others dictate their content offerings or company’s policies. Coincidentally they continue to grow their audiences.

woj3This is no different than why sports fans who love the NBA rely on Adrian Wojnarowski. They enjoy reading his columns because they’re packed with information and insight and they read, favorite and retweet his tweets because they get fast accurate information about their favorite players and teams and in turn that leads them to seek out more of it. They also know that they can get this quality content without it being compromised with ads or forced agendas from outside forces.

As the media world turns over the next few years it’s going to be interesting to see how media outlets respond to these increasing pressures from teams, organizations and advertisers while the audience grows even more interested in digital, mobile and social programming. A brand is only as strong as the talent it employs and the content it delivers, and fans today want exceptional content from dynamic personalities and they expect it in rapid fashion. If you’re not clicking on all cylinders consistently, then be prepared to watch your fan base decrease in the weeks, months and years ahead.

If you saw the movie “The Social Network” you may remember the scene where Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin meet with Sean Parker to discuss the future of Facebook. In the scene, Saverin talks about Facebook’s early growth and how he wants to explore taking advertising while Zuckerberg is against it. They ask Parker’s opinion of who’s right and he tells them that ads aren’t cool and based on where they are as a company, it would be a bad move. In the future when they’ve built a great product that people love and support then you can explore that option but concentrate first on the product.

Now ask yourself this, does your operation approach things this way? I’ve been in four different buildings over the past nine years and while some definitely put a stronger focus on content and appeasing the audience than others, most are focused first and foremost on advertising dollars and minimizing expenses. That’s just the way the business operates.

audience2While those problems are worrisome, there are some ways to be ahead of the curve. The first step starts with doing a brand analysis and creating a gameplan to make sure you’re doing things to create strong engagement with your audience. By doing so you develop fans, and when you gain a strong level of loyalty from your listeners, they usually stick around for a long time. Long lasting connections between a brand and its audience is critical to having sustained success. If you don’t come out of your brand analysis with the understanding that the listener is your top priority, re-do the exercise. You will not be relevant, important and profitable for the long term without them.

You can concentrate your efforts on satisfying advertisers and partnerships first and they’ll appreciate it but when audiences begin to flock to other outlets in the future, those good feelings will vanish because in the world of business, it’s about results, and advertisers want their messages heard in places where they can reach the largest amount of people for the best possible price. You can decrease rates, offer more spots, take them to games or jump through other hoops but if your audience isn’t strong and with you for the long haul, neither will be your clients or bottom line.

noThe second part that we need to do a stronger job with, is standing up to those who we partner with. There’s power in the word “No” and sometimes you’ve got to use it. Broadcast companies are spending millions on signals, licenses, operating space, employee salaries, state of the art equipment and lord knows what else so the least we can do to justify their investment is stand up and support our talent and programming decisions even when it’s not comfortable. If you’re willing to give away content time on your platforms for things that don’t appeal to the audience, it will cost you. Content options are stronger than ever and people don’t want to their time listening to things that don’t serve their needs.

I once heard Oakland Raiders play by play voice and 95.7 The Game host Greg Papa say something that really stuck with me. He said “At the end of the day, my boss isn’t Jason Barrett, our GM or even Entercom Communications – it’s the audience. If they don’t like what I’m doing it then it’s my job to change it. They’re the ones that matter“. That type of thinking is very true and vital to any organization’s success.  

no2Your local teams aren’t wrong in asking for you to give them more positive content or encouraging you to avoid talking about their competitors or criticizing them. It’s your job though to know when to say no and do what’s best for your station and most importantly, your audience. Adrian Wojnarowski has taken that approach in his career and judging by the results, it seems to be working pretty well. When you deliver high quality content and focus on serving your audience it’s impossible to lose! That’s not rocket science. It’s just good business!

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on BarrettNewsMedia.com and sports gets less crowded on BarrettSportsMedia.com. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.