One of the best things to happen to me during my career was something that I initially rejected, and felt was a major step backwards.
In 2002, I was hosting afternoons and programming 1340/1390 ESPN Radio in Poughkeepsie, NY. I spent a few years prior working for a smaller local station (WTBQ), so this was my first entry into working for a corporate group, and having an opportunity to test myself on a bigger station with a bigger audience against larger expectations.
Everything was going great, and I felt I was making inroads in my career, when all of a sudden, the bottom fell out.
I was called into the upstairs office, and informed by my GM (Chuck Benfer) that our new owners had made a decision to flip my sports station to Spanish. Chuck and I had a great relationship and he wanted to keep me around, so he asked if I would consider moving over to the rock station 101.5 WPDH, where I’d serve as Producer of the Morning Show “Wakin Up with Coop and Mikey“. I’d also host a weekly wrestling show on Sunday evenings, which allowed me to maintain my on-air chops.
In that moment, I had to choose between staying in the business, and doing something outside of my comfort zone, or declining the opportunity, and pursuing other jobs in sports radio while being unemployed. Having a family to feed, I chose the paycheck, and to this day, I am extremely glad I did.
At the time, this was foreign territory for me, and while I loved Howard Stern, I wasn’t a big fan of morning shows on music stations. A lot of the entertainment felt forced and hokey to me, and I worried that I’d be involved in a similar situation. Waking up at 3am also didn’t have a lot of appeal, but getting a 2 second cameo on the first season of “American Chopper” made up for it (sort of).
I often reflect on the 2 years I spent working outside of sports radio as a huge positive, because it taught me a lot about being able to entertain an audience in a short period of time. It also pushed me creatively to think about things differently, and take chances with content that I might not have otherwise considered.
When you’re hosting a sports talk show, you do a lot of reading, and you beat to death the two or three local stories with a few opinions, phone calls, and interviews. Rarely do you look at each minute of your show as being critically important. The mindset usually is “we have 3-4 hours to cover, so there’s plenty of time to do things, and the audience will accept it”.
When you work on a morning show that plays music, and allows for short talk segments, your content selection and execution has to be crisp, and if you miss on an opportunity, it could be another 30-45 minutes before you get a chance to redeem yourself. That is a personal hell for any on-air entertainer.
My time with WPDH lasted a little over a year, and I moved from there to another rock radio station (PYX 106 in Albany, NY) where I spent 6 months producing the “Wakin Up With The Wolf” show with Bob Wohlfeld, Ellen Z, Ethan Youker and my personal favorite, John Tobin.
John built a strong brand at WPDH prior to moving to PYX 106, and although we knew each other, and shared mutual friends, we had never directly worked together. He delivered big ratings on the shows he was part of, and I was a big fan of his work, so I knew it’d be fun collaborating, and learning from him.
I quickly learned that despite being a phenomenal morning talent, John hated waking up and doing mornings. However, once the light went on, he was ready to perform. His natural talents and energy took over, and his ability to be spontaneous, and keep his partners on the edge of their seats, fueled the show to have incredible success.
That talent led to him having multiple successes in Albany. He made a huge impact on the morning show on PYX 106 , and then switched gears and hosted an afternoon sports talk show on the Fox Sports Radio affiliate with Freddie Coleman. Freddie as you know has since gone on to a very successful career at ESPN Radio.
What I learned during the time I worked with John was that there is a method to the madness when it comes to creating bits, characters, impersonations, and parodies. John is creatively brilliant, and enjoys performing, but he’s also a harsh critic. He’s not afraid to throw an idea away, even if it might be suitable to the rest of the room. If it’s not great, doesn’t leave the audience craving more, and doesn’t leave the cast on the show in stitches, he’ll revisit the idea later, or throw it out and work on something else.
As someone who listens to, and appreciates great comedy in radio, I believe bits, characters, impersonations, stunts and parodies can greatly enhance and compliment a show. Look around the country today and you’ll find a number of people doing this well. Lance Zierlein in Houston, Joe Conklin on WIP, Mike Bell in Atlanta, Whitey Gleason in Sacramento, Jay Mohr at Fox Sports, and Gregg Giannotti at the CBS Sports Radio Network all come to mind. Another guy who’s still developing but also has a knack for this is Clayton Miller.
Turn on your television and you’ll also find shows like Family Guy, The Simpsons, South Park, and the Impractical Jokers who employ this same approach, and make a LOT of money, and generate large audiences. I watched the same strategy work firsthand for one of my best friends’ brothers, Johnny Brennan, who created the Jerky Boys, and built his brand into a mainstream success.
Bear in mind, all of these elements have to be executed well in order to be effective, and the talent has to have great ability to pull them off. When done right, they create a surprise in the programming, and keep an audience craving more, and sharing their listening experience with anyone around them who will listen. When done poorly, it can add a speed bump the size of a mountain into your show.
I thought it’d be fascinating to get inside the brain of someone who does this well, and knows what to look for and avoid when introducing new elements into a show. John was gracious enough to take some time and share his own personal account for what goes into the creative process, and if you’re curious to learn what works, what doesn’t, and the challenge with executing each strategy, I think you’ll enjoy this.
On an unrelated note, if you work on a show and John is ever coming through your city doing stand-up, or you’re just looking for someone to add some entertainment value to your show, get in touch with him. He’s very entertaining and skilled in creating memorable radio moments.
Here’s a quick sample from one of his standup performances. Be advised, there’s some colorful language in it.
Creating Bits, Characters and Impersonations by John Tobin
When it comes to radio bits, here are some simple do’s and don’ts.
DO: Be Funny!
DON’T: Be Unfunny!
Sounds obvious, right? However, executing this requires a sense of what the audience will react to with laughter. A sharp sense. I recognize that this is the equivalent of telling a would-be musician, “be musical“, but that’s the reality of it.
Let’s talk about a few different types of bits.
This will take some imagination and probably 2-3 voices. Basically, it’s sketch comedy. Let it build. These are fun to create and will allow you to depart from the typical, “Host A and Host B discuss an issue.” Work it out. Record it. Roll it out on the air.
Song Parodies and Produced Pieces:
A song parody is a great vehicle for humor. If you don’t believe me, look at the size of Weird Al’s pool. Try to jam your parody with jokes. Write the jokes first. Keep them on the side. Then make them rhyme. Try them out on people. The stronger ones go deeper into the tune.
The punchline of a parody is typically a pun on the title of the original song. If the pun is the only laugh, keep the parody short. Give the context with the verse, drop the punchline on them and scram.
EMPHASIS: If there’s only one joke don’t try to extend the bit.
There’s nothing worse than a parody with a throwaway (non-humorous) verse that goes beyond the punchline. All you’re doing at that point is offering another throwaway verse and making the audience wait for the same punchline, which is no longer a punchline since they’ve already heard it.
If you’re loading it up with funny lines, by all means go 2 verses (and if it’s hilarious, go for three, as long as the third verse has some kind of twist). Recognize when you have a one-joke bit, and resist beating a dead horse.
I used to argue with a partner about a particular bit by a band that called itself, “Hayseed Dixie“, who covered AC/DC songs in bluegrass style. “She was a fast machine / she kept her motor clean“, check please. I get it, “You Shook Me (all night long)” over banjos and washboards.
I get it. No, really, I get it. TURN IT OFF.
It’s funny…. for about 15 seconds….then it gets tedious because the joke is over. We used to argue every time because he insisted on playing the full 2 minutes. But the joke is OVER! This is where your sense of “audience” has to come to the rescue.
As far as a tempo, bear in mind that you want them to hear every syllable, so, not too fast. Too slow is bad too, because you don’t want the audience to have SO much time that they can figure out where you’re going. Pace is important.
John Tobin’s “Sofa King” Commercial
LIVE Character Bits:
These have always been a favorite of mine. If you can break into (and think as) a character it adds such a dimension to the show. If you do it spontaneously, even better. Surprise everyone in the room. Of course, you need to have that sort of leeway, but if you do, it’s always a turning point in the mood and feel of the show. Such a great pivot.
One way we’d shoehorn a character into the program was via a corny “knock on the door” which was literally knuckles on the console. “Oh, hey, look who’s here!”, and off you go.
I always found that characters who had an attitude worked best. Don’t be afraid to be a little aggressive and OWN the room. One character bit you can go to pretty easily is “the fan of your rival“. Think Red Sox fan. Think Yankee fan. Think Auburn/Alabama.
Use the accents, use the attitude, create a caricature. It’s a great device, and easy to score with since the resonance is built-in.
John Tobin’s character “Esteban” delivers bad pickup lines
Phone-ins and Impersonations:
These are also fun and can be very short & sweet. One great use of an in-studio phone is the “second-life“. If, in the middle of a busy break, you think of something funny to say but you can’t fit it into the show in that moment, do not despair. Sure, the moment may have passed for you to use the line as YOU, but if there’s a phone in the studio, you’re golden.
I’ll grab the console phone and lean out of sight. My partner will see me wiggle four fingers (meaning Line 4, our Hotline) and give the call letters as he picks up. I’ll then do a 2-second re-set, “A minute ago you were saying“___<reset>___” and I was thinking, “____<joke>_____”.
The phone-in can also be used in the exact same way as the LIVE character.
I started in radio as a freelance contributor to a morning show (i95 in CT). I used to write scripts at home and fax (yes, fax…Pony Express had shut down by then) the in-studio guys their parts. Their scripts would have only a slight hint of my line, because I didn’t want to tip the punchline. They’d take my call LIVE and we’d roll with it. For this, I received the grand sum of $12.50.
As far as impressions go, it’s something you’re either born with, or not. Just like musicality. However, sometimes you can fake it.
The Rik Smits voice, for example, is completely something I ascribed to him. I have no idea how Rik sounds so I just created a character and made him into Arnold Schwarzenegger as a nasty pro wrestler. I was so committed to its delivery and its attitude that I established it as his voice. From what I understand, Rik is actually fairly soft spoken.
That’s one way out of doing an inaccurate impression. You decide what the impression is going to be and commit to it 500%. To make it work, try to find the salient characteristics of it and caricature them. That’s another way to bail out of not being able to nail an impression 100%.
John Tobin’s “I Am Enormous” as sung by the Rik Smits character
For Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, the impression I performed was significant because he was local and he was popular. He also has a loud, over the top persona which was easy to parody. What you try to look for are things that other people might overlook.
For instance, “Mad Dog” does this “gasping-for-air inhale” after he laughs. I always exaggerated it and dragged it out to about two and a half seconds.
He also has a problem pronouncing the R and L. I did a bit once where he discussed nothing but the Royals, Orioles, and Oilers. All of which he pronounced identically ERLLOLRRLLERL.
I would get the character speaking so fast that everything became unintelligible except for every 19th word. Gibberish–gibberish-gibberish Yankee Stadium. Gibberish-gibberish-gibberish $10 beer. Of course, you want to latch onto a couple of catchphrases that the individual uses. In Chris’ case, “give me a break, for Pete’s sake and for crying out loud”, were all part of his repertoire.
John Tobin’s “Chris “Mad Dog” Russo” Impersonation
There was a Lawrence Taylor-themed hole. A Pete Rose-themed hole. Today, you could go with a Patriots/Brady-themed hole or maybe one for Rex Ryan. One theme/one joke. However many solid jokes you can come up with, that’s how many you talk about. Then, you’re done.
Another character I used to do was Dunkin Downe, a 6’9 goggle-wearing power forward with a sense of humor. One time Dunkin called in and did an entire bit on the size of the Piston’s Vinnie Johnson’s head. “Vinnie Johnson was standing on a corner in his blue Pistons warmup….a woman pulled down his bottom lip trying to mail a letter, man.”
In my opinion, voices kill. They add such a dimension to a program and can differentiate you from your competition. If you have that kind of talent under your roof exploit it until you bleed.
Where Are The Sports Radio Programmers of Tomorrow?
“As someone who’s helped many aspiring programmers over the years, I’ve seen less new people seeking out advice the past few years than they did from 2011-2019.”
I don’t get the opportunity to write as often as I’d like to. Consulting projects make that harder these days but I do miss it. Fortunately I’ve been able to assemble a quality team to deliver news and industry opinions to your inbox and social media platforms each day. If you receive our emails, then you should notice one of those improvements today with our BSM 8@8 Newsletter. If you aren’t receiving our emails and would like to, click here to sign up.
The reason I chose to write today is because there’s one specific area of our industry that I’m concerned about and need to draw attention to. That’s the emergence of tomorrow’s sports radio program directors.
If you work in or follow this business, can you recall a year during the past decade where we saw more programming changes in sports radio than this one? I can’t. WFAN in New York, WEEI in Boston, KNBR in San Francisco, WIP in Philadelphia, Arizona Sports 98.7 in Phoenix, ESPN 97.5 in Houston, 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, 750 The Game in Portland, ESPN 94.5 in Milwaukee, The Fan in Indianapolis, 107.5 The Game in Columbia, ESPN Las Vegas, 1620 The Zone in Omaha, and 98.1 The Sports Animal in Oklahoma City have or are soon to undergo PD changes. This follows a year where 101 ESPN in St. Louis, 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, WFNZ in Charlotte, and 680 The Fan and 92.9 The Game in Atlanta changed programming leaders. 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, ESPN 1000 in Chicago, 710 ESPN in Seattle, and ESPN LA 710 went thru changes too in the fall of 2019.
Twenty three brands undergoing change at the top of a station’s programming department in that short period of a time is an eye opener. But what really stands out are the lack of new faces to arrive on the PD scene let alone even come up during the interviewing process.
For every Rick Radzik, Amanda Brown, Kyle Brown and Qiant Myers who were elevated to PD positions over the past two years, there are proven leaders like Kevin Graham, Jeff Rickard, Tommy Mattern, and Terry Foxx who’ve landed in new situations. Those folks absolutely deserve those positions, so let me be clear, proven PD’s should always be valued. As I’ve told many decision makers before, a great PD is a difference maker. The film industry pays big money for Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese and Quintin Tarrantino because their track record highlights their abilities to deliver box office hits. Proven PD’s who can do the same for a radio station deserve similar respect.
But if you’re a younger person looking to advance your career into a programming role today, how do you take that next step let alone earn the nod when more experienced people want the same gig? Who’s advocating on your behalf? How would a corporate executive or market manager know that a producer, board op, promotions director or part-time host is capable of becoming the next great programmer?
Better yet, how does any corporate executive or market manager running a local brand know anything about your management style, vision, multi-platform skills, ability to lead people and work with multiple departments, and create exciting content, events and promotions if you’re working for another company in a different city? Here’s the answer, most times, they don’t. You apply for the job, your resume and email arrives in their inbox, which leads to them asking others about you. If someone you’ve crossed paths with says something good about you, you might get a call. If not, your materials go on file should the station have future needs.
Having led PD searches for a number of brands the past few years, I think the first step is finding out who’s interested in growing. Does anyone know of your desire to one day lead a brand besides the host you work with and the programmer you work for? Who have you sought out to gain knowledge and mentorship from outside of your building? Are you counting on an internal promotion to become a leader or assuming your PD will hype you up to potential employers? What are you doing to make sure the right people know you’re hungry to take the next step and you’re ready to go wherever an opportunity exists?
As someone who’s helped many aspiring programmers over the years, I’ve seen less new people seeking out advice the past few years than they did from 2011-2019. Maybe folks don’t think to come my way as much. Maybe they assume the company they’re working for will take care of them when the time comes. Maybe they don’t have the motivation to relocate or upset their current situation. Maybe the pandemic forced folks to press pause on pursuing advancement. Or maybe the role of a program director isn’t as appealing as it was to leaders from my era.
Some assume that because they’ve been successful at producing, and have done it for a long enough time, it means they’re ready for the next step. But programming is much more than managing a show. Not everyone is built to handle a verbal lashing from a market manager, balance a budget, negotiate deals, coach high profile talent, understand and examine PPM ratings, and unify departments. Let’s not forget interactions with corporate, being multi-platform skilled, knowing how to study and attack the competition, dealing with negative PR, and being the brand leader who keeps play by play partnerships in a healthy state.
If you’re behind the scenes in the sports radio industry, your path will most likely lead to becoming either a host, PD, moving into sales/marketing/imaging/digital/corporate or leaving the business. Top 10 markets and national networks are an exception as there are some very talented producers who’ve continued to work with top shows/stations for a long time. Both invest more in off-air positions. In many other cases, the financial upside for behind the scenes help is limited so eventually you reach a fork in the road when you have to decide the best path forward to make a decent living.
But those looking to take the next step don’t often think about positioning themselves to land the next big opportunity. They don’t take time to build relationships with key executives who they’ll one day interview with for a top job. Instead they think about that day’s show and the immediate tasks at hand. You can be the most creative, multiplatform savvy, best guest booker and strongest talent coach in America as a producer but if nobody else knows it outside your building, it’s going to be hard to take the next step. Which is why you have to make time to help yourself. You can start by emailing me. That can’t hurt.
Program directors have a responsibility here too. They should be making time to teach and push their behind the scenes people to want to advance their careers. They should also be telling anyone who will listen why one of their own is ready for the next step. Not enough do that. I can count on one hand the number of PD’s who’ve come to me championing one of their own for a top programming job over the past six years since I began helping stations find PD’s. Just going thru the interview process can be huge for an off-air professional who dreams one day of leading a brand. It helps them learn what to expect, how to present themselves, which areas they need to improve on in order to make the jump and most importantly, it shows them you care about them and their professional development.
I know that the job is busier today than ever for a PD and finding time is a pain in the ass. But coaching people is one of your biggest strengths. It’s why why you’ve been trusted to lead your brand. When twenty three positions open up and more than half require hiring elsewhere in the country and turning to folks inside different companies, that should raise eyebrows. Have you told others to consider someone on your staff? Did you push for them to be interviewed, even if they weren’t the right fit because you knew it’d serve them well later? Did you invest time in them to to make sure they were ready for the next step? And that doesn’t mean just giving them the crap you hate like filling out affidavits, building clocks, and corresponding with the traffic department.
Have you conducted 1 on 1’s with all of your off-air crew and learned who aspires to one day do what you do? Have you taught them how to analyze ratings and content? Sit in on show meetings? Critique talent? Recruit future staff? Participate in creative brainstorms or sales meetings? Have you told your GM or other high ranking executives or PD’s in your company about their passion to lead?
It should go without saying that if you’re in a position to lead and develop people, that it applies to more than just on-air talent. It should include grooming future programmers too. Any executive with oversight of your brand should be asking “who on your staff is ready to take a step?” If the answer is no one, they should be asking what your plan is to change that so the answer is different the next time they ask. If you’re skilled enough to lead a brand for years or even decades, those above you should want to protect the future by having you develop the next crop of programmers too. Your report card as a PD isn’t complete if all you can point to are good quarterly ratings. There are plenty of brands who’ve won in spite of their PD and others who have lost despite having an elite program director.
By the way, shouldn’t a PD want to see people inside their operations get called upon to take the next step? As hard as I pushed my crew to perform in St. Louis and San Francisco, when one got an opportunity to become a PD, APD or EP I was proud as hell. There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing someone you have mentored, challenged and cared about take their career to a higher level. If you spend years in the position and have producers and assistant programmers not landing opportunities, let alone receiving calls to be interviewed for openings, you should be asking yourself ‘what haven’t I done to get them to that next level’ and ‘do I have the right people here who want to grow?’.
Lastly, I recognize everyone is under pressure to add good help. A station operating without a leader in the programming department creates a lot of problems, especially when it lingers for months. But you also need to find the right people or you end up with bigger problems later, most notably, others questioning your ability to hire the right people. If there’s one thing I’ve learned going thru these processes with different companies is that often times, decision makers want to move fast and find people who are referred by others they know and respect. If they hear a few good things said in conversation by a candidate that match what they value, they’re ready to move forward. Some get caught up in resumes or similar experiences/interests but not all ask the right questions and research people well. It’s amazing what you’ll learn if you investigate properly and ask questions that make folks uncomfortable. If you’re going to trust someone to lead your brand and staff, and set the tone for your operation, spending the extra time to be sure about those you hire is absolutely necessary.
Taking a chance on the APD or smaller market PD isn’t as safe as hiring a veteran leader. If you have a proven winner interested in your opening and feel confident that they fit your needs, I’m all for them being hired. But don’t make the mistake of assuming someone with less experience can’t make a greater difference. Imagine if we were back in 2004 and you passed on Jack Dorsey or Mark Zuckerberg in favor of a proven Newspaper editor to lead your brand’s digital strategy. How would you look today? That could be your radio station in five years if you overlook those with an ability to see the future better than the present when future openings arise.
To grow this format we need a mixture of new blood, new ideas, people who view the audio business differently from those in the present or past, and proven performers who’ve helped turn this format into a very successful one. We have to ask the right questions, fully research candidates, challenge our executives and programmers to take a greater interest in developing the next crop of sports radio executives, and consider new roads rather than the ones we’re most familiar with. We also need to hear from people who haven’t told us of their interest in taking the next step. We need to encourage them to want to grow and show them the path to do so. If we each do those things better, our format is going to spend a lot more time thriving and less time surviving in the years ahead.
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 JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
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 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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