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Playing The Game Without Coaches

Jason Barrett



Imagine this scenario. It’s the fourth quarter, less than a minute left, your football team is down 1 point, and your offense is on the field and on the verge of crossing the 50. The goal is to either score a Touchdown or kick a field goal and win the game.

qb1The players approach the huddle looking to the quarterback for instruction on what play they’ll be executing, only this time the quarterback has no answer.

He explains to the group that the coaches have vacated the sideline and are no longer calling plays, so they’re now left to their own devices and the outcome of the game rests in their hands.

The Quarterback selects a play which he hopes will work and propel the team onto victory, and on this day, his decision making pays off and the team exits the field with a 2 point victory.

nocoachesThe excited bunch head to the locker room, ready to celebrate, except when they arrive, their pride and enthusiasm are deflated when they realize that there are no coaches around to offer a post-game speech or distribute game balls to the team’s top performers.

They leave the stadium, and head home, trusting that the next day will be different. Except it isn’t.

They arrive at the practice facility expecting to get treatments and go over game tape but once again the coaches are absent. This leaves the players upset, confused, and frustrated. Although they are talented and enjoy some independence, they also want to improve and receive guidance from their coaches.

winningHoping to get a sense of what’s going on, the quarterback seeks out the owner. When he explains how the group is frustrated because they’re receiving no coaching, the owner replies “Relax. All that matters is that we make money. Winning and losing is not important”.

The quarterback leaves the owner’s office, returns to his locker, and tries to process what he’s been told. If the only thing that matters is selling tickets, advertising, and broadcasting rights, then why does it matter who’s on the field, if they make plays, and who wins the contest?

This example may be farfetched for the National Football League, but it’s unfortunately a reality inside a number of radio stations today.

nielsenI was raised in this business with the understanding that the ratings are your report card. The grade you receive from the audience tells you whether or not your product is successful. A higher number means more interest from advertisers and the more they spend, the easier it becomes to distribute raises to employees for a job well done.

While there are brands that care deeply about the performance of their radio stations, there are many others that measure success by the revenue generated by their sales teams. Although I agree that sales are vital, I also believe that results should be delivered on the programming end too.

wantThe audience is not privy to your business plan, nor do they care what you make or lose each year or if your stock price has risen or declined. They simply want to tune in, hear a local host discuss the teams and topics they care most about, and gain something from the content to share with their friends and family. The more unique content experiences you provide, the more tune-ins you’ll receive.

But how exactly do you produce unique on-air content experiences? Is it solely the responsibility of the on-air talent? Does a producer have skin in the game? What about the Program Director’s involvement?

The answer in my opinion is that it’s a shared responsibility. More times than not it’s going to start with having an inquisitive talent on the air who is masterful with the english language and has a brain that allows them to consider possibilities that are uncommon to the rest of us. That’s part of being a special talent.

coachesBut even the best thinkers and content creators experience brain freeze and need to be coached, challenged, and given tips on how to improve.

If you watch baseball, you probably know the names Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. They’re incredible players who have each won an MVP Award and they’re also both under 25 years of age. As great as they are, they still need to be coached.

Do you think just because they have talent that they have it all figured out and won’t ever fail?

mlbThere’s a lot left in their respective careers and there are many obstacles they’ve yet to face. Regardless of how naturally skilled they may be, they each will need the benefit of great guidance to help them reach their full potential.

When a new pitcher comes up and has a certain strategy for attacking the zone, do you think that information might be helpful to them before they enter the batter’s box? Sure, maybe they’ll get lucky and connect on the first pitch and hit a homerun, but great players seek every advantage they can get to be successful and they rely on their coaches to help them.

What happens when they each sign larger contracts in the future and become Major League Baseball’s highest paid athletes, generating over 500 million dollars apiece? Do you think they won’t deal with different pressures, expectations, larger challenges off the field, and jealousy from inside their own clubhouses? When that happens, don’t you think they’ll want coaches they can trust to help them through some of their uncomfortable moments?

aloneNow think about that from a radio standpoint. There are some operators who assume just because an individual possesses talent, and receives a big paycheck that they don’t need coaching. The feeling becomes “He/She knows what they’re doing so leave them alone”. When that happens, many stop learning, and begin to treat their show as a responsibility instead of a labor of love.

I understand that it is a business, so if a company wants to adopt that approach and leave the talent in the middle of the ocean to swim to shore without a life preserver, that’s certainly their right. But I believe that you get the most out of people when you show them you care about the work they’re doing and invest time in gauging how they feel about the show, offering ideas to make it feel and sound better, and addressing any issues or concerns that are creating tension. It tells them that you’re paying attention and care about their progress.

creed2Each week I receive dozens of emails from people across this country seeking my coaching. I’m grateful that they think enough of me to want my feedback and it impresses me to see individuals seeking outside help to try and get better. That commitment to self improvement is what helps good performers become great. Every radio company should want people like that working for them because when people possess talent and treat their craft seriously, it pushes those they work with to be their best.

As excited as I am to see many striving to get getter, I’m equally saddened by the reminder of how many radio stations invest little to no time in their most important asset – their people.

chefI realize that the business has become difficult for programmers. Many corporate executives and station managers are disconnected from the product and don’t understand how the meal gets made, who’s involved in making it, or why the customer is eating it. They simply look at the total amount of meals made, what it cost, how many were sold, and what type of profit they generated from it.

That’s business, and business does come first. But unlike music stations which have the benefit of relying on the music created by artists to fill their airwaves, sports talkers only go as far as their on-air talent can take them. If the talent is left to roam through the desert without a compass, it’s only a matter of time until you’re sending in the search party to find them. The great ones will find their way, but even those who aren’t great right now, may have the ability to reach that level in the future, but without coaching you’re limiting their potential to grow.

When I landed my first Program Director job in Poughkeepsie, NY I had no idea what I was doing. I had passion, a good work ethic, and my co-workers responded well to my lead. I had no idea though what content made the most sense to focus on, what separated a good promo from a bad promo, how the station could increase its ratings, or why an on-air talent should or shouldn’t take calls or conduct interviews. There was no book, seminar or mentor available to teach me how to become a good programmer. I was just thrust into the position and had to learn on the job.

NHB and Devito in PoughkeepsieBut that was Poughkeepsie, NY. In most smaller markets where budgets don’t exist, that’s to be expected. Why it’s set up that way though in some top 20 markets is frightening.

I know some programmers today who are running three or four radio stations inside one building, and also have roles either in production or on a talk show. There is even a situation where one sports station is led by a music station programmer who has a strong disdain for sports talk and tells the staff that he wants no involvement with them.

When I hear of these situations it’s very concerning. We can blame the individuals for a bad attitude and not getting enough out of the staff, but the bigger question is, how did these positions get created in the first place?

Maybe someone accepted the position because it included a raise. Or they were pressured into it by their company. If employers though believe an individual is going to make people better, maximize the radio station’s potential, and do good work when they’re spread that thin and running formats they dislike, they’re kidding themselves. A few may skate by for a while but eventually the results suffer and people leave.

cashI had a conversation last week with someone I previously worked with who’s on a station that is getting soundly beaten in their local market by the competition. When I asked him what he was doing to reverse the latest trends and make a bigger impact with the audience, he told me that the ratings performance didn’t matter in his building, only the station’s revenue. When I asked him “how do you factor into that if you don’t deliver numbers or sell advertising for the company” he said “I just go to and from work, do my show and let the sales people worry about it”.

That answer bothered me because if you work in programming in this industry, the reason you do it is because you’re creative, passionate, love sports, enjoy competition, and want to be a success. The better you perform, the more money you make, the more popular you become, and the more successful you feel.

You also value the audience and have pride in your work, and care about the product you’re delivering. When you decided to pursue a career in this business, you didn’t do it because you wanted to fill air time and be seen as someone who was in a chair to sell sponsor messages. You pursued being a host because you felt you had something to say, you enjoyed connecting with people, and you felt your knowledge and presentation could help a company command a larger audience which in turn would help them generate revenue.

If the only thing defining your success now is whether Johnny or Suzy in sales sell spots inside of your show and meet their sales budget, then why are you even necessary? If it’s only about the advertising revenue, shouldn’t Johnny or Suzy host the show? I bet they’d increase their sales if they also had the air time to go with their selling skills.

If you’re not a host but are responsible for managing the radio station, and you’re not making time to coach your people and grow the radio station’s ratings, why aren’t you? Your title says “Program Director” not “Sales Assistant”, “Corporate Associate”, or “Budget Administrator”. I understand that the position is demanding and every department wants your time, but sometimes you have to say no.

assetThere is nothing more important to your future success and maintaining your position then the way you connect with your people. If they don’t get your input and their perception of you is that you’re uninterested in the product and their personal growth, they will eventually leave. When a brand’s best people depart, the performance declines, and when that happens, don’t be surprised if you’re the next one the company is calling on to vacate the premises.

Talent has to matter and factor into every sports radio station’s strategy and success. No brand wins without great on-air personalities and they don’t reach their full potential without regular coaching from experienced leaders who understand how to help them win. Why that’s not considered important in some buildings is beyond my level of comprehension. You’d think that with competition increasing in the audio space today that there’d be an even larger focus placed on securing great leaders who can guide a brand to bigger results. Unfortunately though that’s not the case in each location.

When I hear a brand state that only sales matter, it’s usually because their programming isn’t generating big numbers. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money. Believe me, I want to win the revenue game too, and feed my family lobster instead of ramen noodles. But programming is the lifeblood of the sports radio format and if it’s not great, and not consistently worked on, then you become non-essential to the audience. Without an audience, your business is on life support.

peopleThe goal in every organization should be to maximize the talent’s skills, show them the strengths and weaknesses in their show, and point out where the opportunities exist in the market to enjoy larger success. You do that by holding regular conversations, critiquing content, pointing out trends in the ratings, and explaining why they should do more or less of something during the show.

At first, many personalities will resist the feedback because they’re prideful and insecure and hate being judged. But when they walk away and think about what you said, they’ll appreciate it, respect it, and look to improve because every great performer wants to earn the trust, respect and support of the person they work for.

Some companies value coaching and the impact it has on their people. Others do not. Neither is right or wrong but a strong performance benefits every single company and individual. You can focus on helping your company make money, and that may be the ultimate measure of your brand’s success, but if you really want to laugh all the way to the bank, do yourself a favor and invest some time in your talent. After all, they’ll be the ones most responsible for your audience listening, your advertisers calling, and your sales budget being exceeded.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

“Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.”

Jason Barrett



It’s taken years of hard work, adjustments, and a whole lot of trial and error to turn this brand into a trusted source for industry professionals. It’s been exciting and rewarding to tell stories, highlight the industry, and use my decades worth of knowledge and relationships to help the brands I work with make progress. But while I may prioritize the work I do for others, I’ve also got to balance it with making sure BSM and BNM run smoothly.

Each day, Barrett Media produces nearly fifty social posts, one to two newsletters, and twenty to thirty sports and news media stories and columns. I didn’t even mention podcasts, which is another space we recently entered. Making sure we’re delivering quality not quantity is vital, and so too is promoting it consistently and creatively.

Today, we have thirty people on our payroll. I never expected that to be the case, but as needs have increased and deeper bonds have been formed between the brand, our audience, and our clients, it’s allowed us to find new ways to invest in delivering insight, information, and opinion to our readers. Writing, editing, and creating content for a brand like ours isn’t for everyone. I just spent the past three months interviewing nearly forty people, and there’s a lot of quality talent out there. But talent for radio and journalism doesn’t always mean the fit is right for BSM and BNM. Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.

First, please join me in welcoming Garrett Searight to BSM and BNM. Garrett has been hired as our FT Brand Editor, which means he will oversee BSM and BNM’s website’s content M-F during normal business hours. He will work closely with yours truly, our nighttime editors Arky Shea and Eduardo Razo, and our entire writing teams to create content opportunities for both of our brands. Garrett joins us after a decade long stint in Lima, OH where he most recently worked as program director and afternoon host at 93.1 The Fan. He also programmed classic country station 98.5 The Legend. His first day with us is August 1st, but he’ll be training this month to make sure he’s ready to hit the ground running.

Next, I am excited to welcome Alex Reynolds as our Social Media Coordinator. Alex’s creativity and curiosity stood out during our interview process, and we’re excited to have him helping with social content creation and scheduling for BSM and BNM. He’s a graduate of Elon University, a big fan of lacrosse, and he’ll be working with Dylan Barrett to improve our graphic creation, schedule our content, and further develop the social voice for both of our brands.

Speaking of our two brands, though we produce content on the website for both sports and news, how they get promoted on social is changing. When I started this company, the website was known as That worked perfectly with my Twitter and Instagram handles, which were also @sportsradiopd. But since we switched our URL to and started ramping up content for both sports and news it’s become clear that we needed dedicated brand pages. It’s harder to expect people to share an individual’s content, and the mix of sports and news often feels off-brand to the two different audiences we serve. It feels even stranger if I’m buying social media ads to market content, a conference, and other things, so it’s time to change things up.

Starting today, you can now follow Barrett Sports Media on Twitter @BSMStaff. You can also follow Barrett News Media on Twitter @BNMStaff. Each brand also has its own Facebook page. Moving forward, we will promote sports media content on our sports accounts, and news media content on our news accounts. We started with that approach for BNM when the brand launched in September 2020, but expecting people to read another site and follow other social accounts was a tall order for a brand that was finding its footing. We made a choice to promote both sports and news under the same social accounts for the past year in order to further grow awareness for the content, and as we stand today, I think many would agree that BNM has made great strides. We’ve built a kick ass team to cover the news media industry, and I’m hoping many of you will take a moment to give BNM’s pages a follow to stay informed.

One thing you will notice is that the @BSMStaff account has replaced the @sportsradiopd account on Twitter. Let’s face it, most people who have followed me on Twitter have done so for BSM or BNM’s content, not for my NY Knicks and pro wrestling rants. I am keeping my @sportsradiopd handle but that is being developed as a brand new personal account. That said, if you enjoy sending DM’s my way, give the new @sportsradiopd account a follow so we can stay in touch. The only account we will use to promote content from both brands under is the Barrett Media account on LinkedIn. Instagram is not a focus right now nor is TikTok or Snapchat. I realize audiences exist everywhere but I’d rather be great at a few things than average at a lot of them.

Now that we’ve tackled the social media changes, let me share another exciting piece of news. I’m thrilled to welcome Jessie Karangu to our brand as a BSM weekly columnist. Jessie has great energy, curiosity, and a genuine love and passion for the media industry. He’s worked for Sinclair television, written for Awful Announcing, and has also hosted podcasts and video shows on YouTube. His knowledge and interest in television is especially strong, and I’m looking forward to featuring his opinions, and perspectives on our website. His debut piece for the site will be released this Wednesday.

With all of this happening, Demetri Ravanos is shifting his focus for the brand to a space he’s passionate about, audio. His new title is BSM’s Director of Audio Content. This means he will be charged with overseeing the editing, execution, and promotion of our various podcasts. He will also work closely with me in developing future Barrett Media shows. We have 3 in weekly rotation now, and will be adding Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves next week, and The Jason Barrett Podcast the week after that. The goal is to increase our audio library in the future provided the right ideas, talent, and interest are there.

Another goal of mine moving forward is to grow our advertising partnerships. Between our website, social media channels, podcasts, and newsletters, we have many ways to help brands connect to an affluent, influential, and loyal industry audience. We’ve enjoyed working with and helping brands over the years such as Point to Point Marketing, Jim Cutler NY, Steve Stone Voiceovers, Core Image Studio, Skyview Networks, Compass Media Networks, ESPN Radio and Harker Bos Group. That doesn’t include all of the great sponsors we’ve teamed up with for our annual BSM Summit (2023’s show will be announced by the end of the summer). I’m excited to add to the list by welcoming Backbone as a new website and newsletter partner. We’re also looking forward to teaming up in the near future with Quu and the Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and hope to work with a few others we’ve had recent dialogue with.

When it comes to marketing, I try to remind folks of our reach, the value we add daily across the industry, and the various ways we can help. I know it’s human nature to stick with what we know but if you work with a brand, I invite you to check into BSM/BNM further. Stephanie Eads is awesome to work with, cares about our partners, and our traffic, social impressions, and most importantly, the quality of our audience is proven. To learn more about what we can do, email Stephanie at

Yes we continue to grow, and I’m happy about that, but just because we’re adding head count doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to be better. It takes every person on a team holding up their end of the bargain, creating killer content, setting expectations, and paying attention to the follow through. We take pride in our work, value the support of our partners, and are extremely thankful for the continued readership of our material. That consistent support is what allows me to add to our team to better serve fans, partners, and industry professionals.

It may seem small, and unimportant but those retweets, comments, and mentions on the air about our content makes a difference. To all who take the time to keep our industry conversations alive, thank you. This is an awesome business with a lot of great brands, people, content, and growth opportunities, and the fact that we get to learn from you, share your stories, and help those reading learn in the process makes waking up to do it an honor.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett



To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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Barrett Blogs

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett



I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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