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Lessons Learned Last Week In Las Vegas

Jason Barrett

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Sin City was electric last week, thanks to its usual festivities, and the arrival of the 2016 NAB Show. Over one hundred thousand people invaded the region to get a closer look at the future of broadcasting, and it didn’t disappoint.

Although radio had its moments, and fair share of quality sessions, it was hidden in the background. Crowds gathered for drones exhibits, video conferences, discussions on digital and social media, virtual reality sampling, and conversations with the world’s top media minds.

It was inspiring to see thousands of people gather in one area to appreciate the media industry. It restored my faith that many still value innovation and creating quality programming. Radio may lag behind in these categories at times, but other industries see it being essential to their future success. That’s refreshing.

nab-1Because I had four days with minimal distractions, I was able to observe a lot. I enjoyed eavesdropping on various radio sessions, and am still trying to comprehend how I managed to survive an entire trip in Vegas without emptying my wallet on casino slot machines. I spent less than five minutes playing, and didn’t participate until the final day of my stay. After six spins, I hit for $250 dollars, and proceeded to cash out. Not a bad way to end a great trip.

Leisure gambling has its pluses and minuses, but I’m not here to discuss that. Instead I want to share with you, what I took away from the NAB Show last week.

It was a solid experience, that I recommend checking out if you haven’t done so before. If the only thing you care to learn about is the radio business, then it might not be your cup of tea. Instead you may want to attend the NAB Radio Show this September in Nashville.

nab-4However, there’s a lot happening in this world. While my focus may be on the radio industry, I also enjoy taking advantage of opportunities to learn something new. If the world’s leading experts are going to gather in one city, and share secrets on how they’ve succeeded, then I’m going to soak up every ounce of knowledge they’ve got to offer because you never know when an idea or trend from one industry might become valuable to the one you make your living in. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy seeing drones perform up close?

Now on to the observations.

Mike and Mike – The ESPN Radio duo were inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame, the result of a successful seventeen year partnership on the nation’s largest sports radio network. Greeny and Golic not only deserved to be honored for what they’ve accomplished on the air, but the way they’ve conducted themselves as individuals during the course of their careers also speaks to their integrity and character as people.

Prior to the induction ceremony, CAA sponsored a pre-show gathering which was jam packed. Whether that was due to the Mike’s being present or free booze being available is up for debate. Mike and Mike gave an impromptu speech, and thanked everyone for being part of their special day. The room had its fair share of heavy hitters in it. Most of ESPN Radio’s management figures (Traug Keller, Dave Roberts) were in attendance, as were other broadcast leaders such as Dan Mason, Bill Hedrich, Jeff Smulyan, Greg Solk, and Bob Profitt.

nb-mmWhen it was time to be recognized, the duo were introduced following a great video which captured the essence of their show during its seventeen year run. They expressed their gratitude to the NAB for recognizing the show and what it had accomplished, and offered a few doses of their humor during a short but effective speech.

One thing about Mike and Mike that many in our business overlook is how seamless they make everything look. For seventeen years they’ve woken up five days per week at three or four AM to go perform on radio. In 2004 they added a television simulcast which only further exposed the program. Now imagine having every one of your opinions, jokes, questions, or comedic bits under the world’s microscope every day. Anything they say or do can appear in print or be used against them by agents, players, teams, or their own company.

They have to serve multiple masters with different agendas while being socially active and responsible. Add in working with sponsors, and creating content that will fuel the radio department’s success online, and satisfy affiliates, plus traveling for road shows where they’ll be expected to interact with fans and local teams/clients during each day of the trip. I didn’t even mention yet the actual work of preparing, watching games, and trying to maintain some semblance of a family life.

How many shows could handle all of that? Many say they can, but it’s harder than you think.

It’s all of those reasons above why Mike and Mike are now members of the NAB Hall of Fame. Their induction ceremony was classy, and one of the highlights of the entire week.

Failing To Read The Room – During the course of one hour, Kim Komando managed to reel in an audience, only to lose them. Her command of the stage was strong. Her knowledge and passion for her brand, and the industry was sharp. But over preparation, and an inability to adjust sucked the air out of the room. Not exactly the way you want to setup a Hall of Fame induction for two popular personalities.

KimI felt bad for Kim because if this were a normal conference, she’d have passed with flying colors. But many in this room were there to see Mike and Mike enter the Hall of Fame. Picking this day to present an hour long infomercial on the Kim Komando show reflected poor judgment. I witnessed multiple CEO’s and executives switch from being invested in her commentary to getting annoyed. A few even left the room. I could be wrong but I don’t recall her saying a word at the end about Mike and Mike. I asked multiple people and they didn’t hear it either.

Because Kim’s speech dragged, it caused the session to run past its scheduled time, and reduced Mike and Mike’s time on stage. Kim is very talented, and has an excellent story to share, but if there’s a lesson to be learned, less is more. Be ready to abandon the script. If you don’t, you’ll lose the crowd, and your message will fall on deaf ears.

The Las Vegas Sports Radio Scene – I had an opportunity to run into two old friends during my visit. Mitch Moss, who produced for me at 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, now hosts middays on ESPN 1100. Matt Perrault, who I’ve known for a over a decade and auditioned for me once in St. Louis at 101 ESPN, hosts evenings on Yahoo Sports Radio.

nab-2Each broadcast their shows from different locations. Moss operates out of a radio studio off of the strip, and Perrault from a created studio inside the Palazzo casino.

What I didn’t realize before my journey to Las Vegas was how many sports stations operate in the city. There are seven stations listed as operators of the format. Granted, most of them are national brands, but that is still too many for a market which has under 2 million people residing in it.

If there’s one benefit, it’s that the city receives some of the best tourism support anywhere in the country. That makes it easier to create effective promotions and remotes for local stations. It also further provides evidence to the NFL and NHL that the city could be financially productive if either league elects to move one of its teams there in the future.

Networking – If there’s one major benefit of heading to a show like the NAB, it’s the opportunity to meet and mingle with numerous people in the industry who you might not normally run into. That’s one of the real joys of the experience for yours truly. Spending time with Kraig Kitchin, making small talk with Fred Jacobs, Dan Mason, and Michael Fiorile, catching up with old ESPN teammates Ray Necci, Amanda Gifford, Pete Gianesini, Liam Chapman, and Justin Craig are all part of what made the trip memorable.

I was surprised though by how many broadcast executives I ran into seemed to be in a rush to get out of each room. I realize that not every conversation is going to be fruitful but if you’re going to take the flight, stay in a hotel room, and engage in hour long sessions discussing the future of radio and why it’s a business people should want to be involved in, you should probably allow for some time to indulge the audience afterwards. This is their opportunity to meet you, compliment your work, and ask a question or two. There’s no harm in that right?

hellum2Guys like Erik Hellum of Townsquare, and Jeff Smulyan of Emmis were gracious with their time, so I don’t want to paint a picture that lumps everyone in as being distant. That wouldn’t be fair. I’ve been in this industry for twenty years, and fortunate enough to foster enough relationships that I don’t need the extra face time, but for those who don’t travel much, and are new to the business or considering entering it, the way they’re treated during face to face discussions can impact whether or not they pursue a career in our industry.

It’s silly to take the stage and express concern about a lack of interest in the industry from younger people, but then hightail out of the building when they ask for a few minutes of your time. Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of this then I should, but I bet people will take notice when the next Steve Jobs chooses a different line of work because he or she was turned off by the way radio people responded to their request for time.

Joe DiMaggio used to say “you never know who’s watching you for the first time, so always give your best”. That’s some great free advice for some of our people to consider.

Appreciating Innovation – Fred Jacobs moderated a session on innovation which featured Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, NPR COO Loren Mayor, and National Radio Talent System CEO Dan Vallie. While each participant spoke on behalf of their organizations and the numerous things they were doing, the one who connected most with me was Smulyan. That’s probably because he was the one person with enough guts to launch an all-sports format in New York when everyone told him it was a stupid idea which had no chance to succeed.

jeffsHe used that same mentality to launch the first hip-hop station Power 106 in Los Angeles, which was also thought to be another one of his terrible ideas. Now, he’s facing similar backlash for his belief in the Next Radio app.

Truth be told, I don’t know if his latest project will or won’t pass the sniff test. Many have poked holes in the project, and some of the criticisms are valid. However, I can appreciate that Smulyan is taking a risk to try and make industry measurement better.

Often we complain about radio not receiving its full share of listening, and sales people and market manager’s everywhere cling to old articles which tout radio’s massive 93% reach. The reality though is that the ratings system is tremendously flawed. I refuse to accept that what we have provided to us from Nielsen is the best that we can do.

If Spotify, Facebook, YouTube, Google, Twitter, and iTunes can figure out how to measure their audio and video offerings, and provide excellent analytics for clients, than radio should be able to do the same. We see advanced data with our mobile and digital sessions, so why can’t the quality of measurement for over the air listening be the same?

The Next Radio App might be the solution radio needs, or it might not. That Smulyan is willing to bet on it, and invest his time and resources to make it work speaks to his confidence in the product. Many people talk about innovation, but few have the scars to prove they’re trying. Jeff not only sets the example for his company, but he does so for many in the industry. That alone gets my respect and appreciation.

Millennials – I apologize in advance if this comes across as negative, but it’s time for radio to take a good hard look in the mirror when it comes to talking about how to reach the younger generation. For starters, work needs to be done on the arrangement of some of these panels. Rather than rolling out the same industry people again and again, how about including some members who actually live, breathe, and speak the lingo of the audience that the industry claims it wants to reach?

millennialsNo disrespect, but how many sessions on reaching millennials must be staffed by members who are above fifty and sixty years old? Do we honestly believe that younger people are going to take their cues from people that don’t live their lives the same way? It’s no different than telling someone older to take their cues on investments, and retirement from a twenty year old.

I’ve spent the past six to eight years attending multiple conferences, and every single time I go, I’m left befuddled by the image crisis that plagues radio. We talk about the future, and being ahead of the curve, yet those who think that way, and are likely to create the next big thing that helps our industry are left back in their studios.

There’s something to gain from every single person who speaks on a panel, so I want to be clear that this isn’t only about age. I believe that including an older perspective in the conversation is important. But, when variety isn’t provided, and a mixture of opinions, ages, genders and races isn’t offered, you miss the whole point.

For radio to succeed, it has to reach everyone. You can’t do that when the chosen mouthpieces come from the same neighborhood and fail to relate to those living in other locations. There are enough people in this business to create thought provoking discussion. I’d like to see the organizers of these conferences work harder to produce original sessions that provide a variety of personalities and opinions and leave everyone in the room thinking.

Right now there’s a lot of butt kissing, rah-rah speeches, and solutions coming from one side of the street. If radio really wants to move forward, and reach young people, it has to be open to hearing their perspectives, and involving others who actively shape our brands each day. I’ve heard many industry folks complain about these issues at each conference I’ve attended. It’s time something was done to make these sessions balanced and valuable rather than using them to reward our industry friends.

What About The Product? – The final issue that stood out during this conference was one that people at the higher levels may not even realize is happening. CEOs, Corporate Executives, and Market Managers focus their discussions on sales, investments, expenses, radio’s increased listening percentages, and the importance of growing digital and mobile revenue.

But, do you know which one area isn’t mentioned? Their products!

It’s the brand, and the programming it provides that leads a person to listen, and grow from being a casual fan to a station advocate. Without highlighting the reason why we matter to audiences, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.

The majority of people who attend these conferences want to learn why your brands matter, what you do to make them unique, how you’re positioning yourself in the digital space, and where you see the future. They want to absorb your passion for radio, not be treated to a sermon on business acquisitions, and why you’re debt-free or considering bankruptcy.

So why does this happen?

jobsThe honest answer is that most radio executives are removed from the product development portion of their organizations. They are focused on big picture growth, finding ways to monetize their investments, and networking with various industry people to help advance the company. They perk up and offer more opinion when digital is raised as a topic, but that’s because they see the majority of business heading in that direction, and they know they have to play in that space to warrant a larger piece of the revenue pie.

Look around the industry today and you’ll find numerous operations run by people with strong sales backgrounds. There’s nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, understanding business and how to make money is an important aspect of the job.

But so is recognizing what makes your brand’s special, and the reasons why they succeed. If an organization’s leader doesn’t have a passion and understanding about the brand’s they’re responsible for, and why they matter, they’re missing out on the most important sale of all. It’s easy to toss around catchphrases like “content is king”, and maybe you’ll hide out in the weeds for a while and trick people, but at some point, listeners and advertisers start to vacate and results begin to dip if they sense you’re unattached to your products.

Can you imagine if Facebook didn’t have Mark Zuckerberg or Apple never had Steve Jobs? The reason why companies like Apple, and Facebook (two of the best of all-time) have been a giant success is because they were run by people who understood business but had a deep passion and connection to the product.

If you look at the annual keynote addresses provided by both groups, they’re well attended, and covered by various national media outlets because people genuinely want to hear what they have planned for the future. It’s easy to buy in and see the vision because the discussion revolves around the product, the future, and how each brand will work to further satisfy its consumer’s growing wants and needs. They focus on innovation, and pleasing their fans, not their investors. It’s the old adage “if you build it, they will come”.

Because they deliver fascinating products, it leads to results. Yes the business does matter, and each are in business to turn profits, but make no mistake about it, they succeed because of a vision for their brands, and an ability to passionately communicate it to those who pay attention.

markzNow imagine Tim Cook (Jobs’ successor) or Zuckerberg leading one of these radio conferences. They’d be given a stack of papers to explain ratings growth, stock price activity, company debt, and how to generate more sales. When the subject of programming and product improvements are raised, they’d defer to someone else, because they don’t have the answers.

As I listened to numerous sessions where questions were asked to panel members about finding new talent, creating exclusive digital content, incorporating video into radio, and fighting off competition from Pandora, Spotify, and Satellite Radio, I heard a lot of generic replies, and a whole lot of insufficient details. That’s not a good look.

There are certain sessions during a media conference that will pass with flying colors (Fred Jacobs’ innovation session). There are other ones which will appeal to your personal interests (Mike and Mike enter the HOF). Unfortunately though I find myself leaving many of these trips with more questions than answers. I just hope the younger generation who are considering a career in our industry aren’t doing the same.

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Jeff Catlin, John Mamola, Gordy Rush & Maggie Clifton Join The 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

Jason Barrett

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We’re less than two months away from the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles. This year’s conference takes place on March 21-22, 2023 at the Founders Room inside of the Galen Center at USC. Many industry professionals are set to attend but sports media folks tend to be a last minute crowd whether it’s buying a ticket, reserving a room or committing to be a sponsor. Yes, tickets, rooms, and a select few sponsorships are still available, but the longer you wait, the more you risk not being in the room, featured as a partner, and paying higher prices for travel. To make sure you have a seat and a place to stay, log on to BSMSummit.com. For sponsorship inquiries, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

I am really excited about this year’s Summit. The venue is tremendous, the agenda is coming together nicely, and there’s no doubt we’ll have great weather when we gather in LA. Some have asked me why I don’t reveal the full schedule of sessions months in advance, and it’s because I believe in swinging for the fences and trying to do big things. To do that, you’ve got to be willing to invest time and explore every opportunity that can be impactful. It’d be much easier to fill the schedule and be done with everything but if it’s going to take a little longer to deliver the best speakers, discussions and experiences for all in the room, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Those involved in the creation of this conference know that I set a very high standard for it. We’ve run some great events over the years, and it’s because we put everything we have into making sure each session is valuable to a different segment of the industry. My goal each year is to present an action packed agenda that helps people learn, gain access to information to improve themselves and/or their brands, and create a few connections and memorable moments to justify it being worth a few days away out of the office or studio. If we can do that, it makes the sacrifices worthwhile. If we can’t execute at a high level, then I’d probably pass on doing it.

Before I tell you about the four people we’re adding to our speaker lineup, I do want to remind you that we recently announced a contest for California college students. We’re giving away ten (10) FREE tickets to the show courtesy of Steve Kamer Voiceovers. If you know a student in California please let them know about this. If they’re not in California but want to attend the event, we’ve created a special college rate to make it affordable for young people. Everything is listed on BSMSummit.com.

Now, for the new additions to the lineup.

I’m excited to welcome Jeff Catlin of The Ticket in Dallas to the Summit. This will be Jeff’s first Summit visit, and I appreciate him making time to share his programming wisdom with the rest of the room. Jeff will be part of a programming panel that kicks off day #2. That panel will include Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Raj Sharan of Denver’s Sports Station 104.3 The Fan, and our next addition, John Mamola of WDAE. John has been at all of our events dating back to our first test event in Chicago. I’m looking forward to giving him an opportunity to offer his programming insights alongside this talented group.

Also joining the Summit lineup is Maggie Clifton, Blue Wire’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. Maggie has played a vital role in growing Blue Wire’s revenue, and I’m looking forward to having her join Barstool Sports’ SVP, Head of Sales Matt Berger, and Magellan AI’s Chief Revenue Officer John Goforth on a panel that focuses on digital monetization.

Guiding that conversation will be Guaranty Media’s Gordy Rush. The Baton Rouge Vice President and General Manager who doubles as LSU’s sideline reporter on football broadcasts is well versed in monetizing content, and understanding the opportunities and challenges broadcasters face. I’m confident those in the room charged with maximizing digital revenue for their brands will gain great value from these four professionals.

There’s much more in the works that I’m looking forward to announcing in the coming weeks. Whether you own a company, manage a cluster as a GM, lead a sales team, host or produce a podcast or radio/TV show, buy advertising, oversee a brand’s social media strategy or program a network or local outlet, there’s something for every sports media professional at the BSM Summit. I invite you to come see for yourself. To do so, visit BSMSummit.com.

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Jimmy Powers to Receive The Mark Chernoff Award at the 2023 BSM Summit

“Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award.”

Jason Barrett

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As a former programmer turned consultant, I pay more attention than most to those who lead brands, manage talent, and create consistent success. When you look across the country at the hundreds of stations delivering sports radio content, and analyze who operates at a high level, there’s maybe ten to twenty who are changing the game, and others who are rising and hoping to become a bigger part of the conversation.

What makes this annual award special in addition to having Mark Chernoff’s name on it, is that it’s voted on by eighteen industry heavyweights. These are folks tasked with overseeing radio companies, major networks, and having exceptional track records of broadcasting success. So when they vote and an individual earns an honor, it means a little more.

If you’re in the business and follow sports radio, then you’re aware of Mark Chernoff’s accomplishments as a program director. He was one of the true architects and consistent winners, and his ability to excel as a sports radio manager has influenced and shaped many careers. Mark graciously agreed to be part of our awards ceremony a few years ago when I approached him with the idea in New York City. I’m thrilled to share that although he doesn’t attend many industry conferences on the west coast, he will be with us at the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles for the ceremony.

Which brings me to this year’s winner.

It is my honor to congratulate the leader of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Jimmy Powers. Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award. He follows Rick Radzik of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, and Mitch Rosen of 670 The Score in Chicago. Jimmy will be in attendance at the Summit to pick up the award, and will take part in a program director panel at the show. Further details on that to be shared next week.

“It’s such a great honor not only to be mentioned in the same breath with Mark Chernoff, but to receive the ‘Mark Chernoff Award’ is really, really cool” shared 97.1 The Ticket Program Director Jimmy Powers. “With so many great program directors across the country who are deserving of this award, I truly appreciate the recognition.”

Since late 2009, Powers has led the Detroit sports radio station to unmatched local success. Brought in to build upon what was created by the late great Tom Bigby, he’s helped The Ticket become one of the format’s best examples of success. The station has consistently dominated the Male 25-54 demo, while also becoming a ratings force with Persons 12+ and Adults 25-54.

“Jimmy has done an amazing job over the years running 97.1 the Ticket,” said legendary sports radio programmer Mark Chernoff. “He knows how to work with talent, and maintain balance while managing relationships with the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons, which is not an easy job. The ratings remain high, and the Ticket continues to be one of America’s top sports stations, which reflects the great work Jimmy has done as the station’s program director.”

In addition to delivering double digit shares, quarterly ratings wins, and presenting a star studded lineup and Michigan’s top sports franchises, The Ticket has taken home plenty of hardware too. The station has won the Marconi award for best sports station in 2016 and 2022. And now, they can add the 2023 Mark Chernoff Award to their trophy case.

“2022 was another big year for The Ticket, and many in Detroit deserve credit for the brand’s consistent success, but none more so than their exceptional brand leader, Jimmy Powers,” added BSM President Jason Barrett. “Jimmy has been a staple of consistency, guiding one of the crown jewels of sports radio, managing top personalities, important play by play partnerships, and helping the brand generate large revenues. I’m thrilled that our industry voters took notice of the fantastic work Jimmy has done and look forward to celebrating his career and accomplishments in Los Angeles this March.”

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California College Students Earn Chance to Win 10 Free Tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit Thanks to Steve Kamer Voiceovers

“In order to win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event.”

Jason Barrett

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With a new year comes renewed energy and optimism for the sports media business. Yours truly is looking forward to showcasing the best our business has to offer when we gather the industry in Los Angeles, CA at the 2023 BSM Summit at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California on March 21-22, 2023. Our conference is returning to the west coast for the first time since 2019. We’ve announced some super talented speakers. We’ve got additional things in the works and I plan to make additional announcements in the next few weeks.

People often ask me what the biggest challenge is putting this event together. My answer is always the same, it’s getting people to leave the comfort of their office and spend two days in a room together learning and discussing ways to grow the business. We have great sponsorship support and exceptional people on stage and are fortunate to have a lot of folks already set to attend. Our venue this year has extra space though, so I’m hoping a few more of you make time to join us. If you haven’t bought a ticket or reserved your hotel room, visit BSMSummit.com to make sure you’re all set.

If there’s one thing our industry could get better at it’s opening our minds to new ideas and information. There’s more than one path to success. Just because you’re in good shape today doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow. Building brands, growing audiences, increasing revenue, and examining new opportunities is an ongoing process. There are many shifts along the way. We may not solve every business challenge during our two-days together but you’ll leave the room more connected and informed than when you entered it.

Each year I’ll get two or three emails from folks sharing that they learned more about the industry in two-days at the Summit than they have in ___ years inside of their building. That’s truly gratifying and what I strive to achieve when I put this event together. I remember when conferences like this didn’t exist for format folks and I take the risk and invest the time and resources to create it because I love the sports media industry and believe I can help it thrive. I see great value in gathering professionals to share ideas, information, and meet others who can help them grow their business, and if we do our part, I’m confident some will want to work with us too. That’s how we benefit over the long haul.

But as much as I focus on serving the professional crowd, I also think we have a responsibility to educate young people who are interested, passionate, and taking steps to be a part of our business in the future. The BSM website is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and it’s become a valuable resource for folks who enjoy sports radio and television. I think it’s vital to use our platform, influence and two-day event to connect generations and I’m happy to announce that we will once again welcome college students at this year’s Summit.

Most of us who’ve been in this line of work for two or three decades learned the business without podcasts, YouTube, social media, the web or conferences delivering two full days of sessions that taught you more about the business than what’s available inside of a class room. We learned by doing, and hoping we were right. Then we copied others who had success. Some of that still exists, and that’s not a bad thing. But where our business goes in the future is going to be drastically different.

I’d like to see the difference makers in our format remembered for years to come, and practices that have stood the test of time remain valued down the line. Change is inevitable in every business and I’m excited about the road that lies ahead especially some of the technological advancements that are now available or will soon become a bigger part of our industry. I think we can embrace the future while enjoying the present and celebrating the past. The best way to do that is by bringing together everyone who is and is hoping to be a part of the sports media universe.

So here’s two things we’re doing to make sure future broadcasters have an opportunity to learn with us.

First, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Steve Kamer Voiceovers. Thanks to Steve’s generosity, TEN (10) college students will be given FREE tickets to attend the 2023 BSM Summit in March. Steve is a USC graduate (Class of 1985) and he bought the ten tickets to help young people learn about the industry, save money and make valuable connections. When I first received his order, I thought he hit the wrong button. I reached out to tell him a mistake was made and I needed to refund him. That’s when he told me what he wanted to do for students who were pursuing their broadcasting dreams just as we both did years ago. A very classy gesture on his part.

As it pertains to the contest, here’s how it’s going to work.

To win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event. Included in your email should be a list of steps that you’ve taken or are pursuing to explore opportunities in the media industry. If you want to pass along a resume and audio or video clips too to showcase your work and experience, that’s fine as well. BSM will accept submissions until February 17th. The winners will be announced on Friday February 24th.

Helping me select the winners will be an exceptional panel of media executives. Each of these folks below will choose one person to attend our L.A. event. The final two will be picked by Steve Kamer and myself.

  • Scott Shapiro – Senior Vice President, FOX Sports Radio
  • Justin Craig – Senior Program Director, ESPN Radio
  • Jeff Sottolano – Executive Vice President, Programming, Audacy
  • Bruce Gilbert – Senior Vice President of Sports, Cumulus Media & Westwood One
  • Amanda Gifford – Vice President, Content Strategy & Audio, ESPN
  • Jacob Ullman – Senior Vice President, Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports
  • Greg Strassell – Senior Vice President, Programming, Hubbard Radio
  • Scott Sutherland – Executive Vice President, Bonneville International

To qualify for the BSM Summit College Contest, students must be enrolled in college in the state of California, pursuing a degree that involves course work either in radio, television, print or the digital business. Those attending local trade schools with a focus on broadcasting are also welcome to participate. You must be able to take care of your own transportation and/or lodging.

This is a contest I enjoy running. We’ve had great participation during our prior two shows in New York City but haven’t done it before on the west coast. I’m hoping it’s helpful to California students and look forward to hearing from many of them during the next month.

For students who live out of state and wish to attend or those enrolled at local universities who enter the contest but aren’t lucky enough to win one of the ten free tickets from Steve Kamer Voiceovers, we are introducing a special two-day college ticket for just $124.99. You must provide proof that you’re currently in school to take advantage of the offer. This ticket gives you access to all of our sessions inside the Founders Club. College tickets will be limited to forty (40) seats so take advantage of the opportunity before it expires.

The 2023 BSM Summit will feature award ceremonies with Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan and legendary WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, sessions with influential on-air talent such as Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, and Mina Kimes, big picture business conversations with executives from groups such as Audacy, iHeart, Bonneville, Good Karma Brands, Barstool, The Volume, Omaha Productions and more. For details on tickets and hotel rooms visit BSMsummit.com.

I look forward to seeing you in March in Los Angeles!

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