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Why Great Brands Never Stop Making Adjustments

Jason Barrett

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If you want to watch a group of people freak out, utter the one word that makes them uncomfortable – change! The minute they hear it, overreactions take center stage. If you can navigate your way through the threats, and insults, and avoid reversing course due to public pressure, you can stumble into success and enjoy a wonderful journey.

Take for example last week’s radio news in San Francisco. KNBR came to terms on an agreement with John Lund which will move him from middays with Greg Papa on 95.7 The Game, to afternoons with Tom Tolbert on KNBR once his contract expires in July. Lund is an incredibly talented host who will fit well with Tolbert, but KNBR was atop the ratings without him. One could make the case, “why mess with a good thing if it was already working”?

By adding John to their lineup, they not only put Tom in a stronger position, but they created long-term stability in afternoons with a host who knows how to get best out of his partners. They also added a fresh new voice to their lineup, and pulled someone away from their competitor, who was part of a show which was having ratings success against KNBR. That should give the brand confidence that Lund can be a solid ratings performer alongside Tolbert.

Although the majority of feedback was positive, not everyone was a fan of the move.

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The same story took place on the east coast too, where 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland announced they were promoting Anthony Lima to the morning show to join Ken Carman. Having listened to the show a few times during its transition period, it was obvious that Ken and Anthony had good chemistry, a lot in common, and sounded invested in the local sports scene. Once again, most of the feedback was positive, but some still took exception to it.

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These type of responses happen in sports radio all the time, and it doesn’t make them right or wrong. If anything, it should serve as motivation to the talent to prove that the new program will be great. When a show can convert critics to fans, that makes the job a lot more fun.

As common as it is in radio to hear listeners complain about changes, it’s even more magnified when it involves television personalities.

Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock have yet to debut their new program “Speak For Yourself” on FS1, but that hasn’t stopped many from reading the show its last rites. Skip Bayless hasn’t even left ESPN yet to join FS1, but his show too has already been written off. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know when it will air or who will be involved, critics who dislike Skip can’t fathom the idea that the program could possibly work. If you think each of those moves have generated a response, just wait until ESPN names Bayless’ replacement. ”

Jamie Horowitz, Fox Sports’ National Networks President who put Colin-Whitlock together, and stole Bayless away from ESPN, has already been labeled incompetent, and the dumbest sports media executive on the planet for attempting to create a sports television formula similar to Fox News, one which he’s already proven to be successful for his former employer.

Does Horowitz’s past success mean that he can stick any two people together, and have them debate topics and enjoy a rapid rise in television ratings? Not at all. But if it’s what he knows and does best, and it’s produced results, and he’s adding people who understand how to execute the vision, why wouldn’t he attempt it again?

Ask yourself this question, if you were Jamie Horowitz, and Fox hired you based on your track record of creating opinion led programming, would you really try to build a network without using your best pitch? That’d be like telling Randy Johnson not to use his fastball just to prove he can win without it. That makes zero sense.

Every single move in the media is going to draw mixed reviews. That comes with the territory when you work in a public business. But what’s important to understand is why brands must freshen up their presentations, introduce new personalities and programming, and avoid overreacting to immediate feedback.

People dislike the unknown. Whether it’s changing schools, jobs, the homes they live in, or even throwing away that one pair of sneakers that they’ve worn for the past few years, saying goodbye to something we’re comfortable with is difficult.

But people also get bored. When they lose interest, it’s hard to reel them back in. You might be the show they’ve grown up with, but if they view you as a part of their past, and irrelevant to their present or future, is that really helping you?

As much as we prefer routine, we also get sick of it. The thought of something new terrifies us, and leaves a pit in our stomachs. It also peaks our curiosity. It’s that suspense that leads us to check out new things, even if our first instincts were to reject them.

Don’t believe me? Turn on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News, and take a look at how many politicians have done a full reversal on Donald Trump.

To keep listeners/viewers interested, it’s important to disrupt patterns, and introduce new layers. For decades, people stuck with the same things because it was frowned upon if they attempted to satisfy their own individual tastes. They drove the same cars, kept the same jobs, ate at the same restaurants, and even stayed in the same marriages.

In professional sports, players used to report to the minors, and spend four to five years developing before being called up to perform at the major league level. Today, players like Bryce Harper, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant are rushed into action, and expected to dominate immediately. Although they may have experienced some growing pains along the way, most of them have proven that it’s a different era, and that they can handle the expectations.

On the other hand, one thing that’s drastically different is that there are no longer five to ten year plans in professional sports, let alone the sports media business. We perform in a win-now business, that exists in a “what have you done for me lately” world! You can put your vision on paper, and sell it to corporate bosses behind closed doors, but at some point in time, that strategy will require an adjustment. Everyone preaches patience, and the importance of understanding the big picture, but if progress isn’t experienced within two years, that’s when the finger pointing begins.

One brand which is always under fire is ESPN. When you’re the top dog in the sports media industry that’s to be expected. Critics quickly point out SportsCenter’s declining ratings, and the network’s loss of key talent. What they’re not as fast to point out is how the network still trumps every sports provider for audience size on-air and online, or how the company still employs the largest collection of on-air media talent in the entire sports business. That doesn’t mean they don’t face challenges, but few brands can sustain them the way the mothership has.

Speaking of moves, two big changes were made at the network yesterday. Mike Tirico’s departure to NBC was confirmed, but so were the exits of Ray Lewis, and Cris Carter. Stepping in to fill their voids are Sean McDonough, and Randy Moss. McDonough assumes Tirico’s spot in the MNF booth, and Moss is expected to take over for Carter, and/or Lewis.

If you’ve paid attention over the years, ESPN is known for giving its NFL programming a fresh coat of paint every few years. They do this to keep people interested in the programming.

We can debate which talents were great, and which ones weren’t, but shows like “NFL Countdown” have featured Steve Young, Michael Irvin, Jim Kelly, Bill Parcells, Rush Limbaugh, Keyshawn Johnson, Cris Carter, and Mike Ditka. Each of those men have had stellar careers and proven themselves worthy as analysts but that hasn’t stopped the network from changing the cast. They enter the 2016 season with a new cast of characters which is expected to include Charles Woodson, Matt Hasselbeck, and Randy Moss.

What that shows the viewer is that ESPN is committed to featuring compelling people, and providing a new reason to check out the show each season. The changes aren’t necessarily a reflection of the previous talent not doing something right, as much as they are about keeping things fresh, and offering players who are recently removed, but still connected to the game. I myself can appreciate what some of those former analysts brought to the table, but I’ll definitely tune in to see what Moss, Woodson, and Hasselbeck have to offer.

Think about your favorite television sitcoms or series. They usually run for three or four months, and include a variety of characters and different storylines, leading up to a season finale ends which ends with a twist, and leaves you in suspense wanting more. When the show returns a few months later, it has a new feel and approach. That’s done to help the program avoid becoming stale, and remain top of mind. If new elements aren’t introduced to draw people back in and keep them excited, ratings may decline, and the show could be cancelled.

In sports radio though, there is no off-season, so I’m going to use the WWE as a comparison since they deal with the same challenge.

This past April, the company’s signature event, WrestleMania 32, was held. It’s a major event which this year drew more than 100,000 fans to AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Another million plus people in the United States and internationally watched the program on pay per view and the WWE Network.

WrestleMania is supposed to be the show which brings closure to many of the company’s biggest storylines of the year. But after it’s over, a new season begins the following night on Monday Night Raw. In twenty four hours, the company has to close the door on multiple angles, and introduce new characters, storylines, and twists and turns. If they fail on Monday night, the previous night’s momentum loses value.

Now think about that as if it were your radio show. If on Friday you delivered your normal talk show, and on Monday you were due to receive a big boost in listening due to more sampling, what would you do to get people talking, and make them want to tune in again the next day?

From a week to week standpoint it might be difficult to introduce wholesale changes, but it absolutely can be and should be done on a seasonal or annual basis. All that requires is creativity and effective game planning.

Depending on what moves the needle most in your town, maybe it makes sense to introduce new regular guest appointments throughout one of those seasons. Or maybe you create a day where you pair two popular station personalities from two different shows together for an hour in-studio. You can also create roundtable debates, topical features, branded hours, themed road shows, and a number of other programming ideas. It all comes down to what suits your style and your audience’s interests.

Regardless of which path you choose, the goal is to keep people listening, talking, and wanting to come back. Whether it’s an annual makeover, a seasonal adjustment, or a monthly tweak, the more you keep the audience on their toes in suspense, and looking forward to new developments with your show, the better your chances of turning them into long-term fans.

And don’t think that this only applies when you’re trailing in the ratings. The best shows make adjustments when they’re on top. You don’t see professional sports teams standing pat at the trade deadline when they’re in first place and have an opportunity to add someone who can help them win a championship. That same mentality is necessary in keeping your program and/or station fresh.

If your personality, and presentation is strong, and new twists and turns are introduced to keep listeners excited, the audience will buy what you’re selling – even if their immediate reaction is to reject it. But, remember that people will change a car, job, and even a marriage, so if you treat them to a predictable brand of programming, don’t be surprised when they treat you to a sticker that reads “you’ve been replaced”.

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

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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

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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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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.

But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?

As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.

Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.

Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.

I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.

What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.

As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.

Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.

But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.

Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.

There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.

I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.

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