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Staying Ahead of the Curve In Sports Radio

Jason Barrett



In sports media circles it’s well documented that Jamie Horowitz is looking to turn Fox Sports 1 into an opinion driven programming network. He’s gone on the record numerous times stating that he’d like to add what he calls “opinionists” to his channel’s roster. Personalities such as Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, Jason Whitlock, Clay Travis, and Nick Wright are fit that description.

Whether the vision and execution will work is yet to be determined, but what I appreciate about Horowitz’s strategy is that he’s aiming to develop his network as the place to turn to for the opinion leaders in sports media. So much of today’s sports content is built from reaction to what unfolds in sporting events, and commentaries made by those playing or talking about sports, so choosing to build a brand around opinionated personalities and content isn’t a bad idea. Many have said he’s essentially taking sports talk radio and putting it on television.

When you look at how Fox Sports 1 stacks up presently, they’re way behind the worldwide leader in sports in many categories. Awareness, ratings, play by play deals, digital growth and even the size of the talent roster, all fall short of ESPN. They’re also nearly forty years behind in terms of branding, comfortability, and dependability with the audience.

To turn the tide in their favor it’ll likely take a decade or more, and that’s assuming they continue to make major improvements. The process will be long, painful, emotionally exhausting, and it’ll require smart strategy, risk taking, change, and achievable short-term and long-term goals, and a firm commitment, and great amount of patience from the higher ups at Fox Sports.

Even then, the plan still may not work. But what will take place if they stay committed is the creation of a legitimate competitor, and a brand with an identity which differs from ESPN. That gives the viewer a choice when seeking sports programming.

The reason I’m interested in their approach is because I see them seizing one part of ESPN’s identity, and looking to build their own empire around it. For sports fans, ESPN represents multiple things. They offer an abundance of play by play, SportsCenter, high level reporting, opinion driven programs, documentaries, and a collection of high profile personalities. It’s their mission to serve sports fans everywhere, and venture into all areas of sports programming, not necessarily focus on one particular area.

By placing less focus on highlight shows, documentaries, and reporting, Fox Sports is putting all of their eggs in the opinion basket. In doing so, they’re hoping to establish an identity, and generate enough traction to put themselves in position in the future to consider adding other elements to that strategy.

Which brings me to the radio industry. If there’s one area where the business underperforms, it’s in creating the next big trends in original programming. From digital to podcasting to ratings measurement, and other areas, staying ahead of the curve has never been radio’s strong suit.

Today, if you turn on your television, you’ll find a strong supply of sports programming options. Channels such as ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, SEC Network, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, NBC Sports Network, CBS Sports Network, NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, and the NHL Network all have something for you to enjoy. I didn’t even mention all of the regional sports programming channels, TNT’s select coverage, the Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, beIN Sports, Pac-12 and Big Ten Networks, or the slew of others.

When you examine the digital space, another wide variety of options exists. If you’re in the mood to read sports content, ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo Sports, Bleacher Report, Vice Sports, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, and Sporting News are available. If those brands don’t meet your needs, each sports league, and every single team in collegiate and professional sports has their own website. There are even other smaller sites which are built around specific sports, leagues, local regions, and personalities.

In sports radio, we find nearly eight hundred stations offering sports content. The majority of the formats though are similar. Brands are often attached to one of six national networks (ESPN, CBS, NBC, FOX, Yahoo, ESPN Deportes), and a large number use the same brand names, voice talent, and programming strategies.

Some of these stations will rely on their network associations to identify their brand. Other local talkers use monikers such as The Fan, The Ticket, The Game, The Score, The Zone, or The Team. The only things major differences are the personalities, content focus, network affiliations, and play by play associations. Even then, the content on these stations revolves around all-sports talk programming targeted towards each market’s local teams, and the biggest national stories making news.

We could debate station names, network associations, and the way many brands implement similar sounds and strategies, but I want to shine the light on a bigger issue – a lack of choice and originality for local audiences.

If you look at the top 25 markets, you’ll find a minimum of two sports stations offered in each city. In many cases, there are three or four radio stations offering sports talk programming. In nearly every one of these situations, each station provides all-sports programming. This means that the topics are driven by the news and results produced by the area’s local teams. Big national stories also warrant discussion.

Take for example the cities Denver, Houston, Miami and Portland. They each have at least four stations offering sports programming. Aside from offering different local shows, and on-air talent, and entering into business with different national sports networks, much of what they provide in terms of content is the same.

Sandwiched around their network hours are local programs which talk about the local market’s teams, take calls, interview guests, and possibly offer play by play of local or national games. They even provide sports updates two or three times per hour.

When the ratings and revenue are taken into account, some of these brands perform well. Others fall far below the mendoza line. For those that don’t pull their weight, they’ll either invest less, change the talent, or entertain a format change to something non-sports related. The one thing they rarely consider is a different way to present sports programming.

I want you to place yourself in the position of an owner of the third or fourth best performing sports station in a marketplace. If your competitors have a dedicated audience, strong ratings, and high revenues, do you honestly believe you’re going to make inroads by doing the same thing they do? Here let me save you a lot of time, money, and aggravation, you won’t.

So what can you do? How about doing some research in your market, discovering what matters most to people, and then creating a different form of sports programming?

Sports radio doesn’t have to consist of all-sports focused shows on radio stations which feature a mix of local and national content. It also doesn’t have to feature sports updates, personalities from the same walks of life, or the same voices and sounds that we’ve grown accustomed to.

This isn’t to suggest that you’re going to become the market’s leader by introducing a different version of the format, but if you want to create an identity, separate yourself from the competition, and help your ratings and revenue, sometimes being bold, and original pays off.

As you scroll through some of these possibilities, remember that they may work in some locations, but not in others. For example, a college sports radio network may be well received in the southeast, but not up north. This is where research comes into play. If you analyze the makeup of people in your city, and tap into their passions for specific sports, teams, people, and content, you’ll give yourself a fighting chance. That can be the difference between staying afloat, or sinking.

College Sports Programming Network: SiriusXM has done this incredibly well, and we’ve seen the same occur on television with the launch of the SEC Network, ESPNU, Pac-12 and Big Ten Network, and many others. So why hasn’t the format been offered by terrestrial radio?

Is it not possible for a company to create it and offer it to a number of stations in markets where the programming has mass appeal? Don’t you think local radio companies in college towns would have an interest?

If a group launched an all-college sports programming network, and partnered with a company like Learfield, IMG, or Westwood One to add college play by play to the mix, they’d have the ability to stand out in a number of locations. The focus would primarily be placed on football, and basketball. Other exceptions may be worth considering from time to time.

The right cities, towns, and regions have to be considered, and local operators have to be open to changing network affiliations, but if ratings and revenues aren’t high, that becomes a much easier conversation.

Hispanic Sports Programming Network: This is an area that even the television industry should be taking a closer look at. First of all, there are over three hundred and fifteen million people in the United States. Caucasians are the largest group of people, but Hispanics now represent 15% of the total population. That makes them the second largest race in our country.

When you look at states like New York, California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, the percentages rise to well above 25%. In major cities it’s an even bigger deal. For example, Miami is 51%, Los Angeles 43%, Houston 34%, San Diego 31%, and New York City is 24%. Other major cities such as Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, and San Francisco are all above 20%.

These aren’t just some of the largest markets in America, they’re also the locations where most of the nation’s advertising gets done. Buyers realize that the Hispanic population is rapidly growing, and selling products has to extend beyond Caucasian males and females.

Rather than introduce the seventh or eighth sports television channel or launch another sports radio station which does the same exact thing, how about building a programming around Hispanic talent? I’m not suggesting either that the content be presented in Spanish. It would be delivered in English by a station comprised of Hispanic personalities.

Many in our industry label Los Angeles, Miami and Houston as weak sports markets, yet each of them are heavily Hispanic and under represented on the local airwaves. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that connecting to that audience in each of those cities is important. If done right, it could produce great results. Some will suggest that it won’t, but until I see someone try and fail, I remain optimistic about the idea.

Black Sports Programming Network: Similar to the Hispanic programming idea, African Americans are also under represented, especially on sports radio. In television, we have channels like BET which cater to the African American viewer. In radio, multiple companies have launched urban brands which have been well received by predominantly black audiences. Urban sports for some reason hasn’t been considered, at least not on-air.

In the digital space, The Undefeated was launched by ESPN. Another website Black Sports Online operated by Robert Littal has also entered the fray.

But why hasn’t radio examined the possibility? It can’t be for a lack of options. Personalities like Stephen A. Smith, Michael Smith, Jemele Hill, Stuart Scott, Jason Whitlock, and Michael Strahan have proven they can shine on the national stage, and local talents such as The 2 Live Stews, Michael Holley, and Terry Foster have demonstrated they can be difference makers too.

So why not explore it further?

According to the U.S Census Bureau, in Washington DC, African Americans outrank Caucasians 48% to 36%. In states like Mississippi, and Georgia, blacks represent 31% of the population. In Maryland it’s 29%, and in South Carolina, and Alabama, the number stands at 27%.

I’m not suggesting that a network or locally programmed station featuring all black personalities would play in every part of the country, but I challenge you to show me proof of why it wouldn’t work in some of these locations. I can find local brands built around network programming in many of these towns that don’t deliver a big number, yet an idea like this isn’t even considered, even though the statistical data suggests it’d be worth discussing.

Team Centered Sports Radio Stations: We’ve seen a few teams own radio stations, and face backlash because their content is viewed as being team controlled. But what if an independently owned radio station chose to brand themselves around a local team, and focus their entire content presentation around them? Would it be different?

Some stations seek to be everything to everyone, rather than tapping into the one or two teams that matter most. Imagine if you ran a third sports station in New York. If you went up against WFAN, and ESPN NY, and offered the same strategy that they do with different talent, you’d get killed. But if you positioned yourself as the New York Football Network, that would at least peak the curiosity of local football fans.

Using that approach, all of your shows would be built around the Giants, and Jets, and the rest of the NFL. Your talent roster would feature people who were recognizable to New York football fans, and had strong knowledge and passion to discuss the sport. You could even supplement your coverage by adding Monday, Thursday, and Sunday night football, or aim to pry away the rights to one of the market’s two local teams when their deals expired.

This isn’t just a New York idea either. If you were running the third or fourth station in another market, and a local team had a stranglehold on local audience and advertiser interest, connecting your brand to them would be wise. Teams love being the center of attention, and certain ones carry such prestige with the audience that it’s impossible to deny the value of being connected to them.

If your radio station was built around non-stop Lakers in Los Angeles, 24/7 Cowboys in Dallas, or all access Giants in San Francisco, you’d be further ahead than you would by positioning yourself as the third or fourth all-sports programming alternative. Would there be periods of the year when your station isn’t a destination? Yes. But, when you add it all up, you’d have many more months of strong listenership, and a unique identity in the marketplace. The brands sitting on top would definitely be aware of your presence.

Action Sports Programming Network: Imagine if a channel was built around the UFC, Boxing, and Pro Wrestling. Your immediate reaction is to tell me that it’d be too niche. A format like that would only make sense for SiriusXM or on a podcasting platform. And therein lies one of radio’s massive problems. It operates inside of the same box too frequently.

Did you know that of the top 50 podcasts in sports and leisure, 11 of them are either wrestling, or mixed martial arts related? Did you know that over one million people subscribe to the WWE Network? How about the pay per view business, what brings in its largest revenues? That would be Boxing, and the UFC.

Do you think the UFC, WWE, and Boxing world don’t attract advertisers, audiences, or ratings? On a weekly basis, the WWE is watched by three to four million people on Monday night’s and a few million more on Thursday’s. They also reach younger audiences which is why ESPN entered into a partnership with Vince McMahon’s company. I’m not even taking into account the audiences which watch other wrestling promotions on television.

Would this type of format work everywhere? No. Is it built better for SiriusXM than others? Probably. But would it not have appeal in certain local cities? That one we can debate.

How many local stations do we see across this country deliver weak ratings, little revenue, and offer the same exact strategy as the competition, only not as good? It happens more than you may realize. If a station or network was built around personalities like Jay Glazer, Joe Rogan, Mike Goldberg, Teddy Atlas, Chuck Liddell, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, and Jim Ross, it would have appeal.

Audiences are already seeking out the content. If radio made it easier to hear and find, some cities might just surprise you with their level of interest in the programming.

Bye Bye Sports Updates, Hello NFL Reports: The NFL is now a twelve month, three hundred sixty five days per year sport. It’s the number one subject that audiences crave, and it stretches beyond local borders. Ratings, and rights fees are at record highs, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. It’s why sports radio loves the fall, and dreads other parts of the calendar year.

In 2016, sports fans seek out information by reading multiple websites, and following specific brands and people on social media. If you think you’re giving them something they don’t know in a sports update by pointing out when your local team’s game airs later that evening or what happened the night before, you’re simply insulting their intelligence. That’s the classic case of doing updates the way they’ve always been done.

I should point out that I don’t believe sports stations need to air three updates per hour. I’m not sure they’re even needed. I love the addition of an extra voice, and I see value in using audio to redirect the audience back to your website to listen to a podcast, or piece of content from another show, but game previews, recaps, and scoring updates are a waste of air time.

However, what is undisputable, is that sports radio listeners love football. Having three to four minutes per hour to use on your airwaves for updates can be worthwhile if the content is branded, and presented around the NFL. If a station were to switch their SportsCenter, Sport Flash or Sports Update, to NFL reports, I believe the interest level would increase.

First of all, the audience is aware of local sports issues, and the bigger national stories. They aren’t always aware of what’s being discussed in other cities in print and on sports radio. If you can gather good football related audio or written stories from other areas, and present something different than what the on-air host is providing, they’ll gain value from your reports.

One thing we know about football fans, they want to be informed, or given insight that will help them with their fantasy team or upcoming bets. If you’re going to remove two to three minutes per hour from your top talent to air a sports update, it better be news that your audience can use. Football content gives you that.

Facebook Live Programming Opportunities: Sports fans are voyeurs. They love video. They’ll even watch it online without the sound. They tune in for simulcasts of a local radio show on television. They eavesdrop on personalities who broadcast on Periscope. Now with Facebook Live available, it’s become an even bigger sensation.

So how do you take advantage of it?

If you’re programming a sports radio station, have you considered conducting video chats with your audience to discuss things taking place on your airwaves? If you’re a host, are you utilizing it before or after your show? How much more invested would your audience be in the current day’s show, if an hour before you hit the airwaves, they had an opportunity to share feedback with you on something you were considering doing that day but weren’t sure about? What if your show meeting was captured on it?

Maybe your brand has a deal with a local player to call-in weekly during the season, and as part of your next agreement, it includes one in-studio visit to one of your shows, and a separate 15-minute video chat with your audience. Players and agents are usually receptive, especially when they’re being compensated and given a platform to extend their brand. You might even offer to do the chat on their turf or an area of their choosing that would make the experience unique for the audience.

The world lives on Facebook. It’s your responsibility to figure out how to utilize it to your advantage. Between the airwaves, your website, email distribution, text message pushes, and social media, the opportunity to draw people to your Facebook Live video offerings is easy.

Remember this, every single thing you do in life now is a potential video moment. Every relationship you create and develop, possesses video potential. The more you dive in, and present yourself, the brand, and those you interact with in a strong light, and the more unique experiences you create in the space, the more attached your audience will become.


I could spend another thousand words explaining why an all-female sports programming network on television would have appeal. Why a network built around the greatest games in sports history would generate interest. How sports documentaries could be created for radio and turned into compelling programming. Or why a Spanish sports podcasting platform would draw an audience. But I think I’ve given you enough to chew on at this point.

I’m not going to predict that every one of these ideas will work. If introduced properly, offered in the right locations, and given reasonable goals and time to connect, they could. In the wrong places, with inferior talent, and run by groups expecting instant gratification, they’d fail.

It’s easy to debate what would or wouldn’t work, but the challenge is to continue thinking of different concepts, researching your market, and focusing your product strategy on what matters most to the people in your region. There’s no reason why we should consider ourselves restricted in this format. Music formats have discovered ways to create extensions of their formats, and sports can do the same. Given the results of some brands, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be testing more ideas.

Those that take the risk, not only will be trendsetters, but they’ll create additional buzz, and give themselves an opportunity to enjoy better ratings and revenue success. They’d also add some spice to a format that’s built on predictability, and either lacks the imagination to create new ideas, or fears the consequences of what might transpire if they installed them.

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Barrett Blogs

Nick Wright, Danny Parkins, Andrew Fillipponi and Omar Raja Join The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Jason Barrett



The buildup to the 2024 BSM Summit continues with our next speakers announcement. Media professionals looking to attend March’s show can secure seats at We’ve already announced Jeff Smulyan, Mark Chernoff, Don Martin, Bruce Gilbert, Scott Sutherland, Chris Oliviero, Scott Shapiro, Spike Eskin, Mitch Rosen, Paul Mason, Bonnie Bernstein and Damon Amendolara will be part of the event. We’ll have additional big names to reveal in the weeks and months ahead too so stay tuned for more.

Before I get into the latest group of speakers, I want to pass along some Barrett Media news.

First, when you log on to BSM and BNM on Monday December 4th, you’ll notice both sites operating with a new, cleaner look. We pump out a lot of daily content on our websites but finding all of it can be intimidating. We’re hoping the modifications make it easier to find and digest our content and look forward to your feedback on what we roll out next week.

Secondly, I’ve spent months going through a process to identify an Executive Editor for Barrett Media. The type of leader I’ve been looking for different from what exists at some online publications. I’ve spoken to a lot of smart, talented people during this process, many who I know could make us better. However, there is only one job available. Fortunately after going through an extensive search, I’ve identified someone who I’m interested in teaming with to help take Barrett Media to the next level. I hope to announce that hire and the addition of a number of new writers next week. I think our readers, partners and clients will like what’s on the horizon.

Third, we have opened up voting on the Barrett News Media Top 20 of 2023. The deadline to cast votes for News/Talk PD’s is next Monday December 4th. We will present the News/Talk radio format’s collective feedback December 11-15 and December 18 on

There’s other stuff on the way as well, but I’ll save the rest for next week. Let’s dive now into the latest additions to the Summit.

It is my pleasure to announce the additions of Nick Wright of FS1, Danny Parkins of 670 The Score in Chicago, Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, and Omar Raja of ESPN to the 2024 BSM Summit speaker lineup. All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Starting with Omar Raja, the work he did building House of Highlights into a powerhouse social brand is well documented. He now serves as a commentator for ESPN’s digital and social content, which includes being the leading voice behind ESPN’s SportsCenter Instagram account, and providing strategic social programming across ESPN’s social platforms. It’s not every day industry professionals gain an opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s top social media minds, so I’m hoping to see a lot of folks present when he shares his wisdom at the Summit.

Shifting from digital to on-air talent, one session I know many will be present for will include three personalities who have been highly successful in each of their careers, and share a lifelong bond through the friendships they formed while attending Syracuse University together. Nick Wright, Andrew Fillipponi, and Danny Parkins are three of the best in the business today, and all three will be on stage together to discuss their individual paths, their differing approaches to content creation, measuring and managing success, and much more. Having Damon Amendolara, another Syracuse graduate who’s been highly successful on the air, guide the session should make it even more interesting and entertaining for all in the room.

With these latest four individuals added to the lineup we’ve now secured sixteen top speakers for March’s show. I’m hoping to reveal the next group of participants in a few weeks. Once we get past the holidays I’ll start revealing the awards winners and a few executives who will be part of the conference.

I want to thank Steve Stone Voiceovers, Good Karma Brands, Bonneville International, Silver Tribe Media, Premiere Networks and the Motor Racing Network for returning as sponsors of the 2024 BSM Summit. If your group would like to explore a sponsorship opportunity for the show or review website or newsletter options for 2024, email Stephanie Eads at [email protected] to receive a copy of our advertising decks.

That’s the latest for now. More to come in December.

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Barrett Blogs

6 Speakers Added To The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

“Two of these individuals have built successful careers as on-air talent. Four remain involved in management and programming roles.”

Jason Barrett



Each year the BSM Summit welcomes a star studded group of high-profile talent, accomplished executives, top programmers, and successful digital leaders to examine the top issues facing the sports media business. The information provided arms each attendee with actionable ideas and solutions to improve their brands, shows, and individual performance, and our 2024 event in New York City promises to deliver more of what the industry has come to expect.

If you missed the initial announcement, we’re excited to be joined once again by Spike Eskin, Don Martin, Scott Shapiro, Mitch Rosen, Jeff Smulyan, and Mark Chernoff. Each of these men have enjoyed great success in the sports radio industry, and we appreciate them making time to join us and offer their insights at the Ailey Theater in NYC on March 13-14, 2024.

Today though it’s time to reveal the next group of speakers who will be part of our show. Two of these individuals have built successful careers as on-air talent. Four remain involved in management and programming roles for Audacy, Cumulus, and Bonneville International.

Starting with the on-air talent, I’m looking forward to having SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio morning host Damon Amendolara, and Emmy Award-winning American sports journalist and media executive Bonnie Bernstein join us for the 2024 BSM Summit. D.A. was part of our 2020 show in the concrete jungle. For Bonnie, this is her first time appearing. Specific sessions highlighting their involvement will be announced closer to the event.

On the executive side, I’m thrilled to welcome back Cumulus Media and Westwood One SVP of Sports Bruce Gilbert, Bonneville International EVP Scott Sutherland, and Audacy New York VP and Market Manager Chris Oliviero. I’m equally excited to have 104.5 The Zone Program Director Paul Mason make his first appearance at the conference. The collective knowledge, success, and relationships these men enjoy across our industry speaks volumes of why they’re trusted to lead and grow their respective brands and companies. It’s important for folks in the room to learn the business, not just the world of content, and I’m grateful to Chris, Scott, Bruce and Paul for helping us further educate the room.

We have a lot more lined up that we’ll announce in the weeks and months ahead. As has been our strategy throughout the years, we like to build the show and increase excitement for it. If you work in the media industry and wish to attend, tickets can be purchased by visiting On the conference website you’ll also find details about our hotel partner, M Social. Make sure to visit the Hotel page and book your reservation asap to avoid being left without a room later on. Our room block expires in mid-February.

Additionally, for those looking to be a part of the Summit as a marketing partner, please reach out to Stephanie Eads at [email protected]. We’ve already had a number of sponsorships for the event get scooped up, and the demand for show involvement is usually high. Before they all go away, check with Stephanie to see what’s available.

Expect another announcement prior to Thanksgiving. This is going to be another action packed event, and I look forward to once again seeing everyone as we bring the industry together to explore solutions to move the business forward.

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Spike Eskin, Mitch Rosen, Scott Shapiro, Don Martin, Jeff Smulyan, and Mark Chernoff to Speak at the 2024 BSM Summit

“This event is the equivalent of a two-day masterclass covering multiple areas of importance to the sports media industry.”

Jason Barrett



BSM Summit 2024

It’s hard to believe that we’ll soon be delivering our 6th sports media conference, but that is indeed the case. The 2024 BSM Summit is returning to New York City on March 13-14, 2024 at the Ailey Citigroup Theater on West 55th Street. This was our venue for our 2020 show. It was fantastic. A big stage, big screen, and great viewing for attendees. We would have gone back here in 2022 if not for the pandemic. Unfortunately, they were shut down at that time. But, the world is somewhat back to normal now, and I’m eager to be back in the building to create another action packed agenda to benefit sports radio, television, podcasting, and advertising professionals.

Tickets are now officially on sale for the Summit. If you work in the industry and wish to attend, tickets are regularly priced at $274.99 each. However, as we do each year, we kick it off with a special sale. Prices are reduced through October 31st to $224.99 so if you want to save a few dollars on your ticket, this is a good time to get yours. We also have a special ticket price of $124.99 established for college students who are pursuing the media business and looking to attend and learn. To buy tickets, click HERE.

When March rolls around, we’ll have a full agenda featuring top speakers from across the country. I’ve already lined up some of them and will introduce them selectively in the weeks and months ahead. This event is the equivalent of a two-day masterclass covering multiple areas of importance to the sports media industry. A special focus is placed on programming, revenue, content, technology, digital/social and recognizing difference makers. The purpose of the event is to inform, inspire, celebrate, and innovate. I’m a fan of an old quote from Benjamin Franklin which says “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest“, and if you attend our conference and don’t leave the room in a stronger position to advance your career or improve your business, then I’d question if you paid attention or were even in the room.

Before I start announcing high profile personalities, executives, and the annual surprises folks have come to expect from our shows, I thought I’d do things a little different this year. Those who know me understand that I now work with brands in a consulting capacity but at my core, I’m a programming executive. I love strategy, brand building, the challenges associated with growing a business, and going under the hood to examine what’s working and what needs fixing. So too do these next four gentlemen.

I’m pleased to welcome back to the Summit the EVP of iHeartmedia Sports, Don Martin, Fox Sports Radio’s SVP of Programming Scott Shapiro, the VP of Programming for WFAN and CBS Sports Radio and Audacy’s VP of Sports Spike Eskin, and the VP of Programming for 670 The Score and the BetQL Network, Mitch Rosen.

In addition, one part of our show that’s been extremely popular over the years has been the awards presentation. Thanks to our friends at Premiere Radio Networks, that will continue in 2024.

For starters, each year we recognize an industry executive with the Jeff Smulyan Award, given to someone in leadership who has made a strong impact during the prior twelve months. Past winners have included Kraig Kitchin, Dan Mason, Traug Keller, and Julie Talbott. Jeff Smulyan will join us once again in NYC for the annual presentation, and we’ll announce the recipient of the honor at a later time.

The second award we will continue to feature is the Mark Chernoff Award, given to the sports radio’s top programmer for the prior year. Since introducing the award in 2020, Mitch Rosen, Rick Radzik, and Jimmy Powers have been named winners of this honor. Mark Chernoff will once again be with us to present the award that bears his name. The selected winner will be revealed in the near future.

The other two awards we will present at the show include The Champions Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor we introduced in 2023 and presented to broadcasting icon, Al Michaels. The Champions Award was created in 2020 to recognize those in the sports media industry who have used their platform to make a difference. BSM supports the award by donating One Thousand Dollars to the winner’s brand or selected charity. Prior winners have included Jay Glazer, Adam Schefter, and Keith Murray & Andy Fales of KxNO. More will be shared at a later time about this year’s recipient.

We have nearly five full months until the show takes place in the big apple so expect more announcements to flood your inbox, and social media. Given the rise in interest of speaking at the show, we can’t accommodate everyone. If you have an idea you want to pitch, send it in sooner rather than later by email to [email protected].

Last but not least, we’ve created our content plan for 2024 and advertising decks are now available for those interested in exploring marketing opportunities with BSM. Summit opportunities are included in it. Stephanie Eads is running point on sponsorship requests so if you’d like to be involved, email her at [email protected]. We had phenomenal support in Los Angeles for our 2023 show, and expect this one to be as strong or better.

I’ll have more information to share soon. In the meantime, I hope you’ll buy a ticket and join us in NYC this March for the 2024 BSM Summit. It should be a great show.

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