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Is It Time For ESPN To Split Up Mike and Mike?

Jason Barrett

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Pairing two people together and developing a great show isn’t easy. Turning that show into a mainstream brand is even harder. Sustaining it for nearly two decades is virtually impossible.

Yet ESPN has done that with “Mike and Mike”, their morning show on ESPN Radio and ESPN 2.

To enter a sports fan’s mind for that period of time takes a ton of talent, patience, support, consistency, and whole lot of luck. Yet as we’ve seen many times in sports and the media business, even the biggest stars and shows eventually reach their finish line.

But how can you tell when a dominant program with revenue and ratings success has run out of gas? If the true measure of a show’s success is to deliver ratings, revenue and relevance, and a program is providing it, then isn’t it the role of management to stick with them and get out of the way?

This is the dilemma ESPN is facing with Mike and Mike.

On one hand, the show continues to perform both on radio and television. Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic have spent more than 16 years together, and continue to be the face of the ESPN Radio network, and a morning show which many sports fans across the nation take their cues from. Greeny and Golic entered the NAB radio hall of fame this past April, and still sound informed, engaged, and interested in delivering a quality program. They also have one of the strongest guests lists on radio.

But on the other hand, many critics say their act has grown tired and it’s time to turn the page. The common criticism is that the show lacks bold opinions, unpredictability and hasn’t refreshed itself, despite growing competition.

According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, ESPN is considering breaking up the show and moving Greenberg to a morning show hosting role on television and pairing Golic with his son.

To many in radio circles, that possibility is nothing new. ESPN has made this noise before. In recent years, the network began to tinker with the show, challenging Greeny and Golic to add more opinion, more live reads, more bits, and more contributions from opinionated personalities (First Take, His & Hers). They’ve also experimented with adding Cris Carter as a third voice during football season, and utilized Molly Qerim in a part-time third host role.

There seem to be two trains of thought when it comes to Mike and Mike. You have one group of people who value what Greeny and Golic bring to the air and want to continue letting them operate the way they’re most comfortable. Then you have another faction which feels the show is corny, too safe, and lacks the opinions necessary to make the network a bigger destination each morning.

As I spoke to executives across the country, I learned that many feel the ESPN Radio brand has lost some of its luster. The network previously rolled out popular stars such as Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt, and Tony Kornheiser, along with Mike and Mike, and when you start to lose high profile faces and voices, it takes time to develop the next crop of talent.

But therein lies the issue.

Many insiders aren’t convinced that ESPN Radio has found the next wave of superstars. The consensus is that Dan Le Batard is one of those superior talents along with Mike and Mike, but the rest of the shows are viewed a tier below. With more time and opportunity, opinions could change towards those other on-air talents. But when you’re in the leadership position that ESPN is in, and partners are counting on you to roll out programs with recognizable talent in order to help them win and generate immediate revenue, folks are less patient.

Which makes the idea of eliminating Mike and Mike a tough one for some network executives to wrestle with. Do you break up one of your most powerful brands and leave the radio network in a position where it doesn’t have huge star power? Won’t that further add to the narrative that the network is losing many of its best performers? Or do you sit tight and continue the ride while others continue to get better and listener and viewer tastes continue to change?

In talking to a number of executives, the consensus was that ESPN Radio would lose value without Mike and Mike. Some told me it would force them to reevaluate whether or not to continue their affiliation. But it was clear that there was a down the middle split on whether or not to cancel the show. I asked seven decision makers five key questions about Mike and Mike and here are their responses. The names of the individuals who took part in this piece have been kept private for obvious reasons.

What do you believe makes Mike and Mike a great show? 

Executive 1: The chemistry. They have worked together so long that they know each other and how to react to what the other person says. It is also about the resources, every ESPN expert is available to the show to provide insight and perspective that you can only get from those who have the access to the players and coaches from all the sports including the NFL, MLB, NBA and major college. The production staff is second to none and helps keep the Mike’s up to date on what matters most to the audience. The program is also great at covering the big story. No show is as good as Mike and Mike in taking the audience behind the curtain.

Executive 2: Chemistry and tenure. They anticipate each other’s thoughts and words.

Executive 3: It’s authentic. What you hear is what you get. Mike Greenberg is a metrosexual, neurotic, Jets loving fan. Mike Golic is a food loving, family guy, former player. They never pretend to be who they are not, they are themselves. In addition, Greenberg might be the best traffic cop on sports radio. He keeps the show moving at a tremendous pace for morning drive. His teases are the very best in the business. He is incredibly smart with a large vocabulary that he uses well to paint pictures and move seamlessly from topic to topic. Golic is the guy next door, the dude you want to have a beer with. He’s friendly and goofy and reminds us of our brother or uncle that we love. The last thing that makes this show great is ESPN. The strength of ESPN helps the show get the very best guests and top of mind newsmakers. Because they’re on ESPN Radio and TV, Mike and Mike have been able to establish themselves as the show of record for sports fans in the morning.

Executive 4: It’s a great, safe, easy brand to listen to. Continuity has been their biggest asset.  In Radio you almost win by default when you’re together for that long.

Executive 5: Longevity and the chemistry between Greeny and Golic. They are always talking about the right content too.

Executive 6: There is no show that addresses the big stories better. They make the content sound big and land the biggest guests.

Executive 7: Mike & Mike’s chemistry is what has made this show great going all the way back to day 1.  They do a good job tapping into ESPN’s resources creating a well-rounded sports show. It’s an easy and comfortable listen that informs people about the nation’s biggest sports stories.

What do you believe is missing from Mike and Mike’s show? 

Executive 1: Hard hitting opinions. At times the show is probably a little too safe in how they approach certain topics. The show needs to take some chances and push opinionated content that will generate reaction from the audience. Finding ways for the audience to be interactive with the Mike’s is always a good thing that we do not hear enough of.

Executive 2: Localism. They have too wide of net to cover. That is the drawback of a national show.

Executive 3: There isn’t a lot missing. They have access to everything they need through ESPN and their years of credibility and existence. At times the show could use more humor/fun, but it’s not a glaring miss. What it probably lacks the most is a steady fill-in because the two Mike’s are on vacation WAY too much.

Executive 4: The show could benefit from adding a woman to the cast.

Executive 5: Not one thing. I have not been one of those executives who has thought they needed to add to the show. I know the thought processes behind them doing it but I don’t feel it was necessary. Case in point, I tuned out last year during the Cris Carter segments.

Executive 6: For any show that has been successful and wants to stay on top, there has to be a refresh. They need to continue to bring big names into their show on a consistent basis that have strong opinions and can  push the story forward.

Executive 7: There is a level of unpredictability missing from the show. The guys rarely take chances and offer outspoken opinions, and they’ve settled to remain within their comfort zone.

How does the show sound now compared to 5-10 years ago? 

Executive 1: Mike and Mike used to be a radio show on TV. The show is now a TV show on radio. This is an important distinction in terms of what comes out of the speakers. The show is still enjoyable to consume, however the presentation is different because of the focus on television.

Executive 2: They have more experience and are further established. The show has an easy flow and tempo and their years together work in their favor as they are able to recall memorable moments to past shows.

Executive 3: Too cluttered. They have gotten crazy with the amount of live reads in the program.

Executive 4: The show is still very commercial/network, and non local. It’s safe and easy like McDonald’s – you know what you’re getting.  They don’t provide many opinions just the facts.

Executive 5: Just like any relationship that lasts that long, you hope it gets better with age. They understand each other better, they know how to get the best out of each other and push one another’s buttons. One way the show has suffered is that it’s no longer a radio show, it’s a TV program simulcast on radio.

Executive 6: The show has definitely digressed. I think they understood radio and the importance of keeping things moving years ago. They are best when hitting the big stories and reacting to them. For some reason they got away from that and tried to make it more of a morning zoo crew type of show. Play to your strengths, and humor is definitely not one of them, but they continue to try to incorporate it into the show.

Executive 7: The show was at its best ten years ago when it was undoubtedly the sports show of record each morning. As competition has increased, the show has gone the other way. Mike and Mike needed to step up their game and have that same entrepreneurial spirit that made it successful 16 years ago, but they’ve become more stale and predictable. As a result, the “need” to listen has waned. The shtick has stayed consistent, but in my opinion, the guys have lost their fastball. Additionally, the amount of sales clutter and promotion for company initiatives has caused far too many tune-outs.

When you sample their show, do you listen to it on radio or watch it on TV? 

Executive 1: Both. Depends where I am and what I am doing.

Executive 2: Both.

Executive 3: Radio when I’m home. TV when I’m on the road.

Executive 4: I monitor the show as a direct competitor.

Executive 5: Radio 100%. The move to the studio was not without growing pains but it’s an easier listen now.

Executive 6: Mostly on TV now.

Executive 7: A mixture of both. They play way too much to TV which has taken the shine off of the growth potential for the show on the radio.  It often seems they don’t care as much about the audio platform.

If you were in charge of ESPN, would you break up Mike & Mike and install a new morning show? 

Executive 1: It’s all about the big picture and what roles each of the Mike’s will have. Sports radio by nature is locally based and if you are going to have a major national show such as Mike and Mike, the talent must be able to appeal to multiple demographics and in a multi-platform world. Getting the right talent mix moving forward will require creativity and an understanding that the format is focused on serving multiple demos. For now, Mike and Mike is the best nationally syndicated sports show with a strong following. Decisions to change course will be based on more than just what is happening with the radio side of things at ESPN.

Executive 2: I would not bust up an established, successful and tenured show. It is too difficult to achieve a level of success like Mike and Mike have. History has proven this over and over again. Is ESPN’s gain worth the potential risk of the losses of a successful morning show?

Executive 3: HELL NO. They have the very best syndicated morning radio program in the country. No other entity has come close to getting the type of national audience share Mike and Mike has. While I’m a huge proponent of change and evolution, this show is still recognized as the show of record for sports fans in America.

Executive 4: I would blow it up and look to get younger.

Executive 5: Absolutely not, 100% no. ESPN has to remember that they look at Mike and Mike as a TV show that supplies the audio division—but on the ground level this is a key ratings grabber in morning drive on many affiliate stations. You don’t break up a winning show. Mike Greenberg is the glue.

Executive 6: Yes. I think they’ve gotten stale and need to bring in something new to excite viewers and listeners.

Executive 7: The only option at this point is to head in a different direction. If that isn’t possible contractually, then a consistent third voice needs to be added to improve the urgency and relevancy of the content.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

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

Jason Barrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

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

Jason Barrett

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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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