Connect with us

Barrett Blogs

Does An Established Personality Deserve a Final Show?

Published

on

There are certain subjects in the radio industry that are complicated and impossible to provide a concrete answer for. One of them is the debate of whether or not to allow an established on-air talent a final sendoff.

To understand this subject, you have to take into account many factors. Who is the company? Who are the key executives involved in the decision? Who is the personality? What type of track record do they have? Is the split amicable or hostile? Are there future consequences facing either party? Has the situation been understood thru previous conversations or did it pop up unexpectedly?

When an individual performs for a brand for a lengthy period of time, and helps a company generate strong ratings and revenues, there is a certain respect that should be given. It might be hard to remember the value and past performance of a personality who’s at odds with a company or at the center of an economic dispute, but great leaders find a way to keep the big picture in mind when emotions get high and difficult discussions unfold.

Unfortunately finding a solution that benefits everyone doesn’t always happen.

Keith Olbermann’s initial exit from ESPN was very messy. After turning SportsCenter with Dan Patrick into the most important sports show on television, and becoming a powerful presence on the network, a better sendoff should’ve been provided. I’m sure Keith was no saint to deal with during the process, but given what each party did for one another, the ending didn’t feel right, and it left millions of sports fans less excited about watching SportsCenter or Olbermann.

On the other hand, when Dan Patrick made the choice to leave ESPN Radio, the network treated his exit in classy fashion. They gave Dan weeks to host shows and say goodbye. Guests from the past were brought back, and although there may have been some tension behind closed doors, it didn’t result in issues on the airwaves.

The same was true this past January when 670 The Score sent longtime host Terry Boers into retirement. The station did a series of final goodbye shows, welcomed the audience to attend Boers’ final program, and brought back old hosts, friends and celebrities to pay their respects to Terry. Retirement is easier to manage than a host choosing to leave or a station electing to cut ties but in this particular case, it felt right and classy, and strengthened the image of both Terry and 670 The Score.

An image issue though affected ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. last month when the station chose to part ways with Andy Pollin unexpectedly after twenty five years. Pollin hosted his normal show with Steve Czaban, and when it was over, so too was his time with the station. Czaban wasn’t thrilled with the decision, but Pollin took the high road when asked for comment. Although it may have made business sense for the station to explore a new direction and part ways with the longtime popular local host, the ending left listeners confused and upset.

Could a final day or week have been created with Pollin? Did Pollin not want to do that? Was Red Zebra worried that allowing that arrangement could harm their business? Those are all fair questions which the audience never received answers to.

In San Francisco, Ralph Barbieri helped establish one of the most successful west coast sports talk shows alongside Tom Tolbert. “The Razor and Mr. T” on KNBR became the show of record for Bay Area sports fans, and when Cumulus yanked Barbieri off the air without any send off or final comments, it left many local listeners feeling robbed. I made the decision at 95.7 The Game to give Barbieri a half hour with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis to express himself and thank local fans, and while it may have helped my station at the time, his farewell should’ve taken place on KNBR, not The Game.

The reason Barbieri never said goodbye on KNBR is because bad blood existed between him and Cumulus. Their split led to a lawsuit. While listeners may have felt betrayed for not having a chance to say goodbye to their friend on the radio, and instead hear Tolbert address the situation by himself, it made zero business sense for Cumulus to offer up air time to a host who was suing them. It was an ugly situation with no potential for a positive resolution.

Another situation that was impossible for all involved was Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s exit from WFAN. “Mike and the Mad Dog” helped build the sports talk format and it was the most important local sports radio program in the nation’s #1 market for close to two decades. People like myself made that show part of their daily routine and the industry is now flooded with professionals who were influenced to pursue this business because of Mike and Chris. To hear the show come to an end though with “Mad Dog” spending 15 minutes on a telephone saying goodbye to Mike and the audience left many in New York feeling unfulfilled.

Although it upset a lot of listeners, I can understand why CBS made that decision. Russo was leaving for SiriusXM. Howard Stern had done the same years before. To allow their airwaves to be used for promotional purposes and grant Russo access to influence the audience to follow him to his next venture made little sense. It also would’ve put Francesa in an awkward position.

Whether it’s the examples above, or others that have been handled differently from Glenn Ordway’s initial exit at WEEI, Howard Eskin’s departure from afternoons on WIP, or Tony Kornheiser and Colin Cowherd’s sign off from ESPN Radio, when these situations occur, the listener is almost always going to rally around the on-air talent. They could care less about the business consequences or the trouble behind closed doors, they simply want to hear the personality they’ve invested their time in, and any company standing in their way of hearing what they want, is going to experience their wrath.

While it may not be popular, business isn’t always going to be pretty. Whether it feels right or not, difficult decisions sometimes have to be made, and providing a silver lining to a tough situation isn’t always an option.

I’m sure there are some executives who fail to think things through, and allow the intensity of a current situation to cloud their judgment. It’s easy to lose sight of what someone has meant personally and professionally to a company, when you’re engaged in a bitter dispute. Rather than sucking it up and doing the right thing for the audience and all involved, the need to win the battle takes over.

Equally at fault can be the personality. If a company has provided nearly two decades of paychecks, air time, and respect, it’s fair to expect an individual to be appreciative and professional when bringing an important chapter of their career to a close. But rather than reflecting on where they are in their lives and how they got there, they too get caught up in winning the war. Most of time it revolves around money or a business relationship turning sour, and the on-air talent becomes less focused on exiting with grace. That then puts the company in a position where they have to make the difficult and unpopular decision to immediately cut them off.

Not every on-air talent deserves a final goodbye, and not every company is going to get burned if they offer up the airwaves to a host who is on the verge of exiting their brand. There is no rule book which outlines how to handle these situations, and a host doesn’t warrant a sendoff for time served, especially if their impact was limited. But if they’ve become an integral part of a radio station’s identity for an extended period of time, that can make their exit very tricky. Each situation has to be dealt with on a case by case basis and regardless of the direction you take, there will be people shooting arrows in your direction, second guessing your decision.

In order to better understand how these situations should be handled, I reached out to a number of successful executives who have gone through this experience during their careers. I think you’ll find their answers to be insightful and helpful and I appreciate each of them taking the time to help educate industry professionals who may find themselves caught in the middle of it one day down the road.

  • Mark Chernoff – Program Director of WFAN
  • Bruce Gilbert – SVP of Cumulus Sports
  • Mitch Rosen – Program Director of 670 The Score
  • Jeff Catlin – Program Director of Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket
  • Jason Wolfe – Chief Strategist of Money Matters Radio; Former PD of WEEI
  • Andy Bloom – Former Operations Manager of WIP and WPHT

When an established sports radio host is not having their contract renewed, what do you believe is the right way to handle their exit? 

Chernoff: In most cases, I suggest that when the host is notified of a non-renewal that the host has already done his/her last show. Why risk any problems? Also, you wind up having listeners generally calling in with “I’ll miss you” or “I can’t believe they’d not renew you” or something like what I’ve suggested. It may be a bit painful but if it’s the station’s decision to not renew then I’d suggest just moving on.

Rosen: When in doubt tell the truth. Without providing financial details, make it simple – the station and the personality could not come to an agreement. In the press and on the air it’s communicated the same way. The simpler the better.

Wolfe: The best way to handle it is not always the easiest, but the end result should be that the station and the talent maintain a productive relationship where there are no hard feelings. If a host is not performing, or is making too much money, and the station decides that his contract is not going to be renewed the best course of action is to be upfront and honest about the reasons why. This needs to be explained to the talent, first and foremost, the station’s staff secondarily, and perhaps most importantly, the listeners. If people don’t listen to the station, we’re all out of work, so if a major decision is forthcoming, I believe that GM’s and/or PD’s should not hide behind corporate speak, but rather offer details that can help the audience understand and, hopefully, accept the decision.

Catlin: It depends on many factors; longevity, standing with the station, standing with the audience, partnership vs. solo show. I have been part of hosts leaving and being allowed to play out the string, and hosts being taken off the air at a time of management’s choosing when the host was unaware, preventing a “good bye”.

Gilbert: There is NO right way. That’s the bottom line. Every circumstance is different. I’ve seen this handled in every way imaginable and sometimes it’s smooth, sometimes it’s a disaster, most of the times it’s clumsy because people leaving (especially “established” talent) creates disruption.

Bloom: I believe radio makes a mistake by not giving most personalities a proper send-off. The departure of a personality can be an opportunity for a finale; an occasion for a communal event and sometimes a ratings and revenue bonus. There are going to be circumstances that don’t warrant a goodbye show and people who don’t permit it as an option. When it’s possible, however, letting air talent say goodbye is the better option.

How is the situation different if a host is retiring? What do you do differently? 

Chernoff: Very different. Usually “retiring” means it’s someone who has been a long-time “good” employee. Often announcing a date, scheduling special events for and around the personality makes sense. What Mitch Rosen did with Terry Boers at the Score in Chicago was terrific including bringing back many past hosts.

Rosen: Retirement says it all. Most of the time you celebrate that person’s career. Listeners love to experience party’s, final shows, and share their respects to the hosts they’ve become connected to.

Wolfe: Retirement offers a very different course of action. Long time talent who retire have presumably had a terrific career and are in excellent standing with the station’s personnel and the company. Retirements for top talent should be celebrated. They’ve given their heart and soul to the station, driven great ratings, helped bring in substantial revenue, and therefore deserve a send off that is worthy of the job they’ve done. Companies should be glad to create this type of event or special broadcast because it shows how much appreciation there is for that specific talent.

Catlin: If a host is retiring then you would assume it has been a positive relationship. In that case, I think the audience and the host appreciates the chance to have final shows. However, I would instruct the talent that only the last show is the last show. Up until then, regular content and entertainment applies. I wouldn’t want a show or host to have a farewell week or something like that. I think in the case of retirement it also helps out the new show or replacement show to have the retiring person give them their on air blessing.

Gilbert: If the host is beloved and has decided to retire, I LOVE giving that host a chance to go on the air and go out on his/her own terms. It’s also a lot of fun to do a retirement party with gifts, special guests, fans of the show, and everything all the way to roasting the person.

Bloom: Retirement is a unique and specific circumstance. Watching the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “retirement tour” left a lasting impression on me and set a standard I’ve always hoped to duplicate. While Kareem set the standard, Kobe Bryant’s farewell last season was a reminder of how powerful “goodbyes” are among fans and contemporaries.

What is the downside to allowing a successful and established host to broadcast a final show?

Chernoff: If it’s the person retiring or a mutual agreement I don’t think there’s much of a downside. If it’s a station decision then my suggestion is “no last show”. I suppose every so often there’s an exception to the rule but it’s not a given.

Rosen: Listeners could choose to not come back. If you’re prepared though they will return.

Wolfe: I don’t believe there’s a downside to giving a major talent a final show unless the relationship between the station and the talent is so fractured that there is genuine animosity between the parties. Relationships that have gone sour, often include a lack of trust, and that lack of trust would be potentially damaging during the final broadcast. Talent whose contracts are not being renewed because of performance or because of money should get a chance to say goodbye to their audience, and companies should suck it up when the complaint calls come. The company is moving on. The talent is not.

I have little respect for corporate folks who can’t be subjected to a bit of criticism for a decision they’ve made, and therefore run from it by simply yanking the talent off the air without a legit explanation. If there is trust between both parties, I’d expect the talent to be professional and handle the final broadcast appropriately and without incident. The company/station would also take the high road and while there may be some listener blow back, as long as there’s a satisfactory explanation, the story will be short lived.

Catlin: The show could turn away from content and entertainment value for the audience and become too insider focused or selfish. I think this all depends on the talent, the factors in play, and the relationship between the talent and management.

Gilbert: If the talent is stable, not angry about the situation, and mature enough I don’t see any downside. We often talk about how radio is an intimate friend and a favorite companion, and if that is the case we should give them a chance to say goodbye. If your neighbor was your friend, you’d expect him to come over and say goodbye before he left town.

Bloom: How to handle a departure depends on the individual circumstances and the terms of separation. Is it ugly, or civil? I try to let people have a final show, even if it means sitting on the dump button, ready to escort them from the building (I’ve never had to do it). Of course, there have been personalities who I have not let have a final show, either because the split was unpleasant and I could not trust them, or their impact was not significant enough to warrant a farewell.

How does it hurt or help the radio station in the eyes of the audience if it does or doesn’t afford the talent an opportunity to say goodbye?

Chernoff: I suppose listeners might be angry for a short while if there’s no last show, but if it’s the station making the change, not the person retiring, then I would skip doing a final on-air show.

Rosen: If someone is leaving and the situation isn’t good, I do not like to have “living wakes”. It’s better off making a statement and moving on for both parties.

Wolfe: Assuming that there is not a trust issue, any station/company that does not give a major talent a chance at a final show looks small and weak. I think it hurts the station tremendously in this instance. Especially today, where social media can be very powerful in terms of listeners jumping on the bandwagon about certain stories, the level of distrust and outright anger that some would feel can be expressed over and over again on multiple platforms for many days, and that does not bode well for the company.

Conversely, if the relationship is a strong one, and the talent understands the decision, and expresses that on the air, both parties can look exceptional to the public, so while there may be disagreement, life for the station goes on smoothly and efficiently.

Catlin: Sometimes the host hasn’t earned the right to say goodbye unfortunately. A program director has to do what’s best for the station first, the audience next, and then consider how the host fits into a specific situation.

Gilbert: It can help in that it shows the station has compassion. It can hurt if the talent is beloved and people feel like the station was being mean.

Bloom: Listeners hate it when somebody they consider a “friend,” suddenly disappears from “their” station for no apparent reason and the only response is, “(Blank) is no longer with us.” Listeners CAN handle the truth. Therefore, over the years, probably a little over half the time, I have let departing hosts/jocks say “goodbye.” There isn’t a single instance where I got burned, although a couple were perhaps too morose. Thinking back, I can’t think of any I didn’t let say goodbye that with a mulligan, I probably would.

Barrett Blogs

Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Takeaways From The NAB Show and Six Days in Las Vegas

“I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm for the NAB Show was elevated this year.”

Published

on

Six days on the road can sometimes be exhausting. Six days in Las Vegas, and it’s guaranteed. That was my world last week, as I along with more than fifty thousand people headed to sin city to take in the 2022 NAB Show.

The event didn’t draw as many as it had in the past, but after two years of inactivity due to the pandemic, it was good to be back. Judging from some of the vendors I talked to, the sessions I attended, and the feedback I received from folks I met with, though far from perfect, it was a solid return for an important event. Seeing people interact, celebrate others, and talk about ways to improve the business was a positive reminder of the world being closer to the normal of 2019 than the normal of 2020-2021. The only negative from the week, the consistent failure of Uber to appear in the right place at the right time. But that had zero to do with the NAB.

It feels like whenever I attend industry conferences, there are two different type of reviews that follow. Some writers attend the show and see the glass half full. Others see the glass half empty. I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm was elevated this year. Maybe it was because BSM was a media partner or maybe it was due to the show not happening for years and just being happy to be among friends, peers, and clients and operate like normal. Either way, my glass was definitely half full.

For those who see events this way, it’s likely they’ll remember the numerous opportunities they had to create and reestablish relationships. They’ll also recall the access to different speakers, sessions, products, and the excellent research shared with those in attendance. The great work done by the BFOA to recognize industry difference makers during their Wednesday breakfast was another positive experience, as was the Sunday night industry gathering at The Mayfair Supper Club.

Included in the conference were sessions with a number of industry leaders. Radio CEO’s took the stage to point out the industry’s wins and growth, credit their employees, and call out audio competitors, big tech, and advertisers for not spending more with the industry. When David Field, Bob Pittman, Ginny Morris and Caroline Beasley speak, people listen. Though their companies operate differently, hearing them share their views on the state of the business is important. I always learn something new when they address the room.

But though a lot of ground gets covered during these interviews, there are a few issues that don’t get talked about enough. For instance, ineffective measurement remains a big problem for the radio business. Things like this shouldn’t happen, but they do. NBC and WarnerMedia took bold steps to address problems with TV measurement. Does radio have the courage to take a similar risk? That’s an area I’d like to see addressed more by higher ups.

I can’t help but wonder how much money we lose from this issue. Companies spend millions for a ratings service that delivers subpar results, and the accountability that follows is often maddening. Given the data we have access to digitally, it’s stunning that radio’s report card for over the air listening is determined by outdated technology. And if we’re going to tell folks that wearables are the missing ingredient for addressing this problem, don’t be shocked if the press that follows is largely negative. The industry and its advertising partners deserve better. So too do the reps at Nielsen who have to absorb the hits, and make the most of a tough situation.

Speaking of advertising, this is another one of those critical areas that deserves another point of view. Case in point, I talked to a few ad agency professionals at the show. Similar to what I’ve heard before, they’re tired of hearing radio leaders blame them for the industry’s present position. This has been a hot button topic with executives for years. I often wonder, do we help or hurt ourselves by publicly calling out advertisers and ad agencies? How would you feel if you ran an agency which spent millions on the industry and were told ‘you don’t do enough’? I’m a champion of radio/audio, and am bullish on spoken word’s ability to deliver results for clients, but having attended these shows for nearly seven years, it might be time for a new approach and message. Or maybe it’s time to put one of our CEO’s with one of theirs and have a bigger discussion. Just a thought.

Of the sessions that I attended, I thought Erica Farber’s ‘What Business Are You In?’ was excellent. I especially liked Taja Graham’s presentation on ‘Sharing Your Truth’. I also appreciated Eric Bischoff’s tips on ways to monetize podcasts, and am curious to see how Amazon’s AMP develops moving forward. My favorite session at the show though was “A GPS Session For Your Station’s Car Radio Strategy” led by Fred Jacobs. The insight shared by Joe D’Angelo of Xperi and Steve Newberry & Suzy Schultz of Quu was outstanding. Keeping the car companies on our side is vital to our survival, and how we position ourselves on the dashboard can’t be ignored. Other tech companies and audio operators take it seriously. We must too.

Sessions aside, it was great to check out the VSiN and Blue Wire studios, connect with a bunch of CEO’s, GM’s and Market Manager’s, and visit with Kevin Jones, Joe Fortenbaugh, Jeremiah Crowe, Jon Goulet, Bill Adee, Q Myers, Mike Golic Jr. and Stormy Buonantony. The NFL’s setup for the Draft, and the light show presented at the Bellagio was without a doubt spectacular, plus Stephanie had a chance to say hello to Raiders owner Mark Davis who was inside the back room of a Westgate restaurant where we were having a business lunch meeting. The personal tour we received at the Wynn showed off some of the best suites I’ve seen in Las Vegas, and I was finally able to witness Circa’s Stadium Swim in person, and meet owner Derek Stevens (heck of a suit game). What an outstanding hotel and casino.

Altogether, it was a productive trip. As someone who knows all about building and executing a conference, I appreciate the work that goes into pulling it off. This event is massive, and I have no idea how the NAB makes it happen so flawlessly. This was the first time my head of sales, Stephanie Eads, got to attend the show. She loved it. Our only negative, going back and forth between convention halls can get exhausting. Wisely, Stephanie and Guaranty Media CEO Flynn Foster took advantage of the underground Tesla ride to move from the North hall to the West hall. I wasn’t as bright. If that’s the worst part of the experience though, that’s pretty solid. I look forward to returning in 2023, and attending the NAB’s NYC show this fall.

Additional:

You’ve likely seen posts from BSM/BNM on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn promoting a number of open positions. I’m adding crew to help us pump out more content, and that means we need more editors, news writers, features reporter’s and columnists. If you’re currently involved or previously worked in the industry and love to write about it, send a resume and few writing samples by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

With that said, I’m excited to announce the addition of Ryan Brown as a weekly columnist for BSM. Ryan is part of ‘The Next Round’ in Birmingham, Alabama, which previously broadcast on WJOX as JOX Roundtable. The show left the terrestrial world in June 2021 to operate as its own entity. Ryan’s knowledge and opinions should provide a boost to the site, and I’m looking forward to featuring his columns every Tuesday. Keep an eye out for it tomorrow, and if you want to check out the guest piece he previously wrote for us, click here.

Demetri Ravanos and I have talked to a lot of people over the past month. More additions will be revealed soon. As always, thanks for the continued support of BSM and BNM.

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Six New Contributors Join Barrett Media

“These latest additions will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.”

Published

on

Building a brand starts with a vision. Once that vision is defined, you identify the people who fit what you’re creating, lay out the game plan, and turn them loose to execute. If the product you’re creating is original, fills a gap in the marketplace, and the work turned in by your team is consistently excellent and promoted in the right locations, more times than not you’ll build an audience.

As you grow, the focus turns to studying what your audience wants, needs, and expects from your brand. Certain things you expect to be big turn out small, and the things you saw limited upside in create opportunities you never saw coming. It’s critical to be open minded and ready to pivot while also examining where and when people consume your product, which pieces of content do and don’t matter, and then use that information to direct your team to give folks more of what they value and less of what they don’t. Team members should want that feedback too. It tells them what is and isn’t worth spending their time on.

As I lay all of that out it may sound like I’m talking about a radio station or television operation. These are the things programmers do frequently to make sure the talent, shows, and brand is satisfying the expectations of an audience. But what I’m actually referring to is the brand you’ve made a choice to click on to read this column, Barrett Media.

I’ve mentioned many times on this website how I started this operation by myself, and didn’t expect to have a team of writers involved in it. I was focused on consulting sports stations, sharing my programming views on this website, and as I cranked out content consistently, I discovered others loved the business like I did and had a desire to share their insights too. Rather than sticking to my original plan, I pivoted and increased our content offerings. In return, the audience grew, clients grew, and it’s led this brand to grow beyond my expectations. Now we cover sports AND news media, we run an annual conference, feature a membership program, create podcasts, deliver a daily 8@8 and three times per week BNM Rundown newsletter, and work with various brands and companies across the broadcasting industry. I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position and don’t take it for granted.

But with growth comes change. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of talented people contribute to this site over the years, and as they produce quality work, and others across the industry recognize it, they earn interest for their services. That then leads to some having to sign off for bigger opportunities. I see that as a great positive for the brand. Would it be nice to have more consistency and keep a crew together for years? Of course. I know it’d make Demetri’s life a lot easier. If we’re losing people for the right reasons though, and they’re landing opportunities that help them advance their careers, I’m going to be happy for their success, and trust that we’ll find others to keep us moving forward. The success of our team helps make what we do more attractive to others because it shows that if you do good consistent work here, you can put yourself in a position to attract attention.

Over the past two months, I have challenged Demetri Ravanos to invest more time talking to people about writing for us. Expanding our Barrett News Media roster is a priority. So too is adding quality people to help us improve Barrett Sports Media. BSM has had just under seven years to earn trust with readers. BNM has had less than two. We’ve put out ads on our website and newsletters, social posts, an ad on Indeed, and we’ve reached out directly to people who we’ve felt may be able to add something interesting to our brand. Most of my time is spent listening to stations and talking with clients, but my eyes are always roaming looking for content, and my mind is always thinking about what we can create next to make an impact.

I don’t judge our brand’s success based on clicks, shares, breaking news before other outlets or showing up in the top three listings on Google. I care more effort accuracy, timeliness, passion, consistency, storytelling, insight, and being fair and non-agenda driven. We’ve found our niche being able to tell stories about broadcasting professionals, relaying news, and offering expert knowledge to serve those involved in the broadcasting industry. If we continue to excel doing those things consistently, I’m confident our audience will reward us by reading and sharing more of our content. It’s why we never stop recruiting to keep things fresh.

Having said that, I am excited today to reveal six new additions to the Barrett Media staff. Peter Schwartz is a name and voice many in New York sports radio circles are familiar with. Peter has spent three decades working with various outlets and I’m thrilled to have him writing weekly feature stories for us. Brady Farkas is a talented host and former programmer who now works for WDEV in Burlington, VT. Karl Schoening is a play by play broadcaster who has worked in San Antonio sports radio and has had the added benefit of learning the industry from his talented father Bill who calls Spurs games. Each of them will produce bi-weekly feature stories for the brand. Jason Ence is in Louisville and has written about sports betting for Twin Spires while also working for ESPN 680. He’ll be writing sports betting content for us on a weekly basis. Jasper Jones will help us by adding news stories on Friday’s. He’s presently in Philadelphia learning the business working for Audacy. Last but not least, veteran author, Brewers writer, and former radio professional Jim Cryns comes on board to help us with features on news media professionals.

These six additions make us stronger, and I’m excited to have them join the team to help us add more quality content to the website. That said, we’re not done yet. Demetri and I are still talking with others and I expect to make a few more additions in the weeks ahead. As I said earlier, we want to improve the news media side of our operation and continue adding people to help us make a bigger dent in the sports media space. Broadcast companies invest in us to help them, and I believe it’s important to invest back.

If you’ve programmed, hosted a top rated show, worked in measurement, led a cluster as a GM, sold advertising, represented talent or have worked in digital and feel you have knowledge to share, reach out. I can’t promise we’ll have room but we’re always willing to listen. I’m not worried about whether or not you’ve written for professional publications. Passion, experience and unique insights matter much more than a resume or journalism degree.

I appreciate everyone who takes time to read our content, like and share it on social, and all involved with this brand who help bring it to life each day. The latest additions of Schwartz, Farkas, Schoening, Ence, Jones and Cryns will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.