America’s favorite pastime has returned, and with it comes hope for ratings and revenue increases for radio stations across the nation. With thirty brands dedicating countless hours of programming one-hundred and sixty two times per season and beyond should the local team advance to the post-season, baseball is an important part of every local rights holder’s business strategy.
In this day and age where people are constantly on the go, and everything moves at the speed of sound, baseball on the radio remains a connection to simpler times. It’s a soothing comfortable listen which allows us to relax, unwind, and escape the chaos of our daily lives, and embrace the inner kid in all of us. Unlike television, baseball’s radio announcers are expected to be descriptive, passionate, and masterful storytellers, capable of mentally moving the audience from their office, car, couch or front yard to the inside of a stadium. Listeners depend on the voice of each broadcaster to help them visualize the last pitch, hear the crack of the bat, smell the hot dogs, taste the beer, and feel the energy of thousands of fans who share the same unwavering enthusiasm for the hometown team.
While the game on the field requires exceptional skill, so too does broadcasting it. Whether it’s the preparation, travel, relationship building and ability to capture big moments or the simpler task of being a calming voice during a time of uncertainty or frustration, fans treat the baseball broadcaster on the radio as a companion or close member of the family. Each moment and experience becomes part of a listener’s life, and many of those stories get passed on from generation to generation. It’s why the game of baseball continues to carry extra special meaning to those who consume it on the radio.
Since we don’t get an opportunity often to enjoy the work of out of market broadcast crews, and it’s difficult to form a bond with a city you have no personal history with, I thought I’d call upon a different sports media member from all 30 cities to explain what makes their local radio broadcast teams unique, special, and an important part of their communities and radio station’s success. These media folks hear these broadcasters on a daily or nightly basis and have as strong of a read on their local broadcasters as anyone around.
Radio has some incredible storytellers selling the game of baseball and all that is associated with it on its airwaves, and as the next six months become a larger focus for our brands, it felt like the perfect time to pay tribute to the men and women we depend on to further the connection with our audiences and help our stations ascend to greater heights. With that in mind, let me introduce you to the voices of Major League Baseball. This is Part 1 of a three part series.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Greg Schulte and Tom Candiotti – as told by Mike Ferrin:
The voice of baseball in The Valley is “The Gubnuh” Greg Schulte. He’s been with the Dbacks since day one (this is his 20th Opening Day) and before that he spent 15+ years doing ASU baseball, which means that any big moment in “Valley Baseball” since Barry Bonds was a Sun Devil, Greg has had a hand in sharing.
What makes Greg great is that he has terrific energy. He knows how to let the game breathe without it getting stagnant. Even in a 69 win season a year ago, you couldn’t tell the year was bad by listening to him on the radio. That’s a most spectacular trait in an announcer. There are no down days for him on the air, and as a listener I really appreciate that. He has a keen sense of not just Dbacks history but baseball history and how it relates to today. And, most importantly, he’s at his best in the biggest moments. He’s been on the call for nearly every one of them in franchise history.
Working alongside Greg is Dbacks analyst Tom Candiotti. In my mind, he’s an elite level baseball analyst. As someone who works with a lot of former players in his “other job” with SiriusXM, I love guys who prepare, and Tom is a prep monster. He breaks down each starter from data (Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball), talks to coaches, and as a result of spending time in the Cleveland front office, he’s a wealth of information, ideas, and opinions and understands how to evaluate players. He’s also very good at explaining things in simple terms for the audience to understand.
Additionally, Tom is current. He understands how the game has evolved, and has high school aged sons who are outstanding baseball players so he can relate to what’s important to a younger audience. And, he loves to joke around. He is a great practical joker and storyteller, and knows how to balance breaking down the game and keeping it fun and entertaining.
It’s an outstanding combination that lets the audience laugh and learn at the same time.
Atlanta Braves – Jim Powell and Don Sutton – as told by John Kincade.
The south is still known as “Braves Country”. They not only have the largest franchise footprint in baseball but the largest affiliate radio network in pro sports. Jim Powell and Don Sutton bring the action to Braves fans all over the Southeast in what honestly seems like a conversation as opposed to play by play.
Powell is an Atlanta native that came to the Braves from the Brewers. From the moment he arrived his passion for the Braves and their history was apparent. It makes conversations of the Braves glory days and his childhood seamless for the listener. Don Sutton is familiar to Americans from the old TBS TV Broadcasts. His ability to tell a story of historical significance or his sharing of baseball knowledge within the play by play experience is unmatched.
The Braves broadcasts are also bolstered by fan favorite from the 90’s Mark Lemke and their pre and post-game host on The Fan Ben Ingram. Our local shows lean on their expertise as the flagship, and the Braves are great at granting us access to their facility and talents!
Baltimore Orioles – Joe Angel and Jim Hunter – as told by Terry Ford.
What makes Orioles play by play man Joe Angel unique among local Major League Baseball announcers, besides the fact that he played high school football with O. J. Simpson, is that he brings humor to the broadcast in a lighthearted manner. In an era where some play-by-play guys are hesitant or unwilling to say anything that could paint the home team in a negative light, Joe calls it like he sees it. Fans can tell that Joe is the hometown announcer for Orioles baseball but he is very objective with his game call. He’s known for his signature calls such as “Hasta La Vista Baby” when the O’s hit a home run. If the Orioles win, he’ll yell, “And the Orioles are in the Win Column!”. If they lose, he follows it up with “And the Orioles are in the loss column”. He’s also known after a victory or loss to give out “The Lovely Totals” or “The Not So Lovely Totals”.
Working on Orioles broadcasts with Joe is Jim Hunter. The best way to describe Jim is he’s the ultimate pro. Hunter called the CBS Radio Game of the Week for 14 years, and has been part of the Birds broadcast team for 19 years. Besides announcing on the radio, Jim has also done play by play and studio work on television for the Orioles regional network, The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. He isn’t as colorful as Joe, but he’s excellent at presenting keen insight and painting the picture of the game for the listener. He’s a straightforward broadcaster who plays perfectly off of Joe.
In a nutshell, Joe and Jim are a formidable team with a passion for the home team, a mixture of style and substance, and a professionalism that makes them easy to follow and respect. If baseball fans have an interest in hearing what makes the Orioles broadcast a fun listen, I invite them to take a listen on 105.7 The Fan.
Boston Red Sox – Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett – as told by Patrick O’Day.
Boston Red Sox baseball on the radio is like the soundtrack of summer in the New England region. The broadcast is led by Joe Castiglione who is entering his 35th season of calling Red Sox games on the radio, and was a first-ballot inductee into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2014.
Listening to Joe is like sitting down with your uncle or grandfather who always has a good story to tell. Fans gravitate towards him because he’s been a fixture on Red Sox broadcasts for such a long time that he’s viewed as part broadcaster and part team historian. He can instantly recall minute details from a mid-season game from years ago and add a story to go along with it. Joe has an ability to share interesting factoids about anyone in either dugout, and when you listen to him, you’ll always learn something new.
Joe’s partner is Tim Neverett, and his specialty is being able to break down and explain situational baseball. Tim describes the field and what is happening and talks about it in such a way that fans and listeners can envision the situation and learn about why teams do the things the way they do. From employing shifts to catcher positioning and pitch-framing, there’s not a game situation that could pop up that Tim wouldn’t be prepared for and able to analyze and relate to the audience.
Together, Joe and Tim each bring a unique voice and style to the broadcast. I think fans enjoy the sense of realness and sincerity that comes through on the air, and having two guys who are as plugged into an organization as Joe and Tim are, is a big part of WEEI’s success. The mix of familiarity when you hear Red Sox baseball on the radio, coupled with informative announcers, turns listeners from casual baseball fans into avid listeners.
Chicago Cubs – Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer – as told by Mitch Rosen.
Baseball on the radio is like a great friendship, or a terrific book you cannot put down. The intimacy of the game on the radio is like no other sport or relationship listeners have with the medium. With most of the season taking place during the summertime months, I truly believe baseball on the radio brings the listener back to his or her youth and memories of going to games or listening to games.
What makes a Cubs game special is that play by play announcer Pat Hughes truly paints a picture to people listening on traditional radio’s, car radio’s, or mobile/digital devices. One can close their eyes and truly imagine themselves at Wrigley Field or other stadiums when the Cubs are on the road. To personally witness a World Series broadcast (2 feet from Pat and Ron) last year on the radio was a career highlight. I saw the emotion on Pat’s face, and the tears pouring out of our Cubs analyst Ron Coomer’s eyes and it’s a sight I will never forget, nor will the close to 1 million people who were listening. I really believe that Pat’s call when he said and I’m paraphrasing, “you will remember where you were when you heard The Cubs have won The World Series” says it all.
Baseball on the radio and consumers become friends thru good and bad times, meaning winning or losing seasons. There is nothing like it. The hometown call has a special importance to fans of a local team, and we’re lucky to have Pat and Ron capturing every moment of the defending world champion Chicago Cubs.
Chicago White Sox – Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson – as told by Dave Zaslowsky.
The White Sox broadcast features Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson, two former Sox players who have become as much a part of the lives of White Sox radio listeners as deep dish pizza, The John Hancock Building and 16 inch softball! This is Farmer’s 25th season behind the mic, and his 8th with Jackson who has been a member of the Chicago White Sox Radio Network for 17 years.
Sox games are heard on flagship station WLS AM-890, and what resonates with me most is the passion and comfort Sox fans feel for the broadcast. The core of Sox radio listeners are blue collar and Ed and DJ fit right in when telling stories from when they played for the team. They also have a unique ability to make everyone feel like family. In today’s radio world, a lot of broadcasters don’t stay too long in one spot, but that’s not the case with Ed and DJ.
Ed grew up on the south side of Chicago and often tells the story of how his mom took him to old Comiskey Park when he was a child and how he couldn’t believe “They played baseball in this building”. He promised that he’d one day play for the White Sox, and everyone who has listened to more than one Sox game on the radio knows that story.
DJ brings a wealth of baseball knowledge to the booth and a direct tie to some of the most beloved former Sox players having been teammates with Frank Thomas, Tim Raines, Jack McDowell, Paul Konerko and Ozzie Guillen. Every play on the field, every question from Ed, and even the foul balls that make their way into the booth are handled the way Sox fans expect – with excellence.
The White Sox are currently rebuilding and relying on younger players to mature and develop to help them enjoy brighter days. Whether they win or lose though, fans will get to know this team as if they were being introduced to new family members, by old family members, and that’s what makes Ed and DJ an incredible listen!
Cincinnati Reds – Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley – as told by Mo Egger.
Few things are as unique to broadcasting in Cincinnati as a Reds game on the radio. This is a city with great baseball and broadcasting heritage, and listeners here demand that if the team isn’t very good, the broadcast better be. Which, for the last 43 years, it has been.
The voice of the Reds since 1974 has been Marty Brennaman, a Ford Frick Award winner. I’d argue that with the retirement of Vin Scully, he’s baseball’s greatest active radio broadcaster. Marty is able to do something increasingly rare in his profession – balance detailed play-by-play with great storytelling while not necessarily being a mouthpiece for the team. When circumstances demand that he be critical, Marty is sharp and pointed with his criticism, at times to the dismay of some listeners. But there’s no one in our market who speaks with the authority that he does, and no one can make the critical moments of a mid-May game between two bad teams sound like they’re deciding a big playoff game in October.
His partner on most broadcasts – and the Reds do employ a number of different announcers – is former big league pitcher Jeff Brantley. Jeff’s country drawl and laid-back demeanor compliment Marty and few things sound like a lazy summer afternoon on the patio more than the innings that Jeff handles play-by-play. But few are as astute in their analysis of the game, especially when it comes to pitching.
I don’t know that a Reds broadcast would work in New York, or Los Angeles. Marty himself has said that. There’s something uniquely Midwestern about a Cincinnati Reds broadcast, and while I work for a cluster of radio stations that employs some of the best personalities in the business and has the rights to every Cincinnati sports property, Reds broadcasts with Marty and Jeff behind the microphones are – in my opinion, at least – our most important asset. I highly recommend giving them a listen sometime.
Cleveland Indians – Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus – as told by Nick Camino.
In the past 25 years of Cleveland Indians baseball, there may not be a name more synonymous with the Tribe than radio play-by-play man Tom Hamilton, appropriately referred to as “The Voice of the Tribe.” From his exciting calls, to his knowledge of the game, as well as the respect he has gained from players in the clubhouse and countless managers, Hamilton is a hometown fan’s dream.
“Hammy” as he is affectionately called, isn’t afraid to share his opinion even if he has to be critical of the Tribe. In my mind, Hamilton is the best in baseball and Cleveland is fortunate to have him.
Hamilton’s partner, Jim Rosenhaus spent years calling games at Triple-A for the Buffalo Bisons, and all of his hard work has certainly paid off, teaming up with Hamilton in 2012 full-time after the retirement of Mike Hegan. Since then, fans have warmed up to Rosenhaus who has a great feel for the game and is quick with analysis whenever the time feels appropriate to add it.
Similar to Hamilton, Rosenhaus works tirelessly hitting both the home and visiting clubhouses getting to know the ins and outs of not only the Indians but their respective opponents. “Rosey” as many fans call him, has quickly become a valuable asset to Indians broadcasts and his hard work and dedication to Tribe baseball and helping run the entire Cleveland Indians Radio Network is something that has paid great dividends for both listeners and the club.
Colorado Rockies – Jerry Schemmel and Jack Corrigan – as told by Brandon Krisztal.
Jack Corrigan and Jerry Schemmel form the classic baseball radio play-by-play team. Jack’s been calling baseball for the better part of 30 years, first on television in Cleveland and now in Denver for nearly 20 years. Jerry joined the broadcast in 2010 (after two decades of calling NBA games in Minnesota and Denver) and the two displayed instant chemistry.
The easiest way to describe their call is informed and easy-going, but not flashy or over-the-top. They certainly can elevate their emotional level when the game dictates but they never make the game about them. When I say classic baseball style, maybe it’s their midwestern roots that help shape their easy-going style, but both Jack and Jerry sound how you’d expect a guy from Cleveland (where Jack grew up) and a guy from Kansas (where Jerry is from) to sound.
While catchphrases may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Jack has one of the best I’ve ever heard. When a Rockies player hits a home run, Jack, exclaims “touch-em-all-time!” I’ve always appreciated how understated but appropriate and cool that call is. It’s simple but certainly conveys exactly what it needs to be.
Playing sports at a high level is certainly no requirement to calling a good game in any sport, but both Jack and Jerry played college sports (Jack played football at Cornell, and went to training camp with The Dallas Cowboys, and Jerry played baseball at Washburn University and Coached there as well) and that can only help inform their call. They have an understanding of mindset and competition that not every play-by-play duo has.
Understandably, you may not have caught a Rockies game, but, if you’re within 1,000 miles of Denver, driving on a summer night, there’s a good chance you can pick up a Rockies game loud and clear on 850 KOA-AM, one of the strongest signals in the country. I urge you to tune in for a few innings, and check out Jack and Jerry, because their call will take you back to a time when the world was a simpler place and the only way you could really enjoy a baseball game was by listening.
Detroit Tigers – Dan Dickerson and Jim Price – as told by Jamie Samuelsen.
Dan was raised listening to Ernie Harwell call Tigers games, and Jim played for the legendary (at least in Detroit) 1968 Tigers. So they are both Michigan and Detroit through and through which matters in Detroit about as much as it matters in any market in baseball. Listeners know how much these guys care about the team and it shows in both success and struggle.
Dan has fully embraced sabermetrics, and while he doesn’t go on and on with advanced stats, he’s more than willing to drop in a few numbers and stats that will further a conversation. His preparation is meticulous and it shows in his performance. He’s also outstanding at identifying pitch location and movement which leads to terrific discussions in game with Price, a former catcher.
Jim is a classic folksy color man. He’s a former big leaguer who played on the 68 Tigers, and remains good friends with Al Kaline, and makes sure that you know that. He’s done a great job in recent years looking at the Tigers through a more a critical lens. The Tigers have a massive payroll and have struggled at times, and Price is more than willing to point out poor execution, poor effort or a disappointing approach at the plate. He also has a few catch phrases (“art of pitching”, “yellowhammer” and “nice area”) that he now says with a bit of a wink to the listeners – knowing that they’re listening for them.
ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit
“Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.”
The largest player in the sports content business today is ESPN. From television to radio to streaming, social, podcasts, websites and more, the network remains a force in satisfying the appetites of sports fans around the globe.
But creating sustainable global success isn’t easy. It requires investing billions of dollars in key programming partnerships, holding off competitors who seek to elevate their own standing, and hiring and retaining talented professionals and providing an environment for them to thrive in. If that wasn’t difficult enough, a company must also embrace new technology, and accept that certain things will fail while pursuing a path to excellence.
The man charged with making sure ESPN thrives in each of these areas is Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, and I’m excited to share that he’ll be joining us in March in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit.
I’ll have the pleasure of spending 35 minutes on stage with Jimmy discussing the state of the sports media industry, the opportunities and challenges facing operators in 2022 and beyond, the growth of sports betting, network radio, podcasts, subscriptions, social, and many other issues. No matter what space we’re talking about, ESPN has held a dominant position among all media brands. Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.
Jimmy has been with the Walt Disney Company since 2010. He became ESPN President in 2018 and was elevated two years later to his current role as Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content. You can learn more about his professional background by clicking here.
A reminder that the 2022 BSM Summit is an industry-only event. You must work in the media business in order to attend the show. This includes sales, public relations, advertising agency professionals and agents, as well as programming folks. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet of attending the Summit, feel free to visit our YouTube page to see some clips from past shows. It’ll give you an idea of what you can expect. You can also see the full list of speakers scheduled to appear at our 2022 show by visiting BSMSummit.com. We’ll announce a few more executive additions to March’s event later this week.
For those who manage brands and have joined us before in New York, Los Angeles and/or Chicago and are planning to come but haven’t bought a ticket yet, please do so asap. Seating is limited and once we’re full, we can’t add seats inside the room. You can also take advantage of a great hotel deal ($109 per night) with our partner Hotel Edison by clicking here.
One additional note, for those who are concerned about traveling, there is an opportunity to buy a virtual ticket. This year’s show is available both online and in person. For those planning to join us in NYC, in addition to receiving your live ticket, you’ll also get an online account so you can view the event on-demand afterwards. This can be especially helpful if you wish to replay a session or use any information afterwards to help members of your team. A big thanks to our virtual partner Nuvoodoo Media for helping make it happen.
We’re just 49 days away from putting on a spectacular show for industry folks in the big apple. We hope to see you there!
BSM, BNM Ready To Grow In 2022
“We’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners.”
It’s commonplace in our business to self-reflect when a new year full of possibilities arrives. We should probably do it more often rather than reserving it for the final day of the year or the first day of the next, but in the media business, finding time isn’t always easy.
As I look back at 2021, and the obstacles, adversity, accomplishments, enlightenment, and unpredictability that awaits BSM and BNM in 2022, I’m grateful to be able to do work that many enjoy and benefit from. Since I left the programming world in 2015 not a day has passed where I thought ‘I need to get back to running a radio station‘. That may sound crazy considering I spent two decades inside of buildings, loving the job, and living and breathing it 24/7, but from the second I moved into this space, I knew it was where I needed to be.
I had my fun building brands, chasing ratings, leading corporate programming calls, and making good money, but that restricted me to working in one city for one company with one brand and one staff. Now, I get to wake up each day and help clients in multiple cities, and run my own brand, collaborating with a great group of people to tell stories about the business we love. Combine that with hosting an annual conference, working with advertising partners and industry friends to create cool content and examine ways to grow their businesses, and connecting with folks to stay plugged in on details that others won’t know about until weeks or months later, and I consider myself very lucky. The added bonus, I get to do it in running pants and t-shirts inside the comfort of my home office/studio.
But with operating a business comes a different set of challenges. In 2020, we ended the BSM Summit on a high only to watch the entire world spin out of control weeks later due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That created a bunch of short-term issues, which fortunately we were able to overcome. Fast forward to this year, and we’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners. I never assume we’re in the clear because things can change quickly, but the support we’ve received is appreciated. It fuels me to reinvest in others to continue growing our operation and helping the industry.
So let’s talk a little bit about how we’re doing that in 2022.
First, we merged Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media in May 2021 to bring news and opinion from both the sports/talk and news/talk worlds under one roof. We tried running them independently initially but that wasn’t the best strategy for a new brand. Since bringing them together, BNM’s exposure has increased, the content has been read more regularly, and though we have more to do to get the brand on par with BSM, we’re making progress. BSM had a 5+ year head start on BNM, and though I know at times it may seem weird to read a sports media and news media story on the same website or social media account, as I tell those who ask, sports and news have mixed together since the invention of television, radio and newspapers.
Boosting BNM’s awareness and content is a goal for 2022, and to do that I want to share two things we’re creating to help us make progress.
I’m excited to share that we are launching The BNM Rundown. This will be a newsletter we distribute 3x per week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) via email similar to what we’ve done with the BSM 8@8. The Rundown will go out around 5pm ET on each of those three days, and it’ll contain ten (10) news media stories, five (5) advertising slots, and the latest stock prices for radio groups. There will be additional content and advertising added in the future, and we may increase delivery to five days per week down the line. I’m happy with the layout and think you’ll enjoy it. If you’d like to receive the BNM Rundown or discuss advertising opportunities inside of it, click here to sign up. A big thanks to Ryan Jaster for all the work he’s done getting it ready for distribution.
In addition to the newsletter, 2022 will become the first year where we roll out BNM’s Top 20 of 2022. Similar to how we’ve produced the BSM Top 20, we are going to do the same for the News/Talk format. Categories will be announced at a later time, and we’re expecting to present our results towards years end. There’s a lot to be done to make it a success, but if we’re able to do for News/Talk what we’ve done for Sports/Talk during the past 6 years, I’m confident folks will appreciate it.
When I look at BNM right now, I see a number of excellent writers on the site. If you’re not reading Pete Mundo, Jerry Barmash, Douglas Pucci, Rick Schultz, McGraw Milhaven, Ryan Hedrick and Eduardo Razo, you really should. Each of those guys have been rock stars for the brand, but we need more help, especially another columnist or two. If you work in news radio or TV, love writing, and live and breathe the business, email: JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Though we do need to add columnists, a bigger hole has been a dedicated Assistant Content Editor. I’ve poured my heart and soul into BSM over the years, Demetri Ravanos has as well, and that’s helped us build a strong connection with sports radio folks. For BNM, that love, interest, and unwavering passion for telling stories about news radio and news television has been missing in the editor role. Though frustrating at times, it’s all part of building a brand. You have to go thru a few things before it all starts to click. Now after talking to a bunch of talented people over the past two months, and thinking about the brand’s need for TLC, I’m happy to announce the internal promotion of Eduardo Razo.
Since joining us Eduardo has been a steady fixture on the site, writing news, scheduling social posts, and putting an extra set of eyes on the content that comes in from our team. He cares about the site being clean, conducts himself neutrally and professionally when adding news, and he believes in the brand. If hours go by and the site doesn’t have new content, he’s the one who points it out. When Eduardo first joined us he was just learning the ropes. Over the past fifteen months he’s been consistently excellent, and I have no doubt he’ll make even more progress in his new role as BNM’s Assistant Content Editor.
Making sure Eduardo has support to help him though is also important. I’d love to be that person myself, but client projects require much of my focus, so having a strong #2 is key. I’ve been lucky to have a great one in Demetri Ravanos who I’m excited to share is being elevated to the new role of Director of Content. In his new position, Demetri will continue producing columns, creating original feature stories, and hosting a weekly podcast. He’ll also be responsible for daily social creation and scheduling, working with yours truly on client projects and Barrett Media events, recruitment of writers, growth of the BSM Member Directory, BSM merchandising, additional BSM audio projects, and oversight of BSM and BNM’s Assistant Content Editors.
That last line implies that there will be multiple editors involved in shaping BSM and BNM’s content, and with Demetri and Eduardo promoted, that means we’re adding someone to help grow BSM. I’m thrilled to welcome Ian Casselberry to our team as BSM’s new Assistant Content Editor. Ian is familiar to many in the sports media universe for his work with Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He’s also contributed to Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, SB Nation Detroit, and MLive.com among others.
I’ve read Ian’s work for years and have always appreciated his passion for sports radio and sports television. Adding someone with his experience, creativity, and attention to detail has been a huge priority for me. I’m looking forward to turning him loose on January 17th when he officially begins working with us. Under his direction, and in tandem with Demetri and I, we’re going to aim to produce more quality sports media content, and continue expanding BSM’s footprint across the industry.
As awesome as all of these moves are for creating interest in reading the site, if you don’t have someone in position to help sell it, the upside is going to be limited. For the past six years I’ve been the one making those sales myself. But I’ve also had to be a consultant, social scheduler, content creator, summit organizer-creator-host, finder of new clients, and the one in charge of billing and payroll. I love being busy, but a brand’s potential can’t be maximized without help.
Placing the company’s sales efforts in someone else’s hands though requires trust. I’ve learned the past few years that unless you’re inside my world and understand everything that goes on with BSM and BNM, it’s not an easy brand to sell. Media sellers are used to working with more assets, bigger dollars, and they expect things to move faster. They’re also used to corporate environments where a crew provides support from the beginning to the end of a sale. That’s not how it works here. This is more of a family business. Our success depends on one on one relationships, accessibility, being a self-starter, and patience. It means keeping in touch with industry friends and partners even when there isn’t a sale to be made. Nobody knows this brand, business, and who we serve better than the person who’s lived it with me for the past six and a half years, Stephanie Eads, my new Director of Strategic Partnerships.
Not only has Stephanie worked in sales and customer service most of her adult life, she’s honest, organized, and outstanding with people. She’s been exposed to every aspect of my radio life for the past sixteen years, and if you’ve been to a BSM Summit before then you already know how on the ball she is at making sure things get done. This is something we’ve talked about for years, but the timing was never right. Now it is, and I’m excited to watch her blossom. Having her add extra support to help me with billing and payroll is an added bonus.
The BSM brand will also welcome a few additional writers starting this week. First, I’m glad to have Danny O’Neil joining us as a weekly columnist. I got to know Danny in Seattle at 710 ESPN Seattle over the past six years, and he’s always been smart, passionate about media, and an exceptional writer. He’s now based in NYC and his debut column will hit the site this Friday. Also joining us in a daily news writer role is Will Dundon. Will is based in Nashville where he works as a producer for 102.5 The Game. Having him involved will help us stay on top of day to day news stories.
In terms of upcoming content, the BSM Top 20 of 2021 will be released February 7-11 and 14-15. The series moves back a week this year in accordance with a later Super Bowl date. During the seven day span we will highlight the best local sports radio stations, program directors, and morning, midday, and afternoon shows. We will also recognize the best national sports talk shows and original sports podcasts. To do that, we will once again involve more than 50 program directors and executives in the voting process.
One thing we will do differently this year is create an extra piece which recognizes the top performer in twenty smaller categories. These will be determined by a combination of BSM staff and select experts for specific fields. Some of these categories will include Best Sports Betting Content Brand, Best Wrestling Audio Show, Best Sports Radio Social Brand, and more.
After the Top 20 concludes, we’ll turn our attention to the 2022 BSM Summit, which is scheduled for March 2-3, 2022 in New York City at the Anne Bernstein Theater. The show will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. I’m excited about the guest speakers we’ve lined up for this year’s event, and have more tremendous additions to announce later this week and next week. I realize the Omicron/Covid-19 situation has created some concern over the past month, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. As of today, we’re planning to host the event. If the situation were to worsen and we couldn’t keep people safe and comfortable, we’d reschedule the show. I’m hopeful of seeing familiar faces and many of sports media’s best and brightest in sixty days. If you haven’t bought your ticket, log on to BSMSummit.com and do so before you’re on the outside looking in. In the meantime, stay tuned to this website and the BSM 8@8 for details. We should all know more January 15th when New York State updates everyone on their mask ordinance.
Other content projects are in the works as well for March-December. We’ve got a number of ideas we’ve talked about for March Madness, and the NFL Draft. Items like last year’s Meet The Market Managers or a programmer’s version of it may also land on the content calendar. Not to be forgotten is the importance of continuing to improve the BSM Member Directory to help people stay informed, ready, and land in front of the right decision makers when job openings arise. Seeing a few of our members earn gigs the last 4-5 months of 2021 was very cool, and we hope to see more of that in 2022. Last but not least, I’m hopeful of giving the website a new layout in either quarter 2 or 3.
As I bring this column to a close, I’d like to remind you that BSM and BNM exists because we love the business and advocate for it daily. Since 2015, I’ve prioritized professional storytelling, research, industry news, relationship building, social media marketing, and consulting. Inside information and building relationships are important, and sure, it’s occasionally fun being first, but I’ve never worried about clicks, scoops, cash grabs or ruining reputations to elevate my own. I try to think about the big picture, even if it means missing out in the short-term. That applies to who I work with in a consulting capacity as well as how I operate the site. There’s no better example of it than last week. Most of our crew had the week off. It was tough missing out on stories when we were taking a mental timeout, but people come first. If you want long-term productivity and a staff to stick with you, support and sacrifice are essential.
If there’s one thing I know, this outlet has been a great resource for industry professionals. I wasn’t as fortunate during my studio days to have a site this rich in content to learn from, debate with, and stay connected to. We’ve hired 20+ contributors to help serve the industry, and I’m honored to have each one of them here. The additions we’ve made to improve the brand in 2022 will make us even better. We’re not perfect by any stretch, but we try to be fair and accurate. I also try to be accessible, especially when difficult situations arise. There are going to be times when our crew deliver strong opinions or tackle sensitive issues, and when those instances occur, I hope you’ll remember what I said about accuracy and fairness. We won’t operate as shills for the industry but we’re also not going scorched earth on folks.
Our goal here is simple, help folks stay informed about the sports and news radio/television formats, overdeliver for clients who place their trust in us, connect our advertising partners and members to others who can benefit from their services, and give industry people access to content from other professionals so they can do their jobs better.
If we can do these things consistently we’ll be in great shape. If we miss along the way, we’ll clean up the mess, and try to learn from it. We’re nine months away from celebrating seven years in operation, and we couldn’t have made it this far without your full support. Thanks for riding with us, now let’s make 2022 a year to remember.
Black Friday Sale TODAY For 2022 BSM Summit Tickets
“BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets will begin at 12:01am ET on Friday November 26th and expire at 11:59pm later that same night.”
There are less than 100 days remaining until the 2022 BSM Summit takes place in New York City. We’ve announced 31 participants for the show so far, and have more to reveal in the weeks and months ahead. I think you’re going to like what’s still to come.
Putting this conference together isn’t easy. It requires months of meetings, brainstorming, promotion, selling sponsorships, pursuing speakers, and creating everything that attendees see on stage over a two day period. I’m thankful to have help from some amazing partners, but as I’ve mentioned previously, this isn’t an event that makes us rich or ends with 5-10 new clients signing up to work with BSM. The goal each year is simple, make sure the conference is valuable for those who attend, and don’t run BSM out of business by doing it. As long as those two things remain solid, it’s worth doing.
Some might wonder, why go thru months of headaches if you’re not going to break the bank or immediately add clients. That’s fair to ask. If you look at it from a pure business standpoint, one could easily make a case that pouring this type of energy into something else could be more lucrative. But money was never the motivation for doing this. I felt the sports media industry lacked a signature event where smart, successful media professionals (who don’t often cross paths) could gather at one location to laugh and learn together, and I wanted to change that. If over a two day period attendees could gain insight, information, ideas, and introductions, it’d put everyone in a stronger position to remain successful.
I’ve unapologetically loved the sports media business since I started listening to Mike & the Mad Dog on WFAN and watching SportsCenter on ESPN. I was fortunate to live and work in a number of cities over the past two decades, learning how different companies and people operate, and I remain involved today thru my work with BSM. I mention this because I also know media people. They tend to wait until the last minute to book hotel rooms, airfare, and purchase tickets, even if they can save money by acting sooner. I know, I used to do it too. I can’t control when you book your room or plane ticket, but I do want to give you an added incentive to buy your ticket to this year’s show. Seating is limited, and once the last seat is filled, that’s it. We can’t make extra room.
With that in mind, most of you are either taking today off or working inside a much quieter building. If you’ve thought about coming to the Summit, take 5-10 minutes to log on to BSMSummit.com to take advantage of our special Black Friday sale. We’ve reduced tickets for the day, so whether you’re planning to attend in NYC or watch the conference online, there’s a discount to help you out. Just $199.99 for live tickets, and $124.99 for virtual.
BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets expires at 11:59pm tonight. In the meantime, Hotel Edison in NYC is offering rooms for just $109 + taxes to Summit attendees. Click here to take advantage of the special room rate we’ve secured for this year’s show. Those of you planning to fly to NYC for the show, there have been a ton of great deals offered by American, Southwest, United, JetBlue and Frontier. It might be worth checking into today since Black Friday often has even better sales on travel.
If you’re interested in learning more about the industry, staying a step ahead, forming new relationships, strengthening existing ones, exploring potential business deals, and celebrating the business you’re in, I hope you’ll join us either online or in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit. I’m making it easier on you, by offering lower ticket prices today. The rest is up to you!
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