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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
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.