What if I told you, that another sports media show or personality would be given a future 30 for 30 documentary. Who would you nominate to earn that honor?
On Thursday evening July 13th, ESPN premiered the 30 for 30 film on WFAN’s longtime afternoon show, Mike and the Mad Dog. The story revolved around Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, and the New York sports radio duo’s rise to prominence in the big apple. Mike and Chris enjoyed nineteen successful years on the air together, and in the process, influenced the growth of the entire sports radio format, and many of the broadcasters who operate in it today.
By the end of the episode, Twitter was exploding with conversation about the film, making it one of the evening’s top trending topics. The film ran sixty minutes in length, which I felt was short, but the episode brought back many great memories for those who were familiar with Mike and Chris and their importance to the sports radio format.
When the ratings came out, the film was ESPN’s highest rated 30 for 30 episode in New York City. However, it failed to gain traction outside of the nation’s top media market. Given the regional nature of sports talk radio and its personalities that wasn’t surprising.
After learning about the ratings, I began thinking to myself, which other sports media shows, hosts, stations or stories would be worthy of a similar honor? 30 for 30 films aren’t handed out to just anyone. To earn that type of respect and recognition as a media personality or show, a significant contribution to the industry must be made for a lengthy period of time.
I began jotting down ideas and contemplating who had blazed a large enough trail in the sports media business to warrant consideration. I don’t claim for this list to be bulletproof. But maybe it spurs additional ideas, and reminds us to appreciate the style, skill and special qualities that many great broadcasters have brought to the airwaves, and the life lasting connections they’ve formed with the audience.
There are many giants in our industry. Some have retired after decades of excellence. Some continue to steal the spotlight on television and radio, adding to the legacies they’ve already established. And others have joined the guy in the sky after owning space in the hearts and minds of sports fans during the length of their broadcasting careers.
It’s easy to make a case for Chris Berman, Mike and Mike, Jim Rome, Stephen A. Smith, Pardon The Interruption, Bob Costas and Al Michaels. The same can be said for Stuart Scott, John Saunders, Harry Caray and Craig Sager. And there are many others that belong in the conversation as well.
I don’t expect ESPN to create future 30 for 30 documentaries on these individuals, let alone the ones that I’m making a case for in this article, but since this is the land of make believe, and we’re all allowed to dream, I’ve laid out a few thoughts on who I think is worthy of having their story told. Each of these candidates have left an indelible mark on the sports broadcasting profession, and their ability to resonate with fans on a national level would create greater public interest in their documentaries.
If 30 for 30’s writers, filmmakers, and producers choose down the line to develop a film from one of these ideas, a simple thank you to Barrett Sports Media in the final credits will suffice. Unless of course you’re paying seven figures. In that case, call me!
But while I spend my time sitting around waiting for their call, use your next few minutes to review the three candidates that I’ve chosen, and the reasons why they deserve consideration to be featured in a future 30 for 30 documentary.
Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann – Before the landscape of sports television exploded with tons of options and channels, Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann owned the attention of every sports fan across America for a five year period. The times may have been simpler, the competition less formidable, and the production quality and studio display less appealing, but when Dan and Keith took the air to host The Big Show, viewers adjusted their schedules to make sure they were in front of a television to watch them perform.
From their signature catchphrases to their on-camera chemistry and the sheer joy in which they informed you about the best moments each night from the world of sports, Dan and Keith became television rock stars. They were your friends on SportsCenter and the guys who both fans and athletes each wanted to spend time hanging out and having a beer with. Their style was contagious, their laughs were natural and they inspired many to want to stand in front of camera and develop a career calling sports highlights.
The only downside to Dan and Keith’s tenure is that it didn’t last long enough. Patrick stayed at ESPN until 2006, but Olbermann was long gone, departing in 1997. Upon his exit from Bristol, a town in which Keith was not fond of and had publicly been critical of, sources said there was a better chance of hell freezing over before Olbermann would be welcomed back.
When the network celebrated 25 years of its history, Keith was the one marquee name who wasn’t present. The two sides did though finally turn the page and work together in 2013 when KO signed on to host his own self-titled nightly program. He also returned for ESPN Radio’s 25th anniversary. Patrick cut ties with the network too for a few years, but finally returned in 2015 as Scott Van Pelt’s first guest on SportsCenter.
The emergence of The Big Show gave SportsCenter the jolt of energy it needed during an important time in the show’s history. Although the program had gained ground prior to Dan and Keith’s arrival, once the two teamed up to own the 11pm ET time slot, patterns changed, allegiances were formed, and late night sports television became must-watch and must-discuss.
Since departing from the four letter network, the two broadcasters have taken different roads, enjoying varying levels of success. Olbermann expanded his profile by tossing his hat into the political arena. Patrick stayed true to his sports roots, developing a nationally syndicated radio/television show, and becoming the studio host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football. He’s also continued to make appearances in Adam Sandler films.
They say the true measure of impact is what you accomplish during the time that you’re doing it. Well, for five years Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann owned the attention of every American sports fan, athlete, coach and executive. If 30 for 30 shined the spotlight on their influence on SportsCenter and sports television, they’d earn the nation’s attention again, even if only for an hour or two.
Vin Scully – Like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, Vin Scully warmed the sports fan’s soul for over six decades. The graceful voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the epitome of class. He made sports fans feel like they were at the ballpark enjoying the sound of the crowd, the taste of the hot dogs and beer, and the smell of the grass, even as they relied on his magical voice to convey the excitement over their radio airwaves. You couldn’t think of the L.A. Dodgers without thinking of Vin Scully.
Throughout his career, Scully shined in nearly everything he did. He was behind the microphone for Hank Aaron’s record breaking 715th home run in 1974. He called NFL games for CBS including Dwight Clark’s catch from Joe Montana against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1982 NFC Championship game. He spent 1983-1989 with NBC where he called three World Series including the classic between the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox in 1986 and the 1988 A’s-Dodgers series which included Kirk Gibson’s infamous pinch hit home run against Dennis Eckersley. He also served as the network’s lead announcer for PGA coverage, working alongside Lee Trevino.
One of the more interesting sagas of his career occurred at CBS where the network chose Pat Summerall over him to work opposite John Madden. The network felt Summerall blended better with Madden, which ultimately proved to be a good decision. The sting from that situation led Scully to NBC.
The list of awards and accomplishments that Scully racked up over his broadcast career is impressive as well. He was given the Ford Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, honored with a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for sportscasting along with induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995, and was named the California sportscaster of the year 32 times. He has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was honored with the Icon Award at the 2017 ESPYS awards show.
Scully was America’s friend on the radio, a master at painting pictures with words, and his excellence continued until his final sentence was uttered in 2016.
The only challenge with producing a Vin Scully documentary is that it’s missing a lot of negativity and friction. Maybe I’m naive to think that respect, decency, and greatness would be enough to make people care, but I’d roll the dice on telling the story of one of America’s finest broadcasters. A story about Vin would not only capture a few eyeballs, but it’d also leave them wet.
What made Cosell a trailblazer was his uncomfortable and unapologetic approach which often ruffled the feathers of many he spoke with. He was a bombastic personality with a huge ego who referred to himself as arrogant, obnoxious, vain, verbose and a little bit of a showoff. He stood firmly behind his convictions, often using the line “I’m just telling it like it is”.
Perhaps the New York Times described him best when they wrote his obituary in 19995. The newspaper said that Cosell entered sports broadcasting in the mid-1950s, when the predominant style was unabashed adulation. Cosell provided a brassy counterpoint which was first ridiculed, and then copied until it became the dominant note of sports broadcasting.
All of those character traits became part of Cosell’s magic. After carving out a solid niche on New York radio and television, he became a national figure thanks to his interactions with Muhammad Ali. Despite their differences as people, the two discovered an instant chemistry. They were able to cover territory in their conversations that others simply didn’t. The various twists and turns and occasional sparks, made their interviews worth the price of admission.
Cosell was one of the first sportscasters to support Ali when he refused to be inducted into the military. He also publicly supported John Carlos and Tommie Smyth after they raised their fists in a “black power” salute during the 1968 medal ceremony. Most broadcasters sought to steer clear of social and racial issues, but Cosell embraced them, enhancing his public profile, but creating mixed reactions along the way.
It was Cosell who was behind the microphone for one of the most memorable moments in professional boxing history. The brash broadcaster screamed “Down Goes Frazier. Down Goes Frazier. Down Goes Frazier” after George Foreman rattled Smokin’ Joe Frazier in round 1 of their 1973 heavyweight title fight. Foreman would go on to knock out the champion in round 2. The call remains one of the most popular in sports broadcasting history.
To have one of those moments is special enough, but another on-air moment is equally as important to Cosell’s legacy as any other. During a Monday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots on December 8, 1980, Cosell stunned the audience by revealing that John Lennon of The Beatles had been shot and killed outside of his apartment in New York City. At first, Cosell was hesitant to announce the news of Lennon’s death, but after being pressed by Frank Gifford, he eventually relayed the information, making it one of the most defining on-air moments in sports television history.
There are many other acts, moments, controversies and contributions that make up the Howard Cosell story. From his introduction of the line “The Bronx Is Burning”, to his controversial remarks about Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett, to his best selling memoir “I Never Played The Game” which created tension at ABC and led to his dismissal, Cosell was a colorful and complicated individual. That’s usually what makes for compelling and entertaining programming. If 30 for 30 chose to tell his story, I don’t think they’d struggle to find an audience for it.The beauty of sports media is that it never stops producing interesting personalities and stories. The growing amount of networks and platforms, and interest among viewers, readers and listeners, means we’ll have plenty to choose from when determining which trendsetters and game changers warrant a documentary worthy of the world’s attention, and which ones have built a nice niche but are best remembered in their local backyards.
Maybe one day we’ll profile the digital empire Bill Simmons built. Or Barstool Sports’ influence on sports fans. Or the impact of the Woj bomb after a decade of NBA news breaking dominance. Heck, maybe another sports radio program will have a larger impact on an audience than Mike and the Mad Dog, although I have a difficult time picturing it.
Imagine the uproar if ESPN announced a 30 for 30 was in development to profile the Embrace Debate model and how it changed sports television? The social media insanity would be worth the price of admission alone. As much as people knock it and complain about it, a case could be made that it’s not only produced ratings and big media stars for ESPN, but it’s influenced the way other television networks present their own programming. And I’m not just talking about FS1.
For many in the sports media industry this is a fun topic to debate and discuss. Selfishly we love to hear about members of our business and the stories behind their careers, even if the overall interest in the subject is less when compared to the world of sports and all that it creates. That isn’t to suggest that what we do doesn’t matter or that it’s not worthy of recognition, but choosing the right story is critically important to generating success for a film.
Let me end this column by leaving you with the question that I presented in the opening paragraph. If you were in charge of developing a 30 for 30 documentary, and tasked with creating the next big hit around a sports media personality, show or story, which one would you choose?
But let’s raise the stakes. If you choose right, you earn a lifetime contract to produce films for ESPN. If you make the wrong call, you can never film anyone or anything again.
That shouldn’t be too difficult right? After all, it’s only your career that’s on the line. Choose wisely my friends.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.