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The Gorilla Channel

Demetri Ravanos



I have written before about the importance of seizing opportunities when they present themselves. Today, I want to talk about one very specific missed opportunity. It didn’t come from the sports world, but a media outlet was involved and I think we can all learn a lot from the decisions that were made.

Last week, much of the national news surrounded Michael Wolfe’s book Fire and Fury about the first year inside Donald Trump’s White House. Many of the stories inside are salacious and have generated literally hours of content for media outlets of all types on both sides of the aisle. Whether or not you agree with the President that the book is pure fantasy doesn’t matter. You had an opinion about it.

On Friday, cartoonist Ben Ward, who tweets using the name @pixelatedboat, posted a fake screenshot that he jokingly claimed was from Fire and Fury. This phony snippet claimed that Donald Trump believed there was a television network that showed nothing but gorilla videos, and when his staff assembled the channel, Trump complained that it was too boring, so the staff edited out everything but the gorillas fighting.

Ward’s fake screenshot provided more details that made it clear this was satire. It didn’t matter. People and institutions of every political persuasion fell for it to the point that Ward had to change his Twitter headline to “the gorilla channel thing was a joke”.

#GorillaChannel was a trending topic all weekend. People were posting jokes about what might be on the Gorilla Channel. They were tweeting cable providers and DirecTV and asking why they didn’t carry the Gorilla Channel. It was a silly pop culture moment.

Saturday morning I woke up and thought for sure someone would cash in. I turned on Animal Planet. No gorillas. I flipped to National Geographic. No gorillas. Discovery? Again, 100% gorilla free.

Now, because of my time in rock and talk radio, I have good contacts at TV networks of all sorts, so I texted a friend who works in the media relations department of a network that runs a lot of nature themed programming and jokingly asked how they missed the golden opportunity to temporarily re-brand as The Gorilla Channel. I thought we’d exchange a few jokes and that would be that. Instead, I got the subject of today’s column.

My friend told me that the idea of a Gorilla Channel re-brand was kicked around. It didn’t happen for three main reasons.

  1. The network’s corporate ownership is not interested in ruffling feathers in the White House right now.
  2. The promotions and programming staffs could not agree on how to execute the idea.
  3. It became easier to dismiss the idea as an unnecessary way to cater to a niche audience on the internet than commit the resources necessary to bring it to fruition.

Let’s take these point by point.

There is really no lesson in point one. We’ve all been in a similar situation at some point. An idea you are passionate about makes management nervous and so it gets killed. You might get pissed, but what can you do? So let’s put that one in a box.

Points two and three are symptoms of each other that so often stand in the way of striking quickly to take advantage of a moment. Turning a large cable network into The Gorilla Channel in less than 12 hours take a lot of work. If the various staffs involved disagree on how that work should be divided or even what the end goal should be valuable time is lost. When valuable time is lost, it becomes easier to justify reasons for not executing your big idea than trying to succeed in a now shortened time window.

When a local team makes news for either the right or wrong reasons, when a trade goes down or a championship game at a far away location is coming up, start your planning with the end goal in mind. What do you want to accomplish? What message do you want to send? Next, determine what resources you’ll need. If my friend’s story about why The Gorilla Channel didn’t come to fruition taught me anything about interdepartmental collaboration, it’s that there has to be a single cohesive goal and vision for how to accomplish it. Otherwise, too much time is lost to brainstorming and potential bickering.

Local media should never stop swinging for the fences in being timely, topical and clever. Sure, you have less resources to work with than my friend at a large cable network does, but that also means less bureaucracy to deal with. Don’t let disorganization or stubbornness stand in the way of creating unique content or promotions.

I thought Ben Ward’s gorilla channel tweet was hysterical. Maybe you thought it was childish or even disrespectful. That is really inconsequential to the big picture of this cable network. We would all have been talking about them on Monday morning if they could have pulled their re-brand off. I can tell you for a fact that my DVR would have been running too. Now, it is a good idea that can never be used and valuable exposure the network can never get back. That’s all because the network wasn’t prepared to bring a timely idea to fruition.

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.




In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.


I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves



Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table



Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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