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Covering LaVar Ball Has Created An Avalanche of Hypocrisy

Jason Barrett

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The daily grind to crank out compelling content can be exhausting. Hosts and reporters are under constant pressure to locate superb material that will instantly drive clicks, views and listens which will become top of the mind discussion that can breathe life into the next day. More times than not the industry succeeds, but every now and then we’re handed a lemon.

In that pursuit for locating relevant stories worthy enough of the audience’s attention, we stumble across a few questionable characters. The thought of dedicating content time to them turns our stomachs but they also serve a purpose in generating buzz and higher ratings. We may question our own standards and journalistic integrity when highlighting a rotten apple but as long as the public is eating it up, we keep putting it on the plate and telling ourselves it’s a good meal.

But while there are plenty of people willing to sell their soul to generate an extra tenth of a ratings point, there are also a large number of hypocrites sitting on the other side of the fence.

blankBy now you’ve heard the name LaVar Ball so much that it’s likely caused you to increase your purchases of Tylenol or Advil. The more people pay attention to the sounds pouring out of this man’s mouth, the more he pushes the envelope to increase his celebrity. He may make your blood boil and cause you to question the media’s rationale for giving him air time but what he’s doing is nothing new. It’s what sold a lot of fights for Muhammad Ali. The only difference, Ali had real talent, Ball doesn’t.

As foolish and outrageous as LaVar may be, my issue isn’t with him as much as it is with the hypocrisy I’m seeing in sports and media. Let’s start with the folks who have a problem with Ball being given exposure for his ridiculous commentaries.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was upset after learning of Ball’s criticisms towards Lakers head coach Luke Walton. The president of the coaches association said, “I view the recent ESPN article as a disgrace. They should look at their sources and do a better job of determining whether they have any merit or validity. Printing an article where the father of an NBA player has an opinion that is printed as anything like (it’s) legitimate – it erodes the trust we’ve built with ESPN and our coaches are upset because Luke Walton does not deserve that. To have to deal with these kind of ignorant distractions is deplorable.”

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also had a problem with the story. The leader of the NBA champions added, “Somewhere LaVar is laughing at all of us. People are eating out of his hands for no apparent reasons other than he has become the Kardashian in the NBA. That sells. That’s what is true in politics, entertainment and now in sports. It doesn’t matter if there’s any substance involved with any issues. It’s just, ‘Can we make it really interesting for no apparent reason?’

“This is not a ESPN judgment. It’s a societal thing more than anything. We’re going away from covering the game and getting closer to sensationalized news. It’s really not news. It’s complete nonsense. If you package that irrational nonsense with some glitter and some ribbon, people are going to watch.”

blankTaking it one step further was Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy who said the article upset him so much that he was going to offer less access to ESPN when the network aired his team’s games.

“I don’t have a problem with LaVar Ball. He’s a grown man. He can voice whatever opinion he wants. I got a problem with ESPN deciding that’s a story. I’m not meeting with their announcing crew before the game, I’m not doing the in-game interview. I’m not going to participate in the thing.”

Van Gundy’s brother Jeff, who works as ESPN’s lead analyst on NBA games agreed with the three coaches and took his own employer to task.

“Instead of focusing in on the real issues, Jeff Goodman and ESPN got what they wanted,” said Van Gundy. “They started a little fire and now everyone’s talking about it. The whole process is wrong when you write an article that doesn’t have one attributable quote — like the Patriots story.”

Upon hearing the reactions of multiple NBA head coaches, ESPN reporter Jeff Goodman, who wrote the Ball story, defended his piece.

“News has changed. I’ve been covering it for a long, long time now. What’s news today is not what was news five years ago, even two years ago. It is completely changed, and now, LaVar Ball saying what he did about Luke Walton is newsworthy. Nobody can doubt that.”

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Goodman made it clear that he disagreed with Ball’s assessment of Walton and understands the public’s perception of him being a jackass, but that doesn’t mean his comments aren’t newsworthy.

“I understand thinking that LaVar is a buffoon, and that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But I’ve seen it a lot with college basketball and NBA coaches. They always protect their own. Do they have any more knowledge of the Lakers situation, and whether Walton has lost that team, than LaVar does? The answer is no. LaVar could be dead on, we don’t know that.”

Having now absorbed the information, I have a few thoughts I want to share on both sides of the issue. Let’s start with the defense of Ball being given air time and whether or not his comments are newsworthy.

The last time I checked, this is a free country right? We’re all entitled to freedom of speech and Ball just happens to speak a little louder than most. In some ways, he’s doing what so many talk show hosts strive to do each day – deliver a strong opinion, make a connection and generate a reaction. You may not like what he’s saying but if it wasn’t of interest to people it wouldn’t be given the frequency of air time that it’s received. By the way, we also have the choice about whether or not to pay attention to him or tune him out.

Secondly, when did we rewrite the rules to only feature credible individuals and hard hitting news on sports media shows and websites? I must have missed that memo.

We didn’t seem to have a problem building up P. Diddy’s interest in buying the Carolina Panthers. When Kate Upton sounded off about the voting for the 2016 Cy Young award because Justin Verlander didn’t win it, that seemed to be newsworthy. How about Katy Perry making college football picks on College Gameday, Chris Pratt eating toasted grasshoppers on SportsNation, and stories being written about what rapper Paul Wall would give the Astros if they could deliver a championship for the city of Houston?

Just this morning I’ve seen multiple media outlets run stories on Dr. Dre talking to Golden State Warriors players. Was that really newsworthy or were brands simply using the popularity of Dre’s name to drive clicks?

blankOn Tuesday afternoon I was driving to pick up my son from school when I landed on Stephen A. Smith’s show on ESPN Radio. What Smith said about the situation was right on point. It’s worth your time to listen back to it. I even convinced my fifteen year old to pay attention for a whole segment without checking Instagram, YouTube or Snapchat. That’s a whole other column though.

Stephen A. mentioned that he didn’t particularly like that ESPN was covering the Ball’s in Lithuania but he took issue with Kerr, Carlisle and Van Gundy over their criticisms of the network’s decision making on news stories. Smith reminded them that they’ve been very outspoken on the political climate in our country which has zero to do with basketball. Yet when they’ve had something to say, ESPN has covered them. Some fans may agree with their political views but others don’t and would rather see them focus on basketball and avoid creating division.

Continuing on, Smith pointed out that whether you like it or not, LaVar Ball is the father of the number two overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft who is now the starting point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers. He may be obnoxious, annoying, distasteful and classless but what he said about head coach Luke Walton is newsworthy. Smith even made the point, if LaVar went on the record tomorrow saying that Lonzo wanted to be dealt from the Lakers because Magic Johnson is inept at his job, would that not be something ESPN should share with fans?

We may agree that Kerr, Van Gundy and Carlisle have much more professional credibility than LaVar but that doesn’t mean his comments aren’t news. The Lakers knew this was a potential issue when they drafted Lonzo and when the outspoken and arrogant father goes on the record suggesting Walton isn’t good enough to lead the Lakers to success, that’s a story worthy of airtime. It’s certainly much more relevant than some of the examples I mentioned above.

I also think Jeff Van Gundy is way off track on this issue. I’m a fan of Jeff’s analysis and candid style, and I loved when he coached my beloved New York Knicks but if all stories required attributable sources the entire sports news cycle would be drastically altered. Off the record conversations happen frequently and are vital in addressing problems and creating solutions. Using the Tom Brady story as an example, it would be professional suicide for any member of the Patriots organization to go on the record blasting the greatest quarterback of all time.

However, in the case of the Ball story, LaVar did go on the record. The disagreement from these coaches stems from their belief that he shouldn’t be given a platform. The media outlets get to make that call, not the head coach of a basketball team with no knowledge of a brand’s content strategy and no personal investment in the success or failure of the company. Their one option is to choose whether or not to read and react to it.

So that’s one side of the discussion. Now let’s flip the script and look at the other side.

blankIf you’re sitting in your studio or office defending the coverage of LaVar Ball and citing the ratings spikes, web clicks and Facebook views as your evidence, stop it right now. Seriously, stop it. Remember this and never forget it, the media has a HUGE influence over people. If you feature someone repeatedly on television, radio and online, and tell the public they should care about it, eventually they start to follow it. The expression of the world being full of sheep and following the media’s message isn’t exactly untrue.

Case in point, think back to the coverage provided towards Tim Tebow’s quest to be an NFL starting QB, Brett Favre’s problems with the Packers, Barry Bonds’ steroids allegations, Mike Tyson’s fights and real life problems or the latest case, the world according to Lavar Ball. When networks and websites sink their teeth into coverage of an individual or issue, they don’t let up until they squeeze every last drop out of it. That doesn’t mean the public is salivating over it, it means they’ve been beaten down enough to pay attention to it.

Do you honestly think one hundred thousand people would give a rat’s ass about watching a basketball game in Lithuania on Facebook featuring LaVar’s kids if the media wasn’t firmly behind it? In the words of Chad Johnson, child please!

The reason LaVar draws huge interest from the public is because he’s bombastic and flamboyant and the media loves to showcase personalities who operate that way. If an individual is willing to say controversial things which entertain us and cause mixed reactions, there’s always going to be a reporter on standby with a microphone, camera or pen.

How many times have you put on a radio station and heard a new song that you didn’t like? A few days later after hearing it five or six times your opinion switches to ‘maybe I rushed to judgment, it’s not that bad.’ After a couple more days, you start to actually like the song and tell others about it, and before you know it you’re either buying it on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify or in a store. The reason that happens is because the exposure to the content eventually wears you down. Whether it’s been LaVar Ball, the NFL’s TV ratings, Anthem protests or Colin Kaepernick being blackballed, if a story is told over and over again on every platform, eventually the public interest grows.

The other issues which are much more complex are determining what is news, what your professional standards are, and how much you’re willing to allow the pressure of increasing ratings to shape your editorial decisions.

blankI’ve spent time inside a number of radio station sales departments and I’ve often heard them say they don’t sell ratings. What’s ironic about that is the people in the programming department inside the same building are working under the assumption that the ratings are vital to the station’s success. What you discover as you go along is that some brands can make a ton of revenue without numbers, some enjoy ratings wins but can’t scratch two nickels together, and others are exceptional at both.

During the first ten years of my career I never went to work thinking about the ratings. That changed when I became a programmer. My focus then was to use my time and energy to develop topics, book guests, create production, events and ideas, meet the expectations of my bosses, and concern myself with what mattered most to my station’s audience. I didn’t stress over the sales department meeting their budget, the company needing to grow its stock price or anything else unrelated to content.

I suspect that there are many of you working in your station’s programming department reading this who operate the same way. If your program director never discusses the ratings and says they’re irrelevant to your performance, don’t build your show and make your daily content decisions based on whether or not they’ll generate a higher number. Do what feels right and interests your host and audience. If the ratings are a huge internal focus and a content strategy has been developed to help you be successful, then follow that game plan, ask questions, and analyze what is and isn’t working.

The reason that’s important is because the brand vision will influence how you make your editorial decisions. In the case of the LaVar Ball story, there are many outlets featuring his antics because it helps them capture an audience. Those brands have made it clear, the ratings DO matter. But you can also ignore the story and focus on other things and still have success. If you go that route though be consistent. Otherwise you’ll be called out for being hypocritical. That was the case this week with The Athletic who claimed to have a policy of ignoring LaVar Ball yet have wrote about him on multiple occasions.

I think it’s important to remember that disagreement is an essential part of life. There’s a growing problem in our country where we want to hear what we like and silence what we don’t rather than educating ourselves, welcoming an opposing view and increasing dialogue. There’s a need for both sides of a story to be presented. Steve Kerr, Stan Van Gundy and Rick Carlisle may not like LaVar Ball and ESPN’s decision to feature him, and they’re entitled to feel that way, but nobody forced them to read it or watch it. It’s not their place to dictate what ESPN should cover, and given the amount of money spent by the network on airing NBA games, I’d be all over the commissioner’s office if I were a Bristol suit making sure problems with the Pistons are solved before airing their next game.

The beauty of covering sports is that the majority of the content we work with focuses on things that most of us love or find interesting. We watch and attend games, talk to high profile people, and dissect what those individuals say about newsworthy material. We then form our own conclusions about the information we have at our disposal and invite further conversation with others over it. In that process we laugh, learn, love and loathe, and are left with something to think about before reconnecting.

blankThere are many who will change the channel when LaVar Ball and his family get mentioned. Others will turn up the volume to hear what he has to say. Personally I could care less about Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo or if they have distant cousins named La Bamba, La Familia, and La Cucaracha.

Rather than trying to decide who deserves air time, we should be thinking more about our brand’s identity and content strategy, and if the story fits and is one we can get behind consistently. It’s easy to sell the flavor of the month for a quick ratings surge but eventually a lack of substance will wear you out.

The power you wield sitting behind that microphone is strong. People will invest their time in your content if you tell them it’s relevant, worth their time, personally important, and in line with your brand’s standards. It’s the process of arriving at that point that’s complicated. Good luck finding your solutions.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett

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When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on BarrettNewsMedia.com and sports gets less crowded on BarrettSportsMedia.com. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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