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BSM Programming Summit Day 1

Jason Barrett

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We’re live in Chicago for the inaugural Barrett Sports Media programming summit hosted by Jason Barrett. This blog will be updated throughout the day so be sure to check back regularly for new information.

INTRODUCTION: Jason Barrett opens the Barrett Sports Media programming summit welcoming over 30 PD’s from markets throughout the country.  During the two-day event everyone involved has the opportunity to  share insights, strengthen relationships and inherit wisdom from many of our industry’s top sports radio minds.

SESSION 1 – Experience, Sound & Reinvention: 

  • Mitch Rosen – 670 The Score
  • Justin Craig – ESPN Radio
  • Mike Thomas – 98.5 The Sports Hub

Mitch Rosen – The Score brand is bigger than our personalities.  The radio station is 26 years old, and to stay relevant and fresh, you can’t be afraid to make change.  We could have kept things the same and done well, but we have to ask how can we reinvent ourselves?  Change was needed in acquiring new talent, but we still wanted to keep our heritage.

Staying topical is key.  How many people heard of Loyola Chicago before the tournament?  Being creative and having a great imaging director is one of the most important aspects for a sports station.  Our best primetime show is the Chicago Cubs.  They’re our marketing campaign and in all of our imaging, not just on The Score, but our entire cluster.

The best way to perform market research is talking with listeners.  They are our customers and they give honest feedback and I make the time to respond to all of them.

We need to own our local content because local content wins, and people want to talk about their teams.  This format is here to stay, because it’s live, local and all about strong opinions.

Justin Craig – Pushing the ESPN brand is more important than an individual station.  It doesn’t matter how a show is consumed, whether it’s on the radio, television or streamed.

As soon as a host’s show ends is when their job really begins.  That’s when the talent needs to stay connected, promote a show and build the brand.  Having a younger producer who knows how to properly use social media can be important to help the host continue to stay connected after the show.

The hardest thing to do on a national level is relating to the listeners.  Are we putting out a product that fans want?  The local station is part of their audience, they interact with them.

We aim to hit mass consumption with our shows.  It’s not just about one particular location.  It’s about radio, TV, the app, social media, anywhere fans are and interested in sports content, we want to be who they turn to for content.

Mike Thomas – The importance of imaging and making sure a station sounds fresh.  Each of us have had those moments where we heard a talent or imaging from a station that made us say, this is what we want to do.

The Sports Hub is a “sports station that rocks.”  We’re a former rock station and that can be heard in our imaging.  Boston was ready for a younger sports station and a lot of other markets are as well.

Even though we don’t carry the Red Sox, its important to still have Red Sox imaging.  We have a baseball reporters show to compete with WEEI’s Red Sox pregame and we promote that as well as when a reporter will be joining one our other shows.

Jason Barrett – Responded to a question about running a station that does not have broadcast rights to a popular local team.  At 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, they had rights to the Athletics’ games, but not the Giants.  It was still important to give the listener what they want, although the A’s wanted the station to talk less Giants during the day, its necessary to put the listener first even if that means focusing on your rival station’s team.

SESSION 2 – The Tangled Web of Social Media: 

  • Danny Parkins – 670 The Score
  • Barry Meister – Meister Sports Mgmt.
  • Scott Shapiro – Fox Sports Radio

Danny Parkins – It seems obvious to be active on social media to interact with the listeners.  I’ve told people I will be at a game and offer a meeting point to buy people beer.  I have 40,000 followers, I might only get a dozen people to show up, but 40,000 fans will see that I’m willing to do that.

You’re not being human if you’re not talking about what your audience is talking about including political topics.  Eventually fans will tune in to listen to a talent because they want to hear that person regardless of what they’re talking about.  There are ways to be profitable while being polarizing.

You don’t have to sell your soul to go viral or make a name for yourself, you just have to be creative.  If you’re going to be controversial, you have to be genuine and able to sleep at night.

From a compensation standpoint there are cost benefits to using social media.  It may not be easy to dissect but by being active on social media it caught the attention of Mitch Rosen and resulted in me now working for my hometown station in market #3 in afternoon drive.

Barry Meister – You can tweet something that 50% of the population finds funny and 50% finds offensive.  It never makes sense to alienate half of your audience.  A tweet that offends a large group of people is different than an opinion that people disagree with.

My job is to protect my client at all costs but I tell them “you want to be right, but you want to be employed.”

Whatever the platform is, you have to know who you’re talking to.  You also have to know who the individual is and educate them on the benefits and dangers of operating in the space.  Among my clients, Chris Sale has no use for Twitter.  It’s not who he is.  On the other hand, Sergio Romo is very active in the space and has generated a lot of additional revenue on it.

Scott Shapiro – Social media is an extraordinary brand connection.  There are so many people doing what we do, it’s a very competitive business, we want fans to be watching a game and thinking of our talent to see what they’re doing next.  Social media is free advertising.

For anyone in radio, to not use social media to promote your brand or station is a mistake.  That said, talent need to represent the values of the company when using Twitter.  The “f-word” is something that makes many people uncomfortable, if you use that on social media, you better not have our brand represented anywhere on the page.

Handling a talent crossing the line with an opinion depends on the employer and how much the company is willing to allow.

We use Facebook Live, it’s important, we try to make it look good and sound good, but any extension of our brand to a different platform is used as a way to try and convert that listener back to terrestrial radio.

SESSION 3 – Gaining Dollars and Attention From Sports Radio Advertisers: 

  • Dean Lamb – CDW
  • Laurel Cline – Wintrust Financial

Dean Lamb – From an advertising standpoint we look at ratings as one element, but there is so much other data we focus on as well.

How do we create a degree of relevance between what we’re doing and what you’re doing.  Talking to a program director to see what their audience listens to can help to create an ad.  I would prefer if someone told us to go back on the drawing board, rather than put something on-air that you don’t think works.

When working with talent, we look for an element of brand safety, but we also want someone interesting and relevant.

One difficulty with advertising during play-by-play is the spot can be played on terrestrial radio, but not heard on any streaming platform due to league rules, but streaming and smart speakers are obviously becoming more popular.

Sports radio stations who appeal to an older demo should absolutely push that story. It’s not just about Men 25-54. For example, when we do business with the PGA Tour we definitely look to reach the higher end of the demo.

Laurel Cline – There are so many things we look at, ratings are an aspect of it, but most importantly we want it to be something that fits our brand.  Sometimes there is too much data and it’s difficult to decipher what’s helpful and what isn’t.

We look for someone who is local, involved with the community and actually supports our product or brand. We try to stay away from anything too political or controversial, sometimes an ad might run during a show and we’ll get feedback from people upset.

Finding a way to integrate advertisers into podcasts will become more invaluable.  One challenge with podcasts is it fragments the audience, but if more people are listening to them, are less people listening to the radio? Knowing where the audience listens is important.

In our world, we know that the majority of our customers are older so we look to appeal to a younger audience.

It would be beneficial to us and all advertisers if we had a chance to meet, talk and get feedback from program directors. I have never met a programmer until today.

SESSION 4 – Tackling Diversity in Sports Radio: 

  • Sarah Spain – ESPN Radio
  • Jason Goff – Chicago Sports Radio Host
  • Dan Zampillo – ESPN Los Angeles

Jason Barrett introduced the topic by mentioning there are 425 Monday – Friday radio hosts in the country, 87% of them are white males. Although many deserve to be in their positions and are doing an excellent job it’s also disappointing to see the lack of progress offering diverse talent on the air.

The numbers over the past three years are unchanged. As a whole the format has to make major improvements. 38% of the population is non-white yet only a third of that population is represented on sports talk radio.

Dan Zampillo – The idea of hiring someone who isn’t like you is very important.  Someone with differing opinions might make me feel uncomfortable, but to overcome something you have to leave your comfort zone.

It’s not about my world and thinking what I think is funny or not, you need to know your audience and seek out opinions from different people.

Jason Goff – I grew up listening to sports talk radio.  I feel we sometimes insult our listeners because we think they can’t handle certain topics.  Sports can be a vehicle to talk about something else, people say stick to sports, but sometimes there’s something deeper than sports and people like learning more than they don’t like learning.

Sometimes for a minority or female host in an industry dominated by white males, there are some things you may have to subconsciously deal with that you say “that didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.” But if anyone else heard it they might be like “you’re going to put up with that” and I say “yeah, because it’s my dream.”

How many people have zero connection with a minority during their day? Radio stations can provide people with that connection.

The challenge we have is getting more diverse people behind these microphones and behind the scenes and understanding that there’s a blending that’s taking place but the loud minority is shouting down that blending.

I never understood why a sports station isn’t rated number one because everyone can relate to sports and has a reaction to it. I’m not here to make you feel the best or worst, but I’m here to make you feel, and it’s great to think differently because the audience isn’t just the 25-54 year old white male.

Sarah Spain – Nobody ever really only followed the stick to sports model.  The current climate just makes people more aware of someone not talking about sports.  Sticking to sports can be small-minded.  Why not appeal to a broader audience?

By the way, when people clamor for things to return to how they used to be, the way that it was though didn’t actually stick to sports.  A lot of women and minorities were alienated.  Gay people were offended.  The main people listening and in charge didn’t notice though because the commentary reflected their own opinions.

When I say something that goes off sports or is specific to me it becomes noteworthy, but when a straight white male goes on a rant about going to a strip club or women shouldn’t go to Vegas, they ruin everything, it just feels like the regular conversation because that’s what you’re used to.

We talk often about how to fix major league baseball because those who like the game are all old white men. When I talk to people in power positions in radio instead of saying “all of our listeners are white men who are aging” they say “we don’t want to alienate our listeners who we do have.”

What business runs like that?  What business says “no, we prefer to still not to attract 50% of the population of women and another 30+% that are minorities because we’re worried that the white audience that we have might go away if we force them to listen to someone who is mildly different from them.”

Why wouldn’t you want to appeal to as many people as possible who are interested in sports radio?  If you’re wondering why your audience is a certain way, maybe look at the people you have hosting and the things that they’re saying and realize that they’ve been turning away a really big chunk of people for a very long time.

You need to find people that don’t know what they want yet.  I never wanted to get into sports radio because I thought someone would ask me who hit the most home runs in 1985 and I wouldn’t know the answer, because my parents didn’t watch sports and I wasn’t watching sports in 1985.  To find different types of talent you have to be willing to put yourself into positions where you’re going to do things differently.  Whatever your daily routine is, wherever you usually go, go somewhere different.

Pipelines exist in every business for white males, but we need to create pipelines for everyone else.  If you’re hiring me because you need to hire a woman then great. I will be that woman and I will kick ass and inspire other women to create that pipeline for others to get these kind of opportunities.  If you’re a token hire, that’s fine, as long as you’re not disrespected.  Once you get the job is yours though you need to be yourself and take advantage of it and make people ask themselves why they didn’t try it sooner.

SESSION 5 – The Infinite Dial 2018: 

  • Larry Rosin – Edison Research

Podcasting is an important tool for radio stations.  Many people want to turn on a station and listen to whatever is on right now, but others want to catch up and listen to a specific show on their own time, and podcasts provide that opportunity.  If you’re not providing the listener with unique podcasts, they’ll find them elsewhere.

86% of Americans older than the age of 13 listen to music.

41% of Americans listen to speech based content.

The average American listens to three hours and 49 minutes of audio per day, 57 minutes of that is speech based.

Of the 41% that listen to speech content regularly, they listen to four hours and 54 minutes of content daily, of which two hours and 19 minutes is speech based.

Average listening platforms for Americans over the age of 13:

AM/FM Radio 53%
Streaming 15%
Owned Music 14%
SiriusXM 7%
TV Music Channels 5%
Podcasts 3%
Other 3%

Terrestrial radio is still by far the most consumed form of audio content, but with each new study, its percentage decreases a little bit.

Once a listener begins listening to podcasts, they quickly listen to more podcasts.  Of those who regularly consume podcasts, 59% of their daily listening is to podcasts, while AM/FM Radio drops to just 24% of their listening.

Once you enter the digital world, more people consume podcasts when listening on a phone or computer than they listen to AM/FM radio.

50% of people 18-34 said they do not own a radio in their home, ten years ago that number was just 6%.

SESSION 6 – The Trump Effect (moderated by Tim Spence 630 KHOW Orange and Blue 760 Denver): 

  • Todd Manley – WGN Radio
  • Brian Long – KOGO/Xtra 1360
  • Chris Kinard – 106.7 The Fan

Chris Kinard – When we started, we brought in hosts that could talk about social issues.  Over the course of the last two years its become too divisive and less fun, so we have cut back on that and the ratings have responded positively.

Continuing down a political path is something a host doesn’t always want to do because they don’t want to brand themselves in that way.  Politics might not be the majority of what a sports station or host does, but it’s going to be the loudest thing they do.

We’re done talking about politics.  Our listeners know when they turn on The FAN, they’re going to be entertained, and not moved to turn the radio off because they’re hearing the same political topics they heard at work all day.

Brian Long – Sports radio hosts aren’t always well-versed in what’s going on politically, but they still have opinions that could become divisive.  From a sports standpoint, we decided to get out of talking politics rather quickly.  Still, there are times that a sports conversation will have to crossover to being a political conversation.

We preach playing the hits, but you need to know why the audience is tuning into your station.  You can give a hot take on sports each day, but when talking about a social issue, a host may upset the audience if it’s not a topic the audience wants to hear about.

Todd Manley – I’ve noticed music stations coming out of nowhere in the market, because people are looking to get away from political conversations.  Looking at the balance of what to talk about is important, you need to have fun.  We have shows that are targeted towards sports and others that are not.

Our afternoon show is topicality driven, there are so many topics to choose from right now, and choosing what news story to talk about is a conversation we have everyday, along with how can we shift gears to making the topic fun.

SESSION 7 – Sports Radio Reimagined: 

  • Jason Barrett

Should the male 25-54 demo change?

People are living longer.  Older listeners have the most money.  The debate should be about which demo best represents the true impact made by sports talk radio stations.  18-54? 25-54? 25-59? 25-64? 35-64?

Niche content is gaining steam.  Trying something different such as a daily sports betting or eSports show can’t be dismissed, especially when you look at how much money is projected to be invested in those spaces in the future.  Just type in sports or sports radio on iTunes and look at what comes up.  Wrestling for example, dominates the charts.  It’s why Podcast One and Westwood One have launched wrestling programs.  There’s big money and interest in many of these forms of content.

Sports program directors are comfortable spending money on weekly NFL, NBA, MLB contributors, but have you ever considered a weekly political guest? Betting experts? A popular wrestling personality or eSports enthusiast?

How are you looking to groom young talent, or employ women and minority talent? Barstool Radio has more women in their weekday lineup than any station. They also feature shorter shows. Why not experiment with a 30-60 minute show? If the average commute is under 30-minutes and your average metered listener spends less than one hour listening to your station each day, can you say with certainty that shorter programs wouldn’t be seen as a benefit to your audience? With digital platforms available, stations should be using them as a way to experiment and develop new talent.

How much money are you generating from your digital content?  How much are you earning from podcasts, and people using your app or streaming? How many hours are invested in making your digital platform look and sound right?  Station’s need to find ways to make the digital part of their business profitable and charging for it can’t be dismissed.

If radio revenues are flat to down and you look at what’s going on in the subscription world in the sports media business, it’s fair to ask if 100,000 listeners paying zero on a platform that you monetize poorly and spend ample resources in is more important to your business than 10,000 paying $8.00 per month.  If the content and talent are special and offering quality on a consistent basis people may not be as opposed to paying for it as you might think.

Brands should be analyzing how their meters use their stations and adapt their clock structure to the way people use the radio station’s programs, not just installing the same clock design across all 13 hours just because it’s simpler.  As long as the inventory gets in during each four to five hour daypart, it’s the programmer’s job to review when people are listening most/least and capitalize on opportunities.

PD’s should be asking themselves, “can my brand survive and thrive without me?”  You have to think about the job description going forward differently.  There’s going to be much more to the position than analyzing ratings, coaching talent, meeting with sales and promotions, etc.  Are you involved in digital content creation, social strategy, merchandising, graphic design, etc.?  Don’t dismiss learning about those things because they may be part of your job in the next few years.  Otherwise a company may one day decide to install a virtual PD.

SESSION 8 – The Next Big Category: 

  • Chad Millman – Action Network
  • Bill Adee – VSiN

Chad Millman – It’s harder to do a national campaign if sports gambling is regulated in each state differently.  League’s would prefer if the future of sports betting was federally legislated the same everywhere.  From a content standpoint, it doesn’t matter, we’re still going to provide information to help people learn to bet smarter on sports.

There are still glitches, the betting technology has to catch up for the market to grow where I expect it to grow

We want to be conversational and connect with an audience that might not bet daily, but it still remains a part of their lives.  The generation that is 15-35 has grown up with moneyball, fantasy sports and video games.  They view sports as an opportunity.

The NFL is so backwards regarding their stance on sports betting.  They think differently than other leagues.  Knowing legal sports gambling is coming, the NFL’s thinking should be more about how to monetize it.

Bill Adee – Nobody really thought about why sports gambling was legal or illegal because the law was that way for so long.  The attitude toward sports betting has changed.  It’s a states right’s issue, Nevada was grandfathered in, why shouldn’t New Jersey be allowed to legalize sports betting?

At VSiN, we like to inform and entertain, but most of all we like to educate.  There is a big audience for sports betting and we need to explain it in a way that doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence, because a lot of them think they know what they’re doing in-terms of betting, but they really don’t.

You want to put information on-air that makes sense and draws the listener in, focus on lines and how they move, knowing that a lot of the betting conversation needs to be explained properly to the audience.  We try to demystify sports gambling.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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Jeff Catlin, John Mamola, Gordy Rush & Maggie Clifton Join The 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

Jason Barrett

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We’re less than two months away from the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles. This year’s conference takes place on March 21-22, 2023 at the Founders Room inside of the Galen Center at USC. Many industry professionals are set to attend but sports media folks tend to be a last minute crowd whether it’s buying a ticket, reserving a room or committing to be a sponsor. Yes, tickets, rooms, and a select few sponsorships are still available, but the longer you wait, the more you risk not being in the room, featured as a partner, and paying higher prices for travel. To make sure you have a seat and a place to stay, log on to BSMSummit.com. For sponsorship inquiries, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

I am really excited about this year’s Summit. The venue is tremendous, the agenda is coming together nicely, and there’s no doubt we’ll have great weather when we gather in LA. Some have asked me why I don’t reveal the full schedule of sessions months in advance, and it’s because I believe in swinging for the fences and trying to do big things. To do that, you’ve got to be willing to invest time and explore every opportunity that can be impactful. It’d be much easier to fill the schedule and be done with everything but if it’s going to take a little longer to deliver the best speakers, discussions and experiences for all in the room, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Those involved in the creation of this conference know that I set a very high standard for it. We’ve run some great events over the years, and it’s because we put everything we have into making sure each session is valuable to a different segment of the industry. My goal each year is to present an action packed agenda that helps people learn, gain access to information to improve themselves and/or their brands, and create a few connections and memorable moments to justify it being worth a few days away out of the office or studio. If we can do that, it makes the sacrifices worthwhile. If we can’t execute at a high level, then I’d probably pass on doing it.

Before I tell you about the four people we’re adding to our speaker lineup, I do want to remind you that we recently announced a contest for California college students. We’re giving away ten (10) FREE tickets to the show courtesy of Steve Kamer Voiceovers. If you know a student in California please let them know about this. If they’re not in California but want to attend the event, we’ve created a special college rate to make it affordable for young people. Everything is listed on BSMSummit.com.

Now, for the new additions to the lineup.

I’m excited to welcome Jeff Catlin of The Ticket in Dallas to the Summit. This will be Jeff’s first Summit visit, and I appreciate him making time to share his programming wisdom with the rest of the room. Jeff will be part of a programming panel that kicks off day #2. That panel will include Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Raj Sharan of Denver’s Sports Station 104.3 The Fan, and our next addition, John Mamola of WDAE. John has been at all of our events dating back to our first test event in Chicago. I’m looking forward to giving him an opportunity to offer his programming insights alongside this talented group.

Also joining the Summit lineup is Maggie Clifton, Blue Wire’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. Maggie has played a vital role in growing Blue Wire’s revenue, and I’m looking forward to having her join Barstool Sports’ SVP, Head of Sales Matt Berger, and Magellan AI’s Chief Revenue Officer John Goforth on a panel that focuses on digital monetization.

Guiding that conversation will be Guaranty Media’s Gordy Rush. The Baton Rouge Vice President and General Manager who doubles as LSU’s sideline reporter on football broadcasts is well versed in monetizing content, and understanding the opportunities and challenges broadcasters face. I’m confident those in the room charged with maximizing digital revenue for their brands will gain great value from these four professionals.

There’s much more in the works that I’m looking forward to announcing in the coming weeks. Whether you own a company, manage a cluster as a GM, lead a sales team, host or produce a podcast or radio/TV show, buy advertising, oversee a brand’s social media strategy or program a network or local outlet, there’s something for every sports media professional at the BSM Summit. I invite you to come see for yourself. To do so, visit BSMSummit.com.

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Jimmy Powers to Receive The Mark Chernoff Award at the 2023 BSM Summit

“Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award.”

Jason Barrett

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As a former programmer turned consultant, I pay more attention than most to those who lead brands, manage talent, and create consistent success. When you look across the country at the hundreds of stations delivering sports radio content, and analyze who operates at a high level, there’s maybe ten to twenty who are changing the game, and others who are rising and hoping to become a bigger part of the conversation.

What makes this annual award special in addition to having Mark Chernoff’s name on it, is that it’s voted on by eighteen industry heavyweights. These are folks tasked with overseeing radio companies, major networks, and having exceptional track records of broadcasting success. So when they vote and an individual earns an honor, it means a little more.

If you’re in the business and follow sports radio, then you’re aware of Mark Chernoff’s accomplishments as a program director. He was one of the true architects and consistent winners, and his ability to excel as a sports radio manager has influenced and shaped many careers. Mark graciously agreed to be part of our awards ceremony a few years ago when I approached him with the idea in New York City. I’m thrilled to share that although he doesn’t attend many industry conferences on the west coast, he will be with us at the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles for the ceremony.

Which brings me to this year’s winner.

It is my honor to congratulate the leader of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Jimmy Powers. Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award. He follows Rick Radzik of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, and Mitch Rosen of 670 The Score in Chicago. Jimmy will be in attendance at the Summit to pick up the award, and will take part in a program director panel at the show. Further details on that to be shared next week.

“It’s such a great honor not only to be mentioned in the same breath with Mark Chernoff, but to receive the ‘Mark Chernoff Award’ is really, really cool” shared 97.1 The Ticket Program Director Jimmy Powers. “With so many great program directors across the country who are deserving of this award, I truly appreciate the recognition.”

Since late 2009, Powers has led the Detroit sports radio station to unmatched local success. Brought in to build upon what was created by the late great Tom Bigby, he’s helped The Ticket become one of the format’s best examples of success. The station has consistently dominated the Male 25-54 demo, while also becoming a ratings force with Persons 12+ and Adults 25-54.

“Jimmy has done an amazing job over the years running 97.1 the Ticket,” said legendary sports radio programmer Mark Chernoff. “He knows how to work with talent, and maintain balance while managing relationships with the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons, which is not an easy job. The ratings remain high, and the Ticket continues to be one of America’s top sports stations, which reflects the great work Jimmy has done as the station’s program director.”

In addition to delivering double digit shares, quarterly ratings wins, and presenting a star studded lineup and Michigan’s top sports franchises, The Ticket has taken home plenty of hardware too. The station has won the Marconi award for best sports station in 2016 and 2022. And now, they can add the 2023 Mark Chernoff Award to their trophy case.

“2022 was another big year for The Ticket, and many in Detroit deserve credit for the brand’s consistent success, but none more so than their exceptional brand leader, Jimmy Powers,” added BSM President Jason Barrett. “Jimmy has been a staple of consistency, guiding one of the crown jewels of sports radio, managing top personalities, important play by play partnerships, and helping the brand generate large revenues. I’m thrilled that our industry voters took notice of the fantastic work Jimmy has done and look forward to celebrating his career and accomplishments in Los Angeles this March.”

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California College Students Earn Chance to Win 10 Free Tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit Thanks to Steve Kamer Voiceovers

“In order to win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event.”

Jason Barrett

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With a new year comes renewed energy and optimism for the sports media business. Yours truly is looking forward to showcasing the best our business has to offer when we gather the industry in Los Angeles, CA at the 2023 BSM Summit at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California on March 21-22, 2023. Our conference is returning to the west coast for the first time since 2019. We’ve announced some super talented speakers. We’ve got additional things in the works and I plan to make additional announcements in the next few weeks.

People often ask me what the biggest challenge is putting this event together. My answer is always the same, it’s getting people to leave the comfort of their office and spend two days in a room together learning and discussing ways to grow the business. We have great sponsorship support and exceptional people on stage and are fortunate to have a lot of folks already set to attend. Our venue this year has extra space though, so I’m hoping a few more of you make time to join us. If you haven’t bought a ticket or reserved your hotel room, visit BSMSummit.com to make sure you’re all set.

If there’s one thing our industry could get better at it’s opening our minds to new ideas and information. There’s more than one path to success. Just because you’re in good shape today doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow. Building brands, growing audiences, increasing revenue, and examining new opportunities is an ongoing process. There are many shifts along the way. We may not solve every business challenge during our two-days together but you’ll leave the room more connected and informed than when you entered it.

Each year I’ll get two or three emails from folks sharing that they learned more about the industry in two-days at the Summit than they have in ___ years inside of their building. That’s truly gratifying and what I strive to achieve when I put this event together. I remember when conferences like this didn’t exist for format folks and I take the risk and invest the time and resources to create it because I love the sports media industry and believe I can help it thrive. I see great value in gathering professionals to share ideas, information, and meet others who can help them grow their business, and if we do our part, I’m confident some will want to work with us too. That’s how we benefit over the long haul.

But as much as I focus on serving the professional crowd, I also think we have a responsibility to educate young people who are interested, passionate, and taking steps to be a part of our business in the future. The BSM website is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and it’s become a valuable resource for folks who enjoy sports radio and television. I think it’s vital to use our platform, influence and two-day event to connect generations and I’m happy to announce that we will once again welcome college students at this year’s Summit.

Most of us who’ve been in this line of work for two or three decades learned the business without podcasts, YouTube, social media, the web or conferences delivering two full days of sessions that taught you more about the business than what’s available inside of a class room. We learned by doing, and hoping we were right. Then we copied others who had success. Some of that still exists, and that’s not a bad thing. But where our business goes in the future is going to be drastically different.

I’d like to see the difference makers in our format remembered for years to come, and practices that have stood the test of time remain valued down the line. Change is inevitable in every business and I’m excited about the road that lies ahead especially some of the technological advancements that are now available or will soon become a bigger part of our industry. I think we can embrace the future while enjoying the present and celebrating the past. The best way to do that is by bringing together everyone who is and is hoping to be a part of the sports media universe.

So here’s two things we’re doing to make sure future broadcasters have an opportunity to learn with us.

First, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Steve Kamer Voiceovers. Thanks to Steve’s generosity, TEN (10) college students will be given FREE tickets to attend the 2023 BSM Summit in March. Steve is a USC graduate (Class of 1985) and he bought the ten tickets to help young people learn about the industry, save money and make valuable connections. When I first received his order, I thought he hit the wrong button. I reached out to tell him a mistake was made and I needed to refund him. That’s when he told me what he wanted to do for students who were pursuing their broadcasting dreams just as we both did years ago. A very classy gesture on his part.

As it pertains to the contest, here’s how it’s going to work.

To win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event. Included in your email should be a list of steps that you’ve taken or are pursuing to explore opportunities in the media industry. If you want to pass along a resume and audio or video clips too to showcase your work and experience, that’s fine as well. BSM will accept submissions until February 17th. The winners will be announced on Friday February 24th.

Helping me select the winners will be an exceptional panel of media executives. Each of these folks below will choose one person to attend our L.A. event. The final two will be picked by Steve Kamer and myself.

  • Scott Shapiro – Senior Vice President, FOX Sports Radio
  • Justin Craig – Senior Program Director, ESPN Radio
  • Jeff Sottolano – Executive Vice President, Programming, Audacy
  • Bruce Gilbert – Senior Vice President of Sports, Cumulus Media & Westwood One
  • Amanda Gifford – Vice President, Content Strategy & Audio, ESPN
  • Jacob Ullman – Senior Vice President, Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports
  • Greg Strassell – Senior Vice President, Programming, Hubbard Radio
  • Scott Sutherland – Executive Vice President, Bonneville International

To qualify for the BSM Summit College Contest, students must be enrolled in college in the state of California, pursuing a degree that involves course work either in radio, television, print or the digital business. Those attending local trade schools with a focus on broadcasting are also welcome to participate. You must be able to take care of your own transportation and/or lodging.

This is a contest I enjoy running. We’ve had great participation during our prior two shows in New York City but haven’t done it before on the west coast. I’m hoping it’s helpful to California students and look forward to hearing from many of them during the next month.

For students who live out of state and wish to attend or those enrolled at local universities who enter the contest but aren’t lucky enough to win one of the ten free tickets from Steve Kamer Voiceovers, we are introducing a special two-day college ticket for just $124.99. You must provide proof that you’re currently in school to take advantage of the offer. This ticket gives you access to all of our sessions inside the Founders Club. College tickets will be limited to forty (40) seats so take advantage of the opportunity before it expires.

The 2023 BSM Summit will feature award ceremonies with Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan and legendary WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, sessions with influential on-air talent such as Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, and Mina Kimes, big picture business conversations with executives from groups such as Audacy, iHeart, Bonneville, Good Karma Brands, Barstool, The Volume, Omaha Productions and more. For details on tickets and hotel rooms visit BSMsummit.com.

I look forward to seeing you in March in Los Angeles!

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