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Hey Jealousy

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Los Angeles Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani is performing like the rare combination of Zeus, Shaft, and Gerard Butler from the movie 300. The rookie phenom has been on fire. Remember the infamous “show me the money” line from Jerry Maguire? We might be seeing “Sho-hei the mon-naaay” signs in Angels country soon. Sorry, Starz is the only premium movie channel I currently have.

The Japanese stud has been the Swiss Army knife of production. He hit three home runs two weeks ago and struck out 12 batters against the Oakland A’s last Sunday. That would be impressive as a 15-year-old Danny Almonte posing as a 13-year-old. Ohtani is doing all of this as a daisy-fresh rookie in Major League Baseball! Filthy splitter + 100 mph fastball + scorching bat = is this dude from the future?

So far his teammates have said the right things about him. They’re absolutely blown away by his rare combination of talents. It makes me wonder if there will be a teammate or two that will get tired of Shohei Mania and the spotlight not being on themselves. Remember when Albert Pujols thought it was an insult to be compared to Mike Trout? When asked, “Are you motivated to put up the same numbers as Mike Trout?” Pujols responded, “Are you freaking kidding me?”

There are many other examples of pettiness that trump Pujols. Take the Seattle Seahawks for example. The reports of Russell Wilson’s teammates being envious of his commercial success have been well documented. A teammate resenting Russ for being in a TV ad is the equivalent of a 4th grader saying the most popular girl is school has a stupid face. At some point you just have to grow up.

If you think this dynamic doesn’t exist in sports talk radio, you’re sadly mistaken. Hosts are supremely aware of which people get opportunities. The news of a promotion isn’t normally met with, “Golly gee, that’s great.” It’s typically, “That hack? Really?” These same hosts don’t realize the damage their mindset is doing. A bad attitude is like a governor on a semi truck — it limits your potential.

Think of a Super Bowl party. There is the person that’s upbeat and makes positive comments about the food or bean dip. “You guys made sliders? Awesome!” Then you’ve got Debbie Downer who complains about everything. “They don’t have much to drink and the TV is too small.” Which person would you rather hang out with? You’ll find out that life is just like a big Super Bowl party.

The exact same dynamic takes place at work. Bosses have thoughts about who they’d like to be around when making a job offer. You’d need to be talented on a Shohei Ohtani level for a boss to think, “Man, this guy has an awful attitude, but let me offer him the gig so I can deal with his awful attitude daily and drive myself crazy.” It normally doesn’t work that way.

A positive attitude not only makes yourself feel good, it makes everyone around you feel good. It’s amazing how doors magically open after making other people happy.

The question then becomes how do you MacGyver your way in to a promotion? Outside of the obvious things like being good at what you do and networking, it comes down to attitude and approach. If both are bad, so are your chances of success.

In relationships, the worst approach to get your partner to do something you want, is to point out what they’re doing wrong. That isn’t motivating. It’s deflating. “You never take me out on Friday night. Why not? How come?” Your partner won’t be fired up to take you out. If it’s the opposite approach — “I love when we go out on Friday night. It’s so much fun being with you!” Your partner will be strutting around like a peacock. The positive approach gives you a much better chance of getting what you want.

Sports talk job seeking is no different. Don’t whine to your boss, “Why did John get that shift? Why not me? Whaa whaa whaa.” Instead, find ways to be positive. “I love working here. I’m very thankful. What steps can I take toward a greater role?” It’s not that you’re asking. It’s how you’re asking. You can’t expect a girl to go out with you after saying, “Why’d you go out with Chris? Why not me? No fair.” Don’t expect a promotion by saying the equivalent to a manager.

All of these things help increase the odds of having success. I don’t know about you, but I want the odds to be in my favor as much as possible. Your dream job might not fall from the heavens the minute you have a positive mindset. I’ll guarantee two things though — your odds of having success will be better and you’ll be much happier in the meantime.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft has said that “jealousy and envy are incurable diseases.” It’s easy to become envious of someone else getting a big opportunity instead of yourself. That doesn’t make it right. It only makes the problem worse anyway. Remember that song “Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms? As bad as that song was, think of your outlook being worse when you’re consumed with jealousy.

Wow, Gin Blossoms and Jerry Maguire. I’m sorry I didn’t fit in stone-washed jeans and Lou Holtz to complete this throwback experience.

Positivity is one of the greatest allies in life. It’s a door opener. Jealousy and envy are opportunity destroyers. You can’t even spell jealousy without lousy. Be happy when people achieve things that you’re striving for. It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. If you resent the success of others, the chances are greater that you will never experience similar triumphs.

BSM Writers

Asking The Right Questions Helps Create Interesting Content

Asking questions that can get a subject to talk about their feelings is a much better way to get an interesting answer.

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USA Today

When ESPN’s Mike Greenberg interviewed Paolo Banchero in the lead-up to the NBA lottery on Tuesday, he asked what I’ve concluded is the single most maddening question that can be asked of any athlete preparing for any draft.

“Why do you believe you should be No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?” Greenberg said.

Before I point out exactly why I have such a visceral reaction to such a harmless question, I want to point out the positives because Greenberg’s question avoids some of the most common pitfalls:

1) It is an actual question. That’s not as automatic as you think given the number of poor souls who are handed a microphone and say to their subject, “Talk about (whatever issue they want a quote or a sound bite on).” This is the mark of an amateur, creating the opening for an uncooperative subject to slam the door by saying, “What do you want me to say?”

2) Greenberg’s question can not be answered with a yes or a no. Questions that start with the word “Can you …” or “Did you …” may sound like they’re tough questions for the subject, but they’re actually fairly easy if the subject wants to offer an answer. Now, most interview subjects won’t take that one-word exit, but some will in a touchy situation.

The problem with Greenberg’s question has to do with the result. Why do we ask questions of the athletes we cover? Seriously. That’s not rhetorical. What’s the goal? It’s to get interesting answers. At least that’s the hope whether it’s for a quote that will be included in a story, a sound bite to be replayed later or — like in this situation — during an interview that is airing live. The question should be engineered to elicit interesting content, and there was very little chance that the question Greenberg asked Banchero was going to produce anything close to that.

I know that because I have heard some version of this question asked hundreds of times. That’s not an exaggeration. I attended the NFL scouting combine annually for a number of years, and if a player wasn’t asked why he should be the first overall pick, he’d get asked why he should be a first-round pick or why he should be one of the first players chosen at his position. Never — in all that time — have I ever heard what would be considered an interesting or informative answer. In my experience, players tend to talk in incredibly general terms about their own abilities and then seek to compliment their peers in an effort to avoid coming off as cocky.

Here’s how Banchero answered Greenberg’s question: “Yeah, thank you all for having me, first off., I feel like I’m the number one pick in the draft because I’m the best overall player. I feel like I check all the boxes whether it’s being a great teammate, being the star player or doing whatever the coach needs. I’ve been a winner my whole life. Won everywhere I’ve went, and when I get to the NBA, that’s going to be the same goal for me. So just combining all those things, and knowing what I have to work on to be better is a formula for me.”

There’s nothing wrong with answer just as there was nothing wrong with the question. It’s just that both are really, really forgettable. ESPN did put a clip on YouTube with the headline “Paolo Banchero: I’m the best overall player in the NBA Draft | NBA Countdown” but I think I’m the only who will remember it and that’s only because I’m flapping my arms and squawking not because there was anything bad per se, but because there was nothing really good, either.

First of all, I’m not sure why it matters if Banchero thinks he should be the number one overall pick. He’s not going to be making that decision. The team that holds the top draft pick — in this case Orlando — is. Here’s a much better question: “How important is it for you to be the number one overall pick?” This would actually give an idea of the stakes for Banchero. What does this actually mean to him? Asking him why he should go number one is asking Banchero to tell us how others should see him. Asking Banchero how important it would be go number one is asking him to tell us about his feelings, something that’s much more likely to produce an interesting answer.

The point here isn’t to question Greenberg’s overall competence because I don’t. He’s as versatile a host as there is in the game, and anyone else in the industry has something to learn from the way he teases ahead to content. What I want to point out not just how we fail to maximize opportunities to generate interesting content, but why. Interviews are a staple of the sports-media industry. We rely on these interviews as both primary content that will be consumed directly, and as the genesis for our own opinions and reaction yet for all that importance we spend very little time thinking about the kind of answer this question is likely to produce.

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BSM Writers

The Client Just Said YES, Now What?

We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES.

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One of the most significant moments in radio sales is when the client agrees to your proposal and says YES. But, when they do say YES, do you know what’s next? We better have an answer!

We spend a lot of time getting ready for clients with research, spec spots (thank you, radio sales trainer Chris Lytle-go to 22:30), proposals, and meetings. All of our focus is on getting the client to say YES. We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES. For example, getting newer sales reps to sell annual advertising contracts would be ideal for building a list. They would have less pressure, more job security, and could spend more time making the advertising work for their clients. But, since most newer reps don’t know the business yet, they don’t bite off more than they can chew and sell a package of the month.

When a client says yes to the weight loss promotion, it’s pretty clear how to write the ads, what the promos will say, etc. BUT, if a newer sales rep starts selling annual contracts to a direct local client who needs a resource, how will that work? Let’s make sure we paint the picture right upfront. More experienced reps know that they need to assume the client will say YES to the weight loss promo and have a plan accordingly.

They have the next steps to building copy and promos, a credit app or credit card payment form, and any other detail the client must provide. But, when we ask a direct local client for an annual advertising contract, watch out! You have just made a partnership. Why not lay out, upfront, what that will look like. And I understand not every local client needs the same level of service.

A car dealer has the factories pushing quarterly promotions, agencies producing ads, and in-house marketing directors pulling it all together sometimes. Other clients need your help in promotions, copywriting, or idea generation. Make a plan upfront with your client about when you will meet to discuss the next quarter’s ad program. Include your station’s promotions or inventory for football and basketball season, a summer NTR event, digital testimonials with on-air talent, etc., in your annual proposal. Go out as far as you can and show what you have to offer to the client and how you can execute it. This exercise is good for you and, once mastered, guides the client on how you will take care of them after the sale. It also opens your eyes to what it takes to have a successful client partnership inside and outside the station.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 74

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This week, Demetri is joined by Ian Casselberry and Ryan Brown. Demetri talks about the NBA Draft getting an ABC simulcast, Ian talks about Patrick Beverley’s breakout week on TV, and Ryan reminds us that Tom Brady may be the star, but Kevin Burkhardt is the story we shouldn’t forget.

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