The Talkers 2018 conference in New York City is over but a few things remain in my mind after attending the event. Michael Harrison and his team put together an excellent full day schedule which was well attended and supported by industry leaders. Altogether 71 people from a variety of backgrounds in the media business spoke, and finding an open seat in the Helen Mills Theater was not easy.
Having spent countless hours at conferences during my career, and especially over the past three years since launching BSM, I’ve viewed each of these events as a chance to expand my knowledge and grow my network. I realize some things we hear are repeated year after year but there’s also new information and opinions shared which can go a long way in helping you grow as an industry professional. I also think there are many similarities between sports and news/talk so if I can pick up a few tips to benefit my clients, I’m glad to make the trip to attend.
Before I dive into some of my takeaways, I want to address one item which came up last week. I learned that there were a number of people upset that Alex Jones was listed on the conference schedule. As it turns out, his appearance was cancelled. I’m not here to tell you that you should or shouldn’t attend an event based on your feelings towards someone who’s views you strongly reject, but I refuse to let my personal beliefs get in the way of an opportunity to learn and strengthen professional relationships. I’d rather walk out of the room, make a phone call or grab a bite to eat during a session which I’m opposed to, instead of punishing 70 other talented speakers. But hey, that’s just me.
As far as the sessions were concerned, there were 15 jammed into the 8-hour day. Some flowed smoothly and delivered tremendous information. Some were tougher due to an overcrowding of guest speakers and a short period of time to explore subjects. Overall though it was a productive and beneficial experience.
For starters, I thought Karen Hunter of SiriusXM did a nice job when accepting the Freedom of Speech Award. She reminded the audience that the microphone has an ability to destroy people if you’re not responsible with it. Her points on aiming to bring people together to create a coalition, and discuss issues and ideas in an honest manner was refreshing. I also loved her commentary on challenging hosts to find a way to add to people’s peaks rather than their pain.
Michael Harrison also provided a few gems, starting with a reminder that the only thing holding back the radio industry is the radio industry itself. He mentioned that we’ve got to be open and willing to share our experiences with others because it allows us to learn and build a better industry. This is something I’ve challenged sports radio people time and time again to do a better job of. If you don’t tell your brand’s story, you can’t bitch when it’s told poorly by someone else.
In his fireside chat with FOX News television and radio personality Brian Kilmeade, Harrison asked about the challenge of conducting real interviews with high profile people without kissing their ass. In Kilmeade’s case, he’s had a rapport with Donald Trump prior to his becoming President, so now when conversations take place, there’s an even bigger focus placed on whether the FOX News host is being fair or lobbing softballs.
Kilmeade said his approach to those situations is to lead with a fact, ask a question and avoid sensationalizing. He said President Trump isn’t unwilling to hear criticism but he expects to be treated fairly.
One great example shared by Kilmeade was when he interviewed WWE Chairman Vince McMahon during his steroids trial. Brian began by trying to boost him up before the discussion by pointing out how he enjoyed the product to which McMahon replied “I don’t need a fan. Just ask the questions. I have the answers.” It showed Kilmeade that if a person has the truth on their side, they’re less worried about facing the music.
After Kilmeade’s appearace, Beasley Radio CEO Caroline Beasley spoke with Harrison and shared how much she believes in the sports talk space, proclaiming 98.5 The Sports Hub to be the best sports radio brand in the nation. Beasley then offered some thoughts on the digital space, and pointed out that the company launched 63 of their stations on Alexa, and now receives 12% of their listening on the platform. Among her biggest concerns was the lack of real numbers due to on-air and online listening not receiving true measurement.
Following Beasley was Salem Media Group’s SVP of the Spoken Word format Phil Boyce. The former WABC programmer presented some outstanding data to show what NewsTalk listeners want most, and explained how that data should be applied when hosting shows. The reason why Sean Hannity mentions the words “Breaking News” within the first 30 seconds of his show is because data shows it to be the number one thing people take an interest in. He said it’s the understanding of an audience which has allowed FOX News to continue winning despite losing 3/4 of their stars.
Boyce labeled Donald Trump “the gift that keeps on giving” and talked about how his ascension to the highest office has been the biggest boom for NewsTalk since Monica Lewinsky’s infamous encounter with Bill Clinton. Boyce read a great quote from the Washington Examiner which said “The President is one of the wildest, most exciting things to ever happen to this industry, and if you think there’s a chance that the national media will dial back their 24-hour Trump coverage in 2020, willingly passing up the financial benefits that come with covering this circus, then you don’t know media.”
Insights were then shared by Boyce from Salem’s research which highlighted what people value most and least on talk radio. He pointed out how some hosts and stations have spent time talking about nonsense and how it’s come back to bite them in the ass. If time allows, I encourage you to log on to Talkers.com and watch the video presentation. It’s on the top right of the page and about an hour and fifteen minutes in. It’s well worth your time it if you’re a fan of research and how it shapes a programming strategy.
A Talkers conference wouldn’t be complete without a visit from WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa. The New York sports radio icon mentioned that we are on a collision course between content and platforms. He offered a few thoughts on the demand for live play by play and why he expects sports to deliver more suitors and dollars in the future. One note which Francesa shared which won’t make programmers happy is when he pointed out that he does a self-sufficient show and receives minimal involvement from his PD. Given his length of time and success in the business, Mike doesn’t believe he needs to be regularly coached. He closed up by challenging on-air talent to take a stronger interest in learning the business, especially the ratings and revenue portion of their jobs, adding how Don Imus and Brent Musburger were influential on his development as an industry professional.
After hearing about the values of sports and news/talk radio, the conversation shifted to the podcasting space. Podcast One Chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz took the stage and touted the various ways brands can use metrics to satisfy advertisers. Pattiz pointed out how uniques are similar to cume and don’t often tell the whole story of a program/brand’s success. Among the biggest issues Pattiz notices is how podcasting has been sold as value added rather than programming with unique value. He believes the most important sale is a host read commercial, and it has increased value in podcasting due to limited commercial availability.
In closing, the Podcast One CEO cautioned that we haven’t reached the golden age of podcasting yet. In fact he feels we’re not even close to it yet. When exploring talent to add to his platform he said if someone can generate an audience, then they’re attractive, because anyone with an audience, has an ability to sell something to them. He shared that someone with 50K in social media followers won’t have the door shut on them but if they walk in with a few million that’s going to immediately get the company’s attention because podcasting recognizes and builds influencers.
One of my favorite sessions of the day was hearing Steven Goldstein of Amplifi Media present his findings on the growth of smart speakers. Goldestein, who is in business with Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media, noted that smart speakers are growing faster than smart phones did. He said we’re moving to a post-text world where voice becomes the number one way to communicate, and shared that by the year 2020 it’s expected that 50% of all searches will be done thru voice. Goldstein presented some great numbers to further illustrate the importance of the smart speaker space, mentioning that 20% of Americans now one one, Google AdWords revenue has soared to $95 billion, and Amazon has built a 5000 person staff to work on Alexa.
How that applies to radio is pretty simple according to Goldstein. He said smart speakers have put radio back in the home, but it’s critical for stations to develop skills so they can be easily found. He cautioned that the first time a listener searches for the brand and can’t find it, is the last time they search for it. Another valuable reminder was that when it involves the voice space, there is no AM/FM button. Currently there is an abundance of choice including 5 streaming services, one hundred thousand radio stations and five hundred fifty thousand podcasts. If ever there was a time to analyze your brand, people, and programming and consider the ways they can be received on smart speaker devices, this is the time.
The final session which I found interesting was The Big Picture discussion which featured Mike McVay of Cumulus Media, Justin Chase of Beasley, Chris Berry of iHeartMedia, Julie Talbott of Premiere Radio Networks, and EVP of the Weiss Agency, Heather Cohen. Over the course of thirty minutes the panel answered questions from ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones on the present state of the business and expected changes. Chase specifically raised some valuable points on radio’s relationship with the auto industry and how it’s in a good place and important to the future of our business. McVay announced that Cumulus has begun reworking incentives for their people, taking into account digital impact, not just ratings. The sense among all involved was that podcasting is certainly important, and a big part of each group’s future plans, but the optimism for radio has not wavered.
Other notable speakers included Westwood One President Suzanne Grimes, AM 970 The Answer host and known comedian Joe Piscopo, WABC morning host Sid Rosenberg, and program directors Craig Schwalb, Scott Masteller, Grace Blazer and Mike Bendixen. Bendixen in particular won the day for most swear words used during a session. Before you judge him, let me point out that it was entertaining. It not only showcased Mike’s true passion for the business, but the reality is that many of us talk this way on a regular basis, so I appreciated the authenticity.
If there was one thing to point out that I found concerning it’s that these conferences continue to be supported and attended by an aging demographic. This isn’t just a Talkers issue, it’s an industry issue. To make it even more depressing, rarely do you find personalities in the room looking to learn.
That leaves me to wonder, are industry members in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s interested where we are and where we’re headed? With the world changing as rapidly as it is, and companies investing time and resources every day to get an edge, do we honestly believe the answers to progress are going to come by just doing the job in front of us inside our own hallways? I continue to see an issue with reaching younger professionals, and I question what these conferences will look like in 10-15 years. If we don’t take advantage of the opportunities to learn while they exist, we may not have that option in the future. I don’t think that helps any of us.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.
Takeaways From The NAB Show and Six Days in Las Vegas
“I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm for the NAB Show was elevated this year.”
Six days on the road can sometimes be exhausting. Six days in Las Vegas, and it’s guaranteed. That was my world last week, as I along with more than fifty thousand people headed to sin city to take in the 2022 NAB Show.
The event didn’t draw as many as it had in the past, but after two years of inactivity due to the pandemic, it was good to be back. Judging from some of the vendors I talked to, the sessions I attended, and the feedback I received from folks I met with, though far from perfect, it was a solid return for an important event. Seeing people interact, celebrate others, and talk about ways to improve the business was a positive reminder of the world being closer to the normal of 2019 than the normal of 2020-2021. The only negative from the week, the consistent failure of Uber to appear in the right place at the right time. But that had zero to do with the NAB.
It feels like whenever I attend industry conferences, there are two different type of reviews that follow. Some writers attend the show and see the glass half full. Others see the glass half empty. I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm was elevated this year. Maybe it was because BSM was a media partner or maybe it was due to the show not happening for years and just being happy to be among friends, peers, and clients and operate like normal. Either way, my glass was definitely half full.
For those who see events this way, it’s likely they’ll remember the numerous opportunities they had to create and reestablish relationships. They’ll also recall the access to different speakers, sessions, products, and the excellent research shared with those in attendance. The great work done by the BFOA to recognize industry difference makers during their Wednesday breakfast was another positive experience, as was the Sunday night industry gathering at The Mayfair Supper Club.
Included in the conference were sessions with a number of industry leaders. Radio CEO’s took the stage to point out the industry’s wins and growth, credit their employees, and call out audio competitors, big tech, and advertisers for not spending more with the industry. When David Field, Bob Pittman, Ginny Morris and Caroline Beasley speak, people listen. Though their companies operate differently, hearing them share their views on the state of the business is important. I always learn something new when they address the room.
But though a lot of ground gets covered during these interviews, there are a few issues that don’t get talked about enough. For instance, ineffective measurement remains a big problem for the radio business. Things like this shouldn’t happen, but they do. NBC and WarnerMedia took bold steps to address problems with TV measurement. Does radio have the courage to take a similar risk? That’s an area I’d like to see addressed more by higher ups.
I can’t help but wonder how much money we lose from this issue. Companies spend millions for a ratings service that delivers subpar results, and the accountability that follows is often maddening. Given the data we have access to digitally, it’s stunning that radio’s report card for over the air listening is determined by outdated technology. And if we’re going to tell folks that wearables are the missing ingredient for addressing this problem, don’t be shocked if the press that follows is largely negative. The industry and its advertising partners deserve better. So too do the reps at Nielsen who have to absorb the hits, and make the most of a tough situation.
Speaking of advertising, this is another one of those critical areas that deserves another point of view. Case in point, I talked to a few ad agency professionals at the show. Similar to what I’ve heard before, they’re tired of hearing radio leaders blame them for the industry’s present position. This has been a hot button topic with executives for years. I often wonder, do we help or hurt ourselves by publicly calling out advertisers and ad agencies? How would you feel if you ran an agency which spent millions on the industry and were told ‘you don’t do enough’? I’m a champion of radio/audio, and am bullish on spoken word’s ability to deliver results for clients, but having attended these shows for nearly seven years, it might be time for a new approach and message. Or maybe it’s time to put one of our CEO’s with one of theirs and have a bigger discussion. Just a thought.
Of the sessions that I attended, I thought Erica Farber’s ‘What Business Are You In?’ was excellent. I especially liked Taja Graham’s presentation on ‘Sharing Your Truth’. I also appreciated Eric Bischoff’s tips on ways to monetize podcasts, and am curious to see how Amazon’s AMP develops moving forward. My favorite session at the show though was “A GPS Session For Your Station’s Car Radio Strategy” led by Fred Jacobs. The insight shared by Joe D’Angelo of Xperi and Steve Newberry & Suzy Schultz of Quu was outstanding. Keeping the car companies on our side is vital to our survival, and how we position ourselves on the dashboard can’t be ignored. Other tech companies and audio operators take it seriously. We must too.
Sessions aside, it was great to check out the VSiN and Blue Wire studios, connect with a bunch of CEO’s, GM’s and Market Manager’s, and visit with Kevin Jones, Joe Fortenbaugh, Jeremiah Crowe, Jon Goulet, Bill Adee, Q Myers, Mike Golic Jr. and Stormy Buonantony. The NFL’s setup for the Draft, and the light show presented at the Bellagio was without a doubt spectacular, plus Stephanie had a chance to say hello to Raiders owner Mark Davis who was inside the back room of a Westgate restaurant where we were having a business lunch meeting. The personal tour we received at the Wynn showed off some of the best suites I’ve seen in Las Vegas, and I was finally able to witness Circa’s Stadium Swim in person, and meet owner Derek Stevens (heck of a suit game). What an outstanding hotel and casino.
Altogether, it was a productive trip. As someone who knows all about building and executing a conference, I appreciate the work that goes into pulling it off. This event is massive, and I have no idea how the NAB makes it happen so flawlessly. This was the first time my head of sales, Stephanie Eads, got to attend the show. She loved it. Our only negative, going back and forth between convention halls can get exhausting. Wisely, Stephanie and Guaranty Media CEO Flynn Foster took advantage of the underground Tesla ride to move from the North hall to the West hall. I wasn’t as bright. If that’s the worst part of the experience though, that’s pretty solid. I look forward to returning in 2023, and attending the NAB’s NYC show this fall.
You’ve likely seen posts from BSM/BNM on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn promoting a number of open positions. I’m adding crew to help us pump out more content, and that means we need more editors, news writers, features reporter’s and columnists. If you’re currently involved or previously worked in the industry and love to write about it, send a resume and few writing samples by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
With that said, I’m excited to announce the addition of Ryan Brown as a weekly columnist for BSM. Ryan is part of ‘The Next Round’ in Birmingham, Alabama, which previously broadcast on WJOX as JOX Roundtable. The show left the terrestrial world in June 2021 to operate as its own entity. Ryan’s knowledge and opinions should provide a boost to the site, and I’m looking forward to featuring his columns every Tuesday. Keep an eye out for it tomorrow, and if you want to check out the guest piece he previously wrote for us, click here.
Demetri Ravanos and I have talked to a lot of people over the past month. More additions will be revealed soon. As always, thanks for the continued support of BSM and BNM.
Six New Contributors Join Barrett Media
“These latest additions will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.”
Building a brand starts with a vision. Once that vision is defined, you identify the people who fit what you’re creating, lay out the game plan, and turn them loose to execute. If the product you’re creating is original, fills a gap in the marketplace, and the work turned in by your team is consistently excellent and promoted in the right locations, more times than not you’ll build an audience.
As you grow, the focus turns to studying what your audience wants, needs, and expects from your brand. Certain things you expect to be big turn out small, and the things you saw limited upside in create opportunities you never saw coming. It’s critical to be open minded and ready to pivot while also examining where and when people consume your product, which pieces of content do and don’t matter, and then use that information to direct your team to give folks more of what they value and less of what they don’t. Team members should want that feedback too. It tells them what is and isn’t worth spending their time on.
As I lay all of that out it may sound like I’m talking about a radio station or television operation. These are the things programmers do frequently to make sure the talent, shows, and brand is satisfying the expectations of an audience. But what I’m actually referring to is the brand you’ve made a choice to click on to read this column, Barrett Media.
I’ve mentioned many times on this website how I started this operation by myself, and didn’t expect to have a team of writers involved in it. I was focused on consulting sports stations, sharing my programming views on this website, and as I cranked out content consistently, I discovered others loved the business like I did and had a desire to share their insights too. Rather than sticking to my original plan, I pivoted and increased our content offerings. In return, the audience grew, clients grew, and it’s led this brand to grow beyond my expectations. Now we cover sports AND news media, we run an annual conference, feature a membership program, create podcasts, deliver a daily 8@8 and three times per week BNM Rundown newsletter, and work with various brands and companies across the broadcasting industry. I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position and don’t take it for granted.
But with growth comes change. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of talented people contribute to this site over the years, and as they produce quality work, and others across the industry recognize it, they earn interest for their services. That then leads to some having to sign off for bigger opportunities. I see that as a great positive for the brand. Would it be nice to have more consistency and keep a crew together for years? Of course. I know it’d make Demetri’s life a lot easier. If we’re losing people for the right reasons though, and they’re landing opportunities that help them advance their careers, I’m going to be happy for their success, and trust that we’ll find others to keep us moving forward. The success of our team helps make what we do more attractive to others because it shows that if you do good consistent work here, you can put yourself in a position to attract attention.
Over the past two months, I have challenged Demetri Ravanos to invest more time talking to people about writing for us. Expanding our Barrett News Media roster is a priority. So too is adding quality people to help us improve Barrett Sports Media. BSM has had just under seven years to earn trust with readers. BNM has had less than two. We’ve put out ads on our website and newsletters, social posts, an ad on Indeed, and we’ve reached out directly to people who we’ve felt may be able to add something interesting to our brand. Most of my time is spent listening to stations and talking with clients, but my eyes are always roaming looking for content, and my mind is always thinking about what we can create next to make an impact.
I don’t judge our brand’s success based on clicks, shares, breaking news before other outlets or showing up in the top three listings on Google. I care more effort accuracy, timeliness, passion, consistency, storytelling, insight, and being fair and non-agenda driven. We’ve found our niche being able to tell stories about broadcasting professionals, relaying news, and offering expert knowledge to serve those involved in the broadcasting industry. If we continue to excel doing those things consistently, I’m confident our audience will reward us by reading and sharing more of our content. It’s why we never stop recruiting to keep things fresh.
Having said that, I am excited today to reveal six new additions to the Barrett Media staff. Peter Schwartz is a name and voice many in New York sports radio circles are familiar with. Peter has spent three decades working with various outlets and I’m thrilled to have him writing weekly feature stories for us. Brady Farkas is a talented host and former programmer who now works for WDEV in Burlington, VT. Karl Schoening is a play by play broadcaster who has worked in San Antonio sports radio and has had the added benefit of learning the industry from his talented father Bill who calls Spurs games. Each of them will produce bi-weekly feature stories for the brand. Jason Ence is in Louisville and has written about sports betting for Twin Spires while also working for ESPN 680. He’ll be writing sports betting content for us on a weekly basis. Jasper Jones will help us by adding news stories on Friday’s. He’s presently in Philadelphia learning the business working for Audacy. Last but not least, veteran author, Brewers writer, and former radio professional Jim Cryns comes on board to help us with features on news media professionals.
These six additions make us stronger, and I’m excited to have them join the team to help us add more quality content to the website. That said, we’re not done yet. Demetri and I are still talking with others and I expect to make a few more additions in the weeks ahead. As I said earlier, we want to improve the news media side of our operation and continue adding people to help us make a bigger dent in the sports media space. Broadcast companies invest in us to help them, and I believe it’s important to invest back.
If you’ve programmed, hosted a top rated show, worked in measurement, led a cluster as a GM, sold advertising, represented talent or have worked in digital and feel you have knowledge to share, reach out. I can’t promise we’ll have room but we’re always willing to listen. I’m not worried about whether or not you’ve written for professional publications. Passion, experience and unique insights matter much more than a resume or journalism degree.
I appreciate everyone who takes time to read our content, like and share it on social, and all involved with this brand who help bring it to life each day. The latest additions of Schwartz, Farkas, Schoening, Ence, Jones and Cryns will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.