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Having a Great Product Isn’t Enough to Survive

“What Toys R Us, Blockbuster Video, and the NY Daily News have experienced is what could face the radio industry if it doesn’t evolve.”

Jason Barrett

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“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Remember that line? It was uttered in the movie “Network” by Howard Beale and went on to become a popular movie drop used on many radio stations in their imaging. It also describes the feeling many in our business have when they see reports surface of another mass layoff by a large media company.

Last week, the New York Daily News lost its heartbeat when it pulled the plug on forty five of its best and brightest people. One section which was especially hit hard was the sports section which had become part of the fabric of New York sports coverage for decades.

When I heard the news, I was irate. Seeing talented individuals lose their jobs due to the incompetence of ownership is frustrating. Frank Isola, John Harper, and Peter Botte, to name a few, showed up every day for decades, excelling at their craft. They were exceptional sports writers who provided superb content, and were one of the few reasons I still read my hometown newspaper. But now due to executive ignorance, and bad business decisions, their efforts and loyalty have been rewarded with a pink slip and a mention in a corporate press release thanking them for their years of service.

After the Daily News gutted their newsroom, many personalities took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the situation. Everyone from Michael Kay to Tony Reali to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo fired shots at Tronc, the parent company of the News, demanding answers for the exodus. Though I share their hostility for the recent turn of events, and will no longer invest one single second reading the Daily News’ content, I can’t help but wonder if this is the new normal for the media business.

Think about it, the New York Daily News, a staple of consistency, has now been torn apart from the inside out. ESPN, a company which seemed safeguarded from any kind of bloodletting, endured mass layoffs twice in the past few years. Rogers Communications and Bell Media, two successful companies in Canada, both eliminated hundreds of jobs in the past few years. Vox Media, BuzzFeed, and Meredith Corp., the company which bought Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Money, also reduced their work forces.

It leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth, but also makes you realize that operating in today’s world is very different. If a company doesn’t stay ahead of the curve, and find ways to reinvent its business model, they soon pay the price for falling behind, regardless of how successful or important they’ve been to their customer’s lives.

As I began writing this piece, I started reflecting on brands that were once important to me but have since decreased in value. Coincidentally, a number of those companies have either gone out of business or been severely altered. In some ways, I and those of you reading this who think like me, share in the blame for their demise. If we don’t continue supporting businesses, they lose money. When they lose money, jobs are lost. If expenses continue to outweigh profitability, larger decisions about a company’s future are explored.

I grew up on Toys R Us. It was my favorite store in the world as a kid. After I became an adult, the store had less value. That connection was restored when I became a father, but even then, the amount of business I did with the store compared to what I and my father did when I was a kid was drastically less.

When I was younger, the option to order merchandise on my phone and have it arrive at my door the next day didn’t exist. Had it been a possibility, I might never have discovered the charm of going into a Toys R Us. I was disappointed when I heard the store was shutting its doors in late June, but I then recalled how many times I had ordered toys for my son online, and quickly understood why.

In my teenage and early adult years, I practically lived at Blockbuster Video. I loved going into that store, buying a bucket of popcorn, and finding the latest movie rentals. It was a great family experience. But once television began offering On-Demand video, and groups like Netflix launched with superior offerings, those trips to Blockbuster stopped. The video rental chain was even given a chance to survive when Netflix offered to sell to them for $50 million dollars, but they botched that too. Netflix is now worth nearly $150 billion dollars.

Throughout my life, music has been a big part of my enjoyment. I’ve consistently supported artists by purchasing hundreds of singles and albums, and because I did, stores like FYE, Tower Records, Sam Goody, and Strawberries earned a lot from my paychecks. Once Napster launched and made file sharing possible, many started buying less records. Then as Apple, Spotify and Amazon made larger investments in offering music, the need to go buy a CD became minimal.

If you drive to most towns in America today, most of these stores barely exist. WalMart, Target, and a handful of others still sell music, but the selections are thin. The majority of music purchasing now takes place online, and although I still like to buy a CD at the store every now and then, I do it far less than I used to.

Having things appear on our phones, television screens, and doorsteps, has changed the consumer experience for the better. We still have interest in many of the same products, but our needs are different. We want things quickly, conveniently, and affordably. The idea of driving to stores, standing in lines, and paying higher prices is a thing of the past. It may sadden us to see some places exit the retail world that were once important to us, but when brand’s fail to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, that can happen.

Which brings me to the radio business.

What Toys R Us, Blockbuster Video, and the NY Daily News have experienced is what could also face the radio industry in the future if it doesn’t evolve. The content will of course remain vital regardless of which era it’s offered in, but what about the way radio features advertising? Do you honestly think businesses are going to occupy fifteen minutes per hour on radio stations in between songs or talk content down the line?

Take a look around the world. TV networks have begun reducing their inventory. Why? They know people won’t sit thru long stretches of commercials. Advertisers know it too and don’t want to spend money just to be tuned out. That’s especially the case when viewers watch on-demand programming. They take their DVR, and immediately fast forward past the commercials to continue watching their favorite shows thus making it extremely difficult for the advertiser to reach them.

Check out YouTube. Their audience sizes are huge, and they realize that ads running 15 seconds or less are their only chance to keep people on the platform. Once longer commercials are pushed towards the viewer, they vanish. If offered in small doses though, fans of the content will sit thru it. The company has especially seen great results pushing six second ads.

Since I became a YouTube TV and Roku subscriber, I’ve learned how their approach works. The programming options are endless, and the video quality is exceptional, but if there’s a downside, it’s that when recorded shows air, the viewer is forced to sit thru a commercial break. The breaks are still shorter than what you receive on normal television, but even a one-minute spot break feels like an eternity when you’re watching a recorded show and trying to skip ahead to the next part of the content. At some point I’d expect that to change, but even if the breaks remained :30-:60 seconds, I think most people would accept it if it meant keeping costs low and content quality high.

So where does that leave radio? How exactly do you replace 15-20 minutes of spots per hour, and various inclusions in content (sports updates, traffic reports, weather updates, stock reports, etc.), and still remain profitable?

You could try to charge the audience to listen, but that’s a tall order. You could raise your rates for the limited amount of ad time inside your programming, and that’ll work with some clients, but not with all. It’s easy to suggest reducing ad times on stations because of audience demand, but how exactly do you replenish all that lost income?

We could investigate the possibility of further monetizing social media, podcasts, apps, and smart speakers, and although they’re all important to our business growth, if we’re not excelling in these spaces now, why would you expect them to be areas we’d dominate in down the line? Other opportunities will revolve around some of the things we do now such as creating events, and producing branded content. We’ll also have to become retailers, using our platforms to sell custom merchandise and products created by partners who we share revenue with.

Remember, most of the areas that we play in, belong to someone else. Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Google own the property, we just rent it. 5 years ago Facebook began limiting the ability of a brand to reach its entire audience. Think they won’t do that again? As soon as they see you reaping the rewards from utilizing their platform, they’re going to put up more roadblocks to take more money out of your pocket.

Keep that in mind as you’re falling deeper in love with the Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Those devices are great, and give our fans a chance to hear our content without interruptions. But do you think Amazon and Google won’t eliminate your ads in the future and serve their own up to your audience? Do you honestly believe they wouldn’t do to your brand what Facebook did, and force you to spend money to reach your listeners? As they gain more momentum, do you think they’re going to make it easy on you to access and use your data however you see fit?

A few other things you need to ask yourself, if the business model is going to change that drastically, how will that help with attracting future sellers? Is a new seller going to want to sell audio instead of Facebook, Google, Twitter or Amazon? Will a new salesperson see a better financial path to success selling audio or video? What about our current sellers who rely on selling radio ad time to make a living? If they see limited potential right now earning a living selling apps, podcasts, social media, and your brand’s website, why would they put their focus in that space when it doesn’t pay the bills?

What’s really going to be important is the measurement of our performance in these other locations, and our ability to educate advertisers on the way our programming can help them generate results. If our brands are well established, and the talent we employ possess the skill to mentally own space inside the listener’s mind, then we’ll still have a chance to gain support and trust from local and national business partners.

Perhaps the bigger challenge is going to be for programmers and content creators, because there might come a time when shows aren’t taking commercial breaks. Picture HBO programming where the movie never ends. Your breaks would come in the form of vignettes, liners, airing of soundbites, taped interviews, etc. In other words, following the content model of podcasts, and SiriusXM which reward the user and limit the interruptions.

That could also lead to shows being shorter in length too. If the average metered listener consumes your programming for 30-45 minutes per occasion, are you better served with one 4-hour show or two 2-hour shows? Some could even make a case for four 1-hour shows.

If breaks were someday to be done away with, advertisers would have to be further woven into the content without it seeming forced. If we hope to compete with other media for dollars and listeners, we’re going to need a less is more mindset, and give clients an opportunity to be more intertwined into specific programming. Movies and TV shows have done a great job of including brands into their content, and it’s a space where radio can step its game up. Barstool Sports and Bleacher Report, two relatively newer brands (under 20 years in operation), have figured out how to excel at it. Radio with its rich history should be able to do the same.

Change is inevitable in every business. Whether it’s complicated or not, technology creates it, audiences demand it, and dollars follow it. If we want to avoid future dark days where our best people lose opportunities and serve as reminders of our failure to read the signs and modify the way we approach our business, then we’ve got to get out in front of these issues rather than waiting them to arrive on our doorstep. When habits change, you either adapt, or get rendered obsolete. The winds of change wait for no one.

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Barrett Media Names Dave Greene Chief Media Officer, Adds Perry Simon, And Reveals 2024 Plans

“I’ve spent most of the past 8 years reinvesting in content, staff, events, etc. and with Dave Greene on board, I’m confident we’ll take bigger steps in the right direction.”

Jason Barrett

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Apologies in advance for the length of this column. Today is both exciting and important for yours truly. I’ve spent months analyzing every part of our business, interviewing candidates, and I’m anxious to share with our partners and readers what’s on the horizon for BSM and BNM as we get ready to enter 2024 and look ahead to 2025.

When I wrote my eight year anniversary column in September, I alluded to 2023 being a tough year. Business wise we’ve been strong but managing staff, content, and workload has been harder. Just yesterday I had to deal with a writer bolting without notice. It’s a pain in the ass. Creating and installing a content plan is easy, but if the algorithms change and your team isn’t passionate about the work or in the right roles, growth stalls. You either make changes or accept not being able to reach your goals. For me, the latter is not an option. I’m far too driven, invested and excited by what I do to accept the status quo. I expect us to grow, work hard, make a difference, and enjoy it. If it means having to rattle a few cages to get to where we need to be, then that’s what I’ll do.

The hardest part of 2023 has been knowing we had to move through the present to get to the future. I’ve had to be more protective of my time this year, saving it for clients, partners, staff, Summit planning, content analysis, creating advertising packages, and meeting with potential partners, attending business functions, recruiting staff, and taking a greater role in day-to-day content management. I’ve missed out on calls with friends who wanted to chat about the business, and reduced my writing and podcast involvement because it was necessary. BSM and BNM are both healthy, and as others vacated the space or slowed down, we’ve ramped up and continue to invest in strengthening our coverage.

Before I get into the specifics of what lies ahead, I want to recognize Garrett Searight, Alex Reynolds, Andy Drake, and Stephanie Eads for helping to keep the brand on track during the past few months. I also want to thank all of our writers for continuing to create great content. After the BNM Summit concluded in Nashville, there was so much to do and not enough time. Though it forced many of us to take on more than we wanted to, we got through it, and grew our traffic and impact. That’s a credit to our team, and the trust we’ve built with our audience.

Having set the table now, let me share what’s on the horizon, what’s ending, and where we’re hoping to go in 2024.

Chief Media Officer: I’ve gone through a long, extensive process to identify the right leader to help us grow Barrett Media. The conversations started in May and ran through November, and I had a chance to meet a lot of smart, talented people, and learn a lot about the way our brands are viewed by professional candidates. To everyone I had a chance to interact with along the way, thank you for the interest. It was a pleasure connecting with all of you.

But in the end, there was only one job to offer, and I’m excited to announce that we found exactly what we were looking for. It is my great pleasure to introduce Dave Greene as Barrett Media’s new Chief Media Officer.

The experience Dave brings with him to this position is extensive. He’s been an integral part of building the Podcast Heat Network alongside talented pro wrestling podcaster Conrad Thompson. The company has created, distributed, and monetized podcasts featuring star talents such as Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett and others. Before joining the Podcast Heat Network with Conrad, Dave spent two decades in the radio business, working as a VP/GM, GSM, PD, Owner, and and On-Air talent. He has worked for Audacy, Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media, and Flinn Broadcasting. Among the sports and news brands he’s had the pleasure of helping include KMOX and 590 The Fan in St. Louis, 610 Sports in Kansas City, The Ump and WVNN in Huntsville, and KHMO in Quincy. He’s also served as co-owner and publisher of St. Louis Sports magazine, and was one of our first weekly columnists when we started adding writers in 2017.

When I made the decision to add someone to help me manage the content and grow the company, I knew I’d be looking for a unicorn. I initially sought an Executive Editor but as this process moved along, I realized I needed a leader who provided more than just writing and broadcasting skills. They needed to be adept at content and sales, have a passion and ability to write, connected across the industry, experienced in event creation, and equally as important, they had to know our brands and see growth potential in our business the way that I do.

I took my time with this hire because it was too important to make a rushed or bad choice. Since launching BSM in 2015 and BNM in 2020, I’ve seen other comparable media outlets earn seven to eight figure valuations. We’re not at that level and may never be but I believe we’re on the right track to larger success. Though I have zero interest in selling BSM and BNM, and plan on running this company for 15 more years, it only makes sense to make our brands the best they can be, and elevate our value with each passing year. I’ve spent most of the past eight years reinvesting in content, staff, events, etc. and with Dave on board, I’m confident we’ll take bigger steps in the right direction.

Dave’s immediate focus will be to learn the staff, manage the day-to-day workflow, find and write news stories, add a weekly column, contribute on special projects, and execute our editorial calendar. Additionally he’ll work with Stephanie to improve our sales operation, and collaborate with me on new ways to grow events, traffic, newsletters, and audience data. After previously competing against each other in St. Louis, I’m looking forward to being on the side and working together to maximize the full potential of Barrett Media.

Internal Promotions: In addition to strengthening our team with Dave’s addition, I am equally excited to announce three internal promotions. First, I’m thrilled to elevate Alex Reynolds to the role of Digital Director of Barrett Media. Alex has served as our social media coordinator since August 2022, playing a key role in executing our social media strategy. Moving forward, he will continue overseeing our social media plan, while getting further involved in affiliate marketing, website/content partnerships, newsletter creation, podcast/video production, data analysis, and audience growth strategies for our social channels and newsletters. He will also write a brand new original series, ‘Social Studies‘, which debuts in January on BSM.

The second internal promotion I’m pleased to share involves Derek Futterman. Derek is being officially promoted to the role of Sports Media Reporter. Since joining BSM in May 2021, Derek has learned a ton as a Contributing Editor and News Writer. He started by occasionally writing stories, got further involved with daily news, and in the past few months, has taken on the challenge of writing features on executives and broadcasters. He’s covered industry events, the BSM Summit, established relationships, and continues to grow. I’m eager to help him take another step by having him produce three features per week, contribute to special projects, involving him as our backstage interviewer at the BSM Summit, and having him contribute to daily news, while additionally managing BSM’s Jobs section.

The final internal promotion involves Garrett Searight. Garrett joined us in August 2022 as an Editor, and worked his tail off but learned quickly, this is different from working inside of a radio station. Over the past few months he’s raised his game, and I’m pleased to promote him to Managing Editor of BNM starting January 1st. Garrett will report to myself and our Chief Media Officer while writing daily news, and two weekly features for BNM. He’ll also become the point person for our BNM columnists and features writers. We’ve seen BNM make major strides over the past year despite not having a dedicated leader. I can only imagine how much better the brand will be with Garrett fully focused on it. One thing that isn’t changing, he’ll continue to write his weekly sports media column for BSM, and manage BNM’s Jobs section.

Website Redesigns: You’ve likely noticed that BSM and BNM look different today. We have modified both websites to make it easier to find content. Our main pages are often filled with news stories, making it hard to find things. These new layouts allow us to feature six stories in the main sections, and nine in each of the key lower sections, sports/news radio, sports/news TV, and sports digital/media business. The site will also display better on mobile, and we’ve added a sports betting bar on BSM, conference calendars to the lower right of articles on both sites, and we’ve retained the media stock ticker on BNM. All are available for sponsorship. We’re also turning on the comments to allow readers to chime in on our stories.

BSM Writers: To help us elevate BSM in 2024, we’re adding a few new writers, adjusting roles of a few of our contributors, and saying goodbye to a few of our teammates.

Starting with the additions, I’m excited to welcome Moses Massena as a weekly columnist. Moses is a sports television veteran, who spent 14 years at MLB Network, working as a researcher, segment producer, and producer, winning 7 Sports Emmys for his contributions to “MLB Tonight”. He has also worked a producer at MSG Network, and served as a researcher for FOX & ESPN. His professional television career began with SNY from 2007-2009. 

Next, I’m pleased to welcome Jeff Kotuby to BSM as a daily sports television writer. Jeff has written content for many broadcasting and pop culture sites, including The Streamable, eBaum’s World, Twin Galaxies, and more. He has already begun diving in on BSM, and I’m looking forward to our readers becoming more familiar with his contributions in the future.

Moving to the internal adjustments, starting in January, Jordan Bondurant will take on a more defined role writing news stories each night on sports digital matters. Garrett Searight will add local and national sports radio content until Dave has a handle on the daily content, and Peter Schwartz and Demetri Ravanos will continue writing weekly features and helping with original projects. Peter will also add a new monthly feature, ‘Where Are They Now?’, which will run the last week of each month starting in January.

Though most of the news is good, we do have to unfortunately share some bad. Brian Noe and Ricky Keeler will be leaving us at the end of December. Both have been with BSM for a long time and have done a great job for us. In Brian’s case, he was one of the first writers to join BSM in August 2017. We wish both of them well, and appreciate all of the contributions they’ve made to our coverage along the way.

I am still looking to add another weekly sports media columnist to BSM. The ideal candidate will have industry experience, a track record of success, and a passion to write about the business. If you or someone you know fits the bill, send a resume and writing sample to [email protected].

BNM Writers: BSM has earned a strong reputation in sports media circles, and we’re determined to make sure BNM is highly regarded as well. To help us continue making progress, we’re excited to announce a few additions. First, please join me in welcoming Perry Michael Simon to BNM as a weekly columnist. Perry’s column will be published every Thursday on the site starting on December 7th.

Perry served as VP and Editor/News-Talk-Sports/Podcast for AllAccess.com after previously working as a Program Director and Operations Manager for KLSX and KLYY in Los Angeles and New Jersey 101.5 in Trenton. His contributions to All Access were excellent, and his knowledge of the industry, and his willingness to challenge it helped many broadcasters learn, adjust, defend, and grow to appreciate his point of view. After a well deserved break following the shutdown of All Access, Perry is refreshed, refocused, and ready to offer his smart, snarky, and strong opinions on the media business. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for our readers.

In addition, BNM is pleased to announce the arrival of Krystina Alarcon Carroll. Krystina joins us in a hybrid role, writing two weekly features and adding a weekly column. She freelances currently for WPIX in New York and previously worked on live, streamed, and syndicated TV programs at NY1, Fox News Digital, Law & Crime Network, and Newsmax. We’re excited to add her to our team, and you can read her first story today on BNM.

As our readers recently learned, we’ve unfortunately had to say goodbye to Jim Avila. Jim did an excellent job for BNM but a great television opportunity came his way, and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward. Ryan Hedrick has also exited. I’m accepting resumes and writing samples from industry pros who have a passion to write daily news TV stories and weekly features. If interested, click here. We have more evaluations to make in the next month to make sure we’re built for success entering 2024. One thing for certain, we are going to keep building BNM and make sure news/talk media professionals have a daily destination to visit and enjoy reading about their format and business.

Two New Newsletters: Another exciting addition coming in 2024 will be the introduction of two new daily newsletters, the BSM Press Pass, and the BNM Wrap Up. We will distribute both starting on January 2nd. The BSM Press Pass will be delivered daily at 5pm ET. The BNM Wrap Up will go out at 6pm ET. We’ll have a different look and approach for both, which I think media folks will enjoy and find useful at the end of the work day.

With the arrival of the Press Pass and Wrap Up, we will continue sending out the BSM 8@8 at 8am ET. The BNM Rundown though will move to an earlier time, going out each morning at 9am ET. The same look, structure and valuable content will be available in both. If you haven’t signed up for BSM’s newsletters, go here. If you wish to receive BNM’s newsletters, go here.

Editorial Calendar: When BSM was born, I wrote and created a lot of features and original stories. From 5 Podcasts in 5 Days to the Sports Radio Draft, the Greatest SportsCenter Anchor Tournament, and a full-day spent with Mad Dog Sports Radio, creative pieces performed well for us. But as day-to-day news grew and our staff expanded, we got away from some of that. We’ve still done things like Meet The Podcasters and Countdown to Coverage, and they too have been well received, so in 2024, we’re going to put more focus on original projects on both BSM and BNM. We have an editorial calendar ready for 2024, and will begin reviewing plans on Tuesday during a zoom call with some of our staff. We’ve got some great things planned for BSM and BNM, so keep an eye out for it.

Member Directory: Since April 2020, we’ve featured the BSM Member Directory to help industry professionals and aspiring broadcasters display their work to PDs, agents, executives, etc.. All members receive jobs listings by email a few times per month, get featured in the BSM 8@8 newsletter, are promoted in content when they have career news to share, and our annual subscribers get a 20% discount on BSM Summit tickets. Memberships are $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year. For 2024, we’re going to explore new ways to deliver more value and grow our member base. Dave, Alex and I will be brainstorming ideas this month in hopes of introducing new benefits to existing and future members during Q1.

Jobs Listings: We’re often asked to post Jobs for companies due to our ability to reach the right people. Knowing how hard it is to find good help, and having used LinkedIn, Indeed and other sites myself, I know it’s not cheap. Other trades charge a few hundred dollars per month to promote openings, and starting today, we’re going to do the same except we’re keeping costs low. For $99 per month companies can now promote open positions through our websites. If you click on the Jobs tab on BSM or BNM, you’ll see the latest listings. If you use the dropdown menu and select ‘Place An Ad on BSM/BNM‘ it allows you to submit an ad and get it posted on the site within 24-hours. I’m hoping it’s helpful.

Ratings Reports: I know the ratings matter to PDs, hosts, and executives. Yet many get upset with the ups and downs of measurement. Maybe it’s not perfect, but this is your report card, and whenever we highlight the industry, it benefits broadcasters, advertisers and listeners. We’re going to write quarterly ratings reports next year for both sports and news/talk radio. We will not do monthlies. All I ask is that we receive the PPM Data reports for each quarter so we can be fair and accurate to all. We write these reports to showcase the strength of two valuable formats, and to recognize all who contributed to each brand’s success. Nielsen is still the king when it comes to measurement, and our stations don’t benefit if they don’t promote their wins to the rest of the business world. My thanks to Harker Bos Group for supporting these stories. I look forward to digging into the data to highlight those who are making an impact in 2024.

JB Column and Podcast: I acknowledged earlier that writing columns and hosting podcasts became harder in 2023. That said, I realize I have a voice that matters. Starting in January, I will begin writing a weekly column on BSM. I will also be bringing back The Jason Barrett Podcast for 26 episodes next year. Half of those episodes will focus on sports media. The other half will explore the news/talk space. We will also video the shows and make them available through the Barrett Media YouTube page. If I was going to do the podcast, I wanted to add a new layer to it. I think this will help us do that and I look forward to hosting it in April 2024. It’s possible that we’ll add other podcasts and video shows in the future, but for now, we’re going to take it one show at a time.

Return of Guest Columns: BSM and BNM have featured guest columns before from Craig Carton, Erick Erickson, Dan Zampillo, Mo Egger, and Bo Thompson just to name a few. I’d like see more media people use our platforms to highlight issues or causes that are important to them. Whether you’re an owner, executive, PD, salesperson, media buyer, host, agent, imager, producer, podcaster or social media director, if you have knowledge to share, and interest in writing a one-time guest piece for BSM or BNM, email [email protected].

BNM Top 20/BSM Top 20: Our two biggest traffic drivers of the year, the BSM Top 20 and the BNM Top 20 will continue to serve the sports and news/talk radio industries. A huge thanks to Steve Stone Voiceovers for signing on as the exclusive sponsor of the BSM Top 20, and JJ Surma Voiceovers for coming on board as the exclusive partner of the BNM Top 20. The BNM Top 20 of 2023 drops December 11-15 and December 18. Voting for industry executives expires later today. The BSM Top 20 of 2023 will be released February 5-9 and February 12. Voting for that series will start in late December, early January. We’re also looking at a few additional projects to recognize the best in the industry. More to come on that in 2024.

BSM/BNM Summits: The BSM Summit returns to NYC on March 13-14, 2024. We’ll be live at the Ailey Theater both days, and have announced 16 top speakers so far and have more still to come. You can purchase tickets to the show here. For those in the news/talk world, we’re going to host our second BNM Summit in September 2024. We’ve chosen the host city and venue and hope to announce our plans after wrapping up this year’s BNM Top 20. Running our next show two months before the election is going to be excited. Stay tuned!

—–

For eight years, we’ve grown traffic, influence, events, consulting clients, and our writing team by following a simple philosophy, focus on serving the right audience, not the largest. When you commit to quality over quantity and refuse to chase clicks at the expense of relationships, you land in a much better spot. We are where we are today because of our consulting clients, advertising partners, and earned trust and respect with our readers and industry professionals.

That said, while we have proven our value to top talent, executives, agents, and media buyers, some marketing folks have been harder to reach. Stephanie Eads and I have attended many zoom calls and in-person meetings to share our story, and we’ve created packages large and small to accommodate all budgets. I’m hoping that as we enter 2024, those who have been slow to respond or who have stuck to doing the same things repeatedly, take a chance to discover why BSM or BNM should be part of their media mix.

In closing, I am ecstatic about adding Dave Greene to help us grow BSM and BNM. We have a lot of work ahead of us but I’m confident progress will be made. I appreciate everyone who visits our websites, receives our newsletters, attends our Summits, follows and shares our content on social media, and let’s others know about of our existence. Most importantly, I’m grateful to our consulting clients and advertising partners who give us the support we need to be able to continue doing this. We can’t raise the bar without you, and I’m fortunate to be in this position serving an industry I love, respect, believe in, and root for.

Here’s to Barrett Media’s future. 2024 is going to be awesome, and I’m glad to have you along for the ride!

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Nick Wright, Danny Parkins, Andrew Fillipponi and Omar Raja Join The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Jason Barrett

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The buildup to the 2024 BSM Summit continues with our next speakers announcement. Media professionals looking to attend March’s show can secure seats at BSMSummit.com. We’ve already announced Jeff Smulyan, Mark Chernoff, Don Martin, Bruce Gilbert, Scott Sutherland, Chris Oliviero, Scott Shapiro, Spike Eskin, Mitch Rosen, Paul Mason, Bonnie Bernstein and Damon Amendolara will be part of the event. We’ll have additional big names to reveal in the weeks and months ahead too so stay tuned for more.

Before I get into the latest group of speakers, I want to pass along some Barrett Media news.

First, when you log on to BSM and BNM on Monday December 4th, you’ll notice both sites operating with a new, cleaner look. We pump out a lot of daily content on our websites but finding all of it can be intimidating. We’re hoping the modifications make it easier to find and digest our content and look forward to your feedback on what we roll out next week.

Secondly, I’ve spent months going through a process to identify an Executive Editor for Barrett Media. The type of leader I’ve been looking for different from what exists at some online publications. I’ve spoken to a lot of smart, talented people during this process, many who I know could make us better. However, there is only one job available. Fortunately after going through an extensive search, I’ve identified someone who I’m interested in teaming with to help take Barrett Media to the next level. I hope to announce that hire and the addition of a number of new writers next week. I think our readers, partners and clients will like what’s on the horizon.

Third, we have opened up voting on the Barrett News Media Top 20 of 2023. The deadline to cast votes for News/Talk PD’s is next Monday December 4th. We will present the News/Talk radio format’s collective feedback December 11-15 and December 18 on BarrettNewsMedia.com.

There’s other stuff on the way as well, but I’ll save the rest for next week. Let’s dive now into the latest additions to the Summit.

It is my pleasure to announce the additions of Nick Wright of FS1, Danny Parkins of 670 The Score in Chicago, Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, and Omar Raja of ESPN to the 2024 BSM Summit speaker lineup. All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Starting with Omar Raja, the work he did building House of Highlights into a powerhouse social brand is well documented. He now serves as a commentator for ESPN’s digital and social content, which includes being the leading voice behind ESPN’s SportsCenter Instagram account, and providing strategic social programming across ESPN’s social platforms. It’s not every day industry professionals gain an opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s top social media minds, so I’m hoping to see a lot of folks present when he shares his wisdom at the Summit.

Shifting from digital to on-air talent, one session I know many will be present for will include three personalities who have been highly successful in each of their careers, and share a lifelong bond through the friendships they formed while attending Syracuse University together. Nick Wright, Andrew Fillipponi, and Danny Parkins are three of the best in the business today, and all three will be on stage together to discuss their individual paths, their differing approaches to content creation, measuring and managing success, and much more. Having Damon Amendolara, another Syracuse graduate who’s been highly successful on the air, guide the session should make it even more interesting and entertaining for all in the room.

With these latest four individuals added to the lineup we’ve now secured sixteen top speakers for March’s show. I’m hoping to reveal the next group of participants in a few weeks. Once we get past the holidays I’ll start revealing the awards winners and a few executives who will be part of the conference.

I want to thank Steve Stone Voiceovers, Good Karma Brands, Bonneville International, Silver Tribe Media, Premiere Networks and the Motor Racing Network for returning as sponsors of the 2024 BSM Summit. If your group would like to explore a sponsorship opportunity for the show or review website or newsletter options for 2024, email Stephanie Eads at [email protected] to receive a copy of our advertising decks.

That’s the latest for now. More to come in December.

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6 Speakers Added To The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

“Two of these individuals have built successful careers as on-air talent. Four remain involved in management and programming roles.”

Jason Barrett

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Each year the BSM Summit welcomes a star studded group of high-profile talent, accomplished executives, top programmers, and successful digital leaders to examine the top issues facing the sports media business. The information provided arms each attendee with actionable ideas and solutions to improve their brands, shows, and individual performance, and our 2024 event in New York City promises to deliver more of what the industry has come to expect.

If you missed the initial announcement, we’re excited to be joined once again by Spike Eskin, Don Martin, Scott Shapiro, Mitch Rosen, Jeff Smulyan, and Mark Chernoff. Each of these men have enjoyed great success in the sports radio industry, and we appreciate them making time to join us and offer their insights at the Ailey Theater in NYC on March 13-14, 2024.

Today though it’s time to reveal the next group of speakers who will be part of our show. Two of these individuals have built successful careers as on-air talent. Four remain involved in management and programming roles for Audacy, Cumulus, and Bonneville International.

Starting with the on-air talent, I’m looking forward to having SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio morning host Damon Amendolara, and Emmy Award-winning American sports journalist and media executive Bonnie Bernstein join us for the 2024 BSM Summit. D.A. was part of our 2020 show in the concrete jungle. For Bonnie, this is her first time appearing. Specific sessions highlighting their involvement will be announced closer to the event.

On the executive side, I’m thrilled to welcome back Cumulus Media and Westwood One SVP of Sports Bruce Gilbert, Bonneville International EVP Scott Sutherland, and Audacy New York VP and Market Manager Chris Oliviero. I’m equally excited to have 104.5 The Zone Program Director Paul Mason make his first appearance at the conference. The collective knowledge, success, and relationships these men enjoy across our industry speaks volumes of why they’re trusted to lead and grow their respective brands and companies. It’s important for folks in the room to learn the business, not just the world of content, and I’m grateful to Chris, Scott, Bruce and Paul for helping us further educate the room.

We have a lot more lined up that we’ll announce in the weeks and months ahead. As has been our strategy throughout the years, we like to build the show and increase excitement for it. If you work in the media industry and wish to attend, tickets can be purchased by visiting BSMSummit.com. On the conference website you’ll also find details about our hotel partner, M Social. Make sure to visit the Hotel page and book your reservation asap to avoid being left without a room later on. Our room block expires in mid-February.

Additionally, for those looking to be a part of the Summit as a marketing partner, please reach out to Stephanie Eads at [email protected]. We’ve already had a number of sponsorships for the event get scooped up, and the demand for show involvement is usually high. Before they all go away, check with Stephanie to see what’s available.

Expect another announcement prior to Thanksgiving. This is going to be another action packed event, and I look forward to once again seeing everyone as we bring the industry together to explore solutions to move the business forward.

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