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The Future Becomes The Present at CES

“After spending a week at CES I’m excited, curious, optimistic, and cautious about the future.”

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A week in Sin City can feel like an eternity, especially when you’re in town covering CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Day after day you’re inside a hotel or convention center battling mobs of people to check out the latest inventions from some of the world’s top technology brands, hoping to get a jump start on the future before it becomes the present.

Although it’s a long week, there’s much to gain from it. As you’re introduced to various products, your mind starts to race with ideas. You begin thinking about the way the world will change, and contemplating what’s important to the future of your business, and what’s just fun to look at, but has little value to your line of work.

Whenever I attend a conference, I like to take a day or two to process what I saw before writing a column. So much gets tossed in your direction in a short period of time, and though we’re in a constant rush to feed the machine with content, I believe it’s important to step back and evaluate things. Had I rushed to write this piece after my first day or two at CES, I’d have told you flying taxi’s were going to be huge, and Google was on a different level than Amazon. By week’s end, I wasn’t convinced of either.

Starting with Google, they made a statement with their marketing on the outside, but when you went on the inside to talk to their people, they were energetic, personable, and happy to show you around, but didn’t take a ton of time explaining their products. They had a lot of items on display utilizing voice technology. That made it clear they’re bullish on the space. But I was there three different times, and not once did the staff look to engage, and discuss what they were introducing to the marketplace.

Meanwhile, Amazon operated with much less space, but everywhere I turned it felt like the company had assigned someone to their products who had a great understanding of them. Their people were less bubbly, but much more interested in sharing and showing what their products can do.

Whether it was the way Alexa worked inside Audi’s new electric vehicle or how their technology would improve consumer experiences with printers, television, refrigerators, alarms, and thermostats, Amazon reps were informed and confident about what they have in store for consumers. Their attention to detail during demonstrations made it very easy to become excited about what they were selling.

I had been told previously to expect nothing from Apple, so when I left for Las Vegas I had zero expectations. Sure enough, they weren’t to be found on site. However, they did display a huge banner outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center which created a lot of chatter. Displayed on the side of a hotel and taking up the equivalent of thirteen floors, Apple sent a powerful message to attendees: What Happens on Your iPhone, Stays on Your iPhone.

It’s clear that Tim Cook’s company is betting big on privacy meaning a great deal to customers. The banner was installed to remind consumers that Apple doesn’t attempt to sell your data while Amazon and Google both use it. That message I’m sure resonated with many who saw it.

During my travels to the Aria, Venetian, Sands, Mandalay Bay, Westgate, and Las Vegas Convention Center North and South halls, I tried to think of how certain products could affect the future of the radio business. For example, if a session took place and focused on 5G, autonomous cars, or voice technology, that was relevant to our business. If speakers scheduled for sessions had a connection to the radio industry, I tried to be there too to learn how they saw radio’s future opportunities.

What I didn’t do was get too caught up in stuff that may be fun, but had little connection to radio. Case in point, robots may become personal assistants for people in the future, but unless you believe they’ll be hosting future talk shows, I’m not too concerned about where they fit.

If you were looking to find technology to analyze your breast milk, your baby’s poop, or restock your refrigerator with beer when you run out, it was there. So too were electric mirrors, voice enabled light bulbs and toilets, bread makers, laundry folding machines, and headbands used to measure your brain signals and focus levels.

Though they’re each interesting and worth looking at for a few seconds, they had little connection to radio, therefore I enjoyed them for what they were, visual distractions. The only exception I made was stopping by the DreamWave area to test out their new massage chair. It would take one hell of a sales job to convince me to spend six thousand dollars on a chair, but they came damn close. The product was perfect for anyone dealing with physical pain or soreness.

Aside from enjoying my fifteen minutes of relaxation, I spent a lot of time exploring the future of autonomous vehicles and smart cities. When you see what each manufacturer has planned for consumers it’s pretty impressive. But whether it looks good in a show room at CES or not isn’t what matters. The big questions are, is it realistic, and if so, how soon?

Self-driving cars and digital roadways may be on the horizon, but opinions are very divided on how soon they’ll become a reality. That was made immediately clear during the very first session I attended when a group of speakers debated the pros and cons of building digital cities and relying on self driving vehicles.

When you factor in the construction that will be needed to create smart cities, the privacy concerns of having automakers know your in-vehicle habits, the challenge of making driver’s feel comfortable about giving up control behind the wheel, the cost of these vehicles, where they get stored, who insures them, and how situations will be handled when glitches or emergencies occur, there’s a lot still to figure out.

Can that be solved in 5 years? I don’t believe so. But whether it’s 5 years, 10 years, or longer, car companies would not be investing their time and resources towards this project if they weren’t committed to seeing it all the way thru. The future of driving will eventually change. When it does, it’s going to make the battle for content consumption even more interesting.

Much has been made the past few years about 5G being the savior to all of our internet problems. The next generation of internet speed is said to be lightning quick, capable of making the process of downloading songs, streaming movies, and loading websites nearly 10 times faster than 4G. According to most experts, it’s expected to be in place in 2020. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint though plan to launch 5G smartphones by late 2019.

CES provided opportunities for the world’s top mobile companies to hype up the arrival of 5G. Verizon in particular did a fantastic job of showing how things will work once 5G becomes available. CEO Hans Vestberg provided a number of examples, and called upon a few different participants to illustrate how much better things will be once 5G is introduced. If time allows I recommend watching the presentation. You can do so by clicking here.

Other sessions which earned my attention revolved around gaming, podcasting, and social media. Jemele Hill announced plans to launch an exclusive podcast for Spotify titled UnBothered starting in March. The music streaming service appears eager to ramp up its podcast offerings. Twitter announced plans to introduce single player camera angles during games as part of their partnership with Turner and the NBA. eSports was on display too with revenue growth and future impact being key areas of focus.

Speaking of eSports, I ventured over to the Luxor to scout the HyperX eSports arena. The venue is spectacular, and if places like this existed across the country, kids, and young adults would flock to it. There were 20 gaming spaces for people to play, big screens to watch competitive battles, merchandise for sale, and a private area for individuals or companies to reserve for private events.

If you work in sports radio, chances are you’ve heard a lot about the growth of eSports, but questions remain about whether or not it’s a fit for the sports format. The most popular game of 2018 was Fortnite, and while it may be fun to play, hearing it discussed on sports radio isn’t as appealing. Would it be different if the games being talked about were sports focused? Probably not, but at least they’d be sports themed.

That said, millions of people are playing video games. The investors behind these eSports teams aren’t investing millions of dollars because they’re bored. Arenas have been selling out for eSports events, sponsorship dollars are increasing, and talent agencies have started signing gamers just as they do professional athletes. Whether or not eSports can become mainstream is up for debate, but consumption of competitive gaming has been generating major interest, especially with younger fans. How that will carry over to sports radio, television, and print in the future though remains unclear.

As intriguing as competitive gaming may be, traditional operators are more enthusiastic about the growth of sports betting. As state after state loosens the reigns to allow legalized sports gambling, media brands are searching for ways to reap the rewards from being active in the space. If you stopped by Caesars Palace, you’d see signage everywhere highlighting the casino’s partnership with the NFL. Given how strict the NFL has been towards gambling in the past, this new relationship serves as a reminder that these are very different times.

Caesars may have the NFL association, but when I want to learn more about what’s going on, the place I go to is the South Point Casino, home of VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network). Brian and Brent Musburger held a special sports betting summit as part of CES week which included Gavin Maloof, Jimmy Vaccarro, Vinny Magliulo, Johnny Avello, Matthew Holt, Darren Rovell, Wayne Kimmel, and others. The three hour event offered tons of insight into legalization, betting safety, guarding against athletes affecting the outcome of games, and more.

As I watched the on-stage discussion though, I kept thinking about the critical importance of monitoring trends and identifying talent. If you rewind the clock to a few years ago, media brands weren’t rushing to sign guys like Vaccaro, Avello, Magliulo or Todd Fuhrman. Nor were they creating sports betting shows and featuring them in their weekday lineups. These guys were known in Vegas and inside the sports betting industry, but traditional operators viewed the space as niche. Now, everyone wants them because they’re experts in their field, sports gambling is becoming mainstream, and the money to be made figures to be substantial.

It wouldn’t have made sense to attend CES and not drop in on conversations with WWE’s Stephanie McMahon and George Barrios. I grew up a wrestling fan, but since becoming a media professional I’ve gained a far greater appreciation for how WWE operates as a business. That’s a testament to the vision and execution created and enforced by Vince, Stephanie and Shane McMahon, and Paul “Triple H” LeVesque.

What impresses me about WWE is that they’ve become a major global attraction. They’ve done so by continuing to develop new stars and programming, expanding their audience, increasing their revenue streams, and taking giant risks. In today’s cluttered media climate they stand out as one of the most forward thinking and successful digital brands, and consistently do a great job of sharing their story and creating buzz. You could see and feel that when Stephanie talked about the rise of women in professional wrestling, and she shined in spite of being poorly set up by a moderator who wasn’t fully prepared for the conversation.

As I bring this column to a close, I find myself excited, curious, optimistic, and cautious about the future. CES showed that the world’s best technology companies are working hard to create the next big things in our lives, but not every invention will be important to us. Especially for many of us involved in the radio business.

What concerns me is that there have been far too many examples of the radio industry being slow to adapt. We’ve also had a tendency to rely on others to create solutions rather than leading the charge ourselves. It’s far too common to find folks comfortable with where they sit today, and less worried about how they may be affected tomorrow.

If you walked around CES, you saw people everywhere who were driven by innovation and creativity. I thought about radio and its need to continue launching new products, formats, programs, and personalities, while also exploring new platforms and technologies. We sometimes forget that many of these great products that feature us still own the real estate, data, and audience. We are simply renters.

Aside from iHeart’s Bob Pittman, Beasley’s Caroline Beasley, and NPR’s Jarl Mohn taking part in panels at CES, I didn’t see any radio groups on display. To be fair, I didn’t expect to. Should we have been there? What would we have showcased? I’m not sure, but I do know that we can’t wait for opportunity to find us. It’s imperative that we work ahead and prepare for what’s next. Brands like VSiN and The Action Network are great examples of that.

We also need to do research to understand the challenges and best case scenarios ahead, and have confidence and conviction in what we’re working on. You’re going to take some lumps early on when you introduce new ideas. If you’re not prepared to be bloodied, don’t get in the ring.

I know the radio industry is excited about voice technology and the arrival of 5G. Both will make our business better. Autonomous cars and smart cities may take longer to embrace simply because they’re much further away. What we can’t do though is assume that these things will make us necessary. We’ve got to do a much better job of selling the value and success of our business, get more creative, take more chances, and make our brands, talent, and platforms a vital part of each listener and advertiser’s life. Anything less is asking for trouble.

The faster technology works, and the more time people have to enjoy content inside their homes or vehicles, the tougher the challenges will be to stand out. Competition is increasing, and coming from every form of media, not just audio providers. If your brand isn’t known for more than its format and signal, you’re on the fast track to becoming forgotten instead of seen as a vital part of the future. The good news, you still have time to change it. Just don’t wait too long because the future’s on the verge of becoming the present.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Additional:

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.

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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.”

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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.

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