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Let’s Give The Producers Some Love!

“You don’t produce shows with these ratings without having a great understanding of dealing with talent.”

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It’s a big week at Barrett Sports Media with rankings for top sports radio stations and shows, but I didn’t want the week to go by without shining a light on some top sports radio producers who really make their shows and stations sound great. Here’s a look at eight sports radio producers making an impact for their shows and their radio stations. (They are presented in alphabetical order by last name –Sorry Danny Zederman!) 

Cody Elias, 95.7 The Game/San Francisco

Show: Joe, Lo, and Dibs 6-10am

Twitter: @Cody_Elias

Cody has helped  to elevate Joe, Lo, and Dibs to the top sports morning show in the Bay Area. Develop strong content and compelling angles focusing on Bay Area sports. He excels at on-site broadcast including the Golden State Warriors Championship Parade, San Francisco Giants World Series Post Game Shows and Raiders Training Camp from Napa.

Cody is doing a great job. It’s interesting, he is just really good at topics, booking guests and knowing how to deal with each of his hosts who are so different.” – Matt Nahigian, Program Director, 95.7 The Game 

Travis “T-Bone” Hancock, WFNZ/Charlotte

Show(s): The Mac Attack with Chris McClain and T-Bone 6-10 am

Twitter: @TBoneWFNZ

Travis has been at WFNZ for 13 years and is currently the producer and co-host of The Mac Attack with Chris McClain and T-Bone. 

“For 13 years, Travis’ uncanny knack to maneuver the show on a fly, while keeping our ‘human alarm clock’ Chris McClain in control on the air is second to none. You’d never know by listening to the show through the speakers if T-Bone is putting out a fire or running the show as smooth as ice. He books big name guests on a daily basis, while his creativity with on-air bits, vocal impersonations and humor is as good as any executive producer in the country.” –WFNZ PD Tony DiGiacomo 

Tyrone Johnson, 97.5 The Fanatic/Philadelphia

Show: Mike Missanelli Show, 2-6pm 

Twitter: @tyjohnsonnews

Despite being a self-proclaimed “boring pescatarian”, Tyrone has brought his great personality and unique story angles to The Mike Missanelli Show. Since joining the show a year ago, the show has grown by almost two points with Men 25-54.

“Tyrone’s greatest contribution is chiming in on the air with a relatable quick wit spiked by smart dry humor. Tyrone brings a GenX view, while Natalie, (anchor Natalie Egenolf) brings the hip millennial city wise angle. They both have brought out the best in Mike-since joining the show a year ago!” –Eric Johnson, Program Director, 97.5 The Fanatic

David Reed, 104.5 The Zone/Nashville

Show: Midday180, 10am-2pm 

Twitter: @DavidReedRADIO

David produces The Midday180 in addition to serving as Satellite Uplink Producer for the Titans Radio Network on game days. David’s a pro’s pro. He’s upbeat, focused, and creative, making The Midday180 a show that I would put up against any in the country.

When a Zone listener tunes in for The Midday180 our hope is they hear original content not heard anywhere else in Nashville. We accomplish that because of our ‘Chairman of the Board’. From audio clips to highlight packages, from special segment intros to a sound bite at just the right time, from timing up a perfect guest or (more importantly) not allowing every caller through just to fill time, the man who ties our show together is David Reed. His wife recently battled breast cancer and David was right by her side. But that challenging time didn’t hinder his quality work, which is amazing. He’s a pro, and he’s a friend. We’re not a show of three hosts. It’s all four of us. His addition to the show a few years ago allowed us to reach another level in our daily product.” – Jonathan Hutton, Co-host The Midday180, 104.5 The Zone

Dustin Rhoades, 670 The Score/Chicago

Show: Mully and Haugh, 5-9am 

This choice was the most difficult as I worked nine years at The Score (1994-2003) and hired a number of the current producers. Dustin wins it by a nose due to the challenging time-slot and his handling of the recent talent change with David Haugh replacing 26 year Score veteran Brian Hanley. In the most recent fall book Mully and Haugh finished first with an impressive 8.5. 

“With the hours of a morning show an EP like Dustin has to be able to adjust to sports news at all hours of the day and help hosts react appropriately. At the same time he needs to book guests that could add and advance a topic or story–who are available during those early hours. Dustin has that ability.” –Mitch Rosen, Operations Manager, 670 The Score

James Stewart, 98.5 The Sports Hub/Boston

Show:Felger and Massarotti, 2-6pm 

Twitter: @IamJamesStewart

James Stewart is the Executive Producer of Felger & Massarotti. Felger and Mazz has been #1 in afternoon drive in Boston with Men 25-54 since 2013. Oh and he’s a huge pro wrestling nut with a terrific podcast for wrestling fans called “Inside the Ropes.” 

“James works with two very successful air talents and helps keep the communication flowing before, during and after the show. He’s great at getting all the audio and coming up with angles for the topics of the day. Plus, he keeps the show executing the PPM basics.” –Mike Thomas, Brand Manager, 98.5 The Sports Hub  

Jeffrey Wright, 92.9 ESPN/Memphis

Show(s): Geoff Calkins Show 9-11am (also fills in on Eric Hasseltine Show)

Twitter: @jwright929espn  

In just 2 years he managed to help move Geoff Calkins Show to a Top 1-2 show every month with 10 shares. Jeffrey often is producing AND hosting shows because his host, Geoff Calkins, is on the road as the lead columnist for The Daily Memphian. 

“It’s impressive considering Jeffrey was coming from the Oxford Exxon Podcast Show at Ole Miss directly to the radio station two years ago. He adapted, added producer and hosting roles, and is a tireless worker with a “can do” attitude for our staff as Exec Producer.” –Brad Carson, Director of Branding/Sports Programming Entercom-Memphis

Danny Zederman, ESPN 1000/Chicago 

Shows: Kap & Company 9a-Noon CT and Carmen & Jurko Noon-2pm CT

Twitter: @DZederman

In mid February, Danny will have been at ESPN 1000 in Chicago for 13 years. That’s five hours, two shows and three different hosts on a daily basis. 

“Sometimes things get heated in show meetings, or commercial breaks or even on air –  but Danny’’s extremely passionate about what he does and it comes across in his producing. Danny is also a producer, real old school, doesn’t want what more than 75% of producers want – on air!” –ESPN 1000 PD Adam Delevitt 

As you can see from this terrific group, there are so many different ways for a strong producer to contribute. Some are great on-air, some strong guest-bookers, some are geniuses with audio. The one thing that I can say about the eight producers on this list is that each and every one of them is great at working with talent. You don’t produce shows with these ratings without having a great understanding of dealing with talent. Congrats! 

BSM Writers

Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC

“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”

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NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade.  A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well.  However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).

NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season.  NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.

NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.  

Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.

Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.

If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.

“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”

Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm. 

“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”

While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.

Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock. 

Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week. 

My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic.  When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV.  Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams.  After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England.  They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.

I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.

I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters. 

By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.

Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.

Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.”  NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.

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BSM Writers

6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio

“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”

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For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.

Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

Well, let’s go Digging for Gold. 

The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.

Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.

If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way?  I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:

  • Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
  • Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
  • Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
  • Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
  • FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $ 
  • Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months

The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details. 

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