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2019 BSM Summit – Day 2

Jason Barrett

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We’re live from Los Angeles for the second and final day of the 2019 BSM Summit. 37 speakers graced the Grammy Museum stage on Day 1, and another 25 are scheduled to do so on Day 2.

Among the high profile names scheduled to appear today include longtime wrestling executive turned podcaster Eric Bischoff, Jason Whitlock and Marcellus Wiley of FOX Sports 1’s ‘Speak For Yourself’, and an all-star reporting panel featuring Steve Wyche of the NFL Network, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, and Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports and The Athletic. 710 ESPN Seattle PD and Host Mike Salk will moderate that discussion.

BSM would once again like to extend our appreciation to our corporate partners for the 2019 BSM Summit: Premiere Radio Networks, ESPN, Hubbard Radio, PodcastOne, Harker Research, Compass Media Networks, and Benztown Branding.

As we did during the first day of events, we will update this blog throughout the second day of the conference. You’ll find the full schedule of today’s sessions laid out below. As each session wraps up we will pass along the key notes and quotes that are most valuable to industry members.

9:00AM-9:10AM – Opening Remarks

  • Jason Barrett – President, Barrett Sports Media
    Jason started off Day 2 by showing Nielsen data about sports radio ratings. Barrett then welcomed Bruce Gilbert and Mike Thomas to the stage to begin a fast-paced session covering 10 different topics.

9:10AM-9:45AM – Pardon The Brothers Interruption

Presented By:

Bruce Gilbert – SVP, Westwood One/Cumulus Media
Bruce isn’t a fan of the traditional sports update. A host should be able to provide them. The traditional sports update should go the way of the stagecoach.

If you still have a budget for sports anchors you should be using it towards expanding your digital team. If sales have an issue with not being able to connect clients to updates it’s your job to remind them of everything else available on the station to sponsor. There are plenty of things available to replace updates.

Regarding TV simulcasts, if you’re producing good content, you should get it on as many platforms as you can.

Play-by-play still has great value. The Cowboys playoff games did a 23 and 24 share in Dallas this year. Even if a local station is losing money from a play-by-play deal, saying you’re the home of the New England Patriots matters.

Anytime a controversy comes up, before you say or do anything in response, make sure you listen to the audio first. Too many react without being fully informed.

A younger demo makes sense for a large FM station. Smaller AM station’s aren’t going to garner a younger demo. The industry should do a better job of getting the 35-64 demo acknowledged.

eSports is a very video-centric activity, translating that to radio is difficult.  When sports radio started, people asked ‘what the hell are they going to talk about all day, people watch the games at night.’ As people grow up with eSports, they’re going to eventually want to talk about it so there can be a future for it on sports radio.

Bruce pointed out that stations pay talent to deliver compelling, interesting engaging shows, so he’s against updates, traffic, weather, and any unnecessary elements that get in the way. If a commercial isn’t playing, he wants to hear the talent. Stations also need to be more strategic in where commercials are placed. 

People will find good audio where ever it is. If it’s podcasts or on an app, people will find it. Everyone has a podcast, and at some point the field has to get weeded out a bit.

The one thing every PD should do for their talent is LISTEN. There are many responsibilities of a PD, but talent wants to know what’s expected of them and how they’re doing. The talent needs to know you’re listening and that you have their back.

Mike Thomas – PD, 98.5 The Sports Hub, National Brand Manager of Spoken Word Programming, Beasley Media
Traditional sports updates are good for the sales department because they appeal to sponsors, but the information has already been received by the listener on their phone. Long-term sports updates aren’t going to last.

Toucher and Rich is simulcasted on Twitch because its encoded, and doesn’t take away from radio ratings the way a traditional TV simulcast can.

The 18-49 demo is so important to sports radio. Between esports and podcasting, we need to target younger demos. We’re not going to spend a lot of time talking eSports right now on the Sports Hub, but we do run a syndicated eSports show at 11pm on Sunday night.

There are plenty of things for sales to sponsor which should allow a brand to reduce commercials. The Hub runs 13.5 minutes of commercials per hour which is low for the format.

It will always be important to have a play-by-play team with personality that can be entertaining beyond calling the game.  

One thing PD’s should do for their talent is listen, and give them autonomy. You hired them for a reason, so get out of their way and let them do their job. 

9:45AM-10:15AMImaging For PD’s & GM’s

Presented By:

Jim Cutler
A restaurant with a line out the door draws interest. Sports radio stations need to follow that formula. Your brand needs to make sure the audience knows they’re well liked. You do that by adding their voices into your imaging.  It’s not enough to have a great radio station, you need to show the audience they’re loved.

Cutler then played audio of station imaging that is too long, losing the attention span of the audience. He also played an example of a show  monologue that spent minutes talking about nothing. People don’t have time to listen to anything other than content, so eliminate the fluff and get right to content or they’ll find other options. 

Jim then provided a few examples of empty filler and too many tags in imaging. “Now you can find us on Facebook, call us old-fashioned, but now we’re on Twitter.” Replace empty content with topicality.

“Midday mayhem” – empty content.

“You’ll never know what you’ll find on the … show” – empty content

Imaging and promotions must offer topical content that follows the most important story at the time. Tell listeners what happened in the last hour and now, not what happened yesterday. Incorporating sound bites into your imaging is incredibly important. You can also find great audio of sports fans on YouTube and implement it into your liners and promos to capture how people are feeling about local topical news.

Women are now at every sporting event. It’s 50% in baseball and football. If you don’t understand that then you’re watching too many commercials. We need to change the thinking of the 1995 sports radio format where it was just men listening. Reaching women is a big part of future growth.

10:15AM-10:45AMUnder The Radar

Jason Barrett – President, Barrett Sports Media
Regardless of your station’s ratings, radio listening as a whole has slipped and the trend is expected to continue. Money in the industry is on the decline and stations need to find new revenue streams.

Merchandising is a missed opportunity for radio stations. The Ringer has a store, Barstool has a store, radio talent sell merchandise such as Matt Jones and Clay Travis, but the radio stations themselves aren’t selling merchandise. If your product is good enough for advertisers to use to move their products then why isn’t it strong enough to help you move your own?

Case in point, Barstool sells Mike Francesa shirts, and WFAN has a store in JFK airport selling New York sports merchandise, yet you can’t purchase merchandise on their website. Why not?

KFAN has done a better job improving their website to offer custom shirts on their website. These items were a hot ticket at the Minneapolis State Fair.

The Zone in Nashville called upon their audience to design a shirt, and are now selling that design on their site.

However, brands need to be much more creative than just putting the station logo on a shirt. That won’t do much for your revenue stream. You’ve got to think like a marketer and seize the moment when situations arise.

For example, when Titus O’Neill of the WWE tripped and fell under the ring, the company had a custom shirt created and available on their website the next morning. 

When Tom Brady reportedly said “I’m the baddest mother****er on the planet,” Barstool highlighted the remark via social media, and had a t-shirt on sale later that night.

Education is another area where sports radio is missing the boat. Kids are paying 50K per year to go to college with the goal of landing a degree to one day get inside your building. Others go to trade schools, spending 10-15K per year for the same reason. But who says radio stations themselves couldn’t provide the curriculum, training, and introduction to the business?

NASCAR, NBA, MLB, they all have minor league systems. Radio stations are filled with experienced talent in multiple areas, and kids would gladly pay 10-15K to learn from your people, and develop a relationship, which is something they’re not guaranteed of when they go to college or a trade school. 

Imagine if your brand utilized its space (some buildings now have amazing performance stage rooms which could easily house 50-100 people) and its staff to charge 10K for a 10-20 week course. If you had two courses per year that’d be an additional 500K in revenue. Even if you subtracted costs for talent, and printed materials, you’d add a lot of income to your bottom line. Trade schools and Universities are using your airwaves to reach your audience and sell them on going there, why not help yourself while also increasing relationships which may ultimately benefit you in the future?

10:45AM-11:15AM – The Power of Social Media

Emily Austen

A video of Emily’s career highlights started playing, followed by her comments on Barstool. The video then featured press clippings from a ton of online news outlets announcing her termination.

Emily then took the stage and asked ‘who’d be so stupid to say something like that?’ Her response was herself. She has no idea why she thought that was OK at the time, and understands some people will never believe she isn’t a racist. Her mistake is never going away and there’s nothing she can do to change the past.

She says that when you make a mistake, social media doesn’t care how big or small your profile is. She worked for fourteen years to get where she was. It all went away in 30 minutes.

Emily was unhappy with her role at FOX. She got impatient waiting for her next step. That’s why she took the Barstool audition. They told her she was the only professional woman that could hang with the guys. 

When she arrived for the audition Dave Portnoy asked her if she would be OK if they put it on Facebook Live. She thought only Barstool fans would be watching. She told the kind of jokes she thought Barstool fans wanted to hear.

As soon as the video ended, her FOX Sports boss called. He had been told what happened. He didn’t believe it. She was fired before she even got on her flight to head back to to Tampa. Upon landing, her social media notifications blew up to the point that it overloaded her battery.

She then showed a video documenting some of the most extreme responses she got online. In the video she was called a c**t, told to kill herself, and a few told her they hoped she’d be raped. She learned quickly how ugly and painful social media could be.

Holding herself back from tears, Emily said that what you saw in the video is not normal. Managers need to be aware that talent receive these messages and it isn’t okay. Just because personalities speak their minds for a living doesn’t mean they should have to be verbally abused.

Emily told the room she spent too much time defining herself by her job. The moment it was taken away, she started thinking about killing herself. She couldn’t stand the idea of not having her job and people thinking of her as a monster.

When she woke up in the morning she had hundreds of thousands of comments. Far less messages come through now, but there are still times when she’s hit with nasty responses. 

Rather than allowing it to destroy her she’s since used her example as a way to help others. She now speaks to college kids everywhere to show them how much social media can change your life for the better or worse.

Her advice is to think of your career as a jersey. Your employer is on the front. Your name is on the back. What is on the back is always more important, because that never changes.

She stressed the message that there is no such thing as being private on social media. When screenshots exist, your content can go everywhere. She uses the example of a coach that invited her to speak to his team that likes porn star photos on SnapChat.

Likes on any account are essentially endorsements of the content. Her best advice is to remember the three G model. Would you want it on Google? Would you say it at church in front of God? Would your grandmother press send?

Emily talks about a company called G2. It costs $30 to use and then you receive a full documentation of every negative thing that they have ever put out on social media. For $300 the service will do the same for every person you follow.

She advocates for prehab before rehab. If you are starting a new job, it might not be a bad idea to start over on social media. 

She shared her advice on dealing with a social media scandal. She says only do interviews with people you trust. You don’t want someone trying to create a different story than the truth. Own your mistake. Be sincere in your apology.

Barstool offered Emily a job after her audition, but she didn’t want to build a career off of a terrible event. She noted how important mental health is and advocates for checking in on the people going through something like this, even if you’ve had to fire them over their mistake. If you cared for them before, don’t turn your back on them when they need you most.

Doc Rivers called her and told her that she was not defined by one moment. Your passion for what you do is what matters. Use that to get you through.

11:15AM-11:50AM Advertiser Perceptions of Sports Radio

Presented By:

Jill Albert – President, Direct Results

She feels a responsibility to tell clients what makes sports radio so different. There are more female listeners than the numbers show. She has seen examples of that with her own eyes. Sports listeners are engaged. That is what clients are looking for when trying to move products.

She still looks at ratings. You have to retrain some clients to learn how to spend money in new media. She knows what will work, but she doesn’t always know the best way to convey that to some clients that still think about the old way of buying radio.

Her clients are looking for experiential ideas and more engagement. She wants to be pitched outside the box ideas from stations. That is what stands out with clients. 

Lisa Nichols-Jell – Chief Strategy Officer, Bloom Ads

Her clients for male-skewing clients rely on sports radio.

When purchasing a schedule with a brand she is looking for a partner. There are many different ways to buy, but she wants to find the companies that offer her the most ways to arrive at the desired outcome.

Stations need to be aware of what success looks like to individual clients. Maybe McDonald’s values impressions more than conversions. It is up to ad agencies to covey that information to local stations so that the station can put together a plan that reflects what the client is looking for. Sports radio’s best way to reach a major client like McDonald’s is to stress the investment listeners have in their favorite stations.

Steve Shanks – Partner/CRO, Ad Results Media

Ratings don’t matter to his clients or to him. It’s about how the advertisers move product for the client. He looks for format agnostic clients that just want ROI.

Steve loves the growth of podcasting and the performance of podcasting, but he isn’t going to stop buying radio. There is no better way to move products and services locally.

He doesn’t care about audience measurements. Ad Results uses their own metrics based on how a platform delivers. He says the best way to combat money going to places like Barstool is showing advertisers a little extra love in terms of bonus spots or creative advertising opportunities.

Where podcasters really do more is that there is no time limit on their spots. That is an ideal way to create a connection. 

David Gow – CEO, Gow Media

He understands the importance of showing potential advertisers his talent’s ability to convert their listeners into customers.

Advertisers still respond to brand alignment, but individual talent drive more results. 

David says that advertisers that only look at the number say no to the best offer they are going to get because they are driven by a single thing.

11:50AM-12:20PM – The Tony Bruno Award Presentation

Presented By:

Eric Shanks – CEO/Executive Producer – FOX Sports

No one was surprised that a sports content award was named for Tony Bruno. It was a surprise that FOX meant so much to Tony.

After 30 years, it’s great to see how much energy Tony still has for the industry. We loved his sense of humor and sports acumen. He was a no-brainer for The Best Damn Sports Show.  He was always ready to be whatever part of the team he needed to be.

Tony is an A+ entertainer. His blessing is a very distinctive set of pipes. We asked him to come around even when he wasn’t working, because we liked having him around.

Tony garners the respect of everyone. He is like having a producer on stage or behind a microphone. He could dance on air while the crew was figuring out what they wanted to do. Eric says he is confident Tony knew that Eric had no idea what he was doing, but he always showed him only respect.

What FOX is today is largely built around what Tony is – a personality driven success. No one in sports has had as much public success as Tony.

Tony Bruno – Host, The Tony Bruno Show

He asked Eric to repeat himself at his funeral. He isn’t sure why anyone that hasn’t worked with him would want to be here.

He was 13 when he fell in love with radio. He would listen to everything. He was attracted to people that sounded good. People he considers mentors have no idea how much they taught him.

He went to his mom’s basement to work on his voice. He would get on the party line and do fake radio shows. When he was 16 he went to the American Academy of Broadcasting. They used to use his first day tape and graduation tape to sell tuition.

He tells the story of getting hired at ESPN Radio and how the network launched. He says that his favorite thing about his career is that people of different generations know him from different things.

People that don’t love this business will never get it. We are the soundtrack to our listeners’ lives. The great people in this industry are the ones that garner respect from everyone whether they are fans or not.

Before pitching to a video of Clay Travis, Bruno brought the room to tears with a massage joke due to the news of the day involving Robert Kraft. Barrett then surprised him by providing him with his own version of the Tony Bruno Award.

Clay Travis (Video) – Host, FOX Sports Radio 

Clay appreciates being thought of the same way as Tony Bruno. His goal is always to be smart, original, funny, and authentic. Creative radio only flourishes under great bosses that let you find your voice. For that Travis acknowledged the support he receives from Don Martin and Scott Shapiro.

Though he is on vacation, that doesn’t make this honor any less important to him. He thanked everyone in the room for their support before promoting Lock It In and Outkick the Coverage.

1:30PM-2:10PMWrestling Your Way Past The Competition

Eric Bischoff – Host, 83 Weeks Podcast/Former Wrestling Executive

Eric Bischoff never thought he couldn’t beat Vince McMahon. He still thinks about what led to being able to beat the WWF. The WCW hired a research firm to put them in front of wrestling fans. They did a lot of research into market segmentation. Through those focus groups, Bischoff was able to determine what wrestling fans wanted in every show. It helped him be different (if not better) than the WWF.

He incorporated both research and gut instinct into his strategy. Research he says can guide you, but you miss a lot if you live and die by numbers.

When Eric took over the WCW he had no prior wrestling experience. He didn’t know how to prepare, but it was what Ted Turner wanted, so he knew he had to succeed.

The research and corporate environment was exhausting, so he locked himself alone in a room. He made a list of strengths and weaknesses for both wrestling organizations, and realized what a disadvantage he had. That is when he decided to be different than the WWF. 

Fortunately, the WWF left a lot on the table by choosing to focus on teens and families. It was 1995 when Bischoff took over WCW. He was influenced by Dick Ebersol’s approach to the 1996 Olympics, where NBC decided to focus more on stories than competitions and outcomes. 

He saw the WWF as a living cartoon. That is why he decided to let wrestlers keep their own names. It helped the characters relate better to the audience. 

When JB asked Bischoff if controversy is bad for a brand, Bischoff said that he doesn’t think it’s possible to have success without it. He used to give away the ending of pre-taped WWF events when WCW was the first to do live TV events. He knew how much WWF fans hated it, but it was worth it because it created more WCW fans. That is good controversy. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It is just trying to create impressions.

Bischoff gave a TED Talk in November in which he explained how business is essentially pro wrestling. The news is doing now what he and Vince McMahon were doing in the 1990’s. He wants to hear radio that creates a call to action, even if it is subliminal. An emotional reaction should always be a broadcaster’s goal.

He can tell by the way he feels at the end of taping a podcast if the episode will be well received. If he had fun doing it, the listeners will have fun. 

JB asked Bischoff to give everyone advice on people that are doing their best work and being innovative, yet are still being questioned by their superiors because it isn’t showing up in the ratings. He says the key is to manage everyone’s expectations. That way you can manage the short term while you work towards the long-term goal. There is no simple answer, but you have to get people to see that there are steps towards getting to the long-term goal.

He was forced to change course when he didn’t want to a lot of times. The entrepreneurial spirit can be killed in a corporate environment. That is why you have to fight for what you believe in and be willing to do research to back up your feelings.

When asked about managing talent, Bischoff said it’s an area where he knew he had to improve. Too many times he got close to people, which could compromise his ability to handle tougher situations. He also pointed out that the guys that want stroke are always noisier than guys that have it. 

If he could do it over he says he’d have kept more distance from the talent. When you know people for a long time and become their friend, it can be hard to separate business from personal relationships.

If he was still competing with WWE, there wouldn’t be as many openings. There isn’t much they don’t do well. What you would have to do is look for what they don’t do as well as everything else. Social media and creativity are those likely openings.

Bischoff says that the way Becky Lynch has used social media in the last 120 days has made her star rise faster than anything else she has ever done. She finds a way to be real but not break character. If he ran the WWE, he would ask her to lead social media seminars for the other wrestlers.

Talent don’t always have an accurate view of themselves. They have to feel their character to be a success. You have to trust that they want their check enough to trust that you want what is best for them.

Most listeners and viewers of anything are looking for a great story. There is more freedom to tell great stories in audio. The more you can be relaxed with the timing, the more authentic you can be and the better content you can create.

He has been worried for a while about how to improve the show a year from now. He knows people want to talk about the Monday Night Wars, but feels his podcast needs to find more opportunities to inject humor into discussions of current events in wrestling. 

2:10PM-2:45PM  – According To Sources

Moderated by Mike Salk – Host/PD, 710 ESPN Seattle

Ramona Shelburne – NBA Insider/Senior Writer, ESPN

Ramona admits that she has a tier in terms of what radio markets she will make time for when she gets media requests. She tries to always respond to people who are polite. She wants to know that the people that want her on have a reason and not just “we need an NBA person.”

She doesn’t mind if you don’t know everything about what she has written, but know who she is. She hopes hosts will take a second to look at her Twitter feed before they bring her on.

Hot takes aren’t what Ramona does. She can back up her opinions with her reporting, so she doesn’t worry about what she says. She thinks that what is more effective is asking reporters questions like “what is Nick Saban like” that can lead to good stories.

ESPN is a big organization. It can be hard for even their own shows to coordinate. Aggregation is changing the way people report. She can say things in radio interviews she cannot write in hopes that it will get picked up, but she is aware that it is possible to get misquoted that way.

Bruce Feldman – College Football Insider, FOX Sports/The Athletic

Bruce will always say yes if he can. He will only say no if he physically cannot take the call. It helps to promote everything he does, and he always appreciates when radio promotes The Athletic. 

There is nothing that intimidates Bruce about interviews. He knows that people are going to ask about stuff he knows. The only thing he really doesn’t like is a host going on a long tangent that doesn’t have anything to do with why he is on.

He isn’t scared about giving an opinion, but he is aware that the people he covers are viewing his Twitter feed. He can be more nuanced on FOX than on Twitter, so he hopes that is what he is judged by.

Bruce finds network protocols confusing. He doesn’t get why he can’t do Andy Staples’s show and Mark Packer’s show in the same day just because they are both on Sirius XM.

Steve Wyche – Reporter/Writer/Analyst, NFL Network

Steve is happy to take any media requests. He thinks that it helps build the NFL Network brand. He also feels a responsibility to help out people of color that make requests.

He wants to be able to stir things up with a host. He understands that you have to be nimble when you are a radio guest. He doesn’t mind being sandbagged. He doesn’t like it, but it won’t get you cut off from his rotation.

Steve says that reviewing a reporter’s Twitter feed can create great radio when you have them on. He for the most part trusts hosts to create great conversations.

Steve tells the story about breaking the story of Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem. He knew through a previous relationship with Kaep that it could be a big deal. He wrote the story and had to wait for executives to decide what to do with it. He sent it in at 11 pm Pacific. It didn’t go up until 7 am the next morning. He was so upset about it, because he was worried about getting beat.

2:45PM-3:20PM – Tackling Digital

Presented By:

Moderated by Demetri Ravanos – Assistant Content Director, Barrett Sports Media

David Feldman – Senior Director, Social Content, NFL

The NFL is a lot of things. We’re a brand that people have certain expectations of, but we’re also a news breaker. In a sense, I have an easy job. I don’t have to sell fans on the combine, they come to us for combine content. My job is to get them as close to the field, with as much reporting and video as possible.

PD’s should look for people who can do everything – copyrighting, Photoshop, and Social Content that stands out.  

Phil Mackey – Director of Content, SKOR North

Our stake is still in radio, but we’re focusing a lot now on digital. We’re active on Twitter and Instagram, as well as Twitch and YouTube. The goal each day is to distribute content on eight or nine different platforms.

If people are waking up at 7am and scrolling through Twitter and your content isn’t popping up, you’re not in their minds and other brands will be.

We’re in full discovery mode right now. If there are 2.5 million sports fans in the Twin Cities, maybe 100,000 people know what SKOR North is, maybe 10,000 can recite what we’re doing.

The Ringer is in partial discovery mode, everyone knows what the NFL is. The NFL can take something as benign as a schedule release and turn it into prime-time content. Any brand can learn from the NFL, and how they branch off to create different levels of content. 

Phil was told by an advertiser – We spend millions of dollars on radio and we’d like to spend money on you too, but we can’t justify investing in AM radio in the Twin Cities.

We have to find ways to be creative and integrate content, we want to get 15 different versions of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee or do Barstool Pizza Reviews.  

If you can teach people how to run a mixing board for a radio show, you can teach them how to use Photoshop and make audio visual.

Pat Muldowney – Director, Social Content, The Ringer

While we want to go viral, we know that’s not going to happen with every piece of content. Piece by piece, platform by platform, the expectations will vary.

Bill Simmons is one of the most successful podcasts ever, but even with that, most people don’t listen to his podcast, so we’re always trying to add new listeners even if it’s 10 or 15 at a time.

Demetri asks about Colin Cowherd’s comments from yesterday regarding nobody gets rich off of podcasts – Pat responded with, “I can tell you someone who might not be rich because of podcasts, but is making a lot of money off podcasts – Colin Cowherd!” Podcasts are a great extension from traditional sports talk radio.

3:20PM-3:55PMSpeak To The Media

Jason Whitlock – Host, FOX Sports 1

I’m going to sound like a homer for my network, but love of the game is the key ingredient for being a sports broadcaster. If you look at our lineup across the board, the reason why Colin Cowherd is so popular and respected is because his insight is so good, and that’s because he loves the game. If you look at our competitors, I’m not sure there is always a love of the game and it sounds sloppy and uninformed.

The worldwide leader used to be the sports fan’s best friend, but they’ve since become more political. Outlets like Barstool have capitalized on that.

My target is the 40-year old guy who likes sports, likes to drink a beer, and just got home from a hard day of work.

Regarding diversity in sports radio, Jason wishes he knew how to make it more diverse. He said he tries to be very authentic, while not being hostile. When he hosted in Kansas City he sought to do a show that made black listeners very comfortable, while not being offensive to the 73.5% white audience.

The best thing African Americans can do in Jason’s estimation is be successful. Oprah Winfrey created a lot of opportunity for African American women by being successful. The same holds true for men of color with great opportunities in sports media. 

If you have an authentic desire to do something and make sports radio more diverse, you have to put in extra work. Jason says he and Marcellus are happy to help mentor young African-American talent if they’re willing to put the work in and accept feedback that will make them better. 

Marcellus Wiley – Host, FOX Sports 1

Over time hot take artists get weeded out. The audience gravitates toward hosts who have conviction with their opinions, not those who just spew out stats and information. Passion and personality makes a difference.

Relationships with teams, and maintaining those relationships is important for some former players which leads to being safe. That isn’t a great strategy if you want to have a long career in sports media.

As a young listener of color, the danger element of radio is missing. For the black and Hispanic listeners there is not a full on-air representation of who they are. Sports radio is often happy with getting base hits and not swinging for the fences. They’re fine with just surviving the next four hours.

When a host knows their boss is listening they play in bounds, when their boss is not listening is when they’ll play out of bounds a little bit. It’s when you go out of bounds that you usually discover things that connect more.

3:55PM-4:30PMEvaluating Talent & Content

Jim Graci – PD, 93.7 The Fan

Jim wants his station to always be putting out good content, because you never know when a listener is turning it on. The presentation is as important as the content. 

Adam Klug – PD, 97.3 The Fan

Adam isn’t involved on topic selection, but he is involved in building the station’s visit. He wants a station that lives on the West Coast to do what makes sense for them, not copy what is happening on ESPN. He does stay involved with guest booking, since his background is as a producer.

He wants to see talent do more outside thinking and less catering to their own interests.

Eric Johnson – PD, 97.5 The Fanatic

The Eagles always lead the way in Philadelphia. That has been true for three decades. The research confirms it, but the Sixers are a strong second according to the research.

The guys then listened to 4 minutes of Doug Gottlieb audio.

Jim says the content isn’t his issue. The formatics are bad. It is structurally rough.

Adam says he noticed that there was too much reading and too much wheel-spinning before the actual content. He was happy that Doug used a good analogy and has connections to add perspective to the story.

Doug Gottlieb then emerged from the back of the theater, and joined the crew on stage, acknowledging that Jim and Adam’s criticism was fair. He says the way you approach talent is more important than the information you give them.

Knowing how to approach your talent will tell you the best way to coach them and correct their mistakes. Doug is always open to being told he’s wrong. It doesn’t mean he won’t push back, but he will always listen to feedback and evaluate it.

Adam asked why Doug would agree to do two shows in a single day. Doug says that he is a workaholic and he trusts that he can do it with the team he has. 

4:30PMBSM Summit Wrap

Jason Barrett – President, Barrett Sports Media

Jason asked the audience to share one takeaway from the past two days before wrapping up the summit.

Don Martin, KCLA/Fox Sports Radio – The kinship matters and it is important that we work together to raise the level of the format.

Jason Ross, Sports Radio 1140 KHTK – The goal is to get the most out of all audio.

Joe Fortenbaugh, 95.7 the Game – Everyone we listened to here works their ass off. People that care about the gig put in the work and grind.

Perry Michael Simon, All Access – The present of sports radio is fine, but more attention has to be paid to its future. The room is still predominantly old white guys. The future consumes things differently and has different expectations.

Dennis Glassgow, 99.9 the Fan – I wanted to hear more context from the eSports and Sports Betting panels. The rest was excellent. 

Jeff Austin, 1080 the Fan – The flow chart that we have in our building is wrong. It is going to cost money to get where we need to be.

Chris Baker, The Sports Animal – It is a thrill to be in the same room with Tony Bruno. Emily’s presentation was a pleasant surprise.

Evan Cohen, Good Karma Brands – Emily was the standout.

Jason Dixon, Sirius XM – The panel with Bruce and Mike was so great, but for the last two weeks I have been talking about guest booking with my producers for the past two weeks. It was great to hear how reporters feel about getting pitched for a radio spot.

Eric Johnson, 97.5 the Fanatic – We have to keep looking for the places for our content to fill the holes.

Mike Thomas, 98.5 the Sports Hub – We’re all trying to stay relevant in a slow/no growth business. We have to figure out how to make money off the best podcasts, because someday that bubble is going to burst.

Bruce Gilbert, Cumulus Media – This format is built on authenticity and passion. I am glad we’re at a place where those values are at the forefront.

Kevin Shock, KJR – I have taken more notes than I have for any college or high school class. The concept of making sure we’re outside thinkers is so valuable.

Jim Costa, 96.1 ESPN – We’re all here because we want to be on the right side of evolution. We shouldn’t be scared of Amazon bringing Alexa to the car. 

Scott Shapiro, Fox Sports Radio – It’s all heart and passion. It’s a pre-requesit for on-air talent and should be the same for management. 

Emily Austin – Everyone was so open-armed. I got so much great advice over the last two days. I am excited about growing the passion for sports radio amongst women and young people.

Dan Zampillo, ESPN 710 – The way Emily presented her story was incredible. It is so important how we tell stories.

Josh Innes, SportsTalk 790 – There are so many good programmers with good ideas. The industry needs to give those people the resources they need to execute them.

Tony Bruno – Radio has to be more about what is happening in the future and not about what was great in the past. I still want to learn. You have to embrace being able to learn something new everyday.

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Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

“Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.”

Jason Barrett

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It’s taken years of hard work, adjustments, and a whole lot of trial and error to turn this brand into a trusted source for industry professionals. It’s been exciting and rewarding to tell stories, highlight the industry, and use my decades worth of knowledge and relationships to help the brands I work with make progress. But while I may prioritize the work I do for others, I’ve also got to balance it with making sure BSM and BNM run smoothly.

Each day, Barrett Media produces nearly fifty social posts, one to two newsletters, and twenty to thirty sports and news media stories and columns. I didn’t even mention podcasts, which is another space we recently entered. Making sure we’re delivering quality not quantity is vital, and so too is promoting it consistently and creatively.

Today, we have thirty people on our payroll. I never expected that to be the case, but as needs have increased and deeper bonds have been formed between the brand, our audience, and our clients, it’s allowed us to find new ways to invest in delivering insight, information, and opinion to our readers. Writing, editing, and creating content for a brand like ours isn’t for everyone. I just spent the past three months interviewing nearly forty people, and there’s a lot of quality talent out there. But talent for radio and journalism doesn’t always mean the fit is right for BSM and BNM. Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.

First, please join me in welcoming Garrett Searight to BSM and BNM. Garrett has been hired as our FT Brand Editor, which means he will oversee BSM and BNM’s website’s content M-F during normal business hours. He will work closely with yours truly, our nighttime editors Arky Shea and Eduardo Razo, and our entire writing teams to create content opportunities for both of our brands. Garrett joins us after a decade long stint in Lima, OH where he most recently worked as program director and afternoon host at 93.1 The Fan. He also programmed classic country station 98.5 The Legend. His first day with us is August 1st, but he’ll be training this month to make sure he’s ready to hit the ground running.

Next, I am excited to welcome Alex Reynolds as our Social Media Coordinator. Alex’s creativity and curiosity stood out during our interview process, and we’re excited to have him helping with social content creation and scheduling for BSM and BNM. He’s a graduate of Elon University, a big fan of lacrosse, and he’ll be working with Dylan Barrett to improve our graphic creation, schedule our content, and further develop the social voice for both of our brands.

Speaking of our two brands, though we produce content on the website for both sports and news, how they get promoted on social is changing. When I started this company, the website was known as SportsRadioPD.com. That worked perfectly with my Twitter and Instagram handles, which were also @sportsradiopd. But since we switched our URL to BarrettSportsMedia.com and started ramping up content for both sports and news it’s become clear that we needed dedicated brand pages. It’s harder to expect people to share an individual’s content, and the mix of sports and news often feels off-brand to the two different audiences we serve. It feels even stranger if I’m buying social media ads to market content, a conference, and other things, so it’s time to change things up.

Starting today, you can now follow Barrett Sports Media on Twitter @BSMStaff. You can also follow Barrett News Media on Twitter @BNMStaff. Each brand also has its own Facebook page. Moving forward, we will promote sports media content on our sports accounts, and news media content on our news accounts. We started with that approach for BNM when the brand launched in September 2020, but expecting people to read another site and follow other social accounts was a tall order for a brand that was finding its footing. We made a choice to promote both sports and news under the same social accounts for the past year in order to further grow awareness for the content, and as we stand today, I think many would agree that BNM has made great strides. We’ve built a kick ass team to cover the news media industry, and I’m hoping many of you will take a moment to give BNM’s pages a follow to stay informed.

One thing you will notice is that the @BSMStaff account has replaced the @sportsradiopd account on Twitter. Let’s face it, most people who have followed me on Twitter have done so for BSM or BNM’s content, not for my NY Knicks and pro wrestling rants. I am keeping my @sportsradiopd handle but that is being developed as a brand new personal account. That said, if you enjoy sending DM’s my way, give the new @sportsradiopd account a follow so we can stay in touch. The only account we will use to promote content from both brands under is the Barrett Media account on LinkedIn. Instagram is not a focus right now nor is TikTok or Snapchat. I realize audiences exist everywhere but I’d rather be great at a few things than average at a lot of them.

Now that we’ve tackled the social media changes, let me share another exciting piece of news. I’m thrilled to welcome Jessie Karangu to our brand as a BSM weekly columnist. Jessie has great energy, curiosity, and a genuine love and passion for the media industry. He’s worked for Sinclair television, written for Awful Announcing, and has also hosted podcasts and video shows on YouTube. His knowledge and interest in television is especially strong, and I’m looking forward to featuring his opinions, and perspectives on our website. His debut piece for the site will be released this Wednesday.

With all of this happening, Demetri Ravanos is shifting his focus for the brand to a space he’s passionate about, audio. His new title is BSM’s Director of Audio Content. This means he will be charged with overseeing the editing, execution, and promotion of our various podcasts. He will also work closely with me in developing future Barrett Media shows. We have 3 in weekly rotation now, and will be adding Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves next week, and The Jason Barrett Podcast the week after that. The goal is to increase our audio library in the future provided the right ideas, talent, and interest are there.

Another goal of mine moving forward is to grow our advertising partnerships. Between our website, social media channels, podcasts, and newsletters, we have many ways to help brands connect to an affluent, influential, and loyal industry audience. We’ve enjoyed working with and helping brands over the years such as Point to Point Marketing, Jim Cutler NY, Steve Stone Voiceovers, Core Image Studio, Skyview Networks, Compass Media Networks, ESPN Radio and Harker Bos Group. That doesn’t include all of the great sponsors we’ve teamed up with for our annual BSM Summit (2023’s show will be announced by the end of the summer). I’m excited to add to the list by welcoming Backbone as a new website and newsletter partner. We’re also looking forward to teaming up in the near future with Quu and the Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and hope to work with a few others we’ve had recent dialogue with.

When it comes to marketing, I try to remind folks of our reach, the value we add daily across the industry, and the various ways we can help. I know it’s human nature to stick with what we know but if you work with a brand, I invite you to check into BSM/BNM further. Stephanie Eads is awesome to work with, cares about our partners, and our traffic, social impressions, and most importantly, the quality of our audience is proven. To learn more about what we can do, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Yes we continue to grow, and I’m happy about that, but just because we’re adding head count doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to be better. It takes every person on a team holding up their end of the bargain, creating killer content, setting expectations, and paying attention to the follow through. We take pride in our work, value the support of our partners, and are extremely thankful for the continued readership of our material. That consistent support is what allows me to add to our team to better serve fans, partners, and industry professionals.

It may seem small, and unimportant but those retweets, comments, and mentions on the air about our content makes a difference. To all who take the time to keep our industry conversations alive, thank you. This is an awesome business with a lot of great brands, people, content, and growth opportunities, and the fact that we get to learn from you, share your stories, and help those reading learn in the process makes waking up to do it an honor.

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Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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