The fundamentals to doing a sports radio show are known by most who program or occupy the airwaves. The execution though isn’t always reflected in what comes thru the speakers. Since returning to my normal routine following the BSM Summit, I’ve had my ear on a number of shows and stations across the county. Some were local, some national, some highly rated, some not.
What I discovered was an inconsistency to executing the basics. I sampled 13 different shows over the past 2 weeks, and caught many missing the mark on the simplest of details which are necessary for having on-air success.
If you’re waiting for me to praise your brand and trash your competitor, don’t get your hopes up. I’m not going to specifically call anyone out. The intent of this column is to emphasize the importance of blocking and tackling on sports radio and point out why it matters to what you do.
If you’re new to the industry or if some of these things aren’t as clear, let me explain what I’m referring to. Radio show fundamentals include many factors. Among them are diving into the content at the start of a segment, resetting a guest or show/topic, identifying yourself and the brand, teasing the next segment and paying off what you said you’d discuss, and informing the audience of who’s speaking on soundbytes you’re airing.
Sometimes these issues occur because hosts and producers become too dependent on their show sheets. They’re so focused on what’s next or how the current topic or guest is fitting the schedule that they don’t listen close enough to what’s actually happening in the moment. They also fail to remind each other of the simple things that need to be executed throughout a show.
For example, think back to a guest you had on your show who you knew sucked in the first :45-:60 seconds yet you kept them on for 5 more minutes. Why did you do it? Likely because your producer invested time to book him/her or because you thought as the host that if you invested more time in the conversation it would ultimately get better. You also saw that they were scheduled from :30 to :42 so you figured “I’ve got to stretch this and get as close to the end of the segment as possible.”
But it didn’t go well did it? Rather than taking into account the audience’s time, and trusting your gut and ears to move on from poor content, you let the schedule, an individual’s effort, and your own ego stop you from maximizing the minutes you had to work with.
Now you might say “it’s only 5 minutes, big deal.” Well, 5 minutes of listening is what you need to gain to secure a quarter hour of ratings credit. Most listeners don’t give you 3-hours of their time. In fact, if you can grab 2-3 quarter hours a day on your station between 6a-7p ET that’s often a success.
Think about that for a second. A station’s normal broadcast day (weekday prime M-F 6a-7p) is 13 hours in length or 780 minutes. We’re considering 30-45 minutes of listening per day a successful one. The audience could choose not to listen for 735-750 minutes of the broadcast day and we’d still consider that a victory.
There’s also the reality that your audience doesn’t listen every day. I know if you’re a host or producer you’re convinced that 50,000 people arrive each day and hang on your every word, but that’s not how it works. You’re going to have a lot of listeners who check out your show only 2-3x per week and for short periods of time. If during one of those occasions, they listen 4 minutes or less, it’s as if they never stopped by.
When they do tune in, it’s your responsibility to make it easy to play along. You may think it doesn’t matter but something as simple as saying your name, the guests name, the caller’s name, who the person speaking in an audio clip is, the station and/or the name of the show plants seeds in the audience’s mind. Never should your audience exit your station and wonder who or what they were listening to.
This is especially critical if you’re a part time talent. There’s absolutely no reason you should be hosting a weekend show or filling in during the weekday and having an audience go 15 minutes without knowing who you are. What good is exceptional content if nobody can remember who created it?
You may think your tracks were covered when the station ran a liner promoting your name at the start of the segment 20 minutes ago, but what about the people who stopped by 5 minutes into the segment and left 10 minutes later? If they haven’t heard you say your name or the name of the show that would mean it’s been 15 minutes since the liner played and that’s too long to go without announcing your name and the brand/show.
Another one I’ve heard a lot lately that drives listeners crazy is guests going for extended periods of time without being identified. There’s no set rule for when to ID a guest but my preference was every 3rd question if the answers are short or every 2nd question if a guest rambles for minutes at a time. If it’s easier to just say “every 4 minutes, every 5 minutes, every 2nd or 3rd question” that’s fine. Everyone has a different plan of attack. The bottom line, don’t leave the audience wondering for 10-15 minutes who you’re talking to.
A couple of other examples that I want to focus on are not identifying audio clips, teasing segments and providing payoffs, diving into content, and forgetting to reset prior conversations.
Starting with teasing, I want you to answer one simple question: What gives you a better chance of keeping your audience listening to the next segment, telling them you’ve got bills to pay and you’ll come back after commercials or leaving them curious by promoting something interesting? I find that people usually respond better when they have something to look forward to.
This doesn’t mean you have to frame everything in a way that makes it seem like you’ve located the cure for cancer. If you’re doing a 16 segment 4-hour show, I don’t think you’ll be believable if you tell the audience every time you go to break that you have something that’s going to change their life. It doesn’t need to be oversold.
For example if you said “LeBron James’ future in Los Angeles is in question and in 4 minutes we’ll reveal a clue that makes it clear his time in the city of Angels is coming to an end” it might get your audience to come back, but you’re also going to look silly if that situation doesn’t happen. You may have a good clue, but unless you’re Magic Johnson, Jeanie Buss, Rob Pelinka, and LeBron James, and you’ve made a collective decision about what the next step of the relationship is going to be, you don’t know exactly what will happen.
Instead keep it simple: “We’ve discovered a clue that may lend insight into the future of the Lakers relationship with LeBron James….we’ll share it with you next.”
Just as important, if you told the audience that’s going to be discussed next, make sure it is. Nothing pisses people off more then when they look forward to something, and the host develops amnesia during the commercial break and decides to spend the next 10 minutes talking about everything but what they said they would. The bottom line, give the audience something to look forward to and deliver on your promises.
The other part of this that I hear a lot of hosts make mistakes with, tell me what you’re doing NEXT. Tease one simple thing, that’s it. If a listener is engaged with your show and you’re heading to a break, you might get them to the next segment if you make it sound worthwhile. If you think they’re setting calendar appointments of when to tune in later in the show, be prepared to be disappointed.
When you tell the audience everything you have planned for the next 4 hours while heading to break or hit them with the 5 topics you’re hot on today it’s just noise. There’s no call to action. So too is the common throwaway of “we’ve got some Lakers, some Patriots, the Odell trade, we’ll do a little bit of Westbrook + Bryce Harper’s in the news.”
Why not just tell them “we’ve got a whole lot of sports to talk about” while you’re at it. That’s a classic case of “I have nothing planned for the next segment, but here’s a bunch of stuff.” As I’ve told hosts in the past who’ve worked for me, I put stuff in a suitcase. I need to know why I should spend my next 5 minutes listening to you. To use some baseball advice, throw your best pitch and hit your spot. Don’t get cute trying to show off all of your pitches at once.
Next, let’s talk about diving into content. Simply put, when the music bed plays and you utter your first sentence, are you wasting words or making them count? Nobody cares about your studio view of the city or who beat you to the soda machine during the commercial break. If you sound unfocused and waste people’s time with minutia, they’ll get tired of it and change the dial.
A host who does a great job of diving right into content is Colin Cowherd. When his segments start, he’s usually right into the the topic off of his first word. You may love or hate his personality and style or the topic he’s chosen but when it comes to not wasting time getting into a discussion he’s exceptional at it. Case in point, here’s a sample from yesterday’s show. You’ll hear the music playing under him as he wastes no time getting right into conversation.
A good exercise to help yourself as a host or producer is to take a drive in your car and just listen to 15-20 minutes of radio. 93.7 The Fan PD Jim Graci said at the BSM Summit that he has his talent listen back to an hour of their show each day. When the 5 minute commercial break hits it’ll feel like an eternity, especially if a station is running :15 and :30 second spots. If they do, you might hear anywhere from 6-15 different advertising messages.
You’ll find that the commercial breaks for many brands often include station promos, sports updates, service elements (traffic, news, weather, stock), station liners to send you back into the show, a music bed that starts the segment and plays for :05-:10 seconds, and in some instances, :10-:20 seconds of a soundbyte airing over the bed to send the host into the topic. That means your listener can be separated from your last sentence for 8-9 minutes.
The average commute time in the United States is 25.4 minutes. In most major market cities during drive times, that length may be double. Add it up and it means that the commuter is with you for 2-4 segments during their drive. If you have an 8-9 minute stoppage every 15-20 minutes, and fail to focus your content, dive in, and give the audience nothing to look forward to, you may turn out alright, but your odds of earning additional listening are going to be greatly enhance by teasing, paying things off, and diving in.
Moving to soundbytes, you can attach the best :10-:15 seconds of audio to a produced return or play it over a music bed, and then dive into your content, but is it too much to ask to tell the audience who was speaking on the clip when you begin building your stance off of it? Do you think your entire audience knows the voice of every single football, baseball, and basketball player and coach?
If you’re pitching to a cut inside of the segment, that too requires identification. Doing something vague like “The Raiders have opened up the checkbook but not everyone is convinced they’re spending their money wisely” and not referencing who shared the opinion that differs from yours is foolish. You’re making the audience work harder than they need to.
Make it easy for people to play along. Giving the name of the person speaking adds credibility to the discussion, and it’ll likely make your audience want to join the conversation. They may even tweet at the person who made the comment, offering their own opinions on what they said, or let them know that you disagreed with their point of view which opens the door to a rebuttal and additional content.
The last item I want to draw attention to is not resetting prior on-air conversations. What you’re talking about now is what matters most to your audience. Too often hosts forget that. When you say things like “We discussed this at length on Tuesday so we’re not going to beat a dead horse” or “People took issue with our position yesterday on LeBron James and I don’t get it” and don’t follow up by explaining what those points were and where you stand, you’re leaving them out in the cold.
As great as it would be, the audience is not going to dive into your podcast archives and re-listen to everything you said just so they can follow along easier. Furthermore, if you’re going to discuss something that’s clearly triggered an emotion in you, take the time to expand on it. Otherwise what was the point in bringing it up in the first place?
Remember that you have listeners who like your show, but aren’t addicted to it. They may form a deeper connection with you in the future, but if their schedule only allows for them to hear you 2-3 days per week for 15 minutes at a time, don’t give them reasons to tune out from the current occasion or future ones by not making it easy to consume the content.
In sports, so much of success depends on preparation. A player like Tim Duncan was known for his ability to block shots, grab rebounds, score points, and make his teammates better, but he earned the nickname “The Big Fundamental” because of his knowledge, ability, and commitment to improving his footwork, taking high percentage shots, establishing good rebounding position, passing the ball to the open man, and executing consistently. All of those things helped him earn the respect and admiration from fans, teammates, and competitors, and a number of NBA titles.
For sports radio professionals, it’s no different. You’ve got to have talent or you wouldn’t be on the air. But others are on the airwaves and capable of entertaining audiences too.
You have a short window of time to lure people in before they find other options. There are over 700,000 podcasts available, 20-75 local radio stations (depending on your market) supplying content, social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, plus apps, videos, satellite radio, and friends or family texting or calling. Each wants the listener’s attention and is competing against you to earn it.
To succeed you’ve got to be able to entertain, inform, and provide unique opinions and angles that make the audience think and feel. Guests, soundbytes, and callers are the props which enhance your presentation, and the last step for hosts is to navigate the show smoothly by executing effective blocking and tackling principles.
Look at it like this, if your topics, opinions, and personalities are the equivalent of a main course meal, then it’s the fundamentals that are your sides and appetizers. Depending on who’s at the table or in this case listening in the car, on the phone, or thru a smart speaker, those extras can be the difference between the audience feeling full or still hungry.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.
Takeaways From The NAB Show and Six Days in Las Vegas
“I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm for the NAB Show was elevated this year.”
Six days on the road can sometimes be exhausting. Six days in Las Vegas, and it’s guaranteed. That was my world last week, as I along with more than fifty thousand people headed to sin city to take in the 2022 NAB Show.
The event didn’t draw as many as it had in the past, but after two years of inactivity due to the pandemic, it was good to be back. Judging from some of the vendors I talked to, the sessions I attended, and the feedback I received from folks I met with, though far from perfect, it was a solid return for an important event. Seeing people interact, celebrate others, and talk about ways to improve the business was a positive reminder of the world being closer to the normal of 2019 than the normal of 2020-2021. The only negative from the week, the consistent failure of Uber to appear in the right place at the right time. But that had zero to do with the NAB.
It feels like whenever I attend industry conferences, there are two different type of reviews that follow. Some writers attend the show and see the glass half full. Others see the glass half empty. I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm was elevated this year. Maybe it was because BSM was a media partner or maybe it was due to the show not happening for years and just being happy to be among friends, peers, and clients and operate like normal. Either way, my glass was definitely half full.
For those who see events this way, it’s likely they’ll remember the numerous opportunities they had to create and reestablish relationships. They’ll also recall the access to different speakers, sessions, products, and the excellent research shared with those in attendance. The great work done by the BFOA to recognize industry difference makers during their Wednesday breakfast was another positive experience, as was the Sunday night industry gathering at The Mayfair Supper Club.
Included in the conference were sessions with a number of industry leaders. Radio CEO’s took the stage to point out the industry’s wins and growth, credit their employees, and call out audio competitors, big tech, and advertisers for not spending more with the industry. When David Field, Bob Pittman, Ginny Morris and Caroline Beasley speak, people listen. Though their companies operate differently, hearing them share their views on the state of the business is important. I always learn something new when they address the room.
But though a lot of ground gets covered during these interviews, there are a few issues that don’t get talked about enough. For instance, ineffective measurement remains a big problem for the radio business. Things like this shouldn’t happen, but they do. NBC and WarnerMedia took bold steps to address problems with TV measurement. Does radio have the courage to take a similar risk? That’s an area I’d like to see addressed more by higher ups.
I can’t help but wonder how much money we lose from this issue. Companies spend millions for a ratings service that delivers subpar results, and the accountability that follows is often maddening. Given the data we have access to digitally, it’s stunning that radio’s report card for over the air listening is determined by outdated technology. And if we’re going to tell folks that wearables are the missing ingredient for addressing this problem, don’t be shocked if the press that follows is largely negative. The industry and its advertising partners deserve better. So too do the reps at Nielsen who have to absorb the hits, and make the most of a tough situation.
Speaking of advertising, this is another one of those critical areas that deserves another point of view. Case in point, I talked to a few ad agency professionals at the show. Similar to what I’ve heard before, they’re tired of hearing radio leaders blame them for the industry’s present position. This has been a hot button topic with executives for years. I often wonder, do we help or hurt ourselves by publicly calling out advertisers and ad agencies? How would you feel if you ran an agency which spent millions on the industry and were told ‘you don’t do enough’? I’m a champion of radio/audio, and am bullish on spoken word’s ability to deliver results for clients, but having attended these shows for nearly seven years, it might be time for a new approach and message. Or maybe it’s time to put one of our CEO’s with one of theirs and have a bigger discussion. Just a thought.
Of the sessions that I attended, I thought Erica Farber’s ‘What Business Are You In?’ was excellent. I especially liked Taja Graham’s presentation on ‘Sharing Your Truth’. I also appreciated Eric Bischoff’s tips on ways to monetize podcasts, and am curious to see how Amazon’s AMP develops moving forward. My favorite session at the show though was “A GPS Session For Your Station’s Car Radio Strategy” led by Fred Jacobs. The insight shared by Joe D’Angelo of Xperi and Steve Newberry & Suzy Schultz of Quu was outstanding. Keeping the car companies on our side is vital to our survival, and how we position ourselves on the dashboard can’t be ignored. Other tech companies and audio operators take it seriously. We must too.
Sessions aside, it was great to check out the VSiN and Blue Wire studios, connect with a bunch of CEO’s, GM’s and Market Manager’s, and visit with Kevin Jones, Joe Fortenbaugh, Jeremiah Crowe, Jon Goulet, Bill Adee, Q Myers, Mike Golic Jr. and Stormy Buonantony. The NFL’s setup for the Draft, and the light show presented at the Bellagio was without a doubt spectacular, plus Stephanie had a chance to say hello to Raiders owner Mark Davis who was inside the back room of a Westgate restaurant where we were having a business lunch meeting. The personal tour we received at the Wynn showed off some of the best suites I’ve seen in Las Vegas, and I was finally able to witness Circa’s Stadium Swim in person, and meet owner Derek Stevens (heck of a suit game). What an outstanding hotel and casino.
Altogether, it was a productive trip. As someone who knows all about building and executing a conference, I appreciate the work that goes into pulling it off. This event is massive, and I have no idea how the NAB makes it happen so flawlessly. This was the first time my head of sales, Stephanie Eads, got to attend the show. She loved it. Our only negative, going back and forth between convention halls can get exhausting. Wisely, Stephanie and Guaranty Media CEO Flynn Foster took advantage of the underground Tesla ride to move from the North hall to the West hall. I wasn’t as bright. If that’s the worst part of the experience though, that’s pretty solid. I look forward to returning in 2023, and attending the NAB’s NYC show this fall.
You’ve likely seen posts from BSM/BNM on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn promoting a number of open positions. I’m adding crew to help us pump out more content, and that means we need more editors, news writers, features reporter’s and columnists. If you’re currently involved or previously worked in the industry and love to write about it, send a resume and few writing samples by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
With that said, I’m excited to announce the addition of Ryan Brown as a weekly columnist for BSM. Ryan is part of ‘The Next Round’ in Birmingham, Alabama, which previously broadcast on WJOX as JOX Roundtable. The show left the terrestrial world in June 2021 to operate as its own entity. Ryan’s knowledge and opinions should provide a boost to the site, and I’m looking forward to featuring his columns every Tuesday. Keep an eye out for it tomorrow, and if you want to check out the guest piece he previously wrote for us, click here.
Demetri Ravanos and I have talked to a lot of people over the past month. More additions will be revealed soon. As always, thanks for the continued support of BSM and BNM.
Six New Contributors Join Barrett Media
“These latest additions will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.”
Building a brand starts with a vision. Once that vision is defined, you identify the people who fit what you’re creating, lay out the game plan, and turn them loose to execute. If the product you’re creating is original, fills a gap in the marketplace, and the work turned in by your team is consistently excellent and promoted in the right locations, more times than not you’ll build an audience.
As you grow, the focus turns to studying what your audience wants, needs, and expects from your brand. Certain things you expect to be big turn out small, and the things you saw limited upside in create opportunities you never saw coming. It’s critical to be open minded and ready to pivot while also examining where and when people consume your product, which pieces of content do and don’t matter, and then use that information to direct your team to give folks more of what they value and less of what they don’t. Team members should want that feedback too. It tells them what is and isn’t worth spending their time on.
As I lay all of that out it may sound like I’m talking about a radio station or television operation. These are the things programmers do frequently to make sure the talent, shows, and brand is satisfying the expectations of an audience. But what I’m actually referring to is the brand you’ve made a choice to click on to read this column, Barrett Media.
I’ve mentioned many times on this website how I started this operation by myself, and didn’t expect to have a team of writers involved in it. I was focused on consulting sports stations, sharing my programming views on this website, and as I cranked out content consistently, I discovered others loved the business like I did and had a desire to share their insights too. Rather than sticking to my original plan, I pivoted and increased our content offerings. In return, the audience grew, clients grew, and it’s led this brand to grow beyond my expectations. Now we cover sports AND news media, we run an annual conference, feature a membership program, create podcasts, deliver a daily 8@8 and three times per week BNM Rundown newsletter, and work with various brands and companies across the broadcasting industry. I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position and don’t take it for granted.
But with growth comes change. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of talented people contribute to this site over the years, and as they produce quality work, and others across the industry recognize it, they earn interest for their services. That then leads to some having to sign off for bigger opportunities. I see that as a great positive for the brand. Would it be nice to have more consistency and keep a crew together for years? Of course. I know it’d make Demetri’s life a lot easier. If we’re losing people for the right reasons though, and they’re landing opportunities that help them advance their careers, I’m going to be happy for their success, and trust that we’ll find others to keep us moving forward. The success of our team helps make what we do more attractive to others because it shows that if you do good consistent work here, you can put yourself in a position to attract attention.
Over the past two months, I have challenged Demetri Ravanos to invest more time talking to people about writing for us. Expanding our Barrett News Media roster is a priority. So too is adding quality people to help us improve Barrett Sports Media. BSM has had just under seven years to earn trust with readers. BNM has had less than two. We’ve put out ads on our website and newsletters, social posts, an ad on Indeed, and we’ve reached out directly to people who we’ve felt may be able to add something interesting to our brand. Most of my time is spent listening to stations and talking with clients, but my eyes are always roaming looking for content, and my mind is always thinking about what we can create next to make an impact.
I don’t judge our brand’s success based on clicks, shares, breaking news before other outlets or showing up in the top three listings on Google. I care more effort accuracy, timeliness, passion, consistency, storytelling, insight, and being fair and non-agenda driven. We’ve found our niche being able to tell stories about broadcasting professionals, relaying news, and offering expert knowledge to serve those involved in the broadcasting industry. If we continue to excel doing those things consistently, I’m confident our audience will reward us by reading and sharing more of our content. It’s why we never stop recruiting to keep things fresh.
Having said that, I am excited today to reveal six new additions to the Barrett Media staff. Peter Schwartz is a name and voice many in New York sports radio circles are familiar with. Peter has spent three decades working with various outlets and I’m thrilled to have him writing weekly feature stories for us. Brady Farkas is a talented host and former programmer who now works for WDEV in Burlington, VT. Karl Schoening is a play by play broadcaster who has worked in San Antonio sports radio and has had the added benefit of learning the industry from his talented father Bill who calls Spurs games. Each of them will produce bi-weekly feature stories for the brand. Jason Ence is in Louisville and has written about sports betting for Twin Spires while also working for ESPN 680. He’ll be writing sports betting content for us on a weekly basis. Jasper Jones will help us by adding news stories on Friday’s. He’s presently in Philadelphia learning the business working for Audacy. Last but not least, veteran author, Brewers writer, and former radio professional Jim Cryns comes on board to help us with features on news media professionals.
These six additions make us stronger, and I’m excited to have them join the team to help us add more quality content to the website. That said, we’re not done yet. Demetri and I are still talking with others and I expect to make a few more additions in the weeks ahead. As I said earlier, we want to improve the news media side of our operation and continue adding people to help us make a bigger dent in the sports media space. Broadcast companies invest in us to help them, and I believe it’s important to invest back.
If you’ve programmed, hosted a top rated show, worked in measurement, led a cluster as a GM, sold advertising, represented talent or have worked in digital and feel you have knowledge to share, reach out. I can’t promise we’ll have room but we’re always willing to listen. I’m not worried about whether or not you’ve written for professional publications. Passion, experience and unique insights matter much more than a resume or journalism degree.
I appreciate everyone who takes time to read our content, like and share it on social, and all involved with this brand who help bring it to life each day. The latest additions of Schwartz, Farkas, Schoening, Ence, Jones and Cryns will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.