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Can You Handle Your Promotion’s Biggest Challenge?

“The biggest, most immediate challenge you are going to face is managing people who up until this moment have been your peers.”



Staffers at radio stations across the country are working their tails off. Not just to do an amazing job at their current position, but looking for a promotion–the next step in their careers. There’s more money, increased responsibility, and maybe even a fancy new title like Executive Producer, Sports Director or Program Director. It all sounds great and you feel terrific when you get that promotion.  

Image result for new boss next exit

Immediately you have new duties and may be able to shed some of your least favorite duties from your old gig. But are you ready for the biggest, most immediate challenge of your promotion? You may not even be aware of this challenge when you interview and push for the promotion. The biggest, most immediate challenge you are going to face is managing people who up until this moment have been your peers. 

Initially you think this is advantageous. You have all been in the trenches together and have a good personal and professional relationship. But this has instantly changed for a number of reasons:

  1. Some of your peers may also have wanted this promotion and are resentful that you received it.
  2. Now you are no longer part of them, the production team, you’re the boss or a boss and they no longer feel comfortable sharing their concerns or blowing off steam about the job with you.
  3. They also may start avoiding you thinking that everything they say will be evaluated and affect their job performance

So what can a newly promoted manager do to help ease this transition both for the employees and themself? Jeff Goss in Forbes magazine talks about early steps you can take to help with the transition to the “new normal”:

“If you do end up leading former peers, be sure to have a one-on-one to address any fears, gripes, or concerns either of you have. Get it all out in the open and offer this person the chance to speak up now, with the expectation that after the talk you’ll both be comfortable with your new roles.”

By being proactive and tackling any potential problems head on you accomplish two things. First, you let the employee know that their feelings are valid and that you are here to listen and address them. Second, you as the new manager are re-setting the relationship in a way that your former peer can understand and move forward with. If you’ve been around enough, you’ll get passed over for a promotion that instead goes to one of your co-workers. You’ll want this conversation so the relationship can be reset and you can move forward in your roles. 

Just off the top of my head I can think of a ton of very successful PDs in our business who have succeeded in roles where they ended up managing their peers: Tony DiGiacomo at WFNZ/Charlotte, Jason Wolfe/WEEI in Boston, Chris Kinard at The Fan/DC, Olivia Branco/SiriusXM Sports and Chris Johnson at The Team/DC. 

All of the above have used their strong people skills and relationships to support their new roles with their respective radio stations/channels. Another bit of advice on this topic comes from the CEO of JobVite, Dan Finnigan. In a piece he did for Finnigan wrote:

Step confidently into the new role–but remain humble. Yes, you got the job for a reason. There’s no need to feel guilty. In fact, you should be proud! At the same time, however, understand that things could have gone differently. You might be the best person for the job, but you’re not the only person for the job.

So to everyone out there busting their hump for a promotion–good luck! Just remember to act quickly if you are promoted to build a strong working foundation between you and your former peers. It will save a you a lot of trouble in the long run! 

BSM Writers

Asking The Right Questions Helps Create Interesting Content

Asking questions that can get a subject to talk about their feelings is a much better way to get an interesting answer.



USA Today

When ESPN’s Mike Greenberg interviewed Paolo Banchero in the lead-up to the NBA lottery on Tuesday, he asked what I’ve concluded is the single most maddening question that can be asked of any athlete preparing for any draft.

“Why do you believe you should be No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?” Greenberg said.

Before I point out exactly why I have such a visceral reaction to such a harmless question, I want to point out the positives because Greenberg’s question avoids some of the most common pitfalls:

1) It is an actual question. That’s not as automatic as you think given the number of poor souls who are handed a microphone and say to their subject, “Talk about (whatever issue they want a quote or a sound bite on).” This is the mark of an amateur, creating the opening for an uncooperative subject to slam the door by saying, “What do you want me to say?”

2) Greenberg’s question can not be answered with a yes or a no. Questions that start with the word “Can you …” or “Did you …” may sound like they’re tough questions for the subject, but they’re actually fairly easy if the subject wants to offer an answer. Now, most interview subjects won’t take that one-word exit, but some will in a touchy situation.

The problem with Greenberg’s question has to do with the result. Why do we ask questions of the athletes we cover? Seriously. That’s not rhetorical. What’s the goal? It’s to get interesting answers. At least that’s the hope whether it’s for a quote that will be included in a story, a sound bite to be replayed later or — like in this situation — during an interview that is airing live. The question should be engineered to elicit interesting content, and there was very little chance that the question Greenberg asked Banchero was going to produce anything close to that.

I know that because I have heard some version of this question asked hundreds of times. That’s not an exaggeration. I attended the NFL scouting combine annually for a number of years, and if a player wasn’t asked why he should be the first overall pick, he’d get asked why he should be a first-round pick or why he should be one of the first players chosen at his position. Never — in all that time — have I ever heard what would be considered an interesting or informative answer. In my experience, players tend to talk in incredibly general terms about their own abilities and then seek to compliment their peers in an effort to avoid coming off as cocky.

Here’s how Banchero answered Greenberg’s question: “Yeah, thank you all for having me, first off., I feel like I’m the number one pick in the draft because I’m the best overall player. I feel like I check all the boxes whether it’s being a great teammate, being the star player or doing whatever the coach needs. I’ve been a winner my whole life. Won everywhere I’ve went, and when I get to the NBA, that’s going to be the same goal for me. So just combining all those things, and knowing what I have to work on to be better is a formula for me.”

There’s nothing wrong with answer just as there was nothing wrong with the question. It’s just that both are really, really forgettable. ESPN did put a clip on YouTube with the headline “Paolo Banchero: I’m the best overall player in the NBA Draft | NBA Countdown” but I think I’m the only who will remember it and that’s only because I’m flapping my arms and squawking not because there was anything bad per se, but because there was nothing really good, either.

First of all, I’m not sure why it matters if Banchero thinks he should be the number one overall pick. He’s not going to be making that decision. The team that holds the top draft pick — in this case Orlando — is. Here’s a much better question: “How important is it for you to be the number one overall pick?” This would actually give an idea of the stakes for Banchero. What does this actually mean to him? Asking him why he should go number one is asking Banchero to tell us how others should see him. Asking Banchero how important it would be go number one is asking him to tell us about his feelings, something that’s much more likely to produce an interesting answer.

The point here isn’t to question Greenberg’s overall competence because I don’t. He’s as versatile a host as there is in the game, and anyone else in the industry has something to learn from the way he teases ahead to content. What I want to point out not just how we fail to maximize opportunities to generate interesting content, but why. Interviews are a staple of the sports-media industry. We rely on these interviews as both primary content that will be consumed directly, and as the genesis for our own opinions and reaction yet for all that importance we spend very little time thinking about the kind of answer this question is likely to produce.

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BSM Writers

The Client Just Said YES, Now What?

We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES.



One of the most significant moments in radio sales is when the client agrees to your proposal and says YES. But, when they do say YES, do you know what’s next? We better have an answer!

We spend a lot of time getting ready for clients with research, spec spots (thank you, radio sales trainer Chris Lytle-go to 22:30), proposals, and meetings. All of our focus is on getting the client to say YES. We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES. For example, getting newer sales reps to sell annual advertising contracts would be ideal for building a list. They would have less pressure, more job security, and could spend more time making the advertising work for their clients. But, since most newer reps don’t know the business yet, they don’t bite off more than they can chew and sell a package of the month.

When a client says yes to the weight loss promotion, it’s pretty clear how to write the ads, what the promos will say, etc. BUT, if a newer sales rep starts selling annual contracts to a direct local client who needs a resource, how will that work? Let’s make sure we paint the picture right upfront. More experienced reps know that they need to assume the client will say YES to the weight loss promo and have a plan accordingly.

They have the next steps to building copy and promos, a credit app or credit card payment form, and any other detail the client must provide. But, when we ask a direct local client for an annual advertising contract, watch out! You have just made a partnership. Why not lay out, upfront, what that will look like. And I understand not every local client needs the same level of service.

A car dealer has the factories pushing quarterly promotions, agencies producing ads, and in-house marketing directors pulling it all together sometimes. Other clients need your help in promotions, copywriting, or idea generation. Make a plan upfront with your client about when you will meet to discuss the next quarter’s ad program. Include your station’s promotions or inventory for football and basketball season, a summer NTR event, digital testimonials with on-air talent, etc., in your annual proposal. Go out as far as you can and show what you have to offer to the client and how you can execute it. This exercise is good for you and, once mastered, guides the client on how you will take care of them after the sale. It also opens your eyes to what it takes to have a successful client partnership inside and outside the station.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 74



This week, Demetri is joined by Ian Casselberry and Ryan Brown. Demetri talks about the NBA Draft getting an ABC simulcast, Ian talks about Patrick Beverley’s breakout week on TV, and Ryan reminds us that Tom Brady may be the star, but Kevin Burkhardt is the story we shouldn’t forget.

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