Duke forward Zion Williamson has sparked plenty of debates. The freshman suffered a mild knee sprain in a game against North Carolina on February 20. The ridiculous strength that Zion possesses caused his left shoe to disintegrate.
Many people, including more than a handful of former NBA players, said that Zion should no longer play college basketball. It was too risky. He stood to make millions of dollars in the NBA, and it made no sense to risk any portion of his future earnings by continuing to play at Duke.
Zion didn’t listen to those people. After missing six games due to his knee injury, Zion averaged 27 points and 10 rebounds in the ACC tournament. He made 33 of 43 shots in a dominating three-game performance helping Duke win the ACC championship. Zion also took home MVP honors. Not too shabby. He added this gem during the trophy presentation, “For the people who said I shouldn’t return, I couldn’t abandon my brothers and coaches like that.” All that was missing was a Gronk spike mic drop.
Have you ever watched a movie and desired to be like the main character? It’s common for humans to want to be smooth, successful, and powerful like actors in films.
Athletes can be admired the same way. When LeBron James surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time NBA scoring list, he revealed how much he desired to be like Jordan. “Wanted to be like MJ,” James said. “Shoot fadeaways like MJ. Wanted to stick my tongue out on a dunk like MJ. Wear my sneakers like MJ. I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like MJ.”
Well, Zion is the latest great athlete to possess many desirable qualities.
Listed at 6’7”, 285 pounds, the big man from Spartanburg, South Carolina is known for his power. The finesse part of his game exists, but it doesn’t stand out the most. It would be like Mike Tyson being known for his jab more than his fierce uppercut or Nolan Ryan being admired for his curveball instead of his lethal fastball. Power typically stands out the most. While Zion’s power is most evident, he has another characteristic that would benefit others to emulate.
Zion didn’t forget why he plays basketball. It’s simply because he loves the game.
My first job in sports radio was back in 2004. I landed a role as an on-air morning co-host and producer at ESPN Radio 1580 in my hometown of South Bend, Indiana. For a minute I thought that I might be rich. I remember thinking, “Man, this is ESPN. This is the big time. I might’ve just landed a huge payday.” My first check showed that I made $5.15 an hour. Like Bob Uecker said in Major League, “Juuust a bit outside,” I was juuust a bit short of being rich. I stuck it out though because it’s what I loved to do.
I hired a guy named Chris Haynes as a producer when I ran FOX Sports Radio 1340 in Fresno, California. It was obvious to me that Chris was very hungry and talented. He also ended up debating my co-host constantly in commercial breaks, which I loved, so I gave him the nickname “Straw” because he loved to stir things up.
I’m not going to put his W-2 information out there for the world to see, but let’s just say he’s making a whole lot more now as a big shot at Yahoo! Sports. Chris stuck out the early years because he loves sports. I’m very happy to see him achieve so much as a result of grinding it out.
Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey shared a powerful thought while addressing his team on HBO’s Hard Knocks last year. “I want everybody to take out a piece of paper and write what’s your why — why you play football,” Kirksey said. “You can tape it on your ceiling in the hotel room. You can put it on your nightstand. Every morning you wake up, that’s going to be the first thing you see. Before you go to sleep, that’s the last thing you’ll see is your why. When it’s tough, you’re always going to remember there’s a reason why you do this [bleep].”
Why do you do what you do? It’s easy, especially for people in the sports radio business, to lose sight of their why. It’s common to focus on what — what can be gained. Trying to make a lot of money or gain attention aren’t necessarily bad things at all, but that’s what the industry can provide, not why hosts initially get in the business. If the people in sports radio were only about money and fame, they’d never stick out the lean years when they weren’t making anything and no one knew who they were.
I can remember playing pick-up games of football with friends as a kid. We always pretended to be NFL players. There would be disagreements at times because someone “already called Jerry Rice.” We didn’t know what being rich even meant back then. We just thought Rice was awesome and wanted to be like him.
It was the same thing for LeBron. “My high school best friends, we remember walking up and down those Akron streets with a basketball, just singing, ‘I wanna be, I wanna be, I wanna be like Mike.’”
Zion is the person I want to be like now. Not for his skill and power, but for his mindset. He made a decision to come back and suit up for Duke because of why he plays the game, not for what he can get out of it.
Appearing in a March Madness video before the ACC tournament, Zion said, “For the people that think I should stop playing in college and just focus on the NBA: thanks, but no thanks. I love playing basketball. I want to go out there and do my best and try to work the hardest.”
That mentality should be valued and applauded. Far too many people have their priorities out of whack and focus only on money instead of Zion simply wanting to be there for his teammates while playing the game he loves. That’s conviction. That’s purpose. That’s inspiring. It’s funny that many people who are solely focused on Zion getting rich are missing a valuable lesson that can enrich their own lives — don’t forget your why.
Why do you work so hard? Why do you grind each day? The answers to those questions are the reasons that truly matter.
If you remember the main reason you battle each day at work, it makes the random day-to-day headaches dwindle. It lessens hard times and adds more joy to the good experiences. Why does Zion work so hard and continue to play college basketball? “I’m just trying to be Zion and just play the game I love.”
What’s your why?
Peter King Retires as a Reporter Who Embraced Changes in Media
King is a straight-on print journalist, from the old school, who successfully and completely blended his talent into the broadcast and digital era before many of his contemporaries were even sure it was happening.
Peter King is in no danger of being underappreciated. With a career that included such high-profile gigs as lead NFL writer for Sports Illustrated, all-purpose maven for NBC Sports and author of the long-running Monday Morning Quarterback column and website, his place as a star in the sports journalism firmament is secure.
Still, there’s an aspect of his career that is destined to go less noticed than the rest of it. King is a straight-on print journalist, from the old school, who successfully and completely blended his talent into the broadcast and digital era before many of his contemporaries were even sure it was happening.
That seems a small thing. Truth is, he was way out in front. And it is one more way in which King, who announced this week that he’s retiring at age 66, has left such an impression in his work.
You don’t have to go crazy slapping him on the back about it. But King grew up in a time when print journalism essentially dominated sports coverage, and he rose to its apex. It might have been tempting to just dig in and hold on tight. Instead, he was among those writers who figured out how to diversify – not merely to survive, but to thrive in changing times.
Sports-talk radio as an industry began in earnest after King had already started his print career, when WFAN in New York, with 24-hour sports, debuted in 1987. But through the ‘90s and into the new millennium, most sports fans in America still relied on print dailies or magazines if they wanted to keep up with the sports news.
King was already branching out. He was and remains a reporter at heart, but a huge part of his success at SI and with MMQB was his gift for storytelling, and he realized pretty quickly that other types of media provided plenty of bandwidth for that. Rather than be suspicious of or hostile to sports talk, King leaned into it – often as a way to promote his own reporting, which was rigorous and detailed.
Again, this may sound obvious. It wasn’t, really, at the time. Many of the sportswriters in King’s orbit disdained electronic media in general, and they specifically resented sports radio for ripping off their reporting and using it as talk-show fodder. King was more sanguine; he had plenty of friends on the electronic side, and I think he just understood their place in the sports biosphere better than some other writers did.
It didn’t hurt that he covered New York teams for Newsday before going to Sports Illustrated, which in the ‘90s and early 2000s was still a holy grail of sportswriting. But King not only worked hard on his craft; he also worked hard on understanding what radio and TV needed from him when he made appearances, and he consistently got better at delivering that.
The beauty of what King was doing was that, in his way, he was elevating appreciation for the art of reporting. He joined NBC’s Sunday evening studio show Football Night in America in 2006, and he spent his time on the air either dropping straight news nuggets or, mostly, talking about topics that were related to reporting he’d already completed.
He was a coast to coast radio guest, a podcast guy and a sports-talk talker who seemed equally comfortable with Dan Patrick or a local host. In 2018 he joined NBC Sports exclusively (that always felt more about the impending collapse of SI than anything else), where he made regular appearances on PFT Live and Football Night in America, hosted the Peter King Podcast, and basically appeared across the network’s array of platforms as needed, which was a lot.
Yet King continued to be, first, a reporter. He continued to grind out 10,000- and 11,000-word columns on Mondays through the NFL season. That grind was part of the reason he cited Monday for stepping aside, and implicit in King’s explanation was that, after all this time, he really didn’t know how to do the column any other way and still be satisfied with the result.
If so, it marks one of the few times in King’s career that he did not make a successful adjustment to changing times. And as obvious as some of his moves seem in hindsight, the larger truth for folks who want to be part of the sports media landscape is that change is inevitable.
We don’t know what the next significant alteration or wrinkle in sports journalism might be. It’s possible that it hasn’t yet been invented. The only sure thing is that some people will resist it, and others will follow Peter King’s path and give themselves every effort to stay in the game long enough to win it. King did that very, very well.
Mark Kreidler is a national award-winning writer whose work has appeared at ESPN, the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Newsweek and dozens of other publications. He’s also a sports-talk veteran with stops in San Francisco and Sacramento, and the author of three books, including the bestselling “Four Days to Glory.” More of his writing can be found at https://markkreidler.substack.com. He is also reachable on Twitter @MarkKreidler.
Colin Dunlap Embodies the Spirit of BSM’s Champions Award
“There’s still a real big place in the world just to help each other out.”
Last summer, West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins was weeks removed from uttering homophobic slurs on a Cincinnati radio station when he registered a blood alcohol content measurement of 0.21%, while driving his SUV in Pittsburgh. Law enforcement pulled him over and began to question him, eventually administering field sobriety tests that he failed. One day later, he resigned from his head coaching job, concluding a tumultuous tenure with scorn and contempt.
A few months later, Huggins was the topic of discussion on 93.7 The Fan where Colin Dunlap was hosting a solo nighttime shift. Several months earlier, Dunlap and his morning show co-host Chris Mack were reassigned into expanded multimedia roles within the Audacy Pittsburgh cluster of stations. The decision ended an eight-year stint for the duo and placed Dunlap back in solo hosting situations, on which he can utilize the callers as ostensible co-hosts of the program.
This role was similar to how he began his time working in radio following several years as a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Although he never studied sports talk radio in the past, he came in with an innate understanding of how to relate to others and convey a sense of understanding.
On an August night where Dunlap was discussing the incident surrounding Huggins, he welcomed a usual caller from Florida onto his program. The discussion began with the listener articulating that he has beers after work and tries to relax but would never think about putting others in harm. In fact, he recognizes the dangers of driving while inebriated and expressed that he would call a rideshare service if in this inebriated state.
As he continued, he shared that his life was at an inflection point and said that his wife threatened to leave him if he did not seek help. Admitting that he was a functioning alcoholic and trying to retain his relationship, Dunlap offered to help him find a treatment plan near him to which he accepted and promised to follow up.
“I thought if somebody was that brave to call in and talk about themselves and put themselves out there, they may have wanted to get noticed or they may have just needed some help,” Dunlap said. “….There was a real-time, in-the-moment platform to use, so why wouldn’t I use it? How often do you get to do that or how many people get to do that?”
Dunlap helped the caller schedule an initial evaluation in Florida and start on the pathway to recovery, a commendatory act that will be honored at the 2024 BSM Summit. As the recipient of the Champions Award, he will be recognized for his selflessness and benevolence, an esteemed honor with the potential to serve as a microcosm of the impact those in media can have on the listening audience.
BSM Founder Jason Barrett said the following when describing the annual award, “I created this award because I saw a lot of good being done across the media industry. That isn’t always captured in the press. Many times disgruntled ex-employees and those looking to benefit from radio and television’s demise paint a picture of a crumbling industry. But what they miss completely is how much good is done by people and brands operating in it.”
Even though Dunlap battles stage fright, he is genuinely his authentic self behind the microphone and has no qualms about disseminating his opinions and emitting honesty.
“We don’t have to be hot-take artists all the time, we don’t have to be mean-spirited [and] we don’t have to run people down,” Dunlap said. “There’s still a real big place in the world just to help each other out. That still gets a lot of run and a lot of play in terms of what you can do to be a great radio host, what you can do to be a great person and what you can do just to help humanity.”
Developing an ability to concentrate and consider his audience was imperative early in his career while writing for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dunlap never envisioned himself pursuing a career in sports talk radio and strived to hone his journalistic skills by adeptly covering high school sports. After some time, he transitioned to covering Big East Conference football before being assigned to the Pittsburgh Pirates beat. The sense of trust that he fostered in the early stages of his career, specifically while in the Pirates clubhouse, continues to pay dividends on the air today.
“I think that print journalists oftentimes make the best radio hosts because they understand, especially with subjects, that you don’t always have to talk to people when you need something,” Dunlap said. “Sometimes you just talk to people as regular people when you don’t need something from them, so that helped.”
Shortly after the Pittsburgh Steelers lost Super Bowl XLV to the Green Bay Packers, Dunlap and his wife welcomed twins into the world. The newborn children were born prematurely and spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), leading him to take a year off from working in sports media to care for his family. As their condition began to improve, Dunlap worked part-time weekend shifts in the early days of 93.7 The Fan having never regularly hosted his own show. He ultimately began to ramp up his radio work and realized that the lifestyle was more optimal than that of a beat reporter, consistently traveling and writing late into the night.
“Your life isn’t on hold – you have set parameters in which you’re on the air and you give it 1 million percent within those parameters,” Dunlap said. “You put your earphones down, get in your car and you go home, and you show up and prep the next day and you do the same thing.”
There are times, however, when programs need to be upended to address breaking news or other matters that lead to a deviation from the rundown. Advertising revenue plays a part in keeping the entities in operation, and hosts are often implored to stay on schedule in order to actualize these agreements. While accepting the Champions Award during the first day of the BSM Summit, Dunlap will look to impart a message to attendees.
“You don’t need to be in a hustle to get to the next break,” Dunlap stated. “You don’t need to be in a hustle to talk about the next hot topic or the next thing that people are going to argue about or the next list that you have to tell people about. Just be pure and in the moment and real, and I think you garner respect from people.”
When he first began regularly hosting alone from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Dunlap made it a point to listen to other hosts in the timeslot. After all, he had not studied the craft and was learning about the nuances and formatics while working in real time. Station sports director Jeff Hathorn advised Dunlap to discuss a topic if it felt right to him, a shrewd insight that helped simplify things in the early days.
Since he was from the area and familiar with the local teams, Dunlap knew how to resonate with the listeners in this new means of dissemination. With interest in what he had to say, people began to call in and Dunlap always found ways to implement their perspectives into the program.
“It’s a great American city that reinvented itself, and its people are very prideful to be from here, and fair or unfair; right or wrong, they tend to gravitate and have a magnetic pull to one of their own,” Dunlap said. “They know they might disagree with me, but I’m not somebody who got shipped in from another city to work here.”
Dunlap’s straightforward approach has been transferable to other formats, which has included recent hosting stints on KDKA NewsRadio 100.1 FM/AM 1020. The alteration in the subject matter has broadened his horizons, granting him the ability to discuss local topics pertinent to Pittsburgh. Moreover, it has enabled him to foster trust in a different audience within the marketplace and is an assignment he has genuinely enjoyed. Whether it is sports or news talk though, Dunlap abstains from recapitulating the thoughts of others and yearns to be original and distinctive.
“You can listen all day and hear the same thing regurgitated with not much personal spin on it, and that to me is mind-numbing,” Dunlap said. “This is the main thing is I think far too many people walk into a studio and become paid actors as opposed to just themselves. It’s very important for me if I’m picking my kids up from school and a fellow parent asks me about the Steelers and they say, ‘Hey, I heard you on the radio. What do you really think?’ The answer’s never different than what I say to people in my neighborhood, and I don’t think that’s true for everyone.”
Dunlap is quick to help people in difficult situations with his humanitarian spirit, something that was augmented when his daughter battled leukemia at a young age. She was diagnosed at the age of 5 and underwent 30 months of cancer treatments before being able to ring the bell to signify its conclusion. Amid this challenging stretch for Dunlap’s family, he utilized social media to share his daughter’s progress and received messages of encouragement and offers for assistance. It granted him a sense of perspective and further cognizance of the power of live radio broadcasting.
“There’s a lot more good people than there are bad people in the world, and there were a lot of people that reached out to help, which was very good,” Dunlap said. “Even though we never accepted any monetary things and nothing… there were people that reached out just to lend support. That showed me that when you’re in a time and you do need help, it’s good to have someone there or someone offer that help.”
As he accepts the distinguished Champions Award and continues carrying out his newfound career path, Dunlap hopes he can continue to embrace the moment and help the community. Employing the pulpit of the microphone, he aspires to keep helping others plow paths to victory and eliminate the obstacles to get there. The route through the maze may have many twists and turns, but he is here for the journey and far from his final mission.
“If I see somebody that’s in peril, I’m still the kind of guy in 2024 that stops and helps,” Dunlap elucidated. “I know it may be an antiquated virtue, and I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but I just do. With that show that night – and there wasn’t any thinking that went into it – it’s all been in retrospect after I’ve listened back to it [that] the train just needed to stop, and that situation needed to be taken care of.”
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Social Studies: Andrew Porter, Sports Radio 94 WIP
“All three of those sites make it very easy to follow analytics. What’s harder to quantify is the brand and if you’re growing your brand positively.”
Andrew Porter has been experimenting with digital sports media since the beginning. In 2010, while still enrolled at Penn State, Porter launched his own blog turned online radio show The School Philly. Modeled after Barstool Sports, TSP was a blend of sports and lifestyle content around Penn State and Philly sports. He parlayed that project into a job at Philadelphia sports powerhouse, Sportsradio WIP where he has worked now for over a decade.
Porter learned the ropes under Spike Eskin who was running WIP’s social media from 2012-14. He eventually worked his way up to overseeing a social/video team of his own while managing and producing digital content for WIP’s website and across social platforms.
Porter has been around the biggest personalities and moments in Philly sports recent history. He shared the responsibilities that come with putting the words of Angelo Cataldi, Howard Eskin and Joe DeCamara into the internet. He also talked about the highlights and challenges he has faced in his 12 years at the station. Be advised our nearly 30-min conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity. Visit the Barrett Media YouTube page for the extended interview.
AR: What does a typical day at your job look like right now?
AP: It varies a lot because in the sports world we’re very dependent on the news. The benchmark for each day is to make sure we get good audio from each show. So, I’m waking up, going online, and trying to package the audio on air from the morning show, midday show and afternoon show and distribute it online in a creative, thoughtful way where we can engage viewers.
We’re setting up the big topics, and what our hosts’ opinions are on them. And we’re trying to set the tone online, the way we set the tone on the air because it’s kind of two different vehicles but we’re trying to merge that as much as possible and create some synergy.
Then throughout the day, it’s sending push alerts towards our station to get people to listen. If we have an exclusive interview of someone from one of the sports teams, a coach or a manager, we’re getting that interview podcasted and working with the producers to get that podcast and story up on our website quickly.
Same with breaking news. And even when I’m technically not working, you always have to keep an eye on it, because that’s just the nature of it. You never know when stuff can happen at night. Sometimes it’s posting highlights on social media from a Sixers game or posting interviews that can inspire conversation. So you’re never really done. The main daily focus is our three main shows and converting that audio and making sure our hosts’ takes are part of the dialogue on the internet.
AR: What are the keys to converting audio into great digital content?
AP: There’s really no set formula, I kind of have the pulse of what we want to do based on experience. But generally speaking, our hosts’ strongest takes are going to be their opening segments, that’s where they’re going to hit their main points. So usually, that’s going to be the best content in terms of engagement because it’s the most interesting and entertaining content.
Big exclusive interviews, which are huge drivers because they really differentiate us from other media outlets. We get to talk to people like Nick Sirianni, Jalen Hurts, and Bryce Harper. They do come on our station. When we have those days, those are big Hallmark moments, because we’re promoting them, and hopefully creating content out of those interviews.
AR: What are the biggest platforms of focus for WIP?
AP: So we’re on the main three: Facebook X/Twitter and Instagram, we’re on Threads as well. I feel like in the sports world, X is the biggest conversation driver right now in terms conversation, brand awareness and news, especially in sports and politics. But in terms of generating clicks and engagement, Facebook is still our number one driver, based on our demographic.
We’re not really worried about converting traffic on X. That’s more so to drive brand awareness and package different video clips. We’re experimenting with different things as these platforms are changing constantly.
AR: What are the strategies or benchmarks that you looked at in terms of growing your audience on those different platforms?
AP: Engagement, reach, followers. All that stuff is very quantifiable. You can measure it and see growth. A lot of times it’s going to be correlated to how our teams are performing. And that is the same with ratings. I mean, when the Eagles are in the Super Bowl and the Phillies are in the World Series, the work kind of does itself. The content is just endless.
When you have a down year, and you’re in February, and there’s nothing going on, then you have to start some creative meetings to drum up interest. But all three of those sites make it very easy to follow analytics. What’s harder to quantify is the brand and if you’re growing your brand positively. Sometimes we pass on certain things because something may be said on air that might not relay best on social media. There’s a fine line because we don’t want to make our hosts look bad at the expense of engagement, either.
AR: Tell me about your relationship with the hosts and talent.
AP: Pre-COVID I was in the office every day and I developed really strong relationships with the hosts, most of whom are still there. I know them all well, personally, and they’ve all been great. Over the past year or so we’ve really ramped up converting their takes on to digital. And, you know, if there’s ever anything controversial, or anything that teeters the line, I can always ask them for their permission. And they have a communication channel with me and they can always say, ‘Hey, maybe this isn’t best for online, or this isn’t what I meant to say. So please don’t post stuff like that.’
So it’s communication. It’s understanding our hosts and having a relationship and dialogue with them. Then it’s kind of understanding the pulse of how this will be interpreted online versus on the air.
AR: Looking back at the past decade that you’ve been at WIP what have been some of the biggest wins on social?
AP: That’s a really good question. Back in the day when Spike [Eskin] was doing social and I was working for him, we had a former Eagles player mention that Nnamdi Asomugha was eating lunch in his car. That went like super, super viral.
We had during the NFL draft, which was in Philadelphia, in 2017, Donovan McNabb live on our show, which was when Facebook Live was just starting. So we were able to film that on Facebook Live and that was massive.
Even this past year, Bryce Harper mentioned that he hit a homerun for one of our callers and that was a cool moment for us. We had Jason Kelce do a beer chugging contest with one of our morning show hosts at Sea Isle [City] this year, which was really cool. Great video, obviously.
But maybe our biggest post on X off the top of my head, it probably was Jason Kelce saying that Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift were dating on the morning show. No one’s really sure if he said that or what exactly he said but he basically broke that news on our morning show. That has over a million views or something that’s got to be one of our top posts.
AR: So in a moment like that how are you all over it on social?
AP: I knew Jason Kelce was coming on and this Taylor Swift story is a big story. So in the back of my head, I’m like, ‘I have a feeling that Joe [DeCamara] is going to ask about this.’ So you’re waiting there ready for it. Sometimes you even have your story pre written. Let’s say Nick Siriani is coming on and you know the topic is about Jalen Hurts’ injury. You’ll have that story pre written ready to go. But when a big moment happens it’s all hands on deck and we make sure we get everything up as quickly as possible.
AR: On the flipside, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve run into in your time managing social channels for WIP?
AP: I think the biggest challenge is merging on-air with digital because online is forever. We’ve had different hosts, and someone like Angelo [Cataldi] may say some things that would offend the fan base on air. It is what it is but, our reach online is just so massive that there are many people that are scrolling Twitter that aren’t listening to the show, or can take something out of context.
So you really don’t want to make an enemy out of one of our own people. We don’t want to turn it against them and have them taken out of context if they’re speaking negatively about the Eagles or the Phillies, because 99% of our followers are fans of these teams. And it’s kind of like an echo chamber world now where people don’t want to hear negative stuff, they want to hear positive stuff.
Our hosts have four hour shows every single day where they have to talk about different topics. So naturally, you’re going to get some speculation and negative stuff. You’re going to get some weird stuff and non sports stuff. I want to make sure that our hosts are being conveyed properly. I never would want to put someone in a bad spot where they were not happy with the way they were being portrayed. That’s always a fine balance and probably the toughest part.
AR: Can you explain how different the true radio audience and the wider social media audience can be?
AP: It’s a really weird climate and it’s tough today. I don’t know how many people are listening to every show for four hours a day but now we have an Audacy app, which is great. It allows you to rewind and listen on demand to pretty much entire shows. And it gives you context and allows you to develop relationships with the host.
It’s kind of like a TV show, right? If you watch the same TV show every day you start to become part of the show. You realize the nuances, you start to like the characters, and you feel the show. If you’re just popping in for one episode of The Office or one episode of Seinfeld, you don’t really understand the jokes. It’s not that funny to you.
That’s kind of what online is like. Most of these people online aren’t necessarily huge fans of the shows that follow us. I mean, we have 227,000 followers on X. They’re just huge fans of Philadelphia sports. Obviously there’s an overlap there but a lot of people can be following us for Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, or Sixers news and not necessarily listen to the show. So their perspective on the content is a lot different than someone who knows Joe DeCamara because they’ve been listening to him for 15 years.
That relationship is a lot stronger than someone online who’s just coming in for a quick comment or a quick troll because they don’t like this or they don’t like that. So social media is a very different animal and it’s tough to navigate in today’s climate.
AR: WIP has made the transition to video in terms of getting cameras in the studio and showing hosts in that way. Do you think that’s going to be the future of terrestrial radio, being able to integrate video to take advantage of how digital platforms are changing?
AP: 100%. I don’t think that radio stations should call themselves radio stations. Honestly, I think they’re just digital media brands. The same way Bleacher Report is or Barstool Sports or ESPN. These are all digital media sports brands. I don’t think terrestrial radio will go away because it’s good, people like listening to it in the car and when there’s big news and stuff like that. But you have to be able to repackage it in podcast form, in audio form, in video form and in written form.
There’s just too many platforms to package news. There’s just too much content out there. You have to be creative, and package quick, entertaining content. People don’t want to read long articles and listen to four hour shows anymore. They just don’t. They want quick 10 minute clips, two minute clips, 30-sec clips. It’s a shame and it makes our job harder but that’s what people want. That’s what wins online.
We’re just a digital sports media brand. We’re a sports media brand in general. Radio is part of our business- it’s probably the biggest part of our business in terms of ratings- but as time goes on, the digital part of it I think should be viewed equally as important, if not more important.
Alex Reynolds serves as Barrett Media’s Digital Director. In this role, he oversees all social media scheduling and content creation, monitoring of the brands analytics, and contributes to the brand’s newsletters, conferences, and websites. Originally from Rockville, Maryland, Alex is a passionate lacrosse fan, and graduate of Elon University. He can be found on Twitter @Reynolds14_.