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An Uncertain Business Full of Excitement & Fear

“For those that may be out of work soon, it can be a scary and exciting situation at the same time. Leaving what’s familiar is scary, but what may lie ahead can be terrific.”



Picture this. You live in a city your whole life. You root for the local sports teams. You listen to the local sports radio station. You dream of working there. You get the job and then…WHAM. The station goes off the air. Circumstances beyond your control lead you down a road of uncertainty and despair. 

As it was famously put in Godfather II, “This is the business we have chosen.”

Image result for godfather ii

For better or worse, these things tend to happen and they’ve been happening all across the country. It’s happened to me several times, through no fault of my own, I found myself in a state of confusion, anger, sadness and hope, all at the same time. It’s a terrible feeling. 

In San Diego, the longest running sports station in America’s Finest City, and its highest rated, the Mighty 1090 has gone silent. A dispute between the owners of their transmitter tower in Mexico and the station caused the former to pull the plug. Leaving a lot of very good and talented people wondering what will happen to them and the station they love.

It’s a station I was associated with, during my time with the Padres in San Diego. I grew very fond of the vibe of the station. Many who are there are still friends of mine and I feel for them having gone through this before. 

The swiftness of this decision is leaving a lot to the imagination. Darren Smith, host of the Midday show on 1090, along with his co-hosts, Marty Caswell and Jordan Carruth, reached listeners via social media with an audio “message” in the form of a nearly 22-minute explanation of the situation. 

“We are wondering if this is it for the Mighty 1090”, said Smith who has been with the station since its inception in 2003. “There’s not a lot of optimism about our future as a sports radio station. It’s heartbreaking. There are people who are in tears at this radio station. There are people who have genuine and sincere fears about their own futures about health benefits and bill paying and it sucks. Everything about this today is miserable.”, said Smith. 

From a management standpoint, the situation had been known for a bit. But it came to an ugly head Wednesday. “We have lost our connection in Mexico and are working to get this resolved,” said Mike Glickenhaus of JMI-owned Broadcast Companies of America.

So, what now? For those that may be out of work soon, it can be a scary and exciting situation at the same time. Leaving what’s familiar is scary, but what may lie ahead can be terrific. 

This isn’t the first time something like the 1090 situation has happened.  In February of 2007, Sporting News Radio moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. Employees were given the chance to go with the network to the West Coast. The company was offering only a 3 percent “cost of living” increase to move almost 2000 miles. Many turned it down, including a couple of people in executive positions at stations around the country. 

Matt Nahigian was the PD of Sporting News and after the move, he found work in Philadelphia at 97.5 The Fanatic in the same capacity. He has now relocated to San Francisco at 95.7 The Game. 

Tony DiGiacomo, worked at Sporting News as well and was among the many not moving to the coast. He’s now the Program Director at WFNZ, in Charlotte. He recalled vividly the feelings of receiving the news of impending unemployment.

“When we were notified that Sporting News Radio would be moving to Los Angeles from Chicago, and that we had to accept the move or take a severance, it was a punch to the gut. Heartbreak, in a way.”, he said. “The uncertainty of your future sinks in real quick. Especially for those of us who love the format and know we have a lot more to offer it. It’s a passion that unless it leaves you, it’s scary to face what could be next.”

Dustin Rhoades was an Executive Producer at the network and also didn’t go to LA. He eventually landed at 670 The Score in Chicago as the EP of the Mully and Haugh morning show. But the road was long.

“I thought I was fine. I had 26 weeks of severance. I thought 26 weeks would be enough time to find a job in the market, but it wasn’t.”, said Rhoades in the hallway of the Illinois Media School where he is also an instructor. “I was delivering pizzas and selling “pull tabs” at a Bingo Parlor. About a year later, I found work at ‘Talk Radio Network’ as producer for a show and within 2 and half years after that, the Score came after me and I’ve been there ever since.”, added Rhoades.

In the meantime, for San Diego sports fans, the station is only available through the 1090 app and on the station’s website. 

Should management have made a plan “B” since it was rumored this may happen months ago? Yes.

What is it about the company in Mexico that is pushing them to remove a beloved station from the market? I don’t know.

Image result for mighty 1090 broadcast tower

What I do know is it would be great to see the two sides reach an agreement so that the Mighty 1090 can live on. Now, careers, lives and families are being impacted by something that seemingly could have been avoided. 

I wish nothing but the best to all my friends at the Mighty 1090, I hope there can be a solution implemented to keep you all on the air in San Diego.

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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