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Jason Anderson Stays The Course & Trusts His Ability

“I’ll just listen back to things to see what I’m sounding like. I want to see if it’s something I would want to listen to if I’m driving around in my car. Is it entertaining?”

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If someone would have told Jason Anderson how hard the first two years were going to be for him in Louisville, he probably would have just stayed put in Kansas City. If he would have been told about the constant stress, the continuous feeling of being overwhelmed or even the tower problems that led him to being a part-time engineer, there’s no way he would have agreed to take the job to get ESPN Louisville off the ground. 

But as fate goes, Anderson left Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City, his dream station, because the company was approached by ESPN to start an affiliate outside the market in Louisville. The start-up station needed a utility man. Someone who could serve as a show host, PD, sales staff, engineer, or anything else a station needs to get started off the ground. So, in 2010, Anderson left Kansas City to head to Louisville for a situation he had no idea he was getting himself in to.  

“The challenge was both overwhelming and energizing at the same time,” said Anderson. “I had grown up to listening to WHB my whole life and it was like, if I get hired there, now you’re sort of playing center field for the Yankees. The franchise had already been established. But here, it’s something that can grow and you’re a big part in growing that. There’s a lot of skin in the game.”

Fast forward to present day and Anderson is still serving as both an afternoon show host and PD at ESPN Louisville. Nearly nine years have passed since he took a leap of faith, but he’s forever thankful he did. Even amidst all the stress he endured, he can now smile and say it was all worth it. His work day may not be a strenuous as it was during the first year, but solo hosting a three-hour show and programming an extremely successful signal definitely comes with its daily challenges. Most notably, how are you supposed to show prep an afternoon drive show from 3-6 p.m. when you’re consumed with other tasks all day? 

“When I get to the office, the first thing I do is go through the entire list of things that need to get done that day,” said Anderson. “So on one side of my planner will be all the things as a PD that I have to get done. While I’m doing those things, just like others in radio, my mind is always thinking about the show. If I’m looking or reading something, I’m always trying to think how I can relate that back to a local topic. On the right side of my planner with be show topics, show ideas, or even things I hear on the air at our station that I think are interesting points, but one that I might disagree with.

“As the day goes on, the list keeps growing and growing. As most PD’s know you can write 10 things you have to get done during the day, but by the time noon rolls around you probably have four other things you weren’t planning on. It’s trying to do two things at once. I’m doing all my PD stuff while always thinking about the show. Around 12:30-1:00 is when I really start to hone in on the show.”

There’s a lot of people in the business that, just like Anderson, have the duties of both a show host and a PD. Not only is it challenging, but you really have to understand how to balance your time throughout the day. That includes finding ways to sharpen your craft. As show hosts, we probably take for granted the opportunities we have with our PD’s for regular air checks as well as tips to improve ourselves. If you’re like Anderson, or the many other people that serve both the host and PD role, improving may have to come through a more unconventional way. 

Image result for jason anderson espn louisville

“We do a thing from 6-7 p.m. every weekday called The Bonus Hour,” said Anderson. “We take some of the best content of the day and throw it into one hour. While I’m done at 6:00, others might work a little bit later but can still hear our best stuff from the day while they’re driving home. Sometimes that might mean there’s something in there from my first hour. That gives me an opportunity to listen, therefore I don’t have go and listen that night to something else. A couple of times a week I’ll even just go back and listen to a certain hour.

“I’ll just listen back to things to see what I’m sounding like. I want to see if it’s something I would want to listen to if I’m driving around in my car. Is it entertaining? Did I stretch out a topic too far? Have I tried to make a topic out of something that was just a note or a nugget? For me, it’s just all about listening back. I’ll even listen to interviews to see if I talked too much or even interrupted the guest. Or maybe even if I missed a follow up that should have been asked. Those are the things I really try to pay attention to and critique myself with.”

Though he’s paid to make adjustments and decisions based on what he’s hearing on the air, Anderson still realizes his own opinion of his show can’t be enough. That is, not if he wants to continue to grow as a 39 year-old show host. So there have to be people in the business he trusts to lend an ear to his work. 

“You know, I don’t do that enough, I’ll be honest with you,” said Anderson. “I need to do that a lot more. Scott Masteller is a guy that’s been in town a couple of times and certainly somebody that’s always available. I know there’s people at the station that had a relationship with Scott.

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“Soren Petro, the mid-day host at our parent company, Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City, I’ll reach out to him and talk radio, life, the company, just general conversation. I try to reach out to him as much as I can. Not nearly enough of ‘hey man, let me send this your way and tell me what you think.’ I’m always cognizant of that because he’s busy and has a family. But I do need to do that more, rather than just say, here’s what I hear and this is what I would think if I was a radio listener, therefore, this is what I can improve on, as supposed to someone else who does it for a living.”

Just like everyone else who’s pulling the show host/PD responsibility, Anderson has his daily routine that works. But it’s interesting to debate which time slot would be easiest for someone filling both roles. Each have their own draws and setbacks, but which would work best? 

“I’ve actually thought about that and gone back-and-forth,” said Anderson. “Right now I’m able to get a lot of stuff done in the mornings and be at meetings. I think for me, being a show host, I like the fact it’s in the afternoon because it requires me to continue to pay attention to things that are going on while doing the PD side of it. I feel like if I did the morning show, I’d get off the air and focus on the PD side while not really being engaged with show topics throughout the day. I could do all that at night, but by the time I get home, it’s time to eat, then it’s bedtime for the kids, all that stuff, then I’m going to bed for the morning show. So when would I find time to show prep? I would worry I’d be winging it too much if I did a morning show compared to an afternoon show.”

Though we’ve mainly laid out the challenges that come with being both a host and PD, believe it or not, but there’s actually advantages that come with the territory. For one, you get to be in a management position while still realizing your dream of being on the air. Plus, let’s not kid ourselves, it probably helps out the wallet, too. In terms of daily activity at the station, it can really make things easier for the sales staff. Instead of having to diffuse a situation between a host and a member of the sales staff, odds are more likely things are going to happen without conflict. 

“I think it makes it a little easier on both sides,” said Anderson. “If the on-air staff comes to me with a complaint, I’m in the sales meetings, I’m interacting with them and I know what’s going on with the issue. Then, I can try to solve whatever the issue is. I’m at the front of station a lot so I think it makes it easier for the sales staff to come to me if they have an issue with something that’s not getting done.”

Anderson has been in this role for nearly nine years. He’s seen just about everything that can be thrown his way as a host/PD. So naturally, he has some pretty good advice on how to deal with the tense situations that often rise. And that’s exactly his message to the person that has just become both a host and a PD at a station. 

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“I got discouraged early on and it felt like I was running at times,” said Anderson. “If it’s at the beginning and you’re feeling overwhelmed, what I try to do is just focus on what I have to get done today. Just stay the course and trust in your abilities. I just had to keep telling myself there was a reason they had me come down here. They’re not going to send me down here just to let things fail. I keep reminding myself of that. Just be confident, trust your abilities and know you’re the right person for the job. 

BSM Writers

Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC

“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”

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NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade.  A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well.  However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).

NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season.  NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.

NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.  

Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.

Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.

If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.

“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”

Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm. 

“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”

While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.

Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock. 

Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week. 

My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic.  When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV.  Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams.  After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England.  They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.

I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.

I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters. 

By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.

Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.

Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.”  NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.

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BSM Writers

6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio

“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”

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For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.

Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

Well, let’s go Digging for Gold. 

The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.

Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.

If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way?  I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:

  • Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
  • Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
  • Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
  • Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
  • FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $ 
  • Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months

The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details. 

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