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Sports Radio’s 2019 Spring Book Ratings Recap

“A look at how sports stations in 20+ markets performed in the 2019 spring book.”

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Each quarter at BSM we highlight how sports radio stations across America have performed in their latest ratings books. I’ve been asked before why this piece comes out a few weeks after the results are in and the answer is that it takes time to gather information from over 20+ markets and other business needs require attention too. That said, I’m grateful that many format folks look forward to reading it.

Having been a programmer and analyzed panel changes, meter counts, hot zips, listener trends and every other factor that goes into generating ratings, I know how much it means to those involved with a radio station to have their work matter and be appreciated. Because I love this format, respect those involved in programming circles, and understand the challenges brands face generating advertising dollars, I continue to research market results and write this column. I hope it helps educate clients on why sports radio brands are worth investing in. I’m also optimistic that industry leaders will be reminded of some of the great work being done by their people and brands and put a few things into perspective when analyzing the numbers. Sometimes they lose sight of it.

But I’d be lying if I said I enjoy writing this column as much as I once did. Although I love giving brands recognition and credit for a job well done, there’s also the reality of this industry continuing to be poorly measured, especially digitally. When I analyze 20-30 markets and find streaming numbers practically invisible for some of the format’s top brands, it’s difficult for me to fake enthusiasm. Too many of these stations have bigger audiences and impact than they receive credit for. It’s got to get better.

This is not a ‘get off my lawn’ moment. It’s a simple reminder that we need more comprehensive data to compete against ALL media. Social media giants and tech companies are eating everyone’s lunch. The projections for the future look similar. To have a fighting chance we’ve got to be able to capture the full story of what these brands are delivering while also adjusting internal mindsets that it doesn’t begin and end with numbers.

Ratings have been a part of my world for the past 15 years. I love studying them and seeing friends, peers, and industry professionals reap the rewards of a job well done. Sports talk radio delivers an emotional connection with its audience and in the process these personalities earn trust. That helps businesses that align with them move product. That by itself is worth investing in. The numbers are the icing on the cake.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how sports radio brands around the country performed during the 2019 spring book.

NEW YORK:

Sports radio listening in the big apple remained strong with WFAN’s Boomer and Gio finishing 1st in the market in morning drive with Men 25-54. FAN’s morning team finished with a low 6 share, two points higher than 98.7 ESPN NY’s airing of Golic and Wingo which came in 10th.

Middays were strong for Beningo and Roberts and CMB on WFAN. Joe and Evan produced a low 7 share to finish 1st between 10a-1p. CMB recorded a high 6 share to come in 2nd during their timeslot of 1p-3p. 98.7 ESPN’s Humpty and Canty and the Stephen A. Smith show generated the same number (just under a mid 3 share) for the quarter. Humpty and Canty were 10th, Smith 11th.

The always interesting battle between Mike Francesa and the Michael Kay Show remained close. If you include both radio and streaming listening for both stations, Francesa wins the head to head matchup by two tenths of a point. Without the Fan’s streaming taken into account Kay wins. Using the combined number, Francesa delivered just above a mid 6 share. Kay was just under a mid 6 share. The two shows finished 1st and 2nd respectively in the market which is outstanding.

The one issue that has created confusion in New York City’s ratings has been the way Entercom New York and ESPN New York’s differ in how they operate and sell ads. ESPN combines radio and streaming whereas The Fan produces them separately.

Regardless of how you want to slice it, both brands had reasons to celebrate the spring book. Summer could be a little different with Kay off the radio due to vocal cord surgery, Gray out due to maternity leave, and Francesa taking a week or two for summer vacation.

LOS ANGELES:

ESPN LA 710 was pleased with its progress for the quarter. The station finished just under a 3 share, gaining six tenths of a point year to year. Mason and Ireland remained the top rated program in the market with a high 3 share. All of 710’s weekday programs improved their numbers from spring to spring. It was the stations best spring book since 2015.

AM 570 LA Sports also had a few reasons to be happy with the quarterly report. The radio station picked up a full point spring to spring in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). 570 also nearly doubled their share in morning drive year to year thanks to the Dan Patrick Show.

CHICAGO:

670 The Score continued its winning ways, securing victory for the spring book in both weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) and the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with Men 25-54. The Score generated a low 5 share to finish 4th and 5th respectively in those two categories. Cubs baseball certainly helped. ESPN 1000 came in 9th in prime, and 11th for the full week.

Fueling The Score’s success was the morning team of Mully and Haugh who finished 3rd with just under a mid 7 share. The show was just one tenth of a point away from being tied for 1st overall with Men 25-54. ESPN 1000’s airing of Golic and Wingo did make strides too, gaining 10% to climb into the top 10 with a mid 3 share.

A close race developed in middays between The Score’s Bernstein and McKnight and ESPN 1000’s Kap and Company. The Score’s tandem won the quarter by finishing 7th with a high 3 share. Kap’s program was tied for 9th with a mid 3 share. Also, Laurence Holmes bested Carmen and Jurko between the hours of Noon and 2pm by a little more than a point. Holmes finished 5th, Carmen and Jurko were 9th.

The afternoon drive battle this quarter was won by The Score’s McNeil and Parkins. 670’s show was tied for 3rd with a little better than a mid 5 share, nearly a point and a half ahead of ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy who were 7th with a low 4 share.

One last item worth sharing, 670’s combination of Cubs baseball and Joe Ostrowski were 1st between the hours of 6p-10p. Play by Play and Julie DiCaro were ranked 3rd between the hours of 10p-12a.

SAN FRANCISCO:

Both KNBR and 95.7 The Game had success stories worth sharing this quarter. KNBR finished 2nd overall in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a high 5 share, three tenths of a point ahead of The Game. The Sports Leader also won the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) edging The Game by one tenth of a point. The Game’s big victory came in the month of June when the station won the month, finishing 1st overall in the market.

In mornings, KNBR’s Murph and Mac came in 4th, four tenths of a point ahead of Joe, Lo and Dibbs who finished 6th. The former midday team of Gary and Larry led KNBR to a win between 10a-1p, finishing six tenths of a point ahead of Steiny and Guru and 1-hour of The Greg Papa Show with Bonta Hill (Papa has since joined KNBR). The final 2-hours of Papa and Hill’s show from 1p-3p earned The Game a seven tenths of a point victory over Fitz and Brooks (Brooks has since moved to PM drive on KNBR, Fitzgerald is no longer with the station).

Afternoons saw both Tom Tolbert and Damon Bruce perform strong with Tolbert winning the matchup by six tenths of a point. Bruce’s daypart though was The Game’s highest ranked for the quarter. Both shows benefited from a few Giants and Warriors games airing during their time slot.

Closing things out at night, The Game placed 2nd to KNBR’s 5th, winning the evening matchup for the quarter by nearly a point and a half.

Overall a strong showing by both brands. With the recent lineup shuffling at both stations, and football season approaching, the next two books should be an interesting follow.

DALLAS:

It was a strange quarter for both Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket and 105.3 The Fan. In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) The Ticket was 1st and The Fan was tied for 10th. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) The Ticket was 1st and The Fan 14th. That’s the good news if you’re at The Ticket. Not so much if you’re at The Fan.

However, what makes this strange is that the winter book had the two brands ranked 1st and 3rd in the market, and last year during this same time period The Fan was ranked 4th. Looking deeper into the numbers, June was especially tough year to year for all of the Dallas sports stations. Among Men 25-54, The Ticket’s share was 44% lower, The Fan was down by 38% and ESPN 103.3 down 37.5%. Considering that the lineups haven’t changed, and both stations remain strong relevant brands, it appears a meter or two has created market challenges.

Meter challenges aside, The Ticket had more reason to celebrate thanks to a 1st place finish in mornings from The Musers, a 2nd place finish between the hours of 10a-3p with Norm and Donovan and BaD Radio, and a 1st place performance in afternoons from The Hardline.

For The Fan, their best results came in middays courtesy of GBag Nation. The show was ranked 7th for the quarter. The station’s drive time programs with Shan and RJ and Ben and Skin finished in the teens which hasn’t happened since we started following the market a few years ago.

One positive for The Fan, they defeated The Ticket in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 18-34. Those numbers though were also lower than usual.

A word of caution to industry folks looking at the market this quarter, tip your cap to Jeff Catlin and his team at The Ticket for their overall 1st and 2nd place finishes but don’t overreact to the results. Both of these stations have been rock solid brands consistently ranked in the Top 5 with much higher shares. With football season approaching, it’s just a matter of time til the meters return and we’ve got another strong battle between two great sports radio brands.

PHILADELPHIA:

Sports Radio WIP has been on a roll for quite some time, and the spring book was no exception. The station won the local competition against 97.5 The Fanatic, finishing a little more than 2 points ahead with Men 25-54 and just under 2 points in front with Persons 25-54.

Mornings remained the same with Angelo Cataldi continuing to own the daypart, registering a 2nd place finish with just under a 10 share. He was also 2nd with Adults with a high 6 share. The Fanatic though has been making strides with Marc Farzetta and turned in a very respectable high 6 share performance to finish 3rd.

In middays, Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie were 3rd for the quarter with just under an 8 share. The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano and Jason Myrtetus continued to gain ground but were a little more than a point and a half behind en route to finishing 4th.

Turning to afternoons, WIP’s duo of Jon Marks and Ike Reese claimed another quarterly victory, finishing three tenths of a point in front of The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli. The Fanatic points out that if streaming numbers are included in the mix, it’s a different story. Marks and Reese were ranked 1st overall with Men 25-54 with just above a 9 share. Missanelli was 2nd just under a 9.

Not to be forgotten, evenings on WIP featuring Philadelphia Phillies baseball and night time host Joe Giglio turned in a 1st place finish with Men 25-54 at just under a 10 share. The Fanatic was tied for 5th for the quarter.

HOUSTON:

ESPN 97.5 enjoyed another successful quarter, winning weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) against Sports Radio 610 and SportsTalk 790. 97.5 was three tenths of a point higher than 610 and a point and a half better than 790. One thing worth noting, the lineup schedules for 610, 790 and 97.5 are all different. This can create some confusion if you’re just looking at the traditional Nielsen dayparts.

Looking at the local weekday shows, 97.5 won the hours of 7a-9a thanks to The Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein. John and Lance have now won those hours every month since October 2018.

Another positive for 97.5 was the afternoon performance by The Blitz with AJ Hoffman and Fred Faour. The Houston duo won their timeslot of M-F 4p-7p for the quarter. They’ve now finished ahead during those three hours every month since January 2018.

Two positives for 610 saw the station finish one tenth of a point ahead of 97.5 between the hours of 2p-6p. 610 and 97.5 were also tied between the hours of 10a-3p.

610 recently made changes to their weekday lineup which they’re hoping will reverse the latest results. The summer book will offer the first look at how the market receives those changes. For now, 97.5 is in front.

BOSTON:

98.5 The Sports Hub cruised to a comfortable spring book victory generating a low 9 share to finish 1st with Men 25-54. WEEI was 4th with just under a mid 5 share. Both station’s numbers include their streaming performance.

In mornings, Toucher and Rich were 1st with a low 9 share. WEEI’s former morning show Mut and Callahan came in 5th with a mid 6 share. WEEI has since turned mornings over to The Greg Hill Show.

Middays saw The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand deliver a 3rd place finish with a mid 9 share. The team of Dale and Keefe on WEEI came in 4th with a low 6 share.

The Hub got their best performance in afternoons thanks to Felger and Massarotti. The market’s top rated program produced a low 12 share en route to a 1st place finish. WEEI’s OMF ranked fourth with just under a mid 5 share.

The evening slot also belonged to The Sports Hub. The Adam Jones Show and combination of Bruins and Celtics playoff games led 98.5 to a 1st place finish with a low 10 share. WEEI’s mixture of Boston Red Sox baseball and local programming came in 8th with a low 4 share.

WASHINGTON DC:

106.7 The Fan continued to excel taking 3rd place for the quarter in both weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) and full week (M-SU 6a-Mid). The Fan popped a mid 6 share for the full week and a low 7 share in weekday prime. The Team 980 was rated in the high teens in both categories.

The best performance on The Fan came from The Sports Junkies who delivered a 2nd place finish with just under a 10 share. Grant and Danny ranked 3rd in middays with a low 7 share. Chad Dukes finished up the weekday prime shows by securing a 6th place finish in afternoons with a mid 4 share. The Team 980’s weekday shows were all ranked in the upper teens.

With Cumulus introducing a new sports talker to the market in ESPN 630 The Sports Capitol, there will be more to keep an eye on going forward. Until proven otherwise though, The Fan is operating on a different level.

DETROIT:

97.1 The Ticket continues to operate on another level, delivering some of the best performances for the entire format. The spring book saw the Detroit sports station finish 1st in every daypart with Men 25-54 except mornings (2nd). Karsch and Anderson‘s midday show, Mike Valenti’s afternoon show and the station’s full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) all produced above a 12 share.

An even more impressive case for the brand is how they’ve continued to excel with Persons 25-54. The Ticket were 3rd in mornings with Adults with a mid 5 share, 1st in middays with a low 8 share, 1st in afternoons with a mid 7 share, 2nd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with just under a 7 share, and 5th for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with a solid 6 share showing.

The Ticket’s continued dominance is a great example of sports radio’s ability to compete and win against ALL formats in top markets. These type of numbers are a big reason why the station was recently nominated for the Marconi Award for Sports Station of the Year.

PHOENIX:

Congratulations is in order for the staff at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM who for the first time in station history entered the top 10 (8th overall) in the money demo of Persons 25-54 for weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p).

An even more impressive performance was found with Men 25-54 where 98.7’s morning team of Doug and Wolf finished 4th with just under a 6 share. The morning show was also 6th with Persons 25-54.

Afternoons saw Burns and Gambo turn in a top 3 performance with a low 6 share among Men 25-54. John and Dave produced the best share on the radio station for the quarter.

Rounding things out, the midday team of Bickley and Marotta came in 6th with a mid 4 share among Men 25-54, and the evening combination of live play by play and Luke Lapinski produced a 5th place finish with Men 25-54 with just under a 5 share.

SEATTLE:

710 ESPN led steady as the market’s top rated sports station due to a strong spring book performance. Among Men 25-54, the radio station ranked 4th in mornings (Brock and Salk), 5th in middays (Bob, Groz and Tom) and 3rd in afternoons (Danny, Dave and Moore). 710 finished 6th overall. KJR was in the upper teens.

Given the lack of excitement from the Mariners this baseball season, both local stations have to be clamoring for football season to hurry up and get here. 710 though made the most of a slower sports period.

MINNEAPOLIS:

KFAN continued to impress, turning in a strong spring book. The station finished 2nd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with just under an 11 share and 2nd for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with just under a mid 9 share.

Leading the way were The Power Trip who came in 2nd in morning drive with just under a 13 share. Paul Allen followed up by pulling in a low 10 share from 9a to 12p to generate a 3rd place finish.

Moving to the afternoon portion of the schedule, ‘The Common Man‘ also grabbed 3rd place with a low 9 share from Noon to 3p, and Dan Barreiro stayed strong in afternoons, locking up 1st place with a low 11 share.

SKOR North which launched in January and places less emphasis on traditional radio ratings did see some nice gains during the book too. The station grew by a half of a point book to book and year to year. They’ve also increased their cume with Men 25-54 from January to June by 60%.

Two particular stories worth highlighting, Golic and Wingo have tripled their share year over year with Men 25-54, and the afternoon show, Mackey and Judd with Ramie has increased the station’s share by nearly a full point year to year during the hours of 4p-6p. Even more impressive given the brand’s digital first focus, they’ve increased podcast downloads by 60% year to year.

DENVER:

The spring book found 104.3 The Fan in good shape, finishing 4th overall in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a mid 6 share. The station was also 6th for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with a low 5 share.

Leading the way for The Fan was the morning team of Schlereth and Evans who secured a 1st place ranking with a low 9 share. The combination of Cecil and Pritch and Nick Ferguson (Nick took over the midday slot in late April) delivered a low 5 share to place 7th from 9a to noon. Stokley and Zach came in 8th between noon and 3p with a low 5 share, and The Drive with Tom Nalen and DMac (Nalen joined the show in mid April) were tied for 1st in afternoons with a low 6 share.

Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 which moved to the FM dial in mid-September 2018 also saw some progress this quarter. The station picked up 4 tenths of a point for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with Men 25-54 and 5 tenths of a point in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). The station’s weekday shows, Moser, Lombardi and Kane, Harris, Hastings and Dover, and Kreckman and Lindahl (Andy joined the show in early June) all gained five tenths of a point book to book.

TAMPA:

A few notes from Tampa where WDAE is still celebrating landing the rights to USF by blasting Creed tunes inside the program director’s office. The reunited tandem of Ron and Ian continued making progress finishing the quarter up a full share to secure a top 10 finish. Afternoon drive has improved by 35% year to year.

Another positive worth sharing were the gains among Men 35-64 (Tampa tends to skew older for sports radio listening). Ronnie and TKras were 9th in the demo in mornings up a full share year to year. The station’s weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) performance with Men 35-64 was also in the top 10.

Last but not least, a good start from the Tampa Bay Rays helped the station grow more than 20% year over year at night with Men 25-54.

PORTLAND:

102.9/750 The Game has been on quite a roll in 2019. The Portland sports station won the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) for the quarter, besting former market leader 1080 The Fan, and the Trail Blazers’ radio home NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620. The Game produced a low 3 share, nine tenths of a point higher than The Fan and nearly triple the performance of Rip City’s.

The best market performance was turned in by The Dan Patrick Show which delivered just under a 9 share for The Game, earning 2nd place with Men 25-54. The show was also 6th with Adults 25-54. The Fan’s morning team of Dusty and Cam finished 13th. Rip City’s morning show was in the mid 20’s.

From 9a-12p The Jim Rome Show won his matchup with just under a 4 share. Rome finished 10th overall. The Fan and Rip City were in the 20’s.

Between the hours of Noon and 3pm, The Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano led The Game to victory over The Fan and Rip City. Canzano was 10th at just under a 4 share. The Fan was ranked 19th. Rip City finished in the mid 20’s.

Closing up in afternoons, The Fan picked up a win thanks to the team of Isaac and Suke. The familiar drive time duo generated a mid 3 share to rank 16th. The Game’s airing of Bill Reiter’s show ranked 21st. Rip City’s Chad Doing and Travis Demers were slightly behind in 22nd.

ST. LOUIS:

101 ESPN remained consistent across all four local dayparts in the spring book. The St. Louis sports station produced a low 7 share to lock up the 3rd position in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) among Men 25-54.

Turning to the weekday programs, The Bernie Miklasz Show‘s mid 7 share performance was enough to lock up 3rd place in morning drive. The Kevin Wheeler also secured a 3rd place finish between 10a-1p with a high 6 share.

The Turn with Anthony Stalter delivered the station’s best share for the quarter, popping a high 8 share to finish 3rd between 1p-3p. And the always strong afternoon show, The Fast Lane, held down the 3rd spot in their daypart with a high 7 share.

CHARLOTTE:

No Hornets. No Panthers. No local MLB. No problem.

WFNZ turned in a top 10 performance with Men 25-54 for the quarter, driven by an impressive 1st place ranking for the book with TSL. Those who listen to the station are spending a lot of time with it, a sign that the station’s content and talent are a destination. WFNZ has now finished in the top 3 for TSL for 11 straight months, dating back to September 2018.

The station’s weekday programming saw Mac and TBone produce a top 10 finish in mornings with a little above a mid 3 share. Wilson and Parcell produced an 8th place finish with just under a mid 4 share, and The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey reeled in a 7th place finish with a mid 4 share performance.

BALTIMORE:

The spring book saw 105.7 The Fan deliver big, placing 3rd overall with a high 8 share among Men 25-54. Leading the way for the station was the Big Bad Morning Show with Ed Norris, Rob Long and Jerry Coleman. The BBMS finished 3rd in Persons 25-54 and 2nd with Men 25-54 with a low 10 share.

Moving to middays, Vinny and Haynie came in 4th with Persons 25-54 and 2nd with Men 25-54 with just under a mid 9 share. Finishing up in PM drive, Scott Garceau and Jeremy Conn finished 3rd in their daypart with Men 25-54.

INDIANAPOLIS:

For the first time in a while, 107.5/1070 The Fan saw all of their daily local shows deliver Top 10 performances. Leading the way was The Dan Dakich Show which finished 4th overall with a mid 6 share among Men 25-54 during the hours of Noon to 3pm.

In afternoons, The Ride with JMV cracked the top 10 with a high 4 share. The brand new Fan Morning Show featuring Jeff Rickard and Big Joe Staysniak shifted timeslots midway thru the book and helped lift the station to a Top 10 finish with just under a 4 share.

MEMPHIS:

The spring book saw another impressive performance turned in by market leader 92.9 ESPN. The Memphis sports station finished 2nd overall with a low 8 share with Men 25-54 in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). Year to year they’re up over 2 points and if you look at a 2 year period it’s even better at 3.5 points.

Looking at the station’s local shows, the best rated performance was turned in by the midday show Jason and John. The popular program hosted by Jason Smith and John Martin produced a mid 9 share to finish 2nd in their time slot.

Next up was The Gary Parrish Show which ranked 2nd in afternoons with just under a mid 8 share. Geoff Calkins maintained his consistent success by finishing 2nd with just under an 8 share. Wrapping things up, the brand new Giannotto and Jeffrey Show popped a low 8 share en route to finishing 3rd in their timeslot. The duo were on the air for half of the spring book and contributed to the station’s best performance from 2p-4p in 4 years.

MILWAUKEE:

The three station race between Entercom, iHeart and Good Karma Brands heated up during the spring book. This quarter the top spot was held by GKB’s ESPN 94.5 which narrowly edged 105.7 The Fan and 97.3 The Game. A half of a point was all that separated the three sports talkers.

In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 25-54, ESPN 94.5 finished two tenths ahead of The Fan and five tenths ahead of The Game. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) 94.5 bested both The Fan and The Game by three tenths of a point.

Going forward this is going to be a market to keep your eye on. All three brands feature good talent, the local sports scene is on fire with the Bucks, Brewers and Packers providing a lot of optimism for local fans, and all three brands continue making tweaks to stay ahead of the competition.

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Two Great Formats, One Kickass Supersite

“This is a strategic move aimed at making things easier for the reader, and showcasing the best of two great brands and formats on one kickass supersite.”

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It’s an exciting day for all of us at BSM and BNM, because today marks the start of something special. Yes we have an awesome new look and layout for our content, made possible by the great Andy Drake. I encourage you to sift thru a few of the different tabs at the top of the website. You’ll find popular features from our writers in the Originals section, podcasts we’ve produced over the years, the Member Directory featuring nearly forty radio professionals, access points to content from all twenty four of our writers, and shortcuts to our sports and news media sections. We’ve even built three columns to the right on the main page to make it easier to maneuver thru daily sports and news content, and the latest columns from our writing teams.

If you were reading carefully, you picked up on my use of BNM in the first sentence, and the word news in the last sentence. And if you browsed the website today, you likely noticed news and sports are now presented in the same location.

I took the risk and launched Barrett News Media eight months ago. We came out of the gate with a staff of twelve, which was twelve more than Barrett Sports Media had when it was born in September 2015. Like with most new brands, tweaks were needed, and lessons were learned. I initially wanted to put BNM and BSM under the same roof, but there were too many unknowns. For that reason, I launched the brand as a separate entity.

I had to find out if my interest in news would remain high or fade out after a few months. I had to learn if our staff would produce content consistently or leave us plugging holes regularly. I had to discover if media stories would remain hot after a heated presidential election. As important as those all were, one mattered even more – would anyone read our work?

After studying the peaks and valleys of our news brand for nearly a year, I know that people will consume our content if it’s original, interesting, and timely. But asking them to follow us in two different places is a tall order. It’s also harder to reach people in the news media space because social media activity is lighter due to a lack of trust in big tech, and some folks in the format still don’t know me.

Since launching, I’ve overseen two websites, two staffs, two email addresses, and multiple social media accounts, worrying about maintaining separation when I had no reason to worry in the first place. Newspapers have spent decades blending sports and news, online brands across the internet do the same today, and Chrissy Paradis, Pete Mundo, Rick Schultz, Douglas Pucci, Ryan Maguire, Ryan Hedrick, Eduardo Razo and Jordan Bondurant have done more than enough good work to deserve having their material presented to the most amount of people.

So now we move forward as one unit, fully dedicated to serving both the sports and news/talk formats in one location. We will continue prioritizing columns from experienced professionals, the latest industry news, and original ideas that spark interest and discussion. Our email blasts will come from one source, social media promotion will emanate from our BSM channels, and all of our website content will be housed in one spot. If visitors type in the URL for BarrettNewsMedia.com it will automatically redirect to the BSM website.

To help us manage the content cycle and strengthen our brands further, I am pleased to announce a few new additions. First, Troy Coverdale joins BNM as Editor, McGraw Milhaven as a weekly columnist, and Jordan Bondurant and Ryan Hedrick add opportunities to write feature stories multiple times per month. Meanwhile, BSM will gain the writing talents of Ryan Maguire, and semi-regular contributions from Rob Taylor and Scott Seidenberg. Kate Constable and Ricky Keeler will also get more involved writing features. I also plan to add one more news writer soon to fill Brandon Contes’ position.

The new look of the website has me fired up and excited about the possibilities ahead. A big tip of the cap to Point To Point Marketing, Core Image Studio, and the great Jim Cutler for helping us pull this off. I’m eager to increase connections with news radio and television professionals, and showcase their great work. With that in mind, if you have a news tip or story idea for either of our brands, send it by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. With the website makeover complete, I’ll now focus on the next project – the 2021 BSM Summit. I’ll have news to share next week on that endeavor, so stay tuned.

If you’re a fan of what we do for sports media coverage, have no fear. The same great content experience you’ve come to enjoy for the past six years is not affected. If news radio/television coverage interests you but didn’t know much about BNM, now you’ll be able to access the content without jumping thru extra hoops. This is a strategic move aimed at making things easier for the reader, and showcasing the best of two great brands and formats. I’m pleased with BNM’s start, but know that if we can do a few things for the brand that we’ve done for BSM, it’ll make the content experience better, the industry relationships stronger, and the work more meaningful. And that is the reason we do this in the first place.

Thank you for continuing to visit, and afford us the opportunity to inform and entertain you. We understand the media business and are passionate about it, and that’s reflected in our team’s writing. Some you may know that about. Others you may not. But having them all under one roof should make your ability to find out a whole lot easier.

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BSM’s Sports Media MVP Tournament Bracket

“The field of 64 for the BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament is now set! “

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The field of 64 for the BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament is now set!

Congratulations to ESPN’s Jeff Passan on knocking off FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal to earn the final entry in this year’s tournament. To see the full schedule of when matchups will take place, scroll down below.

A reminder, all voting for each round of the tournament will be done on Twitter thru @sportsradiopd. The people’s votes determine who advances, and who goes home. Be sure to print off your bracket, make your picks, and follow along to see how they stack up against the actual results.

As I mentioned previously, there are no layups in this tournament. Round 1 features many difficult and compelling matchups. Those who advance will have even harder matchups awaiting them in future rounds. There will likely be debate over who should’ve made the list that didn’t, and who deserved a higher or lower ranking. We expect that noise, and welcome it. But this is the bracket, we feel good about it, and whoever wins this tournament, will have gone down a long tough road to earn the voters respect, and ultimately the MVP championship.

So, let’s have some fun, and find out who is the MVP of the Sports Media industry.

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BSM Presents ‘The Sports Media MVP Tournament’

The BSM MVP Tournament begins with a play-in game on March 16th. Tournament play gets underway on March 18th.

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A year ago at this time, Barrett Sports Media rolled out its ‘Greatest SportsCenter Anchor‘ tournament. It was a fun event that generated over 4 million social media impressions, hundreds of thousands of votes thru our numerous poll questions, big traffic on the BSM website, content on sports radio shows that were working without live events, and recognition for Scott Van Pelt who edged out Stuart Scott in the finals to be selected as SC’s best of all-time.

Given where things stood in the world at that time, the SportsCenter bracket was a fun needed distraction. Most were worried about the coronavirus and how it might hurt them or their families. Would it have an affect on their job? School? Church? The American way of life? How soon would it be until we could enjoy some sense of normalcy again?

Fortunately, here we are one year later, and though we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, things are heading in the right direction. Games are back on our television screens and radio airwaves. Teams have started welcoming fans back into buildings. Vaccine shots are being distributed to millions of Americans, and god willing, we’ll soon be past the nightmare that we lived thru in 2020, and on our way to greater prosperity.

So with sports back, and optimism higher, a bracket contest isn’t necessarily needed to add light during a dark time, but as we learned last year, fun is contagious, and there’s never a bad time to use a creative event to bring people together.

Right after we wrapped up the BSM Top 20 in February, Demetri Ravanos and I started talking about ideas for this year’s bracket contest. A conversation about difference makers in the industry and who was critical to their brands success got my wheels spinning, and as we dove in further, we quickly realized there were hundreds with a case to be made. That laid the groundwork for creating BSM’s Sports Media MVP Tournament.

Choosing 65 people to complete a 64 person tournament bracket like this is not easy. The mixture of accomplished studio hosts, debate specialists, analysts, reporters, play by play voices, radio hosts, podcasting personalities, etc. made for some exhausting email exchanges and phone conversations, but time, thought, and effort is necessary if you want to create cool things. What was especially important to us with this year’s tournament was trying to capture some of the same spirit and fun from last year, without focusing on a particular brand, show or company. Too many people in this industry make a difference for various groups and we want to highlight as many of them as possible.

But when you put 64 of the industry’s biggest difference makers against each other in a tournament style bracket, who’s truly capable of going through five tough rounds to emerge as the most valuable performer in sports media? Better yet, who has strong enough staying power to keep fans on social media invested in their advancement?

Well, we’re about to find out.

We’ll kick things off with a play in game for the final spot in the tournament on Tuesday March 16th. That play-in game will feature ESPN’s Jeff Passan vs. FOX Sports/The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Voting will be done for the play-in game and ALL tournament matchups on Twitter for a period of 24 hours. The results of the play-in game will be revealed on Wednesday morning March 17th. Whoever has more votes between Passan and Rosenthal when time expires, will gain the final spot in this year’s BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament.

The release of the full bracket will take place right after the results of the play-in game are known on Wednesday March 17th. I will though let you know which four individuals earned #1 seeds in this year’s tournament, along with the naming of each of their regions. They are Stephen A. Smith (Stay Off The Weed Region), Colin Cowherd (Backwards Hat Region), Dave Portnoy (To The Moon Region), and Tony Romo (That’s My Quarterback Region).

The official start to the tournament will begin on Thursday March 18th. Matchups will then continue each week until Monday April 5th when the final contest takes place. The results of that last battle will be announced on Tuesday morning April 6th. At that time, we will officially put a bow on this year’s tournament and crown the champion. To see the breakdown of the upcoming schedule, click here.

Before the floodgates open and complaints are made about some people getting in, others being left out, and certain folks having harder matchups than others, remember that this is supposed to be fun, everything in the sports media industry is subjective, and regardless of one’s matchup, if they’re seen as the best at what they do, they’ll move on regardless. There are very few layups in this tournament. We knew it’d be impossible to create a field of 64 without leaving some super talented people out, so if you work in the industry and didn’t make the cut, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t make your accomplishments or value to your brand any less important. It simply speaks volumes of how stacked this tournament is with successful people.

I will point out that we involved eight people in the voting process to help us determine this year’s field of 64. There were 225 sports media professionals on our initial list. That got trimmed down to 85, and eventually to 65. The play-in game will be how we get down to 64. As is the case with the NCAA Tournament, the NFL Hall of Fame, the NBA All-Star Game or MLB MVP or Cy Young award voting, there’s always a case to be made for someone who didn’t get in. But when you’re reviewing game changers from multiple areas of the industry and a number of different brands and companies, it’s impossible to please everybody.

What I hope you’ll take away from this year’s tournament as it picks up steam is that there are a lot of really talented people in the sports media industry, many with different styles and approaches to success. Earning the top spot in this bracket will take consistent voting support, respect from fans and friends both in and out of the sports media business, and a whole lot of luck.

We extend our thanks in advance to everyone who will participate in this year’s voting process, as well as to the 64 men and women who will be part of this year’s tournament. We can’t wait to share the full bracket with you next week. It’s going to be a fun few weeks, so let the madness begin!

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