I was at a party with my wife on New Year’s Eve. It was hosted by friends of hers. It was attended entirely by friends of hers. I was polite and friendly. I introduced myself to people, shook a few hands, made some small talk, and then found a comfortable spot on the couch for a while.
While my wife mingled and shared jokes with friends, I scrolled through Twitter. It was the last day of the decade and I am sure, just like you, I was bombarded by all the people sharing stories of how they progressed professionally from the last day of 2009 until now. Everyone followed a similar format: things were uncertain, it was scary, now things are great, the end!
Did your decade go like that? Mine definitely did not. Reading one performative bullshit post after another was really triggering my depression. I know I wasn’t the only one that struggled this decade, so I wrote a little Twitter thread of my own.
Maybe your struggles came near the end of the decade. Maybe you ended the decade staring uncertainty or unemployment in the face and 2020 is the year you want that to change. That’s good. Let me help you.
There are a few things I have learned in my time working with Barrett Sports Media about job searches. I have participated in them on both sides, and I want to share with you three tips that can help. These won’t guarantee you a new job, but I have found they can open a few more doors and save your sanity a little bit.
1. HAVE A GOAL AND A PLAN
We have all been in that spot in a job search. Any job in the sports radio industry that pops up on this site, All Access, or anywhere else seems like a dream job. After all, we just want to be back in the industry. We don’t care how.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that makes you more attractive. This is a small business. People? It’s a decision you have to make before you start sending out audio and résumés.
Maybe you also need to think about geography and living situations. Are their places you or a spouse know you absolutely do not want to be? You need to have those conversations and make those decisions. It will save your sanity.
Finally, make a decision about how you are going to market yourself. Talk to your circle and figure out who would make the best references. Do you need letters of recommendation? How many? Think about what your packet (digital or physical) should look like before it is time to start sending emails.
2. WORK YOUR NETWORK
Let friends and allies know you’re looking for work. Again, this is a small business and people talk. You never know who your friends know. There are two things you need to remember though to keep the folks on your side on your side.
First, be respectful of people’s time. Don’t make a phone call when a text or an email would suffice. No one is going to advocate for you like you will, so it makes sense that you want to keep your foot on the gas. Just be careful that your persistence doesn’t crossover into annoyance.
Next, understand the situations of the people you are reaching out to for help. Maybe they aren’t unemployed, but maybe they are searching for a new opportunity themselves. Are those people really going to be the best asset for you? Maybe they are willing to invest in good karma and make a phone call or send an email on your behalf in hopes that you can do the same for them, but just know that isn’t going to be their top priority right now, so have a backup plan for pursuing whatever job opening it is you think they can help you with.
3. BE WILLING TO INVEST IN YOURSELF
It can be a shitty reality in this country that when you are unemployed and have no money coming in, you need to spend some money to get on hiring managers’ radars. That isn’t always true, but in the cases that it is , you need to prioritize and be smart.
Do you have the money to invest in a Comrex or some other piece of mobile broadcasting equipment? They are expensive (around $5000), but used units can be found on eBay and various industry marketplaces online. If I have learned anything about fill-in work over the last few years, it is that a lot of PDs prioritize availability over ideal fit. If you can make yourself always available, it is worth it.
Can you pay to travel a little bit? Expand what fill-in and networking opportunities exist for you by being willing to drive. It gets you in front of more eyes and ears than just the ones in your market that already know your voice and name.
Finally, and this is where we tie tip 1 into tip 3, have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. If this industry requires you to invest in yourself for a job search, save some money by knowing what types of positions wouldn’t be fulfilling and avoid investing both funds and time in them.
I hope this is the year we all find that dream situation we’re seeking. Job searches are a nerve-wracking process. Again, following these tips don’t guarantee you will find new, more fulfilling work in the new year. They are meant to manage your mental health and put you in a better position to succeed.
Happy new year and good luck to us all!
Media Noise – Episode 44
This week’s episode is all about the NFL. Demetri explains why the league embracing kids is long overdue, Andy Masur stops by to breakdown the first Manningcast, and Ryan Maguire explains why some sports radio stations are missing a golden opportunity to shine on Sundays.
Interviews Thrive On Podcasts In A Way They Can’t On Radio
“Opportunities that a podcast creates open doors to audio that is simply superior to live radio.”
Live radio vs. podcasts seems to be a heavyweight fight that isn’t ending anytime soon. Podcasts are growing so much that companies that do radio are also now offering podcasts. This column is hardly about that fight.
Instead, this is about how a podcast interview is a better way to get the best out of the guest than anything live on a radio station. This is not about downloads or clicks or sponsors. Solely about the content that is being produced.
A podcast makes the guest more comfortable and is more intimate than a live radio show. Especially in sports.
Since 2015, I have hosted and produced 656 podcasts (yes it was fun to count them) and hosted many radio shows. My current shows are called Sports with Friends, Hall of Justice, and Techstream. That last one I host with tech expert Shelly Palmer.
On radio, there is a myriad of things the host has to do besides focus on the guest.
First, there are the IDs. Program directors have always told me ID the guest every chance I get. “We are talking with Eli Manning on WFAN,” is heard 7 times during an eight-minute segment.
On a podcast, the name of the guest is on the player or app that is playing the podcast. “Episode 1. Eli Manning, New York Giants” scrolls across smartphones, car radios, or other devices constantly. Never interrupt the guest with an ID.
Then, there’s the fact that it is recorded and not live. I have a standard preamble that I say to any guest before any record light turns on.
“I will push,” I explain. “I will see where the conversation takes us, but I do tend to push. However, I’m on your side. This isn’t some expose’. If something comes up that you don’t like your answer, tell me. I’ll take it out. If there’s something that I say that is bad or wrong, tell me, I’ll take it out. This is a conversation, not an interview.”
In 656 podcasts, only one player, Bryce Harper (then of the Washington Nationals) asked me to take something out of a podcast.
We were doing Episode 54 of Sports with Friends when the subject of Dusty Baker came up. He had just been hired to manage the Nationals. I mentioned in passing that Dusty had given the eulogy at my best friend Darryl Hamilton’s funeral.
Bryce was so intrigued that he recalled the comments I had made and asked if we could pause. We then spoke for a good 10 minutes about the kind of person Dusty was. Why Darryl held him in such regard. It was a really inciteful chat. Never was on the podcast.
Still, guests do relax when told that the editing option exists. They let their guard down. The host of a podcast can ask deeper questions.
“Who was the first person you called when you found out you were traded?”
“Have you seen a life for you after football?”
“How much do you hate a certain player?”
All questions, that if asked live, could seriously backfire. So not only does the guest have a guard up, but the interviewer also has to play it relatively safe, when they are not IDing the guest for the umpteenth time.
Time constraints also don’t exist in a podcast where they are beholden on live radio. The guest is just about to tell you they did cocaine during the World Series, and you are up against the clock.
I have hosted shows over the years where the guest was phenomenal, but I screwed up the PPM clock. That was the takeaway. The clock is important on a live medium that needs to get that quarter-hour.
I try to keep my podcasts short. You wouldn’t see it from looking at the lengths of my episodes. Still, I feel that if someone wants to talk and dive into a topic and it goes a little long, I will never cut the guy off.
Ken Griffey Jr. spoke for 45 minutes with a cigar and his feet up on the phone by his pool. He was telling jokes and stories. I wouldn’t have stopped that if a train was coming. When I hosted Mariner content at KJR in Seattle, our interviews usually last 5 minutes.
Jon Morosi broke down the future of clubhouse access and how he traveled during Covid. Then he told an amazing story of his wife working in the medical field and how that impacted all of his family. Shannon Drayer of 710 KIRO got so in-depth in her arduous journey from being a coffee barista to the Mariners on-field reporter. It was split into two episodes.
Former porn star Lisa Ann talked about her decision to quit the business. Even Jason Barrett himself was Episode 173 of Sports with Friends.
(When in the past has Jason Barrett been in the same paragraph as a porn star? Note to Demetri: please leave it in.)
The radio industry is seen to be cutting costs wherever it can. Mid-market stations are not doing night shows anymore, instead offering nationally syndicated programming.
Weekends are another avenue that perplexes me. Talent that is not deemed good enough to be on during the week is often given weekend shifts. Also, some Monday-Friday hosts add a weekend shift to their duties. Here’s a theory: play podcasts. Format them to hit your PPM time marks.
They don’t have to be my podcasts, but in the crowded podcast space, surely there are sports talk podcasts that are intimate, deep, and fun. Since we live in a data-driven age, let’s see how a radio station fares playing high-quality podcasts or portions of them, vs. weekend hosts.
Program directors often worry about the outdated nature of a podcast. That sells the podcaster short. As someone who has been in the podcast space since 2003, I know how to make them timeless, and companies make shows often enough, that rarely would they be outdated.
Quality shines through the speakers. The spoken-word audio format is continually evolving. Opportunities that a podcast creates open doors to audio that is simply superior to live radio.
The podcast industry is continually evolving. Radio needs to evolve as well. Then, it can be a fair fight.
National Voices Can Work For Local Clients
“Distance, like absence, can make the heart grow fonder.”
Selling personalities is one of the hottest trends in media today. Sure, most of the buzz is around social media influencers, but radio has long had a relationship with its audience based on personal connections between host and listener. And nobody has a better relationship with their audience than a sports radio host.
I am sure you are leveraging your local hosts by now. Live spots, testimonials, remotes, and promotions are all great tricks of the trade, as well as sponsored social media posts. But does your station carry syndicated shows? I am sure you do either from 7 pm-12 am Monday-Friday or on weekends.
In 2018, The Ticket in Boise, Idaho brought CBS Sports Radio host Damon Amendolara and his co-host, Shaun Morash, to town for a Boise State football game. Damon had just switched to mornings from evenings, and his show aired in Boise from 4 am-8 am Monday – Friday. His ratings were decent, but nothing that stood out considering the daypart. It was thought to be risky to sell him into sandwich shops, pizza places, appearances at local legend hangouts, and so forth.
Boise State head football coach and QB Bryan Harsin and Brett Rypien did a live shot on the show from the on-campus bookstore. At dark thirty. It all worked. DA and Morash were hits! Everywhere they went, lines and crowds awaited them and they hit spots in a two-county area. The few days of appearances worked so well that DA is back in Boise three years later, this time for a week. Now, DA is doing his show from resort hotels 2.5 hours away, taking riverboat adventure fishing trips in Hell’s Canyon, craft beer tours for his sidekick Andrew Bogusch and hosting college football viewing parties at brewpubs. Every station that carries syndicated shows probably has a DA success story waiting to happen.
Start by listening to the shows, know the benchmarks and quirks of the national personalities or call the affiliate rep and ask. Does the talent discuss their love of beer, BBQ, pizza, whatever? If they do, then go ahead and sell them to a local client. The national talent can do the spot and endorse your client. If it’s a product, send one to them. Figure out how to get them a pizza. If it’s a service, do a zoom call with the client and let them start a relationship. Include some social media elements with video. The video can be used in social media and can sit on the client’s website. Yours too!
If you want to bring the talent to town, do it for a big game, local event, or 4th of July parade, and the sponsors will follow. Run a promo during the talent’s daypart asking local sponsors to text in to reserve their promotional spot. Have the talent cut liners asking the same thing. Take the NFL Sunday morning host and sell a promo to a sports bar where the host zooms in to a table or room full of listeners, and they watch a portion of a game together. Or sell the same idea to a national chain and do an on-air contest for a listener to have a home watch party with the zoomed-in host complete with food and beverages from your sponsors sent to both locations. How about sending your #1 BBQ joint that handles mail orders and sends some food for the talent? They can videotape themselves reheating the BBQ and make some great Facebook and Instagram videos.
Distance, like absence, can make the heart grow fonder. Try selling a nationally syndicated host inside your market. I promise you’ll like it.
Sports Radio News2 days ago
Mike Golic, Dave Pasch Reunite On Westwood One Next Week
Sports Radio News3 days ago
107.5 The Fan’s JMV Missed A Chance To Break Hard Knocks News
News Television3 days ago
Bill Maher: I’m Glad I Found Out Norm MacDonald Died After He Died
Sports Radio News2 days ago
Joy Taylor Creates Scholarship At Barry University