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Managing The Crisis – Brandon Steiner, The Steiner Agency

“Brandon Steiner offers his insights on digital marketing, pivoting in business, and adjusting during a pandemic.”

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As one of the most influential people in the sports memorabilia business, Brandon Steiner understands the challenges associated with running a company during a global pandemic. On this episode he shares his thoughts on digital marketing, pivoting in business, providing ideas and interaction, how he’d adjust if he ran a radio or hotel company, and why Michael Jordan hasn’t been as valuable to the sports memorabilia business as he could be.

BSM Writers

Sports, Media And Gambling: Where Is Congress?

Three mega-industries that should be ethically separated have jumped into business bed together, a devil’s triangle that should be addressed on Capitol Hill amid the likelihood of scandals and a lack of investigative watchdogs.

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My friend covered the Detroit Pistons. He called me in distress one day, asking to borrow money. His gambling habit was so toxic, he said, that he’d broached the topic with Isiah Thomas, the team’s star player and a hard-ass not to be messed with. Aghast, I told him to make an appointment with the editor, beg for mercy and seek help for his problem if he wanted to save his writing career. He took my advice and moved on to a college beat.

This is why the scummy intersection of sports, sports media and gambling companies is a bad idea.

Media Giants Go All in on Sports Gambling Frenzy | Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter

The public relations director of the Chicago Bears, Bryan Harlan, was privy to inside information on a daily basis. He was fired after federal investigators found his phone number in a bookmaker’s records and concluded he had bet on NFL games, including those involving the Bears. His father, Bob, was president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers at the time, and his brother, Kevin, has been broadcasting NFL and NBA games for years. The feds also linked calls made to a bookie from team-assigned portable phones belonging to Ken Valdiserri, the Bears’ vice president of marketing and broadcasting, who claimed never to have called a bookie but that he often allowed — ready? — Bears players and Chicago media people to use his phones.

Said Paul Tagliabue, then the NFL commissioner: “Harlan acknowledged he violated our league policy on gambling. It’s the integrity of the game. When we have the kind of competition we have and competition that features integrity, we have to enforce it strictly.” The setback didn’t stop Harlan from becoming a sports agent — and to this day, according to his agency website, he represents “coaches at all levels of collegiate and professional football, as well as sports broadcasters at major outlets in Chicago and across the country.” 

This is why the scummy intersection of sports, sports media and gambling companies is a bad idea.

My colleague covered the Denver Broncos. During one of those Super Bowl losses that got ugly early, he began to pound the table where he was working in the main press box. He wasn’t doing so because he was a fan of the team. Days later, another Denver sportswriter, Teri Thompson, was busted by police in a bookie’s house with cocaine in her purse. Suddenly, it made more sense why her tone had been over-the-top savage in certain game columns.

This is why the scummy intersection of sports, sports media and gambling companies is a bad idea.

My former radio boss, who had moved on to sales at a TV station, asked to borrow $3,000. He didn’t say why, but did I have to ask? Reluctantly, I gave him the money and issued a one-month deadline. Many months later, my attorney confronted him at their country club in Chicago’s northern suburbs, demanding the money be repaid in increments. Later, I discovered he’d made similar loan requests of another radio host and a producer.

This is why the scummy intersection of sports, sports media and gambling companies is a bad idea.

I could go on. Instead, I choose to look ahead in mortified fear, wondering how many other scandals await — uglier, larger and of a more damaging scope — now that the $300 billion U.S. sports industry has opened the devil’s door to a gambling free-for-all. When the Supreme Court authorized states in 2018 to legalize sports wagering, the justices couldn’t have envisioned the immediate, untamed threat to the very integrity of which Tagliabue spoke. In one swoop, the NFL, the NBA and other leagues that long had viewed gambling as sinful and corrupt embraced the new financial possibilities, less concerned about game-fixing and inside-information-sharing amid their greedy, insidious money grabs. In the all-time hypocritical stinkbomb, Major League Baseball is all-in on gambling, too, even as Pete Rose remains banned for life. The NFL, which once routinely suspended players for gambling associations, now has a partnership with FanDuel and a stadium and future Super Bowls in Las Vegas.

Allegiant Stadium - Wikipedia

The leagues have dirtied down, you see, striking deals with casinos and companies that include the omnipresent DraftKings, which has encountered issues with the law. And with furious, slobbering zeal, powerhouse media enterprises such as ESPN, Fox and Turner followed the money and jumped right into bed with their league partners, also inviting the gambling bigwigs onto the mattress for a mass wagering orgy. Next thing you knew, so-called journalists were leaving crumbling mainstream outlets for betting information sites while John Skipper, dumped as ESPN president after a cocaine scandal, was teaming with another deposed Bristol personality, the once-esteemed columnist Dan Le Batard, to form a media company that signed a lucrative sponsorship agreement with DraftKings.

Suddenly, sports is not sports anymore. It’s a gambling-centric feast that has reduced the actual result of a game — the sacred competition between athletes who are expected to remain honest and above-board — to a sidebar. The fact the Milwaukee Bucks might beat the Boston Celtics, 113-111, doesn’t mean as much anymore as the Celtics covering the point spread, or Jayson Tatum winning the prop bet. The sports industry has allowed this freak-show collaboration to create a tawdry alternate universe that, by and large, reduces a legitimate championship season to background noise.

All of which invites the likelihood of rampant manipulation of games — and an inability to investigate the wrongdoing because many elite reporters work for the very media companies that, directly or indirectly, are attached to the leagues and gambling initiatives. The leagues and odds shops say otherwise, claiming sophisticated monitoring apparatus is in place, but they’ve yet to explain any security plans in elaborate detail. It reminds me of Big Tobacco. In this case, the objective is to induce bettors — at least 15 million of whom are problem gamblers in America — to spend their money without any warning of consequences. The betting lines are nicotine, and cancer is diagnosed when people lose jobs and families and end up broke. Have the leagues, media and gambling companies at all considered the lives they’re putting at risk? Do they care that they’re contributing to the demise of society?

Nah. They’re too busy bidding up, cashing out and bastardizing the purity of athletic competition. Never mind that there are many more sports observers in America who don’t gamble — such as me — than those who do. Every sports visual, from a game broadcast to an ESPN “SportsCenter” update to a stadium advertisement, must include references to gambling. Inevitably, this alliance will lead to sweeping in-house scandals. The more prevalent gambling is, the more likely an athlete, coach or referee will be tempted to fix a game or a prop bet. What prevents a talk-show personality with a gambling-house relationship from devising a scheme, via an active athlete, to throw a point spread? What if the personality’s producers get wind and spread the word?

And we might never know it’s happening. That’s because too many former journalists already are on the payroll at gambling sites or eager to work for them. Ask DraftKings and FanDuel. Ask Barstool Sports. Ask Action Network and Vegas Stats & Information Network. They already view themselves as mainstream media companies, with FanDuel executive Mike Raffensperger telling Front Office Sports that he’s seeking to poach content creators from mainstream outlets. “We are looking to evaluate ways to improve our portfolio through pulling people into the fold,” he said. “We’re actively looking into the marketplace now. It is absolutely part of the strategy if we want to continue to grow the No. 1 sports book in the country.”

Meaning, the media people he hires must be gambling experts more than traditional sportswriters, as seen at VSiN and even The Athletic, which ask writers to break down games against spreads while ignoring the basics of who might win or lose a game. Just as Le Batard, while apparently maintaining his editorial freedom on political issues, will relinquish his journalistic values by reading relentless gambling spots during commercial breaks, as required by Skipper’s $50 million DraftKings deal. I’m still flummoxed by a recent remark by VSiN chairman Brian Musburger — whose famous sportscasting uncle, Brent, has sold out as a grinning front-man tout holding $100 bills on the company website — that legitimate journalists can be hired by gambling sites to dish inside info about athletes, teams and games to readers. My God, how poisonous could this Bermuda triangle become?

Uncle Brent and South Beach Dan used to investigate sports stories and break news. Now, they’re taking gambling fortunes and leaving themselves vulnerable to investigations. Clay Travis once had journalism in his blood, then opted to lean conservative even when his Nashville-based site, Outkick, was covering sports. Fox acquired his anti-woke site last week amid a flurry of media-meets-gambling transactions, with Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch sounding thrilled to have found a brand aligned politically with Fox News. Travis has bigger ideas, writing of the gambling craze, “Over the past several months many companies put in bids to buy Outkick. That’s because our business is thriving, particularly our sports gambling business, where we are one of the largest affiliate sites in the country, signing up customers in all ten states where online gambling is legal. Sports gambling is poised to explode in the years ahead and I wanted to make sure whichever partner we picked fit our company’s direction.”

Clay Travis

You could say sports is run by The Mob, a new sort of organized crime.

And if you think that’s an overstatement, just wait for the fallout. Congress is busy, but the last time it was asked to clean up a historic moral unraveling in sports — baseball’s steroids scandals — the 2005 hearings were successful in embarrassing the likes of Bud Selig, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, which led to the Mitchell Report and a cleansing of the game. Given the staggering amounts of money in this triad, the responsibility of sports as a public trust and the potential bilking of gamblers, damn right a committee should prepare another spectacle and grill Roger Goodell and other commissioners, ESPN’s Jimmy Pitaro and broadcast executives and whoever represents the gambling companies. Could you imagine Dave Portnoy, the bad-boy face of Barstool, being interrogated on Capitol Hill?

We’ve already seen a naked conflict-of-interest on display at the NFL Draft. When the San Francisco 49ers played a guessing game with the No. 3 pick, I wondered if a week of indecision would spark a flurry of prop-bet activity. Of course, it did. Trey Lance, once a 15-1 underdog to be drafted third, improved to 3-1 on the morning of the draft and to a -180 favorite as the show began. Most of the action at No. 3 was bet on Mac Jones, and when FanDuel and other sportsbooks say the 49ers’ mystery produced the Draft’s highest betting numbers … how do we know the NFL, to appease its gambling partner, doesn’t encourage a team or two to inject doubt throughout the day and keep the casino cash flowing?

And what planet has Colin Cowherd relocated to? Among the national talk-show hosts now immersed in gambling, he revealed in March that Lance, a friend of Cowherd’s 20-year-old daughter, had been hanging out at the family home. That wasn’t an issue … until Cowherd contacted 49ers general manager John Lynch and suggested he draft Lance, the details of which were sent by Cowherd’s publicist to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio in an email titled, “Did Colin Cowherd help 49ers draft Trey Lance?”

Spilling the details on his podcast, Cowherd said, “So, long story short, I live in L.A. Trey Lance was working out in L.A. about three weeks ago for the draft. Ran into Trey Lance. Really, really impressed with him as a kid — good size, looks you in the eye, really humble, really thoughtful. And after meeting him, it’s funny. I sent a text to a couple of GMs that I thought may have the chance to get him, one of them John Lynch. So I text John, I said `Hey, I just met Trey Lance … I don’t know what you’re doing with the No. 3 pick, but totally impressed, so humble, what a great kid.’ And John’s like `Thanks, Colin!’

I don’t hear anything. Then after the third pick, I get a couple of fist bumps texted to me by John Lynch. So I know I had no influence, but nonetheless, it made me laugh. John’s a great guy and I actually think it’s the right pick.”

Problem No. 1: Cowherd, now a gambling-influenced host, texted an NFL executive with draft suggestions.

Problem No. 2: The same NFL executive texted fist-bump emojis to a gambling-influenced host after the pick, fully recalling his advice about Lance.

Problem No. 3: Cowherd’s team took credit for the pick, as if it was some valiant deed.

As one of the biggest names in sports media, Cowherd should steer clear of such conflicts. But in this emerging Wild Wild West climate, all semblance of independence is lost. Any reliable, self-governed watchdogs out there? ESPN, NBC, Fox, CBS, Turner — LOL, all bedfellows, forget it. Legacy media? The Boston Globe is owned by John Henry, who owns the Red Sox; the Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, who wants to own an NFL franchise; the Los Angeles Times is owned by Patrick Soon-Shiong, a part-owner of the Lakers; the Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose son acquired Outkick; and the New York Times reportedly is examining whether to invest in The Athletic, a struggling sports site that openly promotes a sports gambling component.

With nine of 10 sports media employees worried for their jobs these days, how many will follow the money and bail to gambling sites? How many league insiders, such as Adam Schefter and Jay Glazer, will bolt for bigger money now that the NFL is directly linked to gambling? Beat writers, columnists, editors — will everyone jump to the dark side and focus on over-unders? We’re just now emerging from the worst of the pandemic. People are desperate. Anticipate musical-chairs madness.

In that vein, how many more Bryan Harlans are out there, ready to exploit information? How many media professionals will use such information to bet themselves, recalling my Detroit, Chicago and Denver stories? You might ask, what’s the big deal about a media person gambling legally? Answer: It will skew his/her coverage of a game and taint objectivity, along with the prospect of becoming addicted. As for executives, Skipper once stood up to Goodell when ESPN broke exposes about concussions and rallied to the side of Colin Kaepernick. Now, they are partners in gambling smut.

More than ever, investigative reporters are needed to keep three mega-industries honest in their new sandbox. Unfortunately, most sleuths work for ESPN or other aforementioned outlets. So when a betting scandal happens, who will dare probe it and risk being railroaded from a job? Jeremy Schaap is too comfortable in his gig to pound on C-suite doors, preferring easier stories on mascots these days.

I am fortunate. I’ve made a great living as a columnist while battling editors who didn’t want me immersed in the Rose scandal in Cincinnati, or didn’t want me explaining to a Chicago audience why Michael Jordan’s gambling problem left him exposed to extortion. I usually found a way to get necessary columns into print and commentary onto radio airwaves.

Michael Jordan's Gambling Exemplified America's Lust for Private Vice from  Public Figures – OutKick

Today, you’re reading one of the few industry sites that would publish this column. We are covering sports here, not trying to make bushels of money off sports. I used to appear regularly on “Around The Horn,” ESPN’s banter show. There’s a better chance now of ATH debating the color of Pitaro’s underwear than discussing the scummy intersection of sports, sports media and gambling companies.

At least I still have my bullhorn, prepared for the oncoming shitstorms. In gambling parlance, I’m the longest of longshots, but I’m also the rarest of rarities. No one can call me a sellout. 

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BSM Writers

Sports Media Students Aren’t Thinking About Radio Anymore

“The people who call this world their “normal” are revolutionizing sports media right before us old folks’ very eyes and ears.”

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Just imagine… Jim Rome, while at UC Santa Barbara in the ’80s, telling his instructors he wants to have his own podcast.

UC Santa Barbara Ranked No. 8 | Edhat

Or, in 2003, Colin Cowherd telling his thousands of Twitter followers to tweet @ESPNRadio that he should be the person to replace Tony Kornheiser.

Our world is so different these days. You can listen to the “radio” on your smartphone, don’t need to wait until the 11 p.m. news to see all the highlights of the Yankees/Red Sox, and, somehow, someone who’s “YouTube Famous” is giving you their hot sports opinion on the New England Patriots as soon as the game ends.

The people who call this world their “normal” are revolutionizing sports media right before us old folks’ very eyes and ears.

Across the country, today’s college students view “radio” as outdated — not extinct, because they are aware it exists. Outdated because, just like how you can still use a flip phone to make a call, flip phones are nowhere near cool. Radio, in its traditional form, is not cool to them. What is cool, however, are the many other parts emerging in this new world of sports media — podcasting, blogging (either in word or video form), and leading a sports team’s social media accounts, in addition to the long-established talk show hosting and play-by-play.

“I have a student right now; I don’t think the kid listens to radio. He literally gets everything off of YouTube or a podcast,” said Josh Dover, midday show co-host on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 in Denver, in an exclusive interview with Barrett Sports Media. Dover is also an instructor at the Colorado Media School. “The younger generation, people under 25, radio is something that they’re aware of, but it’s not where they’re getting their information from.”

Jeff Brown, faculty General Manager of CommRadio, a student-run online radio station at Penn State University, concurred: “They view it a lot different these days. Here at CommRadio, most of the students are involved in sports, and they see that if they do have a place in radio, it will probably be in sports or doing some sort of blog. I went from having no students doing blogs 10 years ago to most students having their own blogs these days. They’re seeing that as a way of possibly making money or at least bridging them until they can get to a job that they want (in the industry).”

You can’t blame today’s young adults for not holding traditional radio in the glory that those who are 35, 40 and up think of it. Today’s young adults literally grew up with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and podcasts. Today’s young adults grew up visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ or Miami Dolphins’ team websites daily, watching team-produced videos and other content. They grew up following their favorite athletes like LeBron James and Steph Curry on Twitter, believing that having your own online brand and voice is how the world works. Because of all this technology, opportunities for jobs are exploding all over the sports media landscape. And it has the attention of colleges and universities around the country.

Expect more and more institutions of higher learning to be adding a “sports media” major to its offerings. What most seasoned individuals know as “journalism” or “broadcast journalism” in their college days is becoming even more specialized, more focused on sports media because there are so many facets to it, rather than just being a reporter or on-air host.

College of Arts & Sciences Announces New Sports Media Major | April 2020  Archive | Fairfield University News Channel

Point Park University, a private institution in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, introduced “sports communication” as a major earlier this year. Point Park is known for its School of Communication, but Bernie Ankney, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Communication, told Barrett Sports Media the demand was there for the new major.

“They’re just really, really popular with kids,” he said about sports media, “because if you come to Point Park, you can be taking photos of Point Park athletics, you can be doing social media, podcasting, you can be shooting and editing video…so it’s a very hands-on program. Also, being in Pittsburgh, one of the best sports markets in the country, just opens up all sorts of opportunities off-campus as well.”

As soon as the major was introduced a few months ago, some students transferred into the major, Ankney said. And some incoming freshmen already have their eyes set on the major when they begin attending the university in the fall.

Ankney actually started a sports communication “minor” at his previous place of employment, Sanford University, in Birmingham. He said Point Park’s sports media major is one of about 25 in the country that have emerged in recent years at universities. In 2015, Arizona State University began its bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in sports journalism, its first standalone degree programs for a specific beat, as reported in the Columbia Journalism Review. The Columbia Journalism Review also noted that the University of Georgia’s Grady College began a certificate program in sports journalism a year earlier.

Indiana University is another school that’s gotten in on the act, offering a “concentration in sports media” as part of its Bachelor of Arts in Media degree.

Penn State established its school of sports journalism in 2003, and it was named after heralded journalist and first USA Today editor John Curley in 2006. Brown told BSM the fastest growing department is social media. “Social media is really where the jobs are at,” he said. Still, there are plenty of students who love the play-by-play career trajectory. “Steve Jones (Penn State football and men’s basketball play-by-play announcer) has his own section; it’s not even available to anybody until their junior year and they have to earn their way into there,” Brown said.

“We send our students (pre-COVID) to every away football game, they do play-by-play of that, they do play-by-play of all the major sports here at Penn State and even the minor sports that can translate to radio,” Brown added. “They get a full complement of any sport they may be interested in; I encourage them to learn the ones they don’t because coming out now, if you can go to a smaller radio station and…do play-by-play of soccer, of volleyball, that helps them get jobs. That’s what we want them to do, ultimately; find a position.”

May be an image of 2 people and people smiling

“Voice of the Orange,” Matt Park, is seeing the “across-the-board” aspirations of students in sports media at Syracuse University. “We’re fortunate to have a relatively large group of students with a wide array of backgrounds and interests,” he told BSM in an exclusive interview. “There may be fewer students on the local TV (or ‘SportsCenter’) track, but still plenty want to do that.” But now you can add production, podcasting and writing in various forms to the list in student interests, he said, along with play-by-play, reporting/anchoring and talk show hosting.

Over in Broncos country, Dover told BSM he’s come across something that may surprise — or irk — some sports radio lifers.

“I’m 37 years old…for me, podcasts and radio are very different,” the Altitude 92.5 host said. “I want to host a radio show; I think that they (today’s college students) believe hosting a podcast is the same thing.”

Podcasts’ meteoric rise is well-documented, and the huge investments that traditional radio companies IheartMedia and Audacy have made in podcasting shows that podcasts are here to stay.

Dover teaches a seven-month sports emphasis program at the Colorado Media School, which encompasses talk radio, play-by-play, a debate-style TV show and a “SportsCenter”-style show. He said his students either want to be an on-air host or some sort of social media director for a sports team or other reputable entity.

Colorado Media School | Luke Prochaska

Though podcasting is a growing medium, Dover stressed that radio is a medium that will never fully go away. He said it’s important that today’s college students understand certain radio principles that, when combined with great content and great “takes,” can create a win-win for everyone — the host, the station, the industry as a whole.

Radio “is something I can turn on in my car. It’s something my dad and uncle can turn on in their car,” Dover told BSM. “If I send a link to my uncle of a podcast, I’m not sure he’s going to find it or even want to try to find it….There’s always going to be a button on my car that allows me to listen to the radio.”

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BSM Writers

Elon Musk Was a Predictable Disaster For SNL That Radio Can Avoid

“Some people are just better working from a pre-written speech or working in an environment manicured and controlled to make sure they are never challenged. There is no amount of work you can do with them to prepare them for a career in talk radio if they cannot just have a normal conversation where they may be challenged a bit.”

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You aren’t allowed to be surprised that this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live was bad. You can be surprised by just how bad it was, but if you were surprised that Elon Musk, a billionaire, who has never done anything funny and has never shown a sense of humor about who he is and or his cult of personality, isn’t a great comedian, then I can’t help you. You’re a buffoon.

Oh my god! His delivery and timing is embarrassing!

And look, you’re not alone. Clearly NBC executives, SNL writers, and even Lorne Michaels himself were dumb enough to think this would work despite mountains of evidence going in that this was going to be one of the worst weeks in the show’s history.

Every station in America has, at some point, kicked around the idea of taking a well-known name and trying to turn them into a broadcaster. A lot has to go right to be successful. Before you even get to the breaks, you have to make sure you have put your money on the right horse.

SNL is a show with a long history. This may be easy to forget, but the show has made the same mistakes it did with Elon Musk over and over again. There is a lesson in that for sports radio. I guess since we now cover the whole talk radio spectrum, there is a lesson for it in news/talk too.

Remember April of 1996? Another billionaire was making headlines for doing something stupid and SNL wanted to capitalize on it. So they invited Steve Forbes to host the show and it was TERRIBLE! Forbes looked at the cue cards the entire time, at multiple points, turning his head completely away from the person he was supposed to be talking to in his scene. During his monologue, he stared right down the barrel of the camera with a look of absolute horror on his face.

People in the sports world have fond memories of the time Michael Jordan hosted the show. Y’all, I’m here to remind you that it was BAD. The Daily Affirmation sketch in that episode is an all-timer, but overall, Jordan was awful. The guy has charisma, but he doesn’t have “can carry a comedy show for 90 minutes” charisma.

The biggest name isn’t always the right person to build a show around. How many times have we seen former players on ESPN or former politicians on CNN and/or FOX News and instantly recognized that offering an opinion is not their strong suit? Some people are just better working from a pre-written speech or working in an environment manicured and controlled to make sure they are never challenged. There is no amount of work you can do with them to prepare them for a career in talk radio if they cannot just have a normal conversation where they may be challenged a bit.

I’ll circle back to something else I said about Elon Musk at the top of this column, because it is another huge red flag. Musk doesn’t think there is anything funny about himself. He doesn’t see the idea of him hosting a comedy show as absurd, because he has bought into his own bullshit. Remember the diver that he called a pedophile because the guy said Elon Musk’s idea for rescuing kids trapped in an underwater tunnel wouldn’t work?

Plenty of people in the public eye are like that. Sometimes, if you are lucky, you hire someone like that to host a show and they turn out to be Michael Irvin, a force of nature when it comes to stage presence and charm. Most times though, you get Eric Mangini or Ray Lewis or Paul Pierce or Trent Dilfer or Lou Holtz, guys that take themselves so seriously and do not understand why anyone is allowed to question them that they would rather shut down disagreement than roll with it and create something interesting.

Michael Irvin Says Browns Ousting Cowboys From SNF Is "New Low"

Why did Peyton Manning and The Rock work as SNL hosts? Because they recognized and played along with the absurdity of them telling jokes on a show that spawned comedic geniuses like Eddie Murphy, Phil Hartman and Chris Rock. Why is Pat McAfee great on TV and on radio? Because he recognizes the absurdity of anyone looking at him as an expert on football just because he was a punter.

If you’re betting on a guy that doesn’t like looking dumb or refuses to ever believe he is wrong, you may as well start updating your resume. Personalities like that can work as the focal point of a show, but it is rare that they do and even rarer that those shows last. What a co-host, a producer, and a programmer need in a partner is someone that will take the advice of the great Kendrick Lamar – “Bitch, sit down. Be humble.”

I have written before about things like improv classes and talking to people in other formats about learning how to be a better broadcaster. If you were to ask your ex-jock or ex-coach or whoever to do those things, would they? You don’t have to immediately cast them to the side if the answer is no. If that is the answer though, is that where the conversation stops? If it is, you are probably about to invest in someone that doesn’t have any intention of growing or getting better than they are right now with no experience.

SNL can afford to do that with hosts. Those people are in town for a week and then, if it didn’t work out, they can be out of the show’s life forever. Programmers and radio stations can’t afford that kind of risk though. We aren’t building for a week to grab a few headlines and get a couple of clips to go viral.

Here's Elon Musk's The Trial Of Wario SNL Skit

If you are building for longterm success, you have to build around someone that wants to be as successful in the media as they were on the court or in politics. Hosting a show is fun, but it is a job. It is a reality you have to understand and look for candidates that recognize that. Saddling your employees with whatever talk radio’s answer to Elon Musk hosting Saturday Night Live is and saying “figure it out” is not just evidence of your ineptitude, it is disrespectful to the people that are going to have to pick up that person’s slack.

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