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America: Home Of College Football Derangement Syndrome

“America is passionate about football. That passion has gotten away from us on radio and online though. We are choosing to spin our wheels in mud instead of finding ways to keep this car moving forward.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Are you familiar with the term Trump Derangement Syndrome? It is a term/theory levied by the right against the left, but it isn’t just some talking point. The idea behind it is very real.

The idea is that you can hate Donald Trump so much that you are blinded to reality. You start looking for his screw-ups in everything. You try to will evidence of his wrongdoing into existence. It can be exacerbated by too much exposure to your own bubble and sometimes can get so out of control that it is all you think about.

Trump Derangement Syndrome is not a phenomenon that sprung up in the last four years. Before now we called it Obama Derangement Syndrome. Before that it was Bush Derangement Syndrome. It doesn’t matter who your culprit is. That kind of singular obsession can create a sort of tunnel vision that opens the door to delusion and fantasy.

Last week, we watched two of college football’s Power 5 conferences choose to forego a fall football season. As a result, we watched the sports media flip out.

Now, it didn’t matter where you came down. Both sides got unreasonable. Barrett Sallee, Joel Klatt, Clay Travis, and Danny Kannell were among the biggest names saying that the leaders of the two conferences were gutless morons. On the other side, you had Booger McFarland threatening to fight people that were demanding kids play without any of their own skin in the game.

There was also this dipshit, who is so dumb that I don’t want to do the Sallee, Klatt, Travis, and Kannell group the disservice of claiming they are saying the same thing.

My point is the derangement syndrome has come to the sports world. It makes sense that college football talk took over our shows last week. I cannot fault you for devoting time to the biggest story in our universe. I do hope that it didn’t blind you to great stories that could resonate across the country.

Last week, we had possibly the two funniest stories break in the sports world since the Pandemic began to dictate our day-to-day lives.

First, Zach Plesac was suspended by the Cleveland Indians for going out to a bar and breaking his team’s Covid-19 protocols. He took to Instagram to address the report in a video saying that the media is evil and made up lies about him and he would set the record straight. He then proceeded to admit to everything in The Athletic’s report about his night out.

Next, and certainly funnier than the Plesac story, is the story of how rookie defensive back Kemah Siverand came to lose his spot on the Seahawks’ roster. The team announced that the undrafted free agent had been cut on Thursday. On Friday we found out why.

The Seahawks are doing their best to isolate their players from any unnecessary exposure to Covid-19 during training camp. That means no guests at the team hotel. Siverand got caught not only trying to sneak a girl in, but by trying to disguise her as a teammate BY DRESSING HER IN A SEAHAWKS UNIFORM!

Why do I bring these things up? They aren’t necessarily A-block stories outside of Cleveland and Seattle respectively. Maybe markets in Oklahoma would put an emphasis on the Siverand story, since he played for Oklahoma State.

The debate around college football has become loud and angry. Look, passion is undeniably good for our shows, and there is passion around this issue. The problem is that things have gotten so loud around the sport that anything you say on your show will fall into one of two extremes. It is either preaching to the converted or it is falling on deaf ears.

Welcome to the United States of America, land of the free, home of College Football Derangement Syndrome!

Made in USA: Patriotic and Pragmatic - SterlingRope.com

Is this topic engaging your audience at all anymore? Maybe in the South, where the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 still have decisions to make, it is possible to add something new to the conversation. What’s the good in focusing on the Big Ten and PAC-12 though? Those conferences have made their decisions. Is it fun or even interesting to keep talking about it when the conversation has nowhere it can go?

You have to find a way to steer out of the anger at some point. The whole “stick to sports” thing is constantly used as a barb at hosts that don’t spend their entire show breaking down games second-by-second. Yet, the same listeners and hosts that are quick to point out that they want to hear sports on sports talk radio are now breaking down medical charts they found in a reddit chat. It’s not because they think they are doing good radio. They are so dug in that they have lost sight of whether the audience even cares.

America is passionate about football. That passion has gotten away from us on radio and online though. We are choosing to spin our wheels in mud instead of finding ways to keep this car moving forward. We are choosing a road we know dead ends at the same place every time instead of trying a new path.

The metaphors are piling up here, so let me cut to the point. This is a fun job. Your listeners choose you because you make their workday or time in traffic a little bit better. Don’t miss the stories that can create fun, funny moments on air because you have to hammer home a single point.

College football’s immediate future is still unfolding. As long as you have a new angle to explore and new thoughts to share, keep at it. If all you are doing is repeating the same talking points from whichever side you’re on, you’re wasting everyone’s time and entertaining no one.

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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