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Back In The Saddle…For Now

“This business can be the greatest job that any of us has, but in a pandemic we have seen too many people sent to the unemployment line. How do you navigate these waters?”

John Michaels



Nineteen months.

February 2019 Printable Calendar

Nineteen months wondering what is next. Nineteen months wondering if my job will ever be a full time radio host again.

It has been a whirlwind which has given me a lot of life perspective, and even more a stronger desire to be the best sports media personality I can be.

This business can be the greatest job that any of us has, but in a pandemic we have seen too many people sent to the unemployment line. How do you navigate these waters? What options do you have to continue employment in the business we love?

Unfortunately the pandemic forced changes at 680 the Fan in Atlanta, which caused several of my friends to lose their jobs. Steak Shapiro, John Kincaide and Mark Zinno were taken off the air late last week, which is tough because I have a personal relationship with all of them. Steak Shapiro gave me my 1st job in radio 16 years ago when he was an owner at 790 the Zone. Steak is one of the kindest people you could meet and also a very talented broadcaster who is on the Mount Rushmore of Atlanta sports broadcasters. He’s a legend and a polarizing on air personality, but he always had ratings and listeners whether you liked him or not.

John Kincaide is similar to Shapiro, a northerner who came to Atlanta and spent 20 years on one station with the same partner. Buck & Kincaide has the longest running show with over 4700 shows together. Kincaide on the air was polarizing as well, but off the air John would give you the shirt off his back.

Zinno had only been in the Atlanta market for about seven years, but again is a super talented broadcaster who always brought strong opinions. Mark is ultra engaging on social media and is one to spark a debate and back up his strong opinions with facts.

What’s next for all three remains to be seen, but I highly doubt any of them will be out of the sports radio game very long.

How does this tie into my journey you might ask?

Nineteen months ago I was let go from 92.9 the Game also in Atlanta, which left me in a precarious position. Nineteen months ago the world was pre-Covid and radio seemed to be thriving. Stations were hiring, so never did I think it would take that long to get back in the game. Choices were pretty simple, stay in Atlanta and attempt to get on with the only other sports station in town, which is 680 the Fan (and their properties) or find an interested station across the country. 

Lucky for me SB Nation Nation Radio (now SPORTS MAP RADIO) gave me a national platform which I was able to be broadcast out of my home studio. My wife wasn’t interested in packing up our family and moving so the interest I received from other stations across the country wasn’t going to work. Multiple times I reached out, sent demos to the Sirius XM sports properties, but never gained any traction even looking for part time opportunities.

Whomever replaces Steak and John Kincaide will be replacing radio royalty in Atlanta which will present a challenge. Listeners are loyal by nature and typically won’t change their listening patterns unless something like a host change at a station. The key for the new hosts is to bring high quality content and do enough to differentiate themselves from the guys that the audience became accustom to listening to.

I’ve filled in the week on The Front Row and due to a previous relationship with Brian Finneran and Sandra Golden the transition has been very smooth. The two of them have been very accommodating which has made this week fly by. It has to be tough for the two of them plus Buck Belue, who was John Kincaide’s long time partner. Much like listeners fall into patterns, hosts learn to read their partners, and it makes the show sound like a conversation instead of something forced.

For programmers it is important to pair talent that can be simpatico on and off the air. Those become the best shows with the longest tenures.

There are few jobs available across the country because of COVID-19. Atlanta is now a location that is going through changes similar to many other markets. Radio is changing due to a major pandemic, but there is a chance with the right pairings for the industry to bounce back in a big way.

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.




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.


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



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



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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