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Take A Deep Breath And Make A Plan

“November 4 could be one of those times that your role as a voice in the community becomes more important than your role as an entertainer.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Uncomfortable conversations are kind of my specialty. I like forcing broadcasters, programmers, and executives to ask themselves tough questions. Radio is considered by some to be a stagnate medium, which means we have to be a progressive business, constantly considering what comes next and thinking two or three steps ahead.

Has Anyone Asked You This Question? - Paul Castain

So, let’s have an uncomfortable conversation – I mean like REALLY uncomfortable. I’m talking about the kind of conversation that is easier to dismiss as ridiculous than actually having.

Have you thought about what your station will sound like on November 4th?

That will be the day after an election that is truly unlike any we’ve ever seen before. The smart money says that morning, we won’t know who the President of the United States is. Many expect an unresolved situation until January. Between the uncertainty and the vitriol the two sides have for each other, I’m sorry, but “we don’t do politics” won’t be good enough, particularly on your morning show.

Your hosts don’t need to be partisans that morning. They don’t need to tell the audience how they voted. They do need to be prepared to wake up to a very strange scene though and talk with listeners that rely on them for comfort as part of their morning routine.

I’ll be the first to admit, this seems extreme. Look, I told you that this conversation would be easier to dismiss than to actually have. Civil unrest is absolutely a worst case scenario and something no rational human being wants. Given everything that 2020 has dropped on us so far though, why would you not at least indulge thoughts on what the worst case scenario might look like?

How to Lead a Divided America - Real Leaders

We have a president that is telling domestic terrorists to “stand back and stand by” and those terrorists are ready for action. Those that oppose Trump have shown their numbers are large, and they are organized and ready to take to the streets. Anyone that thinks he knows what will happen is lying to himself.

So what will be your role the morning of November 4th?

Let’s start with the obvious. Every broadcaster’s first job is to serve the community. That means you need to practice the three Es: educate, enlighten, and entertain. People are coming to you for some level of distraction, so bring your hot takes and line up a couple of solid guests. Don’t forget the education and enlightenment, though.

Maybe add a fourth E that day: empathy. Think back to the show Paul Finebaum did after tornadoes ravaged Tuscaloosa in 2011 or the shows Carmichael Dave did in 2018 to help those displaced by wildfires in Northern California. November 4 could be one of those times that your role as a voice in the community becomes more important than your role as an entertainer. It doesn’t have to be what you are rooting or planning for, but if you’re a program director, you need to make sure your talent are prepared for this possibility.

You’ve got time to have this conversation with hosts, bosses, and producers. The goal isn’t to turn your show into the town forum for airing grievances or discussing revolution. The goal is to be prepared for what reality dictates is and isn’t relevant content.

Usually the moments that require radio stations to comfort their communities happen suddenly. Talent and programmers are either skilled enough to rise to the occasion or they bury their heads in the sand.

I truly hope, with all my heart, that November 4 is a boring ass day. I hope that the most important topic on sports radio that morning is how an agreement between players and owners is progressing to start a new NBA season the following month or an in-depth preview of a full slate of MACtion that night (which to be fair, is kind of what I always want to be the most important topic on sports radio). You have to admit though that 2020 is the year of the worse case scenarios.

Donald Trump is not committing to a peaceful transfer of power. We are virtually certain not to know who has won the election the morning after. In a strange way though, we have been given a really shitty gift.

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You have time to make a game plan and discuss it with all the relevant parties. What do you do if there is chaos in the streets? What does a show airing in the midst of civil unrest need to sound like?

It’s time to make your radio station’s version of the plan that fire marshals visiting elementary schools tell so many kids to make. You plan, you hope you never have to use that plan, but if you end up needing it, you’re in better shape than you would have been otherwise.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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