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Craig Carton Is Right – This One’s On You, Not Him!

“Radio is a results driven business. Executives have a ton of pressure on them to win, and they’re not going to pass on adding an elite talent to their roster, regardless of red flags, especially if they have a good prior relationship.”

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Robert Kraft once said “Envy and jealousy are incurable diseases.” Though I’m sure he was thinking about a situation that related to the New England Patriots or National Football League, he may as well have been referring to the sports media industry.

If there’s one thing that this business struggles with it’s rooting for others to succeed. Media people are competitive and seek positions occupied by others, which makes it common for folks to tear others down rather than extend a sincere congratulations when good things happen to them. They’ll scrutinize an individual’s track record, on-air comments, social media posts, how they connect with co-workers, the way they interact with listeners and advertisers, and seek any advantage possible, convincing themselves that the reason they didn’t earn a shot and someone else did is because the system worked against them.

But landing big jobs in this business isn’t just about talent. It’s assumed that you’re going to have skill otherwise you wouldn’t even be considered for an opportunity. The true X factor is relationships. Many people think that their skills should be enough to warrant a look for the top jobs in the industry. That sounds good in theory but if you don’t have any connection to a local market, and the only time you talk to an executive and appear on their radar is when they have an opening at their station, you’re likely not getting the job.

The question you should be asking and prepared to answer is ‘why exactly would a hiring manager choose you over every other option?’ If it’s because you ‘think’ you’re more talented, get to work on a better answer. What have you done prior to the opening to build a connection with the people you hope to work with? Did you seek feedback on how to get better? Did you interact on social media? Did you congratulate them with a text or email when they had something positive happen to them or their brand? Did you show up and say hello at an industry event or station function?

It takes time, effort, and consistency to build relationships. Without them, the road to glory is full of obstacles. I’ve seen a lot of people bitch and moan on social media, the airwaves or to industry friends when jobs get filled in this industry, and in some cases, they may have a legitimate gripe. More times than not though, people look solely at situations from their own point of view rather than the other side.

Case in point, when Craig Carton was named the new afternoon drive host at WFAN, I saw everything from ‘Why would they hire a convicted felon?’, ‘The fix is in’, ‘Ridiculous’, ‘Chernoff and Oliviero never gave anyone else a fair shot’, ‘There were more talented hosts out there’, etc.. That sounds like a whole lot of sour grapes. Carton addressed the issue last Thursday telling his critics “I haven’t been on the radio in three years. I think Boomer said, 1,150 days. You had plenty of time to get better at what you do. You didn’t. That’s on you. That’s not on me. Got it? Good.”

His critics will lose their mind over those comments suggesting that they may have improved at their craft but didn’t earn strong consideration from Chris Oliviero and Mark Chernoff, the two men responsible for bringing Carton back to WFAN. It’s always more convenient for industry people to distribute blame and seek sympathy rather than give credit and understand why moves makes sense. Let’s look at Carton’s rehiring and I’ll explain why this was a no-brainer decision for WFAN.

Did you see how the majority of WFAN employees responded publicly when it was revealed that Carton was coming back? Most were ecstatic to have him back at the station. Positive additions equal an improved workplace culture, something every manager hopes to create. Secondly, people can take shots at Craig for his mistakes, and Carton knows that comes with the territory, but let’s not forget that this guy took over morning drive in the nation’s largest market on the sports format’s most iconic station, stepped in after Imus left a huge stain on the brand, built one of the most successful shows in the country from scratch with Boomer Esiason, and elevated WFAN to an even higher level. To ignore his massive prior success is foolish. In a business judged heavily by performance, Carton has won plenty.

Next, ‘The Michael Kay Show’ has been rolling, and winning the afternoon drive ratings battle. WFAN knew it had to make a bold move to try and energize the audience to reclaim the top spot in afternoons. Whether you like Craig or not, he’s a unique talent who makes people talk and listen, and he gives the station a stronger chance to regain NY radio ears and dollars than any other talent who’d have been available. You might be crushing it in another city or be the next big thing to lead the format forward, but this is market #1 where the stakes are high, and WFAN isn’t going to bet on potential when a proven commodity is there to be hired.

An underrated aspect of Carton’s game is that he’s also very good at getting the most out of his partners. Chris and Mark will be counting on him to do that with Evan Roberts. I admit I was surprised that Chernoff and Oliviero chose this pairing because Roberts felt like a strange fit, but if there’s one thing these executives do well, it’s put together winning combinations. When you combine Craig’s track record of success with his personal and professional history with Mark and Chris, you can see why the station rolled the dice to bring him back. I’d have done the same exact thing if I were in their shoes.

If you disagree with WFAN’s decision, that’s fine. This isn’t Chris and Mark’s first rodeo. They can handle the heat. But don’t forget, 97.5 The Fanatic was interested in Craig too. Had Carton been interested in relocating, I’m sure other stations would have entered the mix as well. That’s a reflection on how he’s viewed as an on-air performer.

When it comes to making decisions, programming executives will always face an army of critics firing bullets in their direction, and others praising their choices when they make a hire. These are high profile jobs sought after by hundreds if not thousands of people, and though there may be 50-100 truly worthy of the opportunity, there’s only one job to give. Results ultimately determine if a station got it right or not, and if a show succeeds, the executive in charge usually earns more trust and pay. If they fail, they risk being replaced.

Why Carton’s addition has anyone angry though is surprising to me. We talk about sports on the air every single day, examining players, coaches and executives and whether or not they deserve 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th chances while others with talent get pushed aside. Many times we even side with the franchise, crediting them for betting on the best talent and being willing to look past individual issues. Case in point, Antonio Brown, Kareem Hunt, Alex Cora, AJ Hinch, Tony La Russa, Carmelo Anthony, Ron Artest, Dennis Rodman, Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco, the list goes on and on.

Go look at some of those names and look at the franchises they’ve been connected to and who was in charge. Why did Tony La Russa land the White Sox job over other candidates? Because Jerry Reinsdorf had a relationship with him. Why did Antonio Brown go to Tampa? Tom Brady and Bruce Arians. Who lured Kareem Hunt to the Browns? John Dorsey, the former Browns GM who previously drafted Hunt in Kansas City.

It’s not much different in radio. Just like the world of sports, radio is a results driven business. Executives have a ton of pressure on them to win, and they’re not going to pass on adding an elite talent to their roster, regardless of red flags, especially if they have a good prior relationship. Many brand managers also have certain philosophies and priorities that influence how they build their station lineups, and nothing you say is going to change that. It’d be like a football player telling Bill Walsh during the glory days of the 49ers to move away from running the West Coast offense. That player may continue playing in the league but he’ll be wearing another team’s jersey before Walsh abandoned his coaching philosophy.

For example, maybe a program director doesn’t believe in hiring out of town talent. Maybe they place a premium value on feedback from other execs and when checking into your background they learn of a number of bad experiences others had working with you. Maybe they think the person being considered for the job has the wrong sound, attitude or financial expectations to fit inside their building. Or maybe they just don’t think much of your talent level and believe someone else is better.

Decisions will continue to be scrutinized and celebrated, but complaining doesn’t get you anywhere. In fact I can argue that doing it in public circles will only make other managers more hesitant to call you in the future should they have needs to fill.

The real issue you should be thinking about is what Craig said on the air last week – ‘You had 3 years to take the seat he now holds, so why didn’t you?’ Better yet, why were Evan Roberts and Bart Scott mentioned as the two leading candidates to work with Craig, and your name not included? Is Craig supposed to not take a job just because you don’t think he deserves it? Give me a break.

Before you tell me WFAN didn’t have a need or that it was impossible to get their attention, let me remind you that there have now been 5 different afternoon shows on the station during the past 3-4 years (Francesa, CMB, Francesa part 2, Joe & Evan, and now Carton & Roberts). If Carlin, Maggie, Bart, Joe and Evan could earn a shot, why couldn’t you? If you have elite talent, and a connection to New York, and let 1,150 days pass without building a professional relationship with Chris Oliviero and Mark Chernoff, you already know the answer why you were never in the mix. As Craig Carton said last week, ‘that’s on you’.

Barrett Blogs

Black Friday Sale TODAY For 2022 BSM Summit Tickets

“BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets will begin at 12:01am ET on Friday November 26th and expire at 11:59pm later that same night.”

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There are less than 100 days remaining until the 2022 BSM Summit takes place in New York City. We’ve announced 31 participants for the show so far, and have more to reveal in the weeks and months ahead. I think you’re going to like what’s still to come.

Putting this conference together isn’t easy. It requires months of meetings, brainstorming, promotion, selling sponsorships, pursuing speakers, and creating everything that attendees see on stage over a two day period. I’m thankful to have help from some amazing partners, but as I’ve mentioned previously, this isn’t an event that makes us rich or ends with 5-10 new clients signing up to work with BSM. The goal each year is simple, make sure the conference is valuable for those who attend, and don’t run BSM out of business by doing it. As long as those two things remain solid, it’s worth doing.

Some might wonder, why go thru months of headaches if you’re not going to break the bank or immediately add clients. That’s fair to ask. If you look at it from a pure business standpoint, one could easily make a case that pouring this type of energy into something else could be more lucrative. But money was never the motivation for doing this. I felt the sports media industry lacked a signature event where smart, successful media professionals (who don’t often cross paths) could gather at one location to laugh and learn together, and I wanted to change that. If over a two day period attendees could gain insight, information, ideas, and introductions, it’d put everyone in a stronger position to remain successful.

I’ve unapologetically loved the sports media business since I started listening to Mike & the Mad Dog on WFAN and watching SportsCenter on ESPN. I was fortunate to live and work in a number of cities over the past two decades, learning how different companies and people operate, and I remain involved today thru my work with BSM. I mention this because I also know media people. They tend to wait until the last minute to book hotel rooms, airfare, and purchase tickets, even if they can save money by acting sooner. I know, I used to do it too. I can’t control when you book your room or plane ticket, but I do want to give you an added incentive to buy your ticket to this year’s show. Seating is limited, and once the last seat is filled, that’s it. We can’t make extra room.

With that in mind, most of you are either taking today off or working inside a much quieter building. If you’ve thought about coming to the Summit, take 5-10 minutes to log on to BSMSummit.com to take advantage of our special Black Friday sale. We’ve reduced tickets for the day, so whether you’re planning to attend in NYC or watch the conference online, there’s a discount to help you out. Just $199.99 for live tickets, and $124.99 for virtual.

BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets expires at 11:59pm tonight. In the meantime, Hotel Edison in NYC is offering rooms for just $109 + taxes to Summit attendees. Click here to take advantage of the special room rate we’ve secured for this year’s show. Those of you planning to fly to NYC for the show, there have been a ton of great deals offered by American, Southwest, United, JetBlue and Frontier. It might be worth checking into today since Black Friday often has even better sales on travel.

If you’re interested in learning more about the industry, staying a step ahead, forming new relationships, strengthening existing ones, exploring potential business deals, and celebrating the business you’re in, I hope you’ll join us either online or in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit. I’m making it easier on you, by offering lower ticket prices today. The rest is up to you!

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Barrett Blogs

Craig Carton, Fred Toucher, Mike Felger To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit

“Few understand what it takes to deliver success in this format consistently like Craig, Fred and Mike, and I’m glad they’re making the time to share their knowledge with us.”

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When you talk to industry people about successful brands in sports talk radio, most conversations include WFAN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. The New York and Boston sports radio brands are consistently recognized for their ability to deliver large audiences and revenues.

Helping to create that success is a mixture of strong play by play partnerships, skilled programmers and even more importantly, some of the most dynamic on-air personalities in the format. Fortunately for us, a few of those gamechangers will be present to share their opinions and insights on content matters in New York City at the 2022 BSM Summit.

Starting in New York, it’s an honor to welcome WFAN afternoon drive host Craig Carton to the 2022 BSM Summit. Heard daily on ‘Carton and Roberts‘ alongside Evan Roberts, which is also featured on TV on SNY, Carton has made his presence felt ever since returning to the airwaves in November 2020. Prior to taking on the challenge in afternoons, Craig spent a decade partnering with Boomer Esiason on ‘Boomer and Carton‘, forming one of the most successful sports radio morning shows in the country. In addition to enjoying success in New York, Craig has also experienced the ups and downs that come with performing in different markets. His radio travels have taken him to Philadelphia, Denver, Buffalo and Trenton, NJ. The Syracuse graduate and outspoken host is expected to join BSM President Jason Barrett for a one on one conversation at this year’s Summit.

Shipping up to Boston, it’s a pleasure to welcome two of the format’s highest rated performers to New York City. They’re heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub in morning and afternoon drive, and at the Summit, they’ll interact together during an in-depth content conversation with BSM President Jason Barrett.

Fred Toucher is one half of the Sports Hub’s popular morning show ‘Toucher & Rich‘, which recently added syndication. The Detroit native started his career in Georgia before moving to Boston in 2005. Toucher & Rich, which includes Rich Shertenlieb, officially moved into the sports talk format in 2009. Since making the format switch, the duo have consistently produced some of the best ratings in the entire format in mornings during the past fifteen years. Toucher & Rich have also been recognized by industry executives as one of the top two morning shows in the format each of the past three years in the BSM Top 20, including taking top honors in 2018.

Mike Felger on the other hand is heard on the ride home alongside Tony Massarotti on The Sports Hub. The Marconi Award-winning afternoon radio show has been a fixture in Boston since the station’s inception in 2009. During the past twelve years, Felger & Mazz have been a steady force atop the Men 25-54 ratings including recently delivering an impressive 18.9 share in the summer book to finish 1st. The Milwaukee native also hosts a show for NBC Boston, and has previously served as a columnist for the Boston Globe. Similar to Toucher & Rich, Felger & Mazz have earned high praise from format execs in the BSM Top 20. They’ve been voted one of the top 2 afternoon shows each of the past 2 years including grabbing the top spot in 2019.

We’re excited to add all three of these men to the lineup for the 2022 BSM Summit. As vital as it may be to spend time on business issues in order to stay ahead of a rapidly changing media climate, without great talent and content, the rest is irrelevant. Few understand what it takes to deliver success in this format consistently like Craig, Fred and Mike, and I’m glad they’re making the time to share their knowledge with us.

To reserve your hotel room, purchase tickets or learn more about the speakers we’ve lined up for the 2022 show, visit BSMSummit.com. We hope to see you online or in New York City this March.

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Barrett Blogs

BSM Summit Adds Borrell, Crain, Cutler, Goldstein, Scott, Shapiro & Thomas

“The Summit is just 104 days away, so if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do so. Half of the room is already full and seating for the conference is limited.”

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The 2022 BSM Summit continues to add firepower to the sports media industry’s premier conference. After previously announcing the first twenty one participants to take part in March’s event in New York City, another seven talented media professionals have been added to the speaker schedule.

Making his BSM Summit debut in 2022 will be the media industry’s leading business analyst Gordon Borrell. The well respected and accomplished CEO of Borrell Associates is featured frequently in the trades and mainstream publications for his insights on advertising trends and forecasts in local media. Borrell will join Amplifi Media CEO Steven Goldstein on stage at the Summit for an in-depth discussion on the advertising climate in 2022. The two men will offer insights and opinions on what advertisers value most, where they’re expected to invest future dollars, which categories will continue to rise and decline, and what brands can do to position themselves better to increase revenue. Additionally, Borrell will be hosting his local advertising conference in Miami a few days after the Summit. Those interested in heading to South Beach and learning more about the marketing world can learn more by clicking here.

Switching to the content end, the Summit is thrilled to welcome The Volume’s Jake Crain to New York City. The host of The JBoy Show will also be making his debut at the conference. Crain will be part of a talent panel along with John Jastremski and Kazeem Famuyide.

Also making his debut at the Summit will be Carl Scott. Meadowlark Media’s Executive Director of Audio will join our podcasting panel featuring Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones and The Volume’s Head of Content Logan Swaim. Hubbard Radio’s Digital Content Director Phil Mackey will guide the conversation.

Not everyone participating at the Summit will be new to the audience though. Returning to the stage as part of our GM’s discussion will be newly appointed Audacy Boston Market Manager Mike Thomas. Thomas recently led ESPN 1000 in Chicago as the station’s GM after working with Mark Hannon to turn 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston into one of sports radio’s top performing stations. It should be noted that each time Thomas appears at the Summit it follows a recent promotion. We figure by 2023 or 2024 he’ll be running the entire industry.

A Summit isn’t complete without attention given to programming matters. To help us address some of those key issues, we’re excited to welcome back the Vice President of FOX Sports Radio & Podcasts Scott Shapiro. The passionate network executive who oversees many of the nation’s top national programs is always a great listen for folks interested in learning how programmer’s view and tackle the industry’s most important affairs.

Last but certainly not least, voice talent extraordinaire Jim Cutler will return to the stage to lead a session on storytelling. One of the industry’s prominent station voices and creative minds has a penchant for putting on entertaining and informative sessions. If you’ve attended the conference before, you’re already aware. To those planning to catch this one, you’re in for a treat.

Keep an eye out over the next two weeks. We’ll be making additional announcements involving a few high profile talents we’ve lined up for the 2022 BSM Summit. A reminder, the event is just 104 days away, so if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do so. Half of the room is already full and seating for the conference is limited. I realize some folks may prefer to wait until the last minute to make sure the world is safe. If you’re not comfortable flying to NY for the show, we do have an option in place to enjoy the conference virtually thanks to NuVoodoo Media. For more information on tickets, click here.

That said, the in-person environment is excellent. If you haven’t attended the Summit before I think you’ll find the two days in New York City to be time well spent. This conference is not open to the general public. You must either presently work in an area of the media industry or be pursuing a degree in the broadcasting field.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we still have some sponsorship opportunities available for the show. We’re thrilled to have the support of great partners, ESPN Radio, Premiere Networks, FOX Sports Radio, Stone Voiceovers, Compass Media Networks, Point to Point Marketing, and Core Image Studio. If you’d like to be part of the event too, email JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com for additional details.

One final note, airfare is low right now. There are roundtrip flights to and from New York from many major cities for less than $200.00. We’ve also secured a low hotel rate of $109.00 per night at Hotel Edison in NYC to help companies and individuals keep costs down. The sports media industry has endured two years of difficulty due to the pandemic, preventing many from networking, learning, celebrating, and growing. The two days we spend together in the big apple won’t solve every issue facing our business, but I promise you’ll leave the show more informed, more connected, and better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Hope to see you in New York on March 2nd and 3rd.

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