Rodgers Hijacks The Draft And Douses A Dreamy Night
Dropping a poison pill on the NFL’s annual showcase, the superstar QB publicly demands a trade and takes over a show that should have belonged to Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance and the next class of stars.
Suddenly, almost suspiciously, the NFL Draft transformed into “Jeopardy!” With one strategic leak to ESPN, which not only was producing its own reality TV show but feeding it with ratings steroids, it no longer mattered as much that Trevor Lawrence doesn’t live to play football.
Or whether the 49ers were intentionally sparking prop-bet fever, in a league that now embraces gambling, by playing hide-and-seek with the No. 3 pick. And why they’d better be right, with a quarterback lineage of Montana and Young, in taking a tearful Trey Lance, who has played one mid-level college game since 2019 and couldn’t possibly have found that bow tie in North Dakota.
Or if Justin Fields was a victim of rival-agent sabotage as he slid to No. 11, where the Chicago Bears — whose all-time-best quarterback, Sid Luckman, played in a leather helmet — traded up so Fields can play in Soldier Field and lather a bitter fan base with more boom-or-bust hope. Or if the jewelry store that outfitted Mac Jones’ girlfriend thought her beau was going way earlier than No. 15, to New England, where he instantly inherits Bill Belichick’s wrath and becomes the Poor Dude Always Compared To Tom Brady.
“God’s good,” Jones said.
Is he sure?
All of which became infinitely less important Thursday night than a bigger game show.
The Category: Disgruntled Superstar Athletes.
The Question: Which NFL quarterback, hours before the Draft, went public with a trade demand and said he won’t return to his current team?
The Answer: Who is Aaron Rodgers?
This was the wiliest man in the sport, hijacking the opening night of the draft and the rest of the weekend by injecting the drug that intoxicates fans and media — yet, ever so troublingly, also poisons American sports in the 21st century. That would be the get-me-out-of-here pill. Once and for all, after a year of dropping cryptic hints, Rodgers let it be known definitively that he wants out of Green Bay. He made the news public when the Packers refused on Draft eve to deal with the 49ers, the first team on his wish list. During his successful two-week run as guest host of his favorite game show, I wondered if his public stumping for Alex Trebek’s gig was an indicator that he wouldn’t return to the Packers.
Now they’ve heard Rodgers, loud and clear, to the point team president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have made several trips West to hear his concerns. Obviously, their efforts didn’t impress Rodgers, and if they are wise men, they will ship him soon to the suitor with the best offer. They prefer not to deal him to an NFC franchise, but also are on Rodgers’ list are the Broncos and Raiders. And when Denver chose cornerback Patrick Surtain II, it opened the possibility of Rodgers finishing his career at high altitude as Peyton Manning did. Oh, and did we mention that his fiancee, actress Shailene Woodley, lives in nearby Boulder? The Raiders claim they don’t have the money to pull off the deal, but they would if Derek Carr is sent to Green Bay.
Where he goes, who knows? If he doesn’t like the deal, he could retire and host “Jeopardy!” What we do know is Rodgers, like the NBA power freaks who started this pre-agency madness, won’t be completing his career with one team — just as Brett Favre, his predecessor, was shipped away. And much as these mega-stories excite America’s sports fandom — and Vegas, which, of course, has established odds on his destination — it isn’t healthy when a night designed for young men’s dreams becomes a leverage device for a future Hall of Famer who never is happy.
Dismiss anything the Packers say, such as Gutekunst’s comment to ESPN that there’s “zero chance” of a deal: “As we’ve stated since the season ended, we are committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond. Aaron has been a vital part of our success and we look forward to competing for another championship with him leading our team.” They don’t have the power here. He does. At least the Seahawks put an end to reports they’ll trade Russell Wilson, who apparently is content in Seattle for now. But with the prospect looming of a civil settlement between Deshaun Watson and the 22 women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct, there’s a chance some godforsaken team will take a gamble on him, baggage and all, adding more drama to an offseason that never ends.
The three networks that broadcast the Draft, with hosting styles ranging from Mike Greenberg’s fanboyism on ESPN to RIch Eisen’s professionalism on the NFL Network, did their best to focus on the picks. That is, once the league got around to starting the festivities. It was 8:25 p.m. Eastern time, in a distressed country that doesn’t have patience to wait around for showtime, when Kings Of Leon — where have they been since “Sex On Fire” blew up? — finally stopped playing in the rain. This was long after Roger Goodell had implored the people of northeast Ohio, some actually wearing masks, to boo him louder than they already were.
“Come on. Come on, Cleveland!” the commissioner shouted. “I didn’t come out of my basement for nothing! Come on!”
When the booing subsided, Mel Kiper Jr. uttered the most dreaded word in the Lawrence household: “Generational.” Before taking his first snap for a Jaguars team that has gone 39-105 since 2012, he already is being compared with Manning, John Elway and Andrew Luck in the “can’t miss” pantheon. I might agree if three of the eight quarterbacks drafted first overall since 2010 weren’t named Jameis Winston, Sam Bradford, Jared Goff; and two of them, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, aren’t near the league elite. They are looking for a savior in Jacksonville, not only for the franchise but the city itself, and who’s to say Urban Meyer, an NFL rookie himself, is the right mentor?
“I’m just pumped. The best is yet to come,” Lawrence said. “I don’t know what the point is if you don’t expect to win every week. I’m going to bring the same mindset. … I’m super excited to be coming to Jacksonville.”
Is he sure?
Zach Wilson looks like a boy-band member. He’s from a small Utah town, Draper, and now he’s off to Don Draper’s city. “Is this the savior Jets fans have been searching for since Broadway Joe Namath?” Eisen said before popping one of the night’s clever puns: “Zach’s Fifth Avenue.” His highlights at BYU are magical, with dazzling throws and Mahomes-like arm angles, but New York will devour him if he’s another Sam Darnold or Daniel Jones. “I’ve heard from multiple sources how talented this team is, but maybe the pieces didn’t align,” Wilson said. “I’m just so excited to get in there and figure out what we can do to make it better.”
Is he sure?
Then came Lance, who wore sunglasses at night. Depending on your view, he’s either one of the great stories in Draft history — ignored by major college programs, unearthed from North Dakota State — or one of the riskiest reaches. First, what happened with the Rodgers talks? “We inquired and it was a quick end to the conversation. It wasn’t happening,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “We’ve been excited (about Lance) for a long, long time. So we went right back to where we’ve been. That’s really excited about adding Trey Lance to the 49ers, and we’re thrilled about that.”
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan is viewed as a young genius, but he has left himself vulnerable after swinging and missing on a Rodgers deal, relinquishing a draft bundle to take Lance and angering incumbent Jimmy Garoppolo, who seethed when Shanahan sarcastically wouldn’t guarantee him a roster spot. Shanahan says he regrets the remark and wants Garoppolo on the roster, but Lance, a dual-threat operator in the mold of Patrick Mahomes and Watson, is the franchise now. And with Fields in Chicago and Jones in New England, the chances of trading Garoppolo are slimmer.
“Now we made this move, so it’s obvious what I hope and believe with this guy coming in,” Shanahan said of Lance. “But it would be a very tough situation if Jimmy is not on our team. I want Jimmy to be here. I want this kid to be brought along. I want to see how he does. And if it turns into a competition, it turns into a competition. I would be excited about that if he showed he was ready for it and stuff. But we know where Jimmy is at.”
A little loopy, Shanahan was so secretive about the Lance pick that he told few in the organization, including coaches and scouts. Only Lynch knew the truth when half the football world thought he was taking Jones. When he’s picking No. 3, and Lawrence and Wilson are locks at Nos. 1 and 2, why play spy games? “We have been very high on Trey since the very beginning, since Day One. Yes, the person everyone else is speculating about, we liked him, too,” said Shanahan, referring to Jones. “To go through this whole process where no one has known how John and I feel and felt this whole time, we do that because you don’t want to sway people in this building. You want everyone to work their butts off and give you their honest info. That’s why we don’t share at all how we felt.”
If that’s not curious, consider where Lance has been hanging out lately: at the southern California home of Colin Cowherd, whose 20-year-old daughter, Liv, has an Instagram-related friendship with Lance. “I think it’s the right pick,” Cowherd said. “I think he’s a bigger, stronger athlete than Mac Jones.”
Said Lance: “It was awesome getting to know coach Shanahan a little bit. He’s an awesome dude.”
Is he sure?
Somewhere in his home state of Georgia, Fields wasn’t pleased to slip out of the top 10. He and his family members actually departed their living room, leaving the TV shot with furniture and no humans. The pre-draft hatchet jobs had done damage, from a claim by ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky that Fields had work-ethic issues to insensitive comments about his epileptic condition. By night’s end, he seemed over the slight, though he’s joining a franchise where QBs go to die — and where the future of general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy depends on his rapid development.
“Blessed,” Fields tweeted about his new home.
Is he sure?
But by Friday, the talk shows will be all over Aaron Rodgers. Goodell can’t be thrilled about it, but with the league never more robust after completion of a new collective bargaining agreement and $113 billion in fresh broadcast money, he played the role of too-big-to-care diplomat. “I think that’s just where we are in the world,” Goodell said. “Our players, I have so much respect for them. They do have strong views. I want to hear that. It’s part of what we’re embracing here.”
He did make a fool of himself in an interview with Greenberg, saying he could do no COVID-related harm in resuming his traditional on-stage hugs with players. Last year, you’ll recall, Goodell conducted the Draft out of his home — in a recliner the league brought to Cleveland, where a different fan sat on stage as his or her team made a pick. “I’m vaccinated. There’s no concern for me or them,” the commissioner said. Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinated people still have a small chance of contracting the coronavirus and spreading it to others.
But what does he care? Goodell will be remembered as the most successful commissioner, albeit polarizing, in U.S. history. As the rest of the sports world wobbles, the NFL is marketing 2021 as “THE BIGGEST SEASON EVER.” The frenzy only heightens when one of the greatest players ever demands a trade. So much for the baseball season. So much for the NBA playoffs.
And so much for the NFL Draft.
Jay Mariotti, called “the most impacting Chicago sportswriter of the past quarter-century,’’ writes a weekly media column for Barrett Sports Media and regular sports columns for Substack while appearing on some of the 1,678,498 podcasts in production today. He’s an accomplished columnist, TV panelist and radio talk host. Living in Los Angeles, he gravitated by osmosis to film projects. Compensation for this column is donated to the Chicago Sun-Times Charity Trust.
Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood
“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”
The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.
It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Crypto.com Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.
During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.
“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”
The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.
“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”
Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.
“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”
Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.
Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.
“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”
When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.
“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”
Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.
“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”
Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.
Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.
“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”
No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.
At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.
“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”
According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.
Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.
Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.
“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”
As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.
“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”
Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.
Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.
“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”
The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).
Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at bsmsummit.com.
“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he interns in video production with the New York Islanders and formerly worked as production manager for the team’s radio broadcasts. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin
Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.
When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee.
The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.
Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.
At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.
McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.
McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.
The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.
There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored.
It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.
It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.
Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.
And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.
If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.
Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.
If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable.
It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.
Jessie Karangu is a columnist for BSM and graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland but comes from Kenyan roots. Jessie has had a passion for sports media and the world of television since he was a child. His career has included stints with USA Today, Tegna, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sightline Media. He can be found on Twitter @JMKTVShow.
5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit
“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”
Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain.
Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:
- INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.
- GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
- LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either.
- SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email.
- WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food.
Jeff Caves is a sales columnist for BSM working in radio, digital, hyper-local magazine, and sports sponsorship sales in DFW. He is credited with helping launch, build, and develop SPORTS RADIO The Ticket in Boise, Idaho, into the market’s top sports radio station. During his 26 year stay at KTIK, Caves hosted drive time, programmed the station, and excelled as a top seller. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter @jeffcaves.
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