It’s an exciting day for all of us at BSM and BNM, because today marks the start of something special. Yes we have an awesome new look and layout for our content, made possible by the great Andy Drake. I encourage you to sift thru a few of the different tabs at the top of the website. You’ll find popular features from our writers in the Originals section, podcasts we’ve produced over the years, the Member Directory featuring nearly forty radio professionals, access points to content from all twenty four of our writers, and shortcuts to our sports and news media sections. We’ve even built three columns to the right on the main page to make it easier to maneuver thru daily sports and news content, and the latest columns from our writing teams.
If you were reading carefully, you picked up on my use of BNM in the first sentence, and the word news in the last sentence. And if you browsed the website today, you likely noticed news and sports are now presented in the same location.
I took the risk and launched Barrett News Media eight months ago. We came out of the gate with a staff of twelve, which was twelve more than Barrett Sports Media had when it was born in September 2015. Like with most new brands, tweaks were needed, and lessons were learned. I initially wanted to put BNM and BSM under the same roof, but there were too many unknowns. For that reason, I launched the brand as a separate entity.
I had to find out if my interest in news would remain high or fade out after a few months. I had to learn if our staff would produce content consistently or leave us plugging holes regularly. I had to discover if media stories would remain hot after a heated presidential election. As important as those all were, one mattered even more – would anyone read our work?
After studying the peaks and valleys of our news brand for nearly a year, I know that people will consume our content if it’s original, interesting, and timely. But asking them to follow us in two different places is a tall order. It’s also harder to reach people in the news media space because social media activity is lighter due to a lack of trust in big tech, and some folks in the format still don’t know me.
Since launching, I’ve overseen two websites, two staffs, two email addresses, and multiple social media accounts, worrying about maintaining separation when I had no reason to worry in the first place. Newspapers have spent decades blending sports and news, online brands across the internet do the same today, and Chrissy Paradis, Pete Mundo, Rick Schultz, Douglas Pucci, Ryan Maguire, Ryan Hedrick, Eduardo Razo and Jordan Bondurant have done more than enough good work to deserve having their material presented to the most amount of people.
So now we move forward as one unit, fully dedicated to serving both the sports and news/talk formats in one location. We will continue prioritizing columns from experienced professionals, the latest industry news, and original ideas that spark interest and discussion. Our email blasts will come from one source, social media promotion will emanate from our BSM channels, and all of our website content will be housed in one spot. If visitors type in the URL for BarrettNewsMedia.com it will automatically redirect to the BSM website.
To help us manage the content cycle and strengthen our brands further, I am pleased to announce a few new additions. First, Troy Coverdale joins BNM as Editor, McGraw Milhaven as a weekly columnist, and Jordan Bondurant and Ryan Hedrick add opportunities to write feature stories multiple times per month. Meanwhile, BSM will gain the writing talents of Ryan Maguire, and semi-regular contributions from Rob Taylor and Scott Seidenberg. Kate Constable and Ricky Keeler will also get more involved writing features. I also plan to add one more news writer soon to fill Brandon Contes’ position.
The new look of the website has me fired up and excited about the possibilities ahead. A big tip of the cap to Point To Point Marketing, Core Image Studio, and the great Jim Cutler for helping us pull this off. I’m eager to increase connections with news radio and television professionals, and showcase their great work. With that in mind, if you have a news tip or story idea for either of our brands, send it by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. With the website makeover complete, I’ll now focus on the next project – the 2021 BSM Summit. I’ll have news to share next week on that endeavor, so stay tuned.
If you’re a fan of what we do for sports media coverage, have no fear. The same great content experience you’ve come to enjoy for the past six years is not affected. If news radio/television coverage interests you but didn’t know much about BNM, now you’ll be able to access the content without jumping thru extra hoops. This is a strategic move aimed at making things easier for the reader, and showcasing the best of two great brands and formats. I’m pleased with BNM’s start, but know that if we can do a few things for the brand that we’ve done for BSM, it’ll make the content experience better, the industry relationships stronger, and the work more meaningful. And that is the reason we do this in the first place.
Thank you for continuing to visit, and afford us the opportunity to inform and entertain you. We understand the media business and are passionate about it, and that’s reflected in our team’s writing. Some you may know that about. Others you may not. But having them all under one roof should make your ability to find out a whole lot easier.
BSM’s Sports Media MVP Tournament Bracket
“The field of 64 for the BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament is now set! “
The field of 64 for the BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament is now set!
Congratulations to ESPN’s Jeff Passan on knocking off FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal to earn the final entry in this year’s tournament. To see the full schedule of when matchups will take place, scroll down below.
A reminder, all voting for each round of the tournament will be done on Twitter thru @sportsradiopd. The people’s votes determine who advances, and who goes home. Be sure to print off your bracket, make your picks, and follow along to see how they stack up against the actual results.
As I mentioned previously, there are no layups in this tournament. Round 1 features many difficult and compelling matchups. Those who advance will have even harder matchups awaiting them in future rounds. There will likely be debate over who should’ve made the list that didn’t, and who deserved a higher or lower ranking. We expect that noise, and welcome it. But this is the bracket, we feel good about it, and whoever wins this tournament, will have gone down a long tough road to earn the voters respect, and ultimately the MVP championship.
So, let’s have some fun, and find out who is the MVP of the Sports Media industry.
BSM Presents ‘The Sports Media MVP Tournament’
The BSM MVP Tournament begins with a play-in game on March 16th. Tournament play gets underway on March 18th.
A year ago at this time, Barrett Sports Media rolled out its ‘Greatest SportsCenter Anchor‘ tournament. It was a fun event that generated over 4 million social media impressions, hundreds of thousands of votes thru our numerous poll questions, big traffic on the BSM website, content on sports radio shows that were working without live events, and recognition for Scott Van Pelt who edged out Stuart Scott in the finals to be selected as SC’s best of all-time.
Given where things stood in the world at that time, the SportsCenter bracket was a fun needed distraction. Most were worried about the coronavirus and how it might hurt them or their families. Would it have an affect on their job? School? Church? The American way of life? How soon would it be until we could enjoy some sense of normalcy again?
Fortunately, here we are one year later, and though we’re not entirely out of the woods yet, things are heading in the right direction. Games are back on our television screens and radio airwaves. Teams have started welcoming fans back into buildings. Vaccine shots are being distributed to millions of Americans, and god willing, we’ll soon be past the nightmare that we lived thru in 2020, and on our way to greater prosperity.
So with sports back, and optimism higher, a bracket contest isn’t necessarily needed to add light during a dark time, but as we learned last year, fun is contagious, and there’s never a bad time to use a creative event to bring people together.
Right after we wrapped up the BSM Top 20 in February, Demetri Ravanos and I started talking about ideas for this year’s bracket contest. A conversation about difference makers in the industry and who was critical to their brands success got my wheels spinning, and as we dove in further, we quickly realized there were hundreds with a case to be made. That laid the groundwork for creating BSM’s Sports Media MVP Tournament.
Choosing 65 people to complete a 64 person tournament bracket like this is not easy. The mixture of accomplished studio hosts, debate specialists, analysts, reporters, play by play voices, radio hosts, podcasting personalities, etc. made for some exhausting email exchanges and phone conversations, but time, thought, and effort is necessary if you want to create cool things. What was especially important to us with this year’s tournament was trying to capture some of the same spirit and fun from last year, without focusing on a particular brand, show or company. Too many people in this industry make a difference for various groups and we want to highlight as many of them as possible.
But when you put 64 of the industry’s biggest difference makers against each other in a tournament style bracket, who’s truly capable of going through five tough rounds to emerge as the most valuable performer in sports media? Better yet, who has strong enough staying power to keep fans on social media invested in their advancement?
Well, we’re about to find out.
We’ll kick things off with a play in game for the final spot in the tournament on Tuesday March 16th. That play-in game will feature ESPN’s Jeff Passan vs. FOX Sports/The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Voting will be done for the play-in game and ALL tournament matchups on Twitter for a period of 24 hours. The results of the play-in game will be revealed on Wednesday morning March 17th. Whoever has more votes between Passan and Rosenthal when time expires, will gain the final spot in this year’s BSM Sports Media MVP Tournament.
The release of the full bracket will take place right after the results of the play-in game are known on Wednesday March 17th. I will though let you know which four individuals earned #1 seeds in this year’s tournament, along with the naming of each of their regions. They are Stephen A. Smith (Stay Off The Weed Region), Colin Cowherd (Backwards Hat Region), Dave Portnoy (To The Moon Region), and Tony Romo (That’s My Quarterback Region).
The official start to the tournament will begin on Thursday March 18th. Matchups will then continue each week until Monday April 5th when the final contest takes place. The results of that last battle will be announced on Tuesday morning April 6th. At that time, we will officially put a bow on this year’s tournament and crown the champion. To see the breakdown of the upcoming schedule, click here.
Before the floodgates open and complaints are made about some people getting in, others being left out, and certain folks having harder matchups than others, remember that this is supposed to be fun, everything in the sports media industry is subjective, and regardless of one’s matchup, if they’re seen as the best at what they do, they’ll move on regardless. There are very few layups in this tournament. We knew it’d be impossible to create a field of 64 without leaving some super talented people out, so if you work in the industry and didn’t make the cut, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t make your accomplishments or value to your brand any less important. It simply speaks volumes of how stacked this tournament is with successful people.
I will point out that we involved eight people in the voting process to help us determine this year’s field of 64. There were 225 sports media professionals on our initial list. That got trimmed down to 85, and eventually to 65. The play-in game will be how we get down to 64. As is the case with the NCAA Tournament, the NFL Hall of Fame, the NBA All-Star Game or MLB MVP or Cy Young award voting, there’s always a case to be made for someone who didn’t get in. But when you’re reviewing game changers from multiple areas of the industry and a number of different brands and companies, it’s impossible to please everybody.
What I hope you’ll take away from this year’s tournament as it picks up steam is that there are a lot of really talented people in the sports media industry, many with different styles and approaches to success. Earning the top spot in this bracket will take consistent voting support, respect from fans and friends both in and out of the sports media business, and a whole lot of luck.
We extend our thanks in advance to everyone who will participate in this year’s voting process, as well as to the 64 men and women who will be part of this year’s tournament. We can’t wait to share the full bracket with you next week. It’s going to be a fun few weeks, so let the madness begin!
You Can’t Put a Price On The Value of An Unpaid Internship
“Prioritizing earnings early on over experience is a big mistake.”
Social media can be a mixture of a vacation in paradise or a long stay in the sewer. Allow me to explain.
On one hand, the ability to share your content with folks who’d otherwise not know about it has great value. As a consumer of content, you also have the ability to learn about a lot of different things to improve your education. More importantly though, you’re given a chance to connect with others, and take part in conversations about subjects you have an interest in. That’s the paradise part.
The flipside, otherwise referred to as the sewer, is that a simple harmless post can turn into unnecessary drama. What started as a call to people to make them aware of an opportunity turns into having to defend your intentions and credibility to those who don’t know you, don’t follow you, have no connection to your profession, yet suddenly think they are the judge and jury assigned to your case. When you learn you’ve been going back and forth with @bitchfaceloser and @TeamStretchNuts and engaging with others with no desire to work in your profession who just want to stir the pot and preach from their morale high horse, it makes you feel like you wasted important time defending your reputation when it never should have been required in the first place.
I was reminded of this yesterday when I came across a simple tweet from Jane Slater of the NFL Network.
The tweet itself made it clear, the person retained for the internship would be entering into an unpaid situation. That’s when the chaos ensued.
Immediately after Jane posted the tweet which was intended for people who are in need of experience, she was attacked. In some cases, she had to even deal with personal shots being taken at her family. This was all due to her sharing information with her followers about a possible unpaid gig. Nobody forced anyone to accept the position, it was simply there if a person looking to eventually work in the business wanted to gain some reps, build some relationships, and invest their time contributing to an NFL draft project.
To be fair, there were a number of people who commented and said they wished the opportunity had been available when they started. Broadcasters also jumped into the discussion sharing stories of their early days and what it took to get to the level many of them are now at.
Which brings me to my own story.
I have what I have today because I once accepted an unpaid internship. I shared a thread on Twitter late last night where I pointed out that I spent my first six months in radio working for free. Would I have preferred to be paid? Of course, but if I declined that opportunity and the chance to get my foot in the door, that internship wouldn’t have turned into a job, the reps I gained to improve at my craft would not have been available, and the recommendations I received from my peers later in my career when I pursued other positions wouldn’t have been offered. I did jobs I didn’t love, and worked many crummy shifts, but everything I’ve done in radio today connects to those first four years where I learned every aspect of the business. I didn’t know it then but I’m thankful that I placed a greater value on investing my time in the studio and office versus worrying about if I was receiving my worth or not.
That’s one big mistake I’ve seen a lot of people make – prioritizing earnings early on over experience. It takes many hours of practice to become good at something. I programmed 5 radio stations in 4 cities over a 15 year period and have consulted many more over the past 5 years. Time after time I see and hear the same stories. If you expect a company to pay you to work as an intern when you don’t have the skills needed to do the job, why wouldn’t they just hire someone PT who’s more experienced?
The fact that many broadcast groups offer compensation for internships today is great, and if you can be paid to learn, awesome, take advantage of it. But it’s not your place to tell others what they should or shouldn’t accept. During your early years in this business, reps and relationships are what you need most. Every day you step foot in that building is a chance to make progress towards achieving your goals. You only gain that by being on the inside. If getting in there is only an option thru an unpaid internship and someone wants to take it, why is that an issue? It’s their life, their career, and they should decide what is and isn’t valuable to them, not someone on social media with no investment in their future.
Secondly, nobody ‘deserves’ anything. Watch the ‘Pursuit of Happiness’ and get back to me afterwards on what one deserves. I saw that mentioned in one of the tweets to Jane, and after looking at other issues on social media about unpaid internships I saw some even try to compare it to slavery. That’s ridiculous and an insult to slaves. Slaves had no choice. One choosing whether to accept or decline an internship is far different than what people went thru physically and mentally a long time ago.
If you say you want to work in sports media, and you’re leaning towards passing on it because the first step pays $0 instead of $100-$200 per week, I think you’ll have a difficult road ahead. This is a business where fair or unfair, people pay a heavy price to do what they love. You’ll face years of struggle, miss out on important birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, maybe even relocate, and chances are you’ll question if it’s worth it many times. You may even do what I did once and leave for a few months, seeking a better paying job, only to discover it’s your passion and true love, and making less to do what you enjoy versus making more to do something you don’t is worth the trade off.
I’m not letting companies off the hook entirely. Many don’t do enough to compensate people in the building who aren’t the top ratings and revenue producers. Execs like to preach how important the ratings are, yet I saw folks who were #1-#2 in their markets lose jobs during the pandemic. It reminded me again that anyone who tells you it’s about ratings is full of it. We value ratings in programming because we’re competitive, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s about what you cost the company vs. what your market takes in. The more you make, the bigger the bullseye on your back. I also think some groups search too quickly for what to cut instead of what to keep or invest in to grow. Short-term thinking causes long-term problems. That unfortunately hurts our business too much.
That aside, if you think broadcast groups are going to expand their payrolls for folks who’ve yet to spend a minute in a building and aren’t ready yet to impact the bottom line, prepare to be disappointed. You can tell me that your time is valuable, you’re ‘entitled’ to make a living, and even point out how many millions the broadcast company you want to work at makes, but they have what you don’t – the platform, the opportunity, the experience, and an endless list of people chasing the same dream. If you want to be a rock star or actor, these challenges exist in those professions too.
Furthermore, if you had an unpaid internship and didn’t benefit from it let me ask you a few questions. Did you make the most of your time in the building or did you spend time hanging out, watching, and assuming others will find you for jobs instead of the latter? Were you someone that people wanted to be around and was accepting of critical feedback or were you tough to deal with? How many times did you talk to the boss in the building or the key talent to seek their advice on what you can do to put yourself on the path to a future position? Were you willing to relocate when jobs were available or did you limit yourself to one specific region? If I asked people you interned for to weigh in, would they agree with your version of the facts or claim you subscribe to an alternative truth? The bottom line, nobody owes you anything beyond that invite into the building. What you do with it while you’re there has a lot to do with where you’ll go next.
If you’re in college or just breaking into the business, you may hate hearing this. Maybe you’ll take aim at me like some did to Jane and you’ll call me out of touch, old fashioned, old school, heck maybe even old. I’ll use a different word – experienced. I’ve seen many thrive, some struggle to find their way and blame the business for their shortcomings, and a whole lot more throw in the towel because they weren’t willing to pay the price early on. This business is not for everyone. Some won’t think it’s worth it. Others will use it as the first step towards building a career. We all have choices to make. Whichever you choose, I hope it works out and you find happiness in it.
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