My wife and I were laying in bed on Wednesday night.
“This is going to sound weird, but I have something I think I need to do for work,” I said. “I think I need to start betting on sports.”
My wife doesn’t care about sports. Her dad was a Kansas basketball fan in the sense that he was happy when someone told him they won. Before we started living together, I think it would be a safe bet that no TV in her home had ever been on an ESPN network. There has never been a time in her life where she was interested in what happened in a game unless one of our kids was on the field or court.
Her answer shocked me and also confirmed my suspicion.
“I get it. It’s everywhere now.”
That is how omnipresent gambling has become. It is perhaps the single most influential industry on our own. You don’t have to be a sports media professional to understand what sportsbooks have done for networks and stations across the country. Just sit down and watch a game or listen to any show. You will lose count of the number of free play and bonus offers thrown at you. I’ve called it a “money cannon” in the past.
I live in North Carolina. Mobile betting isn’t legal here yet, so I opened an account at Bovada. I did a little math, made an agreement with my wife about how much I could lose, and then got started.
I am doing this to better understand the information that gamblers prioritize and the way they consume a game. Would I like to win? Sure, but that isn’t really the point. I’m only betting on college football, the sport I follow the closest, and while I did pick a few games that felt close to sure things, I also thought it was important to live on the edge a bit and make picks in some games that could go either way.
I bet numbers. I bet money lines. I bet props. I even put together a couple parlays. There are so many things that you learn best by doing. Betting on sports is certainly one of them, and there are so many ways to do it!
So how did I do? Well…
|$20.00||UConn vs Vandy (51)||O/U||-105||Loss|
|$25.00||Non-offensive TD (Miss/Bama)||Prop||+150||Loss|
|$10.00||Wake vs Louisville (63)||O/U||-110||Loss|
|$20.00||Fresno St vs Hawaii (over 64)/UCF -16 vs Navy/Charlotte +10 vs Illinois/Michigan over Wisconsin||Parlay||+1258||Loss|
|$20.00||Aub vs LSU FG/Fresno St -10.5/UL Lafayette -12||Parlay||+902||Loss|
Seven bets made. Seven bets lost.
Of course I would have preferred to have won even one of them, but winning wasn’t really the point. Besides, this is a world of learning from past mistakes. On top of that, I have a spectacular story!
Here are a few things I learned in my week of sports betting.
- STATS OVER STORYLINES – This is my single least favorite thing that happened during the week. Betting turned games from entertainment into investments. So I found myself seeking out my favorite writers less and VSiN considerably more. I think VSiN does a great job. It just isn’t usually my thing.
- IT IS THE BEST WAY TO TALK ABOUT A MEANINGLESS GAME – I put $20 on Arkansas State to beat Georgia Southern. I love college football, but that is not a game that was even on my radar for the weekend until I was presented with information about Georgia Southern’s ineptitude on offense and the fact that they fired their coach midweek.
- TWITTER IS A NECESSITY – Audience interaction is always a good thing. Add money to the equation and I was locked into what some of the writers and hosts I had followed through the week were saying on Saturday, becuase I wanted to know what information I needed to either turn my luck around or convince me to stay away from a game I was intrigued by before it was too late.
My buddy Arky Shea writes for Outkick Bets. He was my shepherd through this world. One of the things he told me when I explained what I was doing and why was that gambling makes you a more engaged fan. The information you seek is different than the guy that is a die hard fan of a particular team or sport. If you know what you are doing, you should already know the things that are going to impress that guy.
While I understand Arky’s point, I am not sure that is entirely true. You certainly are devoting more time to parsing through the numbers when you are trying to figure out how to spread your money around, but in just a few days of this, I found myself looking at players and coaches less as people and more as trendlines. Gambling makes you do more homework. It doesn’t necessarily mean you understand the sport any better.
Arky did open my eyes to something though. As gambling becomes more popular, it gives those of us that talk about sports for a living a chance to reframe our content a little bit. I still think it is a bad idea for a host to ever assume listeners know everything that he/she does, but there is plenty of evidence that most of our listeners don’t need to constantly be walked through the basics. If you’re doing a show in Nashville, you don’t constantly have to say “Titans running back Derrick Henry.” There’s a huge chunk of the people listening that not only know who he is, they are counting on him to be able to go out next weekend.
The last thing that became crystal clear in my first week of gambling is addiction seems pretty easy. I absolutely had those “one more bet to break even!” thoughts. I never gave in, but, man, was it tempting!
The people and the companies taking the bets are the ones with the responsibility to recognize and discourage problem gamblers. That is why I wrote last week that the FanDuel/Craig Carton deal is a positive thing. For media professionals, it is important to understand that, like any hobby, the majority of your listeners probably won’t try it, but there is a group that is really into it and wants as much information on it as you can give them. It is up to programmers and EPs to help hosts find that balance.
Sam Mayes Got A Raw Deal But Tyler Media Made The Right Call
“You are being naive if you think a company should stand behind an employee that has put themselves in this situation.”
I do not envy whoever at Tyler Media had to make a decision about Sam Mayes’s future with the company after audio of a private conversation in 2016 was leaked to the media. Mayes and now-former co-worker Cara Rice made a few racist jokes at the expense of Native Americans.
The recording, according to Mayes, was made without his knowledge and leaked illegally. He says in a recorded statement that he should have been given the opportunity to address the recording on air and make amends.
Maybe that is true, maybe it isn’t. I hate for Sam to lose his job as the result of an illegal recording of a private conversation, but the fact is, that conversation isn’t private anymore. Tyler Media didn’t really have an option here. Sam Mayes had to go.
Someone had an illegal recording of the conversation and created an anonymous email account to send it to people in the Oklahoma City media. I was shown a copy of the email. The author states clearly that their goal is to see Mayes and Rice out of a job. There is nothing fair or just about that person getting exactly what they want. It feels slimy. I can’t say that it feels like it wasn’t the right call though.
We have debated whether or not someone should lose their job over comments made in a private conversation many times before. It happens in every field. It wasn’t long ago at all that we were having this same debate about Jon Gruden. His emails to Bruce Allen and others were sent in private. Is it fair he had to go when they were made public? No matter what horrible things were in there, they were said with the understanding that it would stay between friends.
I am going to say the same thing about Sam Mayes that I did about Gruden when that story first broke. You are being naive if you think a company should stand behind an employee that has put themselves in this situation.
You read that right. The circumstances of how the conversations in these examples came to light are absolutely unfair, but the conversations came to light. How it happened is irrelevant. Any sponsor or boss that stands behind Sam Mayes or Jon Gruden would be endorsing the language they used, either inadvertently or very much on purpose. Try explaining that to a sponsor.
People at Tyler Media may know Sam Mayes’s heart. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy. The fact of the matter is, once the audio became public, their hands were tied. There is no mistaking what was said or who said it.
How can any seller or manager take Mayes to advertisers now? How can they put him in front of the Lucky Star Casino, one of the station’s biggest advertisers? They can ask for an audience to let Sam explain himself and try to make amends. The Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribes, who own the casino, are under no obligation to forgive or even listen.
Maybe the day will come where Sam Mayes bounces back. I hope it does. I hope he gets the chance to address his comments with members of Oklahoma’s Native American community and listen to what they have to say in response. I do think it sucks that this is how his time at The Franchise comes to an end, but I get it.
If I have to explain to you why not to say dumb, racist shit, then I don’t think we have much to talk about. But, it is worth noting that the recording of Mayes and Rice’s conversation is proof that privacy is always an assumption, not always a fact.
In his audio statement, Mayes admits it is his voice on the recording. He also says that he was uncomfortable with Rice’s comments and he tried to end their conversation. I’ll take him at his word, but I will also point out that before he tried to end the conversation, he joined in on the jokes. Maybe when someone says that Native Americans are “too drunk to organize” it isn’t a great idea to respond. All it leads to is proof of you saying something dumb and racist.
Again, I’ll reiterate that how these comments came to light is unfair, but they did come to light. That is Sam Mayes’s voice on the recording. He is joining in on the jokes about Native Americans being drunks and addicts. At the end of the day, the only thing that was done to him was the audio being released. He fully and willingly committed the firable offense.
What is the response to a client or potential client when they bring that up? All Tyler Media can do is try to recover and move forward. The company cannot do that with Mayes on the payroll.
Stop Prospecting, Start Strategizing!
“You cannot put a price tag on authenticity. It’s very rare and hard to find these days.”
Struggling to get new business appointments? Dreading making prospecting calls? Having trouble writing creative emails that seemingly never get a response?
Generating responses to new business outreach is easier than you think. Just make sure you do your homework first and keep it “Simple Stupid”.
To do that, start with asking yourself these (3) simple questions:
#1: Did I do my home work on the business itself, their competition and those I plan on reaching out to?
#2: If I were on the other end of the phone and/or email with myself would I want to engage in conversation and/or reply to that email?
#3: Am I prepared to make a one call close given the opportunity to?
If the answer to any of these is “No”… do NOT pick up the phone and by all means do NOT hit the send button on that initial outreach email! Doing so will all but ensure you fall flat on your face. On the off chance you do happen to get the decision maker on the phone you won’t make that great first impression that sometimes can be so crucial. First impressions are always important… ALWAYS!
Skipping over these critical steps is a sure-fire way to ensure your email is completely ignored and will not generate the engagement from the prospect you’d hope for. Successful prospecting is all about the front end digging and research. Do your homework first then strategize a plan of attack for your call and/or email. Taking these extra measures on the front end is absolutely “Mission Critical” and will set you up for much more success with your prospecting endeavors.
Now once you’ve answered “Yes” to all of the above, you’re ready to attack with the knowledge and confidence that should set you a part from your competition. It’s all about the Game Plan, and if you don’t have one, you’re destined for failure time and time again. Incorporate these (5) things into your prospecting Game Plan for your next call/email and watch your results dramatically improve:
#1: MAKE IT PERSONAL & CASUAL – Be informal, find out something interesting about them.
#2: MAKE IT SHORT & CONCISE – Be straight forward and to the point, people are busy.
#3: MAKE IT TIMELY & RELEVANT TO THEM AND/OR THEIR BUSINESS – Give them a good Valid Business Reason.
#4: MAKE IT INTERESTING, COMPELLING & INFORMATIVE – Be the expert they’re missing.
#5: MAKE IT FUN – Fun people are easy to do business with and make it less like “work”.
Lastly, and most importantly, Be Yourself! You cannot put a price tag on authenticity. It’s very rare and hard to find these days. When clients do find it trust me, they value it and appreciate it way more than you’ll ever know!
Good Producers Can Teach The World A Lot About Christmas
“A lot has to be accomplished in the lead-up to Christmas. So much of it happens in the background without much recognition.”
Who is Carl Christmas in your house? Who is the one that makes sure everyone that needs to get a card does? Who comes up with the plan for the lights? Who takes the reins on the shopping?
Every home needs one and in my house, that’s me. December (including the last week of November) is my time to shine, baby!
One thing I have tried to impress upon my mom and wife this year is that shipping and supply chain delays are real. So, if you are planning on procrastinating on your online shopping this year (you know, like usual) someone (me) is going to have no presents under the tree.
Veteran producers are used to operate this way. Young producers, listen up. Your job involves the most delicate balance of any in sports radio. You have to help bring your host’s and PD’s visions to life. That means you have to be able to take their direction. But you also have to keep the host on target. That means you cannot be afraid to be forceful and lead when the moment demands it.
There’s no value to being an unrepentant asshole to people, but you do have to hold them accountable. Look at that Christmas shopping example again. If you want to get what you want, you need to keep on task the people you know aren’t paying attention to the potential roadblocks. It isn’t selfish. It is making sure everyone gets the holiday W they are expecting. Sure, you would be disappointed if your gift doesn’t arrive on time, but so will the gift giver.
Being a stickler for the clock or moving a host off of a topic that has no value is the same thing. Of course there is something in it for you, but you are also helping the host do his or her job better. They may get annoyed with you now, but if you save them from an ass-chewing from the bosses or slipping ratings, then they have reaped the benefits.
I guess the unfortunate difference here is that there may be no acknowledgment of what you did or helped them to avoid. Oh well. Every producer has to expect a certain level of thanklessness.
Producers have to take on that Carl Christmas role in dealing with sales too. Remember, just because the producer’s name isn’t on the show doesn’t mean that isn’t every bit his or her show that it is the hosts’.
It’s like decorating your house for the holidays. You may have a certain design in mind. Maybe you have a traditional look you stick to every year. If your spouse or your kid comes home with a giant, inflatable Santa Claus in a military helicopter that they want on the lawn, you have a decision to make. Are you going to say no and suggest an alternative that aligns more with your goal or are you going to let your plan get run over?
Sales has a job to do. It is to make sure their clients’ messages are heard and to make money for the station. Both can be accomplished without sacrificing your show’s quality.
If a seller comes to you and says he wants his client to come in for five minutes and talk about now being the time to book an appointment to have your garage floors redone, you have to speak up. You have an obligation to make sure that the seller knows that even five minutes of that will hurt the show and have listeners diving for the preset buttons on their car stereo. That isn’t good for the station or his client.
Instead, offer to work with the seller and the client to come up with a piece of content that the client can put his name on and a 20-second ad read behind. Will the audience stick around to listen to some dude named Jerry talk about garage floors or will more people listen to you talk about the NFL playoff picture in a creative way and then still be there to hear Jerry’s message about garage floors? The answer seems obvious.
A lot has to be accomplished in the lead-up to Christmas. So much of it happens in the background without much recognition. If the background work wasn’t done though, the problems would be right out on the front lawn for everyone to see.
“Gatekeeper” is a term I really hate. It implies that someone is telling others what they are and are not allowed to enjoy. It is a necessary term though to properly describe what it is that a great producer and a great Carl Christmas do.
We don’t shut people out from being able to enjoy or be a part of what it is we are creating. We set or are handed down expectations and we block anything that can get in the way of achieving them. Sometimes, that is more thankless work than it should be. It is necessary though.
As my home’s self-appointed Carl Christmas and a former producer, let me give my countrymen the thanks others forget. We are the ones that make it possible for everyone else to be mindless. Wear it as a badge of honor. We may not get the kind of recognition we deserve everyday, but when plans go off without a hitch, we are usually the first to be recognized for making it happen.
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