Connect with us

BSM Writers

Are We On The Verge Of A Sports Radio Boom?

“The money won’t create new stations on its own. Savvy marketers and sellers will have to recognize opportunities and act.”

Demetri Ravanos



Tattoos are very much my midlife crisis. I had zero when I turned 39. By the time I turn 41, I will have at least 4. Currently, I am in the middle of getting a half-sleeve done on my right arm. It eventually will look like those old steamer trunks covered in stickers from the places my wife and I have traveled to. Since I can only handle the sensation of a tattoo for about two and a half hours before I have to tap out, we are doing one sticker design at a time. That means every couple of weeks, I sit down with my artist Neal and for two and a half hours we talk while he digs a needle into my skin.

Neal is awesome. He is a great talker and also great at getting a college football or Star Wars fact just wrong enough that I am compelled to correct him. This has to be on purpose because it occupies my mind and distracts me from the pain when he is working on areas where the skin is thinner and more sensitive.

This past Sunday, Neal told me that he had read my piece from last week about starting to bet on sports. Neal is also a big college football fan, but obviously not a media professional. He said that he had noticed more ads for sportsbooks during games, but it hadn’t dawned on him that it was a brand new revenue stream for radio stations and TV networks and that it was eye-opening to learn about just how much some of these companies are spending on advertising.

He asked me a really good question. Even if the books have all of the money in the world to spend as irresponsibly as they want, at some point, networks run out of commercial time to sell, right? So what happens then?

That is when it hit me. I cannot speak for TV, but on radio, we are absolutely going to see new sports stations springing up soon. Anywhere gambling is legal is a potential market for sports radio expansion. Markets like Indianapolis and Phoenix, in states where wagering is legal and there is only one dominant sports brand seem particularly ripe for format flips. The same was true in Detroit and then Beasley turned on The Roar. The day mobile wagering becomes legal in North Carolina or Florida, you can bet someone will be ready to do the same in Charlotte and Tampa.

Not only can gambling money lead to more stations, but it could also lead to a more reliable and accurate way of measuring success. If the money is there, does the number matter? If advertisers, be they sportsbooks or sports bars, see the value of your product, it doesn’t really matter how many people Nielsen says are listening. It matters that enough people are listening that clients see a payoff to their message being on your airwaves.

Dismiss this prediction if you want. I understand the reasons you might find it hard to believe. “If new stations were coming, don’t you think they’d be here by now?” “If new stations are coming to take advantage of gambling money, it won’t be traditional sports stations. It will be VSiN affiliates and small iHeart sticks branded “The Gambler” and small Audacy sticks carrying BetQL.”

Maybe all of that is true. What I can say is true for sure is that anywhere there is demand, someone will show up to create supply. Which supply is more valuable to online sportsbooks: people already gambling or an audience full of potential new customers and players?

The money won’t create new stations on its own. Savvy marketers and sellers will have to recognize opportunities and act. That will mean conversations with corporate leaders about the necessary investment to create quality local programming and why the payoff will be worth those costs.

Sports media has never been a hotter buy for advertisers. Sure, that is being led by one industry, but there is so much potential for piggybacking. I mentioned sports bars. Electronics would be another. Acknowledging reality, you have to admit that divorce attorneys likely would be in that group as well.

The environment for new sports stations to thrive doesn’t need groundwork laid. It already exists in most states. All a company has to do now is develop its game plan and execute it successfully.

Gambling is the conduit here, not the framework. Sportsbooks want to spend money to advertise their services. That does not mean gambling is the only thing these stations have to talk about in order to get that cash.

Covid and the spread of legalized sports gambling coincided at the right time. There is money out there and there are talented programmers, producers, and hosts looking for work. Someone is going to see that and take advantage.

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.




In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.


I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves



Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table



Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.