Connect with us

BSM Writers

What Does Too Much Content Mean To A Producer?

“Don’t treat the smörgåsbord of sports as a cafeteria lunchline. You don’t have to put a little bit of everything on your plate.”

Published

on

Sports radio never has more to talk about than it does in October. Depending on what part of the country you are in, there is the start of the NHL and NBA seasons and the MLB playoffs. The NFL is relevant no matter what part of the country you’re in. College football enjoys that same status in the South and the Midwest, but thanks to the legalization of sports gambling spreading across the country, it too, is starting to get a little more run nationwide.

It doesn’t matter what your role in the industry is. There is plenty you can use to hook your listeners right now. The producer has a particularly challenging role this time of year, because he or she has to find the right balance in all of it and decide, during a time when there is so much, how much of any one thing is too much.

Look at Birmingham, Alabama. It is the college football capital of the country. John SaBerre is the producer of 3 Man Front on JOX 94.5. He knows his listeners could talk about the SEC all day long. That doesn’t mean that nothing else that gets discussed. It just means that there is a high bar to clear.

“The way I view sports coverage this time of year is akin to that meme with the guy who looks at the girl walking the opposite direction while his girlfriend looks on in horror,” he told me via email. “There needs to be something appealing, alluring, or downright captivating to grab out attention away from Alabama & Auburn or even the SEC.  This time of year, we could talk Alabama and Auburn all day every day.  There are so many storylines, so many issues that come up in-game, so many people that want a coordinator fired that we can focus on the two largest state teams and no one would complain.  So for us to focus on something that’s not Tide or Tigers, there is a compelling reason for us to be doing so.  And I believe that we’ve built up enough trust with our audience that they know if they’re not hearing a discussion about AU or UA, it’s for a good reason and they need to hear what we’re saying.”

In Cincinnati, football still reigns, but https://barrettsportsmedia.com/2020/04/29/bsm-producers-podcast-season-2-episode-9-tarren-bland-espn-1530/Tarren Bland told me he is trying to find the balance. He produces The Mo Egger Show on ESPN 1530. It’s Ohio, so the NFL takes priority, but with multiple top five college football teams in the state, it is all about picking which football is right at the right time.

“This year, I would say it’s about 55% Bengals, 45% Bearcats football. We don’t even talk Ohio State, unless they’re in the news nationally or obviously playing UC,” Bland says. “The Bengals is what drives the conversation, especially over the past 2 years with the addition of Joe Burrow. I would say Bearcats are a little higher than usual because they are the #2 ranked team in the country, and have a chance of making history being the first group of 5 to make the college football playoffs. But Bengals is what drives the show. When they’re bad or when they are good like they have been this year our audience will have opinions one way or another.”

part0.jpg

Hockey rarely comes up in Cincinnati. If it is, it is because the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the middle of doing something amazing. Basketball will be reserved for later in the year as the Bearcats and Muskateers head towards conference play

But I wonder what sports gambling has done to that balance. Has the ability and desire to bet changed the appetite of the audience? Not really, according to Bland. It is still sports radio and people want to hear about the teams and games they are most passionate about.

“I’ve been working with Mo for almost 4 years now and I would say he was ahead of the curve as far as talking about gambling on the air.  Since I’ve been working with him, we would have a gambling expert on our show from the start of football season to the end of college basketball season.”

There is a blip on Birmingham’s radar right now that SaBerre will acknowledge people are paying attention to. There has never been a major league professional team anywhere in Alabama. That means, just like in most of the Southeast, a certain Atlanta baseball team was adopted long ago as the state’s home team and that team is about to play in the World Series for the first time in more than twenty years.

“The Braves hold a special place for a lot of listeners in our area. Whether you’re a fan of the team, like Landrum Roberts (co-host of Three Man Front), or enjoy needling their used-to-heartbreak fans, like Cole Cubelic (co-host of JOX 94.5’s morning show McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning), the hosts know how big this is. Even during football season, when the Braves are doing well, the hosts will section out some time to focus on the team.”

So does that mean the Braves are going to be taking big chunks out of the Alabama and Auburn talk on the station? John SaBerre will drop a Lee Corso “not so fast my friend” on that kind of talk.

“Even though it’s the Braves,” he says, “it is still baseball and it is still football season.”

John SaBerre on Twitter: "Checking in on quarantine, yet again… "

The best thing any producer can do this time of year is stick to talk about a gameplan with hosts and programmers and stick to it. Don’t treat the smörgåsbord of sports as a cafeteria lunchline. You don’t have to put a little bit of everything on your plate.

Instead, enjoy the constant stream of news that comes from the sport that matters most to your audience. Afterall, when the cup runneth over with content, the producer has an easier job.

BSM Writers

Grant Cohn’s Trolling of Players is Unacceptable

After an altercation between Javon Kinlaw of the San Francisco 49ers and Grant Cohn, it became clear that Kinlaw was being trolled by a member of the media.

Published

on

grant cohn

Grant Cohn is a media member who writes for the FanNation 49ers blog on SI.com. He also talks about the team on his YouTube channel, which has over 48,000 subscribers as of noon Thursday. His father, Lowell, was a longtime columnist in the Bay Area.

Javon Kinlaw is a defensive lineman, whom the San Francisco 49ers drafted in the first round despite concerns about the durability of his knee. He played four games last season, his second in the league.

The two were involved in two confrontations this week. The first one occurred off to the side of the 49ers’ practice field. Kinlaw apparently cursed at Cohn and knocked his hat from atop his head. Later in the day, Kinlaw again swore at Cohn, this time after joining a live stream on Cohn’s YouTube channel. (Side note: I have never felt so freaking old as I did while typing that previous sentence.)

OK. That’s my attempt at an absolutely straightforward and objective summary of a situation that scares the hell out of me. Not because a player was mad at a member of the media. I’ve had it happen to me and I’ve seen it happen to others. It’s my opinion that this has been happening for as long as human beings have scrutinized the athletic efforts of other human beings.

What scared me was that I was seeing some version of the future of sports media. A future in which media members behaved like YouTube trolls, acting purposely ridiculous or antagonistic to initiate conflicts that could be turned into more conflicts that would could be gleefully recounted as content for the audience. I thought that because that’s pretty much what Cohn did:https://youtu.be/4Hf9sjBttFY

Cohn essentially bragged about the number of different things he said that may have prompted Kinlaw’s reaction, and you know what? It worked. Kinlaw got mad. He confronted Cohn. Twice. TMZ published a story about it. So did SFGate.com.

This is troll behavior. You know, the online pests who say or do something intended to provoke a reaction, and once they get that reaction, they recount and scrutinize that reaction with an eye toward triggering another reaction. Lather, rinse repeat. Increasingly, entire online media ecosystems consist of nothing more than people who don’t like each other talking about how much they don’t like one another.

I’m not going to pretend this is entirely new in sports media. Sports columnists have been known to make reputations with their willingness to be critical of the home team. A huge part of Skip Bayless’ brand is his unwavering insistence on highlighting Lebron James’ perceived flaws. Stephen A. Smith has engaged in public feuds with players, namely Kevin Durant.

I do see a difference between this and what Cohn did, though. The reaction Bayless and Smith are primarily concerned with is from their audience, not their subjects. The subjects may get mad, but that’s not the primary goal. At least I hope it’s not.

What happens if that is the primary goal? What if someone is offering opinions not because it’s what they really think, but because they want to provoke a response from the subject? Media careers have been built on less.

I don’t know if that’s the case with Cohn. I’ve never talked to him in my life, and even if I had, it’s impossible to know someone’s true intent. But in listening to everything he said AFTER the initial confrontation with Kinlaw, I’m not willing to assume that Cohn was operating in good faith. Here’s how Cohn described the initial confrontation with Kinlaw, which occurred as practice was beginning.

“In the training room, I saw Javon Kinlaw, who is the king of the training room,” Cohn said. “He’s usually in the training room.”

Cohn said the two locked eyes, but were separated by about 70 yards at the time. Kinlaw then walked across the field to where the reporters were gathered. He stood directly behind Cohn.

“So I turn, and I say, ‘Wassup, Mook Dawg?’ “ Cohn said, referencing the nickname on Kinlaw’s Instagram account. “And he doesn’t say anything. And I say, ‘Why are you looking at me like that, Javon?’ “

“And then he said, ‘What are you going to do about it you bitch-ass,’ and then he said one more word that I can’t say,” Cohn said. “And then I turned to face him, and I said, ‘Oh, it’s like that?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it’s like that.’ And then he knocked the hat off my head.”

OK. Pause. In my experience, when your job is to publicly describe and critique the performance and attitudes of professional athletes, there will be times in which the athletes do not care for your description or your critique. Some of those who are displeased will make their objections known to you.

However, there are two things that are unusual here: First, the fact Kinlaw knocked the hat off Cohn’s head, which is unacceptable. Second, Cohn then posted a video on  YouTube to not only talk about what had happened, but state he had been so critical of Kinlaw for so long he wasn’t sure what specifically sparked Kinlaw’s anger.

“Javon, what are you upset about?” Cohn asked toward the end of  his video. “Is it the fact that I said you have an 80-year-old knee? Is it the fact that I said that you’re a terrible pass rusher and you’re just a two-down player? Is it the fact that I said the Niners shouldn’t have drafted you and should have taken Tristan Wirfs instead. Is it the fact that I said that you’re unprofessional and immature.

“It escapes me, which of the hundred negative things I’ve said about Javon Kinlaw the last couple of years, moved him to approach me in such a way, but you know what, I applaud Javon Kinlaw for coming to speak to me directly, and I ask you, what do you think Javon Kinlaw is mad about.”

Cohn was trolling Kinlaw. No other word for it.

That night, Cohn was conducting a live stream on YouTube, which Kinlaw joined, while apparently eating dinner, to make declarative statements about the size of Cohn’s genitalia — among other things.

Neither one looked particularly impressive. Not Kinlaw, who was profane and combative with a member of the media, at one point making a not-so-subtle threat. Not Cohn, who asked Kinlaw, “Do you think I’m scared of you, Javon?” He also said, “I don’t even know why you’re mad, Javon.”

I think Kinlaw would have been better off ignoring Cohn. If I was Kinlaw’s employer, I would probably prefer he not log into video livestreams to make testicular comparisons. But honestly, I don’t care about what Kinlaw did. At all. He’s not on a team I root for. He didn’t physically harm anyone. He used some bad words in public.

I am bothered not just by Cohn’s actions, but by some of the reactions to them because of what I think this type of behavior will do to an industry I have worked in for 25 years. Credentialed media members who behave like Cohn did this week make it harder for other media members who are acting in good faith. Preserving access for people like him diminishes what that access will provide for those who aren’t trying to use criticism to create conflict that will become content.

I think Cohn knew what he was doing. In his livestream, before Kinlaw joined, Cohn stated he was not scared because he knew — by virtue of his father’s history in the business — that if Kinlaw had touched him he would potentially be entitled monetary compensation.

By now, it should be pretty apparent how problematic this whole thing is and yet on Thursday, a number of 49ers fans online were sticking up for Cohn as just doing his job. Dieter Kurtenbach, a Bay Area columnist, Tweeted: “Javon Kinlaw does not know that @GrantCohn was built for this.” Built for what? Winning Internet fights? Kurtenbach also deleted a Tweet in which he called Kinlaw “soft.”

Cohn’s father, Lowell, is a former columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. He promoted the first video his son made on Tuesday:

Sorry, I don’t find it funny because it’s another step down a path in which media members seek reactions at the expense of information. Where they look to make fun of players instead of learning about them. They’ll stop acting like journalists and start acting like the trolls who make their money by instigating a conflict, which they then film: “Jake Paul, reporting live from 49ers practice …”

If that’s the case, thank God I’m about to age out of this business, entirely. I’m 47 years old and I can’t believe there’s anyone in our industry who thinks what Cohn did this week is acceptable.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 75

Published

on

A new episode of Media Noise is all about reaction. Demetri reacts to the ManningCast’s big win at the Sports Emmys. Danny O’Neil reacts to people reacting to Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Las Vegas and Andy Masur reacts to John Skipper’s comments about Charles Barkley.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Bron Heussenstamm Blends Bleav Podcasts Advertising with SiriusXM

Bron Heussenstamm, the CEO of the Bleav Podcast Network says blending podcasting advertising with satellite radio’s reach is a victory for both sides.

Published

on

Last week, the Bleav (pronounced believe) Podcast Network announced a deal with SiriusXM to make all 32 NFL team-specific Bleav pods available on the SXM app. SXM can also air Bleav content on any of its sports channels. Each NFL Bleav show pairs a former player with a host to discuss team issues. Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, and Pac-Man Jones are amongst the former players Bleav has signed as talent.

I have hosted a Bleav podcast about Boise State football -the Kingdom of POD. I am usually provided 1-3 advertisers per episode by the network and get paid by the download. My subject matter is regional, so my take-home pay is usually under four figures. I have enjoyed the technical assistance and cross-promotion I receive and I enjoyed meeting Bleav CEO Bron Heussenstamm. Bron is Los Angeles-based, a USC graduate, and founded Bleav in 2018. We discussed the SXM deal, podcast advertising, and the future. 

Will the podcast advertisers be carried on the SXM distribution platform?

Yes, Bleav baked-in advertisements and hosts read ads are distributed across all platforms. This enables the host to do their show once through, making it as easy as possible for the hosts and consistent for the advertisers.

Bron Heussenstamm, CEO Bleav Podcast Network

How is advertising on Bleav different? 

We want to be more than a ‘host read ad’ or a ‘digital insert’ with our advertising partners. When companies work with Bleav shows and talent, those companies can receive our omnichannel of distribution points—podcast platforms, YouTube, socials, streamers, TV, radio, and more. This allows for consistent branding across all platforms: great talent presenting great companies to fans and consumers no matter where they consume content. 

What is the growth pattern for podcasts that you see? 

The industry trades have presented 400%-800% percent growth over the next ten years. Once the COVID fog lifted, we really saw these gains. Sports are always going to be at the forefront of culture. The increases in all sports sectors have certainly carried into the digital space. 

SXM has started with NFL shows but can also air more Bleav content – what does that look like? 

We’ve started with our NFL network of 32 team shows hosted by a former player. We’ve kept the door open for our NCAAB, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, Basketball, and Soccer networks. We’re happy for our hosts to be part of such a tremendous company and platform. SiriusXM can continue to amplify its voice and give fans the access and insight only a player can provide. 

The Interactive Advertising Bureau-IAB- says podcast revenue grew 72% last year to $1.4B and is expected to grow to $2B this year and double to $4B by 2024. Have you seen similar growth? What is driving the industry now, and what will be the primary cause of growth by 2024?  

There is a myriad of reasons for the growth. I‘ll lean into a couple. 

At Bleav, we launch and maximize the digital arm of industry leaders. The technology upgrades to allow hosts to have a world-class show — simulcast in both audio and video – from their home has led to an explosion of content. With this, the level of content creators has risen. Having a YouTube, RSS feed, podcast, and more is now part of the brand, right alongside Twitter and Instagram. 

If a company wants to advertise on Bleav in Chargers, we know exactly how many people heard Lorenzo Neal endorse their product. We can also safely assume they like the Chargers. The tracking of demo specifics for companies is huge. It’s a fantastic medium to present products to the right fans and consumers.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.