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Adam Schefter, Rick Radzik Named 2022 Champion’s & Mark Chernoff Award Winners

“As I told Adam, his work in this business is second to none, but as tremendous as he may be as an NFL reporter, this is by far the best job he’s ever done.”

Jason Barrett

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For most, two days at the BSM Summit represents an opportunity to gain ideas, new information, and develop a few industry connections. But when a member of the sports media business takes the stage to be honored in front of their peers, it becomes a special moment for all. The look on their faces and the sound of their voices, makes it clear just how much it matters to be recognized by those who live and breathe this industry. Those on hand to witness it also enjoy being part of that individual’s special moment.

When we last gathered for this conference in 2020, we introduced two new awards: The Mark Chernoff Award and The Champions Award. I’ll circle back to the Chernoff Award in a minute, but I want to explain the meaning behind The Champion’s award first.

I’m a big believer in recognizing people who make a significant difference for the industry and those involved in it. Sure, we battle for ratings, revenue, guests, access, and breaking stories, but that’s just the work. When you use your influence and platform to do good for others, that speaks volumes about who you are as a person. It also shows how much of a difference you can make if you focus on what’s right, not just what benefits you.

In 2020, Keith Murphy and Andy Fales of KXNO in Des Moines, Iowa won the inaugural Champion’s Award. Those two men saw six of their colleagues lose jobs, their station cut most local shows, and rather than remain grateful to still be employed, they took a stand. They chose not to go back on the air, reached out to their advertisers to explain what was happening, and that decision created a lot of reaction. Their GM Joel McCrea then went to work, and convinced corporate leadership to reinstate the six terminated employees, move KxNo on to the FM dial, and that doesn’t happen without Keith and Andy standing up, the audience speaking out, and local advertisers supporting them. Acts like that define exactly what a Champion in our industry is all about.

Well, this year’s recipient has taken the spirit of the award and elevated it to new heights. I am honored to announce ESPN’s Adam Schefter has been chosen as our 2022 winner of the Champion’s Award.

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When ESPN Chicago reporter Jeff Dickerson passed away in December, many in the industry were saddened, stunned, and at a loss for words. Few knew what to do, but all wanted to help. Jeff’s death left his 11-year old son Parker without a father. As devastating as that was, it was made even worse due to Parker losing his mother just two years earlier. Anyone in possession of a heart and soul couldn’t help but feel for the young boy and Jeff’s family.

After the news came out, Jeff’s sister in-law launched a GoFund Me campaign with a goal set at 100K. Many did what they could to help, but the attention and support the Dickerson family received went to a different stratosphere once Adam Schefter got involved. After seeing the story, Schefter called upon everyone to help. Within days, owners, teams, coaches, executives, media members, and businesses began donating to the fund. The 100K mark was shattered quickly, and just a few days later, the total hit 1 million when Schefter placed a five thousand dollar donation to help the fund get over the finish line.

When I saw this unfolding, I was very moved. I couldn’t have felt more proud of the way our industry responded. Some in Schefter’s position might’ve hesitated to use their social media platform fearing it could cost them followers, create issues with their employer and the people they cover, or open door for others to push for similar support. But Schefter never let that stop him from doing what’s right. He promoted Dickerson’s story everywhere and anywhere. As I told Adam, his work in this business is second to none, but as tremendous as he may be as an NFL reporter, this is by far the best job he’s ever done.

Few could’ve united the entire sports and media world’s the way Adam did. Jeff’s image was displayed across the country on stadium screens and inside press boxes, and his story became part of local and national radio and television programming. As painful as it is to lose a son and father, for a few days, the Dickerson family had reason to smile and feel proud. Nobody played a bigger role in making that possible than Adam Schefter. It’s an honor to present him with this year’s Champion’s Award, and though he won’t be able to attend due to NFL Scouting Combine commitments, I’m excited to share his video message to the industry at the 2022 BSM Summit. At the conclusion of that video, BSM will make a one thousand dollar donation to the Parker Fund in Adam’s name as a way of saying thank you on behalf of the sports media industry. If you work in television or radio and are planning to attend the Summit live or virtually, I’d love to see you join me in making a contribution as well.

Our next award winner will join us in New York at the Summit. So too will Traug Keller, who we’ve previously revealed has been chosen as our 2022 recipient of the Jeff Smulyan Award.

When I thought about creating an award to recognize sports radio’s top programmer, I knew it had to be named after Mark Chernoff. No program director had a greater impact on the sports radio format over the past three decades than Mark. It took a little convincing because Mark isn’t one to seek the spotlight, but once we put it into motion, I could tell it meant a lot to him. It also meant a great deal to Mitch Rosen, our first recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award.

This time, the honor of being selected as the 2022 Mark Chernoff Award winner goes to 98.5 The Sports Hub program director Rick Radzik.

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Rick has been a vital part of the Hub’s success since the brand launched in August 2009. His Boston radio resume is lengthy, but his move into the program director role didn’t happen until December 2019. As exciting as that was, in less than two months he was instantly tested as the pandemic hit, cancelled sports, and created uncertainty all across the industry. Despite those challenges, the Hub got stronger. Their talent and play by play relationships remained in tact, listeners flocked to the brand, ratings increased, and revenue soon followed.

Then in 2021, the brand reached an even higher level. That was made clear during the BSM Top 20 when the station swept every single major market category. The Hub finished first in every single ratings book, growing from a 13.8 share in the winter to a 20.7 in the fall. They also produced the most revenue among all sports stations for the entire year.

Running a brand successfully requires great talent, a top notch support staff, a strong sales department, a creative digital team, and outstanding leadership. The Hub certainly has those pieces in place, and with Rick at the helm, the station is ascending to record levels. It’s going to be an honor to welcome him to the Summit in two weeks, and have Mark Chernoff present him with the 2022 Mark Chernoff Award.

A reminder, tickets for the 2022 BSM Summit are on-sale until Friday February 25th. After that date, only virtual tickets will be available. We will not be selling tickets at the door, so if you work in the industry and are thinking about joining us, visit BSMSummit.com to secure your seat over the next nine days. I hope to see you there.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett

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When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on BarrettNewsMedia.com and sports gets less crowded on BarrettSportsMedia.com. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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