Jason Barrett and I have been kicking around the idea of launching a podcast network for a while now. Our hold-up was always two-fold. First, did we have the right people and second, what were the topics and ideas that would best serve the industry and fit with the overall vision and direction of Barrett Sports Media.
If you checked out the site yesterday, you know we can happily say that we have cracked that code! The BSM Podcast Network is on the verge of becoming a reality with new shows The Sports Talkers and Seller to Seller set to join Media Noise in the coming weeks, as are revivals of older shows The Jason Barrett Podcast and The Producers Podcast.
I have been working with JB for four years now. I have loved and learned every day I have been a part of this company. Still, by the end of last year, I knew it was time for some kind of change.
Moving from covering the news of the industry to leading our podcast network gives me some flexibility. I can still enjoy the influence and relationships I have built in the sports radio world while flexing my creative muscles a little more.
The opportunity and the vision we outlined were fantastic. Add to them the talent that is going to be a part of this, and it felt like the right path forward for me at this company.
The Sports Talkers Podcast will be hosted by Stephen Strom. Stephen is an up-and-coming broadcaster in South Florida. He already does work for the Miami Heat’s radio crew and calls basketball games for Nova Southeastern University. He has a passion for this business that both JB and I recognized from the second we got on the phone with him.
On top of that, he has the right combination of curiosity and fearlessness to make this show successful.
His show will feature conversations with stars in our industry. They can come from TV or radio or any of the many digital platforms that exist now. They can be legends. They can still be finding their way.
The idea is simple. Everyone came from somewhere and the story of that journey can help someone.
“I want to squeeze every last ounce of information and advice I can get from these guys and gals to help myself and others,” Strom said.
Brady Farkas is a talented young broadcaster in a small market. That means he has had to wear many different hats and has served as his own producer a number of times. He takes over The Producers Podcast.
“I really look forward to highlighting the work of producers around the country,” he said. “Being a producer means different things in different places and I’m excited about learning about those distinctions — and the evolution — of the position.”
It’s an interesting time in the industry to revive this show for sure. What have the pandemic and the cost of doing business done to support staff around the industry? What will it do in the future?
Brady will highlight some of the most talented “guys behind the glass” in our industry, but he also won’t be afraid to ask the tough questions about where are we headed and what needs to change.
Finally, Seller to Seller will feature Jeff Caves. The former PD and seller at 93.1 The Ticket in Boise has been with us since 2020.
Jeff has a passion for two things: selling and learning. If you have read any of his columns, you know he is a guy that is always reading and asking questions about what we can do better. That is the kind of mind that is going to make a sales podcast fit with the BSM brand.
“The best information is first-generation, the kind never before reported,” Caves said. “My guests will give us the insight behind the curtain of sports radio selling – how it is different today and what future opportunities look like.”
I love this company and the people in it. JB has been not just a mentor, but a valued friend and ally. Building something like this together under the BSM umbrella means the world to me.
When we announced the addition of Arky Shea as the night editor of the site, I got a few texts and emails asking if I was okay and what it meant for me. For the most part, I kept my mouth shut other than to say “I’m fine.”
Here we are, a little over a week later and I can tell you that I am more than fine. We added Arky to make it possible for us to turn the BSM Podcast Network from a possibility into a reality. I am rejuvenated and I am excited for you guys to hear these shows.
“Servant leadership” has been overused. For some, it has become meaningless as every coach, preacher, and politician tries to package their thoughts as business advice.
For me, that phrase and the idea behind it still have a lot of meaning. The best leaders are the ones that look at their people and ask “what can I do for you?” or “how can I make you better?”. I truly believe we embody that here at Barrett Sports Media. That is why building this podcast network took as long as it did and why I promise you, the wait will have been worth it!
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.
WORTH EVERY PENNY
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.
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.
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.
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.