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You Got a New Format Competitor. Now What?

There is nothing worse in sales when you feel one way about changes like this and are told to say something else.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Towers

It is being reported nationally and here on Barrett Sports Media that a third sports station is soon to be launched in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

The market has been dominated for over twenty-five years by Cumulus KTCK-The Ticket. Audacy debuted 105.3 The Fan 14 years ago, added the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers play-by-play, but still trails the ratings and revenue powerhouse KTCK.

Some former Ticket and Fan hosts are getting together to launch 97.1 The Freak for iHeart Media. Mike Rhyner is the Godfather of KTCK and held down afternoon drive for 25 years, retiring in 2020. He’s back now with The Freak, and gives them that local buzz, as do the other hosts who had prominent on-air positions on KTCK and The Fan

So, how should the three sales staff handle this situation?  

No matter what station I worked for, I wanted to get the most authoritative, honest opinions on my station. Let’s respect our competitors, not dismiss them, especially when it is iHeart, Cumulus, and Audacy.  Salespeople should have off and on-the-record conversations with managers and program directors to get a feel for the changes. I always liked to understand the programming implications first in these scenarios.

I want the truth of the matter, and then I will develop my sales strategy. There is nothing worse in sales when you feel one way about changes like this and are told to say something else. I suggest you keep internalizing this until you are convinced that you have a great story to relate to your advertisers because they are about to be told all kinds of things out of your control. 

I visited with our own Jason Barrett of Barrett Sports Media, who launched stations in San Francisco (The Game) and St. Louis (101 ESPN) and consults several stations around the country. Here are items to consider when getting a direct format competition:

Regarding the “new” competitor:

  • Is the talent legitimate? Do they come from a station that is well-rated? 
  • Is the signal clear? Is it a Class C FM signal or AM with a limited FM translator?
  • Do they have the money to promote? Are there any significant play-by-play rights on the station? 
  • Are there enough on-air personalities to drive listeners into every daypart? 

On the stations already in the format:

  • Why were the on-air people who left made available? What’s the story?
  • What station image do you have, and how is it different than the new competitor? Guy talk, ESPN affiliated, national sports talk,1 or 2 local team-dominated talk, or all local straight-ahead sports talk?  
  • On average, do you have an under or over 40-year-old on-air staff? Do you have an FM or AM sound? 
  • How did the battle go the last time you dealt with a format competitor?

After you get a feel for these issues, it’s time to put together some sales strategies. We will tackle that next Friday.

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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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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