Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

BSM Writers

Doug Kezirian Continues To Raise the Bar

“I feel the only way to legitimacy is documented success. My daily betting card is a start. I want records, I want units tracked.”

Brian Noe

Published

on

Doug Kezirian
Courtesy: ESPN Images

Doug Kezirian has had some huge wins in his career. He won nearly $300K by betting that Tyson Campbell would be the first safety chosen in the 2021 NFL draft. He also won $58K with two of the top-5 finishes in a William Hill college football contest last year.

Those are just a couple of his major scores in sports betting. Kezirian has also anchored SportsCenter and hosted ESPN’s Daily Wager, a dream come true in his sports broadcasting career. Now, Kezirian is hoping for another huge hit with his latest venture. Wager Watch with Doug Kezirian combines his two lifelong passions, sports broadcasting and sports betting.

Kezirian also has a passion for documented success. He insists on having a betting report card filled with A’s and B’s, instead of undocumented picks and incomplete grades. That’s very respectable. All of Kezirian’s picks are tracked on OnlyPlayers.com. Every win and loss is right there for you to see.

Although Kezirian has won a lot, he wants to win more. Although he’s done a lot for the sports betting space, he wants to bring more legitimacy to it. That’s not greed, that’s refusing to rest on your laurels. In the conversation below, Kezirian talks about why he’s choosing the entrepreneurial route. He also chats about his time at ESPN and describes what he calls a boutique approach to sports betting content. Enjoy!

Brian Noe: How would you describe this new project of yours?

Doug Kezirian: I’ve been trying to think of the best parallel, and there really isn’t one. But going on your own and doing it my way is something that really interested me for a variety of reasons. Honestly, a part of me just wanted to walk away and kind of just bet the rest of my life, or at least in the short term.

I’ve been in broadcasting for so long, nearly two decades, and moving cities, working late nights, weekends, holidays, it’s been a fulfilling road but a very long one. The idea of just chillin’ a little bit, and doing a Summer of George sounded appealing. But I care too much about the betting space. I know I can kind of change things for the better, at least I hope I do, and then I also really enjoy it and I think this path has a viable potential.

The idea is to do my own show, my way, and maybe, hopefully, influence people who are foreign to this space, how content should be done. Everyone’s new to it because it was federally banned until five years ago. They’re all just kind of copying each other with a lack of options. It’s not their fault, but given the space is so new, there really aren’t a ton of experts out there that can fill up all the hours for this. They’ve sort of treated it in a casual way, which I think can be dangerous and is suboptimal.

BN: What are some examples of how you plan on structuring your show that’s different than a lot of other shows?

DK: It’s a great question. And that’s the obstacle. Right now, we are creating content, we’re essentially doing a 30-minute show. The day-to-day will exist where it is 100% beneficial to the viewer from a professional mindset, not in a technical way, but just what matters and helps bettors.

For example, I will not force a pick on the World Series if there’s not a play. I’m not going to force any plays and I’m going to talk specifically about stuff that I think people should be betting, and on things where there are edges.

I’ve been fortunate to receive proper training in the media space where I think we can do presentation and segments in an enjoyable but digestible way. I’m confident that everything I say will be 100% credible, so it starts with that. I won’t be making anything up. Then I will do a lot of educational content and a lot of audience engagement. I think people are looking through the lens of what’s on the sports calendar, and letting that shape the content and a rundown, but I want to do what’s beneficial to the sports bettor.

BN: Did you enjoy your time at Daily Wager on ESPN?

DK: Of course, ESPN was incredible. It changed my life. It was a dream job since I was a kid. I was able to work there 11 years. I’m truly lucky. No doubt about that. I will never forget anchoring my first SportsCenter, and other unique and incredibly special moments. The fact that I got to launch the betting show and cut the ribbon on the Vegas studio is something I do not take lightly. I understand the magnitude of that and I’m forever grateful.

Along the way, I was able to glean tons of wisdom from legendary anchors and people behind the scenes that just helped me grow across all fronts. The beauty of working at a place like that is you get to work with so many skilled people and evolve as an on-air talent in strides.

BN: Have you learned more from professional anchors or professional sports bettors?

DK: [Laughs] Well, I was pretty far along in my career when I got to ESPN, so I would say definitely sports bettors. A lot of my growing on-air was doing the reps and putting in the time early in my career in Iowa and Missouri. It’s a tough question, but I’ll say definitely the pro bettors. I’ve been able to glean from them for two decades.

My whole thing on the site is, I’m like the mouthpiece or whatever you want to call it. But it’s not just me sitting there and watching TV and picking games, I have an inner circle that I’ve been fortunate to have through my career stops and everything that have allowed me to build that network and that ecosystem.

One of my partners in this project has basically said, we want to take your cell phone and put that on air. We want to take all that information, find a way to present it, because that’s what I think is the most interesting.

Teaching and educating and the perception of how people are seeing things. It’s not just all me, I’m just the one who’s fortunate to have the reach of the right people and then still want to do the on-air stuff.

That’s why the daily betting card is so important to me, because that simulates day-to-day. All these segments are made for TV. And that’s great, my favorite play, my best bet, whatever. But no one bets the same amount on one play every day. There’s a reason none of these shows or networks are showing any records; they’re just talking and then throwing picks out there with no consequence. And that’s fine, again, if people want that and it’s actually helping them.

I firmly believe there’s no difference between the betting market and stock market. It’s just not treated that way because of a lack of understanding. I’ve had conversations with my betting partner and some others on speakerphones when I’ve had my college buddies visiting who are in the financial world. When I hang up, they just laugh. They’re like you basically have the same conversations I do all day at work. There’s the arbitraging, the derivative trading, it’s all very similar. I believe in the legitimacy of the space and want to change the industry for the better.

BN: Is there anything else you’ve tried to establish in the gambling space?

DK: I tried establishing a hedge fund. I haven’t given up on it but it’s difficult for sure. I received clearance from sportsbooks in town, having loose discussions with them, and then even Nevada Gaming. I had a loose discussion and their representative I spoke to said everything looks fine on his part, but it’s the SEC that was the barrier. I have some lawyers looking into this and trying to get something documented from the SEC. But just like with the stock market, people should be able to invest in a hedge fund and get a percentage of wagers.

It’s pretty simple in theory. Everyone puts in X amount, or whatever percentage you represent of a giant fund, and the fund managers can go make wagers. You get text alerts saying you have 1% of your investment on the Cowboys or whatever it is. I know someone who’s done it, people do it currently off the books. I just wanted to legitimize it because I think that is a way to have documented success. So if I’m on screen, and I have a graphic saying this football season I ran a hedge fund that returned 14% on football betting, NFL and college, that is documented.

Especially if this is a tax ID thing and all that is publicized, and you have investors and you have quarterly reports. There’s no reason that shouldn’t be legal. If you can get more and more documented success, then I think that raises the bar. I just want to continue to raise the bar, and I was hoping a hedge fund would be at least one avenue you can continue doing that. If you can get a bunch of people who run hedge funds who have documented percentages, then I think that helps too, or unit sizes or whatever it may be. Then you can start legitimizing more.

I feel the only way to legitimacy is documented success. My daily betting card is a start. I want records, I want units tracked. No one’s going to ever do that, but maybe other places will realize that’s really how it’s done. That’s how you simulate someone’s performance on a day-to-day basis. We don’t have that. We don’t have a degree or a PhD you can get in another space. We don’t have that to put on the screen.

We have some contests. I did well on the college football contest last year at William Hill. That’s other stuff, but that’s not really day-to-day. That’s a lot of game theory and things like that, which is still representative of acumen but it’s just a different animal. That contest required I do eight picks every week. Was I betting every eighth game? No. And were the numbers sometimes different than the market? Yeah, so it’s just different acumen, but it’s understanding things for sure.

BN: What would be the ideal outcome for your new project and what you’d like to accomplish?

DK: Basically what I want to do is put in all the work and do the heavy lifting and aggregating for the consumer. Right now it’s structured in a way where they’re asked to absorb other people, individually. Well, if this is complex, and less than 1% of people actually make money, how much are you really helping the consumer if you’re asking them to consume hours and hours and hours? You’re still asking them to make decisions. Why not have someone else aggregate it all for them and tell them what’s going on in the marketplace, why the numbers are moving, and what’s truly occurring?

It doesn’t mean it’s the only opinion, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be 100% right, but if I have demonstrated myself to have transparency and credibility and care for the content, then at least I can slap my name on something and say, this is what I think is the right option because of X, Y, and Z.

It’s really similar to a travel person. There’s a guy like Rick Steves. He’ll go spend months and months in Rome, stay at all the hotels, talk to all these places, all the restaurants. He’s probably been to Rome, I don’t know, 10 different times. So if I’m going to Rome, I know his book is going to be thorough, vetted, and he’s telling me what he thinks are the six hotels that are the most cost-effective, and the five nicest restaurants and things like that.

I basically outsourced a lot of the heavy lifting to someone like that who’s put in all the work. I, at least, have a report from him or his book or his travel show, where all that information has come from. And then I can make the decision. He’ll say, I think this is the best option for this price point. It’s sort of taking that concept.

People who don’t have a lot of time, want to outsource a lot of this and just want to be educated, but also be sort of guided. Right now, I consume a lot of the networks because I’m aggregating and a lot of these people have observations. I feel like part of my skills are how to absorb that info and find value in it. I consume a lot, but I think it’s a lot to ask the regular viewer to do it all if they’re serious about learning betting and winning.

BN: Where can people find all of your content?

DK: The show is called Wager Watch with Doug Kezirian. And the company is called Only Players.

OnlyPlayers.com is the homepage. If you go to it, my betting card is right there. Since we launched in August, it’s every bet that’s been made. We have a video player on the homepage and all the latest segments are there. We have different categories. We have a live odds page. We have a picks and analysis, which a majority of our content is going to be.

OnlyPlayers.com has been in business for a while with various ideas. Then they pivoted in spring, I came on board and we went betting-specific. I was able to be in charge. Technically, I’m Chief Content Officer, so we pivoted in that regard.

The key is, it’s going to be different because it’s a boutique option. We’re not going to have a bunch of analysts discussing games. That’s my job. My job is to basically be the only analyst, and during the day I talk to all of the other analysts and the oddsmakers.

I aggregate everything and I present the consumer with all the information that they need. We have a rotating host, which makes it different and fun, but I’m telling everyone and I’m sharing what I’ve been able to aggregate throughout the day and the week. That’s the difference.

Other places have other analysts and they’re all shared opinions. On this show, I’m the one who has aggregated it all. Instead of having every GM on SportsCenter, they just have Schefter. He’ll say this is what’s going on behind the scenes. That’s what I’m doing, but I’m incorporating my analysis as well. It’s me and a bunch of people. Instead of having to watch an hour of people talking about those four games, you get it all in four minutes.

But I’m just thrilled because I have an awesome team behind me. I get to control all content and do things my way. I can explain betting the way I want, which I think is what the space is lacking on a few fronts. With the awesome team behind me, and I’m involved in sales distribution, I’ve got equity in the company, like what more could I want?

BN: Well, I hope you have fun with it, Doug. I hope it’s successful.

DK: Thank you. I appreciate that.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

BSM Writers

Don La Greca is Putting His Faith in the Audience to Find ‘The Michael Kay Show’ on ESPN New York

“I can’t stop from just laying it all out there and pouring my heart out in everything that I do.”

Derek Futterman

Published

on

Don La Greca
Courtesy: Joe Faraoni, ESPN Images

When a visitor travels to New York City, the presence of sports is undeniable. There are connections to the games virtually everywhere in the five boroughs, including within Central Park, Times Square and Grand Central Terminal, locations that are synonymous with the effervescent and pulse of the bustling locale. Whenever he is on the air in his home city, Don La Greca pulls no punches. He seeks to convey his passion and appreciation for the metropolis by always being genuine with his audience and seldom timid with what he has to say.

One day when La Greca was in St. Louis to call a matchup between the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues, he observed the rubicund complexion of the city. Concurrent with the St. Louis Cardinals’ appearance in the World Series, the water in the Kiener Plaza fountain was dyed red. Baseball overshadowed hockey, a regular occurrence in the Gateway to the West, something that La Greca knows would never happen in “The Big Apple” due to the vested rooting interests of different fan bases in one city.

“There’s nine professional sports teams – and that’s not counting the soccer teams and the WNBA and all of that – and it always seems like something’s going on [and] there’s so many different directions to go into,” La Greca said. “That just makes New York so special.”

One of the most difficult parts of preparing for an episode of The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York is trying to determine the best opening topic that will appeal to the audience. On top of that, the program is simulcast to viewers on YES Network and remains a fixture in afternoon drive across multiple platforms. The show has been on the air for over 21 years on ESPN New York, with La Greca’s voice being the first heard on the station when it broadcast on the airwaves on 1050 AM. That has led to a run that he didn’t foresee taking place two decades ago.

Over the last several years, there have been various changes associated with ESPN Radio as a whole. Good Karma Brands purchased the 1050 AM frequency as part of a larger deal with ESPN for some of its local radio properties, and the outlet has been operating 98.7 ESPN under a local marketing agreement (LMA) between ESPN and Emmis Communications. The management structure of the outlet has changed due to these transactions, which was headlined by the departure of longtime station general manager Tim McCarthy.

“We’re not all together like we were before [the pandemic] where I can just walk down the hall and see my boss and see everybody together,” La Greca said, “so there’s that little kind of separation anxiety there, but the connection that I feel – I’ll see them at the suite at [Madison Square] Garden when I stop by – they’re good people; they’re so interested and invested in us doing well.”

Working in afternoon drive grants La Greca, along with co-hosts Michael Kay and Peter Rosenberg, the ability to react to breaking news and preview games that are set to take place that night. La Greca has worked in radio in parts of four decades and does not take his presence in a drive-time slot for granted, cherishing every day he is afforded the opportunity to go on the air.

“It’s where it’s all buzzing,” La Greca said. “I like afternoons better than mornings because I feel like mornings are more recapping the night before and having a little bit more fun; not as serious. I feel like afternoons is when things are happening.”

When the program first took the air in 2002, La Greca affirmed that he was told by ESPN New York management that he was going to be co-hosting with Kay. Conversely, he shared that Kay, the television play-by-play voice of the New York Yankees, was informed that La Greca was back at the ESPN New York studios to take over just in case his line dropped. After the first few days, La Greca became more confused and indignant towards the on-air arrangement before achieving clarity regarding the situation.

“We laughed later about the miscommunication or whatever, and then eventually I started doing updates on his show on a consistent basis,” La Greca said, “and he opened the door for me too because he didn’t have to talk to me; he didn’t have to bring me in. But it was the infancy of the radio station, so the calls weren’t hopping all the time, and he would ask me about this and that.”

As La Greca and Kay became more comfortable with one another, he eventually assumed responsibilities as a permanent co-host on the program. Even so, his name has never been included in the title of the show, something that does not affect his relationship with Kay. It does bother him when guests don’t realize the show includes more than just the eponymous co-host.

“Anybody that listens to the show knows what I do and how important my element is to the show, but it does bother me sometimes,” La Greca said. “We all have some sort of an ego where I wish there was a way that my name could be on the show, but at the end of the day it’s never been anything to make me want to leave or make any demands.”

Despite Kay and La Greca not being pleased with adding a third person to the show in 2015, management at ESPN New York informed them that it was going to happen either way. Early on, both co-hosts came to realize that Peter Rosenberg being included was a shrewd decision because of his versatile abilities and the elements he adds to the conversation. Rosenberg continues to co-host Ebro in the Morning on HOT 97 before appearing on The Michael Kay Show in afternoons, equating to seven-and-a-half hours on the air per day across the music and sports formats.

“We were able to build a nice rapport with each other, and I think Michael sensed that we were getting along and it just kind of came together so that when baseball season was over he was able to mesh,” La Greca said. “Michael works very well with people – you can tell with all the different analysts he has on television that he can work with anybody – so once he saw that we had built the chemistry, it was just easy for him to plug himself in.”

There are plenty of different sports to discuss during the course of the calendar year. Over the last decade though, professional football teams in the New York metropolitan area have largely struggled to compete for Super Bowl championships – let alone qualify for the playoffs.

“We kind of all just come to a common ground of what we think will kind of set the tone for the show and go from there,” La Greca said, “but if you look at it in the grand scheme of things, it just feels like any time you talk football, it’s the right direction to move because the phones light up [since] people just love the sport so much.”

La Greca is often associated with on-air rants; in fact, The Michael Kay Show once kept a counter marking the days without one of his verbal tirades. Whether it’s been comments made by Giants offensive tackle Evan Neal or Ed Kranepool being the “forever player” for the Mets, La Greca exhibits fervor and dedication towards the local teams. The rants serve as a visceral catharsis towards what he is feeling inside, and he is able to create a transformation for these sentiments into zealous vernacular for the topics at hand.

“When I rant, I feel like I’m being me,” La Greca said. “I’m giving my opinion on something, and I’m showing you exactly how I feel at that particular moment and I think the listener appreciates it.”

As a radio host, La Greca knows that he is unable to partake in what he refers to as “the game,” which involves instigating disagreement with his co-hosts related to certain topics. In ruminating on his place on the show, he tries to remain genuine to himself and the way he views sports. Exuding self-confidence and a dedication to honesty on the air, La Greca yearns to never waver from his approach and refrains from holding back.

“When people think that my rants are made-up, it bothers me because I lose control of myself,” La Greca said. “I’m like, ‘Geez, you think I’m making this up?’ I wish I had that kind of control because I can’t stop from just laying it all out there and just pouring my heart out in everything that I do.”

While The Michael Kay Show has a legion of loyal listeners and fans, the program has finished consistently behind WFAN in afternoons in the Nielsen ratings. La Greca and his colleagues currently go head-to-head with Evan Roberts and Tiki Barber, but previously competed against Craig Carton and Evan Roberts, and Mike Francesa prior to that. During his time at WFAN, Carton made it no secret that he took pleasure in beating ESPN New York, referring to the outlet as a joke that never took local radio seriously.

In viewing WFAN from afar, La Greca posits that the programs are being generated by the hosts’ interest in teams rather than discussing all the teams. Moreover, there have been instances in his opinion that reveal a deviation from what ESPN New York looks to accomplish within its programming.

“It feels like they’re going after it with the hanging up on Carl Banks and the morning show going after Gary Myers,” La Greca explained. “It just seems like they’re a little bit more aggressive, and if that works for them, that’s great.”

Before he joined ESPN New York, La Greca worked at WFAN where he provided overnight updates and occasionally contributed within dayparts. Being able to foster the tenacity to discuss sports on the air at such a young age came from always possessing an opinion. Although it bothered a lot of people when he was younger, his friends thought it was cool when he would become enraptured in mini-rants about different topics. For parts of 11 years, La Greca was employed at a pharmacy, which is where he learned of Art Rust Jr. and his sports talk show on ABC.

“I couldn’t believe there was somebody out there with a photographic memory who remembered all these things,” La Greca said. “I was like, ‘I could do that,’ and then the FAN came and it was like a dream come true.”

La Greca majored in communications at Ramapo College, taking six semesters to graduate because of his interminable commitment to the campus radio station. While he was an intern at KROCK, he met Maria Milito, a disk jockey who was married to Pete Walker, the owner of Phone Programs.

The connection helped him land a job with the company in New York City where he would place cassettes into a Marantz deck and load the program into another machine. After some time, La Greca moved to Sports Phone on Long Island where he worked as a supervisor, barely breaking even because of the funds he had to set aside for gas and tolls as part of his lengthy commute.

One day, he was betting on winning a football pool in order to make extra money but ended up losing, prompting him to go home and express his frustration by throwing things in his house. When his father discovered his son in an incensed state, he offered to help get him into the Public Service Enterprise Group, the company where he worked. That opportunity would start at $60,000 a year. La Greca realized then how hard he had been working to succeed in sports media and knew that he had to see his dream through, even if there were no guarantees.

“It wasn’t about the money,” La Greca said. “It was about just wanting to do what I wanted to do for a living, and so he understood that. He never bothered me again, and it really worked out.”

Following this epiphany, La Greca was introduced to Steve Malzberg, a talk show host at WABC. As it turns out, Malzberg was put in charge of hiring at Shadow Sports and helped catalyze La Greca being hired by 1010 WINS. People at WFAN heard him on the air at 1010 WINS and had him move to the all-sports outlet, but La Greca quickly realized that since the station was a desirable place to work, there was little movement. In the end, La Greca helped institute a new sports talk radio outlet upon Malzberg’s recommendation to ESPN management, and he has remained at ESPN New York ever since.

Come next August, ESPN New York will no longer broadcast on 98.7 FM. The station made a business decision, electing not to renew its lease. The Michael Kay Show, which first aired exclusively on 1050 AM, will return to its original radio home, in addition to being accessible through ESPN New York’s app, the YES Network, and other multimedia options. La Greca realizes that it will be strange, but hopes that people will continue to find the program as long as it provides content to suit people’s interests.

“It’s a different world, and I know AM’s a little different than it was back in the day but I also think streaming and podcasts and the app is way bigger than it was,” La Greca said, “so I have all the confidence in the world the audience will follow us wherever we go.”

While La Greca has cherished his time on the afternoon drive program – along with calling games across different sports on ESPN New York, hosting the Game Misconduct podcast and anchoring in-studio pregame and postgame shows – he desires to be a full-time play-by-play announcer, preferably for an NHL team in the New York metropolitan area. Leaving the city, he said, would not be an option unless the offer was very lucrative, prognosticating that he would spend every moment trying to return in that scenario. If the circumstances were right for him though, he would think about taking on the challenge since he feels he has reached his goal on sports talk radio.

“If I ever got offered a play-by-play gig and they said, ‘Listen, you couldn’t do The Michael Kay Show anymore,’ it’d be a tough decision but I think I would maybe move onto the play-by-play because that’s how much I love it and [would] be motivated by it,” La Greca said. “Hopefully I never have to make that decision.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

BSM Writers

3 Tips For Soon-to-Be Radio Free Agents

If you are prepared, you may be able to get through it. If you are not, it will only make matters worse. The following tips aren’t, by any means, a silver bullet but, perhaps they will be more helpful than harmful.

Avatar photo

Published

on

Almost everyone in the media business — whether it’s TV, radio, newspapers or what have you — has either been faced with the loss of a job or has faced the fear of the loss of a job. It isn’t easy, it isn’t pleasant, and it seems that it is a constant threat in our industry. Even if it isn’t you this time, it will likely be someone you know or work with. When it is not you, the gnawing feeling in your gut tells you it could have been, and it may be next time. With that in mind, anyone that works for a media company of any size should always be prepared to hit the reset button on their career.

When I was in corporate media, I saw several waves of layoffs and downsizing. I thank God I was never in the position of being on the receiving end of that difficult conversation but I have heard the fear of litigation has made those conversations cold and short. Your entire world can be turned upside down in one five-minute visit to the corner office and you’ll be left with your head spinning.

If you are prepared, you may be able to get through it. If you are not, it will only make matters worse. The following tips aren’t, by any means, a silver bullet but, perhaps they will be more helpful than harmful.

Network Now

Get to know people in your industry. They are the most likely people to know where job openings are. It is unlikely someone sees that you have been terminated and a stranger immediately calls to let you know a job is open in another radio market. It is far more likely that someone with whom you have an association tells you where the next move could be. Even people you may never meet in person can be a valuable asset. They likely have been in your spot or fear being there one day.

How will they know you have been let go from your radio gig? Share it with the world. It may take swallowing a little pride to let everyone know your position has been eliminated but people will eventually figure it out anyway, you may as well control the narrative. Make a heartfelt announcement on social media so the world knows you are in the market for a new gig.

Share your contact info, your desire to work, and your level of willingness to move. Share all those things so the people in your network can know in the most efficient way possible and avoid you having to recount the same set of details 50 different times.

Promote Yourself

This is not meant to suggest you should promote yourself over your organization. I would also say you shouldn’t be shy about sharing your work as much as you can. Remember, a prospective employer will probably search your name before they do anything else. If the first thing they see is your quality work, that is a great first impression.

Tend to your social media feeds so they tell the story you want them to tell. It shouldn’t be just one shared piece of work after another. The work should be a part of it but mix in the personality to show who you really are.

Have you ever taken the time to search your own name online? (I’ve worked in the media long enough to know that answer was a very quick “yes”). Do the search again through the prism of a prospective employer. What does your Google search say about you?

Know Your Contract

It is imperative to have someone in your corner who knows what your contract says about your rights and the company’s rights in termination. In truth, it is imperative to have someone in your corner who knows what your entire contract says. Trust me, the radio company you work for has a very good attorney that knows what your contract says and they are far more interested in protecting their rights than yours.

Your termination may include a severance check and that check may come with a dance partner. In order to receive the severance, it is almost a guarantee you have to sign an accompanying document. Do you have any way of knowing what you are agreeing to with that signature? Of course not. Have someone in your world who can give you sound advice on how to proceed with that piece of your termination. It may mean it is in your best interest to surrender the severance. You will very likely be in no state of mind to clearly make that decision. Find someone who can be removed from the emotion of the moment.

When you see big radio stations like KNBR in San Francisco making deep cuts, it would only be natural to think your company, your station, may be next. It is never going to be an easy thing to deal with but it will be infinitely more difficult if you are completely unprepared.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Names Dave Greene Chief Media Officer, Adds Perry Simon, And Reveals 2024 Plans

“I’ve spent most of the past 8 years reinvesting in content, staff, events, etc. and with Dave Greene on board, I’m confident we’ll take bigger steps in the right direction.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

Apologies in advance for the length of this column. Today is both exciting and important for yours truly. I’ve spent months analyzing every part of our business, interviewing candidates, and I’m anxious to share with our partners and readers what’s on the horizon for BSM and BNM as we get ready to enter 2024 and look ahead to 2025.

When I wrote my eight year anniversary column in September, I alluded to 2023 being a tough year. Business wise we’ve been strong but managing staff, content, and workload has been harder. Just yesterday I had to deal with a writer bolting without notice. It’s a pain in the ass. Creating and installing a content plan is easy, but if the algorithms change and your team isn’t passionate about the work or in the right roles, growth stalls. You either make changes or accept not being able to reach your goals. For me, the latter is not an option. I’m far too driven, invested and excited by what I do to accept the status quo. I expect us to grow, work hard, make a difference, and enjoy it. If it means having to rattle a few cages to get to where we need to be, then that’s what I’ll do.

The hardest part of 2023 has been knowing we had to move through the present to get to the future. I’ve had to be more protective of my time this year, saving it for clients, partners, staff, Summit planning, content analysis, creating advertising packages, and meeting with potential partners, attending business functions, recruiting staff, and taking a greater role in day-to-day content management. I’ve missed out on calls with friends who wanted to chat about the business, and reduced my writing and podcast involvement because it was necessary. BSM and BNM are both healthy, and as others vacated the space or slowed down, we’ve ramped up and continue to invest in strengthening our coverage.

Before I get into the specifics of what lies ahead, I want to recognize Garrett Searight, Alex Reynolds, Andy Drake, and Stephanie Eads for helping to keep the brand on track during the past few months. I also want to thank all of our writers for continuing to create great content. After the BNM Summit concluded in Nashville, there was so much to do and not enough time. Though it forced many of us to take on more than we wanted to, we got through it, and grew our traffic and impact. That’s a credit to our team, and the trust we’ve built with our audience.

Having set the table now, let me share what’s on the horizon, what’s ending, and where we’re hoping to go in 2024.

Chief Media Officer: I’ve gone through a long, extensive process to identify the right leader to help us grow Barrett Media. The conversations started in May and ran through November, and I had a chance to meet a lot of smart, talented people, and learn a lot about the way our brands are viewed by professional candidates. To everyone I had a chance to interact with along the way, thank you for the interest. It was a pleasure connecting with all of you.

But in the end, there was only one job to offer, and I’m excited to announce that we found exactly what we were looking for. It is my great pleasure to introduce Dave Greene as Barrett Media’s new Chief Media Officer.

The experience Dave brings with him to this position is extensive. He’s been an integral part of building the Podcast Heat Network alongside talented pro wrestling podcaster Conrad Thompson. The company has created, distributed, and monetized podcasts featuring star talents such as Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett and others. Before joining the Podcast Heat Network with Conrad, Dave spent two decades in the radio business, working as a VP/GM, GSM, PD, Owner, and and On-Air talent. He has worked for Audacy, Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media, and Flinn Broadcasting. Among the sports and news brands he’s had the pleasure of helping include KMOX and 590 The Fan in St. Louis, 610 Sports in Kansas City, The Ump and WVNN in Huntsville, and KHMO in Quincy. He’s also served as co-owner and publisher of St. Louis Sports magazine, and was one of our first weekly columnists when we started adding writers in 2017.

When I made the decision to add someone to help me manage the content and grow the company, I knew I’d be looking for a unicorn. I initially sought an Executive Editor but as this process moved along, I realized I needed a leader who provided more than just writing and broadcasting skills. They needed to be adept at content and sales, have a passion and ability to write, connected across the industry, experienced in event creation, and equally as important, they had to know our brands and see growth potential in our business the way that I do.

I took my time with this hire because it was too important to make a rushed or bad choice. Since launching BSM in 2015 and BNM in 2020, I’ve seen other comparable media outlets earn seven to eight figure valuations. We’re not at that level and may never be but I believe we’re on the right track to larger success. Though I have zero interest in selling BSM and BNM, and plan on running this company for 15 more years, it only makes sense to make our brands the best they can be, and elevate our value with each passing year. I’ve spent most of the past eight years reinvesting in content, staff, events, etc. and with Dave on board, I’m confident we’ll take bigger steps in the right direction.

Dave’s immediate focus will be to learn the staff, manage the day-to-day workflow, find and write news stories, add a weekly column, contribute on special projects, and execute our editorial calendar. Additionally he’ll work with Stephanie to improve our sales operation, and collaborate with me on new ways to grow events, traffic, newsletters, and audience data. After previously competing against each other in St. Louis, I’m looking forward to being on the side and working together to maximize the full potential of Barrett Media.

Internal Promotions: In addition to strengthening our team with Dave’s addition, I am equally excited to announce three internal promotions. First, I’m thrilled to elevate Alex Reynolds to the role of Digital Director of Barrett Media. Alex has served as our social media coordinator since August 2022, playing a key role in executing our social media strategy. Moving forward, he will continue overseeing our social media plan, while getting further involved in affiliate marketing, website/content partnerships, newsletter creation, podcast/video production, data analysis, and audience growth strategies for our social channels and newsletters. He will also write a brand new original series, ‘Social Studies‘, which debuts in January on BSM.

The second internal promotion I’m pleased to share involves Derek Futterman. Derek is being officially promoted to the role of Sports Media Reporter. Since joining BSM in May 2021, Derek has learned a ton as a Contributing Editor and News Writer. He started by occasionally writing stories, got further involved with daily news, and in the past few months, has taken on the challenge of writing features on executives and broadcasters. He’s covered industry events, the BSM Summit, established relationships, and continues to grow. I’m eager to help him take another step by having him produce three features per week, contribute to special projects, involving him as our backstage interviewer at the BSM Summit, and having him contribute to daily news, while additionally managing BSM’s Jobs section.

The final internal promotion involves Garrett Searight. Garrett joined us in August 2022 as an Editor, and worked his tail off but learned quickly, this is different from working inside of a radio station. Over the past few months he’s raised his game, and I’m pleased to promote him to Managing Editor of BNM starting January 1st. Garrett will report to myself and our Chief Media Officer while writing daily news, and two weekly features for BNM. He’ll also become the point person for our BNM columnists and features writers. We’ve seen BNM make major strides over the past year despite not having a dedicated leader. I can only imagine how much better the brand will be with Garrett fully focused on it. One thing that isn’t changing, he’ll continue to write his weekly sports media column for BSM, and manage BNM’s Jobs section.

Website Redesigns: You’ve likely noticed that BSM and BNM look different today. We have modified both websites to make it easier to find content. Our main pages are often filled with news stories, making it hard to find things. These new layouts allow us to feature six stories in the main sections, and nine in each of the key lower sections, sports/news radio, sports/news TV, and sports digital/media business. The site will also display better on mobile, and we’ve added a sports betting bar on BSM, conference calendars to the lower right of articles on both sites, and we’ve retained the media stock ticker on BNM. All are available for sponsorship. We’re also turning on the comments to allow readers to chime in on our stories.

BSM Writers: To help us elevate BSM in 2024, we’re adding a few new writers, adjusting roles of a few of our contributors, and saying goodbye to a few of our teammates.

Starting with the additions, I’m excited to welcome Moses Massena as a weekly columnist. Moses is a sports television veteran, who spent 14 years at MLB Network, working as a researcher, segment producer, and producer, winning 7 Sports Emmys for his contributions to “MLB Tonight”. He has also worked a producer at MSG Network, and served as a researcher for FOX & ESPN. His professional television career began with SNY from 2007-2009. 

Next, I’m pleased to welcome Jeff Kotuby to BSM as a daily sports television writer. Jeff has written content for many broadcasting and pop culture sites, including The Streamable, eBaum’s World, Twin Galaxies, and more. He has already begun diving in on BSM, and I’m looking forward to our readers becoming more familiar with his contributions in the future.

Moving to the internal adjustments, starting in January, Jordan Bondurant will take on a more defined role writing news stories each night on sports digital matters. Garrett Searight will add local and national sports radio content until Dave has a handle on the daily content, and Peter Schwartz and Demetri Ravanos will continue writing weekly features and helping with original projects. Peter will also add a new monthly feature, ‘Where Are They Now?’, which will run the last week of each month starting in January.

Though most of the news is good, we do have to unfortunately share some bad. Brian Noe and Ricky Keeler will be leaving us at the end of December. Both have been with BSM for a long time and have done a great job for us. In Brian’s case, he was one of the first writers to join BSM in August 2017. We wish both of them well, and appreciate all of the contributions they’ve made to our coverage along the way.

I am still looking to add another weekly sports media columnist to BSM. The ideal candidate will have industry experience, a track record of success, and a passion to write about the business. If you or someone you know fits the bill, send a resume and writing sample to [email protected].

BNM Writers: BSM has earned a strong reputation in sports media circles, and we’re determined to make sure BNM is highly regarded as well. To help us continue making progress, we’re excited to announce a few additions. First, please join me in welcoming Perry Michael Simon to BNM as a weekly columnist. Perry’s column will be published every Thursday on the site starting on December 7th.

Perry served as VP and Editor/News-Talk-Sports/Podcast for AllAccess.com after previously working as a Program Director and Operations Manager for KLSX and KLYY in Los Angeles and New Jersey 101.5 in Trenton. His contributions to All Access were excellent, and his knowledge of the industry, and his willingness to challenge it helped many broadcasters learn, adjust, defend, and grow to appreciate his point of view. After a well deserved break following the shutdown of All Access, Perry is refreshed, refocused, and ready to offer his smart, snarky, and strong opinions on the media business. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for our readers.

In addition, BNM is pleased to announce the arrival of Krystina Alarcon Carroll. Krystina joins us in a hybrid role, writing two weekly features and adding a weekly column. She freelances currently for WPIX in New York and previously worked on live, streamed, and syndicated TV programs at NY1, Fox News Digital, Law & Crime Network, and Newsmax. We’re excited to add her to our team, and you can read her first story today on BNM.

As our readers recently learned, we’ve unfortunately had to say goodbye to Jim Avila. Jim did an excellent job for BNM but a great television opportunity came his way, and we wish him nothing but the best moving forward. Ryan Hedrick has also exited. I’m accepting resumes and writing samples from industry pros who have a passion to write daily news TV stories and weekly features. If interested, click here. We have more evaluations to make in the next month to make sure we’re built for success entering 2024. One thing for certain, we are going to keep building BNM and make sure news/talk media professionals have a daily destination to visit and enjoy reading about their format and business.

Two New Newsletters: Another exciting addition coming in 2024 will be the introduction of two new daily newsletters, the BSM Press Pass, and the BNM Wrap Up. We will distribute both starting on January 2nd. The BSM Press Pass will be delivered daily at 5pm ET. The BNM Wrap Up will go out at 6pm ET. We’ll have a different look and approach for both, which I think media folks will enjoy and find useful at the end of the work day.

With the arrival of the Press Pass and Wrap Up, we will continue sending out the BSM 8@8 at 8am ET. The BNM Rundown though will move to an earlier time, going out each morning at 9am ET. The same look, structure and valuable content will be available in both. If you haven’t signed up for BSM’s newsletters, go here. If you wish to receive BNM’s newsletters, go here.

Editorial Calendar: When BSM was born, I wrote and created a lot of features and original stories. From 5 Podcasts in 5 Days to the Sports Radio Draft, the Greatest SportsCenter Anchor Tournament, and a full-day spent with Mad Dog Sports Radio, creative pieces performed well for us. But as day-to-day news grew and our staff expanded, we got away from some of that. We’ve still done things like Meet The Podcasters and Countdown to Coverage, and they too have been well received, so in 2024, we’re going to put more focus on original projects on both BSM and BNM. We have an editorial calendar ready for 2024, and will begin reviewing plans on Tuesday during a zoom call with some of our staff. We’ve got some great things planned for BSM and BNM, so keep an eye out for it.

Member Directory: Since April 2020, we’ve featured the BSM Member Directory to help industry professionals and aspiring broadcasters display their work to PDs, agents, executives, etc.. All members receive jobs listings by email a few times per month, get featured in the BSM 8@8 newsletter, are promoted in content when they have career news to share, and our annual subscribers get a 20% discount on BSM Summit tickets. Memberships are $14.99 per month or $149.99 per year. For 2024, we’re going to explore new ways to deliver more value and grow our member base. Dave, Alex and I will be brainstorming ideas this month in hopes of introducing new benefits to existing and future members during Q1.

Jobs Listings: We’re often asked to post Jobs for companies due to our ability to reach the right people. Knowing how hard it is to find good help, and having used LinkedIn, Indeed and other sites myself, I know it’s not cheap. Other trades charge a few hundred dollars per month to promote openings, and starting today, we’re going to do the same except we’re keeping costs low. For $99 per month companies can now promote open positions through our websites. If you click on the Jobs tab on BSM or BNM, you’ll see the latest listings. If you use the dropdown menu and select ‘Place An Ad on BSM/BNM‘ it allows you to submit an ad and get it posted on the site within 24-hours. I’m hoping it’s helpful.

Ratings Reports: I know the ratings matter to PDs, hosts, and executives. Yet many get upset with the ups and downs of measurement. Maybe it’s not perfect, but this is your report card, and whenever we highlight the industry, it benefits broadcasters, advertisers and listeners. We’re going to write quarterly ratings reports next year for both sports and news/talk radio. We will not do monthlies. All I ask is that we receive the PPM Data reports for each quarter so we can be fair and accurate to all. We write these reports to showcase the strength of two valuable formats, and to recognize all who contributed to each brand’s success. Nielsen is still the king when it comes to measurement, and our stations don’t benefit if they don’t promote their wins to the rest of the business world. My thanks to Harker Bos Group for supporting these stories. I look forward to digging into the data to highlight those who are making an impact in 2024.

JB Column and Podcast: I acknowledged earlier that writing columns and hosting podcasts became harder in 2023. That said, I realize I have a voice that matters. Starting in January, I will begin writing a weekly column on BSM. I will also be bringing back The Jason Barrett Podcast for 26 episodes next year. Half of those episodes will focus on sports media. The other half will explore the news/talk space. We will also video the shows and make them available through the Barrett Media YouTube page. If I was going to do the podcast, I wanted to add a new layer to it. I think this will help us do that and I look forward to hosting it in April 2024. It’s possible that we’ll add other podcasts and video shows in the future, but for now, we’re going to take it one show at a time.

Return of Guest Columns: BSM and BNM have featured guest columns before from Craig Carton, Erick Erickson, Dan Zampillo, Mo Egger, and Bo Thompson just to name a few. I’d like see more media people use our platforms to highlight issues or causes that are important to them. Whether you’re an owner, executive, PD, salesperson, media buyer, host, agent, imager, producer, podcaster or social media director, if you have knowledge to share, and interest in writing a one-time guest piece for BSM or BNM, email [email protected].

BNM Top 20/BSM Top 20: Our two biggest traffic drivers of the year, the BSM Top 20 and the BNM Top 20 will continue to serve the sports and news/talk radio industries. A huge thanks to Steve Stone Voiceovers for signing on as the exclusive sponsor of the BSM Top 20, and JJ Surma Voiceovers for coming on board as the exclusive partner of the BNM Top 20. The BNM Top 20 of 2023 drops December 11-15 and December 18. Voting for industry executives expires later today. The BSM Top 20 of 2023 will be released February 5-9 and February 12. Voting for that series will start in late December, early January. We’re also looking at a few additional projects to recognize the best in the industry. More to come on that in 2024.

BSM/BNM Summits: The BSM Summit returns to NYC on March 13-14, 2024. We’ll be live at the Ailey Theater both days, and have announced 16 top speakers so far and have more still to come. You can purchase tickets to the show here. For those in the news/talk world, we’re going to host our second BNM Summit in September 2024. We’ve chosen the host city and venue and hope to announce our plans after wrapping up this year’s BNM Top 20. Running our next show two months before the election is going to be excited. Stay tuned!

—–

For eight years, we’ve grown traffic, influence, events, consulting clients, and our writing team by following a simple philosophy, focus on serving the right audience, not the largest. When you commit to quality over quantity and refuse to chase clicks at the expense of relationships, you land in a much better spot. We are where we are today because of our consulting clients, advertising partners, and earned trust and respect with our readers and industry professionals.

That said, while we have proven our value to top talent, executives, agents, and media buyers, some marketing folks have been harder to reach. Stephanie Eads and I have attended many zoom calls and in-person meetings to share our story, and we’ve created packages large and small to accommodate all budgets. I’m hoping that as we enter 2024, those who have been slow to respond or who have stuck to doing the same things repeatedly, take a chance to discover why BSM or BNM should be part of their media mix.

In closing, I am ecstatic about adding Dave Greene to help us grow BSM and BNM. We have a lot of work ahead of us but I’m confident progress will be made. I appreciate everyone who visits our websites, receives our newsletters, attends our Summits, follows and shares our content on social media, and let’s others know about of our existence. Most importantly, I’m grateful to our consulting clients and advertising partners who give us the support we need to be able to continue doing this. We can’t raise the bar without you, and I’m fortunate to be in this position serving an industry I love, respect, believe in, and root for.

Here’s to Barrett Media’s future. 2024 is going to be awesome, and I’m glad to have you along for the ride!

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2023 Barrett Media.