Over the past two years, a rapid interest has developed in podcasting. While it’s actually been available for years, and personalities such as Bill Simmons and Adam Carolla have enjoyed great success in the space, the commitment from advertisers, broadcast companies, and personalities has grown significantly.
One program which influenced a change in perception of podcasting was the show “Serial“. The program focused on an investigation into the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old student in Baltimore, Maryland. Lee’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Masud Syed was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, but his first trial ended in a mistrial. After a six-week second trial, Syed was found guilty of Lee’s murder and given a life sentence, despite pleading his innocence.
In February 2015, three weeks after the end of Serial’s first season, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals filed a decision allowing Syed to appeal his conviction. The Court also announced that another three-judge panel would address the question of whether new evidence from an alibi of Syed’s, would be admitted.
The interest in the case, and the information learned on the program, pushed Serial’s season one downloads to over sixty eight million. With the rise in popularity came a large amount of mainstream media coverage, which helped the show gain an extension for two more seasons.
Although Serial made a major splash, it isn’t the only program to experience massive success in the podcasting world. Other popular personalities like Joe Rogan, the Sklar Brothers, Shaquille O’Neal, and pro wrestlers “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Chris Jericho, have taken their talents to the podcasting arena too, and gained strong followings.
Comedian Marc Maron is another personality who delivers a strong audience. To date, his podcast has been downloaded more than one hundred million times. It was also the first podcast to welcome the President of the United States Barack Obama as a guest.
Recently, CBS Money Watch said advertising on podcasts had grown to the tune of thirty four million dollars annually. PodcastOne Chairman Norm Pattiz (who’s company sells ad time for Carolla’s show), believes its closer to fifty million. He said “If it were $34 million, we’d be way over 50 percent of the business, and I don’t believe that we are“.
With advertiser interest growing, more personalities wanting in, and audiences displaying a heavier appetite for the content, is there a stark difference between podcasting and radio? Sometimes in our industry we latch on to new things, or reimage old ones to become excited again, but in this case, I do believe there are some big differences.
In the past week alone, I consumed fourteen different podcasts to gain a sense of what each program’s recipe was for serving their audience. What I found was that each program was different, and that alone fueled my desire to learn more about the platform’s approach.
The programs I listened to were:
- The Big Podcast with Shaq and John Kincade
- The Adam Carolla Show
- The Stinkin Truth with Mark Schlereth
- Talk Is Jericho
- The Tony Bruno Show
- The Ross Report
- The Bill Simmons Podcast
- The SI Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch
- Sklarboro Country
- Bernie and Randy
- Franco and Kags
- Dennis and Callahan’s Breaking Balls Podcast
- Radio Stuff with Larry Gifford
- The Podcast About Sports Radio with Zach McCrite
In comparison to radio, there were a number of similarities, but there also were some major differences. I put a chart together to outline some of those items.
|SUBJECT||SPORTS RADIO||SPORTS PODCASTS|
|CONTENT & FORMULA||Follows a Clock & Format||Free Flowing & No Rules|
|SHOW LENGTHS||2-4 Hours||30-90 Minutes|
|DISTRIBUTION||Everyday||1-2x per week|
|ORIGINAL PROGRAMS||Set Lineups M-F||Tons of Variety|
|SPORTS UPDATES||2-3X Per Hour||Rarely any|
|COMMERCIAL BREAKS||3-4 Per Hour||Rarely any|
|COMMERCIAL TIME||12-20 Minutes Per Hour||Rarely any|
|LIVE READS/MENTIONS||Avg. of 2-3X Per Hour||Avg. of 2-3X per episode|
|REVENUE UPSIDE||High/Lots of opportunities||Low/Limited opportunities|
|SUCCESS MEASURED||Nielsen Ratings||Total downloads/Time Spent Per Episode|
If you’re an audio listener, and you spend two hours, one with a radio program, and the other with a podcast, you’ll receive much more content from a podcast. Commercials are not part of the strategy, and because they don’t consistently interrupt the flow of the shows, it’s a major benefit for the audience.
Some other positives include the show lengths which are usually 30-60 minutes. Most commuters can consume an entire show during a drive to or from work. There’s no feeling of “I’m going to miss out“. It’s more in line with television’s approach to programming. Those who listen to a podcast, are likely to listen to others too.
The opportunity to listen to long segments, unfiltered discussions, and gain a peek behind the curtain are other reasons to listen. This allows the talent to be comfortable and authentic. For example, when I listened to Adam Carolla, he got into some very explicit discussions on sex. If the same show had aired on terrestrial radio, Adam either would’ve avoided the subject or presented a PG/R rated version. If he said what he did on his podcast, he would have been suspended or fired, and his employer would’ve been subject to an FCC fine.
What I really enjoyed hearing was how loose most of the personalities were, and how unscripted the programming was. In certain cases I heard shows welcome guests who I’m positive would’ve been declined on local radio stations because they didn’t play into the strategy of delivering ratings. Certain interviews also provided interesting nuggets of information because the discussions were allowed to materialize, and weren’t trying to fit inside an allotted amount of segment time.
There were three great examples of this that jumped out to me.
First, John Kincade and Shaq had a conversation with Kobe Bryant that was as good as gold. If you haven’t heard it, do yourself a favor and check it out. It was fascinating because Shaq and Kobe were able to relax, and reminisce without it feeling like they were under the microscope, and John had a great sense of when to get involved and when to sit out.
Because the environment was soothing for Shaq and Kobe, the interview entered areas that I don’t believe it would’ve had it taken place on a local radio station. If you have the time to listen, it’s worth it. Make sure also to listen after the interview to the conversation between John and Shaq about “Deez Nuts“. It’s very entertaining.
The second piece to produce a similar result was Richard Deitsch’s podcast with WWE personality Paul Heyman. There was no time limit on the discussion which kept it from feeling rushed, and because Richard does his homework, he’s able to get into certain areas with his guests, and pull things out of them that a listener can appreciate. Hearing Paul discuss how he prepares for his next promo on Raw, why he connects with eloquent people, and how he feels about professional wrestling gaining more mainstream media coverage was very insightful.
The last example I want to highlight was from Larry Gifford’s Radio Stuff podcast. His subject was the rise and fall of Cumulus Media, and he utilized a lot of audio clips in it to help him tell an interesting story. What jumped out the most though was his conversation with Tom Leykis. When I heard Tom say “Cumulus is one of the prime murderers of the broadcasting business” I was intrigued.
Tom then shared his personal account of how Cumulus treated him during negotiations, and how their approach pushed him away from returning to the radio business. While I wasn’t privy to his situation, and am sure there’s another side to it, I felt like I was in the room because of the way he presented it. It was a riveting piece of audio, and one that I don’t believe I’d hear on a local radio show.
While each of those examples above highlights the many benefits being provided by podcasts, I also discovered some negatives.
First, nothing is more aggravating as a content consumer than clicking on a button to hear a show, and then having to wait two minutes for the personality to start the program. This happens because the hosts are reading ads right out of the gate. While I understand the challenge of generating revenue on these programs, this will become a bigger issue for advertisers in the future.
The biggest reason is because every time a program starts with a talent reading a sponsor message, I fast forward past it. One of the great tools of digital listening, is that you have more control over the way you consume it. When you’re in the car, you either endure commercials, and sponsor mentions, or you change the channel, and hope to return to the station, and not miss anything important. When you’re at your computer or listening on your phone, you can skip to the good stuff, and eliminate the bad.
It’s very similar in my opinion to the DVR. If you record a television show and watch it back, you’re more likely to skip past the commercials than sit through them. The same holds true when listening to a podcast. I’m sure advertisers would rather not hear that.
Sticking with business, I did find my recall of advertisers was higher with podcasting than with radio. On podcasts, sponsors are woven into the programming during select times, and because the interruptions are fewer, and shorter, I sat through them, and remembered them.
There’s also a positive vibe you feel towards the client because they’ve invested in a unique show that you listen to. You want to reward them for that association. I also heard many hosts supporting their clients, and providing good strong personalized reads, rather than breezing past them as we often hear on radio shows.
If I can keep my critical cap on for a moment, I’ll add that because the programming is often recorded, and not touching on LIVE events, there is less of a feeling of urgency to consume it. If listeners don’t check back often, and traffic decreases, that could hurt revenue.
Another challenge that can’t be ignored is that podcasts offer less programming than local radio shows. Top flight personalities on radio provide fifteen to twenty hours of content per week, while podcasts deliver one to two hours. If you’re in the advertising world, that means less opportunity on podcasts, and more opportunity on radio.
There was one one other tidbit I picked up on that I felt was worth a mention. It applies to the difference in the way the podcasts are presented. Certain talents like Deitsch, the Sklar Brothers, Jericho, Austin, and Simmons, present their shows differently than Bruno, Gifford, McCrite, and Bernie and Randy.
This stems from some podcasters being radio personalities who are used to delivering content a certain way, and others more focused on talking, and less worried about structure and presentation. I can list the pros and cons for each approach, but the one you’ll gravitate towards is the one that appeals to your personal tastes.
For those personalities I listened to who are working for local radio stations, I appreciate them providing something different on their podcasts than what they treat listeners to over the airwaves. That’s very important.
For example, in the case of Bernie and Randy, they don’t do a daily radio show together. Both men are popular to St. Louis sports fans, and occupy drive time slots on 101 ESPN, and by creating the podcast, it brings them together once per week. This helps the station offer a unique program on its digital platform, which gives listeners an extra incentive to visit.
If there’s one piece of advice I can pass along to those who partake in creating podcasts, make sure you’re providing a different experience online than the one you present on-air. Taking your radio program, posting it online, and calling it a podcast is not accurate. Promoting that the show is available on-demand on the website is fine, but podcasts are different. Based on these numbers from Triton, you can see why it’s important to be in this space, and offer original programming.
Earlier in this column I asked if there was a big difference between podcasting and radio, and in my opinion it’s a complicated answer. From the content standpoint, there’s little difference. It’s still programming built around people sharing opinions, stories, and parts of their lives that make them interesting. The format may be different, but it’s still an audio broadcast.
Where things change is when you analyze the business, and content creation strategies. Are personalities providing too much content on radio by broadcasting fifteen to twenty hours per week? If the average listener in a top 5 market consumes thirty to forty minutes per day, does the additional time matter?
How much of that programming time is spent on creating memorable content versus filling air time with calls, and serviceable material? With attention spans shrinking daily, I wonder if we’ll see a shift towards short-focused programming, and a reduction in long-form content.
As far as business is concerned, if commercials aren’t included, and sponsor reads are limited, then how much more money can the platform generate? Downloads, and time spent listening may increase, and that will help the narrative when requesting higher premiums, but there’s still a lack of inventory, and not enough regular programming. Unless that changes, or listeners start paying to consume the content, I struggle to see how the revenue gains will be significant.
If you’re a listener, that’s not your issue. You should love what’s happening with podcasting. You get to enjoy a lot of great talent, content without disruptions, and insight into situations that don’t have a chance to materialize often on local radio. You can also consume it faster which leaves you time for other things that are important in your daily life, and because the programming is offered weekly or bi-weekly, you typically are treated to something good.
As you can see on the image above, younger audiences are growing up listening this way. If this becomes the future of audio delivery, then media companies better start figuring out how to monetize it better.
From where I sit, I believe podcasting provides enormous opportunity. CBS and Hubbard Radio have already entered the fray by making sizeable investments, and I expect other groups to follow suit in the future.
The only thing debatable in my mind is whether or not the platform can tip the scale for broadcast companies, and become the additional revenue stream they need to pull themselves out of the abyss they’ve been stuck in for the past decade.
Is this a fifty million dollar business that will experience slight economic growth? Or is it a model that’s representative of the future, and will deliver ten to fifteen times it’s current number? That’s radio’s problem to solve, not the audience’s. They’re doing their part by showing up and supporting it.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.
Takeaways From The NAB Show and Six Days in Las Vegas
“I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm for the NAB Show was elevated this year.”
Six days on the road can sometimes be exhausting. Six days in Las Vegas, and it’s guaranteed. That was my world last week, as I along with more than fifty thousand people headed to sin city to take in the 2022 NAB Show.
The event didn’t draw as many as it had in the past, but after two years of inactivity due to the pandemic, it was good to be back. Judging from some of the vendors I talked to, the sessions I attended, and the feedback I received from folks I met with, though far from perfect, it was a solid return for an important event. Seeing people interact, celebrate others, and talk about ways to improve the business was a positive reminder of the world being closer to the normal of 2019 than the normal of 2020-2021. The only negative from the week, the consistent failure of Uber to appear in the right place at the right time. But that had zero to do with the NAB.
It feels like whenever I attend industry conferences, there are two different type of reviews that follow. Some writers attend the show and see the glass half full. Others see the glass half empty. I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm was elevated this year. Maybe it was because BSM was a media partner or maybe it was due to the show not happening for years and just being happy to be among friends, peers, and clients and operate like normal. Either way, my glass was definitely half full.
For those who see events this way, it’s likely they’ll remember the numerous opportunities they had to create and reestablish relationships. They’ll also recall the access to different speakers, sessions, products, and the excellent research shared with those in attendance. The great work done by the BFOA to recognize industry difference makers during their Wednesday breakfast was another positive experience, as was the Sunday night industry gathering at The Mayfair Supper Club.
Included in the conference were sessions with a number of industry leaders. Radio CEO’s took the stage to point out the industry’s wins and growth, credit their employees, and call out audio competitors, big tech, and advertisers for not spending more with the industry. When David Field, Bob Pittman, Ginny Morris and Caroline Beasley speak, people listen. Though their companies operate differently, hearing them share their views on the state of the business is important. I always learn something new when they address the room.
But though a lot of ground gets covered during these interviews, there are a few issues that don’t get talked about enough. For instance, ineffective measurement remains a big problem for the radio business. Things like this shouldn’t happen, but they do. NBC and WarnerMedia took bold steps to address problems with TV measurement. Does radio have the courage to take a similar risk? That’s an area I’d like to see addressed more by higher ups.
I can’t help but wonder how much money we lose from this issue. Companies spend millions for a ratings service that delivers subpar results, and the accountability that follows is often maddening. Given the data we have access to digitally, it’s stunning that radio’s report card for over the air listening is determined by outdated technology. And if we’re going to tell folks that wearables are the missing ingredient for addressing this problem, don’t be shocked if the press that follows is largely negative. The industry and its advertising partners deserve better. So too do the reps at Nielsen who have to absorb the hits, and make the most of a tough situation.
Speaking of advertising, this is another one of those critical areas that deserves another point of view. Case in point, I talked to a few ad agency professionals at the show. Similar to what I’ve heard before, they’re tired of hearing radio leaders blame them for the industry’s present position. This has been a hot button topic with executives for years. I often wonder, do we help or hurt ourselves by publicly calling out advertisers and ad agencies? How would you feel if you ran an agency which spent millions on the industry and were told ‘you don’t do enough’? I’m a champion of radio/audio, and am bullish on spoken word’s ability to deliver results for clients, but having attended these shows for nearly seven years, it might be time for a new approach and message. Or maybe it’s time to put one of our CEO’s with one of theirs and have a bigger discussion. Just a thought.
Of the sessions that I attended, I thought Erica Farber’s ‘What Business Are You In?’ was excellent. I especially liked Taja Graham’s presentation on ‘Sharing Your Truth’. I also appreciated Eric Bischoff’s tips on ways to monetize podcasts, and am curious to see how Amazon’s AMP develops moving forward. My favorite session at the show though was “A GPS Session For Your Station’s Car Radio Strategy” led by Fred Jacobs. The insight shared by Joe D’Angelo of Xperi and Steve Newberry & Suzy Schultz of Quu was outstanding. Keeping the car companies on our side is vital to our survival, and how we position ourselves on the dashboard can’t be ignored. Other tech companies and audio operators take it seriously. We must too.
Sessions aside, it was great to check out the VSiN and Blue Wire studios, connect with a bunch of CEO’s, GM’s and Market Manager’s, and visit with Kevin Jones, Joe Fortenbaugh, Jeremiah Crowe, Jon Goulet, Bill Adee, Q Myers, Mike Golic Jr. and Stormy Buonantony. The NFL’s setup for the Draft, and the light show presented at the Bellagio was without a doubt spectacular, plus Stephanie had a chance to say hello to Raiders owner Mark Davis who was inside the back room of a Westgate restaurant where we were having a business lunch meeting. The personal tour we received at the Wynn showed off some of the best suites I’ve seen in Las Vegas, and I was finally able to witness Circa’s Stadium Swim in person, and meet owner Derek Stevens (heck of a suit game). What an outstanding hotel and casino.
Altogether, it was a productive trip. As someone who knows all about building and executing a conference, I appreciate the work that goes into pulling it off. This event is massive, and I have no idea how the NAB makes it happen so flawlessly. This was the first time my head of sales, Stephanie Eads, got to attend the show. She loved it. Our only negative, going back and forth between convention halls can get exhausting. Wisely, Stephanie and Guaranty Media CEO Flynn Foster took advantage of the underground Tesla ride to move from the North hall to the West hall. I wasn’t as bright. If that’s the worst part of the experience though, that’s pretty solid. I look forward to returning in 2023, and attending the NAB’s NYC show this fall.
You’ve likely seen posts from BSM/BNM on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn promoting a number of open positions. I’m adding crew to help us pump out more content, and that means we need more editors, news writers, features reporter’s and columnists. If you’re currently involved or previously worked in the industry and love to write about it, send a resume and few writing samples by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
With that said, I’m excited to announce the addition of Ryan Brown as a weekly columnist for BSM. Ryan is part of ‘The Next Round’ in Birmingham, Alabama, which previously broadcast on WJOX as JOX Roundtable. The show left the terrestrial world in June 2021 to operate as its own entity. Ryan’s knowledge and opinions should provide a boost to the site, and I’m looking forward to featuring his columns every Tuesday. Keep an eye out for it tomorrow, and if you want to check out the guest piece he previously wrote for us, click here.
Demetri Ravanos and I have talked to a lot of people over the past month. More additions will be revealed soon. As always, thanks for the continued support of BSM and BNM.
Six New Contributors Join Barrett Media
“These latest additions will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.”
Building a brand starts with a vision. Once that vision is defined, you identify the people who fit what you’re creating, lay out the game plan, and turn them loose to execute. If the product you’re creating is original, fills a gap in the marketplace, and the work turned in by your team is consistently excellent and promoted in the right locations, more times than not you’ll build an audience.
As you grow, the focus turns to studying what your audience wants, needs, and expects from your brand. Certain things you expect to be big turn out small, and the things you saw limited upside in create opportunities you never saw coming. It’s critical to be open minded and ready to pivot while also examining where and when people consume your product, which pieces of content do and don’t matter, and then use that information to direct your team to give folks more of what they value and less of what they don’t. Team members should want that feedback too. It tells them what is and isn’t worth spending their time on.
As I lay all of that out it may sound like I’m talking about a radio station or television operation. These are the things programmers do frequently to make sure the talent, shows, and brand is satisfying the expectations of an audience. But what I’m actually referring to is the brand you’ve made a choice to click on to read this column, Barrett Media.
I’ve mentioned many times on this website how I started this operation by myself, and didn’t expect to have a team of writers involved in it. I was focused on consulting sports stations, sharing my programming views on this website, and as I cranked out content consistently, I discovered others loved the business like I did and had a desire to share their insights too. Rather than sticking to my original plan, I pivoted and increased our content offerings. In return, the audience grew, clients grew, and it’s led this brand to grow beyond my expectations. Now we cover sports AND news media, we run an annual conference, feature a membership program, create podcasts, deliver a daily 8@8 and three times per week BNM Rundown newsletter, and work with various brands and companies across the broadcasting industry. I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position and don’t take it for granted.
But with growth comes change. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of talented people contribute to this site over the years, and as they produce quality work, and others across the industry recognize it, they earn interest for their services. That then leads to some having to sign off for bigger opportunities. I see that as a great positive for the brand. Would it be nice to have more consistency and keep a crew together for years? Of course. I know it’d make Demetri’s life a lot easier. If we’re losing people for the right reasons though, and they’re landing opportunities that help them advance their careers, I’m going to be happy for their success, and trust that we’ll find others to keep us moving forward. The success of our team helps make what we do more attractive to others because it shows that if you do good consistent work here, you can put yourself in a position to attract attention.
Over the past two months, I have challenged Demetri Ravanos to invest more time talking to people about writing for us. Expanding our Barrett News Media roster is a priority. So too is adding quality people to help us improve Barrett Sports Media. BSM has had just under seven years to earn trust with readers. BNM has had less than two. We’ve put out ads on our website and newsletters, social posts, an ad on Indeed, and we’ve reached out directly to people who we’ve felt may be able to add something interesting to our brand. Most of my time is spent listening to stations and talking with clients, but my eyes are always roaming looking for content, and my mind is always thinking about what we can create next to make an impact.
I don’t judge our brand’s success based on clicks, shares, breaking news before other outlets or showing up in the top three listings on Google. I care more effort accuracy, timeliness, passion, consistency, storytelling, insight, and being fair and non-agenda driven. We’ve found our niche being able to tell stories about broadcasting professionals, relaying news, and offering expert knowledge to serve those involved in the broadcasting industry. If we continue to excel doing those things consistently, I’m confident our audience will reward us by reading and sharing more of our content. It’s why we never stop recruiting to keep things fresh.
Having said that, I am excited today to reveal six new additions to the Barrett Media staff. Peter Schwartz is a name and voice many in New York sports radio circles are familiar with. Peter has spent three decades working with various outlets and I’m thrilled to have him writing weekly feature stories for us. Brady Farkas is a talented host and former programmer who now works for WDEV in Burlington, VT. Karl Schoening is a play by play broadcaster who has worked in San Antonio sports radio and has had the added benefit of learning the industry from his talented father Bill who calls Spurs games. Each of them will produce bi-weekly feature stories for the brand. Jason Ence is in Louisville and has written about sports betting for Twin Spires while also working for ESPN 680. He’ll be writing sports betting content for us on a weekly basis. Jasper Jones will help us by adding news stories on Friday’s. He’s presently in Philadelphia learning the business working for Audacy. Last but not least, veteran author, Brewers writer, and former radio professional Jim Cryns comes on board to help us with features on news media professionals.
These six additions make us stronger, and I’m excited to have them join the team to help us add more quality content to the website. That said, we’re not done yet. Demetri and I are still talking with others and I expect to make a few more additions in the weeks ahead. As I said earlier, we want to improve the news media side of our operation and continue adding people to help us make a bigger dent in the sports media space. Broadcast companies invest in us to help them, and I believe it’s important to invest back.
If you’ve programmed, hosted a top rated show, worked in measurement, led a cluster as a GM, sold advertising, represented talent or have worked in digital and feel you have knowledge to share, reach out. I can’t promise we’ll have room but we’re always willing to listen. I’m not worried about whether or not you’ve written for professional publications. Passion, experience and unique insights matter much more than a resume or journalism degree.
I appreciate everyone who takes time to read our content, like and share it on social, and all involved with this brand who help bring it to life each day. The latest additions of Schwartz, Farkas, Schoening, Ence, Jones and Cryns will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.