Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

Barrett Blogs

One Size Does Not Fit All In Sports Talk Radio

Jason Barrett

Published

on

To have success in the sports radio industry as an on-air personality, you’ve got to have an ability to make the audience think and laugh, while being comfortable in your own skin. Having a strong work ethic also helps.

jkshaqFor John Kincade, those three things have played a critical role in fueling his success on the local and national scene. He’s been a fixture on 680 The Fan in Atlanta for the past 16 years, while also building his brand nationally on ESPN Radio and the CBS Sports Radio network. Over the past year he’s taken on the additional challenge of hosting two podcasts per week for the Podcast One network. To say he keeps busy would be an understatement.

I first got to know John in 2005 when he came to Bristol, CT for a few test shows at the ESPN Radio Network. We worked together on the program “GameNight” and instantly clicked. I thought he was an exceptional on-air talent, but even more impressive was that he was easy to produce. He had a strong passion for radio and although he had achieved a lot of success, he remained very coachable. Not every talent operates that way.

Throughout the years we’ve stayed in touch and discussed numerous on-air subjects, industry developments and ways to make our format stronger. I have a great deal of respect for how he approaches his craft and what he provides through the speakers. His willingness to adapt, work hard, and appreciate the opportunities he’s earned makes it very easy to root for him.

jkcrowdWhen I decided to start featuring some written content from other members of the sports media, John was one of the first to reach out. That speaks to his passion for our business and his interest in helping others enjoy many of the same successes that he has.

A quick reminder, if you work in the sports media industry and would like to write a future piece, email JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

In this article, John provides some excellent information and opinion on why programmers and personalities need to be open minded and willing to adjust their strategy for different situations. Although many have their own personal views and formulas, sports radio is not a one size fits all business, and each market requires a different plan of attack.

Rather than try to explain it myself, John Kincade the floor is all yours.

One Size Does Not Fit All In Sports Talk Radio

Not many men or women can say they’ve had their dream job. I’m blessed to be one that has. In a quarter of a century in the sports radio business, I’ve done it all. I learned early on that arriving behind the microphone was not a destination. It is supposed to be an ongoing journey of evolution as a host. Those who feel they have arrived can find their tenures short lived. 

I have the titles of intern, producer, reporter, local host and national host on my career resume. I appreciate my career more because of the grind it was to get my opportunities and what it continues to take to stay employed. Every step along the way I have learned something. Being a successful talk show host means you need to be part student and part thief. You must be willing to constantly learn and also have the ability to take little skills from others you admire and make them your own.

onesizeOne lesson has the most clarity for me. There is NOT a “one size fits all approach” to success in sports radio. This is true for hosts, producers and stations themselves. What works in New York would fail miserably in Atlanta. The successful station in Boston can’t just be recreated in Kansas City. If you don’t know your terrain and audience, you are destined for failure. I don’t know how many PD’s, Producers or Hosts have espoused their sure fire methods for success to me. Truth is, there is not one method that works everywhere for hosts. There are some things though that a host can do in any market to be successful. 

As co-host of the “Buck and Kincade Show” with Buck Belue on 680 The Fan I have learned many lessons. We debuted in September of 2000, and 16 football seasons later we are still going strong. This has required evolution, reinvention and input from many different people to keep the show successful. Truth be told, I refuse to take every piece of advice I receive. I sift through the opinions of others to find what works for me and my shows. I found out long ago that there are many exceptional talents who never sat behind the mic. These station leaders have knowledge and advice to share, but many times fail to connect with the personalities they’re asked to coach. We are not always the most open minded people in the room.

In the world of local radio, your city is different than my city. In Philadelphia, New York and Boston you have a built in audience with generational ties to the city and the teams that play there. This is not the case for Atlanta, Miami and Houston. The problem is there are programmers who believe there are methods you can just cut and paste from one market to another. It doesn’t work like that. It’s harder working in a transient local market than a city with deep rooted sports heritage. Yet there are things that would help make you a great host that you can do in both places. That is where being a student and a thief serves you well. The PD in the Northeast may find grinding calls is a successful formula. That can’t just be plugged into another market without the built in captive sports fan loyalty. In those markets, you need to entertain and engage to create a show worth sticking around for.

blankAs an intern and show contributor, I was exposed to some of the top names in our industry. The legendary Tony Bruno put me on the air for the first time as a correspondent when I worked for the Philadelphia Flyers. He then introduced me to Angelo Cataldi who began to showcase my comedic talents in weekly bits on Sports Radio WIP. I got to watch Howard Eskin work his magic on TV and Radio from behind the scenes. Fact is I stole components from each of them. Eskin was relentless in his desire to have strong opinions. Bruno thought every intense sports debate could always have a punch line. Cataldi was the master of creating the circus and orchestrating a team. The lessons I learned from them have worked for me.

I’ve had the honor in my career to be an accomplished role player for two major sports radio networks. At ESPN Radio in addition to hosting my own weekly show, I had the honor of filling in for Mike Greenberg, Colin Cowherd, Dan Patrick and countless others. At CBS Sports Radio I’ve filled in on nearly every show on the network in addition to hosting my own show. Each show brings a new energy, different approach and a key message. When filling in on a show bearing another’s name, remember that! I’ve heard people fill-in on shows and they barely mention the host whose seat they are occupying. Worse yet, remember the audience is tuning in expecting to hear the named host. Do their show with your particular flair. Don’t throw away all of the normal flow of the show just because you want to seize the stage. If you are good enough, you will get to do it again. 

I’ve had PD’s who have conducted aircheck sessions with me. We’d listen back to segments and discuss the formatics and content. I learned more from these than in any other forum. I was schooled on resets, constant teasing and how to plan out a show. These tactics have helped me to stay focused and energized on air. I listen to other hosts from around the country on local and national shows. I’m amazed at how many can’t get a minute into the show without tossing out a phone number. They haven’t given me any opinions yet on topics but somehow desire me to call in. It is the tell tale sign of the host wanting to mail in a show or one who has not been taught proper tactics to hold an audience. PD’s, identify talent that desire coaching. Personally, anyone who can put more money into my bank account has my attention. If you are a talent who doesn’t want coaching, you’ll most likely never maximize your earning potential. 

cmuI am far from a perfect host. I do know that I am one of the most competitive. I desire to win and always want to get better. I seek out mentors and pick the brains of my peers whom I admire. I always want to involve the people working behind the scenes on my shows into the on air fabric. There are PD’s that denounce that strategy. I find additional voices serve as a checks and balance system for the audience. They can get comfortable calling me out and inserting other views. When on the air, my Producers are my boss. That does not mean I will always agree or comply, but the Producer must know that I value their input and need their feedback.

Some PD’s don’t demand a show rundown sheet. Others live and die by them. I’ve been working with one on my local and national shows for years. I’m fascinated with the amount of national hosts I know that don’t ever plan out their shows. I’ve been coached to where I now script out every tease and reset. Every segment of every show has content scheduled, but the plan can always be fluid. I can always tell when one of my peers has planned their show, because I always know where they are going and what I am looking forward to.

It’s my belief that we are not being coached enough in our industry. So, I seek out personal conversations with peers I respect and try to learn from them. Many PD’s have not been on air and don’t have the ability to tell their hosts what made them successful. The error in this is that the PD can actually be valuable as a constant consumer of the on air product. Are you listening to me daily? Did you send me an email after that segment you loved? Is every interaction I have with you only after I’ve done something to annoy you? Communication with your hosts can create trust and camaraderie. 

strategyI have seen members of radio management that seem to enjoy pitting one show against another. I’ve known others to preach creating a “Stationality” with interaction between all shows. Competition is great, but creating a radio team will get you much further. I’ve seen too many hosts that care only about themselves and their own shows. They never devote energy to building the brand of the station. Without that brand, you have nothing.

One way for a PD to grab the attention of a host is to thicken their wallet. I have been lucky to have been coached by some that taught me valuable lessons on building my brand so I can represent others. It’s created the ultimate employment insurance. I know that my station revenues generated with advertisers justifies my paycheck. Again, I’m shocked at how many in my field still don’t get this. You are a salesperson for your station and your personal brand. 

I saw a twenty something member of the media recently say publicly after resigning that unless you are Francesa or Cowherd in our industry you get the short end of the stick. That person doesn’t have the stomach or determination to succeed. If you want to build a career and reap the financial rewards, few will do it before they hit their thirties or forties. If you quit in your 20’s, you never wanted to fight to get where I have. 

Thank you to all of the Program Directors who helped to guide me. I didn’t listen to everything you said, but the lessons that stuck have assisted me greatly. If you are a PD reading this, step up your game. The hosts you inspire with a new message may just step up theirs too.

John Kincade is Co-Host of “Buck and Kincade” on 680 The Fan in Atlanta since 2000, Host of “The John Kincade Show” on CBS Sports Radio, Co-Host of “The BIG Podcast with SHAQ” on Podcast One and Co-Host of “Draft Kings Ultimate Fantasy Podcast”. You can connect with him on Twitter by clicking here or on Facebook by clicking here.

Barrett Blogs

Jeff Catlin, John Mamola, Gordy Rush & Maggie Clifton Join The 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

We’re less than two months away from the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles. This year’s conference takes place on March 21-22, 2023 at the Founders Room inside of the Galen Center at USC. Many industry professionals are set to attend but sports media folks tend to be a last minute crowd whether it’s buying a ticket, reserving a room or committing to be a sponsor. Yes, tickets, rooms, and a select few sponsorships are still available, but the longer you wait, the more you risk not being in the room, featured as a partner, and paying higher prices for travel. To make sure you have a seat and a place to stay, log on to BSMSummit.com. For sponsorship inquiries, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

I am really excited about this year’s Summit. The venue is tremendous, the agenda is coming together nicely, and there’s no doubt we’ll have great weather when we gather in LA. Some have asked me why I don’t reveal the full schedule of sessions months in advance, and it’s because I believe in swinging for the fences and trying to do big things. To do that, you’ve got to be willing to invest time and explore every opportunity that can be impactful. It’d be much easier to fill the schedule and be done with everything but if it’s going to take a little longer to deliver the best speakers, discussions and experiences for all in the room, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Those involved in the creation of this conference know that I set a very high standard for it. We’ve run some great events over the years, and it’s because we put everything we have into making sure each session is valuable to a different segment of the industry. My goal each year is to present an action packed agenda that helps people learn, gain access to information to improve themselves and/or their brands, and create a few connections and memorable moments to justify it being worth a few days away out of the office or studio. If we can do that, it makes the sacrifices worthwhile. If we can’t execute at a high level, then I’d probably pass on doing it.

Before I tell you about the four people we’re adding to our speaker lineup, I do want to remind you that we recently announced a contest for California college students. We’re giving away ten (10) FREE tickets to the show courtesy of Steve Kamer Voiceovers. If you know a student in California please let them know about this. If they’re not in California but want to attend the event, we’ve created a special college rate to make it affordable for young people. Everything is listed on BSMSummit.com.

Now, for the new additions to the lineup.

I’m excited to welcome Jeff Catlin of The Ticket in Dallas to the Summit. This will be Jeff’s first Summit visit, and I appreciate him making time to share his programming wisdom with the rest of the room. Jeff will be part of a programming panel that kicks off day #2. That panel will include Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Raj Sharan of Denver’s Sports Station 104.3 The Fan, and our next addition, John Mamola of WDAE. John has been at all of our events dating back to our first test event in Chicago. I’m looking forward to giving him an opportunity to offer his programming insights alongside this talented group.

Also joining the Summit lineup is Maggie Clifton, Blue Wire’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. Maggie has played a vital role in growing Blue Wire’s revenue, and I’m looking forward to having her join Barstool Sports’ SVP, Head of Sales Matt Berger, and Magellan AI’s Chief Revenue Officer John Goforth on a panel that focuses on digital monetization.

Guiding that conversation will be Guaranty Media’s Gordy Rush. The Baton Rouge Vice President and General Manager who doubles as LSU’s sideline reporter on football broadcasts is well versed in monetizing content, and understanding the opportunities and challenges broadcasters face. I’m confident those in the room charged with maximizing digital revenue for their brands will gain great value from these four professionals.

There’s much more in the works that I’m looking forward to announcing in the coming weeks. Whether you own a company, manage a cluster as a GM, lead a sales team, host or produce a podcast or radio/TV show, buy advertising, oversee a brand’s social media strategy or program a network or local outlet, there’s something for every sports media professional at the BSM Summit. I invite you to come see for yourself. To do so, visit BSMSummit.com.

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Jimmy Powers to Receive The Mark Chernoff Award at the 2023 BSM Summit

“Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

As a former programmer turned consultant, I pay more attention than most to those who lead brands, manage talent, and create consistent success. When you look across the country at the hundreds of stations delivering sports radio content, and analyze who operates at a high level, there’s maybe ten to twenty who are changing the game, and others who are rising and hoping to become a bigger part of the conversation.

What makes this annual award special in addition to having Mark Chernoff’s name on it, is that it’s voted on by eighteen industry heavyweights. These are folks tasked with overseeing radio companies, major networks, and having exceptional track records of broadcasting success. So when they vote and an individual earns an honor, it means a little more.

If you’re in the business and follow sports radio, then you’re aware of Mark Chernoff’s accomplishments as a program director. He was one of the true architects and consistent winners, and his ability to excel as a sports radio manager has influenced and shaped many careers. Mark graciously agreed to be part of our awards ceremony a few years ago when I approached him with the idea in New York City. I’m thrilled to share that although he doesn’t attend many industry conferences on the west coast, he will be with us at the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles for the ceremony.

Which brings me to this year’s winner.

It is my honor to congratulate the leader of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Jimmy Powers. Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award. He follows Rick Radzik of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, and Mitch Rosen of 670 The Score in Chicago. Jimmy will be in attendance at the Summit to pick up the award, and will take part in a program director panel at the show. Further details on that to be shared next week.

“It’s such a great honor not only to be mentioned in the same breath with Mark Chernoff, but to receive the ‘Mark Chernoff Award’ is really, really cool” shared 97.1 The Ticket Program Director Jimmy Powers. “With so many great program directors across the country who are deserving of this award, I truly appreciate the recognition.”

Since late 2009, Powers has led the Detroit sports radio station to unmatched local success. Brought in to build upon what was created by the late great Tom Bigby, he’s helped The Ticket become one of the format’s best examples of success. The station has consistently dominated the Male 25-54 demo, while also becoming a ratings force with Persons 12+ and Adults 25-54.

“Jimmy has done an amazing job over the years running 97.1 the Ticket,” said legendary sports radio programmer Mark Chernoff. “He knows how to work with talent, and maintain balance while managing relationships with the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons, which is not an easy job. The ratings remain high, and the Ticket continues to be one of America’s top sports stations, which reflects the great work Jimmy has done as the station’s program director.”

In addition to delivering double digit shares, quarterly ratings wins, and presenting a star studded lineup and Michigan’s top sports franchises, The Ticket has taken home plenty of hardware too. The station has won the Marconi award for best sports station in 2016 and 2022. And now, they can add the 2023 Mark Chernoff Award to their trophy case.

“2022 was another big year for The Ticket, and many in Detroit deserve credit for the brand’s consistent success, but none more so than their exceptional brand leader, Jimmy Powers,” added BSM President Jason Barrett. “Jimmy has been a staple of consistency, guiding one of the crown jewels of sports radio, managing top personalities, important play by play partnerships, and helping the brand generate large revenues. I’m thrilled that our industry voters took notice of the fantastic work Jimmy has done and look forward to celebrating his career and accomplishments in Los Angeles this March.”

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

California College Students Earn Chance to Win 10 Free Tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit Thanks to Steve Kamer Voiceovers

“In order to win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

With a new year comes renewed energy and optimism for the sports media business. Yours truly is looking forward to showcasing the best our business has to offer when we gather the industry in Los Angeles, CA at the 2023 BSM Summit at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California on March 21-22, 2023. Our conference is returning to the west coast for the first time since 2019. We’ve announced some super talented speakers. We’ve got additional things in the works and I plan to make additional announcements in the next few weeks.

People often ask me what the biggest challenge is putting this event together. My answer is always the same, it’s getting people to leave the comfort of their office and spend two days in a room together learning and discussing ways to grow the business. We have great sponsorship support and exceptional people on stage and are fortunate to have a lot of folks already set to attend. Our venue this year has extra space though, so I’m hoping a few more of you make time to join us. If you haven’t bought a ticket or reserved your hotel room, visit BSMSummit.com to make sure you’re all set.

If there’s one thing our industry could get better at it’s opening our minds to new ideas and information. There’s more than one path to success. Just because you’re in good shape today doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow. Building brands, growing audiences, increasing revenue, and examining new opportunities is an ongoing process. There are many shifts along the way. We may not solve every business challenge during our two-days together but you’ll leave the room more connected and informed than when you entered it.

Each year I’ll get two or three emails from folks sharing that they learned more about the industry in two-days at the Summit than they have in ___ years inside of their building. That’s truly gratifying and what I strive to achieve when I put this event together. I remember when conferences like this didn’t exist for format folks and I take the risk and invest the time and resources to create it because I love the sports media industry and believe I can help it thrive. I see great value in gathering professionals to share ideas, information, and meet others who can help them grow their business, and if we do our part, I’m confident some will want to work with us too. That’s how we benefit over the long haul.

But as much as I focus on serving the professional crowd, I also think we have a responsibility to educate young people who are interested, passionate, and taking steps to be a part of our business in the future. The BSM website is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and it’s become a valuable resource for folks who enjoy sports radio and television. I think it’s vital to use our platform, influence and two-day event to connect generations and I’m happy to announce that we will once again welcome college students at this year’s Summit.

Most of us who’ve been in this line of work for two or three decades learned the business without podcasts, YouTube, social media, the web or conferences delivering two full days of sessions that taught you more about the business than what’s available inside of a class room. We learned by doing, and hoping we were right. Then we copied others who had success. Some of that still exists, and that’s not a bad thing. But where our business goes in the future is going to be drastically different.

I’d like to see the difference makers in our format remembered for years to come, and practices that have stood the test of time remain valued down the line. Change is inevitable in every business and I’m excited about the road that lies ahead especially some of the technological advancements that are now available or will soon become a bigger part of our industry. I think we can embrace the future while enjoying the present and celebrating the past. The best way to do that is by bringing together everyone who is and is hoping to be a part of the sports media universe.

So here’s two things we’re doing to make sure future broadcasters have an opportunity to learn with us.

First, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Steve Kamer Voiceovers. Thanks to Steve’s generosity, TEN (10) college students will be given FREE tickets to attend the 2023 BSM Summit in March. Steve is a USC graduate (Class of 1985) and he bought the ten tickets to help young people learn about the industry, save money and make valuable connections. When I first received his order, I thought he hit the wrong button. I reached out to tell him a mistake was made and I needed to refund him. That’s when he told me what he wanted to do for students who were pursuing their broadcasting dreams just as we both did years ago. A very classy gesture on his part.

As it pertains to the contest, here’s how it’s going to work.

To win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event. Included in your email should be a list of steps that you’ve taken or are pursuing to explore opportunities in the media industry. If you want to pass along a resume and audio or video clips too to showcase your work and experience, that’s fine as well. BSM will accept submissions until February 17th. The winners will be announced on Friday February 24th.

Helping me select the winners will be an exceptional panel of media executives. Each of these folks below will choose one person to attend our L.A. event. The final two will be picked by Steve Kamer and myself.

  • Scott Shapiro – Senior Vice President, FOX Sports Radio
  • Justin Craig – Senior Program Director, ESPN Radio
  • Jeff Sottolano – Executive Vice President, Programming, Audacy
  • Bruce Gilbert – Senior Vice President of Sports, Cumulus Media & Westwood One
  • Amanda Gifford – Vice President, Content Strategy & Audio, ESPN
  • Jacob Ullman – Senior Vice President, Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports
  • Greg Strassell – Senior Vice President, Programming, Hubbard Radio
  • Scott Sutherland – Executive Vice President, Bonneville International

To qualify for the BSM Summit College Contest, students must be enrolled in college in the state of California, pursuing a degree that involves course work either in radio, television, print or the digital business. Those attending local trade schools with a focus on broadcasting are also welcome to participate. You must be able to take care of your own transportation and/or lodging.

This is a contest I enjoy running. We’ve had great participation during our prior two shows in New York City but haven’t done it before on the west coast. I’m hoping it’s helpful to California students and look forward to hearing from many of them during the next month.

For students who live out of state and wish to attend or those enrolled at local universities who enter the contest but aren’t lucky enough to win one of the ten free tickets from Steve Kamer Voiceovers, we are introducing a special two-day college ticket for just $124.99. You must provide proof that you’re currently in school to take advantage of the offer. This ticket gives you access to all of our sessions inside the Founders Club. College tickets will be limited to forty (40) seats so take advantage of the opportunity before it expires.

The 2023 BSM Summit will feature award ceremonies with Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan and legendary WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, sessions with influential on-air talent such as Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, and Mina Kimes, big picture business conversations with executives from groups such as Audacy, iHeart, Bonneville, Good Karma Brands, Barstool, The Volume, Omaha Productions and more. For details on tickets and hotel rooms visit BSMsummit.com.

I look forward to seeing you in March in Los Angeles!

Continue Reading
Advertisement

blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2023 Barrett Media.