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Tis The Season of Opportunity

Jason Barrett



We’ve reached that time of the year where many programmers and top personalities take a break for the holidays to recharge their batteries for the new year. Some will enjoy a mental escape from the radio grind for the next two weeks, while others may only break away for a couple of days.

It’s the one ratings period (Holiday Book) that has lesser importance of the thirteen measured, unless of course you’re working for an AC station and cranking out Christmas music. In that case, this is your Super Bowl!

carradioAlthough the holiday book may be less scrutinized, sports news still breaks, games still take place, and the airwaves still need to be filled by quality talent. People may listen less, but if a local story breaks or your market’s team wins or loses an important game, your audience is still going to tune in for insight, opinion, and reaction on it. Just because most of the audience takes time off around the holidays, doesn’t mean they completely ignore the world of sports.

In many buildings, there are staff members who get annoyed when they see their name on the work schedule on a holiday. Everyone wants to stay home and be with their families and the thought of going into work ticks them off. What they don’t realize is that their actions towards the assignment go a long way in determining future responsibilities.

By accepting the shift with little resistance and doing a quality job, you’re sending a message to your boss that you can be counted on and are committed to doing whatever it takes to help the brand and further your career. Something as simple as working a board operator shift or hosting a 2-hour post-game show goes a long way in building trust with your manager. They also appreciate it and see that you’re a person who’s willing to sacrifice. That matters, and when a situation pops up in the future and you need a favor returned, they’re more likely to take care of you.

cavsThere’s this feeling that Christmas and New Year’s Day are automatic  days off. That’s not true. To many in your audience, the day means a big local NBA matchup or College Football Bowl game. Do you think they won’t be turning on your radio station to listen to the game when they’re driving over to grandma’s house? And guess who they’re going to turn on when they head home after the game and want to hear more about it? That’s right, your brand! Sports never takes a day off.

Check out this year’s NBA schedule on Christmas day. There are a total of 5 games. In each of these 9 cities, people will watch or listen to the game and discuss it while it’s happening on social media. If you don’t have the game on or aren’t talking about it on your airwaves as soon as it ends, you’re missing a chance to build a deeper bond with your audience.


Maybe it won’t be reflected in the ratings, because the one listener with a meter in your city got buried under an avalanche of snow (gotta love that measurement system of ours), but sometimes you make decisions because it’s the right thing to do, and whether the numbers reflect it or not, being reliable to your audience is important.

There’s also another side of the holidays that I think is important to be conscious of. This part applies to on-air talent.

proIf you’re a host who’s getting a chance to fill in on one of the bigger shows during these next two weeks, this can be a great growth opportunity. It’s a chance to work with some of the full time staff and raise your profile with the audience. However, the way you conduct yourself can go a long ways in determining whether or not you’ll receive a future opportunity.

First, remember that you’re filling in on someone’s show. It’s not your permanent spot, so be respectful and remind the audience that the lead host is out, and you’re stepping in. You don’t have to execute the same gameplan that the lead host uses but you shouldn’t be turning their time slot into your personal playground. In simple terms, deliver the type of program that the audience expects.

I once had a talent fill in during the holidays and rather than step in and look at it as an opportunity to get some additional reps, work with some of the top people, and build some familiarity with the audience, they thought they were going to make a name at the expense of others. They were combative with many of the regular weekday crew who were working through the holidays, and in the span of 5 days, they managed to piss off an entire morning show, midday show, and afternoon show.

earnI received a call while I was on vacation that this person’s ego was out of control and because of their actions, a few members of the staff didn’t want to work with him and others called in sick. I wasn’t happy and trust me, the last thing you want to do is piss off your Program Director while they’re on vacation trying to mentally disconnect. I don’t expect every teammate to get along, but I do expect anyone who steps in on another’s show to treat it and the staff with respect.

When I returned from vacation, I spoke to various members of my staff and there was a consistent message about this person not wanting to be a team player. The feeling was that this person was out to make a name for themselves regardless of who they stepped on in the process. I called the individual into my office and asked what happened and I could tell within minutes that there was no way I’d use this person again to step in on a key weekday program.

Rather than acknowledge the possibility that he may have approached things poorly, this person was combative and convinced that the rest of the staff felt threatened by his ability and realized that he was coming for one of their timeslots. When I reminded him that no time slot was open and that he wasn’t going to earn that opportunity with me based on his current approach, he didn’t like what he heard. I told him that his actions proved to me that he couldn’t be trusted in a bigger slot and that part of success in this industry comes from proving you can build a rapport with others. Weeks later he left the radio station, which was wise, because he had lost my trust and was going to have a difficult time regaining it.

From the negative side of the holiday’s, we now turn to the positive.

gjA few years ago in San Francisco, Guy Haberman hosted nights for me on 95.7 The Game. I liked what he was doing and he had a great connection with one of our contributors John Middlekauff. The two of them were great friends outside of the building and that transferred over to the airwaves when John appeared on Guy’s show.

I was curious about John’s hosting ability so I hired him as a talent on our Saturday morning College Football show and he shined. I wasn’t sure if they could do a full show together on all sports subjects, but I figured we were going to be down a few of our key guys during the holidays so we might as well find out. During this time we were struggling in the ratings with our midday show. Although I liked the team we had, I wanted to see the program turn the corner and produce numbers, and I had to be prepared just in case they didn’t.

Guy and John stepped in to host our morning program during the two holiday weeks and not only did they show they were team players, but they also displayed an excellent ability to connect on all subjects and present a kick ass show. I remember when the Holiday ratings came out, I was blown away. Their two week stint had placed them 4th during morning drive which was higher than we had been pulling in that timeslot at the time. I knew it was only a holiday book and things can be screwy so I didn’t want to put too much stock in it, but I also knew what my ears heard was very good, and there was a chemistry between them that couldn’t be taught.

gj2Unfortunately, our midday show couldn’t lift the ratings up, so when I needed to make a change, I looked immediately to Guy and John. I knew a move to middays was the next logical step for Guy’s career, and I sensed that John was hungry and ready to immerse himself in doing a daily talk show. Once I gave them the shot, they repaid my confidence by consistently delivering a top 10 rated program, including finishing 1st overall in February 2015.

They didn’t know it at the time (neither did I) that their holiday fill-in assignment would make a big difference, but because I gave them a shot and they were prepared and took advantage of it, and my ears heard something good that was reflected by a solid ratings performance, it gave me confidence to call on them for a bigger opportunity. They’ve now held down middays in San Francisco for the past two years and are one of the best shows in the market.

If you’re an on-air personality who’s getting an opportunity over these next two weeks, let those stories serve as a valuable lesson. One person took the wrong approach and was gone from the radio station a few weeks later, and another duo conducted themselves the right way and earned a bigger opportunity in the future when something else wasn’t working.

futureMaybe this year you’ll earn nothing more than a one week fill in assignment. If that’s the case, be thankful that you got the call and be ready again the next time your name is called. There may be less eyes and ears on the product during the holiday’s but that doesn’t mean people aren’t listening, including your Program Director. Remember, your attitude and approach speak volumes about whether or not you’re someone who can be trusted. Make sure to leave a favorable impression. It could very well be the turning point of your career.

Under The Radar:

  • Marc James who recently hosted mornings on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta will be returning to the airwaves during the holidays. He’s expected to fill-in for Scott Ferrall on the CBS Sports Radio Network.
  • CBS Sports 920 in St. Louis will add two new shows to their lineup when they make their debut on Emmis’ 105.7FM HD-2 channel. The talent are very familiar to local listeners but an official announcement is being held off until the T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.
  • 920 The Voice in Princeton, New Jersey will be flipping to sports with an official launch expected on January 4th. The radio station is expected to carry Fox Sports Radio’s weekday shows and a mix of national and local on the weekends.
  • 590 The Fan in St. Louis may have decided to drop J.C Corcoran’s morning show but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving the radio station. It’s expected that Corcoran will become a part of the midday show with Bob Ramsey and Jeff Vernetti. Look for an official announcement soon.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett




Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett




The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett




When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have for sports, and for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on and sports gets less crowded on We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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