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The 10 Commandments of Sports Talk Radio

Jason Barrett

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Each day hosts across the country take to the airwaves spewing passionate opinions to engage audiences. Most will select stories that are being talked about in local papers and on local television and they’ll offer their own perspective on the subject and then seek out the audience’s feedback.

If you’re in a big market, phone activity will be high. Smaller markets will see less response. But whether you have 1 or 10 lines lit, that doesn’t mean the topic is hot or that the show is good.

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Any good talent who is familiar to an audience, can sell a subject with passion, and elicit a response. You don’t get a passing grade in this business based on your ability to make a phone ring. That’s one part of the job. But there’s much more involved than delivering a ‘hot take’ and fielding a phone call.

I started thinking about the numerous things that go on during a radio show, and how the best performers in the industry bring them all to life on a daily basis. The great ones don’t even realize how much they do it. Those who do, stay in their positions for a long period of time because it usually means they’ve generated ratings.

To host a talk show for 3-4 hours per day, 5 days per week, and do it in expert fashion requires great skill. It’s one of the most difficult jobs in the entertainment business. Penetrating the mind of a listener requires many different approaches during a show but before you can have success executing your strategy, you need to understand what is involved and why it matters.

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Standup comedians have a lot of success gaining entry into our minds. A comedian like Chris Rock, Jeff Ross, or Jerry Seinfeld can dominate a stage for 60-90 minutes and we’ll talk about their jokes and stories for the next week. But that’s only half of the time of what a sports talk show host does on a daily basis.

Could they deliver the same memorable lines, stories and laugh out loud moments if they had to double their workload each night? What if they had to provide it 5 days per week? Maybe they’d pull it off, but even the greatest in the world have weaknesses. The reason many of your favorite television programs are scripted, recorded, and edited is because creating meaningful LIVE content is extremely challenging.

That brings me back to the daily functions of a sports talk show. You can’t see when your listeners tune in or out, or how each person responds to the different subjects you discuss. Therefore, you’ve got to concentrate on the issues that most people care about because by positioning yourself that way, you set yourself up for the best chance to have success.

To get a better sense of what goes into a successful talk show, I came up with something that I believe highlights every important component of the job each day. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you “The 10 commandments of Sports Talk Radio“.

Identify The Hit Story – A host walks into their building each day wanting to discuss a number of things. The great ones understand that they benefit most by focusing their energies on the subjects that have the greatest appeal to the audience.

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Many have heard the popular format term “play the hits” and that’s exactly what this is. Think of it like going to a concert to see your favorite band. You go because you want to see the artist play the songs that you know and enjoy most. If they play the songs they’ve never released, you’d be less likely to attend another show.

When you look at your show, you have to find the balance of what matters most to you, and what is most important to your listeners. The top story should be a subject with multiple angles that can be kept fresh over the span of a couple of hours. If it doesn’t have that potential, keep digging, because that means you’ve found a secondary topic.

A true hit story is one which will bring out your best 10-15 minute monologue, generate reaction over multiple hours of the show, capture the interest of guests who have been called to share their perspective on the angle, and open up other opportunities to be creative inside the program.

To use an example, if you were in Cincinnati today, you’d build your program around the Bengals collapse during Saturday night’s game. The rest of the NFL Playoffs may be compelling, and the same may be true for the College Football National Championship game, but the Bengals playoff disaster is going to move the audience most. Those other stories are your secondary hits.

However, if you were in Alabama, you’d easily flip the script and build your show around the College Football National Championship game. Everything else would be a secondary topic.

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Present and Sell Your Topics – Once you’ve identified the hit story, the next step is understanding the multiple questions that can be asked and answered when discussing it. Every good subject has different sides to it. It’s your job to highlight those angles, explain your position on them, and let the audience determine how they feel about it. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re in the majority or minority with your stance, just focus on whether or not the audience will be invested in what you’re selling.

For example, if you were in Cincinnati and led off with your top story being “Marvin Lewis deserves to be fired“, you’d cite his poor playoff record, his lengthy stay which has shown that he can’t do better, and you’d question if he can control his players.

The other side to that argument would be that he was in position to win the game with a backup QB, he led the club to a 12-4 record including an 8-0 start, he’s developed NFL Head Coaches, and although he hasn’t won in the post-season, he still gets them there and has been among the best 10 in the league more often than not.

When you look at that angle, it’s easy to see how an audience could be divided on it. That’s why it becomes compelling. Presenting each side, stating where you sit, attacking the story with passion, and being honest and unapologetic with your point of view will help you keep the audience engaged.

Utilize Audio To Advance The Story – Some hosts lose sight of how important sound can be to their show’s presentation. I’ve heard people say “I hate using audio because it takes time away from my commentary“. That in my opinion is one of the silliest things you can think or say.

A great host recognizes that it’s not about the amount of words they deliver or the length of time that they speak. It’s how they maximize the minutes available inside their show. When you have audio that adds to your segment, it can be pure gold.

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Think for a second about the fallout from the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game on Saturday night. I don’t care which of those cities you’re in, if you were on the air after that game and didn’t use Pac Man Jones’ expletive filled rant (bleeping it out of course) to further the story, you missed a golden opportunity.

The story may be the game itself, but listeners are drawn to the reactions of others. When you utilize audio to further an angle, it mentally engages your audience and makes it harder for them to tune out. Nothing is better than using audio of someone noteworthy to support or argue against your opinion. It makes the angle seem bigger than it is, and it gives you a piece of content to react off of.

Remember this and never forget it, people are fascinated by other people.

You could sit in the studio after that playoff game and say “I believe the Bengals got screwed, and Pac Man Jones agrees with my point of view“. After you air his comments and express your thoughts, you’d follow up with “Unfortunately, Mike Tomlin doesn’t share the same opinion“. After playing a cut of Tomlin, you’d have the audience eating out of your hand because they’ve been asked to pick a side, and when conflict, debate, and arguments take place, human beings can’t turn away from them.

Invite Audience Participation & React To It – When you establish a good opinion built around the right top story, and use audio to create a heavier emotional investment in the content, people will want to get involved in the discussion. It’s your job to let them know how to do it.

If you say you’re going to take calls but then spend the next 2 segments talking about the story and not incorporating people into the show, why bother asking for participation? Don’t waste their time or promise something you’re not ready to deliver on.

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Once you make the commitment to involve the audience, give them the floor, listen intently, and be ready to respond. The goal isn’t to blow through the 6 lines that are lit and fill the segment with their reactions. Only you know there are 6 lines lit up. Local listeners are hanging on your words and waiting to hear what others think so they can decide if they want to interact themselves.

The key is to welcome the caller on, make sure they’re adding to the subject you’re discussing (the call screener shouldn’t be putting on a caller to talk about the National Title game when you’re emotionally fired up and talking about why Marvin Lewis has to go) and after listening to their comments, share your own reaction.

Whether your response is 10 seconds long, or 2 minutes in length, it shows you’re paying attention and listeners appreciate that. It sounds bad when a host takes three calls in a row and never gives their own opinion to anything the callers said. They dialed you up to engage in conversation with them. The least you can do is make them feel that it was worth their time.

That said, participation can also come in the form of Texts, Tweets, Facebook or Instagram comments. You don’t have an obligation to take calls. The main focus is to allow people to be part of the content experience, regardless of which platform they contribute on.

Book Guests Who Fit The Day’s Stories – If your show includes guests, make sure they fit the stories you’re discussing each day. Every now and then an exception can be made for an A-list guest, but as a rule of thumb, guests who are booked should fit what the show is talking about, not the other way around.

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Sticking with the Cincinnati example, if you’re on the air and Marvin Lewis’ future and the Bengals collapse is your focus, do you really want to stop your momentum to have a chat with Jay Bruce of the Reds? If he was coming on, the first question I’d ask him is “What’s your reaction to what took place during the Bengals game“?

The audience has an expectation that you’re going to discuss the material they care most about. While they may love Jay Bruce in April, he doesn’t fit Monday’s funeral for the Bengals season.

If there’s one other thing to add to the guest situation, it’s to understand that they don’t need to occupy your entire segment. The conversation may be worth 3 minutes or it could be worth 15. You’ve got to ask the things that resonate most, listen carefully to the responses, and then recognize when something is done and when there’s more meat on the bone.

I listen often to shows and hear many hosts sleepwalk through conversations. There’s this feeling that because the individual has taken their time to come on, they need to be hit with a number of softballs and given the full 10-15 minutes. That’s not accurate.

When a guest agrees to come on, they do so without a time commitment. By agreeing to the interview, they’ve also opened themselves up to any line of questioning. It’s their job to decide how they want to answer your questions but it’s your job to ask the right ones.

Don’t make the mistake of giving ten minutes of your show to someone who doesn’t want to help you advance a topic. Make sure they fit your top stories and are addressing the key questions. The thought going in should be that they’ll add something interesting that you’ll be able to use snippets of it throughout the remainder of the show. If they don’t check that box, then why are they on?

Tease One Item of Interest – When a host heads to break, they see it as the end of a segment and a chance to catch a breather. But not many take advantage of what they say last.

Telling your listeners “We’ve got a lot more to do including your calls, back after this” or “We’ll talk more about this Bengals loss, the National Title game, the rest of the NFL Playoffs, and anything else on your mind when we return” isn’t going to give them any incentive to hang around or come back.

Many broadcasters don’t treat this part of the craft with the importance it deserves and that needs to change. Much of it is due to laziness and lack of preparation. From where I sit, if you know your audience is going to be hit with 4-5 minutes of commercials and potentially leave your show, why wouldn’t you do everything possible to make them want to come back?

I’ve heard guys say “they’re going to leave when the spots run, so what can I do about it“? Actually a ton. If you’re interesting with the last words you offer, they will do one of two things:

A) Think about your question and forget that they’re listening to commercials because they’re trying to come up with the answer in their own mind.

B) Leave the station when the commercials hit but think about what you last said and keep checking back to see if you’ve returned so they can receive the answer to the question.

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One piece of advice, tease one simple question or item of interest when heading to break.

When you toss out multiple subjects, you’re asking the audience to do a lot of work. You’re also showing that you’re disorganized and not sure yourself where the show is going next. Those who tease one thing, and do it by making the audience think, benefit most.

For example, “Everyone is crushing the Bengals for what transpired in that 4th quarter but one top analyst thinks they got the short end of the stick. Is he nuts? You’ll hear his response next“.

At that point you’d come back from your break with sound of Deion Sanders on the NFL Network explaining why he felt the hit on Antonio Brown shouldn’t have been penalized, and you’d react off of it. Most listeners would be asking themselves during the commercial break “Who the heck is defending that hit?” By keeping them curious, they listen longer and that helps you grow your ratings.

One final suggestion, take 15-20 minutes before your show writing out some strong teases. If you need help, involve your producer. If you put the effort in and do it consistently, you will sound better and it will help you improve your show’s performance.

Create Multiple Angles Off of The Lead Topic – This is one of the most important parts to any talk show because usually a producer and host focus on their first top story but put all of the focus into that subject and don’t look at dividing it up throughout the remainder of the show.

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If you want to keep a subject fresh for 4 hours, you can’t keep repeating the same points. Remember, the audience constantly changes so each hour the top story remains important. If you unload everything all at once, you will be mentally exhausted. That then leads to less interest in coming back to discuss the top story or relying on phone calls because you’ve tapped out on the topic.

It takes patience and a keen understanding of why it’s necessary to not provide your thoughts on every angle from a game during one subject. When you develop the skill to do it, you’ll find it can be extremely helpful to spread out your key takeaways over the span of 3-4 hours.

Let’s use the Bengals game as the example. We’ll build hour #1 around the chaos of the final two minutes. You’d spend 10-15 minutes kicking off the show discussing what took place, how you felt about the poor decisions of Pac Man Jones and Vontaze Burfict, asking what the punishment should be for their actions, focusing on Joey Porter’s role in the controversy and offering your position on how you thought the referees handled things and what you think the NFL should do about it.

The rest of the hour would include audio cuts which are related to the story, phone calls, possibly a guest, and more of your opinions and reaction on the topic. Nowhere in this hour are you diving head first into topics built around the other angles from the game.

When you get to hour 2, do you really want to spend another sixty minutes saying the same thing? Probably not. But the Bengals game is still the top story. So how do you keep it fresh? By introducing a new angle.

During this hour you’ll turn the focus towards Marvin Lewis’ future as Head Coach of the Bengals and why he does or doesn’t deserve to be back. You’d look at how long he’s led the team, his regular season and playoff records, the way he has or hasn’t held players accountable, who else would be an option if he was to be fired, and where you believe the team will go in the future if he is or isn’t there.

Once again, you’d add audio, guests, calls and additional angles built off of the conversation about Marvin Lewis. The chaos of the 4th quarter is not your focus during these sixty minutes.

For hour #3, you’d turn your attention to how to revamp the roster and explain what you took away from AJ McCarron’s play and looking at where he fits next year with Andy Dalton coming back. You’d examine the way to make up for losing Hue Jackson, who the team’s free agents are and which ones should be back and allowed to leave, and the topic would be built around “how do we get this team over the hump“.

In each of those hours, the Bengals are the lead story. By changing the focus of your topics from the 4th quarter chaos to Marvin Lewis to getting the Bengals over the hump, you’ve offered topics that have audience appeal and are fresh enough to keep you mentally engaged.

Reset Your Subject and Position – The audience changes every hour. For the guy who works M-F 8a-5p, he’s in his car from 5p-6p and during that hour your show is brand new to him. What you did in the 3pm and 4pm hour has no relevance. He judges you and decides whether to continue listening based on what you present when he’s available.

On the other hand, if someone worked 7a-3p or 8a-4p, they have the same expectations. Given that most people spend less than an hour commuting home from their jobs each day, and they listen to multiple stations, and don’t often listen to a station everyday, the goal is to maximize the opportunities we get and make sure they know who we are and where we broadcast.

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One way you do that is by resetting your name, station, topic and position. There’s no set time during the show when a reset should be introduced but I find that hosts have no problem doing it during interviews but struggle with it in open segments.

If a segment is 15 minutes long, there’s no reason why midway through the segment you can’t incorporate a reset. With callers it’s easy too and can be done every 2-3 calls depending on how long they go.

It may seem robotic to the host but that’s because you do it repeatedly. The audience though doesn’t listen to every second of the show. If they get into their car at 5:05pm and pick up the middle of your conversation, they have to try to figure out what it is you’re discussing. By resetting the show, station, topic and position midway through a segment, it makes it easier for the listener to play along.

Even if someone listens for an entire segment, they’re not going to vacate the show or station because you reminded them. This is how branding works. You’d be amazed at what people will recall about a host, show or station due to frequent messaging.

An example of a reset is “You’re listening to Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio, we’re talking about the Bengals loss from Saturday night and I (Greeny) think Marvin Lewis has to go as a result of this loss, but Golic thinks that’s a ridiculous overreaction. Let us know your thoughts by calling/tweeting ____“.

Sell, Sell, Sell – We want ratings so we can make money. We create features, updates, guest segments and other programming opportunities because they can be sponsored and help us make money. We may love the topics we’re discussing and the medium we’re performing in, but this is still very much a business and one critical part of our jobs is to sell the messages provided by our advertisers.

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This includes promotional messages, sponsored segments, LIVE commercial endorsements, appearances, remotes, etc. Hosts are frequently in programming mode, and thinking about the things they’re most passionate about. If the audience though doesn’t buy your advertisers products, and those clients remove their dollars from your show, you won’t be sharing your passions for long.

We sell topics, teases, resets, guests, callers, and soundbytes. Sponsor messages are no different. We may lack the same level of interest in promoting an appearance or product as the weekend’s best games, but when you crack that microphone and read a sponsor’s name and tag, you owe them the same enthusiasm.

They buy you and your show because they’re aware of the influence you have on the audience. But if they can’t benefit from that association, they’ll take their business elsewhere. And that makes it harder for you to ask you employer for bigger paydays in the future. If you can be an asset to your company on the business end, it’ll help you through those times when you’re a liability on the programming end.

Promote Your Digital and Social Platforms – It’s more important than ever to have strong digital and social media platforms. Audiences are listening less to LIVE programming and accessing content on-demand when it best suits their schedule. Although we may prefer that they experience the content LIVE, as long as they consume it, we still gain from it.

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It’s your task on the air and on social media to remind the audience of the various ways they can enjoy your content. Promoting the website, podcast links and the station’s social media pages so listeners can be informed of things they may have missed is vital. Maybe it won’t help you earn ratings credit, but that download of your audio or station app counts towards your digital performance and those numbers matter too because they’re being sold to advertisers.

You should be cognizant of promoting your own social media identity and being present in the space. If a listener is a fan of yours, they’re going to want to engage with you beyond the show. When they follow you on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, they learn more about you, and that gives them further incentive to support you and the multiple things you’re passionate about.

Everything you do in life becomes content to them. The more they seek it out and form a stronger loyalty to you, the more it helps your own standing. And the more of an audience you have, the more power you possess come contract time.

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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

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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!

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Barrett News Media To Gather The Industry in Nashville in September 2023

“I’ve been lucky enough to play a key role in bringing the sports media industry together on an annual basis, and in 2023 we’re going to attempt to do the same for news/talk media professionals.”

Jason Barrett

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One of the best parts about working in the media business is that you’re afforded an opportunity to use your creativity, take risks, and learn if an audience or advertisers will support your ideas. Sometimes you hit a homerun, other times you strike out, but regardless of the outcome, you keep on swinging.

I’ve tried to do that since launching a digital publishing and radio consulting company in 2015. Fortunately, we’ve delivered more hits than misses.

When I added news media industry coverage to our brand in September 2020, I knew it’d be a huge undertaking. The news/talk format is two and a half times larger than sports, many of its brands are powered by national shows, and the content itself is more personal and divisive. I wanted our focus and attention on news media stories, not politics and news, and though there have been times when the lines got blurred, we’ve tried to be consistent in serving industry professionals relevant content .

What made the move into news media more challenging was that I’d spent less time in it. That meant it’d take longer to find the right writers, and it required putting more time into building relationships, trust, respect, and support. Though we still have more ground to cover, we’ve made nice strides. That was reflected by the participation we received when we rolled out the BNM Top 20 of 2022 the past two weeks. Hopefully you checked out the lists. Demetri Ravanos and I will be hosting a video chat today at 1pm ET on BNM’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and through Barrett Media’s YouTube page discussing the series, as well as this article.

It’s because of that growing support, trust, and confidence in what we’re doing that I’m taking a risk yet again. I’ve been lucky enough to play a key role in bringing the sports media industry together on an annual basis, and in 2023 we’re going to attempt to do the same for news/talk media professionals.

I am excited to share the news that Barrett News Media will host its first ever BNM Summit on Thursday September 14, 2023 in Nashville, TN. Our one-day conference will take place at Vanderbilt University’s Student Life Center Ballroom. The venue we’ve selected is tremendous and I’m eager to spend a day with news/talk professionals to examine ways to further grow the format and industry.

If you’re wondering why we chose Nashville, here’s why.

First, the city itself is awesome. The access to great restaurants, bars, entertainment, hotels, and famous landmarks is unlimited, and when you’re traveling to a city for a business conference, those things matter. Being in a city that’s easy for folks across the country to get to also doesn’t hurt.

Secondly, a conference is harder to pull off if you can’t involve successful on-air people in it. If you look at Nashville’s growth in the talk media space over the past decade, it’s remarkable. Many notable talents now live and broadcast locally, major brands have created a local footprint in the area, and that opens the door to future possibilities. I have no idea who we’ll include in the show, and I haven’t sent out one request yet because I wanted to keep this quiet until we were sure it made sense. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of interest in participating and I can’t promise we’ll be able to accommodate all requests but if you have interest in being involved, send an email to Jason@BarrettNewsMedia.com.

Third, finding the right venue is always difficult. We looked at a bunch of great venues in Nashville during our vacation this past summer, and when we stepped on to the campus at Vanderbilt University and walked through the SLC Ballroom, we knew it was the right fit. It had the space we needed, the right tech support, access to private parking, a green room for guests, and it was within walking distance of a few hotels, restaurants, and the Parthenon.

As I went through the process of deciding if this event was right for BNM, a few folks I trust mentioned that by creating a Summit for news/media folks, it could create a competitive situation. I don’t see it that way. I view it as a responsibility. I think we need more people coming together to grow the industry rather than trying to tear each other down. I hear this far too often in radio. We worry about what one station is doing rather than strengthening our own brand and preparing to compete with all audio options.

For years I’ve attended conferences hosted by Radio Ink, NAB, Talkers, and Conclave. I’ve even spoken at a few and welcomed folks who operate in the consulting space to speak at my shows. I’ll continue to support those events, read various trade sites, and invite speakers who work in a similar field because they’re good people who care about helping the industry. I believe BNM and BSM add value to the media business through its websites and conferences, and though there may be a detractor or two, I’ll focus on why we’re doing this and who it’s for, and let the chips fall where they may.

I know juggling two conferences in one year is likely going to make me crazy at times, but I welcome the challenge. In the months ahead I’ll start lining up speakers, sponsors, building the conference website, and analyzing every detail to make sure we hold up our end of the bargain and deliver an informative and professionally beneficial event. The news/talk media industry is massive and making sure it stays healthy is critically important. I think we can play a small role in helping the business grow, and I look forward to finding out on September 14th in Nashville at Vanderbilt University.

Hope to see you there!

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Jimmy Powers, Raj Sharan, Matt Berger and John Goforth Added to 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

“BSM is having a special Holiday SALE this week. Individual tickets are reduced to $224.99 until Friday night December 23rd at 11:59pm ET.

Jason Barrett

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In less than a hundred days, the BSM Summit will return to Los Angeles for two-days of networking, learning, laughing, and celebrating. The conference hasn’t been held on the west coast since 2019, and we’re looking forward to returning to the city of angels on March 21-22, 2023, and bringing together sports media professionals at the Founders Club, located inside the Galen Center at the University of Southern California.

For those of you who haven’t purchased your ticket(s) yet, BSM is having a special Holiday SALE this week. From today (Monday) through Friday 11:59pm ET, individual tickets are reduced to $224.99. If you’re planning to come, and want to make sure you’re in the room, take advantage of the extra savings and secure your seat. To buy tickets, reserve your hotel room, and learn more about the Summit’s speakers, click here.

We’ve previously announced twenty one (21) participants who will join us on stage at the 2023 BSM Summit. Today, we’re excited to expand our lineup by welcoming four (4) more additions to March’s industry spectacular.

First, BSM is thrilled to have two accomplished sports radio programmers contributing to the event. Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit will make his Summit debut in L.A.. Fresh off of a Marconi victory earlier this fall, The Ticket’s brand manager will share his insights on the present and future of sports radio on one of our programming panels. Also taking part in that panel will be the leader of 104.3 The Fan in Denver, Raj Sharan. Raj appeared on stage at the 2022 BSM Summit in NYC, and we look forward to having him return to lend his voice to an important sports radio programming discussion.

But programming won’t be the only thing we invest time in out west. Growing a business, more specifically, a digital business will be part of our conference agenda as well.

When it comes to maximizing digital revenue, few brands understand the space better than Barstool Sports. Charged with growing the brand’s revenue is Senior Vice President and Head of Sales Matt Berger, and we’re looking forward to having Matt join us for a conversation that will focus on monetizing digital opportunities. Before joining Barstool, Matt sold for Bleacher Report/House of Highlights. He’s also worked for Warner Brothers and the Walt Disney Company. We’re excited to have him share his wisdom with the room.

Also taking part in our digital sales panel will be John Goforth of Magellan AI. John knows the radio business well from having served previously as a sales manager and salesperson. Since leaving traditional media and joining Magellan AI, John has studied the podcasting advertising space and learned who the top spenders are, who’s making big moves with their podcast advertising budgets, and which publishers are best positioned to benefit. Having his expertise on stage will help many in the room with trying to better understand the digital sales space.

There are other speaker announcements still to come. We have some big things planned, which I’m hoping to reveal in January and February. I want to thank ESPN Radio, FOX Sports, Showtime, and Point to Point Marketing for coming on board as partners of the 2023 BSM Summit. The support we’ve received heading into Los Angeles has been tremendous, and we greatly appreciate it. If you’re looking to be associated with the Summit as an event partner, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

That’s all for now, but be sure to take advantage of the Summit Holiday Sale. You have until Friday night December 23rd at 11:59pm ET to take advantage of discounted tickets. Happy Holidays!

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