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Striking While The Iron Is Hot

Jason Barrett

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Landing a job can be a very emotional and tiring process. In most cases, candidates wrestle with numerous questions about whether to stay or go, while trying to craft the perfect narrative to satisfy their fears about the future. They sometimes take weeks, and even months trying to determine if a new opportunity makes sense to accept.

Equally as challenging is the employer’s position. When a vacancy exists inside an operation, there’s a lot of disruptions that occur. It becomes difficult for other staff members because they’re usually asked to absorb a heavier burden, and depending on the position, it can lead to an increase in noise from the outside too.

In both instances, each side is tasked with one important responsibility – making the right choice!

But it doesn’t always work out that way.

oddsWhen you hire someone, you have a 50/50 chance of being right. The choice you make can leave you looking like a genius or the biggest fool in the office. You can research an individual, and talk to everyone under the sun about them, and while those conversations will offer insight to help you out, it still comes down to trusting your gut!

If you’re the candidate, it’s a similar gamble. You can look at the city you’re considering moving to and review the company’s previous hires, talk to people employed by the same organization in other cities, and even analyze the group’s stock performance if you wish, but when the moment comes to say yes, you’re going to do it based on the connection you’ve formed with the individual(s) offering you an opportunity.

Although every scenario is different, I’m a big believer in striking while the iron is hot. The longer a hiring process plays out, the worse it usually turns out. In many cases it also leads to the ‘hot candidate’ or ‘perfect job’ becoming less attractive.

When a company reaches out to discuss a possible fit, that initial inquiry tells you that they believe you are worth pursuing. How you click with the hiring team once you start talking indicates whether or not things will advance to the next level.

Assuming the discussions go well, it’s often followed up with a face to face meeting, and a ‘sales pitch’ on how great the situation could be if you were to get on board.

choiceAfter two sides lay out their negotiating points and find a middle ground, most companies will ask for a resolution. They may give you an extra day or two to think things over but then they expect an answer. If you’re not sold by this point, you may ask a few follow up questions to gain some extra feedback, but if what gets relayed doesn’t put your mind at ease to say yes and sign on the dotted line, then it’s not likely going to work out.

Now let’s look at it from the other side.

If you’re the employer and you’ve done your homework scouting a potential hire, you know pretty quickly if they have the skillset you’re looking for. You’ll review their work history, dig into their background to find out if there are any skeletons in their closet, and you may talk to some people who have worked with the candidate to make sure they’re someone worth sticking your neck out for.

Once that information is known, the real questions to be answered are whether or not you can connect as manager to employee, what the expectations of the position are, what you’re willing to do to help them experience success, and what the compensation package looks like. If those questions are met with resistance, and the two sides can’t find a happy medium, then it’s not going to be good for either party.

As the employer roleplays in their mind whether or not someone is the right fit to join the staff, they end up crossing people off the list the longer the process continues.

When you’re impressed and excited, you want to move fast so nobody else can get their hands on the prize that you’ve uncovered. Rather than move forward with uncertainty, you’re ready to cancel all other considerations because your mind, heart and gut are all telling you the same thing – the situation feels right. If that feeling isn’t there, it’s probably for a good reason.

dateIt’s similar to being a single male who meets a gorgeous woman. If you don’t act quickly to express your interest and ask her on a date, someone else will be right behind you ready to act. Once they do, you may never get another chance.

Let’s be clear about something – if a hiring manager doesn’t believe you’re a special individual or the right fit, that doesn’t mean you lack skill or wouldn’t be great elsewhere. So many partnerships in this business are the result of a strong fit and connection than they are about who possesses more talent.

Some applicants take it personally when the call doesn’t come their way, and while it can be frustrating when you have your hopes up and want to be part of a specific operation, the reality is that it’s not going to work out if the person making the call doesn’t have an unwavering belief, confidence and genuine excitement about having you on their staff.

I’m often asked by people and companies for input on candidates and possible openings and there are a few key things I believe are important as it pertains to this process.

First here are a few tips for the candidates.

  • Don’t pursue a position if you’re not willing to accept it: A lot of people like to feel important and receive an offer to make them feel good, but when push comes to shove, they’re not ready to accept. There’s nothing wrong with exploring your options, but before you put a hiring boss on the hook with their company for making you an offer, make sure you are committed to pursuing it. If you’re not, be up front with them that the likelihood of you accepting the offer is a long shot. You’ll gain more respect that way and you may even be surprised by how far the group will go to try and secure your services.
  • Pursue with passion but respect the hiring manager’s rules for communication: If they want more audio, send it. If they tell you don’t call, don’t. If they ask for a few days to respond, be patient. Even if you hear of others being given consideration for the job, remember that you’re not the only person they’re going to talk to. If your talent is great and you fit the bill for what they’re after, they’ll follow up. There’s a fine line between persistence and annoyance. Don’t cross it and cost yourself an opportunity.
  • Have an understanding of what matters to you most in the job you’re seeking: If you make your wish list and it shows “money, length of commitment, and great city with warm weather” as your three most important elements, and the company pursuing you checks those boxes, you can understand their frustration if you don’t accept. It’s one thing to not explore a job because the money wasn’t right, the commitment was thin, or the neighborhoods don’t align with your preferred choice of living, but whether it’s three, four or five key items, know what they are, and press the hiring group on them so you have the clarity you need in making your decision.

Now let’s take a look at things from the position of the employer.

  • Know what you’re looking for before you start the process: If you’re drawn to someone who makes you laugh and is less confrontational, say that. If you prefer the opposite, say that too. Hiring managers want great talent and a guarantee of future success but it starts with the specifics. Think about the qualities you’re drawn to in others, what you want your brand and people to represent, how you want them to approach their jobs, and then focus on the candidates who fit the bill. There’s a lot of talent out there but you can’t identify the right one until you know what you’re searching for.
  • Investigate, communicate, and set a date: When you have an opening, your focus turns to finding a solution. If you had a gash on your arm you wouldn’t wait to get it stitched up and it’s no different with filling a hole on your staff. Turn over every stone you can so you have a thorough understanding of the person you’re considering hiring. Talk to friends, family, colleagues, competitors, and get a true sense of who it is you’re considering forming a partnership with. Then, set a deadline so others in your company know what can be expected, and you can hold yourself accountable to deliver a solution. As you engage with candidates, stick to your word if you promise a follow up call or email. If you’re not interested, communicate that too. Transparency is important in staying on track and maintaining respect with those who apply. Remember, people talk to other people. You don’t want to damage your reputation by not handling things that were under your control.
  • Don’t offer the job unless you’re 100% sure it’s the person you want: I’ve advised a few people on certain jobs and on three different occasions, a company has offered a position, only to rescind it afterwards. That’s not only bad business but it’s disrespectful. It’s also the type of decision making that leads me to caution others on pursuing work with those organizations. If a manager isn’t sold on someone or is having buyer’s remorse, that’s understandable. But remember that your credibility and reputation are on the line once you make the call. If you’re unsure, don’t make an offer. You can still discuss salary requirements, the length of a contract, and job specifics without an agreement. If you want the responsibility of hiring people, then take it seriously. Don’t mess with someone’s emotions or risk causing damage to their family or current job by not being sure if you want them on your staff. They’ll respect and appreciate you more for walking away than if you make a promise you can’t deliver on.

When you think about the challenges of hiring or going to work for a new company, picture being in the middle of the process between an NFL or MLB franchise, and a key Free Agent or Head Coach.

chipOnce the world knows that a player or coach is available, word trickles out and teams begin doing their due diligence. They’ll investigate what an individual brings to the table, how they believe they’d fit the team, and then after they gain some insight into what that person is seeking in terms of salary and length of commitment, they’ll make a decision on whether or not to move forward.

Once they know they’re interested, that’s when the madness begins.

Soon the visits are scheduled, conversations are had on a deeper level, and in the matter of a few hours, people are making life changing decisions. Rarely do you see these situations linger for weeks or months.

Each free agent enters a facility knowing that they could be signing a long term commitment that day. There’s no extended window offered to review the school system, the daily commute time, or the leisure spots in the area for the family. Those are things that people adjust to.

Instead the focus is on these key factors:

  • Are they meeting my salary requirements
  • Are they offering enough security (length) to ease my mind
  • Do I believe they’re committed to winning and possess a strong vision
  • Do I click with the boss and feel we can have a good working relationship

If those four boxes get checked, then it’s up to the individual to process the information in their head, talk to their family, trust their gut, and make the call. They could be making a big mistake or it could be the beginning of their own personal nirvana. Regardless of how it turns out in the future though, a decision has to be made in the present.

I see too many situations pop up where companies spend months looking for the perfect candidate, only to stunt their growth, disrupt their inner workings, and slow down business, all because they were gunshy on making a hire. You do more damage dragging out a process than you do by making a decision and having to adjust down the road.

nervousThere’s a feeling of nervousness inside most hiring managers because nobody wants to make the wrong move. That’s a natural feeling and it shows that you care about your company and want to do the right thing. But you can feel good enough to hit Powerball on the day you hire someone, and there still remains a strong possibility that you may have swung and missed.

The same applies to any person exploring a new opportunity. You can feed your ego and boost your confidence by pursuing opportunities and you may even gain a contract offer, but remember that the feeling of being the shiny new toy eventually goes away.

Making a decision to leave one place for another just because you don’t feel appreciated is fine, but make sure first that you’ve addressed the situation with your current company, and understand how they view you, where you stand, and what your ceiling is. Too often people leave situations in search of greener grass, only to find that it doesn’t exist.

As cliche as it sounds, we work in the communication business yet struggle to communicate. We’d rather reject a boss and blame them for our lack of development instead of seeking them out and challenging them to make us better. We’d rather chase the bigger immediate paycheck than look at how staying put will pay greater long term dividends.

riskAnd companies are often guilty of the same thing. They’d rather do less investigating, and hire the person with the longer resume and safer track record, than bet on someone less familiar with more talent and a higher upside. It’s easier to do what others have done, and protect your spot, than stand in the line of fire by attempting to do something great and different.

Regardless of the side you’re on, the bottom line in all of this is to do your homework, know what you’re looking for, find a middle ground, and when the conversations intensify, be ready to make a commitment. The longer you wait, the more you will talk yourself out of things, and the less likely you will be to work together. That could be a devastating blow, or a blessing in disguise. Your chances of being right are 50/50!

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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Barrett Blogs

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.

But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?

As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.

Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.

Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.

I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.

What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.

As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.

Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.

But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.

Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.

There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.

I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.

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