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Is Radio Still Willing To Pay For Premium Talent?

Jason Barrett

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If you haven’t heard Mike Francesa’s interview with Katie Nolan you need to stop what you’re doing and listen to it. It is fascinating and one of the most refreshing one-hour conversations I’ve listened to in a long time.

Why might you ask?

Because it not only covers every single subject that would be of interest to Mike’s audience, but his unfiltered responses remind us of why he’s been one of the most dominant forces of all-time in this industry. I give a ton of credit to Katie for being well prepared and doing a great job of listening and guiding the discussion into the right locations.

When it comes to Mike, he has a large amount of fans and critics. That’s to be expected when you perform up to thirty hours per week on the air for nearly three decades in the nation’s number one media market.

mikef2Some take jabs at him for being wrong with some of his predictions. Others point out how he once fell asleep on the air for nearly fifteen seconds while interviewing Sweeny Murti. Countless others criticize the fact that he’s not active in the social media space, relies heavily on phone calls, and is a beneficiary of getting into the format early.

Say what you will about “The Pope of New York Sports” but his resume of success is unmatched. When you build the type of brand that Mike has, it’s common to have others poking holes in your performance.

The reality in life is that most people like to see David upset Goliath. It’s why teams like the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and the Los Angeles Lakers draw the amount of attention that they do. Legions of fans recognize and appreciate their greatness but many love to see them crash and burn.

I grew up listening to “Mike and the Mad Dog” and the show inspired me to pursue working in this industry. I was fortunate to live in New York and watch as the format took off and morphed into the juggernaut that it has become today. WFAN played a strong role in sports radio’s growth because they did a masterful job of making New York listeners feel like they were a big part of the experience.

WFANWhen you listened to WFAN, it felt big and important. The personalities seemed larger than life and when you called in and became a part of the show by sharing your opinion with the hosts, there was a sense that your voice mattered and the local teams took notice. It felt as if the radio station’s airwaves were the place you’d turn to for holding hold players, coaches, teams and executives accountable for their actions and/or performance.

Truth be told, before I ever considered working in in this business I preferred to listen, but after sitting on the sidelines observing for eight years, I finally took the bait and called in one day after the Knicks defeated the Bulls and Phil Jackson was whining about the referees. I thought I had a good angle and when I presented it to Francesa he absolutely crushed me. Just thinking about it still makes me smile.

As the year’s have passed, the radio station has remained one of the best in the business. They’ve dealt with additional competition, changes in ratings methodology, and a loss of some of the industry’s most iconic broadcasters and play-by-play partnerships, but through it all they’ve remained highly successful.

Whether you care for Francesa’s style and show though isn’t what we’re here to discuss today. Instead I want to focus on some of the key points he made during his conversation with Nolan because they touch on a scary reality that is facing our business.

mikechrisWhen asked about the possibility of a “Mike and the Mad Dog” permanent reunion, Mike said “I don’t think we would be the obstacle. I think the business is the obstacle. They don’t want guys like me in this business anymore. They don’t want stars. They don’t want guys who are making a lot of money. They want a bunch of cookie cutter people who they can control that aren’t any trouble. They want a bunch of nameless faceless guys. They want the events and rights fees to carry the day and make the sportscasters interchangeable. That makes it a tough business.”

Let that sink in for a second.

The top performer in the #1 media market in the country who has delivered big ratings for nearly thirty years believes operators are less interested in paying for major brands and top talent.

Is he right? To a certain degree I think he is.

We’ve all heard the phrase “you get what you pay for” and in radio’s case, the future is going to be very unforgiving if the best performers aren’t available to be heard. There are many content options out there now, and new media companies will pay high profile talent and offer them a stage to perform on if they can help them grow their business.

sternDon’t believe me? Just take a look at the way Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have blossomed. Just last month before Howard Stern signed a new deal with SiriusXM, there was talk that Apple/iTunes was considering making a run at him.

When Bill Simmons and ESPN split up in 2015, many thought he’d have lesser options but then HBO entered the picture. When Colin Cowherd’s run with ESPN was coming to a close, he had conversations with MSNBC before agreeing to a deal with Fox Sports 1.

Years ago Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, record companies, and the entire newspaper industry thought they were untouchable but once the internet took off and new media outlets started to emerge and invest in content, talent, and a better experience, things changed quickly.

I could be wrong but when Mike says he doesn’t think a reunion with Chris would be possible based on economics, he’s right as it applies to radio. But if digital media or television enter the picture that could be a different story.

And that’s a shame because few have possessed the ability in radio to draw in listeners the way Mike and Chris did. When you add up their talent, chemistry and ability to inform and entertain, it makes for an incredible program which can make a brand a LOT of money.

rushWould a company prefer to spend less? Of course. I’m sure SiriusXM wishes they didn’t have to pay Stern a king’s ransom. The same holds true for Premiere Radio Networks with Rush Limbaugh, and any great television network which spends big money for top flight personalities who attract a large number of eyeballs.

But if you add up the expenses for any of those shows and compare them to what they generate for ratings and revenue, I guarantee you they’re making money off of their investments. Media companies don’t stay in the business of spending millions of dollars on talent unless they’re making millions more themselves.

The other part of the conversation that I want to examine is the part where Mike discussed how important the ratings are to him. It’s a lesson for every single talent to pay attention to.

rickyWhen asked about the ratings game and how it affects his show’s content, he said that he doesn’t let it change his overall approach but that he does make tweaks and is always aware of how the show is being consumed. His mindset going into his program each month is that they have one job to do – finish first! Not second, third, fourth or fifth which most others would consider a big success, first! When I heard him say that I couldn’t help but think about that classic Talladega Night’s line “If you ain’t first, you’re last“.

But I digress!

That’s a lot of pressure to put on one’s shoulders especially in a market like New York City. Mike mentioned to Katie that he once received a phone call from an executive who told him “I pay you to finish first” after he came in second. It didn’t make him happy but he understood the point.

winningFrom where I sit, I love hearing that. It’s exhilarating to know that regardless of the challenges with PPM and the countless distractions and media options that are available to listeners to pull them away from the show, that Mike makes no excuses and approaches his craft with the expectation of being the best. We need more of that in our industry. Even if you don’t hit #1, that should be the goal every time you grab a microphone and broadcast.

As a matter of fact, you can apply this to every single aspect of your life. If you’re playing sports in school or on a professional level, you should be driven to win the game and be the best player on the field. If you’re in sales, you should want to generate the most amount of money and be seen as the company’s best salesperson.

I can identify with him on this subject because I’m wired the same way. Those who know me well will attest to that.

When I played little league baseball, I won two MVP awards and went to five consecutive All-Star games because all I did was practice and play. Nothing mattered besides being the best baseball player on the field.

lars2As I aged and became more interested in music, I wanted to be the best drummer on the planet and gain a record deal. I’d listen to Lars Ulrich of Metallica, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, and Neil Peart of Rush and picture myself surpassing them on the list of the best of all-time. I’d practice for hours each day and if I was off on a beat or drum fill, I’d do it again and again until I had it right.

I learned later that you can be the best drummer in the world but you’re not going to land a record deal unless you and the other 3-4 members of your band share the same goal, so when I gave up the chase of becoming a professional musician to work in radio, I once again pushed myself to be the very best I could be.

Throughout the years I’ve been fortunate to have that approach pay off for me. I grew from an intern to News Anchor to Sports Talk Show Host to Producer to Program Director and during that time landed five different programming jobs and produced one of the best national radio programs in the country.

Although I’d like to believe that my talent came into play at some point during each of those processes, I know that my drive and passion to win stood out.

When I was being considered for an opportunity at ESPN Radio, one manager mentioned that I hadn’t had enough major market experience and they weren’t sure if I could handle making the transition from a small market to the big stage. Their point was valid. I couldn’t do anything to change the fact that I lived and performed where I was raised so I decided to put my passion into my pitch and explain why I deserved a look.

parcellsI still have the email I sent and in it I said “Many people were critical when the NY Giants selected a Head Coach named Bill Parcells because he didn’t have any experience and was an unknown commodity. A few years later when he was winning Super Bowl’s they looked like an organization of geniuses. Your next Bill Parcells is right here and waiting to make a difference for ESPN Radio”.

Was it ballsy? Definitely. But I believed in myself and knew I could win for them and I wasn’t going to let a situation beyond my control cost me an opportunity. If they didn’t think I was good enough I could’ve accepted that but I wasn’t accepting rejection over my location.

Luckily I landed the job and produced at ESPN Radio for 2 years. Week after week I pushed everyone involved to make “GameNight” as great as it possibly could be, and in doing so I earned the respect of my peers and my bosses. When a bigger opportunity came up to produce “The Dan Patrick Show” just 13 months later, I was given the promotion.

That same mindset helped me when I interviewed for programming opportunities in Philadelphia, San Francisco and St. Louis. In each situation, I entered the process determined to beat the competition and land the job. I had no idea who I was up against, and in many cases I had no local market connection, but what I did have was vision, passion, and an “I won’t lose” attitude. I focused on articulating my vision, asking questions, and selling my love and passion for coaching and creating great sports radio. By focusing on the things I could control, I was able to gain a few fans and win over a few rooms.

I don’t bring up these examples to showcase my resume. I mention them because they help to reinforce Mike’s point. Winning starts with your mindset. You can’t perform as an elite talent or lead a brand to incredible heights if you don’t set your own bar extremely high.

valueWhen I see brands sitting in 20th to 30th place and just floundering in their markets it frustrates me. It tells me that there isn’t a big focus on the radio station. Why be in the format and spend any amount of money on a product if you’re not going to maximize its potential? I get that not every city has the budget to pay a Mike Francesa but there are tons of great broadcasters out there and if you want to build an audience, attract advertisers, and make money in this industry, you’ve got to invest in on-air people who are worth listening to.

To bring this back full circle to what we originally started with, once you have great talent, it’s your job to find a way to keep them. I had a former boss of mine in San Francisco once tell me “we will pay for performers but nobody is breaking the bank until they prove it”. That’s a fair statement but unfortunately not every broadcast group subscribes to this theory.

During the past few months I’ve talked to a lot of talent and in three different cases, hosts took over timeslots in different cities and led their stations to double digit ratings and/or double to triple the previous ratings performance, only to be told when contract time rolled around that they weren’t due a raise or were only worth a minimal 1-2% increase.

I’ve also watched as some talented people I know have had to take on responsibilities selling their own shows to make extra money, and a few groups in particular have chosen to only hire talent who sell or pay for their air time. Delivering ratings and a quality product matters little in comparison to inflating the bottom line.

imptIn some of these instances it might be necessary to operate that way. If a company isn’t making money you can’t blame them for not being able to do better. But if that’s the case, there are other ways to show your appreciation for someone who has performed and is helping do their part to grow the business. Whether it’s an extra week of vacation, sales trade, a bump in ratings bonuses, a higher endorsement rate, a guarantee number of appearances, or an extra weekend shift to make additional dollars, all of those things tell a talent “we want you to make more money and you’re important to us”.

When you don’t treat your best people with that respect, you end up losing the pieces that are most vital to your operation. Music formats can get away with it more because they can play songs and tell a DJ that the artists are the stars, but when a personality talks 45 minutes per hour, and is the main reason why people come to your radio station on a daily basis, losing them over a handful of dollars isn’t smart business.

That said, this also is an industry that has compensated a lot of talented people well throughout the course of their careers. The format’s top talent wouldn’t be sticking around for decades if the paychecks and additional revenue streams weren’t attractive.

mikefI’ve heard Francesa say that he’s done with WFAN at the end of 2017, and he says it’s not a negotiating ploy. I don’t know him personally to know if it is or it isn’t but it sounds as if he knows a pay cut awaits him in the future and given his performance and place in the industry, I can see why that doesn’t have a lot of appeal to him. That said, WFAN pays him extremely well so we’re not talking about a couple of nickels and dimes in this situation.

It’s a tough spot for both sides to be in because from the operator’s standpoint, you’re paying millions for a host during a time when salaries are declining and no matter how much you love the performer, there has to be a limit to what you’ll invest.

On the flip side, how do you tell your top talent that you’ll pay them one fee to finish 1st, and then when they do, offer half or even less on their next deal? Is the radio station going to sell ads for less and accept making less money during the duration of the talent’s agreement? Heck no! So why should they take less when they’ve performed and helped the company make a lot of money?

Everyone gets their feelings hurt once it’s time to talk business because the offer (or lack thereof) tells an employee what the company thinks they’re worth. Personalities expect to be paid for hitting their target and companies expect to grow their bottom line and reap the rewards of making significant investments.

When talent though start getting treated as if they’re expendable, and the product becomes less appealing to the audience, you’ve got to ask yourself “is saving the money truly worth it if it means losing your most valuable commodity and having your audience and advertiser numbers decline”?

The challenge of course is to keep your listeners tuned in, your advertisers spending the same or more, and hire new talent for less than the previous host made but at a number that they feel comfortable with. While that sounds great, it doesn’t always work out like that. It’s even more of a risk when it involves a top talent with a lengthy track record and loyal following.

espn2Mike made the point that SportsCenter isn’t what it used to be and most people couldn’t name the anchors on the show today like they once did. The show was once a must-watch and the hosts were household brand names. Today the stars have become the highlights, the games, and the packages, and the talent have become nameless and faceless.

In this case, he’s not wrong. I spent my 20’s and early 30’s fully invested in watching SportsCenter each night. Now, it’s become background noise and a show I can live without.

Which brings me back to the question I previously asked “is losing your best talent and damaging your brand in exchange for eliminating expenses really worth it”?

When you have a superstar talent on your airwaves, delivering an impact, and it’s helping you make money, you continue investing and riding that horse as far as they’ll take you. If you choose to get off the ride when you’re on top of the mountain, understand that the next one could leave you face down in the dirt.

Barrett Blogs

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

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

Jason Barrett

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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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