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Why We Can’t Keep Ignoring The Signs

Jason Barrett

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“It’s the same old story, same old song and dance, my friend”
– Aerosmith

It’s ironic that a couple of lyrics written by a rock band (Aerosmith) which relied heavily on radio for the past four decades would perfectly describe the radio business and some of its biggest problems in 2016.

Yes there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. The talent pool is stronger than ever, stations have migrated from AM to FM, apps and streaming sessions are now available, and content is provided on demand. The ability to reach people during and outside of the show is enormous thanks to the invention and evolution of social media.

But that doesn’t eliminate the industry’s biggest problems – our inability to get out of our own way, a lack of focus on the talent and content creation process, and a willingness to settle for mediocrity and do the same things over and over again.

It’s assumed that our industry is innovative. One which is led by creative people who work thirteen to fourteen hour days because they possess an endless passion to produce content and connect with communities. It’s supposed to be the cool business to work in, guided by leaders who crave teaching, motivating, and introducing new ideas to excite an audience and their own programming teams.

But somewhere along the way, that changed.

Programmers started becoming saddled with sales, digital, promotions, and payroll duties. In some cases, engineering, and production responsibilities were added too. Suddenly, the head of a programming department who was uniquely qualified to identify key talent, and create great programming, became handcuffed. No longer did the content or talent development process matter as much as finding ways to make the radio station more profitable.

Can you imagine if the movie industry pulled Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese away from writing, directing, and producing films? We’d have a whole lot of suck on the screen.

attackRadio Is Under Attack:

If you’re not aware of this by now, where have you been? Audio content today is available in more locations than ever before. But, there’s still a difference between quality and quantity. One issue that we have to solve is finding a way for our best people to spend more of their time on things that matter most to the audience – the talent and content.

This is the part where you tell me “relax JB, radio has been tested before, it always works out”.

Maybe it has because of our dominance on the dashboard, but advertising revenues for the radio business are in a much different universe than digital and television. The last time I looked, digital was diving deeper into the audio waters. They’re doing the same with video.

It seems like every month I’m reading a story about ESPN losing television subscribers, and just yesterday, Twitter secured a deal with the NFL to stream its Thursday night games. CBS and NBC spent a fortune to offer the NFL on television, yet here comes the social media giant right behind them to take out their legs and put the same programming on digital devices. If you’re running CBS or NBC that has to make your blood boil.

Let’s examine some recent history for a minute.

sxmTen years ago, Sirius was thought to be a neat idea that wouldn’t last. Many felt consumers wouldn’t pay for radio content. But then Sirius forged a deeper relationship with the auto industry. Now the product is available in millions of vehicles, and since they struck that deal, the satellite company has grown its consumer base to nearly thirty million people. Suddenly, paying $10-$15 per month for quality content with minimal interruptions isn’t such an outrageous idea.

Then came the podcasting business, or as it was labeled by radio people at the time, “niche programming with limited appeal”. But here we are years later, and brands like Serial, Bill Simmons, Adam Carolla, and many others are dominating each week on iTunes, and becoming attractive platforms for advertisers. Consumers also love the programming because it’s shorter, unique, available on demand, and presented without a heavy barrage of ads.

Next we have the newspaper business, which once thought the internet stood no chance. Now, the majority of their business exists because of it.

That same print industry which for decades employed columnists and reporters who ridiculed sports radio personalities for a lack of journalistic integrity and common sense, now have a large portion of their most talented writers shifting to audio and video content providers to make a living.

tribAnd that same desperate print business which turned its nose at sports radio, is now making heavier investments to be bigger players in the audio space. The Pittsburgh Tribune and Boston Herald for example, offer full service sports talk channels on their websites. Others such as the New York Times are starting to follow suit.

Whether it’s the podcasting business, the newspaper business, or satellite radio, each are committed to creating sports audio content. Make no mistake about it, any brand that delivers sports spoken word content on an audio platform is a competitor. If they can creep into the mind of your audience and pull them away from your product, that makes them a threat.

As more businesses enter the sports audio world, you’ll find them placing their time, energy, and resources into creating special content. Case in point, when Facebook bid for the NFL streaming rights, they never objected to paying for the content. It was when the NFL insisted that heavy advertising be part of the digital package that they developed a sour taste in their mouth. After the NFL refused to reverse their stance, Facebook walked away from the deal.

Can you imagine a radio station doing that? Fat chance.

coachInvesting Time In Your People:

So with competition increasing, and content creators becoming vital to a brand’s success, what is radio doing about it? The usual. It ignores the signs, and worries only about today’s results.

I recognize that leading an operation is extremely difficult, but I’m beyond stunned by the amount of feedback I get from on-air people who receive little to no support or feedback. When they do receive it, it’s usually the result of a company policy change, a request to do something that helps sales or a business partner, or it’s to highlight a mistake the individual made. Rarely do they receive positive reinforcement or guidance on how to execute better.

I had one personality reach out recently and mention that they hadn’t received a critique from their boss in over a year. One other host shared his frustration over receiving mixed messages during content evaluations, and another expressed concern over his boss’ ability to coach and offer specifics to help him grow.

I’m not present in each of their locations, so there could be other reasons for why those situations exist, but to use an example from the world of sports, a player and manager will have disagreements over the course of a long season. The manager can never stop coaching, and the player has to keep playing and looking for ways to improve their game.

If you’re going to lead a team, my one piece of advice is to never lose sight of what your title says you are – “Program Director”. If the last thing you care about is your on-air programming, and the talent creating it, it’ll come back to bite you in the ass.

techEmbracing Technology:

There shouldn’t be a disconnect between radio and digital, but unfortunately there are still some folks who see digital as a threat to radio’s existence. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should be aware that Facebook has introduced its video service, Facebook Live. It’s a major attraction to users and television broadcast companies, so it should be a big draw for radio groups too right?

Not exactly.

In the United States, Fox Sports and ESPN are using it to compliment their sports television coverage. In the UK, the BBC and Sky were two of the first sports broadcast groups to embrace Facebook’s Live video potential. All use the platform to feature special content and behind the scenes opportunities, and the response from each of their audiences has been strong.

For example, the BBC’s first two uses of Facebook Live for a Match of the Day with Gary Lineker, and a showcasing of Everton fans celebrating their team’s FA Cup quarter final victory over Chelsea, were viewed over 1.7 million times.

Sky on the other hand used Facebook Live to feature exclusive content such as a Soccer discussion on the England squad with Adam Smith and Alex Scott, and that led to 150,000 views during the course of an hour.

closedDuring the past week, I talked to four Program Directors and Producers who told me they were instructed by their companies not to use the video service. All had been using the platform and were generating thousands of views for their shows and radio stations.

One programmer was told not to use it because the video couldn’t be counted towards the station’s ratings. A producer was told by his boss to turn off the service because it could distract the host and cause the station to receive less phone calls. My personal favorite was the programmer who told me that his Sales Manager wanted the service turned off because they were going to bring Facebook and Periscope executives to the table, and have them bid to be the station’s sole video provider.

That sounds great, but the day that happens, they’ll have Instagram and Apple bidding to be the station’s exclusive photo provider, and birds paying for the right to fly in the same sky as airplanes.

When I hear these examples, I can’t help but think about how many times people have criticized the radio industry for being late to respond to changes in the world. It’s confusing, and disappointing. The audience lives on social media. They’re not leaving these platforms, and neither are advertisers. In fact, the numbers are growing for both.

fblIf thousands are watching your talent on Facebook Live, is that really a bad thing? Isn’t it the station’s job to figure out how to monetize it? Do we not podcast audio because it may take away from the radio station’s ratings? Do we not promote things on Twitter because the audience will know the answer and not want to put the dial on?

Rather than putting our blinders on, we need to step back and look at the big picture. Do you really think Facebook Live video isn’t going to last? Do you think your audience isn’t going to use it? Not everything can be measured by ratings or sales. Sometimes you make decisions because it’s the right thing to do for your audience. If you can show that the personality or brand will be damaged by being available on this platform then that’s a different story, but I think that’ll be a hard case to make.

It reminds me of a chat I had a few years ago with an executive about Twitter. They urged me not to follow the audience back on one of my station accounts. When I asked “Why not?” the response I received was “if you do it for one, you have to do it for all”, and “it will clutter up your Twitter feed”.

Nowhere in the response did they take into account how it made the listener feel. I believed then and still do to this day, that if someone loves a brand enough to follow it, and you provide them with the same courtesy, you’ll gain more word of mouth advertising, brand promotion through retweets, and heavier listening.

PPM2I also believe that there are PPM users in every market who have social media accounts, and are following their favorite brands. If you can remind them of the quality content you have available, and make them feel good by following them back, I’m confident it’ll help your station’s performance.

If a show on your radio station is able to bring in thousands of viewers through a platform like Facebook Video, then you should be all over it. The same applies to using Periscope, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or any platform where you’re able to generate mass audience.

Do you know for a fact that the viewer you’re reaching doesn’t have the radio on where they’re at? Have you considered that by seeing you through the video service they could want to click on your stream or turn on the radio to hear the rest of the presentation?

Rather than doing what radio usually does and saying “we’ll do this when everyone else does it”, how about doing the opposite and taking an initiative to provide a benefit to the audience? The only conversations you should be having are “how do we make this better” and “how can we utilize the service and the results we’re producing to generate more ratings and revenue”?

phoneIn-Game Interaction:

The final portion of this article that I want to examine involves interaction during live play by play broadcasts. In the current environment, broadcasters describe and explain to people what’s happening on the field during a sporting event. The listener is then expected to consume and process the message.

But, if you’re watching or listening to a game in 2016, chances are you’re also using your phone, tablet, or computer to interact with others. Take a look at the amount of tweets that were sent out on Monday night during the NCAA College Basketball Championship game, and on Sunday night during WWE’s WrestleMania 32. It’s a very powerful story for Twitter and Facebook.

Radio and television broadcasts may introduce a handful of tweets during a game but it doesn’t take Nostradamus to figure out what’s coming next. If you’re the voice of a local team’s games, or the face of a broadcast on local or national television channels, start preparing for a world where you’re calling the action over the air, and interacting on social platforms during it. No longer will it be enough to present a message, without also being accessible.

reporter-scheftyThe quick response from many play by play announcers will be “That’s not possible. I do a ton already, and can’t take away from my focus on the air”. They do have a point, but I’ve also spent enough time inside of broadcast booths to know that announcers still find time to text their buddies, read the internet, and browse social media. To suggest that they can’t respond during a game is ludicrous. If players can use Snapchat during a gamePeriscope during pre-game, and reporters can be locked into Twitter during an NFL and NBA Draft, then announcers and analysts can find time to respond to the audience.

I’m not saying it’s easy, or ideal, but if you think that the future isn’t going to include play by play hosts and analysts being accessible on social media, and promoted on-air to attract listener/viewer responses, you’re sadly mistaken. I expect national television groups to make it a heavier part of their presentation because they’re always looking for ways to innovate the broadcast. Even when they do things that drive us nuts, I appreciate that they take risks to try and make things better. For example, we now have in-game reporter’s next to the dugout, in-game interviews with managers, a graphic to show if a pitch was in the strike zone or not, etc.

The one challenge I see will be the cooperation from local teams and professional sports leagues. Some will embrace the future and want to tap into the passion of the audience during their game broadcasts, and others will reject it because they’re either set in their ways or unwilling to give on-air exposure to a social media platform for free.

There will also be issues to navigate with advertisers once they enter the mix, but rest assured, radio stations and local teams will make it a bigger part of their programming strategy in the future. I already hear some announcers responding to tweets, others working out of town stringer reports into their broadcasts, and I suspect video streaming will find its way into radio booths in the near future.

toeny32Prior to leaving San Francisco in 2015, I approached the Oakland Athletics about adding our Pre/Post host Chris Townsend into the game broadcast. I knew the play by play crew of Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo would be open minded to the idea because they had a great relationship with Chris, plus let’s be honest, during a three hour broadcast, there’s plenty of time to fill. Tossing it downstairs a few times for a handful of minutes would not compromise the broadcast, especially when that exact situation occurs frequently during a TV broadcast.

The idea was to use Chris as an in-game reporter and social media correspondent. If a major injury or key moment in the game took place and required further explanation, Chris would have access to provide an update for the audience. He’d also be active on Twitter interacting with fans throughout the game using a special hashtag which we’d promote during the broadcast.

By doing this, it would give fans an opportunity to interact with Chris during the game, and potentially have their messages appear on-air during the broadcast. It was an easy way to use social media to bring fans and the broadcast together, and take them further inside. There was also the possibility of introducing behind the scenes video with Chris through Periscope.

Unfortunately, I was leaving town two months later, and the team felt there were a number of hurdles that would need to be cleared to make it work. There were also union restrictions, and MLB approvals that needed to be met, so it unfortunately never materialized.

Maybe it wasn’t meant to be with the A’s broadcast, but I guarantee you that it will become a part of game broadcasts in the future. If teams and leagues want broadcast companies to keep paying premium dollars for their rights, they’re going to have to allow more access and unique opportunities to generate revenue. If not, those rights deals will decrease.

We may all agree that the team’s games have value to a radio station’s airwaves, but not if they’re going to cause the company to lose large sums of money. With digital consumption and interaction rapidly growing, and advertiser interest following suit, it’s going to be an area where both sides allow for flexibility. Without it, they both lose.

finishThe Conclusion:

I recognize that some of my views may produce a difference of opinion. If you disagree with any of it, that’s ok. Nobody is 100% right. But I will leave you with a few points to ponder.

  • Is there any platform on the planet where more of your audience exists besides Facebook?
  • If thousands are clicking your video stream to watch your talent, is it really hurting your business?
  • How are you adjusting your schedule to make sure your people receive feedback, support and understand your expectations?
  • Do you think the audience isn’t going to demand more access to your play by play broadcast and members of their local teams?

This is where the world is headed. Rather than rejecting ideas because they’re different than what you’re used to, think about the long-term ramifications of the decisions you make. They could have a big effect on whether your company and audience see you as an innovator, or an obstacle standing in the way of progress.

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

Jason Barrett

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

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

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

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

Now, for the new additions to the lineup.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Barrett

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

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

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

Which brings me to this year’s winner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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