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The Results of the BSM Sports Radio Survey

Jason Barrett

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Conducting research is a critical part of every brand’s strategy and development. It’s not an easy process and not every piece of feedback is informative, but it’s necessary in helping your company and people avoid danger signs and pursue opportunities to enjoy greater success. Throughout my career, I’ve used ratings results, focus groups, social media responses, and digital analytics to help my brands build momentum and steer clear of landmines. The radio host and programmer’s responsibility is to know what moves and interests the audience. That information then allows you to design your product strategy to generate larger ratings, deeper brand loyalty, and revenue.

I compare it to being in a popular band. Fans buy tickets to see you perform. When they attend your concert, they expect you to play the songs they enjoy most and do things which are consistent with the way you’ve represented yourself throughout the years. If you hit the stage and act differently and showcase material that you love but the audience isn’t familiar with it will have a negative impact on your future ability to sell tickets, music, and merchandise.

The downside of research is that certain traits have more or less importance from individual to individual. Listeners may tell you that they want to hear a heavy dose of NFL content on your airwaves during their morning commute, and your hosts may provide it, yet not move the needle in the ratings. What does that tell you? It can mean many things. It could be that your talent doesn’t possess the ability to present the content in a spectacular way. It can mean that your competitor has an established show which your audience won’t break their loyalty to. Or it can be an issue with the meters in your market or something else. This is why researching your audience regularly is necessary. The longer you do it, the better read you’re able to get on multiple situations.

Since it’s been a while since I last analyzed the listening habits and interests of sports radio listeners, I thought I’d take a crack at it to see if people’s tastes had changed. I was blown away by the response of 2,006 participants. I have many of my friends in the industry to thank for getting listeners involved. Although a few responses didn’t jive with other projects I’ve worked on, I did find that the majority of responses offered valuable information that we can learn from.

When you look at the feedback below, keep in mind, these responses are coming from sports radio fans all across the United States and Canada. If this exercise were done in an individual market the results would likely be different. But there are some trends which would be consistent anywhere you listen.

Altogether I asked nine questions in this survey, and my goal was to find out which answers the audience identified with MOST. I stress the word “most” because a number of people reached out on social media expressing a frustration with not being able to provide multiple answers. In most case studies, it’s understood that fans of a product will like multiple things. But what brands want to know, is which items make the biggest difference? That was my goal too with this survey.

I will now share with you the results of the BSM sports radio research survey. You’ll find my analysis under each question, highlighting what I felt was most important to take away. Enjoy!

survey1

BSM: The majority of fans who took this survey are hardcore sports radio listeners. 85% or 1,700+ said they listen daily which is great news if you’re in the industry. However, if you look at most radio markets and the ratings that support each brand, most don’t have 85% of their listeners tuning in daily. Those who listen 2-3X per week are also higher than 12% in most cases.

survey2

BSM: For all of the talk about the growing power of the phone, it’s good to see that the car is where listeners still listen to sports radio the most. The phone does come in second with 1 out of 5 listeners tuning in. When you combine that number with the percentage of listeners who listen on a computer, laptop or ipad, the total grows to 30.5%. Why is that important? Because if your website or app delivers a poor listening experience, is difficult to navigate, or features outdated content, 3 out of every 10 listeners are going to notice. You can’t just program your radio station. You must treat your digital brands with great care too.

I did find it interesting that listening at home or at work came in at 11.4%. When that number is combined with listening in the car, you have 68% of hardcore sports radio listeners who are tuned in through an actual radio, not a digital device. That surprised me. We can expect more listening in the future to the sports format to be done on the phone and less on a radio. If we analyzed all formats in the radio industry instead of focusing just on the sports format, this would be a close call between the two primary options.

survey3

BSM: If you judge listening habits based on the ratings data many radio stations receive, you’d be convinced that few people exist during the hours of 10a-3p, and everyone listens to sports radio programming during the morning or afternoon commute. I’m not sure if this is a case of hardcore sports radio fans having a different routine but I was surprised to see middays produce such a healthy number. In comparing mornings, middays, and afternoons they were extremely close but PM drive held a slight advantage. Nights, overnights, and weekends were much lower which is consistent with what many stations experience across the country.

survey4

BSM: No surprise here. Fall is the most important time of the year for the sports format and that’s reflected with almost 84% of listening being most likely between the months of July and December. This is why so many brands air football games and position their Monday’s and Friday’s around football programming. It’s also why each fall you hear a heavy amount of football related guests on local stations during the course of the week. The big challenge for brands moving forward is to figure out how to get those individuals back to the dial between the months of January and June.

survey5

BSM: This was my favorite part of the survey because it gave a good look into the different things listeners hear daily and what moves the needle most with them. The #1 takeaway was that people want to hear a host deliver strong opinion and allow room for debate. I’ve often said drama is what fuels listening to sports radio, and when coupled with opinion and disagreement it becomes a recipe for success.

The second most popular item was funny stories and bits. This means the top two things a host can deliver on a daily basis to engage an audience are passionate opinion and humor.

Coming in third were interviews. Although I enjoy them and believe they can help a brand create or extend content and generate additional buzz, they are not more important than what the host has to say. Many stations also make the mistake of keeping them on for a long period of time, which is why listeners lose interest.

The last item to highlight is the lack of interest in hearing callers. I’ve heard this same story in multiple markets I’ve worked in. Only 5% of people in this survey listed the callers as their favorite part of a sports radio show. If you think your show is connecting based on how many times you’ve seen the phone line light up you’re missing the boat. Calls represent a small fraction of your audience. Although a good passionate call can add entertainment value, and elicit good response from a host, a great on-air talent can perform without them and still kick ass in the ratings.

survey6

BSM: It’s an NFL world that we’re living in, and the survey results confirm that yet again. 1 out of every 2 listeners wants it, and the reason why your audience spikes between July and December is because the NFL becomes the main attraction. This should be no surprise. If you’re not finding a way each day to discuss your local team AND other key storylines from the National Football League, you’re allowing an opportunity to connect with your audience get away.

I’ll admit that I was surprised to see MLB and College Sports so close, because baseball simply has a longer amount of time to be a featured part of the daily conversation. If we did this survey in April I wonder if MLB would be higher. That said, the appetite for College Football and Basketball is strong, and growing, and that’s excellent news for brands who enter the fall seeking a big lift.

The one area that stood out negatively was how poorly the NBA was received in this survey. Once again, depending on your market it’s either a hot or cold conversation, but for the purposes of this survey it’s behind the NFL, MLB and College Sports, and even the NHL. Having worked in multiple NHL markets I can tell you that this evidence doesn’t jive with what I’ve seen in previous research studies. Usually the NHL is beaten 4-5 to 1 by the NBA. But the geography of the individuals taking the survey or the time of the year when we’re conducting this survey could have factored into the final totals.

Something important to remember for all air talent and programmers. You may think your show can afford to spend 2-3 segments per day focusing on lesser stuff because the majority of it deals with the important topics, but those 2-3 segments where you discuss lesser subjects (in this case the NBA and NHL), could be the difference in winning or losing your next book. If people tell you they want NFL, MLB and College Sports content, don’t argue with them – give them what they want. That type of customer service often puts more money in your pocket.

survey7

BSM: The number one reason listeners leave your radio station is not as cut and dry as you might have thought. It’s actually a tie between commercials, and the personality of a host. Face it, people hate interruptions. But they’re a part of our business. You know when every show begins that people will leave at some point when they hear a commercial. But if your personality is divisive, fake or difficult to connect with, it can be as damaging as a Kars For Kids jingle. Some hosts can’t control this, but people listen to talent they want to hang out and have a beer with. If you sound detached from the audience or dismissive of their input, they’ll make you pay for it by tuning you out.

Not far behind those two options was poor content. As I stated in the previous section, if you’re forcing 2-3 segments into the show because you enjoy them but the majority of your audience doesn’t, that’s considered poor content. It doesn’t matter how great you deliver it, if nobody cares about the subject matter.

Right behind poor content were callers at nearly 20%. That number surprised me. But if you’re wondering if hearing the audience weigh in with mindless responses is valuable to your show, remember this survey. 5% said hearing listeners call-in was their most enjoyable part of a sports radio show. 20% said they find them to be the #1 reason to tune out.

survey8

BSM: It’s clear that people prefer to listen to sports talk LIVE but if we did this survey 5 years ago, I bet it would’ve been 90-10 instead of 73-26. What this tells me is that podcasting is growing, and listening on demand has become more attractive to the audience. The interest in the content our format creates remains high but having the ability to enjoy it when it suits an individuals schedule continues to increase. What will really be interesting is to see the results to this same exact question in 2-3 years.

survey9

BSM: Many of us who have made a living in the sports format have been beaten over the head with the message – you must deliver local, local, local. That content strategy drives ratings and revenue higher than national sports programming in most markets. This survey showed that 3 out 4 people prefer local to national. That’s not a surprise. It should make every local radio operator feel good to know that local talent discussing local content still has tremendous value.

However, if you’re dismissing national sports radio programming, that would be a mistake. 1 out of 4 hardcore sports fans in this survey (500+) didn’t care if the programming was local or not. There’s plenty of room at the table for national sports radio networks like ESPN, FOX, CBS, NBC, SiriusXM and SB Nation Radio. When you add the success these national brands have on digital platforms due to their extended reach and cross promotional opportunities on television and websites, it builds an even more impressive story.

The bottom line, we can have a thriving format with both local and national sports radio. It does not have to be a case of picking one or the other.

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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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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