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BSM Top 20

The Top 20 Mid-Market Program Directors of 2016 Are…

Jason Barrett

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This week the on-air talent have enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame, but now it’s time to give some attention to the brand leaders who are responsible for guiding and designing some of America’s best sports radio stations. They may not be known beyond an email address or social media account, but make no mistake about it, these folks play a vital role in developing top notch programming, identifying talent, and making sure the audience and the station’s advertisers and business partners have reason to remain loyal to their brands.

To determine the Top 20 Sports Radio Program Directors, our panel uses the criteria below. I do not vote in this process. I simply present the group’s findings so that people inside and outside of the industry have a better idea of the collective view of sports radio’s top executives.

  • Ratings success in their local market
  • An established track record of success in the format
  • Spent more than six months managing a Top 20 market sports radio station
  • Finished 2016 employed and in the same executive role at the same radio station
  • Points are given for each ranking (EX: 20 points for 1st place, 1 point for 20th place)

The results are a reflection of the group’s collective opinions, and I remind you that they are subjective. That said, few can argue that each of these individuals have earned the industry’s respect and are known for having done excellent work on a consistent basis.

I extend my congratulations to each person who made this list, and am now proud to present “BSM’s Top 20 Mid-Market Sports Radio Program Directors of 2016”!

Additional Notes:

  • Andy Roth finished 25 points ahead of Jay Taylor to secure 1st place
  • Brad Willis gained the most 1st place votes (4), Roth was second with 3
  • Chadd Scott finished 21st, just 2 points behind Erin Hogan
  • Spots 22-25 belonged to Chris Hoffman, Jake Scott, Jimmy Clark & Dave Jaconnette

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Barrett Sports Media’s Top 20 Original Sports Podcasts of 2021

“A total of 72 podcasts were presented for voting consideration in the Original Sports Podcasts category. Executives also had the opportunity (if they wished) to add other titles to the list. By the end of the process, 87 shows appeared on at least one ballot.”

Jason Barrett

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The final day of the BSM Top 20 of 2021 has arrived. We close out our annual series by recognizing the Top 20 Original Sports Podcasts of 2021. For this year, we’ve also produced a BSM Top 20 Specialty Selections column. It features 20 additional categories we haven’t showcased before, and who the BSM staff selected as the winner in each. Check it out by clicking here.

Before you jump ahead to the lists, first give it up for Point to Point Marketing for serving as this year’s Top 20 sponsor. Tim Bronsil and his staff do a great job serving the media industry, and if you’re not familiar with their work, make time to learn more. You can do that here.

Also, I’d like to thank Stephanie EadsDylan Barrett and Demetri Ravanos for helping me with the Top 20 process. Months are spent putting together documents for all to vote, and then tracking down each individual, adding up their votes, and then producing the creative images you see to showcase the sports media business in a positive way. It takes a team to pull it off, and I hope you guys appreciate all that goes into it from our crew because I know I do.

As you look over the list, please remember that the lists represent the collective opinions of 46 industry executives. Yours truly does not vote. I simply collect the feedback and present the results. A few key things to be aware of regarding our process.

#1 – These results are based solely on taste. It’s simply about talent, content, brand, relevance, success, and originality. That tends to favor personalities and brands with a larger following. This category could literally include tens of thousands titles, but we give our voters a specific list of mainstream sports shows to vote on. The two things that matter most, the show must be produced consistently and well received. I realize there are TONS of podcasts out there, many of them being quality shows with audience and revenue, but this category is for the biggest performers in the digital audio space. That isn’t to take away from others who do kick ass work. It just explains how this category is designed for consideration.

#2 – Our executive panel consists of program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Beasley, Hubbard, Good Karma Brands, ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, SiriusXM, Spotify, and independently owned and operated radio stations. We involve a large number of people to keep the feedback spread out across the country, and to avoid the results heavily favoring one company.

#3 – A total of 72 podcasts were presented for voting consideration in the Original Sports Podcasts category. Executives also had the opportunity (if they wished) to add other titles to the list. By the end of the process, 87 shows appeared on at least one ballot.

Which brings us to the rankings for this year’s Original Sports Podcasts of 2021. We have a new winner! For the first time, the category award goes to Meadowlark Media’s ‘The Dan Le Batard Show‘. The Le Batard crew knocked off Barstool’s Pardon My Take by twenty eight (28) points to earn this year’s top honor. PMT picked up the most 1st place votes with eleven (11), but Le Batard outscored Big Cat and PFT 28-20 among Top 5 votes which went a long way towards finishing ahead. BSM congratulates John Skipper, Dan Le Batard, Jon ‘Stugotz’ Weiner and the entire team on being recognized as this year’s category winner.

Now, here are the full results of “BSM’s Top 20 Original Sports Podcasts of 2021!”

Additional Notes:

  • Pardon My Take received the most first place votes with eleven (11). The Dan Le Batard Show was second with nine (9).
  • Spots 21-25 belonged to Jalen & JacobyStupodity, The Mina Kimes Show, The Tony Kornheiser Show and The JBoy Show.
  • The tightest races saw Spittin’ Chiclets slip by Ryen Russillo by one (1) point, and 10 Questions w/ Kyle Brandt hold off Jalen & Jacoby by two (2) points.
  • Of the 87 original sports podcasts to appear on ballots, fifteen (15) received at least one (1) 1st place vote.

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Barrett Sports Media’s Top 21 Specialty Selections of 2021

“These categories were different from the BSM Top 20 and represent twenty one (21) total votes by our current staff and a few select former members.”

Jason Barrett

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The BSM Top 20 is a fun and subjective series which many enjoy each year. We appreciate all who take the time to participate in the voting process to help us determine the industry’s best in the various categories we recognize. Given how large the sports media industry is, there are tons of additional categories that could be voted on and debated, but asking our panel to do more than they already do isn’t something I’m comfortable with. These folks have stations and companies to run, not full days to spend making selections for yours truly.

But the BSM staff, past and present members? Well, that’s a different story.

Though we’re each busy with daily responsibilities, we all love the industry and spend time following it, writing about it, and analyzing it. Hundreds of thousands of people hit this site each month to read our content, many of them members of the media business, and if they value the words presented on this screen enough to digest it, then I’m sure they’ll appreciate and enjoy how our crew views some of the best in the business in other categories.

Which brings me to BSM’s Specialty Selections. I created a survey for our crew which contained 21 questions, all offering a number of choices for our crew to choose from. These categories were different from the BSM Top 20 and represent twenty one (21) total votes by our current staff and a few select former members. With this being the final day of the Top 20 series, we want to once again congratulate all of the winners and brands recognized, and remind you that provided enough participation is received, a News Radio version of the Top 20 will be delivered later this year.

Now here are BSM’s Top 20 (Plus one Bonus Choice) Specialty Selections!

Sports Insider of the Year: Our team selected Adam Schefter as the best sports insider. Adam captured 33% of the total vote. Ken Rosenthal finished 2nd. Adrian Wojnarowski came in third.

Sports Media Reporter of the Year: With 60% of the vote, Andrew Marchand of the NY Post was recognized by our team as the top sports media reporter of 2021. Next up was Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports followed by The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.

Sports Media Podcast of the Year: I’m sure checks were mailed out or beatdowns were promised to our crew if votes didn’t come his way, but Demetri Ravanos prevailed with BSM’s Media Noise Podcast. Coming in second was Sports Media w/ Richard Deitsch followed by the Marchand & Ourand podcast.

Sports Media Website of the Year: The NY Post continued to earn praise from our team for presenting the best sports media website of the year. Between Andrew Marchand and former BSM contributor Ryan Glasspiegel, the Post has positioned itself well in the sports media space. Next up was The Athletic followed by Outkick.

Sports Media Story of the Year: A case could be made for the arrival of the Manningcast, the sale of Outkick to FOX, the high profile saga at ESPN involving Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols or Dave Portnoy’s ongoing feud with Business Insider, but our choice was Betting Brands Go All-In on Sports Media. With DraftKings investing millions in the Dan Le Batard Show and VSiN, and FanDuel committing 30 million per year to Pat McAfee, the sports betting behemoths have shown they’re here to stay and they’re determined to make an impact.

Sports Media Leap of Faith of the Year: Our crew pledged its support to Dan Le Batard and Friends making the jump from ESPN to launch their own company, Meadowlark Media with former ESPN executive John Skipper. Since taking the plunge, Le Batard and company may not have the same reach as they once did, but they’ve found new ways to excel in a rapidly changing sports media environment. Runner ups for this category included WJOX Roundtable taking the same path as Le Batard and launching ‘The Next Round’, and the Midday 180 crew launching OutKick 360 and entering the syndication space.

Radio Play by Play Announcer of the Year: When Kevin Harlan is on the radio, the game just feels bigger. Our crew took notice of it as Harlan received 50% of the total vote. Following him in the category was SF 49ers voice Greg Papa, and NY Mets broadcaster Howie Rose.

TV Play by Play Announcer of the Year: This field was full of top talent, but one name stood above the rest, Al Michaels. The legendary hall of fame announcer (who every network should be trying to hire right now) grabbed 33% of the vote to prevail over CBS’ Jim Nantz. Taking third was FOX Sports’ Joe Buck.

TV Game Analyst of the Year: This was one of the most contested categories we had, and when all was said and done, NBC’s Cris Collinsworth was chosen as the best TV game analyst by our team, pulling in 25% of the total vote. Finishing behind Collinsworth, each with 15% of the vote were FOX Sports’ Troy Aikman and Joel Klatt, and ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy and Dick Vitale.

Sports TV Opinionist of the Year: When it comes to sports debates on television, there’s Stephen A. Smith and then everyone else. The ‘First Take’ king secured a massive 70% of the vote from our team to be recognized as the category winner. If we created another category for best social videos, Stephen A. might win that one too for his Dallas Cowboys postgame videos. I know he’d have my vote.

Sports TV Studio Show of the Year: Though football fans don’t need to be sold on how awesome our winning show is, when Inside The NBA doesn’t stand tall, there’s nothing else you can call it other than an upset. The winner according to our staff by the difference of 1 vote over TNT’s hit NBA program was NFL RedZone. Sunday’s aren’t the same without the fantastic show delivered by Scott Hanson. That’s a true testament to the quality delivered by Hanson and his crew. Finishing in a tie for third was First Take and PTI.

Sports TV Studio Host of the Year: NFL RedZone may have won the Studio Show category, but when it comes to Studio hosts, our crew chose the great Ernie Johnson as the category winner. EJ’s steady influence on Inside The NBA alongside Shaq, Charles and Kenny is what makes it one of the best programs on sports television. In fact, anytime Ernie leads a sports television show, you know you’re watching one of the best at his craft in action.

Sports TV Studio Analyst of the Year: Few possess the ability to inform, entertain, and make an audience react like Charles Barkley. Chuck received 50% of our team’s votes, with runner up ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky earning 20%. Five others tied with 5%.

Sports Radio Social Brand of the Year: WFAN in New York has done a tremendous job creating additional press and conversation due to their well produced video work, audiograms, images, and articles and that was enough to sway our staff by recognizing the NY sports brand as the category winner. Coming in second was 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, followed by a tie between ESPN Chicago and SKOR North.

Sports Betting Brand of the Year: Though the big boys like DraftKings, FanDuel and Penn National have begun investing big in talent and brand partnerships, when it comes to content creation and providing daily interest, the top sports betting brand according to our team was VSiN. With the network pumping out original radio and video content 7 days per week, podcasts produced to satisfy various betting tastes, and video, newsletters, and betting guides created to assist bettors in making smart gambling decisions, VSiN stood above the field to grab 50% of the vote. Coming in second was BetQL followed by OutKick.

Sports Betting Show of the Year: The choice in this category according to our team was ESPN’s Daily Wager. Hosted nightly by Doug Kezirian, DW received 40% of the vote to emerge victorious. Following behind was The Barstool Sports Advisors and Follow The Money.

Sports Betting Talent of the Year: The flood of personalities talking about sports betting on radio, television, social media, and podcasts is endless, but the person who stood out most according to our team was ESPN’s Joe Fortenbaugh. Fortenbaugh secured 25% of the vote to hold off BetQL’s Nick Kostos. A four way tie for third included ‘Big Cat’ Dan Katz, Ariel Epstein, Clay Travis, and Cousin Sal.

Sports Betting App of the Year: This was a tight race, which was won by 1 vote by Caesars. Those emperor ads with the Manning family likely helped. So too did their outstanding incentives to signup. Caesars reeled in 30% of the vote to produce the win. On their heels was FanDuel and DraftKings, each tied with 25% of the vote.

Pro Wrestling Audio Show of the Year: This has quickly become a massive category with a lot of top wrestlers now hosting shows. But for this year, the choice was SiriusXM’s Busted Open featuring Dave La Greca, Bully Ray, Tommy Dreamer and Mark Henry. Next up was Jim Cornette’s podcast ‘The Cult of Cornette’ followed by a three-way tie between Ric Flair’s Woo Nation, 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff, and Talk Is Jericho.

Independent Podcast Company of the Year: Brands with millions flocking to their content in other places tend to do alright generating a podcast audience. But those without built in advantages have to turn over every loose stone to find ways to connect with listeners, attract advertisers, and become a larger part of the mainstream conversation. When it came down to this category, the group our team chose as this year’s winner with 43% of the vote was Locked On Podcasts. Next up was Blue Wire followed by Bleav.

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Barrett Sports Media’s Top 20 Mid Market Sports Radio Stations of 2021

“A total of 57 sports radio stations were eligible for voting consideration in the Mid Market Sports Radio Stations category.”

Jason Barrett

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Last week we released the results of BSM’s Top 20 National Shows, and Major & Mid Market Morning, Midday, Afternoon Shows, and Program Directors. If you didn’t check out all of the lists, click here to get caught up. For today, as we’ve traditionally done the day after the Super Bowl, we’re revealing the industry’s top Sports Radio Stations for 2021.

As you look over the list, please remember that the lists represent the collective opinions of 46 industry executives. Yours truly does not vote. I’d like to thank Stephanie EadsDylan Barrett and Demetri Ravanos for helping me with the Top 20 process, and Point to Point Marketing for being our exclusive sponsor for this year’s Top 20. Tim Bronsil and his staff are a valued resource to many across the media industry, and if you’re not familiar with their work, you need to make time to learn more. That can be done by clicking here.

As it pertains to the voting, here are a few key things.

#1 – These results are based on 2021’s performance. 2022 changes have no impact on the outcome. As long as the station existed in the format thru the end of the year, it was eligible for voting consideration.

#2 – Our executive panel consists of program directors and corporate executives from a number of top broadcasting companies including Audacy, iHeart, Cumulus, Beasley, Hubbard, Good Karma Brands, ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, SiriusXM, Spotify, and independently owned and operated radio stations. We involve a large number of people to keep the feedback spread out across the country, and to avoid the results heavily favoring one company.

#3 – A total of 57 sports radio stations were eligible for voting consideration in the Mid Market Sports Radio Stations category.

#4 – Our executive panel picked the Top 20 sports stations using a few factors; ratings success, strength of lineup/talent, creative ideas, multi-platform excellence, local market impact, and brand relevance and respect. It’s important to remember that our voters live in different cities, have different tastes and experiences, and work for different companies, so certain things may be given more or less merit depending on who’s casting a vote. This isn’t a perfect science, but it’s the best system we can think of to showcase sports radio’s best.

And that brings us to the rankings for this year’s Mid Market Sports Radio Stations of 2021. The best in the category according to our executive panel was 92.3 The Fan. Despite picking up a number of individual awards over the years, this is the Cleveland sports station’s first category win. 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh and 101 ESPN in St. Louis have won the award twice, and 104.5 The Zone in Nashville has won the award once. BSM congratulates Tom Herschel, Andy Roth, and their entire staff on being recognized as the king of the mid markets, as well as all of the other stations who earned a spot on this year’s list.

Now, here are the full results of “BSM’s Top 20 Mid Market Sports Radio Stations of 2021!”

Additional Notes:

  • 92.3 The Fan finished twenty eight (28) points in front of runner up 92.9 ESPN. Neither station though had the most first place votes. That belonged to 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. 92.3 The Fan though recorded the most Top 5 votes, which put the brand in a strong position to prevail.
  • Spots 21-25 belonged to 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee, 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh, 107.5 The Fan in Green Bay, Sports Radio WNML in Knoxville, and KHTK in Sacramento.
  • The tightest races saw 97.1 The Fan slide by 93.7 The Fan by three (3) points, and 104.5 ESPN, 102.5 The Game, and 1080 The Fan separated by two (2) points each for spots 18-20.
  • Of the 57 sports stations eligible for voting consideration, ten (10) received at least one (1) 1st place vote.

Here is the remaining schedule for the BSM Top 20 of 2020.

  • Tuesday February 15 = The BSM Top 20 Original Sports Podcasts/Specialty Selections of 2021

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