We’ve reached the final stage of our three part series featuring the men and women who broadcast baseball games on the radio across the nation. If you haven’t read part 1 click here. To read part two go here.
Radio has some amazing storytellers gracing its airwaves and selling the game of baseball and all that is associated with it. During the next six months local audiences will be treated to a heavy dose of our baseball announcers, and with these radio professionals serving in critical roles to help our radio stations enjoy strong ratings and revenue success, it felt like the right time to recognize them for the countless contributions they make to our radio stations.
On that note, let me introduce you to the voices of Major League Baseball. This is the final part of our three part series.
Philadelphia Phillies – Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen – as told by Spike Eskin.
Baseball on the radio is an amazing thing. There is something about the space, the pacing, and just the sound itself that people love listening to. Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen have taken that special thing and perfected it on their Phillies broadcasts.
People love Scott and Larry because they’re real, funny, interesting, passionate, and they know what they’re talking about. Like many of the great ones, and a lot like the beloved team of Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn, when you’re listening to Franzke and L.A., you’re not just hearing what’s going on during the Phillies game, but you’re hearing their own little show within the play by play broadcast itself. They’re genuinely entertaining.
Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen, along with Jim Jackson (pregame, postgame, middle three innings), help SportsRadio 94WIP capitalize on the city’s passion for baseball with a truly special broadcast.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Greg Brown, Bob Walk, Joe Block, Steve Blass, and John Wehner – as told by Colin Dunlap.
Pittsburgh is the most provincial town that I’ve ever experienced, and I’m from here. Greg Brown, especially, understands as much. Greg went through the 20 years of losing with the fanbase, and now with a resurgence taking place, does a great job of playing up the winning. He is simply a regular man who most Pittsburghers identify with, and behind Andrew McCutchen, is probably the most recognizable figure in the organization.
Block is entering his second season, and his style of blending advanced stats with an old school wit has drawn many in, including myself.
Walk presents himself the same way he did as a pitcher, no-nonsense, to the point, and unafraid of shying away from emotion.
Blass is a folk hero in Pittsburgh, and a link to glory days for the old-timers. He plays it perfectly, knowing the audience is captivated by his stories from yesteryear.
Wehner, in my opinion is very underrated. He has a great ability to boil very technical explanations of a swing, play or other portion of a game down to terms and words that everyone can understand. He also grew up about 4 miles from the stadium and played for Jim Leyland’s Pirates, thus (remember that provincialism?) it makes a Pittsburgh audience really lock into him and take to him.
Collectively, Pirates fans are treated to an excellent radio broadcast thanks to the skills and contributions from a very talented group.
San Diego Padres – Ted Leitner, Jesse Agler and Tony Gwynn Jr. – as told by Rich Herrera.
In San Diego, Padres fans are treated to an iconic personality who truly reflects the community. That would be play by play man Ted Leitner. Fans here affectionately refer to him as “Uncle Teddy” and feel a closeness to him due to his having spent 37 years behind the mic calling Padres games. Ted is as unique as the city he calls games for. San Diego loves its baseball and appreciates its players and team, and if you listen to a Padres game you’ll hear him often refer to the team as “My Padres”. In other towns that would be sacrilege, but not San Diego. Because of the laid back attitude here, no one gets too worked up. They meet up at America’s Best Ballpark, enjoy the sunshine while enjoying a cold IPA and wearing their flip flops, and rely on the sound of Uncle Teddy to capture the action. He truly reflects the feel of this community.
Jesse Agler joined the broadcast last season and makes a great partner for Leitner. Chemistry is what everyone strives for in the booth and when these two call a game they bring out the best in each other. Jesse relates to fans and captures the big moment of a game and gives you goosebumps while doing so. He is a great booth mate because he’s able to bring out great stories and the rich history of the Padres from Ted, while also interacting with fans on Twitter and Facebook Live. This helps us bring generations of fans both young and old to the broadcast.
This season, the Padres have added Tony Gwynn Jr. to the radio broadcast, and with his rich family history and connection to San Diego, it will have fans doing a double take at his laugh that sounds just like his hall of fame father.
The Padres are the 12th team to migrate to the FM dial which will expose the team to a wider group of fans, and altogether it adds up to a summer soundtrack in San Diego with Uncle Teddy, Jesse and Tony Gwynn Jr. on a station that sounds crystal clear. You can drive down the highway on your way to the beach with your sunglasses on and the top down as you relish the fact you’re in America’s Finest City. The sum of these parts adds up to a broadcast that sounds like the city it represents, which is why it has a special connection to Padres fans.
San Francisco Giants – Jon Miller and Dave Flemming – as told by Larry Krueger.
Most Bay Area baseball fans feel fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to the best collection of broadcasters in the sport on a daily basis. The Giants have two former Giants, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper on the TV side, and Dave Fleming and the Hall of Famer Jon Miller handling the radio duties on KNBR.
Miller, the longtime voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, has a voice that is synonymous with the sport. He has always been an easy, comfortable listen, and he works hard to be great on the air. Jon has seen decades of baseball, and thus is blessed with a wide array of anecdotes and stories. His overall wit and enthusiasm for the game are the strengths of his broadcasts.
Fleming is still a relatively young broadcaster, but he has emerged as one of the country’s best and most versatile play-by-play men. Dave is very bright with deep pipes, and his sound is so smooth. The duo have built an exceptional on air rapport.
Kruk and Kuip, as they’re affectionately known, join Miller and Fleming on the extremely popular KNBR Postgame Wrap, creating must listen conversation after each Giants game.
The main attraction of this group to fans is they are all passionate about the Giants’ winning baseball games, but they balance that passion with perspective, humor, and enthusiasm. They consistently provide Giants fans with intelligent baseball banter, and if you’re driving anywhere west of the Rocky Mountains you’ll be able to hear them on the blowtorch known as Thee Sports Leader, KNBR-680. It won’t take long for you to discover why they’re the best at what they do.
Seattle Mariners – Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith – as told by Jessamyn McIntyre.
Rick Rizzs has become the voice of baseball in Seattle. While we’ll never forget the dulcet tones of Dave Niehaus on a warm summer night, may he rest in peace, Rizzs has remained the mainstay and enters his 32nd season with the team.
Rizzs’ enthusiasm for the game can be heard throughout his entire call, but is exemplified in his homerun calls with his signature, “Goodbye baseball!” He continues to pay tribute to his long-time partner, Niehaus, on grand slam homerun calls using his famous saying, “Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma! It’s Grand Salami time!” Rick’s passion for the game is only exceeded by his warmth and gracious nature as a person.
Joining Rick in the booth is Aaron Goldsmith, who is in his fifth season as part of the Mariners broadcast team. Goldsmith is only 33 years old, but don’t let his youth fool you. From the moment he first took to the air, it was apparent he had the chops to hold the mic in the booth. From the ‘golden pipes’ he’s working with to the revved up calls on exciting plays, Aaron brings experience beyond his years to the broadcast on a daily basis.
The institutional mainstay in Rizzs, and youthful energy Goldsmith brings, keep Mariners fans happy and looking forward to listening to games on 710 ESPN Seattle year after year.
St. Louis Cardinals – Mike Shannon and John Rooney – as told by Tom Ackerman.
The Cardinals and KMOX have a long history, with the station’s powerful signal responsible for helping grow the team’s fanbase when it was the only franchise west of the Mississippi River. Today, the Cardinals Radio Network boasts 155 affiliates covering ten states, making it the largest radio network in Major League Baseball. But just as its 50,000 watts put baseball on the radio for millions of people, names like France Laux, Dizzy Dean, Joe Garagiola, Harry Caray and Jack Buck brought it to life. Most importantly, they’ve educated and entertained generations of listeners.
Today, Mike Shannon carries on that tradition as a link to the Cardinals’ championship past and a storyteller of the present. Shannon is a St. Louis native with a true love for the city and its surrounding areas. Now in his 46th season behind the microphone, you could make the argument no one has sold more tickets, hotel rooms and Budweiser than Shannon, one of the all-time St. Louis ambassadors. And in a true baseball town, no one has a better feel for the game. You’ll always learn something new listening to a Shannon broadcast, with his ability to identify strategy and nuances. He can set up a big moment with the best of them and deliver an exciting play with great enthusiasm. Shannon is the person you want sitting next to you at the ballpark. Luckily for Cardinals fans, they can experience that any time they want just by turning on the radio.
In addition, his partner John Rooney is one of the finest play-by-play men in the business. Name the sport and he’s probably called it on the national stage. Entering his 12th season as a play-by-play voice of the Cardinals, Rooney has established himself as one of baseball’s best. Always prepared and technically flawless, his smooth delivery is a terrific listen. Rooney has a gift of being able to describe the action in just the right amount of words, painting a beautiful picture each and every inning. He keeps a great pace and comes through with energetic calls of classic Cardinal moments, and like Shannon, is a compelling storyteller with decades of experience.
Rick Horton joins Rooney on road broadcasts, offering the insight Cardinals fans crave from the perspective of a former pitcher. Horton has a charm about him, a friendly, likable personality and true love for the game. Having played for Whitey Herzog, Horton’s expanded knowledge of baseball comes through in his play-by-play and analysis.
Tampa Bay Rays – Andy Freed and Dave Wills – as told by John Mamola.
Since 2005, Dave Wills and Andy Freed have called every pitch of Tampa Bays baseball from the depressing 101 loss season to the thrills of the franchise’s lone World Series appearance in the 2008. In a market that historically has struggled with attendance and budding stars of the game finding bigger paychecks once leaving Tampa Bay, Dave and Andy have been the rock of consistency in a community of baseball fans that has seen many changes over many years. The duo enters their 13th season together behind the mics of the Tampa Bay Rays Radio Network, and they’ve never sounded better. A delicate balance of baseball X’s and O’s with some light entertainment, Dave & Andy’s chemistry bleeds through the radio speaker as if two friends from different backgrounds found a way to work together sharing their passion for the game of baseball with the listening audience.
The three words that best describe Dave and Andy are: Engaged (They invite conversation, incorporating social media responses into the broadcast), Jolly (Always in a good mood, positive, energetic, and up for a laugh), and Polished (They work at their craft and search for coaching techniques and new things to try. There is always something different in every game broadcast).
When I talk to WDAE listeners about Dave and Andy, the responses surround certain elements of their on air persona/character. Dave Wills is the guy who likes to talk baseball and share a cold beer with anyone who will listen. A broadcaster who is not afraid to let his feelings be known, and never holds back in how he calls a game. He’s big and bold whether the Rays have smashed a home run or been the recipient of a bad call. Andy Freed is the baseball purist, and a historian of the game literally keeping every scorecard for every game of every season. A family man who always has a story about his twins, and respected by the audience for his depth of knowledge on a minor detail that always seemingly comes up as a major story later in the game.
In a market where the population is more transient than most (if not all) other MLB markets, Dave and Andy have continued to deliver a high quality broadcast for all baseball fans in the Tampa/St. Petersburg market. The “voice” of Rays baseball continues to be a destination for many, and will be for many generations to come.
Texas Rangers – Eric Nadel, Matt Hicks, and Jared Sandler – as told by RJ Choppy.
Eric Nadel. I could end it right there. The dude is an absolute monster in the booth. He’s in Cooperstown for a reason. He’s a storyteller, and his attention to detail right down to the necklace the pitcher is wearing, paints a picture as well as anyone in the game. Baseball, more than any other of the 4 major sports, has the closest connection between Broadcaster and Fan. It should come as no surprise that his homerun calls are repeated by many in the ballpark, “That ball is history!”
What makes the Rangers broadcast unique is the way they incorporate the other 2 members of the crew, Matt Hicks and Jared Sandler. Hicks’ booming voice and smooth delivery has flown side by side Eric for the last few years. They also incorporate the up and coming, 27 year old Sandler, in a way I’ve not seen a radio team, by using a 3rd voice who chimes in with a more analytical perspective, while also serving in a play by play capacity when a day off is needed.
As a radio station, the Rangers have helped 105.3 The Fan immensely. Baseball is a game changer for a radio station, and the daily cume brought our way from back to back playoff runs by the #2 team in town behind the Dallas Cowboys can’t be overlooked. They are a terrific partner, with an exceptional broadcast, and the weekly hits we receive from Manger Jeff Bannister, GM Jon Daniels, and Sandler give the station unmatched coverage of the team.
Toronto Blue Jays – Jerry Howarth, Joe Siddall and Mike Wilner – as told by Dave Cadeau.
Toronto Blue Jays games are called by a three man booth which includes Jerry Howarth, Joe Siddall and Mike Wilner. We are unique, in that the Blue Jays property is national across Canada, rather than simply local to Toronto.
Jerry Howarth is in his 36th season as the voice of the Blue Jays. Every Blue Jays fan across Canada knows Jerry’s call, and I’m sure they all feel like they know him personally. One of his best traits is that he makes himself incredibly accessible to the audience whenever they ask for his time (which is amazing for someone who in 2017 still does not own a cell phone!).
Joe Siddall played 14 pro seasons as a catcher, including MLB gameplay with the Expos, Marlins and Tigers. He is as friendly, honest and approachable as they come. Joe has a natural ability to engage with the audience and give context to the “why” and the “how” of what is happening in the baseball game.
Mike Wilner has been a presence on the Toronto sports media scene for almost 30 years, with a focus on baseball and the Blue Jays for the last 20. Blue Jays fans have become very familiar with Mike’s deep knowledge and strong opinions as he has taken their calls from across the country on our postgame show called Blue Jays Talk.
For road games, Jerry and Joe work as two-man team, and they present a classic baseball call. Jerry paints a vivid picture of the game with his signature calls to relay the action to our audience. Joe compliments him beautifully with deeper descriptions and explanations as to why something may have happened, or perhaps why it didn’t. They switch roles for 3 innings, and Joe’s growth calling the play has grown by leaps-and-bounds over the last 2 seasons.
When the Blue Jays are at Rogers Centre, Jerry and Joe call 6 innings, while Mike and Joe call the other 3. Mike and Joe create a very different experience for our audience, and frankly I haven’t heard this style anywhere else in the game. I like to think of what they do as a “baseball conversation” that includes play-by-play. As a member of the audience, I feel like I’m sitting there in the booth with Mike and Joe and learning something about the game of baseball, or a situation in the game and I’m able to picture it all unfolding. It’s a different experience, and very entertaining. I love both styles that we present to our audience, and by all accounts, our audience agrees. This allows us to showcase all 3 of our broadcasters, and their different perspectives and personalities by putting them in different seats as the games progress.
The Blue Jays are an important property to Sportsnet 590 The FAN and The Sportsnet Radio Network, and Jerry, Joe and Mike have a significant impact as the team’s radio voices. Our trio includes a mix of different personalities with huge experience, all well-respected in and around the game, and they work together incredibly well, plus they participate regularly on our talk shows and others across North America.
Washington Nationals – Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler – as told by Grant Paulsen.
The pairing of Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler has become appointment listening for baseball fans in DC. Having called games together since 2006, the two have grown synonymous with one-another thanks to their chemistry and longevity in the booth. Two unique voices who compliment each other beautifully, Slowes is a bit more excitable and often comes up with creative catchphrases the fan base latches on to, while Jageler is ultra smooth and has mastered pacing and description.
Their conversational style leads to witty banter and plenty of in-game laughs while rarely taking away from the game. You are never at a loss for what is going on with the action because they weave seamlessly in and out of play-by-play while delivering a scoreboard update or a story from the road. Both could handle a solo game without a problem but each does a nice job when providing color as the second voice during innings when they aren’t on the call.
The quality of the broadcast — from tight production to the audio and music in and out of breaks to the pre and post-game shows — stacks up very well with the elite radio teams around the country and is far superior to the work done in many markets. It’s quite common to see folks at the game wearing headsets, or even to hear that fans have put a radio on at their house to enjoy “Charlie & Dave.” They are smooth, informative, and they let the game breathe, and pro-Nats without coming off as complete homers. They’re an asset to 106.7 The Fan and we’re lucky to have them.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
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.