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A Sports Radio Education From Bill Belichick

Jason Barrett



Bill Belichick

One of the real joys of my occupation is when I stumble onto a piece of content that I know will provide a great education for every single person making a living in the sports media industry. Today I’m thrilled to share one of those examples with you.

If you’re a talk show host, producer, anchor, reporter, salesperson, program director or market manager, and you haven’t yet watched Bill Belichick’s interview on CNBC, stop reading this column, and click on it right now. You’ll thank me for it later.

For those of you who have seen it, continue reading to get a better understanding of how many of Bill’s views on life, leadership, and competition relate to the world of sports media.

Stand For Something – Every successful company, brand, and individual occupies a unique position in the mind of the audience. Understand what it is that makes you special, deliver that message consistently across all of your platforms, and demonstrate thru your actions why it matters and is part of who you are.

Preparation – Inside the Patriots locker room hangs a sign “Every Battle Is Won Before The Battle Is Fought”. Simply put, it’s easier to win when you already know what to do. Before you present your content to an audience, pitch your brand to an advertiser or introduce a strategy to generate ratings and knock off your competition, you must first have a game plan and solid evidence to support your convictions. The better you know your team, product, opponent, and the challenges you’re facing, and the more your people understand the goal, process, and methods of how to win, the easier it becomes to succeed.

Focus On The Moment – It would’ve been easy for the Patriots to point fingers, second guess decisions, and become rattled after Atlanta dominated them in the first half of Super Bowl 51. Instead, Bill Belichick and his team stayed the course. They remained upbeat, focused on the next play and kept on working. In radio, this is no different than investing your energy in your next segment. Worrying about your signal limitations, the competition’s advantages or the lack of meters in your market is beyond your control. What you do control is delivering great content. When you execute consistently, you give yourself a chance to win. Those who do benefit from a little bit of luck along the way, just as the Patriots did when Julian Edelman made that miraculous catch in the 4th quarter.

Game of Adjustments – In sports, teams prepare in advance, and have an idea of what they want to accomplish when the game begins. But when the unexpected occurs, adjustments are required. Those who adapt best often emerge victorious. The same is true in radio. A host and producer may enter the studio with a great rundown, but the second breaking news happens or a guest doesn’t show up, it’s how you respond that determines if the show moves smoothly or gets derailed. Programmers can set a vision that’s sure to deliver ratings, salespeople can create presentations which are guaranteed to impress clients, and marketing director’s can develop promotions which will get the whole city talking, but the second things change, you’ve got to adjust. How you respond determines if you’ll win or lose.

Winning Is The Goal – You can enjoy your occupation and build relationships with those around you, but never forget what the ultimate team goal is. The team/company added you to the organization because they valued a skill you possess. It’s why they’re depositing funds into your bank account each pay period. Radio and sports are very competitive and when you fail they can be downright cruel. Whether it’s making your budget or delivering ratings, never lose sight of your responsibilities and the contributions that the team is counting on you to produce.

Remember Why You Do It – As you grow as a sports media professional, you learn about different aspects of the business that you never imaged being part of your job description. Whether it’s taking part in an endorsement pitch, talking to the media, helping a local charity raise funds, conducting focus groups or dissecting ratings and local meter use, these are areas of our profession that become part of what we do once we’re involved in it. But the reason we chose to chase our dreams and work in this industry is because we loved sports and the platform radio provided in allowing us to share our passion and love for it with others. It’s OK to tackle new challenges and move away from a microphone. And yes there will be days when you feel like you’re going thru the motions and doing a job that isn’t that important. But whether you see it at the time or not, your brand has great value and a special connection to everyone listening on the outside. Don’t lose sight of how powerful that connection is and what it once meant to you. After all, it’s the reason why you’re now working on the inside.

Develop Your Style – While we pursue our own paths and strive to create a unique identity, we’re also influenced by many people along the way. The best performers and teachers in the world take a little bit from everyone and find a way to make it their own. Study others who you respect, enjoy and are inspired by, and find out what makes certain areas of their game special. There’s nothing wrong with using a winning formula and adding your own personal touch.

Learn From Each Experience – While you’re pursuing world domination as a host or executive, you’ll likely first go thru a number of situations that aren’t as glamorous. Although you won’t see it immediately, these lessons will come in handy further down the line. Every little bit you absorb will make you more well rounded and better equipped to handle bigger challenges when you finally ascend to greater heights.

Take Chances – You’re going to introduce topics, features and guests that go over like a lead balloon. You’ll create promotions, sales, events, and team functions that you swear can’t miss but leave you with egg on your face. No matter how many times you get knocked down, get back up and keep swinging. Great hitters make an out 70% of the time. Michael Jordan missed 50.3% of the shots he took. If you’re afraid to fail, you will. Be creative, be fearless and trust your instincts. The wins you enjoy will be that much sweeter.

Define and Defend Your Principles – Every leader and individual has fundamental beliefs that they will not waver from. This is important in growing relationships, maintaining a winning culture and keeping people focused. If rules get broken and aren’t addressed, it’s only a matter of time until anarchy ensues. Be clear and concise on what you expect, repeat the message frequently so it’s understood, and if people violate your trust and infect the group, be prepared to act swiftly and firmly. The way you respond will have a lasting impact on those around you and will speak volumes about your integrity and leadership.

Eliminate Distractions – The job you’re doing is hard enough. When you allow outside influencers and public criticisms to seep into your head, it can become overwhelming. Although those things can be difficult to ignore, they offer little benefit to your career. If you execute your duties to the best of your abilities, deliver the results you’re accountable for, and maintain a strong professional relationship with your boss, you’ll never have to wonder where you stand, even when the outside noise gets louder.

You Get What You Earn – Jealousy and frustration exists in many buildings. Often it’s due to employees feeling that different rules exist for different team members. The reality is that there will be cases where some individuals receive longer leashes than others. Why you ask? Because they’ve earned it. When you perform consistently and help a company make money, you’re going to receive benefits that others may not. Rather than complaining about your lower position on the importance ladder, do something to change it. When leaders know they can count on you, and business increases because of your efforts, it’s amazing how much more rope you’re afforded.

Dependability, Consistency and Coachability – Great talent are always in demand. Those with a passion to improve and who deliver on a daily basis though are what many leaders classify as special. We’ve seen thousands of examples in sports of players who had a ton of talent but never maximized their full potential. In radio it’s similar. If you have skill and can be relied upon to produce, are open minded to hearing feedback, and are willing to put in the work to make improvements, you’ll have a lot of bosses going to bat to add or keep you on their teams.

It’s a Relationship Business – You can be the most talented host, executive or salesperson on Planet Earth but if you fail to possess any meaningful relationships the rest of the world may never know. One of the keys to working in the sports media business is fostering relationships. They come in very handy when all things are equal between two candidates pursuing an opportunity and one has an existing relationship or acquaintance with the hiring manager. If the only time you reach out to an executive is when they have a job posting, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Get to know people when there’s nothing at stake except friendship, education, and conversation, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when it comes around full circle.

Celebrate Your Success – The quest for perfection is endless, and the victories you enjoy along the way become forgotten when the next day’s challenge arises. Which is why it’s critical to acknowledge your wins and celebrate them with your team when they happen. If the Patriots can take a few hours to pour and sip champagne after winning a title, and laugh, cry and act silly with their friends, family and teammates, so too should those who are busting their tails inside of a radio station each day to help their companies succeed. If there’s no team togetherness after wins, and little recognition beyond an internal email, success becomes hollow and less important. Take a few hours to appreciate the obstacle you’ve overcome, and the people who’ve helped you do it, and they’ll be helping you enjoy many more special moments in the future.

Barrett Blogs

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

Jason Barrett




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

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

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

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

Now, for the new additions to the lineup.

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

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

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

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

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Barrett Blogs

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

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

Jason Barrett




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

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

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

Which brings me to this year’s winner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Barrett Blogs

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

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

Jason Barrett




With a new year comes renewed energy and optimism for the sports media business. Yours truly is looking forward to showcasing the best our business has to offer when we gather the industry in Los Angeles, CA at the 2023 BSM Summit at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California on March 21-22, 2023. Our conference is returning to the west coast for the first time since 2019. We’ve announced some super talented speakers. We’ve got additional things in the works and I plan to make additional announcements in the next few weeks.

People often ask me what the biggest challenge is putting this event together. My answer is always the same, it’s getting people to leave the comfort of their office and spend two days in a room together learning and discussing ways to grow the business. We have great sponsorship support and exceptional people on stage and are fortunate to have a lot of folks already set to attend. Our venue this year has extra space though, so I’m hoping a few more of you make time to join us. If you haven’t bought a ticket or reserved your hotel room, visit to make sure you’re all set.

If there’s one thing our industry could get better at it’s opening our minds to new ideas and information. There’s more than one path to success. Just because you’re in good shape today doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow. Building brands, growing audiences, increasing revenue, and examining new opportunities is an ongoing process. There are many shifts along the way. We may not solve every business challenge during our two-days together but you’ll leave the room more connected and informed than when you entered it.

Each year I’ll get two or three emails from folks sharing that they learned more about the industry in two-days at the Summit than they have in ___ years inside of their building. That’s truly gratifying and what I strive to achieve when I put this event together. I remember when conferences like this didn’t exist for format folks and I take the risk and invest the time and resources to create it because I love the sports media industry and believe I can help it thrive. I see great value in gathering professionals to share ideas, information, and meet others who can help them grow their business, and if we do our part, I’m confident some will want to work with us too. That’s how we benefit over the long haul.

But as much as I focus on serving the professional crowd, I also think we have a responsibility to educate young people who are interested, passionate, and taking steps to be a part of our business in the future. The BSM website is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and it’s become a valuable resource for folks who enjoy sports radio and television. I think it’s vital to use our platform, influence and two-day event to connect generations and I’m happy to announce that we will once again welcome college students at this year’s Summit.

Most of us who’ve been in this line of work for two or three decades learned the business without podcasts, YouTube, social media, the web or conferences delivering two full days of sessions that taught you more about the business than what’s available inside of a class room. We learned by doing, and hoping we were right. Then we copied others who had success. Some of that still exists, and that’s not a bad thing. But where our business goes in the future is going to be drastically different.

I’d like to see the difference makers in our format remembered for years to come, and practices that have stood the test of time remain valued down the line. Change is inevitable in every business and I’m excited about the road that lies ahead especially some of the technological advancements that are now available or will soon become a bigger part of our industry. I think we can embrace the future while enjoying the present and celebrating the past. The best way to do that is by bringing together everyone who is and is hoping to be a part of the sports media universe.

So here’s two things we’re doing to make sure future broadcasters have an opportunity to learn with us.

First, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Steve Kamer Voiceovers. Thanks to Steve’s generosity, TEN (10) college students will be given FREE tickets to attend the 2023 BSM Summit in March. Steve is a USC graduate (Class of 1985) and he bought the ten tickets to help young people learn about the industry, save money and make valuable connections. When I first received his order, I thought he hit the wrong button. I reached out to tell him a mistake was made and I needed to refund him. That’s when he told me what he wanted to do for students who were pursuing their broadcasting dreams just as we both did years ago. A very classy gesture on his part.

As it pertains to the contest, here’s how it’s going to work.

To win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email to explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event. Included in your email should be a list of steps that you’ve taken or are pursuing to explore opportunities in the media industry. If you want to pass along a resume and audio or video clips too to showcase your work and experience, that’s fine as well. BSM will accept submissions until February 17th. The winners will be announced on Friday February 24th.

Helping me select the winners will be an exceptional panel of media executives. Each of these folks below will choose one person to attend our L.A. event. The final two will be picked by Steve Kamer and myself.

  • Scott Shapiro – Senior Vice President, FOX Sports Radio
  • Justin Craig – Senior Program Director, ESPN Radio
  • Jeff Sottolano – Executive Vice President, Programming, Audacy
  • Bruce Gilbert – Senior Vice President of Sports, Cumulus Media & Westwood One
  • Amanda Gifford – Vice President, Content Strategy & Audio, ESPN
  • Jacob Ullman – Senior Vice President, Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports
  • Greg Strassell – Senior Vice President, Programming, Hubbard Radio
  • Scott Sutherland – Executive Vice President, Bonneville International

To qualify for the BSM Summit College Contest, students must be enrolled in college in the state of California, pursuing a degree that involves course work either in radio, television, print or the digital business. Those attending local trade schools with a focus on broadcasting are also welcome to participate. You must be able to take care of your own transportation and/or lodging.

This is a contest I enjoy running. We’ve had great participation during our prior two shows in New York City but haven’t done it before on the west coast. I’m hoping it’s helpful to California students and look forward to hearing from many of them during the next month.

For students who live out of state and wish to attend or those enrolled at local universities who enter the contest but aren’t lucky enough to win one of the ten free tickets from Steve Kamer Voiceovers, we are introducing a special two-day college ticket for just $124.99. You must provide proof that you’re currently in school to take advantage of the offer. This ticket gives you access to all of our sessions inside the Founders Club. College tickets will be limited to forty (40) seats so take advantage of the opportunity before it expires.

The 2023 BSM Summit will feature award ceremonies with Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan and legendary WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, sessions with influential on-air talent such as Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, and Mina Kimes, big picture business conversations with executives from groups such as Audacy, iHeart, Bonneville, Good Karma Brands, Barstool, The Volume, Omaha Productions and more. For details on tickets and hotel rooms visit

I look forward to seeing you in March in Los Angeles!

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