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Quit Wasting Time On People That Will Never Like You

“Being in the public eye, even a little bit, can be exhausting at times.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Maybe some of you that read this column regularly know that I review movies for Raleigh’s local NBC affiliate as something of a side hustle. My reviews usually drop the morning before a film opens in theaters. Last week I reviewed Aquaman.

Let me give you the TL;DR version of the review. I HAAAAAAATED Aquaman.

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My review was published on December 20. It went up some time around 9:30 AM. My job description for the rest of the day was essentially “monitor news in the sports media industry, get in fights on Twitter.”

See, fans of comic book movies assume that anyone that doesn’t fall over backwards with praise of the latest costumed crime fighting adventure has an agenda. Fans of characters from the DC universe believe that agenda is crapping on DC movies so that critics can continue to heap praise on Marvel movies.

I won’t lie. Being accused of having an agenda, when you genuinely don’t care what your readers do or don’t watch, is frustrating and I will clap back at people on Twitter that ask me how much Disney pays me to write bad things about Aquaman. I also wrote bad things about Infinity War earlier this summer for Christ’s sake!

But here is what I have stopped doing. I have stopped taking the accusations seriously. I have stopped caring about the people that look up pictures of me and then call me fat on various social media networks as a retaliation for not liking Batman. Seriously, a few years ago I wrote a negative review of Batman v. Superman and received an email calling my daughter (who was 6 at the time) the c-word.

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Fandom of any sort is dumb. Even the most rational fans of teams, characters, or whatever have still devoted a significant part of their lives to loving something that will never love them back. That is insane.

In sports radio, fandom is what makes our job possible. I am not telling you to dismiss all fans of anything. Just prioritize the larger slice of the audience pie over the smaller one.

If you’ve been in your market for longer than two or three years, you still have the chance to win over new fans, but there are a lot of people that have already made up their minds about you. Focus on the ones that like you. Focus on the ones that don’t know what you do yet. Those that have already decided you hate their team or will never take you seriously because of your race or gender aren’t worth your time.

Being in the public eye, even a little bit, can be exhausting at times. My wife is a doctor. We have never met people together as a couple that find out what she does and then go on a rant about how someone misdiagnosed their fibromyalgia, but the second they find out I’m in sports radio, it’s my fault that Colin Cowherd doesn’t think the Cowboys are a legit Super Bowl contender.

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To me, that person isn’t worth wasting any time on – on my show or in whatever that social situation is. I’m not going to go out of my way to find a reason to call a team with an average-at-best quarterback “championship calibre” just to make this idiot feel better. I’m also not going to calmly explain that Jason Garrett couldn’t scheme his way out of a paper bag. He’s already made it clear that his criteria for liking me or even listening to what I have to say is blind confirmation bias.

Most of the comments I got last week that called me an asshole for calling Aquaman the worst movie of the year included the phrase “I haven’t seen the movie yet.” Oh you haven’t? Great, then I know your opinion doesn’t have the same value mine does, because I HAVE seen the movie. Thank you for admitting it and saving me time on caring about whatever your next sentence might be.

Between show prep and guest booking and general research, we put a lot of work into what we do. It is good to want the most people to recognize how talented you are and how hard you work.

What isn’t good is wasting time or mental health on people whose minds will never change. Before you stress about negative feedback, consider the source. It isn’t that listener feedback never matters, but if the content of that feedback includes complaints about how you see the hypothetical matchup between Jordan and LeBron playing out, then who cares?

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Our new year resolutions are so often about what we can do to improve ourselves in the eyes of others: lose weight, make more money, etc. Now that 2018 has come to an end, take some time to focus on improving yourself in the eyes of yourself. Quit valuing the opinions of people whose opinions have no value.

Not everyone is going to agree with you, and there is a big chunk of people that will use a disagreement as justification for not liking you. That’s not a you problem. If a listener doesn’t like you because your show is boring, that is a criticism to value and grow from. If they don’t like you because you aren’t a blind homer or because your opinion on the best quarterback of all time doesn’t match up with theirs, then they have already made up their mind. Any time you spend trying to change it, is time wasted.

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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