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2019 BSM Summit – Day 1

“The key takeaways from Day 1 of the 2019 BSM Summit .”

Jason Barrett

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We are in Los Angeles for Day 1 of the 2019 BSM Summit. Over 60 speakers are scheduled to take the stage over this two-day event, and more than 130 media professionals have invaded The Grammy Museum to gain new ideas, insights, and information from the brightest minds in sports media.

BSM would like to extend a special thank you to its corporate partners for the 2019 BSM Summit: Premiere Radio Networks, ESPN, Hubbard Radio, PodcastOne, Compass Media Networks, Harker Research, and Benztown Branding.

We will continue updating this blog throughout the first day of the conference. You will notice the full schedule is laid out below. As each session concludes we will pass along the key notes and quotes that industry folks will gain the greatest value from.

9:00AM – Opening Remarks

Jason Barrett – President, Barrett Sports Media

Jason welcomes the speakers and attendees to the second annual BSM Summit, and emphasizes the need to grow the sports radio format. What the next 2 days will provide is an abundance of ideas and information which he hopes will be valuable to station leaders in further elevating the performance of their brands.

9:10AM-9:40AM – The Past, Present & Future of Sports Radio

Presented By:

Don Martin – SVP of FOX Sports Radio

Anything that takes the audience away from us is our competition.  The industry needs to work together rather than only focus on beating each other.

My ratings are only there to drive revenue, but if we’re going after the younger audience, we need to acknowledge they’re not only listening on terrestrial radio anymore. If we’re going to reach the masses with a play-by-play broadcast, we need to find them on different platforms, not just AM radio.

We need to go younger, find gender equity and get more diverse. Teams still need to be on radio for Generation X, but you need to grow other platforms for the Millennial’s because one day, all teams will be digital, and not on terrestrial radio.

Mitch Rosen – PD of 670 The Score
Mitch wakes up in the morning asking what can we do better, how can we be better than our local competition? We can have 15 – 20,000 listeners through steaming, but that doesn’t matter to Nielsen.

For the industry to advance we need to move in the direction of TLR, Total Line Reporting. In order to have a successful sports radio station, you need a play-by-play team. The Cubs have been great for The Score and won a championship their first year on the station, but there are times you need to be more creative on the broadcast.

Dan ZampilloESPN LA 710 Operations Manager

Dan wants the most amount of people listening for the longest amount of time. Everything that takes the audience away from us is competition. We can’t be narrow with our content. Is what we’re doing on-air going to get the largest audience?

The entertainment value for play-by-play has to be there. Story-telling, personality, and being entertaining is still vital. Getting the nuts and bolts of play-by-play is important, but it still comes back to relating to people, and being funny and personable.

9:40AM-10:10AMProgramming Strategies For a Changing World

Warren Kurtzman –  President, Coleman Insights

Outside thinkers like radio, they use radio, but they don’t care about it in the grand scheme of their lives. They might not notice a change to the station’s lineup. Inside thinkers will notice every change.

The hierarchy of radio is selecting music or talk, personality, specialty programming, contests, marketing, news and community. What combination of sports should you be talking about, what teams generate listeners, what role should niche sports play?

Finding the brand essence of your station is critical, are you straight sports talk? Or is your station more personality driven. Finding balance is the art of programming, you can have content, but is it right for your branding?

Based on research, breaking sports news is the most important thing listeners want from their local radio station.

Research in a select market showed more than half of listeners gamble on sports, even if it’s a small amount. If gambling was legalized in their state, 31% said they would gamble more. About half of the listeners said they do not want to hear hosts talking about gambling.

A study in a select market showed more than half of the audience was not interested in hearing about esports, but 43% expressed interest in attending an esports event.

10:10AM-10:45AM – The Rise of Voice and Podcasting

Steven Goldstein – CEO, Amplifi Media

Goldstein’s 20-year old son loves sports, as do his friends, they listen to Barstool and podcasts, they’re not aware of the local terrestrial sports radio shows.

Radios are no longer in homes, people have smart speakers and other ways to listen to digital programming easily, which might include your radio station, but it also includes hundreds of thousands other stations and podcasts.

One in four Americans listen to podcasts. The medium age of podcast listeners is 34, the medium age for AM/FM listening is 46. ESPN’s podcast medium is 13 years younger than it’s broadcast medium.

Maybe eSports isn’t ready for an hour of content on a sports radio station, but it might be perfect for a podcast. That’s the type of brand-extension everyone in this room should be thinking about.

Downloads of your show might look great, but 100,000 downloads in one month can translate to just 1,650 extra listeners.

Young listeners expect audio on demand. If they listen to audio on their iPhone and your audio is not there, you’re losing a potential audience. It needs to be on demand and easy to access, they don’t want to download your specific app.

10:45AM-11:15AMRemaining Relevant
Moderated by 
Brian Long – PD, XTRA Sports 1360/News Radio 600 KOGO

Steve Mason – Midday Host, ESPN LA 710

Our show from years ago would be unrecognizable to what it is today. We used to be very guest heavy, about three years ago our boss challenged us to do a show with no guests and no calls. The show is about the hosts, people want to know how we are going to react to things. It’s more work to do the show this way, but the show has developed to where we now rarely take calls or have guests.

Coming out as gay was not a big deal. Steve didn’t want it to be a big deal. “I don’t want to be the gay sports talk show host, I want to be the sports talk show host who happens to be gay.” Mason said he felt left out, John gets to talk about his wife and family and that was absent from Mason on-air. Mason had been with his partner for 13 years and thought it was time to be completely authentic. As much as Twitter can be an ugly place, Mason said he never received a negative comment after coming out.

John Ireland – Midday Host, ESPN LA 710

In terms of being an employee of the Lakers as their play-by-play voice, there are things I can’t say, but Steve can still say anything. He can make a point that if I said it, I would get a phone call.

One of the by-products of Steve coming out was we realized it was not a big deal. I knew he was gay, I encouraged him to come out a lot earlier than he did, but it had to feel right for him, Steve and his partner had to be comfortable with it. But I was happy for him.

11:15AM-11:50AMAudio’s Path to Digital Dollars

Presented By:

Norm Pattiz – Chairman, PodcastOne

Norm discussed PodcastOne’s relationship with Hubbard. He says that Hubbard does a great job of selling podcast performance to their clients, but admits the program is only in beta right now.

He sees the growth of the podcasting industry as “remarkably similar” to syndicated radio. “First we evangelize then we strategize.”

He tells the story of the creation of Podcast One. It was born at a Laker game, because his season tickets are next to Ari Emmanuel’s. After the pitch meeting with Ari’s company, other agents started calling him to learn more about the idea. They instantly recognized the value of having their clients own their own media.

Patrick Polking –  ESPN Radio

Patrick notes that ESPN’s audience for its podcasting is the youngest segment of its audience. He notes that the audience for podcasts is coming from all over ESPN.

He is asked about a paid model for podcasts. Patrick says that if ESPN were to charge $1 every time someone wanted to download Le Batard that the podcast would make more money, but that wouldn’t serve ESPN’s overall goals. They’d also make more money operating the way they do now.

Matt Kramer – Agent, CAA Sports

Matt builds on the idea that his clients see value in owning their own media. He says that his clients tend to notice more when someone on the street stops them to say they like the client’s podcast than to say “I saw you on ESPN last night.”

Kelli Hurley – VP, Digital Sales, Westwood One

Kelli discusses the appeal of podcasting to talent. She says that it is great to have so many big names interested in the industry, but the people that succeed are the ones that understand what an intimate medium it is and that they have to create a personal connection with their listeners.

When asked about the conversion rate for advertising dollars on a podcast, Kelli notes that podcasters are influencers. Their audience trusts them and their recommendations.

Evan Cohen – VP of Content, Good Karma Brands

Evan discusses Good Karma’s TheLandOnDemand.com, a local subscription site that supplements ESPN 850 in Cleveland. He says that it has served the company in a number of ways. Not only is it something of a farm system to groom young talent, it also creates a new bonus revenue stream for talent who’s digital content performs well.

11:50AM-12:20PM – The Jeff Smulyan Award Presentation

Presented By:

Rick Cummings – President, Programming, Emmis Communications

Rick admitted he thought Jeff’s idea of an all-sports radio station was a bad idea and for the first 18 months it was. But Don Imus joined the station’s morning show, Mike Francesa and Christopher Russo were added to the afternoons, and FAN turned into a major success story.

Rick has been with Jeff at Emmis for 38 years and notes, you don’t stay with somebody for 38 years because of the paycheck, you stay because you believe.

Jeff Smulyan – CEO, Emmis Communications

“I’m glad this award is named in my honor and not my memory. About a mile and a half from The Grammy Museum is where the idea for sports radio came about. It took place at USC where Jeff was attending.

The line between being a genius and an idiot is very fine. When FAN was losing money Jeff was an idiot, but here we are decades later and he’s seen as a genius.

Jeff said he never expected sports radio to get as big as it is today. He’s glad it has and is honored to have an award named in his honor and for Kraig Kitchin to be its first recipient.

Kraig Kitchin – CEO, SoundMind/Chairman, National Radio HOF

We all owe a great bit of gratitude to Jeff for creating the format. We should not be pointing our guns at each other, but we should point them out and work together to as an industry grow and improve. The success of Premiere was due to the hard work of a lot of people. Kraig says he’s thrilled to have been a small part of it.

1:30PM-2:05PM – The Conversation with Colin Cowherd

Colin Cowherd – FOX Sports Radio/FOX Sports 1

Colin says he doesn’t think he’s any different than anybody in this room that loves what they do. If you have to tell someone to do something, then it’s not for them. He decided when he was 8 years old that he wanted to be the next Howard Cosell.

Colin says he likes to listen to different radio shows on his way into work for about 20 minutes. Evan Cohen’s program on SiriusXM is one of the shows he turns to, He also thinks Joe Fortenbaugh is very talented. Colin isn’t listening for their takes, he is interested in their topics. Whatever he feels really confident about or if he has something funny to add, that’s what he’ll lead with, even if it’s not the biggest topic.

Colin points out that he used to be more fear based, wanting to prove people wrong. Now he’s more joy based. He acknowledged that he was hard to work for and hard to work with, now he’s more secure and likes to help other people, especially upcoming broadcasters.

About once a year, he’ll stare at the camera and say “Oh for God’s sake, I have nothing to say, and three minutes left to go.” In radio, you can get stuck and push through it and at ESPN I did a radio show that was put on TV, but now he’s in a TV studio performing for the camera where it forces him to think about the TV audience.

Colin says he’s not in the radio or TV business, he’s in the interesting business. His goal is to be interesting. He’ll try to get it right, but isn’t as worried about if he is or isn’t right. His mother used to tell him, “you know when I really like your show? When you’re not talking sports.” I try to appeal to my mom and not just the sports fan.

His views on podcasting are that it’s a solid space, but it’s tough to monetize. He doesn’t think you can put podcasting behind a paywall. Anybody can have a podcast, but 95% of them don’t make money.

Jason Barrett notes that Cowherd created his own podcast network and has a few shows hosted by people he thinks are talented, Barrett asks how do those podcasts get to the next level? “Hell if I know” added Cowherd.

I’m never loyal to a sport or platform, I’m loyal to my audience. I love college football, it’s my favorite sport. I dropped my college football content by 50% this year because Alabama and Clemson are too regional.

My preparation is why I’m here. My voice isn’t great, there are people in this room that know more sports than I do. I know enough about sports, but my preparation is what makes me successful.

Do not produce your show through Twitter, it’s a fun house mirror as Clay Travis said. Believe in yourself, believe in your prep, believe in your homework. Do not let social media produce your show. Trust yourself, trust your gut. We laugh at social media, we mock it, we never produce our show through social media.

2:05PM-2:40PMHow eSports Fits Into Sports Media
Moderated by Arash Markazi – Columnist/Enterprise Reporter, Los Angeles Times

Ari Segal – CEO, Immortals
When you understand and see the fans’ passion for esports you get it and that’s what traditional sports owners such as the Kroenke’s, Mr. Kraft and the Wilpon’s are seeing when they invest in the industry. There is a generation of sports fans who never threw a ball in their backyard, who never wore a Montana, Elway or Brady jersey. If you go to an event, you see that generation of fans wearing an esports jersey and it’s something they might have never done before.

Jared Jeffries – President, Echo Fox
Everything has to be quick, if the esports audience is just talked at, they’re out. Sports radio can lose esports fans very quickly.

Daniel Cherry – CMO, Activision Blizzard
You need to think about the business model, I think you will see esports covered by one group and picked up by other outlets similar to the AP format. Delivering the right content to the right person at the right time will be the key. The sports talk radio format is very much people giving takes and every once in awhile having people respond. We need to make the sports radio experience more communal, esports fans want to be participating and engaging, not be spoken too.

Sebastian Park -VP of eSports, Houston Rockets/Clutch Gaming
Don’t be afraid to jump in, ask questions and research esports just like you would any other sport. I don’t know if the industry works on sports radio right now, but podcasts have done really well in merging sports radio listeners and esports fans.

2:40PM-3:10PMWomen In Sports Media: The Road Less Traveled

Debbie Spander – Agent, Wasserman Media
A lot of program directors are scared because their audience is mostly men, but they need to view women as a voice, not just as a woman. We haven’t seen a good number of women moving into larger roles. Radio is a great format for women. The goal isn’t to be on TV anymore, the goal is to be in media, to have your voice heard and be consumed.It’s interesting that TV, a more modern media form, hired women much sooner than radio, an older form of media. It’s frustrating that radio isn’t more open minded about who can speak to their audiences.Women want to have an opinion, they want to talk mainstream sports.

Amanda Gifford – Coordinating Producer II, ESPN
It’s an evolution, and maybe 10 years ago women didn’t look at this space as something they wanted to pursue, but as they see other women in the industry, now they look at it as a viable career space. Whether it’s male or female, for sports radio you have to love the format.

Lindsay McCormick – Host, Entrepreneur
Now more than ever we can create our own opportunities. With YouTube, podcasts and different platforms, you can create your own content. Radio can be a very useful tool, it can help you hone your interview and debate skills. If you dismiss that than you’re saying the only think you have to offer is your looks.We assume all of management is male, but there are several female higher-ups in the industry as well. I’ve had males take me under their wing, but if you’re a female not hiring other women then shame on you.

Julie Stewart-Binks – Host, ESPN LA 710
ESPN has done such a good job of promoting personalities. I was doing updates, but knew I wanted more than just 10 seconds. I knew if I worked hard, chipped away and showed people I can do this, I could show my personality and do more than be an anchor and reporter. It’s important for program directors and management to leave their door open. Treat us all the same way, don’t look at women as only being a sideline reporter, I don’t feel good about a role like that, I want to show my personality.

3:10PM-3:45PMInside vs. Outside Thinking (The PD’s Perspective)
Moderated by 
Jason Dixon – Director, Sports Programming, SiriusXM

Presented By:

Justin Craig – Sr. Director, Programming & Operations, ESPN Radio
When we put Trey Wingo on it was someone who was doing TV for 20 years, not radio.  Right away he had to realize there is no more visual fonting, he has a radio audience and we had to use an outside approach to think like a listener. I have multiple listening sessions on a daily and weekly basis, we don’t start at the beginning, we start listening in the middle because that’s what our audience does, they don’t listen from beginning to end, we have to think like they do.

Ryan Hatch – VP, Programming, Arizona Sports 98.7/KTAR
The only thing that matters is how you’re serving the audience for what they want right there and then. I think you need to spend a lot less time on the Nielsen side. We have months where our stream is larger than our terrestrial audience, I think it’s going to be less and less looking at Nielsen ratings moving forward.

Scott Shapiro – VP of Programming, FOX Sports Radio
We think this content will fill a segment and this will fit in a market, but we need to think about the audience and make programming decisions based on what the audience wants. Make your imaging promos sound like the audience, if you’re in a diverse market, the imaging should reflect that.Ultimately we’re looking to grow our audience by having the best talent with the most thought-provoking opinions.

Chris Kinard – PD, 106.7 The Fan
It’s not a four hour movie that the audience sits down and consumes from beginning to end. They listen for 20 minutes at a time, they don’t necessarily listen everyday. You need to think about the real world. People are in and out of their car or listening on their phone doing other things at the same time. If we’re starting a sports radio station today, we don’t need a big promotional team and multiple cars, we need a larger digital team. We need to hire update anchors that are social media people, why would you pay someone to sit there for 30 minutes to produce a 60 second update? We have to make tough decisions moving forward, AM/FM is still important, but we need to be creative in how we run our business. I can reach more people sending a Tweet myself than my promotional team can.As a programmer, going on sales calls is still important. You need to be involved in the process to make sure advertisers are reaching your audience.

3:45PM-4:20PMThe New Frontier of Sports Media

Joe Fortenbaugh – Host, 95.7 The Game/The Sharp 600 Podcast

The entire sports gambling industry is moving towards in-game bets. The radio industry in particular has to innovate to keep up.

Brian Musburger – Co-Founder/Chairman, VSiN

The demos for VSIN are largely split amongst ages, but are overwhelmingly male. They strive to have credibility with people that follow algorithms, but they recognize the need to teach people how to gamble.

Picks are the least interesting part of a sports betting conversation. VSIN prefers to focus on the guys setting the line and find out why the number is what it is. By following the factors that move the numbers, you are creating analysis.

The leagues’ positions on gambling will continue to evolve. Veiled references will continue to exist on game broadcasts, but the traditional broadcast will always be for a general audience. This will lead to more alternate feeds of the biggest leagues and games.

Chad Millman – Head of Media, The Action Network

Action’s users are largely male and young. They put a major emphasis on how they present their content digitally. Right now most of their users are hardcore bettors, but they are finding the casual gaming audience is growing.

All anyone really wants are picks. Most people ask their personalities “who do you like.” The context and the analysis are important, but the pick is the main course. People don’t care if you aren’t going to make a pick.

In game betting has a major effect on the punditry effects of what The Action Network does. It makes the pregame bet feel irrelevant.

Kip Levin – President/COO, FanDuel

You have to give an audience the feeling they can get an edge. You can do that with both picks and analysis, but you need to offer diverse information. 

With TVG, FanDuel aimed to create a Bloomberg or CNBC style show for sports gambling. The ratings climbed every week of the NFL season.

Fan Duel isn’t advertising around content. They value audiences and geography when looking for radio partners.

4:20PM-4:55PM – The Jungle of Sports Radio

Jim Rome – Host, CBS Sports Radio/CBS Sports Network
Sports radio is a job, but it’s a great job and I’m going to do this as long as I can. When I went to college there was no internet, there was no sports radio format, there was FAN and that’s it. I asked myself, why me over everyone else who wants this job, and I realized the answer is I will never give in.

When I started, I was in market 174. I wanted to get to a major market and I ended up going to San Diego. From there, we started syndicating the show and it wasn’t with a big company, we were knocking on doors trying to get other stations to pick up the show. It was two stations, then four, eight and so on. Every time I entered a new market, I started talking about their local sports because I never went directly from local to national, it was a gradual transition. Now, with 200 markets I can’t do that.

Jim is trying to find transcendent topics, and says he means what he says and says what he means. He’s not looking for just the hot topic, because the audience can tell when something isn’t genuine.

We get a lot of feedback, from listeners and management, even my wife will text me to say “are you sure you want to be saying that?” I want to make sure I’m relevant and making an impact.

You better have thick skin in the industry, not everyone’s going to be happy to see you. I didn’t set out to be polarizing, but I learned early on that the people that like me seem to really like me and the people that don’t like me seem to really hate my guts.

I need people around me with opinions, that can make the show better and sometimes I’ll take those opinions and say you’re right let’s do that, other times I’ll take those opinions and say no, we’re doing it this way. We don’t need to knock heads everyday, but I want people around me with opinions that can stand their ground.

I can not tell you how important it was to get to San Diego. When I was in market 174 I was killing myself trying to get to a large market. I was writing to radio stations daily, so when San Diego gave me that break it meant everything and they will always be special to me. I’m still not in every market I need to be in, and I want to get in those markets. I’m still knocking down those doors because I’m really hungry to get there. I love the grind, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but I want more.

I like the digital platform. I’m able to do certain things on my podcast that I can’t do on my terrestrial show. I can have different guests on my podcasts and do long-form interviews. I want to try different things and the digital space is good for that.

Regarding a potential subscription based platform – If I’m going to offer something that I’m charging for, what am I giving the audience that they can’t already get for free?

I should listen to other shows more than I do, but I’m not that smart, I work really hard on my show. I’m getting in at 6 for a show that starts at 9 and then I’m working at night. I’m really locked in to what I need to do for my own show.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

“Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

It’s taken years of hard work, adjustments, and a whole lot of trial and error to turn this brand into a trusted source for industry professionals. It’s been exciting and rewarding to tell stories, highlight the industry, and use my decades worth of knowledge and relationships to help the brands I work with make progress. But while I may prioritize the work I do for others, I’ve also got to balance it with making sure BSM and BNM run smoothly.

Each day, Barrett Media produces nearly fifty social posts, one to two newsletters, and twenty to thirty sports and news media stories and columns. I didn’t even mention podcasts, which is another space we recently entered. Making sure we’re delivering quality not quantity is vital, and so too is promoting it consistently and creatively.

Today, we have thirty people on our payroll. I never expected that to be the case, but as needs have increased and deeper bonds have been formed between the brand, our audience, and our clients, it’s allowed us to find new ways to invest in delivering insight, information, and opinion to our readers. Writing, editing, and creating content for a brand like ours isn’t for everyone. I just spent the past three months interviewing nearly forty people, and there’s a lot of quality talent out there. But talent for radio and journalism doesn’t always mean the fit is right for BSM and BNM. Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.

First, please join me in welcoming Garrett Searight to BSM and BNM. Garrett has been hired as our FT Brand Editor, which means he will oversee BSM and BNM’s website’s content M-F during normal business hours. He will work closely with yours truly, our nighttime editors Arky Shea and Eduardo Razo, and our entire writing teams to create content opportunities for both of our brands. Garrett joins us after a decade long stint in Lima, OH where he most recently worked as program director and afternoon host at 93.1 The Fan. He also programmed classic country station 98.5 The Legend. His first day with us is August 1st, but he’ll be training this month to make sure he’s ready to hit the ground running.

Next, I am excited to welcome Alex Reynolds as our Social Media Coordinator. Alex’s creativity and curiosity stood out during our interview process, and we’re excited to have him helping with social content creation and scheduling for BSM and BNM. He’s a graduate of Elon University, a big fan of lacrosse, and he’ll be working with Dylan Barrett to improve our graphic creation, schedule our content, and further develop the social voice for both of our brands.

Speaking of our two brands, though we produce content on the website for both sports and news, how they get promoted on social is changing. When I started this company, the website was known as SportsRadioPD.com. That worked perfectly with my Twitter and Instagram handles, which were also @sportsradiopd. But since we switched our URL to BarrettSportsMedia.com and started ramping up content for both sports and news it’s become clear that we needed dedicated brand pages. It’s harder to expect people to share an individual’s content, and the mix of sports and news often feels off-brand to the two different audiences we serve. It feels even stranger if I’m buying social media ads to market content, a conference, and other things, so it’s time to change things up.

Starting today, you can now follow Barrett Sports Media on Twitter @BSMStaff. You can also follow Barrett News Media on Twitter @BNMStaff. Each brand also has its own Facebook page. Moving forward, we will promote sports media content on our sports accounts, and news media content on our news accounts. We started with that approach for BNM when the brand launched in September 2020, but expecting people to read another site and follow other social accounts was a tall order for a brand that was finding its footing. We made a choice to promote both sports and news under the same social accounts for the past year in order to further grow awareness for the content, and as we stand today, I think many would agree that BNM has made great strides. We’ve built a kick ass team to cover the news media industry, and I’m hoping many of you will take a moment to give BNM’s pages a follow to stay informed.

One thing you will notice is that the @BSMStaff account has replaced the @sportsradiopd account on Twitter. Let’s face it, most people who have followed me on Twitter have done so for BSM or BNM’s content, not for my NY Knicks and pro wrestling rants. I am keeping my @sportsradiopd handle but that is being developed as a brand new personal account. That said, if you enjoy sending DM’s my way, give the new @sportsradiopd account a follow so we can stay in touch. The only account we will use to promote content from both brands under is the Barrett Media account on LinkedIn. Instagram is not a focus right now nor is TikTok or Snapchat. I realize audiences exist everywhere but I’d rather be great at a few things than average at a lot of them.

Now that we’ve tackled the social media changes, let me share another exciting piece of news. I’m thrilled to welcome Jessie Karangu to our brand as a BSM weekly columnist. Jessie has great energy, curiosity, and a genuine love and passion for the media industry. He’s worked for Sinclair television, written for Awful Announcing, and has also hosted podcasts and video shows on YouTube. His knowledge and interest in television is especially strong, and I’m looking forward to featuring his opinions, and perspectives on our website. His debut piece for the site will be released this Wednesday.

With all of this happening, Demetri Ravanos is shifting his focus for the brand to a space he’s passionate about, audio. His new title is BSM’s Director of Audio Content. This means he will be charged with overseeing the editing, execution, and promotion of our various podcasts. He will also work closely with me in developing future Barrett Media shows. We have 3 in weekly rotation now, and will be adding Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves next week, and The Jason Barrett Podcast the week after that. The goal is to increase our audio library in the future provided the right ideas, talent, and interest are there.

Another goal of mine moving forward is to grow our advertising partnerships. Between our website, social media channels, podcasts, and newsletters, we have many ways to help brands connect to an affluent, influential, and loyal industry audience. We’ve enjoyed working with and helping brands over the years such as Point to Point Marketing, Jim Cutler NY, Steve Stone Voiceovers, Core Image Studio, Skyview Networks, Compass Media Networks, ESPN Radio and Harker Bos Group. That doesn’t include all of the great sponsors we’ve teamed up with for our annual BSM Summit (2023’s show will be announced by the end of the summer). I’m excited to add to the list by welcoming Backbone as a new website and newsletter partner. We’re also looking forward to teaming up in the near future with Quu and the Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and hope to work with a few others we’ve had recent dialogue with.

When it comes to marketing, I try to remind folks of our reach, the value we add daily across the industry, and the various ways we can help. I know it’s human nature to stick with what we know but if you work with a brand, I invite you to check into BSM/BNM further. Stephanie Eads is awesome to work with, cares about our partners, and our traffic, social impressions, and most importantly, the quality of our audience is proven. To learn more about what we can do, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Yes we continue to grow, and I’m happy about that, but just because we’re adding head count doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to be better. It takes every person on a team holding up their end of the bargain, creating killer content, setting expectations, and paying attention to the follow through. We take pride in our work, value the support of our partners, and are extremely thankful for the continued readership of our material. That consistent support is what allows me to add to our team to better serve fans, partners, and industry professionals.

It may seem small, and unimportant but those retweets, comments, and mentions on the air about our content makes a difference. To all who take the time to keep our industry conversations alive, thank you. This is an awesome business with a lot of great brands, people, content, and growth opportunities, and the fact that we get to learn from you, share your stories, and help those reading learn in the process makes waking up to do it an honor.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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Barrett Blogs

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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