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2019 BSM Summit – Day 2



We’re live from Los Angeles for the second and final day of the 2019 BSM Summit. 37 speakers graced the Grammy Museum stage on Day 1, and another 25 are scheduled to do so on Day 2.

Among the high profile names scheduled to appear today include longtime wrestling executive turned podcaster Eric Bischoff, Jason Whitlock and Marcellus Wiley of FOX Sports 1’s ‘Speak For Yourself’, and an all-star reporting panel featuring Steve Wyche of the NFL Network, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, and Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports and The Athletic. 710 ESPN Seattle PD and Host Mike Salk will moderate that discussion.

BSM would once again like to extend our appreciation to our corporate partners for the 2019 BSM Summit: Premiere Radio Networks, ESPN, Hubbard Radio, PodcastOne, Harker Research, Compass Media Networks, and Benztown Branding.

As we did during the first day of events, we will update this blog throughout the second day of the conference. You’ll find the full schedule of today’s sessions laid out below. As each session wraps up we will pass along the key notes and quotes that are most valuable to industry members.

9:00AM-9:10AM – Opening Remarks

  • Jason Barrett – President, Barrett Sports Media
    Jason started off Day 2 by showing Nielsen data about sports radio ratings. Barrett then welcomed Bruce Gilbert and Mike Thomas to the stage to begin a fast-paced session covering 10 different topics.

9:10AM-9:45AM – Pardon The Brothers Interruption

Presented By:

Bruce Gilbert – SVP, Westwood One/Cumulus Media
Bruce isn’t a fan of the traditional sports update. A host should be able to provide them. The traditional sports update should go the way of the stagecoach.

If you still have a budget for sports anchors you should be using it towards expanding your digital team. If sales have an issue with not being able to connect clients to updates it’s your job to remind them of everything else available on the station to sponsor. There are plenty of things available to replace updates.

Regarding TV simulcasts, if you’re producing good content, you should get it on as many platforms as you can.

Play-by-play still has great value. The Cowboys playoff games did a 23 and 24 share in Dallas this year. Even if a local station is losing money from a play-by-play deal, saying you’re the home of the New England Patriots matters.

Anytime a controversy comes up, before you say or do anything in response, make sure you listen to the audio first. Too many react without being fully informed.

A younger demo makes sense for a large FM station. Smaller AM station’s aren’t going to garner a younger demo. The industry should do a better job of getting the 35-64 demo acknowledged.

eSports is a very video-centric activity, translating that to radio is difficult.  When sports radio started, people asked ‘what the hell are they going to talk about all day, people watch the games at night.’ As people grow up with eSports, they’re going to eventually want to talk about it so there can be a future for it on sports radio.

Bruce pointed out that stations pay talent to deliver compelling, interesting engaging shows, so he’s against updates, traffic, weather, and any unnecessary elements that get in the way. If a commercial isn’t playing, he wants to hear the talent. Stations also need to be more strategic in where commercials are placed. 

People will find good audio where ever it is. If it’s podcasts or on an app, people will find it. Everyone has a podcast, and at some point the field has to get weeded out a bit.

The one thing every PD should do for their talent is LISTEN. There are many responsibilities of a PD, but talent wants to know what’s expected of them and how they’re doing. The talent needs to know you’re listening and that you have their back.

Mike Thomas – PD, 98.5 The Sports Hub, National Brand Manager of Spoken Word Programming, Beasley Media
Traditional sports updates are good for the sales department because they appeal to sponsors, but the information has already been received by the listener on their phone. Long-term sports updates aren’t going to last.

Toucher and Rich is simulcasted on Twitch because its encoded, and doesn’t take away from radio ratings the way a traditional TV simulcast can.

The 18-49 demo is so important to sports radio. Between esports and podcasting, we need to target younger demos. We’re not going to spend a lot of time talking eSports right now on the Sports Hub, but we do run a syndicated eSports show at 11pm on Sunday night.

There are plenty of things for sales to sponsor which should allow a brand to reduce commercials. The Hub runs 13.5 minutes of commercials per hour which is low for the format.

It will always be important to have a play-by-play team with personality that can be entertaining beyond calling the game.  

One thing PD’s should do for their talent is listen, and give them autonomy. You hired them for a reason, so get out of their way and let them do their job. 

9:45AM-10:15AMImaging For PD’s & GM’s

Presented By:

Jim Cutler
A restaurant with a line out the door draws interest. Sports radio stations need to follow that formula. Your brand needs to make sure the audience knows they’re well liked. You do that by adding their voices into your imaging.  It’s not enough to have a great radio station, you need to show the audience they’re loved.

Cutler then played audio of station imaging that is too long, losing the attention span of the audience. He also played an example of a show  monologue that spent minutes talking about nothing. People don’t have time to listen to anything other than content, so eliminate the fluff and get right to content or they’ll find other options. 

Jim then provided a few examples of empty filler and too many tags in imaging. “Now you can find us on Facebook, call us old-fashioned, but now we’re on Twitter.” Replace empty content with topicality.

“Midday mayhem” – empty content.

“You’ll never know what you’ll find on the … show” – empty content

Imaging and promotions must offer topical content that follows the most important story at the time. Tell listeners what happened in the last hour and now, not what happened yesterday. Incorporating sound bites into your imaging is incredibly important. You can also find great audio of sports fans on YouTube and implement it into your liners and promos to capture how people are feeling about local topical news.

Women are now at every sporting event. It’s 50% in baseball and football. If you don’t understand that then you’re watching too many commercials. We need to change the thinking of the 1995 sports radio format where it was just men listening. Reaching women is a big part of future growth.

10:15AM-10:45AMUnder The Radar

Jason Barrett – President, Barrett Sports Media
Regardless of your station’s ratings, radio listening as a whole has slipped and the trend is expected to continue. Money in the industry is on the decline and stations need to find new revenue streams.

Merchandising is a missed opportunity for radio stations. The Ringer has a store, Barstool has a store, radio talent sell merchandise such as Matt Jones and Clay Travis, but the radio stations themselves aren’t selling merchandise. If your product is good enough for advertisers to use to move their products then why isn’t it strong enough to help you move your own?

Case in point, Barstool sells Mike Francesa shirts, and WFAN has a store in JFK airport selling New York sports merchandise, yet you can’t purchase merchandise on their website. Why not?

KFAN has done a better job improving their website to offer custom shirts on their website. These items were a hot ticket at the Minneapolis State Fair.

The Zone in Nashville called upon their audience to design a shirt, and are now selling that design on their site.

However, brands need to be much more creative than just putting the station logo on a shirt. That won’t do much for your revenue stream. You’ve got to think like a marketer and seize the moment when situations arise.

For example, when Titus O’Neill of the WWE tripped and fell under the ring, the company had a custom shirt created and available on their website the next morning. 

When Tom Brady reportedly said “I’m the baddest mother****er on the planet,” Barstool highlighted the remark via social media, and had a t-shirt on sale later that night.

Education is another area where sports radio is missing the boat. Kids are paying 50K per year to go to college with the goal of landing a degree to one day get inside your building. Others go to trade schools, spending 10-15K per year for the same reason. But who says radio stations themselves couldn’t provide the curriculum, training, and introduction to the business?

NASCAR, NBA, MLB, they all have minor league systems. Radio stations are filled with experienced talent in multiple areas, and kids would gladly pay 10-15K to learn from your people, and develop a relationship, which is something they’re not guaranteed of when they go to college or a trade school. 

Imagine if your brand utilized its space (some buildings now have amazing performance stage rooms which could easily house 50-100 people) and its staff to charge 10K for a 10-20 week course. If you had two courses per year that’d be an additional 500K in revenue. Even if you subtracted costs for talent, and printed materials, you’d add a lot of income to your bottom line. Trade schools and Universities are using your airwaves to reach your audience and sell them on going there, why not help yourself while also increasing relationships which may ultimately benefit you in the future?

10:45AM-11:15AM – The Power of Social Media

Emily Austen

A video of Emily’s career highlights started playing, followed by her comments on Barstool. The video then featured press clippings from a ton of online news outlets announcing her termination.

Emily then took the stage and asked ‘who’d be so stupid to say something like that?’ Her response was herself. She has no idea why she thought that was OK at the time, and understands some people will never believe she isn’t a racist. Her mistake is never going away and there’s nothing she can do to change the past.

She says that when you make a mistake, social media doesn’t care how big or small your profile is. She worked for fourteen years to get where she was. It all went away in 30 minutes.

Emily was unhappy with her role at FOX. She got impatient waiting for her next step. That’s why she took the Barstool audition. They told her she was the only professional woman that could hang with the guys. 

When she arrived for the audition Dave Portnoy asked her if she would be OK if they put it on Facebook Live. She thought only Barstool fans would be watching. She told the kind of jokes she thought Barstool fans wanted to hear.

As soon as the video ended, her FOX Sports boss called. He had been told what happened. He didn’t believe it. She was fired before she even got on her flight to head back to to Tampa. Upon landing, her social media notifications blew up to the point that it overloaded her battery.

She then showed a video documenting some of the most extreme responses she got online. In the video she was called a c**t, told to kill herself, and a few told her they hoped she’d be raped. She learned quickly how ugly and painful social media could be.

Holding herself back from tears, Emily said that what you saw in the video is not normal. Managers need to be aware that talent receive these messages and it isn’t okay. Just because personalities speak their minds for a living doesn’t mean they should have to be verbally abused.

Emily told the room she spent too much time defining herself by her job. The moment it was taken away, she started thinking about killing herself. She couldn’t stand the idea of not having her job and people thinking of her as a monster.

When she woke up in the morning she had hundreds of thousands of comments. Far less messages come through now, but there are still times when she’s hit with nasty responses. 

Rather than allowing it to destroy her she’s since used her example as a way to help others. She now speaks to college kids everywhere to show them how much social media can change your life for the better or worse.

Her advice is to think of your career as a jersey. Your employer is on the front. Your name is on the back. What is on the back is always more important, because that never changes.

She stressed the message that there is no such thing as being private on social media. When screenshots exist, your content can go everywhere. She uses the example of a coach that invited her to speak to his team that likes porn star photos on SnapChat.

Likes on any account are essentially endorsements of the content. Her best advice is to remember the three G model. Would you want it on Google? Would you say it at church in front of God? Would your grandmother press send?

Emily talks about a company called G2. It costs $30 to use and then you receive a full documentation of every negative thing that they have ever put out on social media. For $300 the service will do the same for every person you follow.

She advocates for prehab before rehab. If you are starting a new job, it might not be a bad idea to start over on social media. 

She shared her advice on dealing with a social media scandal. She says only do interviews with people you trust. You don’t want someone trying to create a different story than the truth. Own your mistake. Be sincere in your apology.

Barstool offered Emily a job after her audition, but she didn’t want to build a career off of a terrible event. She noted how important mental health is and advocates for checking in on the people going through something like this, even if you’ve had to fire them over their mistake. If you cared for them before, don’t turn your back on them when they need you most.

Doc Rivers called her and told her that she was not defined by one moment. Your passion for what you do is what matters. Use that to get you through.

11:15AM-11:50AM Advertiser Perceptions of Sports Radio

Presented By:

Jill Albert – President, Direct Results

She feels a responsibility to tell clients what makes sports radio so different. There are more female listeners than the numbers show. She has seen examples of that with her own eyes. Sports listeners are engaged. That is what clients are looking for when trying to move products.

She still looks at ratings. You have to retrain some clients to learn how to spend money in new media. She knows what will work, but she doesn’t always know the best way to convey that to some clients that still think about the old way of buying radio.

Her clients are looking for experiential ideas and more engagement. She wants to be pitched outside the box ideas from stations. That is what stands out with clients. 

Lisa Nichols-Jell – Chief Strategy Officer, Bloom Ads

Her clients for male-skewing clients rely on sports radio.

When purchasing a schedule with a brand she is looking for a partner. There are many different ways to buy, but she wants to find the companies that offer her the most ways to arrive at the desired outcome.

Stations need to be aware of what success looks like to individual clients. Maybe McDonald’s values impressions more than conversions. It is up to ad agencies to covey that information to local stations so that the station can put together a plan that reflects what the client is looking for. Sports radio’s best way to reach a major client like McDonald’s is to stress the investment listeners have in their favorite stations.

Steve Shanks – Partner/CRO, Ad Results Media

Ratings don’t matter to his clients or to him. It’s about how the advertisers move product for the client. He looks for format agnostic clients that just want ROI.

Steve loves the growth of podcasting and the performance of podcasting, but he isn’t going to stop buying radio. There is no better way to move products and services locally.

He doesn’t care about audience measurements. Ad Results uses their own metrics based on how a platform delivers. He says the best way to combat money going to places like Barstool is showing advertisers a little extra love in terms of bonus spots or creative advertising opportunities.

Where podcasters really do more is that there is no time limit on their spots. That is an ideal way to create a connection. 

David Gow – CEO, Gow Media

He understands the importance of showing potential advertisers his talent’s ability to convert their listeners into customers.

Advertisers still respond to brand alignment, but individual talent drive more results. 

David says that advertisers that only look at the number say no to the best offer they are going to get because they are driven by a single thing.

11:50AM-12:20PM – The Tony Bruno Award Presentation

Presented By:

Eric Shanks – CEO/Executive Producer – FOX Sports

No one was surprised that a sports content award was named for Tony Bruno. It was a surprise that FOX meant so much to Tony.

After 30 years, it’s great to see how much energy Tony still has for the industry. We loved his sense of humor and sports acumen. He was a no-brainer for The Best Damn Sports Show.  He was always ready to be whatever part of the team he needed to be.

Tony is an A+ entertainer. His blessing is a very distinctive set of pipes. We asked him to come around even when he wasn’t working, because we liked having him around.

Tony garners the respect of everyone. He is like having a producer on stage or behind a microphone. He could dance on air while the crew was figuring out what they wanted to do. Eric says he is confident Tony knew that Eric had no idea what he was doing, but he always showed him only respect.

What FOX is today is largely built around what Tony is – a personality driven success. No one in sports has had as much public success as Tony.

Tony Bruno – Host, The Tony Bruno Show

He asked Eric to repeat himself at his funeral. He isn’t sure why anyone that hasn’t worked with him would want to be here.

He was 13 when he fell in love with radio. He would listen to everything. He was attracted to people that sounded good. People he considers mentors have no idea how much they taught him.

He went to his mom’s basement to work on his voice. He would get on the party line and do fake radio shows. When he was 16 he went to the American Academy of Broadcasting. They used to use his first day tape and graduation tape to sell tuition.

He tells the story of getting hired at ESPN Radio and how the network launched. He says that his favorite thing about his career is that people of different generations know him from different things.

People that don’t love this business will never get it. We are the soundtrack to our listeners’ lives. The great people in this industry are the ones that garner respect from everyone whether they are fans or not.

Before pitching to a video of Clay Travis, Bruno brought the room to tears with a massage joke due to the news of the day involving Robert Kraft. Barrett then surprised him by providing him with his own version of the Tony Bruno Award.

Clay Travis (Video) – Host, FOX Sports Radio 

Clay appreciates being thought of the same way as Tony Bruno. His goal is always to be smart, original, funny, and authentic. Creative radio only flourishes under great bosses that let you find your voice. For that Travis acknowledged the support he receives from Don Martin and Scott Shapiro.

Though he is on vacation, that doesn’t make this honor any less important to him. He thanked everyone in the room for their support before promoting Lock It In and Outkick the Coverage.

1:30PM-2:10PMWrestling Your Way Past The Competition

Eric Bischoff – Host, 83 Weeks Podcast/Former Wrestling Executive

Eric Bischoff never thought he couldn’t beat Vince McMahon. He still thinks about what led to being able to beat the WWF. The WCW hired a research firm to put them in front of wrestling fans. They did a lot of research into market segmentation. Through those focus groups, Bischoff was able to determine what wrestling fans wanted in every show. It helped him be different (if not better) than the WWF.

He incorporated both research and gut instinct into his strategy. Research he says can guide you, but you miss a lot if you live and die by numbers.

When Eric took over the WCW he had no prior wrestling experience. He didn’t know how to prepare, but it was what Ted Turner wanted, so he knew he had to succeed.

The research and corporate environment was exhausting, so he locked himself alone in a room. He made a list of strengths and weaknesses for both wrestling organizations, and realized what a disadvantage he had. That is when he decided to be different than the WWF. 

Fortunately, the WWF left a lot on the table by choosing to focus on teens and families. It was 1995 when Bischoff took over WCW. He was influenced by Dick Ebersol’s approach to the 1996 Olympics, where NBC decided to focus more on stories than competitions and outcomes. 

He saw the WWF as a living cartoon. That is why he decided to let wrestlers keep their own names. It helped the characters relate better to the audience. 

When JB asked Bischoff if controversy is bad for a brand, Bischoff said that he doesn’t think it’s possible to have success without it. He used to give away the ending of pre-taped WWF events when WCW was the first to do live TV events. He knew how much WWF fans hated it, but it was worth it because it created more WCW fans. That is good controversy. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It is just trying to create impressions.

Bischoff gave a TED Talk in November in which he explained how business is essentially pro wrestling. The news is doing now what he and Vince McMahon were doing in the 1990’s. He wants to hear radio that creates a call to action, even if it is subliminal. An emotional reaction should always be a broadcaster’s goal.

He can tell by the way he feels at the end of taping a podcast if the episode will be well received. If he had fun doing it, the listeners will have fun. 

JB asked Bischoff to give everyone advice on people that are doing their best work and being innovative, yet are still being questioned by their superiors because it isn’t showing up in the ratings. He says the key is to manage everyone’s expectations. That way you can manage the short term while you work towards the long-term goal. There is no simple answer, but you have to get people to see that there are steps towards getting to the long-term goal.

He was forced to change course when he didn’t want to a lot of times. The entrepreneurial spirit can be killed in a corporate environment. That is why you have to fight for what you believe in and be willing to do research to back up your feelings.

When asked about managing talent, Bischoff said it’s an area where he knew he had to improve. Too many times he got close to people, which could compromise his ability to handle tougher situations. He also pointed out that the guys that want stroke are always noisier than guys that have it. 

If he could do it over he says he’d have kept more distance from the talent. When you know people for a long time and become their friend, it can be hard to separate business from personal relationships.

If he was still competing with WWE, there wouldn’t be as many openings. There isn’t much they don’t do well. What you would have to do is look for what they don’t do as well as everything else. Social media and creativity are those likely openings.

Bischoff says that the way Becky Lynch has used social media in the last 120 days has made her star rise faster than anything else she has ever done. She finds a way to be real but not break character. If he ran the WWE, he would ask her to lead social media seminars for the other wrestlers.

Talent don’t always have an accurate view of themselves. They have to feel their character to be a success. You have to trust that they want their check enough to trust that you want what is best for them.

Most listeners and viewers of anything are looking for a great story. There is more freedom to tell great stories in audio. The more you can be relaxed with the timing, the more authentic you can be and the better content you can create.

He has been worried for a while about how to improve the show a year from now. He knows people want to talk about the Monday Night Wars, but feels his podcast needs to find more opportunities to inject humor into discussions of current events in wrestling. 

2:10PM-2:45PM  – According To Sources

Moderated by Mike Salk – Host/PD, 710 ESPN Seattle

Ramona Shelburne – NBA Insider/Senior Writer, ESPN

Ramona admits that she has a tier in terms of what radio markets she will make time for when she gets media requests. She tries to always respond to people who are polite. She wants to know that the people that want her on have a reason and not just “we need an NBA person.”

She doesn’t mind if you don’t know everything about what she has written, but know who she is. She hopes hosts will take a second to look at her Twitter feed before they bring her on.

Hot takes aren’t what Ramona does. She can back up her opinions with her reporting, so she doesn’t worry about what she says. She thinks that what is more effective is asking reporters questions like “what is Nick Saban like” that can lead to good stories.

ESPN is a big organization. It can be hard for even their own shows to coordinate. Aggregation is changing the way people report. She can say things in radio interviews she cannot write in hopes that it will get picked up, but she is aware that it is possible to get misquoted that way.

Bruce Feldman – College Football Insider, FOX Sports/The Athletic

Bruce will always say yes if he can. He will only say no if he physically cannot take the call. It helps to promote everything he does, and he always appreciates when radio promotes The Athletic. 

There is nothing that intimidates Bruce about interviews. He knows that people are going to ask about stuff he knows. The only thing he really doesn’t like is a host going on a long tangent that doesn’t have anything to do with why he is on.

He isn’t scared about giving an opinion, but he is aware that the people he covers are viewing his Twitter feed. He can be more nuanced on FOX than on Twitter, so he hopes that is what he is judged by.

Bruce finds network protocols confusing. He doesn’t get why he can’t do Andy Staples’s show and Mark Packer’s show in the same day just because they are both on Sirius XM.

Steve Wyche – Reporter/Writer/Analyst, NFL Network

Steve is happy to take any media requests. He thinks that it helps build the NFL Network brand. He also feels a responsibility to help out people of color that make requests.

He wants to be able to stir things up with a host. He understands that you have to be nimble when you are a radio guest. He doesn’t mind being sandbagged. He doesn’t like it, but it won’t get you cut off from his rotation.

Steve says that reviewing a reporter’s Twitter feed can create great radio when you have them on. He for the most part trusts hosts to create great conversations.

Steve tells the story about breaking the story of Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem. He knew through a previous relationship with Kaep that it could be a big deal. He wrote the story and had to wait for executives to decide what to do with it. He sent it in at 11 pm Pacific. It didn’t go up until 7 am the next morning. He was so upset about it, because he was worried about getting beat.

2:45PM-3:20PM – Tackling Digital

Presented By:

Moderated by Demetri Ravanos – Assistant Content Director, Barrett Sports Media

David Feldman – Senior Director, Social Content, NFL

The NFL is a lot of things. We’re a brand that people have certain expectations of, but we’re also a news breaker. In a sense, I have an easy job. I don’t have to sell fans on the combine, they come to us for combine content. My job is to get them as close to the field, with as much reporting and video as possible.

PD’s should look for people who can do everything – copyrighting, Photoshop, and Social Content that stands out.  

Phil Mackey – Director of Content, SKOR North

Our stake is still in radio, but we’re focusing a lot now on digital. We’re active on Twitter and Instagram, as well as Twitch and YouTube. The goal each day is to distribute content on eight or nine different platforms.

If people are waking up at 7am and scrolling through Twitter and your content isn’t popping up, you’re not in their minds and other brands will be.

We’re in full discovery mode right now. If there are 2.5 million sports fans in the Twin Cities, maybe 100,000 people know what SKOR North is, maybe 10,000 can recite what we’re doing.

The Ringer is in partial discovery mode, everyone knows what the NFL is. The NFL can take something as benign as a schedule release and turn it into prime-time content. Any brand can learn from the NFL, and how they branch off to create different levels of content. 

Phil was told by an advertiser – We spend millions of dollars on radio and we’d like to spend money on you too, but we can’t justify investing in AM radio in the Twin Cities.

We have to find ways to be creative and integrate content, we want to get 15 different versions of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee or do Barstool Pizza Reviews.  

If you can teach people how to run a mixing board for a radio show, you can teach them how to use Photoshop and make audio visual.

Pat Muldowney – Director, Social Content, The Ringer

While we want to go viral, we know that’s not going to happen with every piece of content. Piece by piece, platform by platform, the expectations will vary.

Bill Simmons is one of the most successful podcasts ever, but even with that, most people don’t listen to his podcast, so we’re always trying to add new listeners even if it’s 10 or 15 at a time.

Demetri asks about Colin Cowherd’s comments from yesterday regarding nobody gets rich off of podcasts – Pat responded with, “I can tell you someone who might not be rich because of podcasts, but is making a lot of money off podcasts – Colin Cowherd!” Podcasts are a great extension from traditional sports talk radio.

3:20PM-3:55PMSpeak To The Media

Jason Whitlock – Host, FOX Sports 1

I’m going to sound like a homer for my network, but love of the game is the key ingredient for being a sports broadcaster. If you look at our lineup across the board, the reason why Colin Cowherd is so popular and respected is because his insight is so good, and that’s because he loves the game. If you look at our competitors, I’m not sure there is always a love of the game and it sounds sloppy and uninformed.

The worldwide leader used to be the sports fan’s best friend, but they’ve since become more political. Outlets like Barstool have capitalized on that.

My target is the 40-year old guy who likes sports, likes to drink a beer, and just got home from a hard day of work.

Regarding diversity in sports radio, Jason wishes he knew how to make it more diverse. He said he tries to be very authentic, while not being hostile. When he hosted in Kansas City he sought to do a show that made black listeners very comfortable, while not being offensive to the 73.5% white audience.

The best thing African Americans can do in Jason’s estimation is be successful. Oprah Winfrey created a lot of opportunity for African American women by being successful. The same holds true for men of color with great opportunities in sports media. 

If you have an authentic desire to do something and make sports radio more diverse, you have to put in extra work. Jason says he and Marcellus are happy to help mentor young African-American talent if they’re willing to put the work in and accept feedback that will make them better. 

Marcellus Wiley – Host, FOX Sports 1

Over time hot take artists get weeded out. The audience gravitates toward hosts who have conviction with their opinions, not those who just spew out stats and information. Passion and personality makes a difference.

Relationships with teams, and maintaining those relationships is important for some former players which leads to being safe. That isn’t a great strategy if you want to have a long career in sports media.

As a young listener of color, the danger element of radio is missing. For the black and Hispanic listeners there is not a full on-air representation of who they are. Sports radio is often happy with getting base hits and not swinging for the fences. They’re fine with just surviving the next four hours.

When a host knows their boss is listening they play in bounds, when their boss is not listening is when they’ll play out of bounds a little bit. It’s when you go out of bounds that you usually discover things that connect more.

3:55PM-4:30PMEvaluating Talent & Content

Jim Graci – PD, 93.7 The Fan

Jim wants his station to always be putting out good content, because you never know when a listener is turning it on. The presentation is as important as the content. 

Adam Klug – PD, 97.3 The Fan

Adam isn’t involved on topic selection, but he is involved in building the station’s visit. He wants a station that lives on the West Coast to do what makes sense for them, not copy what is happening on ESPN. He does stay involved with guest booking, since his background is as a producer.

He wants to see talent do more outside thinking and less catering to their own interests.

Eric Johnson – PD, 97.5 The Fanatic

The Eagles always lead the way in Philadelphia. That has been true for three decades. The research confirms it, but the Sixers are a strong second according to the research.

The guys then listened to 4 minutes of Doug Gottlieb audio.

Jim says the content isn’t his issue. The formatics are bad. It is structurally rough.

Adam says he noticed that there was too much reading and too much wheel-spinning before the actual content. He was happy that Doug used a good analogy and has connections to add perspective to the story.

Doug Gottlieb then emerged from the back of the theater, and joined the crew on stage, acknowledging that Jim and Adam’s criticism was fair. He says the way you approach talent is more important than the information you give them.

Knowing how to approach your talent will tell you the best way to coach them and correct their mistakes. Doug is always open to being told he’s wrong. It doesn’t mean he won’t push back, but he will always listen to feedback and evaluate it.

Adam asked why Doug would agree to do two shows in a single day. Doug says that he is a workaholic and he trusts that he can do it with the team he has. 

4:30PMBSM Summit Wrap

Jason Barrett – President, Barrett Sports Media

Jason asked the audience to share one takeaway from the past two days before wrapping up the summit.

Don Martin, KCLA/Fox Sports Radio – The kinship matters and it is important that we work together to raise the level of the format.

Jason Ross, Sports Radio 1140 KHTK – The goal is to get the most out of all audio.

Joe Fortenbaugh, 95.7 the Game – Everyone we listened to here works their ass off. People that care about the gig put in the work and grind.

Perry Michael Simon, All Access – The present of sports radio is fine, but more attention has to be paid to its future. The room is still predominantly old white guys. The future consumes things differently and has different expectations.

Dennis Glassgow, 99.9 the Fan – I wanted to hear more context from the eSports and Sports Betting panels. The rest was excellent. 

Jeff Austin, 1080 the Fan – The flow chart that we have in our building is wrong. It is going to cost money to get where we need to be.

Chris Baker, The Sports Animal – It is a thrill to be in the same room with Tony Bruno. Emily’s presentation was a pleasant surprise.

Evan Cohen, Good Karma Brands – Emily was the standout.

Jason Dixon, Sirius XM – The panel with Bruce and Mike was so great, but for the last two weeks I have been talking about guest booking with my producers for the past two weeks. It was great to hear how reporters feel about getting pitched for a radio spot.

Eric Johnson, 97.5 the Fanatic – We have to keep looking for the places for our content to fill the holes.

Mike Thomas, 98.5 the Sports Hub – We’re all trying to stay relevant in a slow/no growth business. We have to figure out how to make money off the best podcasts, because someday that bubble is going to burst.

Bruce Gilbert, Cumulus Media – This format is built on authenticity and passion. I am glad we’re at a place where those values are at the forefront.

Kevin Shock, KJR – I have taken more notes than I have for any college or high school class. The concept of making sure we’re outside thinkers is so valuable.

Jim Costa, 96.1 ESPN – We’re all here because we want to be on the right side of evolution. We shouldn’t be scared of Amazon bringing Alexa to the car. 

Scott Shapiro, Fox Sports Radio – It’s all heart and passion. It’s a pre-requesit for on-air talent and should be the same for management. 

Emily Austin – Everyone was so open-armed. I got so much great advice over the last two days. I am excited about growing the passion for sports radio amongst women and young people.

Dan Zampillo, ESPN 710 – The way Emily presented her story was incredible. It is so important how we tell stories.

Josh Innes, SportsTalk 790 – There are so many good programmers with good ideas. The industry needs to give those people the resources they need to execute them.

Tony Bruno – Radio has to be more about what is happening in the future and not about what was great in the past. I still want to learn. You have to embrace being able to learn something new everyday.

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Barrett Blogs

Black Friday Sale TODAY For 2022 BSM Summit Tickets

“BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets will begin at 12:01am ET on Friday November 26th and expire at 11:59pm later that same night.”



There are less than 100 days remaining until the 2022 BSM Summit takes place in New York City. We’ve announced 31 participants for the show so far, and have more to reveal in the weeks and months ahead. I think you’re going to like what’s still to come.

Putting this conference together isn’t easy. It requires months of meetings, brainstorming, promotion, selling sponsorships, pursuing speakers, and creating everything that attendees see on stage over a two day period. I’m thankful to have help from some amazing partners, but as I’ve mentioned previously, this isn’t an event that makes us rich or ends with 5-10 new clients signing up to work with BSM. The goal each year is simple, make sure the conference is valuable for those who attend, and don’t run BSM out of business by doing it. As long as those two things remain solid, it’s worth doing.

Some might wonder, why go thru months of headaches if you’re not going to break the bank or immediately add clients. That’s fair to ask. If you look at it from a pure business standpoint, one could easily make a case that pouring this type of energy into something else could be more lucrative. But money was never the motivation for doing this. I felt the sports media industry lacked a signature event where smart, successful media professionals (who don’t often cross paths) could gather at one location to laugh and learn together, and I wanted to change that. If over a two day period attendees could gain insight, information, ideas, and introductions, it’d put everyone in a stronger position to remain successful.

I’ve unapologetically loved the sports media business since I started listening to Mike & the Mad Dog on WFAN and watching SportsCenter on ESPN. I was fortunate to live and work in a number of cities over the past two decades, learning how different companies and people operate, and I remain involved today thru my work with BSM. I mention this because I also know media people. They tend to wait until the last minute to book hotel rooms, airfare, and purchase tickets, even if they can save money by acting sooner. I know, I used to do it too. I can’t control when you book your room or plane ticket, but I do want to give you an added incentive to buy your ticket to this year’s show. Seating is limited, and once the last seat is filled, that’s it. We can’t make extra room.

With that in mind, most of you are either taking today off or working inside a much quieter building. If you’ve thought about coming to the Summit, take 5-10 minutes to log on to to take advantage of our special Black Friday sale. We’ve reduced tickets for the day, so whether you’re planning to attend in NYC or watch the conference online, there’s a discount to help you out. Just $199.99 for live tickets, and $124.99 for virtual.

BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets expires at 11:59pm tonight. In the meantime, Hotel Edison in NYC is offering rooms for just $109 + taxes to Summit attendees. Click here to take advantage of the special room rate we’ve secured for this year’s show. Those of you planning to fly to NYC for the show, there have been a ton of great deals offered by American, Southwest, United, JetBlue and Frontier. It might be worth checking into today since Black Friday often has even better sales on travel.

If you’re interested in learning more about the industry, staying a step ahead, forming new relationships, strengthening existing ones, exploring potential business deals, and celebrating the business you’re in, I hope you’ll join us either online or in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit. I’m making it easier on you, by offering lower ticket prices today. The rest is up to you!

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Barrett Blogs

Craig Carton, Fred Toucher, Mike Felger To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit

“Few understand what it takes to deliver success in this format consistently like Craig, Fred and Mike, and I’m glad they’re making the time to share their knowledge with us.”



When you talk to industry people about successful brands in sports talk radio, most conversations include WFAN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. The New York and Boston sports radio brands are consistently recognized for their ability to deliver large audiences and revenues.

Helping to create that success is a mixture of strong play by play partnerships, skilled programmers and even more importantly, some of the most dynamic on-air personalities in the format. Fortunately for us, a few of those gamechangers will be present to share their opinions and insights on content matters in New York City at the 2022 BSM Summit.

Starting in New York, it’s an honor to welcome WFAN afternoon drive host Craig Carton to the 2022 BSM Summit. Heard daily on ‘Carton and Roberts‘ alongside Evan Roberts, which is also featured on TV on SNY, Carton has made his presence felt ever since returning to the airwaves in November 2020. Prior to taking on the challenge in afternoons, Craig spent a decade partnering with Boomer Esiason on ‘Boomer and Carton‘, forming one of the most successful sports radio morning shows in the country. In addition to enjoying success in New York, Craig has also experienced the ups and downs that come with performing in different markets. His radio travels have taken him to Philadelphia, Denver, Buffalo and Trenton, NJ. The Syracuse graduate and outspoken host is expected to join BSM President Jason Barrett for a one on one conversation at this year’s Summit.

Shipping up to Boston, it’s a pleasure to welcome two of the format’s highest rated performers to New York City. They’re heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub in morning and afternoon drive, and at the Summit, they’ll interact together during an in-depth content conversation with BSM President Jason Barrett.

Fred Toucher is one half of the Sports Hub’s popular morning show ‘Toucher & Rich‘, which recently added syndication. The Detroit native started his career in Georgia before moving to Boston in 2005. Toucher & Rich, which includes Rich Shertenlieb, officially moved into the sports talk format in 2009. Since making the format switch, the duo have consistently produced some of the best ratings in the entire format in mornings during the past fifteen years. Toucher & Rich have also been recognized by industry executives as one of the top two morning shows in the format each of the past three years in the BSM Top 20, including taking top honors in 2018.

Mike Felger on the other hand is heard on the ride home alongside Tony Massarotti on The Sports Hub. The Marconi Award-winning afternoon radio show has been a fixture in Boston since the station’s inception in 2009. During the past twelve years, Felger & Mazz have been a steady force atop the Men 25-54 ratings including recently delivering an impressive 18.9 share in the summer book to finish 1st. The Milwaukee native also hosts a show for NBC Boston, and has previously served as a columnist for the Boston Globe. Similar to Toucher & Rich, Felger & Mazz have earned high praise from format execs in the BSM Top 20. They’ve been voted one of the top 2 afternoon shows each of the past 2 years including grabbing the top spot in 2019.

We’re excited to add all three of these men to the lineup for the 2022 BSM Summit. As vital as it may be to spend time on business issues in order to stay ahead of a rapidly changing media climate, without great talent and content, the rest is irrelevant. Few understand what it takes to deliver success in this format consistently like Craig, Fred and Mike, and I’m glad they’re making the time to share their knowledge with us.

To reserve your hotel room, purchase tickets or learn more about the speakers we’ve lined up for the 2022 show, visit We hope to see you online or in New York City this March.

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Barrett Blogs

BSM Summit Adds Borrell, Crain, Cutler, Goldstein, Scott, Shapiro & Thomas

“The Summit is just 104 days away, so if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do so. Half of the room is already full and seating for the conference is limited.”



The 2022 BSM Summit continues to add firepower to the sports media industry’s premier conference. After previously announcing the first twenty one participants to take part in March’s event in New York City, another seven talented media professionals have been added to the speaker schedule.

Making his BSM Summit debut in 2022 will be the media industry’s leading business analyst Gordon Borrell. The well respected and accomplished CEO of Borrell Associates is featured frequently in the trades and mainstream publications for his insights on advertising trends and forecasts in local media. Borrell will join Amplifi Media CEO Steven Goldstein on stage at the Summit for an in-depth discussion on the advertising climate in 2022. The two men will offer insights and opinions on what advertisers value most, where they’re expected to invest future dollars, which categories will continue to rise and decline, and what brands can do to position themselves better to increase revenue. Additionally, Borrell will be hosting his local advertising conference in Miami a few days after the Summit. Those interested in heading to South Beach and learning more about the marketing world can learn more by clicking here.

Switching to the content end, the Summit is thrilled to welcome The Volume’s Jake Crain to New York City. The host of The JBoy Show will also be making his debut at the conference. Crain will be part of a talent panel along with John Jastremski and Kazeem Famuyide.

Also making his debut at the Summit will be Carl Scott. Meadowlark Media’s Executive Director of Audio will join our podcasting panel featuring Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones and The Volume’s Head of Content Logan Swaim. Hubbard Radio’s Digital Content Director Phil Mackey will guide the conversation.

Not everyone participating at the Summit will be new to the audience though. Returning to the stage as part of our GM’s discussion will be newly appointed Audacy Boston Market Manager Mike Thomas. Thomas recently led ESPN 1000 in Chicago as the station’s GM after working with Mark Hannon to turn 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston into one of sports radio’s top performing stations. It should be noted that each time Thomas appears at the Summit it follows a recent promotion. We figure by 2023 or 2024 he’ll be running the entire industry.

A Summit isn’t complete without attention given to programming matters. To help us address some of those key issues, we’re excited to welcome back the Vice President of FOX Sports Radio & Podcasts Scott Shapiro. The passionate network executive who oversees many of the nation’s top national programs is always a great listen for folks interested in learning how programmer’s view and tackle the industry’s most important affairs.

Last but certainly not least, voice talent extraordinaire Jim Cutler will return to the stage to lead a session on storytelling. One of the industry’s prominent station voices and creative minds has a penchant for putting on entertaining and informative sessions. If you’ve attended the conference before, you’re already aware. To those planning to catch this one, you’re in for a treat.

Keep an eye out over the next two weeks. We’ll be making additional announcements involving a few high profile talents we’ve lined up for the 2022 BSM Summit. A reminder, the event is just 104 days away, so if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do so. Half of the room is already full and seating for the conference is limited. I realize some folks may prefer to wait until the last minute to make sure the world is safe. If you’re not comfortable flying to NY for the show, we do have an option in place to enjoy the conference virtually thanks to NuVoodoo Media. For more information on tickets, click here.

That said, the in-person environment is excellent. If you haven’t attended the Summit before I think you’ll find the two days in New York City to be time well spent. This conference is not open to the general public. You must either presently work in an area of the media industry or be pursuing a degree in the broadcasting field.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we still have some sponsorship opportunities available for the show. We’re thrilled to have the support of great partners, ESPN Radio, Premiere Networks, FOX Sports Radio, Stone Voiceovers, Compass Media Networks, Point to Point Marketing, and Core Image Studio. If you’d like to be part of the event too, email for additional details.

One final note, airfare is low right now. There are roundtrip flights to and from New York from many major cities for less than $200.00. We’ve also secured a low hotel rate of $109.00 per night at Hotel Edison in NYC to help companies and individuals keep costs down. The sports media industry has endured two years of difficulty due to the pandemic, preventing many from networking, learning, celebrating, and growing. The two days we spend together in the big apple won’t solve every issue facing our business, but I promise you’ll leave the show more informed, more connected, and better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Hope to see you in New York on March 2nd and 3rd.

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