The fundamentals to doing a sports radio show are known by most who program or occupy the airwaves. The execution though isn’t always reflected in what comes thru the speakers. Since returning to my normal routine following the BSM Summit, I’ve had my ear on a number of shows and stations across the county. Some were local, some national, some highly rated, some not.
What I discovered was an inconsistency to executing the basics. I sampled 13 different shows over the past 2 weeks, and caught many missing the mark on the simplest of details which are necessary for having on-air success.
If you’re waiting for me to praise your brand and trash your competitor, don’t get your hopes up. I’m not going to specifically call anyone out. The intent of this column is to emphasize the importance of blocking and tackling on sports radio and point out why it matters to what you do.
If you’re new to the industry or if some of these things aren’t as clear, let me explain what I’m referring to. Radio show fundamentals include many factors. Among them are diving into the content at the start of a segment, resetting a guest or show/topic, identifying yourself and the brand, teasing the next segment and paying off what you said you’d discuss, and informing the audience of who’s speaking on soundbytes you’re airing.
Sometimes these issues occur because hosts and producers become too dependent on their show sheets. They’re so focused on what’s next or how the current topic or guest is fitting the schedule that they don’t listen close enough to what’s actually happening in the moment. They also fail to remind each other of the simple things that need to be executed throughout a show.
For example, think back to a guest you had on your show who you knew sucked in the first :45-:60 seconds yet you kept them on for 5 more minutes. Why did you do it? Likely because your producer invested time to book him/her or because you thought as the host that if you invested more time in the conversation it would ultimately get better. You also saw that they were scheduled from :30 to :42 so you figured “I’ve got to stretch this and get as close to the end of the segment as possible.”
But it didn’t go well did it? Rather than taking into account the audience’s time, and trusting your gut and ears to move on from poor content, you let the schedule, an individual’s effort, and your own ego stop you from maximizing the minutes you had to work with.
Now you might say “it’s only 5 minutes, big deal.” Well, 5 minutes of listening is what you need to gain to secure a quarter hour of ratings credit. Most listeners don’t give you 3-hours of their time. In fact, if you can grab 2-3 quarter hours a day on your station between 6a-7p ET that’s often a success.
Think about that for a second. A station’s normal broadcast day (weekday prime M-F 6a-7p) is 13 hours in length or 780 minutes. We’re considering 30-45 minutes of listening per day a successful one. The audience could choose not to listen for 735-750 minutes of the broadcast day and we’d still consider that a victory.
There’s also the reality that your audience doesn’t listen every day. I know if you’re a host or producer you’re convinced that 50,000 people arrive each day and hang on your every word, but that’s not how it works. You’re going to have a lot of listeners who check out your show only 2-3x per week and for short periods of time. If during one of those occasions, they listen 4 minutes or less, it’s as if they never stopped by.
When they do tune in, it’s your responsibility to make it easy to play along. You may think it doesn’t matter but something as simple as saying your name, the guests name, the caller’s name, who the person speaking in an audio clip is, the station and/or the name of the show plants seeds in the audience’s mind. Never should your audience exit your station and wonder who or what they were listening to.
This is especially critical if you’re a part time talent. There’s absolutely no reason you should be hosting a weekend show or filling in during the weekday and having an audience go 15 minutes without knowing who you are. What good is exceptional content if nobody can remember who created it?
You may think your tracks were covered when the station ran a liner promoting your name at the start of the segment 20 minutes ago, but what about the people who stopped by 5 minutes into the segment and left 10 minutes later? If they haven’t heard you say your name or the name of the show that would mean it’s been 15 minutes since the liner played and that’s too long to go without announcing your name and the brand/show.
Another one I’ve heard a lot lately that drives listeners crazy is guests going for extended periods of time without being identified. There’s no set rule for when to ID a guest but my preference was every 3rd question if the answers are short or every 2nd question if a guest rambles for minutes at a time. If it’s easier to just say “every 4 minutes, every 5 minutes, every 2nd or 3rd question” that’s fine. Everyone has a different plan of attack. The bottom line, don’t leave the audience wondering for 10-15 minutes who you’re talking to.
A couple of other examples that I want to focus on are not identifying audio clips, teasing segments and providing payoffs, diving into content, and forgetting to reset prior conversations.
Starting with teasing, I want you to answer one simple question: What gives you a better chance of keeping your audience listening to the next segment, telling them you’ve got bills to pay and you’ll come back after commercials or leaving them curious by promoting something interesting? I find that people usually respond better when they have something to look forward to.
This doesn’t mean you have to frame everything in a way that makes it seem like you’ve located the cure for cancer. If you’re doing a 16 segment 4-hour show, I don’t think you’ll be believable if you tell the audience every time you go to break that you have something that’s going to change their life. It doesn’t need to be oversold.
For example if you said “LeBron James’ future in Los Angeles is in question and in 4 minutes we’ll reveal a clue that makes it clear his time in the city of Angels is coming to an end” it might get your audience to come back, but you’re also going to look silly if that situation doesn’t happen. You may have a good clue, but unless you’re Magic Johnson, Jeanie Buss, Rob Pelinka, and LeBron James, and you’ve made a collective decision about what the next step of the relationship is going to be, you don’t know exactly what will happen.
Instead keep it simple: “We’ve discovered a clue that may lend insight into the future of the Lakers relationship with LeBron James….we’ll share it with you next.”
Just as important, if you told the audience that’s going to be discussed next, make sure it is. Nothing pisses people off more then when they look forward to something, and the host develops amnesia during the commercial break and decides to spend the next 10 minutes talking about everything but what they said they would. The bottom line, give the audience something to look forward to and deliver on your promises.
The other part of this that I hear a lot of hosts make mistakes with, tell me what you’re doing NEXT. Tease one simple thing, that’s it. If a listener is engaged with your show and you’re heading to a break, you might get them to the next segment if you make it sound worthwhile. If you think they’re setting calendar appointments of when to tune in later in the show, be prepared to be disappointed.
When you tell the audience everything you have planned for the next 4 hours while heading to break or hit them with the 5 topics you’re hot on today it’s just noise. There’s no call to action. So too is the common throwaway of “we’ve got some Lakers, some Patriots, the Odell trade, we’ll do a little bit of Westbrook + Bryce Harper’s in the news.”
Why not just tell them “we’ve got a whole lot of sports to talk about” while you’re at it. That’s a classic case of “I have nothing planned for the next segment, but here’s a bunch of stuff.” As I’ve told hosts in the past who’ve worked for me, I put stuff in a suitcase. I need to know why I should spend my next 5 minutes listening to you. To use some baseball advice, throw your best pitch and hit your spot. Don’t get cute trying to show off all of your pitches at once.
Next, let’s talk about diving into content. Simply put, when the music bed plays and you utter your first sentence, are you wasting words or making them count? Nobody cares about your studio view of the city or who beat you to the soda machine during the commercial break. If you sound unfocused and waste people’s time with minutia, they’ll get tired of it and change the dial.
A host who does a great job of diving right into content is Colin Cowherd. When his segments start, he’s usually right into the the topic off of his first word. You may love or hate his personality and style or the topic he’s chosen but when it comes to not wasting time getting into a discussion he’s exceptional at it. Case in point, here’s a sample from yesterday’s show. You’ll hear the music playing under him as he wastes no time getting right into conversation.
A good exercise to help yourself as a host or producer is to take a drive in your car and just listen to 15-20 minutes of radio. 93.7 The Fan PD Jim Graci said at the BSM Summit that he has his talent listen back to an hour of their show each day. When the 5 minute commercial break hits it’ll feel like an eternity, especially if a station is running :15 and :30 second spots. If they do, you might hear anywhere from 6-15 different advertising messages.
You’ll find that the commercial breaks for many brands often include station promos, sports updates, service elements (traffic, news, weather, stock), station liners to send you back into the show, a music bed that starts the segment and plays for :05-:10 seconds, and in some instances, :10-:20 seconds of a soundbyte airing over the bed to send the host into the topic. That means your listener can be separated from your last sentence for 8-9 minutes.
The average commute time in the United States is 25.4 minutes. In most major market cities during drive times, that length may be double. Add it up and it means that the commuter is with you for 2-4 segments during their drive. If you have an 8-9 minute stoppage every 15-20 minutes, and fail to focus your content, dive in, and give the audience nothing to look forward to, you may turn out alright, but your odds of earning additional listening are going to be greatly enhance by teasing, paying things off, and diving in.
Moving to soundbytes, you can attach the best :10-:15 seconds of audio to a produced return or play it over a music bed, and then dive into your content, but is it too much to ask to tell the audience who was speaking on the clip when you begin building your stance off of it? Do you think your entire audience knows the voice of every single football, baseball, and basketball player and coach?
If you’re pitching to a cut inside of the segment, that too requires identification. Doing something vague like “The Raiders have opened up the checkbook but not everyone is convinced they’re spending their money wisely” and not referencing who shared the opinion that differs from yours is foolish. You’re making the audience work harder than they need to.
Make it easy for people to play along. Giving the name of the person speaking adds credibility to the discussion, and it’ll likely make your audience want to join the conversation. They may even tweet at the person who made the comment, offering their own opinions on what they said, or let them know that you disagreed with their point of view which opens the door to a rebuttal and additional content.
The last item I want to draw attention to is not resetting prior on-air conversations. What you’re talking about now is what matters most to your audience. Too often hosts forget that. When you say things like “We discussed this at length on Tuesday so we’re not going to beat a dead horse” or “People took issue with our position yesterday on LeBron James and I don’t get it” and don’t follow up by explaining what those points were and where you stand, you’re leaving them out in the cold.
As great as it would be, the audience is not going to dive into your podcast archives and re-listen to everything you said just so they can follow along easier. Furthermore, if you’re going to discuss something that’s clearly triggered an emotion in you, take the time to expand on it. Otherwise what was the point in bringing it up in the first place?
Remember that you have listeners who like your show, but aren’t addicted to it. They may form a deeper connection with you in the future, but if their schedule only allows for them to hear you 2-3 days per week for 15 minutes at a time, don’t give them reasons to tune out from the current occasion or future ones by not making it easy to consume the content.
In sports, so much of success depends on preparation. A player like Tim Duncan was known for his ability to block shots, grab rebounds, score points, and make his teammates better, but he earned the nickname “The Big Fundamental” because of his knowledge, ability, and commitment to improving his footwork, taking high percentage shots, establishing good rebounding position, passing the ball to the open man, and executing consistently. All of those things helped him earn the respect and admiration from fans, teammates, and competitors, and a number of NBA titles.
For sports radio professionals, it’s no different. You’ve got to have talent or you wouldn’t be on the air. But others are on the airwaves and capable of entertaining audiences too.
You have a short window of time to lure people in before they find other options. There are over 700,000 podcasts available, 20-75 local radio stations (depending on your market) supplying content, social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, plus apps, videos, satellite radio, and friends or family texting or calling. Each wants the listener’s attention and is competing against you to earn it.
To succeed you’ve got to be able to entertain, inform, and provide unique opinions and angles that make the audience think and feel. Guests, soundbytes, and callers are the props which enhance your presentation, and the last step for hosts is to navigate the show smoothly by executing effective blocking and tackling principles.
Look at it like this, if your topics, opinions, and personalities are the equivalent of a main course meal, then it’s the fundamentals that are your sides and appetizers. Depending on who’s at the table or in this case listening in the car, on the phone, or thru a smart speaker, those extras can be the difference between the audience feeling full or still hungry.
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.”
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.
Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network
“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”
To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.
As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.
If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Which brings me to today’s announcement.
If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.
After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.
The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.
I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.
One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.
Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.
Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.
What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.
Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.
Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.
5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs
“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”
I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.
Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.
But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.
Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.
If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.
Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.
For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.
At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.
I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.
Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.
Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.
Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.
Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.
Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.
Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.