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Sports Radio’s 2019 Spring Book Ratings Recap

“A look at how sports stations in 20+ markets performed in the 2019 spring book.”

Jason Barrett

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Each quarter at BSM we highlight how sports radio stations across America have performed in their latest ratings books. I’ve been asked before why this piece comes out a few weeks after the results are in and the answer is that it takes time to gather information from over 20+ markets and other business needs require attention too. That said, I’m grateful that many format folks look forward to reading it.

Having been a programmer and analyzed panel changes, meter counts, hot zips, listener trends and every other factor that goes into generating ratings, I know how much it means to those involved with a radio station to have their work matter and be appreciated. Because I love this format, respect those involved in programming circles, and understand the challenges brands face generating advertising dollars, I continue to research market results and write this column. I hope it helps educate clients on why sports radio brands are worth investing in. I’m also optimistic that industry leaders will be reminded of some of the great work being done by their people and brands and put a few things into perspective when analyzing the numbers. Sometimes they lose sight of it.

But I’d be lying if I said I enjoy writing this column as much as I once did. Although I love giving brands recognition and credit for a job well done, there’s also the reality of this industry continuing to be poorly measured, especially digitally. When I analyze 20-30 markets and find streaming numbers practically invisible for some of the format’s top brands, it’s difficult for me to fake enthusiasm. Too many of these stations have bigger audiences and impact than they receive credit for. It’s got to get better.

This is not a ‘get off my lawn’ moment. It’s a simple reminder that we need more comprehensive data to compete against ALL media. Social media giants and tech companies are eating everyone’s lunch. The projections for the future look similar. To have a fighting chance we’ve got to be able to capture the full story of what these brands are delivering while also adjusting internal mindsets that it doesn’t begin and end with numbers.

Ratings have been a part of my world for the past 15 years. I love studying them and seeing friends, peers, and industry professionals reap the rewards of a job well done. Sports talk radio delivers an emotional connection with its audience and in the process these personalities earn trust. That helps businesses that align with them move product. That by itself is worth investing in. The numbers are the icing on the cake.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how sports radio brands around the country performed during the 2019 spring book.

NEW YORK:

Sports radio listening in the big apple remained strong with WFAN’s Boomer and Gio finishing 1st in the market in morning drive with Men 25-54. FAN’s morning team finished with a low 6 share, two points higher than 98.7 ESPN NY’s airing of Golic and Wingo which came in 10th.

Middays were strong for Beningo and Roberts and CMB on WFAN. Joe and Evan produced a low 7 share to finish 1st between 10a-1p. CMB recorded a high 6 share to come in 2nd during their timeslot of 1p-3p. 98.7 ESPN’s Humpty and Canty and the Stephen A. Smith show generated the same number (just under a mid 3 share) for the quarter. Humpty and Canty were 10th, Smith 11th.

The always interesting battle between Mike Francesa and the Michael Kay Show remained close. If you include both radio and streaming listening for both stations, Francesa wins the head to head matchup by two tenths of a point. Without the Fan’s streaming taken into account Kay wins. Using the combined number, Francesa delivered just above a mid 6 share. Kay was just under a mid 6 share. The two shows finished 1st and 2nd respectively in the market which is outstanding.

The one issue that has created confusion in New York City’s ratings has been the way Entercom New York and ESPN New York’s differ in how they operate and sell ads. ESPN combines radio and streaming whereas The Fan produces them separately.

Regardless of how you want to slice it, both brands had reasons to celebrate the spring book. Summer could be a little different with Kay off the radio due to vocal cord surgery, Gray out due to maternity leave, and Francesa taking a week or two for summer vacation.

LOS ANGELES:

ESPN LA 710 was pleased with its progress for the quarter. The station finished just under a 3 share, gaining six tenths of a point year to year. Mason and Ireland remained the top rated program in the market with a high 3 share. All of 710’s weekday programs improved their numbers from spring to spring. It was the stations best spring book since 2015.

AM 570 LA Sports also had a few reasons to be happy with the quarterly report. The radio station picked up a full point spring to spring in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). 570 also nearly doubled their share in morning drive year to year thanks to the Dan Patrick Show.

CHICAGO:

670 The Score continued its winning ways, securing victory for the spring book in both weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) and the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with Men 25-54. The Score generated a low 5 share to finish 4th and 5th respectively in those two categories. Cubs baseball certainly helped. ESPN 1000 came in 9th in prime, and 11th for the full week.

Fueling The Score’s success was the morning team of Mully and Haugh who finished 3rd with just under a mid 7 share. The show was just one tenth of a point away from being tied for 1st overall with Men 25-54. ESPN 1000’s airing of Golic and Wingo did make strides too, gaining 10% to climb into the top 10 with a mid 3 share.

A close race developed in middays between The Score’s Bernstein and McKnight and ESPN 1000’s Kap and Company. The Score’s tandem won the quarter by finishing 7th with a high 3 share. Kap’s program was tied for 9th with a mid 3 share. Also, Laurence Holmes bested Carmen and Jurko between the hours of Noon and 2pm by a little more than a point. Holmes finished 5th, Carmen and Jurko were 9th.

The afternoon drive battle this quarter was won by The Score’s McNeil and Parkins. 670’s show was tied for 3rd with a little better than a mid 5 share, nearly a point and a half ahead of ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy who were 7th with a low 4 share.

One last item worth sharing, 670’s combination of Cubs baseball and Joe Ostrowski were 1st between the hours of 6p-10p. Play by Play and Julie DiCaro were ranked 3rd between the hours of 10p-12a.

SAN FRANCISCO:

Both KNBR and 95.7 The Game had success stories worth sharing this quarter. KNBR finished 2nd overall in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a high 5 share, three tenths of a point ahead of The Game. The Sports Leader also won the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) edging The Game by one tenth of a point. The Game’s big victory came in the month of June when the station won the month, finishing 1st overall in the market.

In mornings, KNBR’s Murph and Mac came in 4th, four tenths of a point ahead of Joe, Lo and Dibbs who finished 6th. The former midday team of Gary and Larry led KNBR to a win between 10a-1p, finishing six tenths of a point ahead of Steiny and Guru and 1-hour of The Greg Papa Show with Bonta Hill (Papa has since joined KNBR). The final 2-hours of Papa and Hill’s show from 1p-3p earned The Game a seven tenths of a point victory over Fitz and Brooks (Brooks has since moved to PM drive on KNBR, Fitzgerald is no longer with the station).

Afternoons saw both Tom Tolbert and Damon Bruce perform strong with Tolbert winning the matchup by six tenths of a point. Bruce’s daypart though was The Game’s highest ranked for the quarter. Both shows benefited from a few Giants and Warriors games airing during their time slot.

Closing things out at night, The Game placed 2nd to KNBR’s 5th, winning the evening matchup for the quarter by nearly a point and a half.

Overall a strong showing by both brands. With the recent lineup shuffling at both stations, and football season approaching, the next two books should be an interesting follow.

DALLAS:

It was a strange quarter for both Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket and 105.3 The Fan. In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) The Ticket was 1st and The Fan was tied for 10th. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) The Ticket was 1st and The Fan 14th. That’s the good news if you’re at The Ticket. Not so much if you’re at The Fan.

However, what makes this strange is that the winter book had the two brands ranked 1st and 3rd in the market, and last year during this same time period The Fan was ranked 4th. Looking deeper into the numbers, June was especially tough year to year for all of the Dallas sports stations. Among Men 25-54, The Ticket’s share was 44% lower, The Fan was down by 38% and ESPN 103.3 down 37.5%. Considering that the lineups haven’t changed, and both stations remain strong relevant brands, it appears a meter or two has created market challenges.

Meter challenges aside, The Ticket had more reason to celebrate thanks to a 1st place finish in mornings from The Musers, a 2nd place finish between the hours of 10a-3p with Norm and Donovan and BaD Radio, and a 1st place performance in afternoons from The Hardline.

For The Fan, their best results came in middays courtesy of GBag Nation. The show was ranked 7th for the quarter. The station’s drive time programs with Shan and RJ and Ben and Skin finished in the teens which hasn’t happened since we started following the market a few years ago.

One positive for The Fan, they defeated The Ticket in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 18-34. Those numbers though were also lower than usual.

A word of caution to industry folks looking at the market this quarter, tip your cap to Jeff Catlin and his team at The Ticket for their overall 1st and 2nd place finishes but don’t overreact to the results. Both of these stations have been rock solid brands consistently ranked in the Top 5 with much higher shares. With football season approaching, it’s just a matter of time til the meters return and we’ve got another strong battle between two great sports radio brands.

PHILADELPHIA:

Sports Radio WIP has been on a roll for quite some time, and the spring book was no exception. The station won the local competition against 97.5 The Fanatic, finishing a little more than 2 points ahead with Men 25-54 and just under 2 points in front with Persons 25-54.

Mornings remained the same with Angelo Cataldi continuing to own the daypart, registering a 2nd place finish with just under a 10 share. He was also 2nd with Adults with a high 6 share. The Fanatic though has been making strides with Marc Farzetta and turned in a very respectable high 6 share performance to finish 3rd.

In middays, Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie were 3rd for the quarter with just under an 8 share. The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano and Jason Myrtetus continued to gain ground but were a little more than a point and a half behind en route to finishing 4th.

Turning to afternoons, WIP’s duo of Jon Marks and Ike Reese claimed another quarterly victory, finishing three tenths of a point in front of The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli. The Fanatic points out that if streaming numbers are included in the mix, it’s a different story. Marks and Reese were ranked 1st overall with Men 25-54 with just above a 9 share. Missanelli was 2nd just under a 9.

Not to be forgotten, evenings on WIP featuring Philadelphia Phillies baseball and night time host Joe Giglio turned in a 1st place finish with Men 25-54 at just under a 10 share. The Fanatic was tied for 5th for the quarter.

HOUSTON:

ESPN 97.5 enjoyed another successful quarter, winning weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) against Sports Radio 610 and SportsTalk 790. 97.5 was three tenths of a point higher than 610 and a point and a half better than 790. One thing worth noting, the lineup schedules for 610, 790 and 97.5 are all different. This can create some confusion if you’re just looking at the traditional Nielsen dayparts.

Looking at the local weekday shows, 97.5 won the hours of 7a-9a thanks to The Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein. John and Lance have now won those hours every month since October 2018.

Another positive for 97.5 was the afternoon performance by The Blitz with AJ Hoffman and Fred Faour. The Houston duo won their timeslot of M-F 4p-7p for the quarter. They’ve now finished ahead during those three hours every month since January 2018.

Two positives for 610 saw the station finish one tenth of a point ahead of 97.5 between the hours of 2p-6p. 610 and 97.5 were also tied between the hours of 10a-3p.

610 recently made changes to their weekday lineup which they’re hoping will reverse the latest results. The summer book will offer the first look at how the market receives those changes. For now, 97.5 is in front.

BOSTON:

98.5 The Sports Hub cruised to a comfortable spring book victory generating a low 9 share to finish 1st with Men 25-54. WEEI was 4th with just under a mid 5 share. Both station’s numbers include their streaming performance.

In mornings, Toucher and Rich were 1st with a low 9 share. WEEI’s former morning show Mut and Callahan came in 5th with a mid 6 share. WEEI has since turned mornings over to The Greg Hill Show.

Middays saw The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand deliver a 3rd place finish with a mid 9 share. The team of Dale and Keefe on WEEI came in 4th with a low 6 share.

The Hub got their best performance in afternoons thanks to Felger and Massarotti. The market’s top rated program produced a low 12 share en route to a 1st place finish. WEEI’s OMF ranked fourth with just under a mid 5 share.

The evening slot also belonged to The Sports Hub. The Adam Jones Show and combination of Bruins and Celtics playoff games led 98.5 to a 1st place finish with a low 10 share. WEEI’s mixture of Boston Red Sox baseball and local programming came in 8th with a low 4 share.

WASHINGTON DC:

106.7 The Fan continued to excel taking 3rd place for the quarter in both weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) and full week (M-SU 6a-Mid). The Fan popped a mid 6 share for the full week and a low 7 share in weekday prime. The Team 980 was rated in the high teens in both categories.

The best performance on The Fan came from The Sports Junkies who delivered a 2nd place finish with just under a 10 share. Grant and Danny ranked 3rd in middays with a low 7 share. Chad Dukes finished up the weekday prime shows by securing a 6th place finish in afternoons with a mid 4 share. The Team 980’s weekday shows were all ranked in the upper teens.

With Cumulus introducing a new sports talker to the market in ESPN 630 The Sports Capitol, there will be more to keep an eye on going forward. Until proven otherwise though, The Fan is operating on a different level.

DETROIT:

97.1 The Ticket continues to operate on another level, delivering some of the best performances for the entire format. The spring book saw the Detroit sports station finish 1st in every daypart with Men 25-54 except mornings (2nd). Karsch and Anderson‘s midday show, Mike Valenti’s afternoon show and the station’s full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) all produced above a 12 share.

An even more impressive case for the brand is how they’ve continued to excel with Persons 25-54. The Ticket were 3rd in mornings with Adults with a mid 5 share, 1st in middays with a low 8 share, 1st in afternoons with a mid 7 share, 2nd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with just under a 7 share, and 5th for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with a solid 6 share showing.

The Ticket’s continued dominance is a great example of sports radio’s ability to compete and win against ALL formats in top markets. These type of numbers are a big reason why the station was recently nominated for the Marconi Award for Sports Station of the Year.

PHOENIX:

Congratulations is in order for the staff at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM who for the first time in station history entered the top 10 (8th overall) in the money demo of Persons 25-54 for weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p).

An even more impressive performance was found with Men 25-54 where 98.7’s morning team of Doug and Wolf finished 4th with just under a 6 share. The morning show was also 6th with Persons 25-54.

Afternoons saw Burns and Gambo turn in a top 3 performance with a low 6 share among Men 25-54. John and Dave produced the best share on the radio station for the quarter.

Rounding things out, the midday team of Bickley and Marotta came in 6th with a mid 4 share among Men 25-54, and the evening combination of live play by play and Luke Lapinski produced a 5th place finish with Men 25-54 with just under a 5 share.

SEATTLE:

710 ESPN led steady as the market’s top rated sports station due to a strong spring book performance. Among Men 25-54, the radio station ranked 4th in mornings (Brock and Salk), 5th in middays (Bob, Groz and Tom) and 3rd in afternoons (Danny, Dave and Moore). 710 finished 6th overall. KJR was in the upper teens.

Given the lack of excitement from the Mariners this baseball season, both local stations have to be clamoring for football season to hurry up and get here. 710 though made the most of a slower sports period.

MINNEAPOLIS:

KFAN continued to impress, turning in a strong spring book. The station finished 2nd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with just under an 11 share and 2nd for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with just under a mid 9 share.

Leading the way were The Power Trip who came in 2nd in morning drive with just under a 13 share. Paul Allen followed up by pulling in a low 10 share from 9a to 12p to generate a 3rd place finish.

Moving to the afternoon portion of the schedule, ‘The Common Man‘ also grabbed 3rd place with a low 9 share from Noon to 3p, and Dan Barreiro stayed strong in afternoons, locking up 1st place with a low 11 share.

SKOR North which launched in January and places less emphasis on traditional radio ratings did see some nice gains during the book too. The station grew by a half of a point book to book and year to year. They’ve also increased their cume with Men 25-54 from January to June by 60%.

Two particular stories worth highlighting, Golic and Wingo have tripled their share year over year with Men 25-54, and the afternoon show, Mackey and Judd with Ramie has increased the station’s share by nearly a full point year to year during the hours of 4p-6p. Even more impressive given the brand’s digital first focus, they’ve increased podcast downloads by 60% year to year.

DENVER:

The spring book found 104.3 The Fan in good shape, finishing 4th overall in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a mid 6 share. The station was also 6th for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with a low 5 share.

Leading the way for The Fan was the morning team of Schlereth and Evans who secured a 1st place ranking with a low 9 share. The combination of Cecil and Pritch and Nick Ferguson (Nick took over the midday slot in late April) delivered a low 5 share to place 7th from 9a to noon. Stokley and Zach came in 8th between noon and 3p with a low 5 share, and The Drive with Tom Nalen and DMac (Nalen joined the show in mid April) were tied for 1st in afternoons with a low 6 share.

Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 which moved to the FM dial in mid-September 2018 also saw some progress this quarter. The station picked up 4 tenths of a point for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with Men 25-54 and 5 tenths of a point in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). The station’s weekday shows, Moser, Lombardi and Kane, Harris, Hastings and Dover, and Kreckman and Lindahl (Andy joined the show in early June) all gained five tenths of a point book to book.

TAMPA:

A few notes from Tampa where WDAE is still celebrating landing the rights to USF by blasting Creed tunes inside the program director’s office. The reunited tandem of Ron and Ian continued making progress finishing the quarter up a full share to secure a top 10 finish. Afternoon drive has improved by 35% year to year.

Another positive worth sharing were the gains among Men 35-64 (Tampa tends to skew older for sports radio listening). Ronnie and TKras were 9th in the demo in mornings up a full share year to year. The station’s weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) performance with Men 35-64 was also in the top 10.

Last but not least, a good start from the Tampa Bay Rays helped the station grow more than 20% year over year at night with Men 25-54.

PORTLAND:

102.9/750 The Game has been on quite a roll in 2019. The Portland sports station won the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) for the quarter, besting former market leader 1080 The Fan, and the Trail Blazers’ radio home NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620. The Game produced a low 3 share, nine tenths of a point higher than The Fan and nearly triple the performance of Rip City’s.

The best market performance was turned in by The Dan Patrick Show which delivered just under a 9 share for The Game, earning 2nd place with Men 25-54. The show was also 6th with Adults 25-54. The Fan’s morning team of Dusty and Cam finished 13th. Rip City’s morning show was in the mid 20’s.

From 9a-12p The Jim Rome Show won his matchup with just under a 4 share. Rome finished 10th overall. The Fan and Rip City were in the 20’s.

Between the hours of Noon and 3pm, The Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano led The Game to victory over The Fan and Rip City. Canzano was 10th at just under a 4 share. The Fan was ranked 19th. Rip City finished in the mid 20’s.

Closing up in afternoons, The Fan picked up a win thanks to the team of Isaac and Suke. The familiar drive time duo generated a mid 3 share to rank 16th. The Game’s airing of Bill Reiter’s show ranked 21st. Rip City’s Chad Doing and Travis Demers were slightly behind in 22nd.

ST. LOUIS:

101 ESPN remained consistent across all four local dayparts in the spring book. The St. Louis sports station produced a low 7 share to lock up the 3rd position in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) among Men 25-54.

Turning to the weekday programs, The Bernie Miklasz Show‘s mid 7 share performance was enough to lock up 3rd place in morning drive. The Kevin Wheeler also secured a 3rd place finish between 10a-1p with a high 6 share.

The Turn with Anthony Stalter delivered the station’s best share for the quarter, popping a high 8 share to finish 3rd between 1p-3p. And the always strong afternoon show, The Fast Lane, held down the 3rd spot in their daypart with a high 7 share.

CHARLOTTE:

No Hornets. No Panthers. No local MLB. No problem.

WFNZ turned in a top 10 performance with Men 25-54 for the quarter, driven by an impressive 1st place ranking for the book with TSL. Those who listen to the station are spending a lot of time with it, a sign that the station’s content and talent are a destination. WFNZ has now finished in the top 3 for TSL for 11 straight months, dating back to September 2018.

The station’s weekday programming saw Mac and TBone produce a top 10 finish in mornings with a little above a mid 3 share. Wilson and Parcell produced an 8th place finish with just under a mid 4 share, and The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey reeled in a 7th place finish with a mid 4 share performance.

BALTIMORE:

The spring book saw 105.7 The Fan deliver big, placing 3rd overall with a high 8 share among Men 25-54. Leading the way for the station was the Big Bad Morning Show with Ed Norris, Rob Long and Jerry Coleman. The BBMS finished 3rd in Persons 25-54 and 2nd with Men 25-54 with a low 10 share.

Moving to middays, Vinny and Haynie came in 4th with Persons 25-54 and 2nd with Men 25-54 with just under a mid 9 share. Finishing up in PM drive, Scott Garceau and Jeremy Conn finished 3rd in their daypart with Men 25-54.

INDIANAPOLIS:

For the first time in a while, 107.5/1070 The Fan saw all of their daily local shows deliver Top 10 performances. Leading the way was The Dan Dakich Show which finished 4th overall with a mid 6 share among Men 25-54 during the hours of Noon to 3pm.

In afternoons, The Ride with JMV cracked the top 10 with a high 4 share. The brand new Fan Morning Show featuring Jeff Rickard and Big Joe Staysniak shifted timeslots midway thru the book and helped lift the station to a Top 10 finish with just under a 4 share.

MEMPHIS:

The spring book saw another impressive performance turned in by market leader 92.9 ESPN. The Memphis sports station finished 2nd overall with a low 8 share with Men 25-54 in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). Year to year they’re up over 2 points and if you look at a 2 year period it’s even better at 3.5 points.

Looking at the station’s local shows, the best rated performance was turned in by the midday show Jason and John. The popular program hosted by Jason Smith and John Martin produced a mid 9 share to finish 2nd in their time slot.

Next up was The Gary Parrish Show which ranked 2nd in afternoons with just under a mid 8 share. Geoff Calkins maintained his consistent success by finishing 2nd with just under an 8 share. Wrapping things up, the brand new Giannotto and Jeffrey Show popped a low 8 share en route to finishing 3rd in their timeslot. The duo were on the air for half of the spring book and contributed to the station’s best performance from 2p-4p in 4 years.

MILWAUKEE:

The three station race between Entercom, iHeart and Good Karma Brands heated up during the spring book. This quarter the top spot was held by GKB’s ESPN 94.5 which narrowly edged 105.7 The Fan and 97.3 The Game. A half of a point was all that separated the three sports talkers.

In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 25-54, ESPN 94.5 finished two tenths ahead of The Fan and five tenths ahead of The Game. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) 94.5 bested both The Fan and The Game by three tenths of a point.

Going forward this is going to be a market to keep your eye on. All three brands feature good talent, the local sports scene is on fire with the Bucks, Brewers and Packers providing a lot of optimism for local fans, and all three brands continue making tweaks to stay ahead of the competition.

Barrett Blogs

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

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

Jason Barrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Barrett News Media To Gather The Industry in Nashville in September 2023

“I’ve been lucky enough to play a key role in bringing the sports media industry together on an annual basis, and in 2023 we’re going to attempt to do the same for news/talk media professionals.”

Jason Barrett

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One of the best parts about working in the media business is that you’re afforded an opportunity to use your creativity, take risks, and learn if an audience or advertisers will support your ideas. Sometimes you hit a homerun, other times you strike out, but regardless of the outcome, you keep on swinging.

I’ve tried to do that since launching a digital publishing and radio consulting company in 2015. Fortunately, we’ve delivered more hits than misses.

When I added news media industry coverage to our brand in September 2020, I knew it’d be a huge undertaking. The news/talk format is two and a half times larger than sports, many of its brands are powered by national shows, and the content itself is more personal and divisive. I wanted our focus and attention on news media stories, not politics and news, and though there have been times when the lines got blurred, we’ve tried to be consistent in serving industry professionals relevant content .

What made the move into news media more challenging was that I’d spent less time in it. That meant it’d take longer to find the right writers, and it required putting more time into building relationships, trust, respect, and support. Though we still have more ground to cover, we’ve made nice strides. That was reflected by the participation we received when we rolled out the BNM Top 20 of 2022 the past two weeks. Hopefully you checked out the lists. Demetri Ravanos and I will be hosting a video chat today at 1pm ET on BNM’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and through Barrett Media’s YouTube page discussing the series, as well as this article.

It’s because of that growing support, trust, and confidence in what we’re doing that I’m taking a risk yet again. I’ve been lucky enough to play a key role in bringing the sports media industry together on an annual basis, and in 2023 we’re going to attempt to do the same for news/talk media professionals.

I am excited to share the news that Barrett News Media will host its first ever BNM Summit on Thursday September 14, 2023 in Nashville, TN. Our one-day conference will take place at Vanderbilt University’s Student Life Center Ballroom. The venue we’ve selected is tremendous and I’m eager to spend a day with news/talk professionals to examine ways to further grow the format and industry.

If you’re wondering why we chose Nashville, here’s why.

First, the city itself is awesome. The access to great restaurants, bars, entertainment, hotels, and famous landmarks is unlimited, and when you’re traveling to a city for a business conference, those things matter. Being in a city that’s easy for folks across the country to get to also doesn’t hurt.

Secondly, a conference is harder to pull off if you can’t involve successful on-air people in it. If you look at Nashville’s growth in the talk media space over the past decade, it’s remarkable. Many notable talents now live and broadcast locally, major brands have created a local footprint in the area, and that opens the door to future possibilities. I have no idea who we’ll include in the show, and I haven’t sent out one request yet because I wanted to keep this quiet until we were sure it made sense. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of interest in participating and I can’t promise we’ll be able to accommodate all requests but if you have interest in being involved, send an email to Jason@BarrettNewsMedia.com.

Third, finding the right venue is always difficult. We looked at a bunch of great venues in Nashville during our vacation this past summer, and when we stepped on to the campus at Vanderbilt University and walked through the SLC Ballroom, we knew it was the right fit. It had the space we needed, the right tech support, access to private parking, a green room for guests, and it was within walking distance of a few hotels, restaurants, and the Parthenon.

As I went through the process of deciding if this event was right for BNM, a few folks I trust mentioned that by creating a Summit for news/media folks, it could create a competitive situation. I don’t see it that way. I view it as a responsibility. I think we need more people coming together to grow the industry rather than trying to tear each other down. I hear this far too often in radio. We worry about what one station is doing rather than strengthening our own brand and preparing to compete with all audio options.

For years I’ve attended conferences hosted by Radio Ink, NAB, Talkers, and Conclave. I’ve even spoken at a few and welcomed folks who operate in the consulting space to speak at my shows. I’ll continue to support those events, read various trade sites, and invite speakers who work in a similar field because they’re good people who care about helping the industry. I believe BNM and BSM add value to the media business through its websites and conferences, and though there may be a detractor or two, I’ll focus on why we’re doing this and who it’s for, and let the chips fall where they may.

I know juggling two conferences in one year is likely going to make me crazy at times, but I welcome the challenge. In the months ahead I’ll start lining up speakers, sponsors, building the conference website, and analyzing every detail to make sure we hold up our end of the bargain and deliver an informative and professionally beneficial event. The news/talk media industry is massive and making sure it stays healthy is critically important. I think we can play a small role in helping the business grow, and I look forward to finding out on September 14th in Nashville at Vanderbilt University.

Hope to see you there!

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Jimmy Powers, Raj Sharan, Matt Berger and John Goforth Added to 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

“BSM is having a special Holiday SALE this week. Individual tickets are reduced to $224.99 until Friday night December 23rd at 11:59pm ET.

Jason Barrett

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In less than a hundred days, the BSM Summit will return to Los Angeles for two-days of networking, learning, laughing, and celebrating. The conference hasn’t been held on the west coast since 2019, and we’re looking forward to returning to the city of angels on March 21-22, 2023, and bringing together sports media professionals at the Founders Club, located inside the Galen Center at the University of Southern California.

For those of you who haven’t purchased your ticket(s) yet, BSM is having a special Holiday SALE this week. From today (Monday) through Friday 11:59pm ET, individual tickets are reduced to $224.99. If you’re planning to come, and want to make sure you’re in the room, take advantage of the extra savings and secure your seat. To buy tickets, reserve your hotel room, and learn more about the Summit’s speakers, click here.

We’ve previously announced twenty one (21) participants who will join us on stage at the 2023 BSM Summit. Today, we’re excited to expand our lineup by welcoming four (4) more additions to March’s industry spectacular.

First, BSM is thrilled to have two accomplished sports radio programmers contributing to the event. Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit will make his Summit debut in L.A.. Fresh off of a Marconi victory earlier this fall, The Ticket’s brand manager will share his insights on the present and future of sports radio on one of our programming panels. Also taking part in that panel will be the leader of 104.3 The Fan in Denver, Raj Sharan. Raj appeared on stage at the 2022 BSM Summit in NYC, and we look forward to having him return to lend his voice to an important sports radio programming discussion.

But programming won’t be the only thing we invest time in out west. Growing a business, more specifically, a digital business will be part of our conference agenda as well.

When it comes to maximizing digital revenue, few brands understand the space better than Barstool Sports. Charged with growing the brand’s revenue is Senior Vice President and Head of Sales Matt Berger, and we’re looking forward to having Matt join us for a conversation that will focus on monetizing digital opportunities. Before joining Barstool, Matt sold for Bleacher Report/House of Highlights. He’s also worked for Warner Brothers and the Walt Disney Company. We’re excited to have him share his wisdom with the room.

Also taking part in our digital sales panel will be John Goforth of Magellan AI. John knows the radio business well from having served previously as a sales manager and salesperson. Since leaving traditional media and joining Magellan AI, John has studied the podcasting advertising space and learned who the top spenders are, who’s making big moves with their podcast advertising budgets, and which publishers are best positioned to benefit. Having his expertise on stage will help many in the room with trying to better understand the digital sales space.

There are other speaker announcements still to come. We have some big things planned, which I’m hoping to reveal in January and February. I want to thank ESPN Radio, FOX Sports, Showtime, and Point to Point Marketing for coming on board as partners of the 2023 BSM Summit. The support we’ve received heading into Los Angeles has been tremendous, and we greatly appreciate it. If you’re looking to be associated with the Summit as an event partner, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

That’s all for now, but be sure to take advantage of the Summit Holiday Sale. You have until Friday night December 23rd at 11:59pm ET to take advantage of discounted tickets. Happy Holidays!

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