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Back In The Saddle…For Now

“This business can be the greatest job that any of us has, but in a pandemic we have seen too many people sent to the unemployment line. How do you navigate these waters?”

John Michaels

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Nineteen months.

February 2019 Printable Calendar

Nineteen months wondering what is next. Nineteen months wondering if my job will ever be a full time radio host again.

It has been a whirlwind which has given me a lot of life perspective, and even more a stronger desire to be the best sports media personality I can be.

This business can be the greatest job that any of us has, but in a pandemic we have seen too many people sent to the unemployment line. How do you navigate these waters? What options do you have to continue employment in the business we love?

Unfortunately the pandemic forced changes at 680 the Fan in Atlanta, which caused several of my friends to lose their jobs. Steak Shapiro, John Kincaide and Mark Zinno were taken off the air late last week, which is tough because I have a personal relationship with all of them. Steak Shapiro gave me my 1st job in radio 16 years ago when he was an owner at 790 the Zone. Steak is one of the kindest people you could meet and also a very talented broadcaster who is on the Mount Rushmore of Atlanta sports broadcasters. He’s a legend and a polarizing on air personality, but he always had ratings and listeners whether you liked him or not.

John Kincaide is similar to Shapiro, a northerner who came to Atlanta and spent 20 years on one station with the same partner. Buck & Kincaide has the longest running show with over 4700 shows together. Kincaide on the air was polarizing as well, but off the air John would give you the shirt off his back.

Zinno had only been in the Atlanta market for about seven years, but again is a super talented broadcaster who always brought strong opinions. Mark is ultra engaging on social media and is one to spark a debate and back up his strong opinions with facts.

What’s next for all three remains to be seen, but I highly doubt any of them will be out of the sports radio game very long.

How does this tie into my journey you might ask?

Nineteen months ago I was let go from 92.9 the Game also in Atlanta, which left me in a precarious position. Nineteen months ago the world was pre-Covid and radio seemed to be thriving. Stations were hiring, so never did I think it would take that long to get back in the game. Choices were pretty simple, stay in Atlanta and attempt to get on with the only other sports station in town, which is 680 the Fan (and their properties) or find an interested station across the country. 

Lucky for me SB Nation Nation Radio (now SPORTS MAP RADIO) gave me a national platform which I was able to be broadcast out of my home studio. My wife wasn’t interested in packing up our family and moving so the interest I received from other stations across the country wasn’t going to work. Multiple times I reached out, sent demos to the Sirius XM sports properties, but never gained any traction even looking for part time opportunities.

Whomever replaces Steak and John Kincaide will be replacing radio royalty in Atlanta which will present a challenge. Listeners are loyal by nature and typically won’t change their listening patterns unless something like a host change at a station. The key for the new hosts is to bring high quality content and do enough to differentiate themselves from the guys that the audience became accustom to listening to.

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I’ve filled in the week on The Front Row and due to a previous relationship with Brian Finneran and Sandra Golden the transition has been very smooth. The two of them have been very accommodating which has made this week fly by. It has to be tough for the two of them plus Buck Belue, who was John Kincaide’s long time partner. Much like listeners fall into patterns, hosts learn to read their partners, and it makes the show sound like a conversation instead of something forced.

For programmers it is important to pair talent that can be simpatico on and off the air. Those become the best shows with the longest tenures.

There are few jobs available across the country because of COVID-19. Atlanta is now a location that is going through changes similar to many other markets. Radio is changing due to a major pandemic, but there is a chance with the right pairings for the industry to bounce back in a big way.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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