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Why Should Hosts Stick To Sports Right Now?

“Don’t be afraid to venture into the world outside of the lines. Just remember, your words, your tweets, your takes, your posts, last forever.”

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It can be easy to want to steer clear of political talk, especially right now. We’re coming off the most unique election cycle any of us have ever lived through, and as I type this, we are still waiting to find out who the winner is.

I turned to Brian London. The former Ticket morning man and APD has a history of letting Miami listeners know where he stands on political and social issues.

Brian London Exits 790 The Ticket | Barrett Sports Media

London writes that political and polarizing topics should never be off limits for hosts and shows. It certainly helps though to know how to approach those topics and which ones actually give you the chance to make an impact on your audience.


The election is over….I think….. but it’s safe to say in the hyper-partisan world we live in, that political discussion, discord, arguments or topics are not going away. And certainly, the crossroads of politics and sports isn’t somehow now in the rearview mirror. No matter what is going on, on the field or court or ice, there will always be issues not involving scores and stats that will enter our world. 

I’m a liberal snowflake, somewhere to the left of center, but not quite as far left as those that think I should rub eucalyptus oil on my infected wound (I don’t really have a wound so there’s no need to worry). I mean the essential oil may end up working in about a year, but I’ll be getting that script for Amoxicillin from my doctor. You get the idea. 

When I was on the radio, and now on my YouTube channel, or any other platform I’m on these days, I’m not afraid to express my political leanings, but that comes with a few self-regulatory strategies.

I don’t force my politics down your throat. I’m always willing to hear your side of things. Just because I think one way doesn’t mean I won’t like you and you won’t like me. My number one priority is always to entertain. If I get to the point where my politics gets in the way of me entertaining you, I’ve gone too far.

Now, there are outliers. There have certainly been people that have changed the dial, or hit stop on my video, or hit unfollow on Twitter, simply because they disagree with my views. I have certainly hung up on a caller or gone off on an unhinged rant on some texter. I’m willing to deal with that in order to be myself. The majority of feedback I get from people that disagree with me politically is, “Hey Beast, you are totally wrong, but I’ve always liked your stuff, and support you.”

I’ve always been against a PD or GM telling talent to stay away from politics, or, (my biggest pet peeve) STICK TO SPORTS! 

Most of us aren’t single celled amoebas. We have brains and lives and thoughts outside of passer rating and on-base percentage. This should especially hold true for local issues that impact your audience. Is there an owner who is trying to look for public money to build a stadium? Is a team trying to leave town? Local issues are exactly the kind of topics that YOU SHOULD be shoving your nose into.

When I was co-hosting a morning show with Brendan Tobin and former NFL RB Leroy Hoard, Tobin led the way as we fought for a street here in Miami to be named after Dwyane Wade. We battled with local politicians. We bad mouthed city commissioners. T-shirts were made. Hashtags were used. And, in the end, Tobin and we got Miami’s greatest sports star (I know, I know…but Marino never won) his street. Those are the things you need to be vocal about. Those are the things that your audience wants to hear your voice on. They may disagree with you, but that’s why they are tuning in. If we did a show where our audience agreed with every word that came out of our mouth, that creates the media bubble that has partly been responsible for creating the exact hyper-partisan world we live in. 

𝙃𝙀𝘼𝙏 𝙉𝘼𝙏𝙄𝙊𝙉 on Twitter: "Brendan Tobin, local radio host, started  a campaign pushing the City of Miami to rename Biscayne Boulevard to Dwyane  Wade Boulevard in honor of the Miami legend. @Brendan_Tobin

As for the bigger, social, political and national issues, that’s up to your comfortability. I supported Collin Kaepernick from the beginning. Sure, I got into heated arguments with callers and texters and tweeters, but it was something that was important to me. Again, though, I never got personal. I never made it seem like I was superior to the listener. I still kept my eye on entertaining the audience. 

So, you do you. Don’t be afraid to venture into the world outside of the lines. Just remember, your words, your tweets, your takes, your posts, last forever. If you want to be that person that fight’s the battle on the Qanon or Antifa hill, have at it, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find yourself looking for another gig like I am, with quite a bit more baggage.

Brian “The Beast” London has been a staple in South Florida sports media for close to 25 years. He most recently was APD and morning show co-host on Entercom WAXY-AM in Miami, before being “corporately displaced.” You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @MiamiRadioBeast and you can check out his YouTube channel where he gives hot takes on the Canes, Fins, and important issues like “The Bagel vs the Donut.” 

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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