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Adam Delevitt: There Is Life After Sports Radio

“There are times when you think as a PD that what is coming out of your speakers is the most important piece of content that’s out there, and what you sometimes forget is how small that bubble is that you’re in.”

Demetri Ravanos

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It is a little hard to believe Adam Delevitt isn’t with ESPN 1000 anymore. After more than 21 years with the station, he left the building in November 2019.

The Athletic, December 2019
The Athletic, December 2019

So what is he up to today? Delevitt just started a new position with Rush Street Interactive (RSI), which you probably know better as BetRivers. He serves as the Director of Broadcast and Streaming Media. It is the kind of role and company he knew he wanted even before he left ESPN 1000.

“When the Pro and Amateur Sports Protection Act was struck down by the Supreme Court in May of 2018, I knew that I wanted to be involved in this business,” Adam Delevitt told me via email. “I always tried to push sports betting content on air at ESPN1000, even to the chagrin of some hosts. It always ‘moved the needle’ in ratings and I always thought it was important for talent to know the lingo,  at the very least. This role will allow me to manage, create, and direct broadcast and streaming content for Rush Street Interactive. I also will be part of the marketing group, and fill needs where they appear when it relates to broadcast and streaming content. I’m thrilled to get to work with such an extremely talented group of people who all share the same vision on the bright future of the gaming industry, especially bright at RSI.”

I wanted to get his perspective on the broadcast industry and a number of things surrounding it, now that he is outside of the business and can still offer more than two decades of inside perspective. But this is an extra ordinarily busy time for Adam Delevitt. He just started this new chapter last month.

To accommodate the new reality and schedule, I emailed Adam a series of questions. Here

DEMETRI RAVANOS: What kind of audio content have you been consuming since exiting ESPN 1000?

ADAM DELEVITT: I love listening, always have and hopefully always will. I always have something to listen to and there is so much content out there. I’ve been consuming tons of sports betting content from so many great sources. General interest content, The Howard Stern Show, and I’ve been sampling lots of podcasts, from a variety of different industries. Also, I love listening to music and The Grateful Dead channel on Sirius is my go-to!

DR: How are you consuming it? Are you able to enjoy audio/radio as just entertainment, or is programmer’s brain hard to turn off?

AD: It’ll always be part of my routine, and yes, I enjoy it just as entertainment! Harder at first, but that came and went faster than expected! I am enjoying listening, but still take notes and do airchecks in my head but that’s where it ends.

DR: Now that you are outside the business, what advice would you give PDs about how their products fit into the audience’s world?

AD: I’d say don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. There are times when you think as a PD that what is coming out of your speakers is the most important piece of content that’s out there, and what you sometimes forget is how small that bubble is that you’re in. If PDs could step away from that everyday circus every now and again, it would be beneficial to them and their staff. Issues always seem so much larger than they really are behind those walls of a station.

PDs should try to take more listening days getting out of the station a day or two/month. Driving around and consuming content, like your everyday listeners, helps a lot.  It’s easy to get stuck in the office with the latest sales or marketing fire that you’ve been asked to deal with, but at the end of the day PDs are tasked with driving ratings and that should always stay top of mind. Shows and stations can only get better if feedback is provided in a timely manner. Also, it helps you adjust to your entire audience.

DR: How do you see the industry treating the PD role? Will we have more Mark Chernoff’s in the future or does it seem like the days of 20-25 year runs at a single station are over?

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AD: Since I still have many friends who are still trying to be like Mitch Rosen or Mark Chernoff, I hope they all make it that long. What those two guys have done for NY and Chicago sports talk will have long lasting effects and is an amazing accomplishment. With media companies showing less patience than ever to produce, the industry could look like a mix of the old school and new school in the next few years.

Since I was fortunate to spend 21 years with ESPN Radio, I’m hoping the future of the industry still has room for long time station runs!

DR: How do you view the two Chicago stations’ lineups right now? We’ve seen a lot of change in the last 6-12 months.

AD: Some changes take time, but it looks like baseball will continue to give lifts to both stations.  Cubs obviously draw more attention than the Sox, and this coming from a die-hard White Sox fan. But it’s just the reality of it. I will say it is nice to see both teams playing on both sports stations currently.

I don’t listen as much as I thought I would, but I still like to hear what my former guys like Waddle, Silvy, Carmen, Jurko, and Kap have to say when it’s a big local sports news day.

DR: How much has your sports radio prepared you for this position with BetRivers? What is wildly different about the gig from programming?

AD: I think my overall time with ESPN prepared me tremendously for this type of role. My knowledge runs deep from the other side of media deals and can help assess value with current media partnerships as well as future strategic partnerships.  I also was part of the ESPN radio local push with our affiliates and making sure the network content and local O&O content all got funneled to the right people and in doing that, I was able to build many relationships around the country, and in the ESPN circle of networks.

The difference is with regular sports news cycle content, you really must serve many broad areas in terms of topics, especially when thinking local. Talking about sports betting and casino gaming comes easy to us because we know the audience here and we know how to serve them properly without veering into other areas of content. Being able to focus on this area and see all the growth potential is exciting and this company (RSI) has an amazing vision lead by President Richard Schwartz, COO Mattias Stetz, and Marketing Director, Terry Dugan!

DR: As sports betting spreads across states and the content becomes more widely available on broadcast platforms, what is the minimum knowledge that you feel programmers and talent need?

AD: The talent should at the very least know the lingo and ins and outs of sports betting. I believe the programmers need to know so much more, and even make it part of their daily routine. If their audience is thinking about it daily, why shouldn’t that station serve that up daily?

The United States of sports betting - Where all 50 states stand on  legalization
ESPN.com, April 2021

They also should familiarize themselves of their state’s gambling and sports betting laws. They need to be experts because they will get questions internally from everyone including salespeople to show producers, to listeners reaching out looking for advice, or help with a parlay. Programmers should make sure that they treat this market with smart, experienced staffs because this is the future and it’s here!

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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