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The Art of Teasing

Jason Barrett

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In the broadcasting business we’re constantly searching for ways to invade the head space of our audience. With listeners having countless choices of where to spend their time, and distractions popping up at every turn to pull them away, it’s critical to deliver content that makes people think and seek a response. This is what we call “teasing”.

curiosSimply defined, a tease is a question, comment, fact or highlight used at the beginning or end of a segment to attract the audience’s attention.

Why does it matter? Because in the broadcasting world we’re constantly looking to grow two areas in order to deliver stronger ratings – cume and time spent listening. As a broadcaster, you can’t control whether or not an extra fifty thousand people show up each day to consume your material, but you can control whether or not they stick around and listen longer.

Additionally, research has shown that those who provide effective teases consistently, and deliver a payoff on them, typically receive more time from the listening audience. That speaks to the level of trust you develop with your audience, and loyalty has a deep impact on a personality’s ability to cut through and build a lasting brand.

greenyWhen it comes to teases there are many broadcasters who do it extremely well. Mike Greenberg and Erik Kuselias are two hosts on the national level who I think do a tremendous job. On the local level, Michael Kay, Bob Fescoe, Randy Karraker and John Lund are just a few who understand the concept and execute it well. The one thing that each of them understand is that it’s about hooking the audience, not over selling an expectation that can’t be delivered on. They also recognize that while it’s important to keep a listener curious heading into the commercial break, it’s equally as important to deliver on the tease when they return from the break.

When you’re delivering a tease it’s important for it to sound natural and honest. Some talent make the mistake of trying to over do it, and people today are smart enough to sniff out nonsense. If you keep a similar tone to how you broadcast throughout a segment, and you provide a curious question or comment, and sound excited and interested in the subject, you’re more likely to keep the audience around.

Think for a minute about all of the distractions that a listener has when listening to the radio. There’s text messages from friends and family, there are other radio stations on the dashboard, there may be other people in the car who want to talk, there’s outside noise if a window is rolled down, there are other apps on their phone for them to listen to, and there are websites to read.

We can tell people not to pay attention to their phones when they’re driving but we all know that’s impossible in today’s A.D.D society. The reality is this, everything that occurs around a listener is a potential distraction, and if you’re not crisp and consistent with making them think, they’re going to depart your program whether they like you or not.

Watch this video and you’ll see how quickly and how easily the listener is distracted. This is who you’re trying to reach every day! Even if they want to consume your content, they’re just as quick to leave if you don’t occupy space in their mind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qRz8nN1ERY&feature=youtu.be

In this video the total time ran 3:29, and during that time the listener was interested in the radio station he began his drive with. He also liked the song that was playing, yet 1:45 into it he began to use his cell phone. Once the DJ came on to talk he was searching for something else. Between 2:30-3:20 he is scanning stations and searching for something else to interest him.

Luckily for the station that he started his listening session with, he returns to them after he can’t find something else to capture his attention. In their case, they have likely developed a connection with him, but even with that loyalty, this listener is out the door and on someone else’s airwaves if they can’t provide a compelling reason for him to stay. This is what you’re facing every single minute and every single segment of every broadcast day.

questionsTo help you with your presentation as it applies to teasing I’ve provided some things for you to consider when trying to engage your audience:

  • Make Me Think – We All Like To Learn New Things
  • Manufacture The Drama – Conflict and Controversy Sells!
  • Writing Ahead of Time – The Best Works In Life Are Prepared!
  • One Short Focused Item – Don’t Overload, One Item Is Enough
  • Create The Need For Closure – People Always Want A Resolution
  • Speak To Me Not An Entire City – The word YOU Is Very Powerful
  • Coming Up Next, Up Next, Coming Up – The Show Doesn’t Leave
  • Use Breaking News To Your Advantage – Hold It Through The Break
  • Capitalize On The Name – Big Guests Matter But The Content Is The Hook

A few more things for you to ponder as it applies to teasing. Every one of these should factor into your approach.

  • Passion & Conviction Are Critical – People Respond To Both In Positive Ways!
  • Tell Me It’s Worth It and Provide The Proof – Bad Payoffs = Bad Customer Service
  • Recognizing You Are a Salesperson – If You Don’t Care About What You’re Selling To Me Then Why Should I?
  • More Than 70% of Radio Listening Happens In The Car – Are You Cutting Through All The Distractions? If Not, How Is That Going To Change If You Don’t?
  • Short-Term Thinking To Long-Term Thinking – It takes 22 Seconds To Go From a Short-Term Thought To Long-Term Thought! If You Make Me Wait Too Long, I’m Gone!
  • It’s An A.D.D World – The Top Sports Stations On Average Deliver 30-45 Minutes of Listening Per Day. The Average Listener Who Gives You a Quarter Hour of Credit Does It By Giving You Two Occasions For 2-3 Minutes, Not 5 Consecutive Minutes.

So how can you tease more effectively? Here are some examples. Test them out and make them into your own and you’ll find yourself making improvements in how you connect with your audience.

  • Questions, Questions, Questions – Always Start With Who, What, Where, When, Why or How!
  • Drama and Suspense – Why Do Soap Operas, TV News & TV Dramas Perform Well? The Unpredictability & Curiosity Keeps You Hooked!
  • Information Is A Weapon – Breaking News, A Special Guest, A Stat That Will Change My Mind About My Favorite Team/Player or a Situation – They All Cause The Listener To Think & Crave More!

If this subject interests you and you’re curious to learn more I’ve listed a few additional articles below which I think do an excellent job of providing extra detail. The bottom line, teasing benefits you as a broadcaster, but it’s up to you to make it your own and put the time into how you execute them. Those who do it well, enjoy great success at keeping people interested!

12 Tips For Writing Great Teases by Al Tompkins – Click here

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teases by Randy Lane – Click here

You’re Such a Tease by John Myers – Click here

A great PowerPoint on Engaging Audience courtesy of Andy Holt

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Jeff Catlin, John Mamola, Gordy Rush & Maggie Clifton Join The 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

Jason Barrett

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We’re less than two months away from the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles. This year’s conference takes place on March 21-22, 2023 at the Founders Room inside of the Galen Center at USC. Many industry professionals are set to attend but sports media folks tend to be a last minute crowd whether it’s buying a ticket, reserving a room or committing to be a sponsor. Yes, tickets, rooms, and a select few sponsorships are still available, but the longer you wait, the more you risk not being in the room, featured as a partner, and paying higher prices for travel. To make sure you have a seat and a place to stay, log on to BSMSummit.com. For sponsorship inquiries, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

I am really excited about this year’s Summit. The venue is tremendous, the agenda is coming together nicely, and there’s no doubt we’ll have great weather when we gather in LA. Some have asked me why I don’t reveal the full schedule of sessions months in advance, and it’s because I believe in swinging for the fences and trying to do big things. To do that, you’ve got to be willing to invest time and explore every opportunity that can be impactful. It’d be much easier to fill the schedule and be done with everything but if it’s going to take a little longer to deliver the best speakers, discussions and experiences for all in the room, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Those involved in the creation of this conference know that I set a very high standard for it. We’ve run some great events over the years, and it’s because we put everything we have into making sure each session is valuable to a different segment of the industry. My goal each year is to present an action packed agenda that helps people learn, gain access to information to improve themselves and/or their brands, and create a few connections and memorable moments to justify it being worth a few days away out of the office or studio. If we can do that, it makes the sacrifices worthwhile. If we can’t execute at a high level, then I’d probably pass on doing it.

Before I tell you about the four people we’re adding to our speaker lineup, I do want to remind you that we recently announced a contest for California college students. We’re giving away ten (10) FREE tickets to the show courtesy of Steve Kamer Voiceovers. If you know a student in California please let them know about this. If they’re not in California but want to attend the event, we’ve created a special college rate to make it affordable for young people. Everything is listed on BSMSummit.com.

Now, for the new additions to the lineup.

I’m excited to welcome Jeff Catlin of The Ticket in Dallas to the Summit. This will be Jeff’s first Summit visit, and I appreciate him making time to share his programming wisdom with the rest of the room. Jeff will be part of a programming panel that kicks off day #2. That panel will include Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Raj Sharan of Denver’s Sports Station 104.3 The Fan, and our next addition, John Mamola of WDAE. John has been at all of our events dating back to our first test event in Chicago. I’m looking forward to giving him an opportunity to offer his programming insights alongside this talented group.

Also joining the Summit lineup is Maggie Clifton, Blue Wire’s Senior Vice President of Business Development. Maggie has played a vital role in growing Blue Wire’s revenue, and I’m looking forward to having her join Barstool Sports’ SVP, Head of Sales Matt Berger, and Magellan AI’s Chief Revenue Officer John Goforth on a panel that focuses on digital monetization.

Guiding that conversation will be Guaranty Media’s Gordy Rush. The Baton Rouge Vice President and General Manager who doubles as LSU’s sideline reporter on football broadcasts is well versed in monetizing content, and understanding the opportunities and challenges broadcasters face. I’m confident those in the room charged with maximizing digital revenue for their brands will gain great value from these four professionals.

There’s much more in the works that I’m looking forward to announcing in the coming weeks. Whether you own a company, manage a cluster as a GM, lead a sales team, host or produce a podcast or radio/TV show, buy advertising, oversee a brand’s social media strategy or program a network or local outlet, there’s something for every sports media professional at the BSM Summit. I invite you to come see for yourself. To do so, visit BSMSummit.com.

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Jimmy Powers to Receive The Mark Chernoff Award at the 2023 BSM Summit

“Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award.”

Jason Barrett

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As a former programmer turned consultant, I pay more attention than most to those who lead brands, manage talent, and create consistent success. When you look across the country at the hundreds of stations delivering sports radio content, and analyze who operates at a high level, there’s maybe ten to twenty who are changing the game, and others who are rising and hoping to become a bigger part of the conversation.

What makes this annual award special in addition to having Mark Chernoff’s name on it, is that it’s voted on by eighteen industry heavyweights. These are folks tasked with overseeing radio companies, major networks, and having exceptional track records of broadcasting success. So when they vote and an individual earns an honor, it means a little more.

If you’re in the business and follow sports radio, then you’re aware of Mark Chernoff’s accomplishments as a program director. He was one of the true architects and consistent winners, and his ability to excel as a sports radio manager has influenced and shaped many careers. Mark graciously agreed to be part of our awards ceremony a few years ago when I approached him with the idea in New York City. I’m thrilled to share that although he doesn’t attend many industry conferences on the west coast, he will be with us at the 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles for the ceremony.

Which brings me to this year’s winner.

It is my honor to congratulate the leader of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, Jimmy Powers. Jimmy received the most votes from our industry panel to become our third recipient of the Mark Chernoff Award. He follows Rick Radzik of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, and Mitch Rosen of 670 The Score in Chicago. Jimmy will be in attendance at the Summit to pick up the award, and will take part in a program director panel at the show. Further details on that to be shared next week.

“It’s such a great honor not only to be mentioned in the same breath with Mark Chernoff, but to receive the ‘Mark Chernoff Award’ is really, really cool” shared 97.1 The Ticket Program Director Jimmy Powers. “With so many great program directors across the country who are deserving of this award, I truly appreciate the recognition.”

Since late 2009, Powers has led the Detroit sports radio station to unmatched local success. Brought in to build upon what was created by the late great Tom Bigby, he’s helped The Ticket become one of the format’s best examples of success. The station has consistently dominated the Male 25-54 demo, while also becoming a ratings force with Persons 12+ and Adults 25-54.

“Jimmy has done an amazing job over the years running 97.1 the Ticket,” said legendary sports radio programmer Mark Chernoff. “He knows how to work with talent, and maintain balance while managing relationships with the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons, which is not an easy job. The ratings remain high, and the Ticket continues to be one of America’s top sports stations, which reflects the great work Jimmy has done as the station’s program director.”

In addition to delivering double digit shares, quarterly ratings wins, and presenting a star studded lineup and Michigan’s top sports franchises, The Ticket has taken home plenty of hardware too. The station has won the Marconi award for best sports station in 2016 and 2022. And now, they can add the 2023 Mark Chernoff Award to their trophy case.

“2022 was another big year for The Ticket, and many in Detroit deserve credit for the brand’s consistent success, but none more so than their exceptional brand leader, Jimmy Powers,” added BSM President Jason Barrett. “Jimmy has been a staple of consistency, guiding one of the crown jewels of sports radio, managing top personalities, important play by play partnerships, and helping the brand generate large revenues. I’m thrilled that our industry voters took notice of the fantastic work Jimmy has done and look forward to celebrating his career and accomplishments in Los Angeles this March.”

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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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