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Sitcoms Not Movies

Jason Barrett

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Anyone who has worked with me over the past 10 years has either heard me utter the term “Sitcoms Not Movies” or they’ve seen something like this displayed inside the air studio. There’s a big reason for that, it’s an approach I believe in. Simply put, it means your audience spends thirty to sixty minutes with you on their commute and it’s your job to provide the content that has the largest local appeal and present it in an entertain way during the two to four segments when they’re with you.trafficjam

If you’re really good as an air talent or you’re fortunate due to a traffic jam, maybe the listener sticks around for an extra 15-30 minutes. If everything though goes the way it normally does, you’ve got two to four segments to connect and entertain them and then they’re gone.

Sometimes broadcasters have an internal feeling that they’ve done something earlier in the show and don’t want to repeat it or they worry that someone listening is going to say “you already discussed that topic earlier” and what needs to be remembered here is that this is the ultimate compliment. If they’re listening that long, that’s not the norm. Those are the types of listeners who we label as P1’s and we want to hug them and take them out for a beer because they are loyal and invested in us.

The majority though aren’t doing that and they instead use your radio station in smaller doses. I can’t stress enough how important it is to resist the “we already covered that” mentality because the reality is that the majority of your audience doesn’t know you did it.man late looking to his watch

As years have passed by and we’ve seen the ratings system shift from a diary world to the game of PPM, we’ve learned that people listen more frequently to radio but they spend less time per occasion. We broadcast in a “what have you done for me lately” world and if your content isn’t crisp and on the right subject matter when the listener puts the dial on, good luck getting them to come back.

When I hear a producer or a host tell me “we’ll bury this smaller story in the back part of the hour, it’s only 5 minutes” it makes me crazy. First of all, is it really that important for the audience? Secondly, if it’s worth 5 minutes of talk time, then shouldn’t it be good enough to be placed anywhere in the show? Third, what are you telling the listener who’s only opportunity to listen is now and you’re displaying your C-D list material?

bullriderI once had a situation in St. Louis when a producer booked a bull rider for a show. I was driving and knew it had little value to the audience so I called up and asked “why did we book this?“. The producer said “bull riding is coming this weekend to the Scott Trade Center and they’re going to have twenty thousand people at the show so I figured it would be good to get in on it now while it’s hot“.

It would have been one thing if our personality was involved in the event riding the bull and we were going to include the audience in the bit, but that unfortunately wasn’t the way we approached it.

As a result my response was less than calm and went something like this “If we’re going to do this type of radio and base our content on what sells tickets at the Scott Trade Center, then I want the director for The Wiggles on Ice on Monday’s show since they’re coming to town and the tickets are selling out fast…..then on Tuesday I want the director for the Sponge Bob Square Pants show since that’s selling fast too, and then on Wednesday, we should find out if we can get a clown from the circus on the air because they’re in town for 3 days and all 3 shows are expected to be sold out”.

The point of that tirade wasn’t to show who was boss or to beat someone down for a mistake, instead it was to remind my host and producer that we can’t give away quarter hours of air time. Listeners don’t have to listen to us, they choose to listen to us. That stops though if we give them less than stellar content.carradio

This example is 7-8 years old and the competition for people’s time has only increased since then. Today we’re fighting tooth and nail as an industry to keep audience’s listening to what we do while every other outlet pops up with a new offering and less clutter so the response to competition can’t be to provide a less than outstanding listening experience on material that has little to no value.

While the content selection is subjective to PD, Host and Producer, we’ve seen enough data come in to get a better understanding of what works in our markets. The PPM system is far from perfect (I’ll save that for a future column) but it does allow PD’s to see what content is consumed best. All one has to do is track a show and look at the quarter hour performances for that material and you can see if it moves the needle or not. That’s one thing I like a lot about this system.encoclock

That said, the one thing that blows me away is how so many people in our industry still don’t understand the ratings system and what they have to do to receive ratings credit. This system has been in place for roughly eight years and if we’re in the business of generating ratings and revenue then I don’t understand how someone who’s livelihood is attached to the results of the game doesn’t know how it works.

Fair or unfair, this is our report card, and not delivering results can lead to unemployment. If my future was at risk or heck, if I was having great success, I’d certainly want to know what was going on. Since the details are fuzzy to many, let me lay out for you what the rules are:

  • #1 – Ratings measurement is captured each hour in 4 quarter-hours – :00-:15, :15-:30, :30-:45, :45-60
  • #2 – You must receive 5 minutes of listening inside one of those quarter hours in order to obtain ratings credit
  • #3 – The 5 minutes of listening does not have to be consecutive (EX: they can listen to you for 3 minutes, leave for 10 minutes and then come back for 2 and you still get credit)
  • #4 – If the listener listens for 4 minutes during the quarter hour, you receive zero credit – if they listen for 5 or more minutes, you get credit for the full quarter hour
  • #5 – If a listener listens to you from :12-:15 and :15-:17 which is a total of 5 minutes, you get ZERO credit for both quarter hours – remember you must get 5 minutes in the quarter hours listed above

If you work in the industry and you look at the way your station’s clocks lay out, you should see segments that play inside these windows and give you the most amount of talk time possible to allow you to gain credit. Keep in mind, some quarter hours in your market may have less audience or less listening time than others and we do still have to air commercials and take care of the bottom line so there’s always a strategic game being played in the background. Regardless, you always need to deliver 5 minutes of listening inside of those quarter hour windows.

stopSo if people listen for short periods of time and we know that the challenge to obtain credit comes down to capturing 5 minutes of listening in a quarter hour, then you should think about how that approach is implemented in your show.

Most hosts and producers go into a planning session feeling like they have to create 10-12 topics and have something brand new all the time to keep themselves and the audience entertained and that’s not true. The only people in the market who know the show plan each day are the producer and host and sometimes the PD and Board Operator.

Your audience comes to you looking to hear your opinion on the content items that appeal most in your market. They want to be updated on what took place today and they want to know what you think of the information. They don’t care about history lessons, they don’t care about what you did during the first hour of the show and they don’t care about what you’re going to do next hour – they care about what you’re doing right now and whether or not it’s important to them!

lbj623Let’s take a look for example at one of the most popular stories in our format over the past 2 weeks – LeBron James’ decision to leave the Miami Heat and return home to Cleveland. If I stopped by your radio station on Monday after the news came out, I’d expect to know what you thought about the story. If you weren’t serving me your opinion on this story, good luck getting me to stick around for 5 minutes.

You can tell me you’re in a non-NBA market, you can tell me you talked about it earlier and you can tell me the story doesn’t interest you and I’d tell you the majority of your audience cares about larger than life personalities, greatness, drama, conflict, egos and compelling stories and if you can’t make something work with those opportunities in front of you than maybe you should take the day off.

In order to play the “Sitcoms Not Movies” game and keep yourself and an audience engaged on a day like this, let’s look at some creative ways to make the angles work for 4 straight hours.

  • LeBron’s letter in SI – how do you feel about the way he broke the news? How does it compare to the approach of “The Decision”? What does it say about everyone reporting on the NBA that they got beat out by SI? What in the letter did you like most and least? How would you feel if you were in Dan Gilbert or Pat Riley’s shoes reading this? How much did Nike know since they had billboards ready right after the news came out?
  • LeBron’s departure – What does it mean for Miami’s future? Has Pat Riley lost his magic touch? If you’re Dwayne Wade do you feel betrayed? How does this impact Chris Bosh’s future? How does this impact Miami’s standing in the Eastern Conference?
  • LeBron’s return home to Cleveland – what does it mean for the Cavs future? If you’re a Cavs fan do you now feel bad for how you responded to him leaving? With LeBron not mentioning Andrew Wiggins in the letter does this mean he’s on his way out? Did Kyrie Irving know this was coming? What other pieces do the Cavs need in order to win a title? How does this impact Cleveland’s position in the East?
  • LeBron’s Legacy – does the Miami stint help or hurt his overall legacy? What if he never wins in Cleveland? How is the Miami 4-year run viewed historically (2 titles/4 NBA Finals visits or didn’t deliver what they said they would)

patrileyIf you had been on the air on this Monday, I’ve just laid out an angle for each hour that you should have no problem spending 10-15 minutes speaking passionately about. This isn’t taking into account the addition of audience participation, guests who can add additional insight, opinion and new information to the story and using audio to further enhance the presentation. Case in point, that Pat Riley soundbyte where he challenged LeBron to stay should absolutely be on your cut sheet.

If I am driving into work in my car on this day and I put on my favorite station, I expect the morning show will tell me what they think about this story. Remember that my drive is going to be somewhere between 30-60 minutes and during the next hour you’re going to have an entirely different audience and they are going to seek out your thoughts on the day’s biggest stories with the same enthusiasm that I just did.

Your job as a personality is to keep the A+ topic fresh, relevant and entertaining because the audience is going to seek it out each hour and if you don’t have it, the audience will go elsewhere to get it.

starbucks_coffee_Look at what a company like Starbucks does. They make sure the inside of their location is always clean. The people who work there are usually very friendly, courteous and focused on taking care of your needs despite having to endure long lines. And while they have plenty of pastries and breakfast options you can choose from, they nearly start every conversation by asking you “what kind of coffee can we get for you this morning“. They know what they do best and why you came to them and they make sure every day to be great at it.  The same thing applies to sports talk radio and quarter hour presentations and connecting with listeners.

Whether you like it or not, your audience has two powerful weapons to work with – time and choice. They don’t have to use us, they choose to use us. If we fail to appreciate that commitment by providing them with content that matters to ourselves and no one else, they’ll spend their time with another media source.

In every market there is a team and player that has mass appeal to the audience plus sports news happens every day and we can see which items register better than others so it’s our job to feature those hot button subjects and deliver them with regularity. It may be tiresome to those of us on the inside of the building but to those on the outside, every segment is new, fresh and full of promise.

rhcpIf you want to put yourself in position to win, remember that we’re in the business of selling out arenas and stadiums. The people in attendance expect to see a headline act deliver the material they’re familiar with. If we give the audience the hit songs they seek, they’ll be fans of ours for life. If we fail to do so, eventually we could be sitting with them!

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.

But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?

As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.

Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.

Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.

I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.

What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.

As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.

Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.

But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.

Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.

There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.

I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.

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