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Why Knowing and Embracing Your Role Matters!

Jason Barrett

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That quote above from Shane Battier paints a great picture of what is required for teams to come together and accomplish their goals. Everyone plays a critical role in the direction of the team and without full support from everyone involved, success becomes much harder to achieve.

Another one of my favorite quotes comes from The Rock who was working for the WWE back in the 1990’s-2000’s. He became notorious for delivering the line “Know Your Role and Shut Your Damn Mouth” and when uttered on a live microphone, audiences would eat it up. While the phrase was primarily created to fire up rowdy wrestling fans, the first 3 words of his catch phrase are extremely important to what we do each day that we’re on the air.

homeworkTo start out this piece I’d like you to do an exercise tonight. Trust me, it’s painless and chances are it’s something you likely already do. Tonight when you arrive at home, I want you to turn on your television and watch a sitcom. If sitcoms aren’t your cup of tea, put on a movie. By the time the program is done, I want you to reflect back on the program and see if you can identify the main storyline, the key characters in the show, the roles the key characters play and the way those characters connected with you.

I believe the TV and film industries do a fabulous job with role definition on various shows and featured films. The sports radio industry however has some catching up to do. When you look on the screen, characters are built up prior to being introduced and then they are explained and reinforced with key branding messages. They rarely stray from what you expect them to be and that makes it easy for audiences to identify with them while getting sucked into storylines with regularity.

aiThink for a second of some key television shows and how they’ve connected. If you watched American Idol in it’s heyday, you turned on the channel to either love or loathe Simon Cowell. If you watched The Sopranos you either wanted to see Tony Soprano get away with murder or get a taste of his own medicine. In both cases, they had characters around them who offered something entirely different and that kept the show fresh, interesting and unique.

If you look at it in simpler terms, one medium scripts it’s work, perfects its performance, defines it’s people and delivers content that an audience adjusts their routines to consume, enjoy and connect with each week. The other operates off the cuff and puts the power of a content presentation usually in the hands of 1-2 people with very limited support around them. It’s the equivalent of throwing a good swimmer in the middle of the ocean without a life preserver and asking them to find a way to shore when there’s no sign of land.

tightropeThat being said, those who earn the responsibility of working without a net are often stubborn and not always accurate when it comes to making decisions that are in the best interest of the audience. In many cases they don’t understand their role on a show or the way they’re perceived thru the eyes and ears of the audience. Even worse, sometimes they don’t want to play to the audiences expectations even if they do understand them.

I recall meeting with a show during my time in St. Louis and when I asked one of the two hosts to define how he felt the audience saw him, he said he felt they’d say he was passionate and entertaining. This was a guy who was your typical sports television anchor, very smart, informed, well prepared and usually reserved. By most people’s standards he was a great guy. However, passionate and entertaining he was not.

namethatshowHis partner on the other hand was a polarizing figure who the market either loved or hated and he too responded by telling me he was seen as a smart, likable, funny and well rounded personality. He wanted to be liked because at his core he was a great human being but his stances on subjects were very divisive and therein lied the struggle for this individual.

When I told both of them they had no understanding of the way the audience saw them they seemed perplexed. I then went thru some examples of how they could strike a chord with people and why the imaging we had in place was written the way it was done to promote them. When they left the room, they had a better idea of why I felt they were struggling and suggestions on how to fix it but they kept trying to identify with a role that they had built up in their minds yet wasn’t seen the same way by the audience. The end result was an under performing show that eventually had to be replaced.

lostI can’t even tell you how many times this occurs. Personalities sometimes want so badly to be something they’re not that they’ll try to overcompensate by doing things out of character and even worse, they’ll try to reject the way they’re positioned on the air in promos, liners and in station marketing pieces. The problem with that is that it’s not just about the PD’s vision or the personality’s opinion on who they think they are, it’s about connecting with a listening audience and playing the role of a character that they identify with. Let me give a few examples of role definition and why I believe it’s important for shows.

In San Francisco my afternoon drive time host Damon Bruce has a lot of strong opinions, he delivers his views with a ton of passion and he’s been known to ruffle a few feathers from time to time. You could say he’s not everybody’s cup of tea but whether he’s loved or hated, people know where to find him and usually have an opinion about something he said.

damonbruceNow we could pretend that Damon isn’t edgy or hasn’t made a few folks uncomfortable along the way with his takes but that would be silly because the audience is smarter than that. Instead we positioned the show with some aggressive style promos prior to launching it, we reinforce his strong takes in the promos that we run and we use a godzilla-like stinger heading into breaks which gives the show some extra edge and personality.

The bottom line is we embrace what he brings to the airwaves and reinforce that position. Whether it’s everyone’s taste or not is irrelevant because the fact of the matter is it’s an accurate reflection of Damon’s on-air personality and when you put on his show he’s going to provide a compelling listen and not be afraid to take certain positions that others might not. That in itself makes branding the show pretty easy and the way it’s imaged and branded is in line with the expectations of the listener.

More times than not, brand building with a solo host is pretty simple. All you need to do is take a look at some of the characteristics that they possess and get a sense of what the audience expects from them and then play to those strengths. I often like to use music bumping in from breaks that fits the individual and their style to reinforce the mood and I think that writing liners that reinforce the personality’s key traits inside of the show is another smart tactic.

On the other hand if you look at how a 3-person show is built, it’s a whole different animal. It’s similar to creating a big three in the NBA.

clevbig3For example, LeBron James in Cleveland will likely be expected to take the last shot, play smothering defense, be the vocal leader and attack the rim every chance he gets. Kyrie Irving will be asked to run each play, put his teammates in position to get good looks at the basket and serve as a complimentary scorer when LeBron needs help. And once the Kevin Love trade is finalized, Kevin will be asked to rebound the basketball, crowd the paint and light it up from outside when he’s able to break free. Each player is crucial to the team’s success but each of them takes on a different role to best help the team win.

I have a theory that I’ve developed when it comes to 3-person shows. In most cases it’s worked out alright even though sometimes the individuals playing the roles inside the show may not always embrace it. Coming up early in my career in NY I worked on a few different morning shows with a variety of characters and I remember being told that when it came to group shows, you want to strive to combine people from different backgrounds and in a perfect world, if you can pinpoint the “deer, dick and dork” on a show then you’re in great shape. That line always stuck with me and made a lot of sense.

If those buzz words seem harsh, feel free to substitute the terms “the hero”, “the villain” and “the neutral one” (often this is the journalist, the stat person, the PXP broadcaster, etc.). Just because you have three guys though who fit these terms doesn’t mean the show is going to work. They still need to have chemistry, be entertaining and discuss the right subjects but assuming those things are in place, when you have three people fitting descriptions that make them easy to identify, that’s a huge win. Remember, it’s about connecting with an audience and people are more likely to recall individuals on the air who they can easily identify.

thefastlaneAs an example, when I was in St. Louis I had an awesome afternoon show at 101 ESPN titled “The Fast Lane“. The show as consistently top 3 and even went to #1 and while each guy was extremely talented, the reason it was so successful was because each guy naturally fit the role he was playing and he didn’t try to run from the perception of how he was seen.

In Randy Karraker’s case he came across most times as the “dork” simply because he was so damn informative and the guy you most likely learned the most from listening to the show. He was also the radio captain of the show handling all the formatics. Bob Ramsey meanwhile played the “dick” role because he wasn’t worried about popular opinion and sometimes would get a case of the red ass and not think twice to light someone up. The third member was D’Marco Farr and he came across as the “dear” due to being a big lovable teddy bear on-air and a member of the Rams Super Bowl 34 championship team.

This doesn’t mean that Bob was a jerk and couldn’t be positive or that Randy wasn’t lovable or a hard ass too but rather than trying to complicate things, each of those guys embraced their roles on the show, played them to perfection and as a result, audiences related to and connected with them and made them a household brand in the market. Because they were all naturally different and because they worked at developing their chemistry and embracing their differences, they had a lot of success.

roleThe purpose of this piece today is to get you to think about your show, your brand and how you position it to the marketplace. Are you using the right buzz words to identify yourself? Are you trying to play the role of someone you’re not? Do you have a show you’re involved in that has too many of the same type of styles and not enough variety to stand out? Those are the things that you’ve got to examine if you want people to form deeper relationships and stronger opinions on your presentation.

I’ll say this, one show that gets this probably better than anyone is Mike and Mike. Some guys will quickly say they love the show and tell you every reason they do and when they do that, they’re almost always restating the key words that have been built around the Mike and Mike brand.

Those who don’t like the show will almost always call it corny or proceed to complain about one of Golic or Greeny’s traits that are highlighted in the marketing approach of the show. That is the beauty of role definition and character development. If you can pinpoint who does what in each show, what the individual is about and why you love/hate the personality or show then you likely have a winner on your hands and few will disagree that Mike and Mike have been a winner for a long time. Here’s an older TV commercial of theirs that captures their differences and highlight who they are as personalities.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b146pasyO0E

One thing I like to do prior to the launch of a show is assemble the people involved in the show in a room and write some words on a board that the group feels reflect the individual positively and negatively in the minds of the audience. Often times talent will see them, write things down, counter them, inquire more on why the audience sees them a certain way and by the time they’re done in the room, they have a stronger idea of who they are to the audience and what they’ll need to do to reinforce their character and add to it in order to form a stronger connection.

photo 1This doesn’t work with everyone but if you can get your crew in a room and they’re open minded and willing to self-analyze and allow some outside feedback to better help position the show, it can be very helpful.

Remember, who we are as people and who we are on the air can be very different sometimes but once that light goes on and the microphone is hot, all that matters is finding a way to connect the audience to your on-air persona. When you’re able to do that, it can be very powerful and put you on a path to superstardom. I’m sure you’d agree that creating the radio equivalent of Seinfeld, American Idol or The Sopranos wouldn’t be bad for your career. So what’s stopping you?

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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Barrett Blogs

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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