One topic that has been interesting to watch unfold over the past year has been the shift of local radio operators to take back their timeslots from national sports radio networks and replace network programming with local personalities and content. For years it was a given that to become a network affiliate, you were required to carry at least one national prime time show on your radio station.
However, in the past year alone, five top-25 markets have dropped an ESPN Radio network program to make room for a local show. Of all the national shows offered by ESPN, Mike and Mike have been hit the hardest. Four of the five changes were made during their morning drive timeslot.
In Philadelphia, 97.5 The Fanatic replaced Mike and Mike with Anthony Gargano. In Washington DC ESPN 980 introduced “The Man Cave” with Jason Paul and Chris Reid, also dropping Mike and Mike. In Seattle, 710 ESPN announced plans to reduce Mike and Mike by two hours to carry Brock and Salk and in St. Louis, the same formula is being followed with the return of Bernie Miklasz.
With Colin Cowherd departing ESPN, it’s only a matter of time until more national programming gets replaced in local markets by local operators and the first change has already taken place in Phoenix where Arizona Sports 98.7FM has named former NFL star Bertrand Berry as their permanent replacement for Cowherd’s timeslot.
Since then, The Ticket in Miami has begun airing a local program with Josh Friedman and Chris Wittyngham while ESPN offers fill-ins during the month of August. Depending on what ESPN Radio does with Colin’s slot, that shift to a local show at 10am could become permanent. Although, if Dan LeBatard gets the nod to take over for Colin on the national level, it’s unlikely The Ticket will pre-empt him.
To dig even deeper, when you look at the major markets where national shows are being cleared, many air on AM stations which are no longer a high priority for their respective companies. In many cases, the ratings on these brands are very low and the focus appears to be to simply “clear network programming and fill air-time” rather than take advantage of it.
As an example, in Boston, ESPN Radio airs on WEEI’s old AM signal 850AM. In Atlanta, ESPN is now airing on Cumulus’ 1230AM and in San Diego they clear on 1700AM. In all three cases, the stations are not destinations for local listening.
And it’s not jut ESPN Radio facing this challenge. It’s happening to Fox Sports Radio and the CBS Sports Radio Network too.
Of those three groups, CBS was thought to have the biggest opportunity to challenge ESPN when they announced they’d be entering the network space. With the company’s ability to use the power of their highly successful local brands, many expected a stronger network battle but so far that hasn’t happened.
Of CBS Sports Radio Network’s shows, only Jim Rome’s program has received decent support in local markets. CBS’ top content earning local market distribution has been the CBS Sports Minute, which I understand Mike Francesa is a big fan of (sorry I couldn’t resist).
While Rome is clearing Los Angeles on The Beast 980, San Diego on The Mighty 1090 and Sacramento on KHTK 1140, the majority of the markets he clears are smaller. As for the network’s other shows, while they offer some solid talent, they remain challenged to receive local market clearance and support. Even in bigger markets where they do clear, they’re usually on brands with little attention and listening. Case in point, 610AM in Philadelphia, 1050AM in San Francisco and 1270AM in Detroit.
For Fox Sports Radio, the Dan Patrick Show remains a destination and although the network has done a great job adding strong talent such as Rich Eisen and Jay Mohr, the challenge also remains large when it comes to penetrating local radio markets during prime time hours. Unlike ESPN though, they don’t charge rights fees or persist on network shows being part of a local station’s lineup in exchange for a local market affiliate relationship which is smart.
Will an addition of Colin Cowherd change that? Perhaps. But for now, aside from clearing their own backyard in Los Angeles, most of the markets airing Fox national shows during prime time are outside of the Top 25. Although they do have some solid situations in Phoenix, Seattle, San Diego, Houston and Portland.
While all of these changes are significant and very different than what was the norm five to ten years ago, it doesn’t appear to be going away.
Assuming local operators continue to invest more in local personalities and content, that means that the audience reach and market clearance for network shows will decline, which you can bet advertisers will look to try and take advantage of.
So does this mean that national networks are in deep trouble?
While the 1990’s and 2000’s may have represented great growth for the sports radio format and created a dominant place at the table for networks on local radio station’s, the 2010’s have seen sports audio become an even bigger juggernaut, and the focus has become reach and distribution rather than local market clearance.
For instance, ESPN Radio is streamed on ESPNRadio.com and the ESPN Radio app. It’s also be heard on Slacker, Tune-In, SiriusXM, Google Play, iTunes and numerous radio stations across America, not to mention it can be watched on ESPN-2, ESPN-U and ESPN News.
It’s a big reason why the company shifted their focus from positioning themselves as ESPN Radio to ESPN Audio, and given the reach and power of the brand, it was a smart strategy.
In an interview in March, ESPN Audio boss Traug Keller told Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch that ESPN Radio had twenty million people per week listening to their content. The product was being received on more than five hundred radio affiliates, three of which were owned and operated radio stations, and as a whole the ESPN Radio brand was serving over sixty percent of the population who listen to sports radio.
Those numbers are staggering and very impressive.
Now logic would tell us that with Colin Cowherd and Scott Van Pelt gone from the network, those numbers will likely drop, but that doesn’t mean the numbers won’t rebound once permanent replacements of those timeslots are announced.
Switch sides to Fox Sports and you can find their programming also available on local stations and their website but they also add the power of being heard on the iHeart Radio app, watched on Fox Sports 1, DirecTV and YouTube and consumed on SiriusXM, iTunes, Tune-In and the Podcast One network.
For CBS the story is very similar. They provide their audio content on their website, local radio stations, the Radio.com app, the Play It podcast network, Tune-In and the CBS Sports Television Network.
So if these national brands have instant credibility with sports fans and talented and recognized personalities delivering quality topical content, than why are local operators dropping them in favor of local programming?
But with adding a local program comes added expense and as radio operators across the board trim budgets in an effort to stay profitable, how can added expenses make sense to the bottom line?
“Yes there are risks involved by adding salary, but personality endorsements and appearances are in high demand and ratings are critical for radio stations to attract larger advertising dollars.” said a local market general manager. “While the quality of network programming is excellent and the personalities are good, we believe that local shows hosted by locally known personalities are worth the investment because they will provide more solutions for our clients and listeners which ultimately will help us be more profitable“.
While I don’t disagree with the viewpoints of the local operators I talked to, I do think one thing is definitely different and important to remember as we gauge the success of sports audio operators going forward – it’s not just about ratings anymore!
If you’re on a local level, your brand strategy is going to be built around delivering high local ratings and you’re going to want personalities in the local community who can advance the message of your station’s advertisers and connect with people at local appearances. From that standpoint, national programming doesn’t offer much appeal.
However, if you work on the network side of this business, your model for success isn’t measured by local market ratings. It’s based on total audience reach, platform distribution, advertising revenue and content creation.
Do we really think a network like ESPN Radio or Fox Sports Radio isn’t successful just because they didn’t win a ratings battle in New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago? If they’re on television and every audio platform possible and reaching twenty million people per week, I’d say they’re delivering huge value for advertisers and clearly people do enjoy their content or they wouldn’t be accessing it thru multiple audio channels.
Yes it becomes harder to monetize due to the fact that the consumption of content is splintered between so many different audio avenues, and listening now has the on-demand element to deal with, but that’s the job of management and sales executives, to create their story and share it with advertisers and the people inside their own offices.
If you’re an advertiser looking to get bang for your buck, you can’t deny that a show like “The Dan Patrick Show” or “Mike and Mike” doesn’t have huge reach and ability to move product. Between television, radio syndication, podcasting, their websites and social media promotion, people are consuming the content, which means they are also receiving the message.
Unfortunately, since we operate in a silo and use antiquated technology to gauge audience measurement, and we fail to include the total usage of users on all of these other platforms, many local and national brands are not receiving the credit they’re due for delivering record numbers of audience.
As someone who’s programmed on the local level, I believe in delivering as much local content as possible. If my quarterly bonus and station’s ability to generate revenue are tied to our ability to superserve advertisers and local fans, then I want people on my airwaves who walk into the same building as I do, understand the station’s goals and possess the ability to get the job done.
While I enjoy the listening experience of some national shows, their personalities don’t live and die with the success or failure of my brand. Most don’t invest the time in interacting with their local affiliates either through calling in or making in-market appearances, and if they’re not going to share the same pain and joy in my company’s performance, then I can’t put my ass on the line for them when my future depends on it.
However, just because I have that point of view as it applies to running a local brand, doesn’t mean that national programming isn’t important, necessary and a huge success for the sports radio format. I often hear people in the industry discredit network shows because of the ratings factor, but there’s no question that we all know these brands, shows, personalities and the content they create. That has to count for something right?
What I believe it comes down to is this – success in the sports radio format isn’t a one size fits all formula anymore. It’s sort of like when a station celebrates delivering powerful Men 25-54 numbers but yet gets crushed on social media and in the industry trades because their 6+ numbers were low. If you can’t see the full story and you’re lacking information, it becomes harder to analyze and understand.
Every company has a different measurement for success. For some it’s about total audience, for others it’s about reach and distribution, other locations will have a stronger emphasis on digital, social and mobile activity and engagement, and for numerous traditional operators, it’s about local ratings.
While perception is often reality in this format, what gets lost is the understanding that we all operate in different spaces with very different goals and our ability to define success has become complicated due to the numerous avenues of distribution, the different ways to listen to audio and the inability of our industry to measure it as a whole.
Having been on both sides of the fence (national and local), I see tremendous value to both approaches and business strategies and consumers are going to sample both, in multiple locations, and on the terms of when they feel like accessing it. It’s not a choice of one or the other, it’s a matter of being accessible and worthwhile when the user feels like sampling your material.
While we can all debate the benefits and disadvantages of local vs. national, I think we can all agree that we need to do a better job of defining success for our brands internally and sharing that success story externally. Who knows, by doing that we just might create a better perception of our format on the local and national level.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
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.