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Telemundo’s Multi-Platform Strategy Should Be Duplicated!

Jason Barrett

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It’s often difficult to step back, analyze, and think about the big picture when you operate a brand. So much of what we do revolves around day to day business. But with 2016 looming, there’s no better time than now to review your brand’s strengths and weaknesses and think about what you need to do to stay ahead of the curve with the audience.

Many times I’ve stated that I believe the sports format’s ability to attract larger revenues and showcase its overall impact and success will come from presenting an impressive total reach story. Listeners want content available on demand across multiple platforms and advertisers want to know their messaging is reaching the largest potential audience with the goal being to show an increase in profits. A monthly radio ratings report is nice but when the companies paying for the service don’t believe in its accuracy, how can you expect a paying client to do so?

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While it can be daunting and feel impossible to pull off due to the workload involved, a brand has to deliver great content consistently across multiple platforms to matter. 30 years ago success started with a powerful signal and being the first in a market to experiment with sports talk.

Today, you better have a good radio signal, on-air talent who appeal to the audience, content that is timely, topical, and better than the competition’s, social media accounts that are active and engaging with listeners, and a great website with exclusive audio, video and written content.

As established and respected as some brands are, they can all be beaten. Audiences today care about the content experience more than they care about which brand provided it. Loyalty isn’t given based on reputation but rather from demonstrating a consistent ability to provide the user with something of value. For each person who tells me a brand is unbeatable, I remind them of the previous importance placed on newspapers, landline telephones and CD’s and cassettes.

Today’s audience consumes content in numerous ways. The same individual who spends 30-60 minutes per day with your station while sitting in their car, is the same person who is at home engaging with your brand on social media and downloading podcasts on your website. In the old days of ratings, this person was unavailable once they left their automobile. Now, they are always accessible.

The question is, are you creating enough buzz for your brand beyond what people hear over the airwaves? Are you equipped with a strong multi-platform strategy? Is it understood, embraced and carried out by your staff?

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I came across a piece on Digiday about the television network Telemundo. During the past year, the channel has experienced incredible growth.

First, they tripled their audience on YouTube. The channel crossed the 1 million subscriber mark during the Thanksgiving holiday and have added more than 613,000 subscribers this year between January 1 and October 31.

During that same period, the channel also generated 460 million views (up 262 percent from the previous year) and more than 3.1 billion minutes in watch time (up 278 percent).

Ask yourself this, does your sports radio station have a video strategy for YouTube or Facebook? I’ve seen some brands like WEEI, KNBR, 790 The Ticket and 101 ESPN do a good job with video but they are the exception not the rule. Some stations don’t even have a video channel created. In today’s technology savvy world, how is that possible?

And let me be clear, I’m not referring to the occasional situation when a producer pulls out their phone to record a guest in-studio or when you create a custom feature for a client that is built exclusively for the video channel. Those are parts of a strategy. Unless there’s a consistent plan with an understanding of why it matters and how it can lead to more non-traditional revenue and brand growth, then you’ve got little chance to be effective.

Consider this, 1.3 billion people use YouTube to watch nearly 5 billion videos per day. The average time spent per user on the website is forty minutes. That amount of time per day is equal to many radio show’s daily time spent listening. And that’s only YouTube – with Facebook now involved in the video arena that number jumps even higher.

Three years ago, Telemundo’s digital and social teams operated independent of each other (doesn’t that sound familiar radio folks?). It was then that the network decided to merge both teams under its Telemundo Studios division. The task was to figure out how each show should be presented and promoted on each platform.

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Peter Blacker, EVP of Digital Media and Emerging Businesses at NBC Universal Telemundo Enterprises said “Every single one of my programming people has to be thinking about all of these platforms. We need to be where our audience is. A fan of one of these shows is going to spend a certain amount of time on YouTube, Facebook and other social platforms, and the fact is that they want different things in each of those areas. The good thing is we make so many hours of content that we have this enormous engine to feed it.”

That strategy has led the company to growth beyond YouTube too. From January 1st to October 31st, all channels combined to add 1.1 million subscribers, 761 million views and 4.58 billion minutes of watch time.

On Facebook, Telemundo’s main account has over 7 million fans (57 million fans across all shows) and the network is also experimenting with video. They have partnered with Facebook to generate interest for upcoming programming. The network will either release preview clips or sometimes even full episodes of a show.

Telemundo also has 6 million Twitter followers, 3 million on Instagram and 67,000 on Vine. All of those platforms are also in play for video and other forms of social content.

I have seen more sports radio stations doing a better job at committing to being active and topical on social platforms but there is still work to be done. Today for example, I witnessed three major market stations not even post one item on Facebook before 10am. Considering that the audience wakes up every day and checks their Facebook account, it’s a missed opportunity to present content for people to engage with and remind them of why to tune in to the radio station or visit the website.

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Many stations gravitate to Twitter, and while I love the platform myself and value the way content can be shared on it, Facebook still dominates the total audience picture. King Zuckerberg’s company delivers 5x the audience that Twitter does. If you look at the amount of re-tweets or comments that a sports station gets on Twitter, it fails in comparison to the activity seen on Facebook.

I’m not suggesting that stations focus less on Twitter. I’m simply stating that Facebook needs to be a much bigger priority consistently. Often we become tired of things and search for the next cool trend and while Facebook has lost some of its luster, it still occupies 1 out of every 5 minutes that an individual spends with their phone. That’s an area where you want your brand to be present so you can re-direct the audience to your programming.

What we share on social outlets is also important. Your content should be topical and promoted regularly. Anytime you can use a tease to create suspense, that’s recommended.

For example, you could type a headline that says “Kobe Bryant has announced he’s retiring” and you’ll probably get a click on it. But if the link said “Kobe Bryant’s retiring but not before addressing one key issue” it’s more likely to pull someone in.

As stations have internal dialogue about ways to grow in the future, digital and social expansion should be front and center in every market discussion. The audience is ahead of where many of our brands are and in some cases, our staffs. You can pretend things will slow down and we’ll catch up, but as we’ve seen too many times, by the time we fix this issue, there will be a newer challenge ahead of us that we’re also not prepared for.

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Forward thinkers are assets and this format has many of them but it needs many more. Having the ability now to step back and examine things from the outside looking in, we miss too many opportunities to highlight our content and people. You can’t just promote things 1x per week or 1x per month, you have to do it daily. You also need to identify what great content looks and sounds like and focus on the different ways to get it in front of the audience.

In some markets, stations will spend a few hundred thousand dollars on creating a TV commercial and pushing it across local television stations for 13 weeks rather than hire a dedicated video producer year round to create daily content and expand the station’s entire digital and social footprint. That in my opinion makes little business sense. It’s the old way of doing business – run the TV commercial to boost awareness and hope that it leads to recall so the radio station gets a few tune ins to drive an increase in ratings.

Except there’s one big issue with that approach – the audience consumes your programming differently and advertisers have adjusted the way they invest their money. They also happen to spend more online than on radio and that’s expected to increase even more by 2019.

What all of this amounts to is this; a lot more work, a lot more creativity, a lot more strategic planning, a bigger challenge for programming staffs, a bigger commitment from companies in the digital/social space, a deeper connection with the audience across multiple channels, and a lot more revenue!

Although it may be taxing at times and require more of an investment than some may want to make, it’s too important to not be where the audience and business community is. As Telemundo has demonstrated, when you bring a group together and share a unified vision and commitment, the growth follows. And that’s the secret sauce that makes the meal taste a whole lot better!

Crunching The Numbers:

  • 610 Sports in Kansas City smashed its November ratings book. The station finished #1 overall with ALL listeners 6+ (think the Royals World Series games might have helped?). The station delivered a 10.6 for the month which was nearly 5 points higher than its October book and a full 3 points ahead of the market’s second highest rated brand 101 The Fox. Congrats to John Hanson and his team on an amazing month.
  • 980 The Beast in Los Angeles recorded its best month in station history. Morning Drive jumped from 0.7 in October to 1.5 in November. Middays climbed from a 0.3 in October to a 0.6 in November and Afternoons grew from 0.7 in October to 1.0 in November. With the station making lineup changes recently, the early returns are positive.

Under The Radar:

  • Congrats is in order for Adam Kuperstein who has returned to the Miami airwaves. The former WQAM midday host is now hosting Part-Time for 790 The Ticket.
  • An additional congratulations goes out to Eric Love Stain” Reiser who’s joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland as a Producer.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett

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When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on BarrettNewsMedia.com and sports gets less crowded on BarrettSportsMedia.com. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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