Connect with us
BSM Summit

Barrett Blogs

Creating Job Security Through Advertising & Expansion

Jason Barrett



One of the most common mistakes that air talent make is assuming that they’re solely responsible for creating and delivering content and generating ratings. I’ve heard one say “I get paid to talk about sports and bring listeners to the station, sales is for the guys down the hall“.

While that may be true to an extent, the number one reason a host is on the air and a show exists in the first place, is because the radio station believes it can generate revenue from it. A good talk show host delivers an audience, those people spend time listening, and in doing so, they become attractive to advertisers who wish to inform them about their products.

In essence, the talk show host is the bait used to lure the fish. When the talent delivers the message well, the fish bite the hook and are taken home for dinner. When the talent executes poorly or displays little interest in the product they’re speaking for, the fish stay away and nobody gets fed.

There is a big difference between emotionally connecting to a product and selling it to your audience with passion and conviction, and sleepwalking through an endorsement. As a host, you should understand that your word does matter, so believing in the products you pitch is important. But never lose sight of the fact that you’re in that studio every day collecting a check because you represent the company and are a key piece being utilized to generate revenue.

You may personally care about topics, guests, callers, and other programming items, but executing endorsements, delivering a good read for an upcoming promotion or website initiative, and demonstrating daily that you’re a great place for other advertisers to place their future business is as important as any job you do.

The job extends beyond your air shift too. Networking and bonding with clients is an important responsibility and if you don’t understand that, then you’re missing the big picture and likely leaving a lot of money on the table. The less helpful you are to sales and the little connection you have to top advertisers, the more likely you are to be replaced. I don’t care what market you look at, no top personality is getting paid top dollar for a long period of time if they’re not helping grow the radio station’s business.

One person who understands this as well as anyone is Bill Simonson. For the past 14 years, Bill has built an incredible brand in the state of Michigan and he’s been able to do so thanks to the support of his advertisers. He recognizes that without those paying customers, his brand value becomes less. To keep them satisfied, Bill spends time with them, familiarizes himself with their products and includes them in his show. He makes his clients feel like partners, not just businesses who spend some money on his program.

Today Bill hosts “The Huge Show” weekday afternoons from 3p-6p on the Huge Radio Network, which carries his program on 12 different stations across the state of Michigan. He physically broadcasts from flagship station 107.3FM WBBL in Grand Rapids. Additionally he hosts “The Saturday Night Huge Show” nationally on the CBS Sports Radio Network.

I knew Bill would have an excellent perspective to share on growing a statewide network and developing and maintaining relationships with key clients and I think you’ll appreciate some of the tips that he’s provided. If you’re an on-air talent and you follow his example, it very well could help you fatten your wallet. It may even help you expand your own local show.

Creating Job Security Through Advertising & Expansion

billsWhen I was in Chicago at ESPN 1000 back in 1998 I thought the key to success in radio was getting to the biggest market you could and doing great radio. I lived for the ratings book. It was a quarterly validation of what i was supposed to be in radio. If I did a good show, had great guests and busy phones, and got decent ratings, then I was set for life in radio.

That was 1998-2001. Radio was evolving and I didn’t see it coming. It went from a ratings based business to a revenue tradeable commodity on Wall Street. I didn’t pay attention to advertisers like I should have.

When my run in Chicago ended in 2001, I easily could’ve blamed Jerry Reinsdorf for having the ability to censor my comments about the Bulls and the White Sox, or the fact that ESPN thought 6 sports updates an hour were good radio. I won’t even challenge the lack of intimacy that ESPN wanted with their radio audience. They wanted many voices connected to the Huge Show and just didn’t let Lou Canelllis and myself be ourselves.

bills2Forget the radio side of what could’ve been better for me in Chicago. What I really learned was that at my next radio stop I had to connect to advertisers like they were family. I ended up back home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I knew to stay there I would need to find a way to charge big money for commercials.

My GM at the time, Matt Hanlon, had the idea of starting a statewide sports network. We began with four company owned stations and now are on 12 statewide stations in afternoon drive in Michigan for the past 14 years. My show’s revenue has been above seven figures at times.

My advice to any successful sports talk show is to get with your management and see if you can regionally syndicate your local show in an area where they talk about the same teams you talk about on a daily basis. It is a sales tool your competition can’t sell. It creates that bond with advertisers that others can’t put in the same sales pitch. Most importantly, regional syndication allows you to charge bigger money for the live endorsement ads you read. More money for the company and for yourself is a good thing.


Most sports talk show hosts don’t get the revenue side of the business. You want protection in the cut throat bottom line radio business we live in today? Help increase the revenue connected to your show. The only shows that survive on ratings are big market shows that get consistent big numbers.

By helping sales bring more revenue to the show, you in turn bring more endorsements, appearances, and remote fees to your pay stub every two weeks. That is job security my radio friends.

More sports talk show hosts need to understand this. News talk lives by the revenue creed and it’s the number one format in our business. Please don’t tell me too many ads are a turnoff for your audience. Do you watch sports on TV? Notice the advertising on your phone? Apps? Blogs?

There’s an achievable advertising balance that you can achieve with these moves:

1: Get with the top salespeople in your building. Let them know everything about you. Use those lifestyle decisions you make on purchases to become part of the organic content of your show. Live endorsement reads integrated in your daily show don’t turn off the audience as much as commercial breaks do.

2: Take part in lunches, games, golf, or grabbing a few beers as often as you can with advertisers.

3: Give your sales team weekly ideas on lifestyle things that you do or buy that you would endorse on-air.

4: Find things on your show that advertisers could sponsor and in turn be willing to endorse their product.

5: Become emotionally connected to the product. The sincerity will come across the radio airwaves.

6: Develop close relationships with the best salespeople at your station.

billsWe live in a revenue based radio world. It’s not changing anytime soon. Job protection in our business is limited to the radio elite. Even then the out of left field stories of major talent losing their gigs are usually based on the revenue game.

If your company looks at your salary and doesn’t see more revenue coming in than they’re paying you, chances are you’re in trouble. You’re probably on the cut line the next time the corporate quarterly call is below expectations.

Growing the reach of your local show via regional syndication and working with sales to increase the revenue connected to your show can give you stability in the unstable corporate radio world we live in today. If it works for me in Grand Rapids, Michigan it can work for you.

Bill Simonson hosts Afternoon drive on the Huge Radio Network in Michigan. He is also host of the Saturday Night Huge Show on CBS Sports Radio and proud to be the voice of the video game NFL Blitz 2000. He’s also featured as the play by play voice in the Kurt Russell movie “Touchback”. You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here or on Facebook by clicking here.

Barrett Blogs

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

Jason Barrett




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

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

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

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

Now, for the new additions to the lineup.

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

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

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

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

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

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

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

Jason Barrett




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

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

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

Which brings me to this year’s winner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

California College Students Earn Chance to Win 10 Free Tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit Thanks to Steve Kamer Voiceovers

“In order to win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event.”

Jason Barrett




With a new year comes renewed energy and optimism for the sports media business. Yours truly is looking forward to showcasing the best our business has to offer when we gather the industry in Los Angeles, CA at the 2023 BSM Summit at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California on March 21-22, 2023. Our conference is returning to the west coast for the first time since 2019. We’ve announced some super talented speakers. We’ve got additional things in the works and I plan to make additional announcements in the next few weeks.

People often ask me what the biggest challenge is putting this event together. My answer is always the same, it’s getting people to leave the comfort of their office and spend two days in a room together learning and discussing ways to grow the business. We have great sponsorship support and exceptional people on stage and are fortunate to have a lot of folks already set to attend. Our venue this year has extra space though, so I’m hoping a few more of you make time to join us. If you haven’t bought a ticket or reserved your hotel room, visit to make sure you’re all set.

If there’s one thing our industry could get better at it’s opening our minds to new ideas and information. There’s more than one path to success. Just because you’re in good shape today doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow. Building brands, growing audiences, increasing revenue, and examining new opportunities is an ongoing process. There are many shifts along the way. We may not solve every business challenge during our two-days together but you’ll leave the room more connected and informed than when you entered it.

Each year I’ll get two or three emails from folks sharing that they learned more about the industry in two-days at the Summit than they have in ___ years inside of their building. That’s truly gratifying and what I strive to achieve when I put this event together. I remember when conferences like this didn’t exist for format folks and I take the risk and invest the time and resources to create it because I love the sports media industry and believe I can help it thrive. I see great value in gathering professionals to share ideas, information, and meet others who can help them grow their business, and if we do our part, I’m confident some will want to work with us too. That’s how we benefit over the long haul.

But as much as I focus on serving the professional crowd, I also think we have a responsibility to educate young people who are interested, passionate, and taking steps to be a part of our business in the future. The BSM website is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and it’s become a valuable resource for folks who enjoy sports radio and television. I think it’s vital to use our platform, influence and two-day event to connect generations and I’m happy to announce that we will once again welcome college students at this year’s Summit.

Most of us who’ve been in this line of work for two or three decades learned the business without podcasts, YouTube, social media, the web or conferences delivering two full days of sessions that taught you more about the business than what’s available inside of a class room. We learned by doing, and hoping we were right. Then we copied others who had success. Some of that still exists, and that’s not a bad thing. But where our business goes in the future is going to be drastically different.

I’d like to see the difference makers in our format remembered for years to come, and practices that have stood the test of time remain valued down the line. Change is inevitable in every business and I’m excited about the road that lies ahead especially some of the technological advancements that are now available or will soon become a bigger part of our industry. I think we can embrace the future while enjoying the present and celebrating the past. The best way to do that is by bringing together everyone who is and is hoping to be a part of the sports media universe.

So here’s two things we’re doing to make sure future broadcasters have an opportunity to learn with us.

First, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Steve Kamer Voiceovers. Thanks to Steve’s generosity, TEN (10) college students will be given FREE tickets to attend the 2023 BSM Summit in March. Steve is a USC graduate (Class of 1985) and he bought the ten tickets to help young people learn about the industry, save money and make valuable connections. When I first received his order, I thought he hit the wrong button. I reached out to tell him a mistake was made and I needed to refund him. That’s when he told me what he wanted to do for students who were pursuing their broadcasting dreams just as we both did years ago. A very classy gesture on his part.

As it pertains to the contest, here’s how it’s going to work.

To win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email to explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event. Included in your email should be a list of steps that you’ve taken or are pursuing to explore opportunities in the media industry. If you want to pass along a resume and audio or video clips too to showcase your work and experience, that’s fine as well. BSM will accept submissions until February 17th. The winners will be announced on Friday February 24th.

Helping me select the winners will be an exceptional panel of media executives. Each of these folks below will choose one person to attend our L.A. event. The final two will be picked by Steve Kamer and myself.

  • Scott Shapiro – Senior Vice President, FOX Sports Radio
  • Justin Craig – Senior Program Director, ESPN Radio
  • Jeff Sottolano – Executive Vice President, Programming, Audacy
  • Bruce Gilbert – Senior Vice President of Sports, Cumulus Media & Westwood One
  • Amanda Gifford – Vice President, Content Strategy & Audio, ESPN
  • Jacob Ullman – Senior Vice President, Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports
  • Greg Strassell – Senior Vice President, Programming, Hubbard Radio
  • Scott Sutherland – Executive Vice President, Bonneville International

To qualify for the BSM Summit College Contest, students must be enrolled in college in the state of California, pursuing a degree that involves course work either in radio, television, print or the digital business. Those attending local trade schools with a focus on broadcasting are also welcome to participate. You must be able to take care of your own transportation and/or lodging.

This is a contest I enjoy running. We’ve had great participation during our prior two shows in New York City but haven’t done it before on the west coast. I’m hoping it’s helpful to California students and look forward to hearing from many of them during the next month.

For students who live out of state and wish to attend or those enrolled at local universities who enter the contest but aren’t lucky enough to win one of the ten free tickets from Steve Kamer Voiceovers, we are introducing a special two-day college ticket for just $124.99. You must provide proof that you’re currently in school to take advantage of the offer. This ticket gives you access to all of our sessions inside the Founders Club. College tickets will be limited to forty (40) seats so take advantage of the opportunity before it expires.

The 2023 BSM Summit will feature award ceremonies with Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan and legendary WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, sessions with influential on-air talent such as Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, and Mina Kimes, big picture business conversations with executives from groups such as Audacy, iHeart, Bonneville, Good Karma Brands, Barstool, The Volume, Omaha Productions and more. For details on tickets and hotel rooms visit

I look forward to seeing you in March in Los Angeles!

Continue Reading


Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2023 Barrett Media.