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Tis The Season of Opportunity

Jason Barrett



We’ve reached that time of the year where many programmers and top personalities take a break for the holidays to recharge their batteries for the new year. Some will enjoy a mental escape from the radio grind for the next two weeks, while others may only break away for a couple of days.

It’s the one ratings period (Holiday Book) that has lesser importance of the thirteen measured, unless of course you’re working for an AC station and cranking out Christmas music. In that case, this is your Super Bowl!

carradioAlthough the holiday book may be less scrutinized, sports news still breaks, games still take place, and the airwaves still need to be filled by quality talent. People may listen less, but if a local story breaks or your market’s team wins or loses an important game, your audience is still going to tune in for insight, opinion, and reaction on it. Just because most of the audience takes time off around the holidays, doesn’t mean they completely ignore the world of sports.

In many buildings, there are staff members who get annoyed when they see their name on the work schedule on a holiday. Everyone wants to stay home and be with their families and the thought of going into work ticks them off. What they don’t realize is that their actions towards the assignment go a long way in determining future responsibilities.

By accepting the shift with little resistance and doing a quality job, you’re sending a message to your boss that you can be counted on and are committed to doing whatever it takes to help the brand and further your career. Something as simple as working a board operator shift or hosting a 2-hour post-game show goes a long way in building trust with your manager. They also appreciate it and see that you’re a person who’s willing to sacrifice. That matters, and when a situation pops up in the future and you need a favor returned, they’re more likely to take care of you.

cavsThere’s this feeling that Christmas and New Year’s Day are automatic  days off. That’s not true. To many in your audience, the day means a big local NBA matchup or College Football Bowl game. Do you think they won’t be turning on your radio station to listen to the game when they’re driving over to grandma’s house? And guess who they’re going to turn on when they head home after the game and want to hear more about it? That’s right, your brand! Sports never takes a day off.

Check out this year’s NBA schedule on Christmas day. There are a total of 5 games. In each of these 9 cities, people will watch or listen to the game and discuss it while it’s happening on social media. If you don’t have the game on or aren’t talking about it on your airwaves as soon as it ends, you’re missing a chance to build a deeper bond with your audience.


Maybe it won’t be reflected in the ratings, because the one listener with a meter in your city got buried under an avalanche of snow (gotta love that measurement system of ours), but sometimes you make decisions because it’s the right thing to do, and whether the numbers reflect it or not, being reliable to your audience is important.

There’s also another side of the holidays that I think is important to be conscious of. This part applies to on-air talent.

proIf you’re a host who’s getting a chance to fill in on one of the bigger shows during these next two weeks, this can be a great growth opportunity. It’s a chance to work with some of the full time staff and raise your profile with the audience. However, the way you conduct yourself can go a long ways in determining whether or not you’ll receive a future opportunity.

First, remember that you’re filling in on someone’s show. It’s not your permanent spot, so be respectful and remind the audience that the lead host is out, and you’re stepping in. You don’t have to execute the same gameplan that the lead host uses but you shouldn’t be turning their time slot into your personal playground. In simple terms, deliver the type of program that the audience expects.

I once had a talent fill in during the holidays and rather than step in and look at it as an opportunity to get some additional reps, work with some of the top people, and build some familiarity with the audience, they thought they were going to make a name at the expense of others. They were combative with many of the regular weekday crew who were working through the holidays, and in the span of 5 days, they managed to piss off an entire morning show, midday show, and afternoon show.

earnI received a call while I was on vacation that this person’s ego was out of control and because of their actions, a few members of the staff didn’t want to work with him and others called in sick. I wasn’t happy and trust me, the last thing you want to do is piss off your Program Director while they’re on vacation trying to mentally disconnect. I don’t expect every teammate to get along, but I do expect anyone who steps in on another’s show to treat it and the staff with respect.

When I returned from vacation, I spoke to various members of my staff and there was a consistent message about this person not wanting to be a team player. The feeling was that this person was out to make a name for themselves regardless of who they stepped on in the process. I called the individual into my office and asked what happened and I could tell within minutes that there was no way I’d use this person again to step in on a key weekday program.

Rather than acknowledge the possibility that he may have approached things poorly, this person was combative and convinced that the rest of the staff felt threatened by his ability and realized that he was coming for one of their timeslots. When I reminded him that no time slot was open and that he wasn’t going to earn that opportunity with me based on his current approach, he didn’t like what he heard. I told him that his actions proved to me that he couldn’t be trusted in a bigger slot and that part of success in this industry comes from proving you can build a rapport with others. Weeks later he left the radio station, which was wise, because he had lost my trust and was going to have a difficult time regaining it.

From the negative side of the holiday’s, we now turn to the positive.

gjA few years ago in San Francisco, Guy Haberman hosted nights for me on 95.7 The Game. I liked what he was doing and he had a great connection with one of our contributors John Middlekauff. The two of them were great friends outside of the building and that transferred over to the airwaves when John appeared on Guy’s show.

I was curious about John’s hosting ability so I hired him as a talent on our Saturday morning College Football show and he shined. I wasn’t sure if they could do a full show together on all sports subjects, but I figured we were going to be down a few of our key guys during the holidays so we might as well find out. During this time we were struggling in the ratings with our midday show. Although I liked the team we had, I wanted to see the program turn the corner and produce numbers, and I had to be prepared just in case they didn’t.

Guy and John stepped in to host our morning program during the two holiday weeks and not only did they show they were team players, but they also displayed an excellent ability to connect on all subjects and present a kick ass show. I remember when the Holiday ratings came out, I was blown away. Their two week stint had placed them 4th during morning drive which was higher than we had been pulling in that timeslot at the time. I knew it was only a holiday book and things can be screwy so I didn’t want to put too much stock in it, but I also knew what my ears heard was very good, and there was a chemistry between them that couldn’t be taught.

gj2Unfortunately, our midday show couldn’t lift the ratings up, so when I needed to make a change, I looked immediately to Guy and John. I knew a move to middays was the next logical step for Guy’s career, and I sensed that John was hungry and ready to immerse himself in doing a daily talk show. Once I gave them the shot, they repaid my confidence by consistently delivering a top 10 rated program, including finishing 1st overall in February 2015.

They didn’t know it at the time (neither did I) that their holiday fill-in assignment would make a big difference, but because I gave them a shot and they were prepared and took advantage of it, and my ears heard something good that was reflected by a solid ratings performance, it gave me confidence to call on them for a bigger opportunity. They’ve now held down middays in San Francisco for the past two years and are one of the best shows in the market.

If you’re an on-air personality who’s getting an opportunity over these next two weeks, let those stories serve as a valuable lesson. One person took the wrong approach and was gone from the radio station a few weeks later, and another duo conducted themselves the right way and earned a bigger opportunity in the future when something else wasn’t working.

futureMaybe this year you’ll earn nothing more than a one week fill in assignment. If that’s the case, be thankful that you got the call and be ready again the next time your name is called. There may be less eyes and ears on the product during the holiday’s but that doesn’t mean people aren’t listening, including your Program Director. Remember, your attitude and approach speak volumes about whether or not you’re someone who can be trusted. Make sure to leave a favorable impression. It could very well be the turning point of your career.

Under The Radar:

  • Marc James who recently hosted mornings on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta will be returning to the airwaves during the holidays. He’s expected to fill-in for Scott Ferrall on the CBS Sports Radio Network.
  • CBS Sports 920 in St. Louis will add two new shows to their lineup when they make their debut on Emmis’ 105.7FM HD-2 channel. The talent are very familiar to local listeners but an official announcement is being held off until the T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.
  • 920 The Voice in Princeton, New Jersey will be flipping to sports with an official launch expected on January 4th. The radio station is expected to carry Fox Sports Radio’s weekday shows and a mix of national and local on the weekends.
  • 590 The Fan in St. Louis may have decided to drop J.C Corcoran’s morning show but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving the radio station. It’s expected that Corcoran will become a part of the midday show with Bob Ramsey and Jeff Vernetti. Look for an official announcement soon.

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

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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.”

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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!

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