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In The Media Jungle, Katie Nolan Outlasts Dan O’Toole

Jason Barrett

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Inside a jungle, anything can happen. You can die from getting bit by a mosquito carrying malaria, drinking bacteria infested water, or eating a poisonous plant. Heavy rainfall and monsoon like winds can make jungle weather unforgiving, also leading to your demise. And if those options don’t do the trick, there’s always the possibility of being devoured by a wild animal.

To survive, one must know how to build a shelter, locate water and food, and avoid potential dangers. Assuming you can do that, then you’ve got to have the endurance to hike, escape the rugged terrain, and give yourself a chance to be rescued.

Sounds dangerous doesn’t it?

Well, I have no grand plans to pursue that type of journey, as interesting as it may sound. But, when I think about the jungle, I see similarities to many layers of the media business. The side order of death aside.

In the world of sports media, your success or failure is a result of the effort you give and the strategy you create to fulfill your personal destiny. From developing your natural born talent to your work ethic to embracing new roles to relocating to pursuing high profile opportunities that make others uncomfortable, it’s a dog eat dog business. If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

nflmediaThe media industry is ultra competitive. Many want to do this line of work. Some will do it for less than you might be willing to accept. If stepping on a few people in the process is what’s required to reach the top of the ladder, some won’t hesitate to put on their best shit kicking boots and walk all over you. That may sound harsh but it’s a cold hard fact.

To become a high profile talent or high ranking executive, you’ve got to have thick skin, and understand that there will always be someone who wants what you have. And there’s nothing wrong with them wanting it either. Remember, you were once in that position yourself. I used to tell my peers, the day that my employer believes they can get equal or better performance out of my position for a fraction of the cost, will be the day when I’m packing up my office and someone else is moving in. Luckily I never ran into that situation.

For many of us, we’re driven by desire. We push ourselves because we’re eager to prove that we can achieve personal goals and ascend to heights that few believed we were capable of. As we grow older and wiser in this business, we become more appreciative and humble. We place a greater importance on delivering results for our employers because we understand that despite talking about subjects that many receive joy from, we are still part of a business. That’s not a strong area of focus for most twenty-something media professionals.

During the journey we hope to earn respect, trust, and love from our colleagues, and the audience, to signify that we’ve made a difference. If all of the boxes have been checked, we put our faith in our employer to acknowledge our performance, and demonstrate their appreciation by supplying a lucrative financial reward that satisfies our expectations.

katienolanAs I read Mike McCarthy’s interview last week with Katie Nolan of Fox Sports, I found myself wrestling with a number of different feelings. I was impressed by Nolan but for a different reason than usual. She is known for being witty, creative, and smart on camera, but she’s also unafraid off of it. In the interview, she acknowledged that she wanted a larger stage and was determined to work towards achieving that goal. She told McCarthy she hoped to host a late-night program on Fox Sports 1, and the ideal time for the show would be 11pm or 11:30pm.

If you’ve followed Nolan’s ascension in this business, you’re aware that one of the reasons why she cuts through the clutter is because she shoots from the hip. She’s willing to laugh at herself, speak out on controversial issues, and even take her own employer to task if it’s warranted.

Give FOX Sports some credit too. Rather than seeking to silence or edit their rising star, they’ve thrown their full support behind her. She’s rewarded their faith by making a huge splash in the digital world, including winning a sports emmy for outstanding social TV experience. FOX officials say that her clips generate more than 500,000 views across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, FoxSports.com, and FOX Sports GO.

Where the story gets murky is when Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole enter the picture. The two hosts presently occupy late nights on Fox Sports 1, hosting the show “Fox Sports Live”. Their program airs weeknights 11-11:30pm ET.

Upon hearing of Nolan’s comments, O’Toole took to Twitter and let the host of “Garbage Time” know that he wasn’t too happy with her.

otoole

After O’Toole’s tweet went viral, many speculated that he was kidding around. Others suggested that the show believes Nolan is overhyped. When a listener challenged Dan on his show’s ratings being low, and a reason why FOX Sports executives would consider moving Nolan into their time slot in the future, he responded by adding that “Fox Sports Live” has better ratings than Nolan.

To be fair, Nolan’s television audience is thin. Her program is watched by a mere 49,000 people and has yet to make a significant difference. But, when a show airs weekly, and during a time when audiences watch less television, to expect a big return is foolish.

fslFor Onrait and O’Toole, they can’t complain about a lack of consistency. They hit the airwaves every night at the same time and are given an opportunity to present a different type of show than the one sports fans receive on ESPN courtesy of SportsCenter. Their program may be laid out differently than the one they initially signed on to host upon joining FS1, but this format is supposed to be looser, and give them the freedom to showcase their personalities more.

Despite the change in style and presentation, “Fox Sports Live” continues to underperform. The show as of last check was being watched by 57,000 viewers per night. That’s only 8,000 more than Nolan’s weekly program.

Which is why O’Toole should immediately thank Katie Nolan.

Two weeks ago, nobody was talking about “Fox Sports Live”. Based on the numbers, they weren’t watching either. That’s not a jab at Jay and Dan, that’s a simple fact.

By being brought up in conversation by Nolan, the show has gained additional headlines. For Onrait and O’Toole’s sake any publicity is good publicity. Assuming people tune in to find out what all the fuss is about, it’ll be up to Jay and Dan to convert them into casual fans. If they can do that, they might have a chance of building up their audience.

The second reason why O’Toole needs to thank Nolan is because she’s put them on notice, and done so publicly.

Here’s a little truth about the media industry. Most people who are gunning for an individual’s job, treat them with a smile to their face, and then twist the knife into their back the second they aren’t paying attention. It’s a kill or be killed business, and the competition is always intense.

nolanSay what you will about Nolan, but she makes no bones about wanting to expand her show and compete against the best on late-night television. Given that FOX recently put up a billboard of her in Times Square, and her popularity has led to appearances on Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel’s shows, the network has every reason to believe they have a star in the making inside their company.

If Jay and Dan think they’re going to win a battle by calling out the network’s top prospect they’re clearly not in tune with reality. It’s the equivalent of a veteran baseball player who’s not pulling his weight calling out the future face of the franchise. You have every right to do it, but the organization also reserves the right to trade or release you.

In this instance, Nolan told them both “I’m coming”. They should respect the fact that she had the guts to communicate it publicly and welcome the challenge. She might have intended for her message to be aimed at ESPN, but if you were in Jay and Dan’s shoes you’d recognize the threat as well.

Friendly competition is supposed to bring out the best in performers. It’s a way of life in professional sports. Coaches like Bill Parcells and Jim Harbaugh were notorious for creating battles that involved every member of their team’s 53-man rosters. Players on the other hand, don’t take their ball and head home the second they face adversity or lose a starting spot. They dig down deeper to find out what they’re made of, get back on the field, and push themselves harder to reclaim what they once had.

fsl2If Jay and Dan focused more on putting on a great show, building an audience, growing their ratings, and less on social media complaining, they’d be in position to deal with any challenge in front of them. But because O’Toole reacted like a fifth grade child, it sent the message that he has very thin skin, doesn’t respond well to pressure, and is already looking over his shoulder.

Ask yourself this, if you were running FOX Sports, and that was the mindset of one of your best on-air talents, would you trust them to compete against the best late-night programs on television? Forget about Katie Nolan for a second. How are you going to handle the pressure of performing against SportsCenter, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and every other quality show on TV if you’re that easily distracted and shaken?

Whether Dan O’Toole likes it or not, every day someone in the media business is going to seek out Jamie Horowitz and explain why they’d be a better fit to handle late-nights on FS1. That interest will never subside and that pressure will never go away.

jamieThe only difference in this instance is that Katie Nolan had the decency to express her desires to occupy their time slot publicly rather than behind closed doors in a private meeting with Horowitz. For that reason alone Jay and Dan should respect her.

If you’re working in this business and looking over your shoulder, it’s only a matter of time until the person behind you is running past you. You control your work ethic, focus, content, creativity, and results. If all it takes to get you off your game is someone expressing an interest in taking what you have, then you’re beaten before the fight even begins. In sports they say the game is 90% mental. In sports media, it’s no different.

I don’t know Jay and Dan at all. I’ve watched their television show a few times, listened to a couple of their podcasts, and am well aware of the strong impression they made while working on television in Canada. They’re professionals, and don’t need a sermon from me or anyone else, but since I’m in a giving mood, I’m going to offer them a piece of advice that they can enjoy free of charge.

Rather than bitching and moaning about the possibility of being replaced, go out and kick some ass tonight on television. Do that again tomorrow. Then the next day, the next week, the next month, and every single time you get in front of that camera. Make it so painfully obvious to everyone in your company that removing you from the picture would be a catastrophic business decision. Force FOX executives to take notice of the difference your show is making, and alter the plans they had laid out for Ms. Nolan. You control the outcome of the situation more than anyone else.

If by chance you fail, and Katie Nolan ends up in your time slot, don’t blame her. She understood what was required to survive in the jungle. She took the advice, kicked ass, and put herself in position to make a bigger impact. While you were distracted and letting the whole world know how easily rattled you could be, she was focused on reaching the top, and not worrying about who she had to step on to get there. Whether you like it or not, that’s business. At least you can’t say you never saw it coming!

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.

But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?

As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.

Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.

Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.

I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.

What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.

As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.

Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.

But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.

Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.

There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.

I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.

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