Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

Barrett Blogs

Thoughts From The 2016 NAB Radio Show

Jason Barrett

Published

on

The 2016 NAB Radio Show is in the books and as usual, I’m feeling energized after a few days of learning. This year’s event took place in Nashville, Tennessee, a city with rich history, and a strong commitment to country music, which made it feel like the right place to spend a few days analyzing the state of the radio industry.

The music scene on Broadway was vibrant. You couldn’t walk thirty feet without reaching another bar or restaurant and hearing a local artist perform. The County Music Hall of Fame and Johnny Cash Museum were both within walking distance of the conference, as was the Bridgestone Arena, which featured concerts by Carrie Underwood, and Avenged Sevenfold, and left passionate music fans enjoying the Nashville nightlife all throughout the week.

As I’ve learned over the past few years, these conferences provide many positives, but there are always one or two areas where things can be better. It takes the effort of many to organize, speak, perform, and attend, and the reason people travel for this event is to get a deeper education on where our business is, and where it needs to go. That is very important and wouldn’t be made possible without the contributions of the NAB, our broadcasting industry, and the thousands of people who work in it.

This year more than 2,200 showed up, and there was a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. The Marconi and Radio Wayne Awards were especially top notch, and included a classic line from New York radio icon Scott Shannon who said “I’m happier than a Kardashian walking into an NBA locker room”. It was a great few days of celebrating our industry and educating ourselves and for those who couldn’t make it, I’ve highlighted some of the positives I gained from this year’s event, along with a few areas where improvements can still be made. I enjoyed attending and speaking on a panel, and am looking forward to next year’s show in Austin, Texas.

What Was Good

Performers: The NAB did an excellent job of including some great musical acts into this year’s show. Whether they were performing live and talking about the way radio factored into the success of their songs, or just sitting on a panel and talking about the business of music and the challenge of growing a brand, there were a bunch of artists providing insight into their careers and how important radio has been to what they do.

In the span of three or four days, Big & Rich, Kellie Pickler, Danielle Bradberry, Jennifer Nettles, Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra, and Jesse James Dupree of Jackyl were all involved either speaking or performing, adding a nice energy to the event. In the case of Dupree, his candid opinions and insights on brand building during a conversation with Mike McVay and Michael Brandvold were especially interesting and helpful.

lori

Social Media: Few would disagree that social media plays a large role in our daily lives, and when Lori Lewis is involved in a session talking about the do’s and dont’s in the social space, few are more informative or enjoyable. Lori’s line “the essence of social media is reminding people that they matter” was perfectly stated, and a good reminder to brands to further engage with their audience on social media platforms.

She shared a few examples of why radio needs to abandon its ‘prize wheel’ approach and look at social from a fan’s point of view. Gaining a deeper understanding of the business we’re in and how it appears to be glamorous to the audience was another part of her focus. During the discussion she urged the room to let the listener capture their experience when they stop by a radio station event or studio because “it’ll be on Facebook before they leave the parking lot”. She was right on target.

Networking: As great as the NAB is for learning new information about the radio business, many in executive positions attend to further their relationships, speak on panels and keep the profiles of their companies strong. That helps open the doors to new business opportunities. The turnout this year from the majority of broadcasters was strong, and that’s important because for radio conferences to work it requires support and involvement from our industry’s leaders.

I saw high ranking members of CBS, iHeart, Entercom, Cumulus, Alpha, Emmis, Beasley, Townsquare, Hubbard and Cox in attendance, plus a few smaller groups had a presence too. While many of these broadcasters concentrated on business inside of each conference room, they allowed themselves to unwind and enjoy time together outside of them. We may compete against one another on a daily basis, but we all face the same challenges. Besides, competition is more fun when you’re battling people you like, respect, and enjoy spending time with.

If you’re in the radio business and trying to take larger steps in your career, or if you’re trying to break into the industry for the first time and this event is happening in your town, I recommend being present. Not only will you get a chance to learn from these folks, but you can get valuable face time with them in the lobby too. With radio being a business built on relationships, it never hurts to expand your friends list.

Programming Panel: I had the pleasure of being included in a panel discussing what makes sports radio powerful. The session included perspectives on what makes other passion formats such as Religious, Spanish, and Urban successful, and what stood out was how invested each person was in their respective format. It reminded me that regardless of the format we work in, everything about radio starts with love, passion and creativity.

I tried to educate the room on what lends itself to success from the on-air person’s position, and from the programmer’s office. It was great seeing a few familiar faces in the crowd, including my new cameraman Dennis Glasgow, PD of 99.9 The Fan. Thanks buddy! I utilized one audio clip during the session, a powerful two minutes from Mike Valenti of 97.1 The Ticket talking about the loss of the Detroit Lions play by play rights last November. To see the presentation and hear the clip click here.

goldstein

Podcasting: The smaller panels that I noticed drew the largest crowds were ones which focused on podcasting. This is a space that continues to surge and the NAB did a nice job of utilizing a variety of people with strong experience in the field including Seth Resler, Traug Keller, and Steve Goldstein. Goldstein’s session in particular was very insightful and focused on the growing audience in podcasting and how it’s a different experience compared to radio. I was surprised to learn that only 1% of podcasting comes from commercial radio. That speaks to a huge opportunity for the radio industry to increase its productivity. It also has the radio airwaves to promote it further. If done right, it could produce significant audience, revenue and loyalty.

One part that continues to baffle me is how many radio people continue looking at podcasting as a fad or niche business. They also fail to see that original programming is what’s become popular, not repeated 3-4 hour shows that were broadcast over the radio station’s airwaves earlier in the day. Offering the over the air content may be one part of your online strategy but it shouldn’t be the only representation of your brand’s podcasts. If it is you’ll be disappointed by the results.

It’s scary because one of radio’s biggest past problems has been waiting too long to react. This feels like another one of those times. During one session with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a woman stood up and said supporting AM radio was important because it gives people a chance to be on the radio, and if it isn’t saved, children won’t be able to dream of being on the radio. The only problem with her logic is that kids don’t dream of being on the radio now like they did 20-30 years ago, and there’s this thing called podcasting which has taken off and given them the ability to broadcast. It’s also a lot easier to put together. It’s no different than previously dreaming of writing for a newspaper and now having the ability to create your own website and launch your own brand. Times change, interests change, and radio traditionalists need to follow suit or risk being left out in the cold.

What Was Missing

On-Air Talent: I’m often perplexed when I attend a conference and don’t see many on-air talents in attendance. Is it not helpful to learn? To network? To speak about your craft and educate others who work in the same business or hope to in the future? I recognize that companies don’t often pay for their on-air people to attend these functions and I’m not advocating that they should, but I wonder if some groups should be developing a system to make sure some of their key on-air people do get a chance to be involved. I noticed that Hubbard is doing this and I think that’s smart. If you’re an on-air talent and a future radio conference takes place in your city, spend a day before or after your show picking up some knowledge. You’ll take something away from it.

Programmers and corporate executives can discuss subjects at length at conferences and many are very informative. Some of these folks may one day be your future bosses. But if the information they share doesn’t travel to an on-air host’s ears, it’ll never get passed through the speakers. Therein lies the issue.

Is there a perfect solution? Probably not. I’m hopeful that others who perform on the air will want to invest in their career and continue learning. Unfortunately during the past five years I’ve seen little involvement from on-air talent (specifically sports talk talent) at these events and it’s something that I believe can be much better.

jbnab

Programming Focus: Most conferences these days put an emphasis on digital growth, revenue generation, statistical analysis, and other parts of the business which matter to executives. I am fascinated by those topics myself. But you know what gets the least amount of attention? The on-air programming.

I’m a firm believer that you need both programming and sales hitting their marks to create a dominant business. The reason though that an audience tunes into a radio station or podcast is for the content experience. We need to be aware of trends and recognize that there’s more to a brand’s success story than what gets broadcast over the airwaves, but the reason we have fans and loyal supporters is because of our on-air product. When it gets less attention at conferences when the entire industry is present, I wonder if that’s a missed opportunity.

Closing

These conferences are valuable. Not every session will satisfy your desires but overall they’re worth your time. That said, we need to remind ourselves of what it was that drew us to the industry in the first place. It wasn’t a spreadsheet, sales training course, or radio commercial. When people hear others in this industry talk about their passion and creativity to make great radio and deliver success, it inspires them. It makes others want to do it, and it shows our business to be a fun and cool place to make a living in. We need more of that.

Or I guess we can choose the other path. We can just stand in a room, complain to the FCC, hope to be bailed out, and trust that our future will be in good hands because of it. You decide which path makes more sense.

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

Published

on

blank

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.

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Julie Talbott to Receive The Jeff Smulyan Award at the 2023 BSM Summit

“The best leaders are the ones who empower their people, work with their talent, and study situations to determine where room for growth exists.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

Each year at the BSM Summit, we take time to recognize some of the true difference makers in the sports media industry. It’s become a special part of the event, and it reminds everyone in the room of what’s possible if you do your job well and create impact.

Four awards in total are presented over the two-day event thanks to our friends at Premiere Networks. Each award has a different focus.

The Jeff Smulyan Award is presented to a radio industry executive who has led by example, taken risks, produced results, and made a significant difference for the sports radio business. The Mark Chernoff Award is given to sports radio’s top programmer. The Mike and the Mad Dog Award is presented to the top local sports radio show in America. And The Champions Award along with a financial contribution from BSM is given to an industry member who has used their platform to make a difference for others.

Since we began taking the Summit live in 2019, Mitch Rosen and Rick Radzik have been recognized as winners of the Mark Chernoff Award. Adam Schefter and the team of Keith Murphy and Andy Fales have been recipients of the Champions Award. And the top rated combination of Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti received the first ever Mike and the Mad Dog Award at the 2022 BSM Summit in NYC.

Which brings us to the Jeff Smulyan Award.

A number of top notch executives have joined us to accept this honor over the years. It started in Los Angeles with Kraig Kitchin, continued in New York City with Dan Mason, and then Traug Keller took home the honor during our last show, which also took place in the big apple.

As we looked to 2023, the goal was to identify someone who’s been active in growing their company’s footprint across the sports radio industry. Equally important was someone who has the full confidence and trust of their people, a track record of delivering results, and has uncovered new business opportunities to lead their company forward.

After a brief conversation, Jeff and I knew exactly who the right person was.

It is my honor to announce and congratulate Julie Talbott, President of Premiere Networks on being named our recipient of the 2023 Jeff Smulyan Award. Julie will be present in Los Angeles at the Founders Club at the Galen Center at USC to accept the honor at the 2023 BSM Summit on March 21-22, 2023.

“I’m humbled and honored to receive this award – especially with Jeff Smulyan’s name associated with it. I’ve been a fan of his throughout the years” shared Julie Talbott. “Premiere Networks and FOX Sports Radio are dedicated to delivering the best multiplatform sports audio content the industry has to offer, and this award truly recognizes the amazing efforts of our entire team, who I couldn’t be more proud of.  Thanks to Jason Barrett and BSM for this incredible honor.” 

“I have known Julie for many, many years and our industry doesn’t have a better ambassador than her” added Jeff Smulyan. “She has worked tirelessly to build Premiere into a remarkable enterprise and she has made legions of friends and admirers along the way. She is so deserving of this award and I couldn’t be happier that my friend, Julie Talbott is the winner of the 2023 Jeff Smulyan Award. Nothing makes me happier than to present it to her this March at USC!” 

“FOX Sports Radio’s growth under Julie’s watchful eye has been impressive, but when combined with Premiere’s performance and reach, and seizing opportunities in the digital space by launching strong brands such as The Volume, in partnership with Colin Cowherd, you start to see how she’s put her magical touch on the industry,” explained BSM President Jason Barrett. “The best leaders are the ones who empower their people, work with their talent, and study situations to determine where room for growth exists, and few have the respect, trust, and confidence of their people better than Julie Talbott.”

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Omaha Productions, The Volume, Dirty Mo Media and Silver Tribe Media to Appear at the 2023 BSM Summit

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

The 2023 BSM Summit is five months away but the process to build sports media’s annual industry event continues. We’ve already announced 11 participants for our next show including Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome and Joy Taylor, but by the time this show takes place, attendees can expect to hear from 50-60 people as the agenda becomes action packed.

I do want to share one thing for those inquiring about speaking. Though I appreciate the interest, I’m selective in who we feature on stage because it’s important to keep the show fresh and full of actionable content. There are tons of smart people in this industry but I can’t accommodate everyone. I try to create sessions that benefit radio, digital and television executives, programmers, general managers, talent, agents, salespeople, production staff, etc. and to do that, we’ve got to cover a lot of different subjects over a two-day span. My goal is to send folks home with ideas and information to improve their brands, while providing a space for groups and individuals to meet since it opens the door to additional business. We’ve been fortunate to have good support and participation over our past four events, and I’m expecting this one to be even bigger and better.

Before I announce the latest additions to our speaker lineup, I want to thank Premiere Networks for their continued support of the Summit. They’ve been wonderful partners for years, and I appreciate them joining us to create the annual Awards ceremony. It is always a hit with attendees. More to come soon on this year’s honorees.

I’d also like to thank Harker Research for returning as a partner of the event, and MRN Radio for signing on as a new partner. Harker has sponsored all of our live events, and MRN has been in attendance for those shows. Having their support makes a difference. They join Premiere Networks, Stone Voiceovers and Core Image Studio as Summit partners. If you haven’t secured a sponsorship but would like to be, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com. She can update you on what we still have available.

As far as the content is concerned, I’m excited to announce a very cool session we’re adding which will include involvement from Omaha Productions, The Volume, Dirty Mo Media, and Silver Tribe Media.

Everywhere you look these days, athletes are taking more control of their own messaging. They’re also more interested in content creation and are investing in people to help build today and tomorrow’s sports media empires. Whether it’s been Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dale Earnhardt Jr. or broadcasters such as Colin Cowherd, Bill Simmons, Dave Portnoy and Pat McAfee, the era of personality-led audio networks has arrived. This session will examine where we are, where we’re going, what’s been learned, and how it will affect change across traditional media moving forward.

Jack Rose of Silver Tribe Media will moderate the session. Joining him on stage will be Logan Swaim, Head of Content at The Volume. Richelle Markazene, Head of Audio for Omaha Productions, and Mike Davis, President and Executive Producer of Dirty Mo Media. Each of these folks have great insight and experience with leading personality-built brands, and Jack’s understanding of the media landscape through his work with Michael Klein’s company make him an ideal fit to guide the conversation. This is a session that traditional media folks are going to want to be present for.

If you haven’t purchased a ticket or booked your hotel room, don’t wait until the last minute. Everything you need to be in attendance for the Summit is available at BSMSummit.com. We are excited to host the show at The Founders Club at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California. This is a great location and the biggest room we’ve run our conference in yet. I’m hoping to see you there.

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.