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Takeaways From The 2016 BSM Top 20 Series

Jason Barrett

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Now that the madness has subsided from this year’s BSM Top 20, I thought I’d weigh in with a few final thoughts and takeaways from this year’s process. Overall it was a huge success again. I want to thank everyone who stopped by to see the results, share it on social media, and participate in the voting process.

One thing I’ve learned from running point on this process the past two years is that it’s extremely subjective and will never please everyone. That said, there are many in the radio industry who appreciate the recognition, and positive acknowledgement for a job well done never looks bad to a station’s audience or advertisers.

I also think it’s important for industry members to contribute to the voting process since they see the inner workings and the truth behind the numbers more than anyone else. Will they be biased at times? Of course. But I’d rather have executives with a favorable view of their brands contributing rather than relying on people who are outside the business and lack the information and personal insight to know whether or not a show, station or individual is experiencing success.

If you didn’t read the articles and fast forwarded to the results, I want to reiterate one key part that I often worry might be misconstrued. I do NOT vote in this process. I simply present the industry’s findings. I have opinions just like anyone else, and one of the toughest parts of this project is seeing particular votes come in that I disagree with, yet knowing that my role is to remain true to the votes and let the panel present their collective opinions without interference.

I recognize that a few observers and readers know that I work with some stations, and have friendships all across the nation. I can’t tell each individual what to think, but one thing I will not do with this annual representation of the format is have the final results determined by personal preference or economic influence.

I started this project and turned to executives at more than fifteen media companies to get involved because I heard from a large number of folks that they were frustrated by having the success of their brands and people determined by outlets which made their ranking decisions based on relationships and advertising buys. They also didn’t include industry members in the voting process. After doing this for two years, I can proudly say that I have not accepted a dime for it. I could easily do that and treat my family to a few more vacations and expensive dinners, but my credibility and respect for this business will not allow money to influence how I treat this process.

Trust me, it isn’t easy when you’re in my shoes presenting these findings, and a client I work with, finishes behind a competitor. It can be challenging and frustrating and puts me in an awkward spot. I could easily twist the results to favor my clients, but then I have to ask myself “why am I even doing this project if I’m not going to treat the votes of the industry panel with the respect it deserves”?

Last week for example during the process, I had one particular station take aim at me because they felt I was lifting up the profile of a competitor. Rather than giving credit where it was due to a station which was the top spoken word brand in the market, and ranked 3rd overall with a 9 share, and instead of conducting a self analysis given that their own performance was below a 1 share, the easy excuse was to blame yours truly.

If it helps a station’s staff sleep better at night to create excuses then that’s fine by me. The bottom line, industry people know which brands win and which ones don’t, and if you want to gain a stronger reputation and earn a higher place on the chart, you’re going to have to back it up with evidence that shows your performance is among the best. If not, it’ll be a similar story next year. I don’t play favorites, I just present the information.

Aside from that senseless drama, there were some results I agreed and disagreed with but that’s the beauty of life in America in 2017. You can have an opinion and choose to ignore anything you wish. I felt better about this year’s panel given the addition of a few more folks in smaller regions, which was especially helpful in determining the mid-market categories. I put a lot of time and thought into the voting process and aim to include people from all companies so it doesn’t become a one group celebration. It’s not perfect, but it’s as fair and balanced as it can be.

As far as this year’s results are concerned, I do have a few takeaways I want to share. These were things that stood out to me during the process. If you have some you’d like to discuss, you can always email me at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

  • The decision to split up the Major and Mid Markets felt right, and I’m glad we did it. Too often smaller regions get ignored and stand little chance of making noise against brands with outstanding heritage. This year they were able to get a better sense of how they’re viewed, and the major market shows received votes without the voters feeling obliged to ignore 1 or 2 of them just to make sure they offered some recognition to smaller market brands.
  • Boomer and Carton, Mike Francesa, and Colin Cowherd were repeat winners, and reaffirmed that they’ve become the local and national shows which executives compare all others to. Next year will be very different if Mike Francesa fulfills his promise to leave WFAN, but for now, all three of these shows are a huge hit with high ranking members of the industry.
  • FOX Sports Radio has done a magnificent job of rebuilding its image. After Jim Rome left for CBS, there was a period of time where industry folks I spoke to weren’t convinced the network was trending upward. Over the past two years though that perception has been changed. FSR had 6 shows in the Top 20 including 3 in the Top 10, signaling that they’re on their way to a strong resurgence.
  • ESPN Radio remains in strong shape but if the rumors of a Mike and Mike split hold true, it could be an interesting time for the network. As great as the brand is and has been, they’re vulnerable for the first time in a long time. That said, no company has done a better job over the past three decades of replacing top talent and maintaining its relationships and stellar image than ESPN. It was interesting to see Paul Finebaum continue to gain momentum with voters. Bomani Jones also increased year to year and is now viewed slightly higher than Russillo and Kanell. ESPN has an opportunity to breathe some new life into its brand if it chooses to do so. If it stands pat with Mike and Mike, that too has large upside. This will be an interesting story to follow in 2017.
  • Voters are very aware of what’s been taking place in Boston and rewarded both 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI for their performances. Without question, Boston is the hottest rated sports radio market in the country, and the competition between the two brands is as intense as ever. To see each station earn respect for the contributions they’re making to the format was a welcomed sight.
  • The same story was true for 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. All three stations ranked high with our panel in the mid-market categories which speaks to each of their abilities to penetrate their markets and create a dominant presence with local sports radio enthusiasts.
  • If there’s an area I’d like to see improve from the voters it’s to reward more shows for the current year’s actual performance instead of its reputation. I can’t speak for each voter but the goal is to recognize those who performed best during the previous calendar year. It’s no different than MLB or the NFL picking an MVP who had the best season. In some instances I see brands and shows receive high voting placement based on market size, brand reputation or length of service, and I think we collectively can do a better job of familiarizing ourselves with those who have performed best.
  • That last section is important for on-air talent to remember. There were a few hosts who reached out to express displeasure about not being on the list or eligible for consideration, but as I stated numerous times, this wasn’t a sports radio draft, and it wasn’t a case of who’d get hired if executives had to make a business decision for their brands. This was simply about 2016’s performance. You can’t be mentioned as one of the best 25-35 shows during the year if you only spent 3-4 months on the air. For example, Gary Sanchez had a hot summer for the NY Yankees, but he wasn’t part of the MVP conversation, nor did he deserve to be. Same rules apply here.
  • There were a few situations where key talent were gone for extended periods of time yet that didn’t hurt them in the voting which surprised me. Case in point, Terry Boers and Terry Foster missed time on the air in Detroit and Chicago, and the same was true for Greg Papa in San Francisco. Each of those hosts and shows deserve to be featured high but one can make a case that they deserve to go down a notch or two if they’re not at full strength for a significant period of time, especially if another show/brand behind them performed in similar fashion.
  • In the mid-markets I was pleasantly surprised to see Bernie Miklasz, Dan Dakich and 3HL get recognized for their exceptional work. I’m familiar with all three shows and think they do an outstanding job and I felt the panel got each of those decisions right. There were a few other shows in their respective categories that I could also make a case for but you won’t get an argument from me when it comes to acknowledging those programs for doing an outstanding job.
  • In the major-markets, I was happy to see G-Bag Nation and Paul Allen earn some recognition for what they bring to the airwaves. Both shows are very good and rate well. I also felt Mike Missanelli was rewarded for having an incredible year in Philadelphia, and the same was true for The Musers in Dallas, and OMF in Boston. Each deserved to be in the top 3 and you can make a case that they could’ve been ranked higher. I also thought Chris Mannix and the Morning Men sneaking into the National section was a pleasant surprise.
  • A few programs were rated lower than I expected. Among them were the Michael Kay Show, Kap and Company, and Dan Barreiro. All three have generated better performance than where they were placed, but if they continue their momentum I suspect they’ll climb the ladder next year. When we conduct this process again next year I also won’t be surprised if Clay Travis, Dale and Holley with Rich Keefe, and Stephen A. Smith gain ground as all three are positioned to make a bigger splash.
  • I’ll be interested to see how a couple of changes in January factor into next year’s results. Jay Mohr is gone from FOX Sports Radio, Danny Parkins has left 610 Sports in KC for 670 The Score in Chicago, Terry Boers’ retirement opened the door for Jason Goff to move into afternoons with Dan Bernstein, and a few other brands have made tweaks too. How they’re received by next year’s panel will be an interesting follow.
  • Last but not least, Sports Radio WIP will have a full year under their belts with their new midday and afternoon shows which should put them back in the mix. Josh Innes will have developed a longer body of work in Houston putting him back on the radar. And Jorge Sedano, Keyshawn Johnson, and LZ Granderson will be up for consideration if they continue hosting mornings in Los Angeles and producing results. Where each of those shows finish is anyone’s guess, but clearly there’s a lot of talent there and the voters will have some difficult decisions to make.

To bring this to a close, it’s a fun exercise, and it allows many in our format to gain a sense of where they’re seen by high ranking industry officials. If you’re ranked high, you clearly are going to enjoy it and let the whole world know. You may even try to use it to your economic benefit with advertisers. If you’re not, you’ll likely find fault with the system and let everyone know that industry executives are asleep at the wheel.

It may not be perfect but it’s the best we can do. So until next time, thanks for reading, voting, sharing, and debating. Now keep those ratings and revenues high so we can explore this conversation again in 2018.

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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