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Does An Established Personality Deserve a Final Show?

Jason Barrett

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There are certain subjects in the radio industry that are complicated and impossible to provide a concrete answer for. One of them is the debate of whether or not to allow an established on-air talent a final sendoff.

To understand this subject, you have to take into account many factors. Who is the company? Who are the key executives involved in the decision? Who is the personality? What type of track record do they have? Is the split amicable or hostile? Are there future consequences facing either party? Has the situation been understood thru previous conversations or did it pop up unexpectedly?

When an individual performs for a brand for a lengthy period of time, and helps a company generate strong ratings and revenues, there is a certain respect that should be given. It might be hard to remember the value and past performance of a personality who’s at odds with a company or at the center of an economic dispute, but great leaders find a way to keep the big picture in mind when emotions get high and difficult discussions unfold.

Unfortunately finding a solution that benefits everyone doesn’t always happen.

Keith Olbermann’s initial exit from ESPN was very messy. After turning SportsCenter with Dan Patrick into the most important sports show on television, and becoming a powerful presence on the network, a better sendoff should’ve been provided. I’m sure Keith was no saint to deal with during the process, but given what each party did for one another, the ending didn’t feel right, and it left millions of sports fans less excited about watching SportsCenter or Olbermann.

On the other hand, when Dan Patrick made the choice to leave ESPN Radio, the network treated his exit in classy fashion. They gave Dan weeks to host shows and say goodbye. Guests from the past were brought back, and although there may have been some tension behind closed doors, it didn’t result in issues on the airwaves.

The same was true this past January when 670 The Score sent longtime host Terry Boers into retirement. The station did a series of final goodbye shows, welcomed the audience to attend Boers’ final program, and brought back old hosts, friends and celebrities to pay their respects to Terry. Retirement is easier to manage than a host choosing to leave or a station electing to cut ties but in this particular case, it felt right and classy, and strengthened the image of both Terry and 670 The Score.

An image issue though affected ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. last month when the station chose to part ways with Andy Pollin unexpectedly after twenty five years. Pollin hosted his normal show with Steve Czaban, and when it was over, so too was his time with the station. Czaban wasn’t thrilled with the decision, but Pollin took the high road when asked for comment. Although it may have made business sense for the station to explore a new direction and part ways with the longtime popular local host, the ending left listeners confused and upset.

Could a final day or week have been created with Pollin? Did Pollin not want to do that? Was Red Zebra worried that allowing that arrangement could harm their business? Those are all fair questions which the audience never received answers to.

In San Francisco, Ralph Barbieri helped establish one of the most successful west coast sports talk shows alongside Tom Tolbert. “The Razor and Mr. T” on KNBR became the show of record for Bay Area sports fans, and when Cumulus yanked Barbieri off the air without any send off or final comments, it left many local listeners feeling robbed. I made the decision at 95.7 The Game to give Barbieri a half hour with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis to express himself and thank local fans, and while it may have helped my station at the time, his farewell should’ve taken place on KNBR, not The Game.

The reason Barbieri never said goodbye on KNBR is because bad blood existed between him and Cumulus. Their split led to a lawsuit. While listeners may have felt betrayed for not having a chance to say goodbye to their friend on the radio, and instead hear Tolbert address the situation by himself, it made zero business sense for Cumulus to offer up air time to a host who was suing them. It was an ugly situation with no potential for a positive resolution.

Another situation that was impossible for all involved was Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s exit from WFAN. “Mike and the Mad Dog” helped build the sports talk format and it was the most important local sports radio program in the nation’s #1 market for close to two decades. People like myself made that show part of their daily routine and the industry is now flooded with professionals who were influenced to pursue this business because of Mike and Chris. To hear the show come to an end though with “Mad Dog” spending 15 minutes on a telephone saying goodbye to Mike and the audience left many in New York feeling unfulfilled.

Although it upset a lot of listeners, I can understand why CBS made that decision. Russo was leaving for SiriusXM. Howard Stern had done the same years before. To allow their airwaves to be used for promotional purposes and grant Russo access to influence the audience to follow him to his next venture made little sense. It also would’ve put Francesa in an awkward position.

Whether it’s the examples above, or others that have been handled differently from Glenn Ordway’s initial exit at WEEI, Howard Eskin’s departure from afternoons on WIP, or Tony Kornheiser and Colin Cowherd’s sign off from ESPN Radio, when these situations occur, the listener is almost always going to rally around the on-air talent. They could care less about the business consequences or the trouble behind closed doors, they simply want to hear the personality they’ve invested their time in, and any company standing in their way of hearing what they want, is going to experience their wrath.

While it may not be popular, business isn’t always going to be pretty. Whether it feels right or not, difficult decisions sometimes have to be made, and providing a silver lining to a tough situation isn’t always an option.

I’m sure there are some executives who fail to think things through, and allow the intensity of a current situation to cloud their judgment. It’s easy to lose sight of what someone has meant personally and professionally to a company, when you’re engaged in a bitter dispute. Rather than sucking it up and doing the right thing for the audience and all involved, the need to win the battle takes over.

Equally at fault can be the personality. If a company has provided nearly two decades of paychecks, air time, and respect, it’s fair to expect an individual to be appreciative and professional when bringing an important chapter of their career to a close. But rather than reflecting on where they are in their lives and how they got there, they too get caught up in winning the war. Most of time it revolves around money or a business relationship turning sour, and the on-air talent becomes less focused on exiting with grace. That then puts the company in a position where they have to make the difficult and unpopular decision to immediately cut them off.

Not every on-air talent deserves a final goodbye, and not every company is going to get burned if they offer up the airwaves to a host who is on the verge of exiting their brand. There is no rule book which outlines how to handle these situations, and a host doesn’t warrant a sendoff for time served, especially if their impact was limited. But if they’ve become an integral part of a radio station’s identity for an extended period of time, that can make their exit very tricky. Each situation has to be dealt with on a case by case basis and regardless of the direction you take, there will be people shooting arrows in your direction, second guessing your decision.

In order to better understand how these situations should be handled, I reached out to a number of successful executives who have gone through this experience during their careers. I think you’ll find their answers to be insightful and helpful and I appreciate each of them taking the time to help educate industry professionals who may find themselves caught in the middle of it one day down the road.

  • Mark Chernoff – Program Director of WFAN
  • Bruce Gilbert – SVP of Cumulus Sports
  • Mitch Rosen – Program Director of 670 The Score
  • Jeff Catlin – Program Director of Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket
  • Jason Wolfe – Chief Strategist of Money Matters Radio; Former PD of WEEI
  • Andy Bloom – Former Operations Manager of WIP and WPHT

When an established sports radio host is not having their contract renewed, what do you believe is the right way to handle their exit? 

Chernoff: In most cases, I suggest that when the host is notified of a non-renewal that the host has already done his/her last show. Why risk any problems? Also, you wind up having listeners generally calling in with “I’ll miss you” or “I can’t believe they’d not renew you” or something like what I’ve suggested. It may be a bit painful but if it’s the station’s decision to not renew then I’d suggest just moving on.

Rosen: When in doubt tell the truth. Without providing financial details, make it simple – the station and the personality could not come to an agreement. In the press and on the air it’s communicated the same way. The simpler the better.

Wolfe: The best way to handle it is not always the easiest, but the end result should be that the station and the talent maintain a productive relationship where there are no hard feelings. If a host is not performing, or is making too much money, and the station decides that his contract is not going to be renewed the best course of action is to be upfront and honest about the reasons why. This needs to be explained to the talent, first and foremost, the station’s staff secondarily, and perhaps most importantly, the listeners. If people don’t listen to the station, we’re all out of work, so if a major decision is forthcoming, I believe that GM’s and/or PD’s should not hide behind corporate speak, but rather offer details that can help the audience understand and, hopefully, accept the decision.

Catlin: It depends on many factors; longevity, standing with the station, standing with the audience, partnership vs. solo show. I have been part of hosts leaving and being allowed to play out the string, and hosts being taken off the air at a time of management’s choosing when the host was unaware, preventing a “good bye”.

Gilbert: There is NO right way. That’s the bottom line. Every circumstance is different. I’ve seen this handled in every way imaginable and sometimes it’s smooth, sometimes it’s a disaster, most of the times it’s clumsy because people leaving (especially “established” talent) creates disruption.

Bloom: I believe radio makes a mistake by not giving most personalities a proper send-off. The departure of a personality can be an opportunity for a finale; an occasion for a communal event and sometimes a ratings and revenue bonus. There are going to be circumstances that don’t warrant a goodbye show and people who don’t permit it as an option. When it’s possible, however, letting air talent say goodbye is the better option.

How is the situation different if a host is retiring? What do you do differently? 

Chernoff: Very different. Usually “retiring” means it’s someone who has been a long-time “good” employee. Often announcing a date, scheduling special events for and around the personality makes sense. What Mitch Rosen did with Terry Boers at the Score in Chicago was terrific including bringing back many past hosts.

Rosen: Retirement says it all. Most of the time you celebrate that person’s career. Listeners love to experience party’s, final shows, and share their respects to the hosts they’ve become connected to.

Wolfe: Retirement offers a very different course of action. Long time talent who retire have presumably had a terrific career and are in excellent standing with the station’s personnel and the company. Retirements for top talent should be celebrated. They’ve given their heart and soul to the station, driven great ratings, helped bring in substantial revenue, and therefore deserve a send off that is worthy of the job they’ve done. Companies should be glad to create this type of event or special broadcast because it shows how much appreciation there is for that specific talent.

Catlin: If a host is retiring then you would assume it has been a positive relationship. In that case, I think the audience and the host appreciates the chance to have final shows. However, I would instruct the talent that only the last show is the last show. Up until then, regular content and entertainment applies. I wouldn’t want a show or host to have a farewell week or something like that. I think in the case of retirement it also helps out the new show or replacement show to have the retiring person give them their on air blessing.

Gilbert: If the host is beloved and has decided to retire, I LOVE giving that host a chance to go on the air and go out on his/her own terms. It’s also a lot of fun to do a retirement party with gifts, special guests, fans of the show, and everything all the way to roasting the person.

Bloom: Retirement is a unique and specific circumstance. Watching the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “retirement tour” left a lasting impression on me and set a standard I’ve always hoped to duplicate. While Kareem set the standard, Kobe Bryant’s farewell last season was a reminder of how powerful “goodbyes” are among fans and contemporaries.

What is the downside to allowing a successful and established host to broadcast a final show?

Chernoff: If it’s the person retiring or a mutual agreement I don’t think there’s much of a downside. If it’s a station decision then my suggestion is “no last show”. I suppose every so often there’s an exception to the rule but it’s not a given.

Rosen: Listeners could choose to not come back. If you’re prepared though they will return.

Wolfe: I don’t believe there’s a downside to giving a major talent a final show unless the relationship between the station and the talent is so fractured that there is genuine animosity between the parties. Relationships that have gone sour, often include a lack of trust, and that lack of trust would be potentially damaging during the final broadcast. Talent whose contracts are not being renewed because of performance or because of money should get a chance to say goodbye to their audience, and companies should suck it up when the complaint calls come. The company is moving on. The talent is not.

I have little respect for corporate folks who can’t be subjected to a bit of criticism for a decision they’ve made, and therefore run from it by simply yanking the talent off the air without a legit explanation. If there is trust between both parties, I’d expect the talent to be professional and handle the final broadcast appropriately and without incident. The company/station would also take the high road and while there may be some listener blow back, as long as there’s a satisfactory explanation, the story will be short lived.

Catlin: The show could turn away from content and entertainment value for the audience and become too insider focused or selfish. I think this all depends on the talent, the factors in play, and the relationship between the talent and management.

Gilbert: If the talent is stable, not angry about the situation, and mature enough I don’t see any downside. We often talk about how radio is an intimate friend and a favorite companion, and if that is the case we should give them a chance to say goodbye. If your neighbor was your friend, you’d expect him to come over and say goodbye before he left town.

Bloom: How to handle a departure depends on the individual circumstances and the terms of separation. Is it ugly, or civil? I try to let people have a final show, even if it means sitting on the dump button, ready to escort them from the building (I’ve never had to do it). Of course, there have been personalities who I have not let have a final show, either because the split was unpleasant and I could not trust them, or their impact was not significant enough to warrant a farewell.

How does it hurt or help the radio station in the eyes of the audience if it does or doesn’t afford the talent an opportunity to say goodbye?

Chernoff: I suppose listeners might be angry for a short while if there’s no last show, but if it’s the station making the change, not the person retiring, then I would skip doing a final on-air show.

Rosen: If someone is leaving and the situation isn’t good, I do not like to have “living wakes”. It’s better off making a statement and moving on for both parties.

Wolfe: Assuming that there is not a trust issue, any station/company that does not give a major talent a chance at a final show looks small and weak. I think it hurts the station tremendously in this instance. Especially today, where social media can be very powerful in terms of listeners jumping on the bandwagon about certain stories, the level of distrust and outright anger that some would feel can be expressed over and over again on multiple platforms for many days, and that does not bode well for the company.

Conversely, if the relationship is a strong one, and the talent understands the decision, and expresses that on the air, both parties can look exceptional to the public, so while there may be disagreement, life for the station goes on smoothly and efficiently.

Catlin: Sometimes the host hasn’t earned the right to say goodbye unfortunately. A program director has to do what’s best for the station first, the audience next, and then consider how the host fits into a specific situation.

Gilbert: It can help in that it shows the station has compassion. It can hurt if the talent is beloved and people feel like the station was being mean.

Bloom: Listeners hate it when somebody they consider a “friend,” suddenly disappears from “their” station for no apparent reason and the only response is, “(Blank) is no longer with us.” Listeners CAN handle the truth. Therefore, over the years, probably a little over half the time, I have let departing hosts/jocks say “goodbye.” There isn’t a single instance where I got burned, although a couple were perhaps too morose. Thinking back, I can’t think of any I didn’t let say goodbye that with a mulligan, I probably would.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media Announces 3 Additions, Social Media Changes

“Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.”

Jason Barrett

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It’s taken years of hard work, adjustments, and a whole lot of trial and error to turn this brand into a trusted source for industry professionals. It’s been exciting and rewarding to tell stories, highlight the industry, and use my decades worth of knowledge and relationships to help the brands I work with make progress. But while I may prioritize the work I do for others, I’ve also got to balance it with making sure BSM and BNM run smoothly.

Each day, Barrett Media produces nearly fifty social posts, one to two newsletters, and twenty to thirty sports and news media stories and columns. I didn’t even mention podcasts, which is another space we recently entered. Making sure we’re delivering quality not quantity is vital, and so too is promoting it consistently and creatively.

Today, we have thirty people on our payroll. I never expected that to be the case, but as needs have increased and deeper bonds have been formed between the brand, our audience, and our clients, it’s allowed us to find new ways to invest in delivering insight, information, and opinion to our readers. Writing, editing, and creating content for a brand like ours isn’t for everyone. I just spent the past three months interviewing nearly forty people, and there’s a lot of quality talent out there. But talent for radio and journalism doesn’t always mean the fit is right for BSM and BNM. Luckily, I’ve been able to assemble a stellar group of people, which allows us to earn your attention each day, and I’m happy to reveal that we’re adding to our roster yet again.

First, please join me in welcoming Garrett Searight to BSM and BNM. Garrett has been hired as our FT Brand Editor, which means he will oversee BSM and BNM’s website’s content M-F during normal business hours. He will work closely with yours truly, our nighttime editors Arky Shea and Eduardo Razo, and our entire writing teams to create content opportunities for both of our brands. Garrett joins us after a decade long stint in Lima, OH where he most recently worked as program director and afternoon host at 93.1 The Fan. He also programmed classic country station 98.5 The Legend. His first day with us is August 1st, but he’ll be training this month to make sure he’s ready to hit the ground running.

Next, I am excited to welcome Alex Reynolds as our Social Media Coordinator. Alex’s creativity and curiosity stood out during our interview process, and we’re excited to have him helping with social content creation and scheduling for BSM and BNM. He’s a graduate of Elon University, a big fan of lacrosse, and he’ll be working with Dylan Barrett to improve our graphic creation, schedule our content, and further develop the social voice for both of our brands.

Speaking of our two brands, though we produce content on the website for both sports and news, how they get promoted on social is changing. When I started this company, the website was known as SportsRadioPD.com. That worked perfectly with my Twitter and Instagram handles, which were also @sportsradiopd. But since we switched our URL to BarrettSportsMedia.com and started ramping up content for both sports and news it’s become clear that we needed dedicated brand pages. It’s harder to expect people to share an individual’s content, and the mix of sports and news often feels off-brand to the two different audiences we serve. It feels even stranger if I’m buying social media ads to market content, a conference, and other things, so it’s time to change things up.

Starting today, you can now follow Barrett Sports Media on Twitter @BSMStaff. You can also follow Barrett News Media on Twitter @BNMStaff. Each brand also has its own Facebook page. Moving forward, we will promote sports media content on our sports accounts, and news media content on our news accounts. We started with that approach for BNM when the brand launched in September 2020, but expecting people to read another site and follow other social accounts was a tall order for a brand that was finding its footing. We made a choice to promote both sports and news under the same social accounts for the past year in order to further grow awareness for the content, and as we stand today, I think many would agree that BNM has made great strides. We’ve built a kick ass team to cover the news media industry, and I’m hoping many of you will take a moment to give BNM’s pages a follow to stay informed.

One thing you will notice is that the @BSMStaff account has replaced the @sportsradiopd account on Twitter. Let’s face it, most people who have followed me on Twitter have done so for BSM or BNM’s content, not for my NY Knicks and pro wrestling rants. I am keeping my @sportsradiopd handle but that is being developed as a brand new personal account. That said, if you enjoy sending DM’s my way, give the new @sportsradiopd account a follow so we can stay in touch. The only account we will use to promote content from both brands under is the Barrett Media account on LinkedIn. Instagram is not a focus right now nor is TikTok or Snapchat. I realize audiences exist everywhere but I’d rather be great at a few things than average at a lot of them.

Now that we’ve tackled the social media changes, let me share another exciting piece of news. I’m thrilled to welcome Jessie Karangu to our brand as a BSM weekly columnist. Jessie has great energy, curiosity, and a genuine love and passion for the media industry. He’s worked for Sinclair television, written for Awful Announcing, and has also hosted podcasts and video shows on YouTube. His knowledge and interest in television is especially strong, and I’m looking forward to featuring his opinions, and perspectives on our website. His debut piece for the site will be released this Wednesday.

With all of this happening, Demetri Ravanos is shifting his focus for the brand to a space he’s passionate about, audio. His new title is BSM’s Director of Audio Content. This means he will be charged with overseeing the editing, execution, and promotion of our various podcasts. He will also work closely with me in developing future Barrett Media shows. We have 3 in weekly rotation now, and will be adding Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves next week, and The Jason Barrett Podcast the week after that. The goal is to increase our audio library in the future provided the right ideas, talent, and interest are there.

Another goal of mine moving forward is to grow our advertising partnerships. Between our website, social media channels, podcasts, and newsletters, we have many ways to help brands connect to an affluent, influential, and loyal industry audience. We’ve enjoyed working with and helping brands over the years such as Point to Point Marketing, Jim Cutler NY, Steve Stone Voiceovers, Core Image Studio, Skyview Networks, Compass Media Networks, ESPN Radio and Harker Bos Group. That doesn’t include all of the great sponsors we’ve teamed up with for our annual BSM Summit (2023’s show will be announced by the end of the summer). I’m excited to add to the list by welcoming Backbone as a new website and newsletter partner. We’re also looking forward to teaming up in the near future with Quu and the Sports Gambling Podcast Network, and hope to work with a few others we’ve had recent dialogue with.

When it comes to marketing, I try to remind folks of our reach, the value we add daily across the industry, and the various ways we can help. I know it’s human nature to stick with what we know but if you work with a brand, I invite you to check into BSM/BNM further. Stephanie Eads is awesome to work with, cares about our partners, and our traffic, social impressions, and most importantly, the quality of our audience is proven. To learn more about what we can do, email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Yes we continue to grow, and I’m happy about that, but just because we’re adding head count doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed to be better. It takes every person on a team holding up their end of the bargain, creating killer content, setting expectations, and paying attention to the follow through. We take pride in our work, value the support of our partners, and are extremely thankful for the continued readership of our material. That consistent support is what allows me to add to our team to better serve fans, partners, and industry professionals.

It may seem small, and unimportant but those retweets, comments, and mentions on the air about our content makes a difference. To all who take the time to keep our industry conversations alive, thank you. This is an awesome business with a lot of great brands, people, content, and growth opportunities, and the fact that we get to learn from you, share your stories, and help those reading learn in the process makes waking up to do it an honor.

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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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Barrett Blogs

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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