Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

Barrett Blogs

Pump The Brakes: Tony Romo Will Be Just Fine On CBS

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

The media can be a tough crowd. Never was that more clear than when the news broke that Tony Romo was retiring and heading straight to the broadcast booth to become the lead analyst for The NFL on CBS.

Given the immediate overreactions, you’d think the former Cowboys quarterback committed grand theft or physical assault. But before you write Romo off and cry foul on CBS for undercutting Simms, pump the brakes.

I recognize that Romo hasn’t worked one television broadcast. It’s true he’ll have all eyes watching him like a hawk and waiting for him to stumble. And yes there will be immediate comparisons made to Simms, who was a staple of the CBS broadcast for nearly twenty years. But despite those less than convenient circumstances, I have confidence that Romo will settle into his new role just fine.

Why am I optimistic?

Have we forgotten that NFL television booths are made up of former players who at one point didn’t know the first thing about the broadcasting business? I realize some of us in the media want to make this job sound harder than it is but it is possible for a former player to learn how to adjust to different cameras, change his facial expressions, and insert comedic lines and timely analysis and opinion during a three hour broadcast. The last time I checked, Jon Gruden didn’t venture into a small market to learn the ropes of the television business. Instead he was thrust quickly into ESPN’s Monday Night Football programming, and judging from the results, ‘Chucky’ has done just fine.

The same can be said of Simms, Troy Aikman, and most of the remaining NFL analysts who work on network broadcasts. Maybe they weren’t thrust immediately onto the #1 broadcast team but if someone is good enough to be on the 2nd or 3rd team handling an analyst role, then let’s not act like this is the equivalent of advancing from cashier to Chief Financial Officer.

As I read numerous articles, tweets and Facebook posts about how poorly Romo would do, how unqualified he was, and why CBS was on the verge of going down like a plane without two wings, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Broadcasting a football game on television can be taught. This isn’t brain surgery or being tasked with creating algorithms. I’m not suggesting that anyone on the planet can enter a booth and be successful, but if an athlete knows the game, has an ability to speak well, looks good on camera, is familiar to the audience, and is willing to work on his craft seven days per week to be great on game day, just as they did during their playing career, they’ll be fine.

In mentioning those qualities, let’s analyze how they apply to Romo.

First, an analyst must have an ability to speak well. Judging from Tony’s interviews over the years, the way he conducts himself before and after games during press conferences, not to mention his numerous appearances in commercials and other unrelated media roles, he undoubtedly possesses that skill.

Next, they must look good on camera. In case you forgot, Romo has dated Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson, and is married now to Candice Crawford. Although I’m sure they enjoyed the bragging rights of being involved with the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, there had to be some visual attraction involved too to gain the attention of some of those beautiful women. Romo flashes a great smile on camera, presents himself in a classy and charming manner, and has shown that he has a good sense of humor. His ability to pass the eye test shouldn’t be a problem.

That then brings us to the understanding of the game. Romo enjoyed a successful NFL career playing the position of quarterback which requires knowing what is happening on the field on both offense and defense at all times. If Tony was able to be the leader everyone took their cue from, then I’m sure he’ll settle in when presenting information to the audience that they find valuable. This is a guy who’s very bright and entering the booth directly from the field, which gives him an advantage when talking about subjects that will come into focus next season.

The last piece of the puzzle involves the three P’s – preparation, pressure, and passion.

Starting with prep, for the past 13 seasons (and even before that when he played college ball) Romo has spent 6-7 days per week studying game film and playbooks. He’s dedicated countless hours to his craft to become highly productive, and after going undrafted and lingering for a few seasons on the practice squad, he was given a chance to start for the Cowboys. That doesn’t happen if his coaches and teammates sense that he’s not a hard worker. Heck, he’s even maintained that approach with his golf game. People who possess a strong work ethic don’t just flip a switch and turn it off. Which is why I’m confident he’ll invest himself 150% into his new line of work.

Regarding pressure, is there any NFL team under the microscope more than the Dallas Cowboys? Romo has had every single throw, turnover, game result and off the field personal decision of his analyzed, scrutinized and debated for over a decade. He’s been the face of a franchise led by high profile owner Jerry Jones and it’s never caused him to break. Sure he’s had bad games and been involved in a few losing seasons, but you don’t play the position of quarterback for America’s team as long as Romo did if you can’t handle the heat.

Last but not least is the one word that we know Romo possesses on the field, but have no way of knowing if it will transfer into the broadcast booth, and that’s passion. When Tony played on Sunday, you knew he loved the game, and left it all out on  the field. As a New York Giants fan, I especially enjoyed when he offered up those timely interceptions and fumbles, but all joking aside, he played with passion, and that was captured on video and in audio anytime he spoke before or after a game. Whether he’ll bring that same burning desire to this business is anyone’s guess, but we could say that about any player making the jump from the field to the booth. If being able to guarantee that a player would maintain passion for a role in television was a prerequisite for landing a high profile opportunity, we’d have a lot of booths operating without the presence and credibility of NFL players.

In making his transition into broadcasting, Romo is going to discover quickly that every sentence he utters, every opinion he delivers, and every prediction he misses, becomes headline news and the subject of conversation on Monday’s and sometimes for the remainder of an entire week. It’s what the sports media does. We grab the hot topic, regurgitate it until we get bored or the audience gets frustrated, and then move on. With red meat available, critics will be looking harder and listening closer to see if he has what it takes to get the job done. The second he misfires, the media vultures will be swooping down to feast on him as if he were mouthwatering roadkill.

But as media pundits standby waiting for their opportunity to pounce on him for mistakes and use it as a springboard to question his credentials and experience, let’s also not be hypocritical. If Peyton Manning or Brett Favre were being given this opportunity would the same media outrage exist? Neither Brett or Peyton have booth experience, yet when stories have been written in the past about their future possibilities in sports television, the narrative was certainly a lot more positive. I’d expect Tom Brady to receive similar treatment when his playing days are done if he wishes to pursue a move into sports television.

Something else which has not been mentioned much but deserves being brought to light is the track record of CBS Chairman Sean McManus. Without question, he’s done an excellent job over the years of identifying and hiring great analysts. While I haven’t been part of the CBS circle of trust, I have to believe that McManus wouldn’t have removed Simms from the lead analyst spot if he didn’t have a great feel for Romo and a belief in his ability to transition smoothly into this new role. I also don’t buy the stories that have been floated about Tony being receptive to leaving the booth next season to return to the field. This isn’t a stopgap job. It’s one you retain for a decade or longer, especially if you do it well.

Is McManus’ perfect? Of course not (Mike Carey? Really?). Even the greats swing and miss from time to time. That said, his batting average would be good enough to place him in the hall of fame. Call me naive or too optimistic, but I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to an executive who nails the majority of his decisions before I assume that he’s lost his fastball.

And if you’re going to scream bloody murder over Simms being given a raw deal let me remind you of something – this is the media business. Things like this happen all the time. It’s very similar to the way business is conducted in professional sports. We don’t work for the government where 15-20 years of employment is given as long as we keep our noses clean. This industry is extremely competitive, and networks are going to constantly overturn every rock they can to find an edge to increase their ratings and revenues. Sometimes that requires demoting or parting ways with classy, talented, and loyal people, and even though it sucks and isn’t fair, it’s a reality of the business we’re in.

I’m not saying that what happened to Simms was right. Far from it. But Phil owned a seat for a very long time that many others have salivated over sitting in, and at some point, it’s going to be occupied by someone else. Although I’m sure it wasn’t his preference, he can take solace in the fact that he’ll still be well compensated, while performing in a new role that allows him to continue being seen by a large nationwide audience, and having now gone thru this experience, he’ll be further appreciated and respected by his peers.

Just because Joe Montana and Emmitt Smith sucked on television doesn’t mean Romo will. If Tony is willing to walk away from the NFL and pass up an opportunity to extend his career in order to start the next chapter of his professional life, while absorbing the extra pressure of being the guy who was added to the broadcast at the expense of Simms, then we should at least let him get inside the booth and perform before we order his tombstone and read him his last rites.

That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. Romo is going to have to practice speaking in soundbytes and work on developing on-air chemistry with Jim Nantz. Audiences are going to expect him to be critical and speak on their behalf, which means that he’s going to have to cut the cord on his past and embrace his future. One advantage he has is that CBS’ NFL games package involves the AFC, which means he likely won’t be working a high number of Cowboys games. That would put him in an awkward position during his rookie broadcasting season.

Although it may be fun to debate if Romo will be a great game analyst on Sunday’s and whether or not he deserves to be in this position, the truth is none of us really know if he’ll excel in this line of work. Until he’s standing next to Nantz and opening his mouth for the first time, only then will we have something to measure him by. Maybe he’ll freeze when the lights go on just as he did during a few critical games during his playing days, but maybe this becomes the role for which he’s best remembered.

And think about the irony in that. Tony Romo could soon make the biggest impact of his career on Sunday’s, except this time from the inside of a broadcasting booth. Sometimes these stories just write themselves.

Barrett Blogs

California College Students Earn Chance to Win 10 Free Tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit Thanks to Steve Kamer Voiceovers

“In order to win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

With a new year comes renewed energy and optimism for the sports media business. Yours truly is looking forward to showcasing the best our business has to offer when we gather the industry in Los Angeles, CA at the 2023 BSM Summit at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California on March 21-22, 2023. Our conference is returning to the west coast for the first time since 2019. We’ve announced some super talented speakers. We’ve got additional things in the works and I plan to make additional announcements in the next few weeks.

People often ask me what the biggest challenge is putting this event together. My answer is always the same, it’s getting people to leave the comfort of their office and spend two days in a room together learning and discussing ways to grow the business. We have great sponsorship support and exceptional people on stage and are fortunate to have a lot of folks already set to attend. Our venue this year has extra space though, so I’m hoping a few more of you make time to join us. If you haven’t bought a ticket or reserved your hotel room, visit BSMSummit.com to make sure you’re all set.

If there’s one thing our industry could get better at it’s opening our minds to new ideas and information. There’s more than one path to success. Just because you’re in good shape today doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow. Building brands, growing audiences, increasing revenue, and examining new opportunities is an ongoing process. There are many shifts along the way. We may not solve every business challenge during our two-days together but you’ll leave the room more connected and informed than when you entered it.

Each year I’ll get two or three emails from folks sharing that they learned more about the industry in two-days at the Summit than they have in ___ years inside of their building. That’s truly gratifying and what I strive to achieve when I put this event together. I remember when conferences like this didn’t exist for format folks and I take the risk and invest the time and resources to create it because I love the sports media industry and believe I can help it thrive. I see great value in gathering professionals to share ideas, information, and meet others who can help them grow their business, and if we do our part, I’m confident some will want to work with us too. That’s how we benefit over the long haul.

But as much as I focus on serving the professional crowd, I also think we have a responsibility to educate young people who are interested, passionate, and taking steps to be a part of our business in the future. The BSM website is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and it’s become a valuable resource for folks who enjoy sports radio and television. I think it’s vital to use our platform, influence and two-day event to connect generations and I’m happy to announce that we will once again welcome college students at this year’s Summit.

Most of us who’ve been in this line of work for two or three decades learned the business without podcasts, YouTube, social media, the web or conferences delivering two full days of sessions that taught you more about the business than what’s available inside of a class room. We learned by doing, and hoping we were right. Then we copied others who had success. Some of that still exists, and that’s not a bad thing. But where our business goes in the future is going to be drastically different.

I’d like to see the difference makers in our format remembered for years to come, and practices that have stood the test of time remain valued down the line. Change is inevitable in every business and I’m excited about the road that lies ahead especially some of the technological advancements that are now available or will soon become a bigger part of our industry. I think we can embrace the future while enjoying the present and celebrating the past. The best way to do that is by bringing together everyone who is and is hoping to be a part of the sports media universe.

So here’s two things we’re doing to make sure future broadcasters have an opportunity to learn with us.

First, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Steve Kamer Voiceovers. Thanks to Steve’s generosity, TEN (10) college students will be given FREE tickets to attend the 2023 BSM Summit in March. Steve is a USC graduate (Class of 1985) and he bought the ten tickets to help young people learn about the industry, save money and make valuable connections. When I first received his order, I thought he hit the wrong button. I reached out to tell him a mistake was made and I needed to refund him. That’s when he told me what he wanted to do for students who were pursuing their broadcasting dreams just as we both did years ago. A very classy gesture on his part.

As it pertains to the contest, here’s how it’s going to work.

To win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event. Included in your email should be a list of steps that you’ve taken or are pursuing to explore opportunities in the media industry. If you want to pass along a resume and audio or video clips too to showcase your work and experience, that’s fine as well. BSM will accept submissions until February 17th. The winners will be announced on Friday February 24th.

Helping me select the winners will be an exceptional panel of media executives. Each of these folks below will choose one person to attend our L.A. event. The final two will be picked by Steve Kamer and myself.

  • Scott Shapiro – Senior Vice President, FOX Sports Radio
  • Justin Craig – Senior Program Director, ESPN Radio
  • Jeff Sottolano – Executive Vice President, Programming, Audacy
  • Bruce Gilbert – Senior Vice President of Sports, Cumulus Media & Westwood One
  • Amanda Gifford – Vice President, Content Strategy & Audio, ESPN
  • Jacob Ullman – Senior Vice President, Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports
  • Greg Strassell – Senior Vice President, Programming, Hubbard Radio
  • Scott Sutherland – Executive Vice President, Bonneville International

To qualify for the BSM Summit College Contest, students must be enrolled in college in the state of California, pursuing a degree that involves course work either in radio, television, print or the digital business. Those attending local trade schools with a focus on broadcasting are also welcome to participate. You must be able to take care of your own transportation and/or lodging.

This is a contest I enjoy running. We’ve had great participation during our prior two shows in New York City but haven’t done it before on the west coast. I’m hoping it’s helpful to California students and look forward to hearing from many of them during the next month.

For students who live out of state and wish to attend or those enrolled at local universities who enter the contest but aren’t lucky enough to win one of the ten free tickets from Steve Kamer Voiceovers, we are introducing a special two-day college ticket for just $124.99. You must provide proof that you’re currently in school to take advantage of the offer. This ticket gives you access to all of our sessions inside the Founders Club. College tickets will be limited to forty (40) seats so take advantage of the opportunity before it expires.

The 2023 BSM Summit will feature award ceremonies with Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan and legendary WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, sessions with influential on-air talent such as Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, and Mina Kimes, big picture business conversations with executives from groups such as Audacy, iHeart, Bonneville, Good Karma Brands, Barstool, The Volume, Omaha Productions and more. For details on tickets and hotel rooms visit BSMsummit.com.

I look forward to seeing you in March in Los Angeles!

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Barrett News Media To Gather The Industry in Nashville in September 2023

“I’ve been lucky enough to play a key role in bringing the sports media industry together on an annual basis, and in 2023 we’re going to attempt to do the same for news/talk media professionals.”

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

One of the best parts about working in the media business is that you’re afforded an opportunity to use your creativity, take risks, and learn if an audience or advertisers will support your ideas. Sometimes you hit a homerun, other times you strike out, but regardless of the outcome, you keep on swinging.

I’ve tried to do that since launching a digital publishing and radio consulting company in 2015. Fortunately, we’ve delivered more hits than misses.

When I added news media industry coverage to our brand in September 2020, I knew it’d be a huge undertaking. The news/talk format is two and a half times larger than sports, many of its brands are powered by national shows, and the content itself is more personal and divisive. I wanted our focus and attention on news media stories, not politics and news, and though there have been times when the lines got blurred, we’ve tried to be consistent in serving industry professionals relevant content .

What made the move into news media more challenging was that I’d spent less time in it. That meant it’d take longer to find the right writers, and it required putting more time into building relationships, trust, respect, and support. Though we still have more ground to cover, we’ve made nice strides. That was reflected by the participation we received when we rolled out the BNM Top 20 of 2022 the past two weeks. Hopefully you checked out the lists. Demetri Ravanos and I will be hosting a video chat today at 1pm ET on BNM’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and through Barrett Media’s YouTube page discussing the series, as well as this article.

It’s because of that growing support, trust, and confidence in what we’re doing that I’m taking a risk yet again. I’ve been lucky enough to play a key role in bringing the sports media industry together on an annual basis, and in 2023 we’re going to attempt to do the same for news/talk media professionals.

I am excited to share the news that Barrett News Media will host its first ever BNM Summit on Thursday September 14, 2023 in Nashville, TN. Our one-day conference will take place at Vanderbilt University’s Student Life Center Ballroom. The venue we’ve selected is tremendous and I’m eager to spend a day with news/talk professionals to examine ways to further grow the format and industry.

If you’re wondering why we chose Nashville, here’s why.

First, the city itself is awesome. The access to great restaurants, bars, entertainment, hotels, and famous landmarks is unlimited, and when you’re traveling to a city for a business conference, those things matter. Being in a city that’s easy for folks across the country to get to also doesn’t hurt.

Secondly, a conference is harder to pull off if you can’t involve successful on-air people in it. If you look at Nashville’s growth in the talk media space over the past decade, it’s remarkable. Many notable talents now live and broadcast locally, major brands have created a local footprint in the area, and that opens the door to future possibilities. I have no idea who we’ll include in the show, and I haven’t sent out one request yet because I wanted to keep this quiet until we were sure it made sense. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of interest in participating and I can’t promise we’ll be able to accommodate all requests but if you have interest in being involved, send an email to Jason@BarrettNewsMedia.com.

Third, finding the right venue is always difficult. We looked at a bunch of great venues in Nashville during our vacation this past summer, and when we stepped on to the campus at Vanderbilt University and walked through the SLC Ballroom, we knew it was the right fit. It had the space we needed, the right tech support, access to private parking, a green room for guests, and it was within walking distance of a few hotels, restaurants, and the Parthenon.

As I went through the process of deciding if this event was right for BNM, a few folks I trust mentioned that by creating a Summit for news/media folks, it could create a competitive situation. I don’t see it that way. I view it as a responsibility. I think we need more people coming together to grow the industry rather than trying to tear each other down. I hear this far too often in radio. We worry about what one station is doing rather than strengthening our own brand and preparing to compete with all audio options.

For years I’ve attended conferences hosted by Radio Ink, NAB, Talkers, and Conclave. I’ve even spoken at a few and welcomed folks who operate in the consulting space to speak at my shows. I’ll continue to support those events, read various trade sites, and invite speakers who work in a similar field because they’re good people who care about helping the industry. I believe BNM and BSM add value to the media business through its websites and conferences, and though there may be a detractor or two, I’ll focus on why we’re doing this and who it’s for, and let the chips fall where they may.

I know juggling two conferences in one year is likely going to make me crazy at times, but I welcome the challenge. In the months ahead I’ll start lining up speakers, sponsors, building the conference website, and analyzing every detail to make sure we hold up our end of the bargain and deliver an informative and professionally beneficial event. The news/talk media industry is massive and making sure it stays healthy is critically important. I think we can play a small role in helping the business grow, and I look forward to finding out on September 14th in Nashville at Vanderbilt University.

Hope to see you there!

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Jimmy Powers, Raj Sharan, Matt Berger and John Goforth Added to 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

“BSM is having a special Holiday SALE this week. Individual tickets are reduced to $224.99 until Friday night December 23rd at 11:59pm ET.

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

In less than a hundred days, the BSM Summit will return to Los Angeles for two-days of networking, learning, laughing, and celebrating. The conference hasn’t been held on the west coast since 2019, and we’re looking forward to returning to the city of angels on March 21-22, 2023, and bringing together sports media professionals at the Founders Club, located inside the Galen Center at the University of Southern California.

For those of you who haven’t purchased your ticket(s) yet, BSM is having a special Holiday SALE this week. From today (Monday) through Friday 11:59pm ET, individual tickets are reduced to $224.99. If you’re planning to come, and want to make sure you’re in the room, take advantage of the extra savings and secure your seat. To buy tickets, reserve your hotel room, and learn more about the Summit’s speakers, click here.

We’ve previously announced twenty one (21) participants who will join us on stage at the 2023 BSM Summit. Today, we’re excited to expand our lineup by welcoming four (4) more additions to March’s industry spectacular.

First, BSM is thrilled to have two accomplished sports radio programmers contributing to the event. Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit will make his Summit debut in L.A.. Fresh off of a Marconi victory earlier this fall, The Ticket’s brand manager will share his insights on the present and future of sports radio on one of our programming panels. Also taking part in that panel will be the leader of 104.3 The Fan in Denver, Raj Sharan. Raj appeared on stage at the 2022 BSM Summit in NYC, and we look forward to having him return to lend his voice to an important sports radio programming discussion.

But programming won’t be the only thing we invest time in out west. Growing a business, more specifically, a digital business will be part of our conference agenda as well.

When it comes to maximizing digital revenue, few brands understand the space better than Barstool Sports. Charged with growing the brand’s revenue is Senior Vice President and Head of Sales Matt Berger, and we’re looking forward to having Matt join us for a conversation that will focus on monetizing digital opportunities. Before joining Barstool, Matt sold for Bleacher Report/House of Highlights. He’s also worked for Warner Brothers and the Walt Disney Company. We’re excited to have him share his wisdom with the room.

Also taking part in our digital sales panel will be John Goforth of Magellan AI. John knows the radio business well from having served previously as a sales manager and salesperson. Since leaving traditional media and joining Magellan AI, John has studied the podcasting advertising space and learned who the top spenders are, who’s making big moves with their podcast advertising budgets, and which publishers are best positioned to benefit. Having his expertise on stage will help many in the room with trying to better understand the digital sales space.

There are other speaker announcements still to come. We have some big things planned, which I’m hoping to reveal in January and February. I want to thank ESPN Radio, FOX Sports, Showtime, and Point to Point Marketing for coming on board as partners of the 2023 BSM Summit. The support we’ve received heading into Los Angeles has been tremendous, and we greatly appreciate it. If you’re looking to be associated with the Summit as an event partner, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

That’s all for now, but be sure to take advantage of the Summit Holiday Sale. You have until Friday night December 23rd at 11:59pm ET to take advantage of discounted tickets. Happy Holidays!

Continue Reading
Advertisement

blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2023 Barrett Media.