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Observations of the BSM 2017 Top 20

Jason Barrett

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Six days of BSM 2017 Top 20 lists are in the books and I’m thrilled to have it in my rear view mirror. The interest in this series continues to outperform my expectations and for that I’m extremely grateful, but, the process takes nearly three months to complete and by the time it’s over, I’m mentally exhausted and in need of a break. This year I’ve set aside three days for a quick getaway to Miami but as soon as I return, it’s on to the next two projects, Season 3 of the Barrett Sports Media Podcast, and finalizing plans for the Barrett Sports Media Programming Summit in Chicago in March.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t equal to digging ditches. It’s a labor of love, and I appreciate that sports radio listeners get invested in the lists and use the information to learn more about some of our format’s great shows and stations in other cities. I’m beyond thankful to each industry member who retweets my work or shares their own posts on social media or an internal email to colleagues expressing their gratitude for the recognition. It’s a great feeling when I see a wife post something about her husband or a co-worker share something about a teammate or boss, appreciating them for their hard work and accomplishments.

I spent a decade programming a few successful sports stations, working with some incredible people, and I wish this type of series existed when I was managing brands. I often wondered if my efforts and contributions were noticed by my peers or not. Unfortunately, the only opportunities to be recognized came in the form of on-air shows earning exposure on lists which were often influenced by advertising dollars, partnerships and professional relationships. Although that frustrated my format friends, it’s all we had, which was why I decided to do something about it when I went into business for myself.

I don’t claim this process is perfect or better than anyone else’s, but the BSM platform has gained credibility. That’s helped in gaining the trust and respect of forty seven radio executives from different cities and companies. Without their help this project would be incomplete. The only thing I’ll take credit for is being smart enough to release the six day series during a time when the majority of the sports media industry broadcasts live from the Super Bowl host city. That puts peers, friends and competitors in the same space, which leads to additional awareness and chatter about the lists.

Throughout my time in the business, I’ve heard people frequently mention at radio conferences that the radio business needs to do a better job of telling its story, highlighting its people and successes, and lending their support to those who recognize the good work they’re doing. It sounds like great advice, but unfortunately not many follow thru on it.

I can proudly say though that I do. There is no promotional series for the sports talk format more extensive than the BSM Top 20.

Over the span of six days, 140 shows, 40 stations and 40 programmers in the sports radio format are recognized for their work. That information makes Market Managers look good to their bosses. It becomes information passed along by salespeople to their clients. It’s content which gets pushed thru a brand’s social media channels and airwaves to activate their listeners. More importantly though, it gives each person on the list a reason to feel good about their work and to know that what they do is appreciated and valued by their employer and those who pay attention up above.

Is the process perfect? No. I’m not sure how it could be. An East Coast executive will probably value a show or station in their city or region higher than they do a West Coast brand and vice versa. A person working at Entercom or iHeart will likely vote for people they know, respect and care about instead of a competitor. Some individuals will also place shows or people higher based on ratings or reputation rather than what comes thru the speakers.

Because of all of those factors, I stress that the results are a representation of the collective opinions of industry executives and they’re subjective. In organizing it, I go thru each company and region to try and make sure there’s good balance. I’ll even switch up a few panel members each year to keep it fresh.

What I’ve learned since starting this is that there are a lot of smart and informed executives who take it seriously. There are also some who don’t know the format as well as they should. BSM doesn’t vote because it would be unfair to clients and competitors. As I’ve stated before, it doesn’t make sense to ask forty seven executives to contribute only to disregard their feedback and play favorites.

What I will offer my opinion on though are some of the results that stood out from this year’s Top 20.

10 OBSERVATIONS:

  • Kirk and Callahan of WEEI in Boston were named Major Market sports radio morning show, the only local Major Market award not won by WFAN or one of their shows. K&C had a tremendous 2017 and deserved the award, but I was surprised they won because The Fan had a stranglehold on nearly every category and voters tend to have strong opinions of WEEI and its shows. What the results told me, industry leaders have taken notice of what’s been happening in Boston sports radio circles.
  • I was stunned to see Boomer Esiason finish 7th in the Major Market morning show category considering that he won the award the past 2 years with Craig Carton. I understand if voters felt Carton’s exit weakened or stained WFAN for a brief period, but the morning show rated 1st in the fall with Men 25-54 in mornings without Carton. I’m not sure what else Esiason could have done.
  • Sticking with WFAN, Mike Francesa became the first and only three time winner, taking home the honor of 2017 Major Market Afternoon Show. Since the New York Sports Pope is no longer on the air, next year’s results figure to be very different. That puts pressure on Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray but that shouldn’t phase them because they’ve dealt with intense scrutiny since accepting the job. On the other hand, every Major Market afternoon show now has an opening. It’ll be interesting to see who breaks thru in the next 12 months.
  • Waddle & Silvy and The Michael Kay Show exceeded expectations in the voting which was a pleasant surprise. Usually the ESPN local shows don’t generate as much traction as others. Not only do both programs deserve that respect because of their on-air execution, but their ratings, reputation and visibility are being noticed too. That’s good news for all involved.
  • I was surprised to see Felger & Mazz dip to 4th considering they remain the dominant duo in afternoons in Boston. Did a voter or two lower their opinion of the show based on Felger’s comments about Roy Halladay? That’s all I can come up with because they continued to deliver exceptional results.
  • Barstool Radio debuted on the National Shows list which shows that industry folks are curious, interested and expecting bigger things from the show/brand. With a full channel dedicated to Barstool’s content, I don’t think it’s a question if the brand will appear on the National list in the future. I think the question is, how many of their shows earn spots down the line?
  • Colin Cowherd’s reign atop the National’s list was overtaken by Dan Patrick. Given how much respect exists for Colin in executive circles I was surprised by that. It shows that industry folks place equal value on DP’s program and appreciate its consistency. In analyzing the voting, Dan and Colin are on a much higher level than the rest of the national pack.
  • For one reason or another, 790 The Ticket in Miami, and sports stations in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Houston seem to get overlooked a lot when compared to other Major Market brands. It’s likely because they don’t rate as high as other cities but there are a few quality shows on those stations which I think deserve a closer look.
  • I would’ve included 92.9 The Game in that previous paragraph but the Atlanta sports station finally broke thru in the Major Market Afternoon and Station categories. Is that a sign of bigger things to come for the brand or are they a one-hit wonder? Next year’s results will tell us, but at least now they’re on the radar.
  • It was neat to see The Deener Show, Erik Ainge, Bo Mattingly, The Huge Show, Garcia & Bailey, Bruce Hooley, Decamara & Ritchie, Dukes & Bell and Hochman & Crowder all debut on the lists. The same was true for PD’s Jeremiah Crowe, Joe Zarbano, Armen Williams, Dan Zampillo, Jeff Rickard, Tony DiGiacomo and Drew Anderssen. Good job by the panel voting for a few new faces who were deserving.

CLOSING COMMENTS:

The web traffic this year surpassed the previous two, confirming that interest in the Top 20 remains strong. Our panel was excellent, and I thought the winners and results provided many correct calls. Maybe a few things here or there deserved better or worse placement but overall it was a good reflection of the format’s best.

In the next few months I’ll examine everything from the schedule of each category release, to the images (I thought this year’s graphics were the best ones yet, do you agree or disagree?), to the executive panel members, to the press releases and emails that promote each list. Should this be done in 5 days or 6? Would it be better if it was rolled out in one day? Does it make more sense to do it online or at a live event? Is it worth adding a title sponsor to the series? These are questions I ask myself each year as I strive to make it better.

What I don’t spend much time worrying about are the handful of listeners who complain about stations in their markets deserving a top spot when the brand they’re trying to hype up barely rates. Sorry guys, industry executives pay attention to results. I appreciate the passion but yearly performance counts in this process.

I also don’t waste a lot of energy worrying about folks who complain about my clients earning favoritism or being placed behind their competitors. If you want the sports format to be fairly presented, you have to involve the right people, add up their feedback, and let the collective results speak for themselves. As I told an executive last week who disliked the winner of one category, you contributed to the process along with your peers. If you want to blame someone, blame them or yourself.

I do have one pet peeve. There are some people who like to add up the number of female and black hosts on the lists and create some type of racial or gender war. I’ve stated before that the format needs to do a much better job hiring people from different backgrounds. I’ve done the research and presented it. But, that is a separate issue. To not recognize hosts or PD’s who are doing great work for quality brands is discounting their contributions to the industry too. In my opinion, that doesn’t solve the problem.

As far as talk show hosts are concerned, I love competitive people and understand why they feel they deserve a spot on the list. If it didn’t happen though, rather than getting frustrated, ask yourself, why am I not on there? Is it ratings related? Is it because the market or brand I’m part of flies below the radar? Am I working for the second station in a city with a well known and respected competitor? Are the other 20 options simply better at what they do? Or are executives not as big of a fan of my work as I might have thought they were?

Ratings, revenue, reputation and relevance are all part of your success story. If you possess all four, you may have a legitimate gripe. If not, get to work on them because what you contribute today and tomorrow could impact where you stand next year. Congratulations to all who earned a spot on the 2017 BSM Top 20. Until next year, thanks for checking out the lists and supporting BSM.

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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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