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BSM Programming Summit Day 2

Jason Barrett

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We’re live in Chicago for day 2 of the inaugural Barrett Sports Media programming summit hosted by Jason Barrett. This blog will be updated throughout the day so be sure to check back regularly for new information.

INTRODUCTION: Jason Barrett opens day 2 of the Barrett Sports Media programming summit welcoming back over 30 PD’s from around the country.  Jason explains the importance of telling your brand story and how it pays dividends with listeners, advertisers and the people inside your own hallways.  To illustrate the point, a video is played which shows how ESPN sells its impact across all platforms and why it benefits brands to associate with them.

SESSION 1 Day 2 – The State of National Sports Radio: 

  • Jason Dixon – SiriusXM
  • Adam Delevitt – ESPN 1000
  • Scott Shapiro – Fox Sports

Scott Shapiro – Our goal at the network is to bring in talent that local stations will find attractive.  We provide a service for local brands by offering great personalities and resources that they wouldn’t be able to afford.

We strive to service our affiliates because we’re only as good as they are.  Our most important stakeholders are our advertisers and affiliates.  Having an open line of communication helps facilitate our brand in your local market.

To judge how a show is doing we try to look at the bigger picture.  We look at every market every month but I try not to overreact.  Looking at each book in each market and even at a national level is important for measuring where you are and aren’t making a difference.

We had our biggest digital month ever, our digital numbers are growing, but my number one goal is to make sure our digital audience knows where to hear us live and terrestrially.  I wish we could do a better job of tracking and selling the digital audience numbers.

There’s a level of importance for national play-by-play, but viability is key.  Unless we get a deal that makes sense to be profitable for our affiliates, we’re not going to sign a play-by-play deal to take a loss.

We have a lot of solo shows, the goal is to get the best talent and a lot of time the show gets built around that personality, but we still regularly incorporate other voices into the show.

Adam Delevitt – Content is king.  Covering a big local story is harder to do with a national show, but a national show in a local market can work if it’s the right fit.  Mike and Mike had a lot of local ties to Chicago. Greeny worked at The Score, Golic played at Notre Dame, they were in Chicago a lot so it worked.

National hosts need to buy into wanting their show to work in all markets.  Hosts may not want to do 80 promos after hosting a four-hour show, but it’s something they need to do to work in other markets.  We try to send the network shows a lot of content.

National play-by-play is important.  A weekday national baseball game might not do great, but even if you’re only taking a little bit of the audience away from the local broadcast, it helps and having the playoffs and championship games are great.

Exclusivity of all ESPN personalities being on our station can be great and I’ll make a call if I hear an ESPN personality on a different station in the market, but sometimes I also think is it actually a bad thing?  If Jay Bilas goes on a non-ESPN station and promotes the brand for 10 minutes it might not be a bad thing.  It’s certainly not the end of the world.

Jason Dixon – Having Mike and Mike in Raleigh gave me a much better morning show than I could afford, but it was my job to recognize when we needed to go local.  If Duke played Carolina the next morning we’d decide if it made more sense to do a local morning show and skip Mike and Mike that day.  Local wins 99% of the time, but good content is still good content.

The relationships with the network producers, hosts, affiliate rep and programmers are important.  I could sometimes get the national guys to read something for our station, and we’d also send big local stories to the network shows which when it made sense, they’d talk about.

I try to use the ear test in determining our success at SiriusXM.  We track all data, but we can’t judge or track ratings the way terrestrial radio does.  We’re niche radio, and we try to identify which brands work and stay on our hosts, producers and PD’s to make sure their putting out a great product everyday.  On one hand there’s the freedom to live without these numbers, but on the other hand I don’t have this data to judge how a show is doing.

We have Mad Dog Sports Radio, and in my perfect world I’d love to see a west coast version, a southern version, a mid-west version and try to get sports stations covering different parts of the country.  It would be expensive, but it’s one thing I’d like to see in the future.

Any SiriusXM talent that another station wants to put on the air as a guest, let me know.  We love to have our talent promoting the brand and being heard on other stations.  You can’t have Howard, but any SiriusXM sports talent is welcome to be a guest on any terrestrial station.

SESSION 2 Day 2 – Nielsen: 

  • Jon Miller – Nielsen

Overall radio listening is down.  Fragmentation in the industry, radio listeners have other platform options, and those platforms are experiencing an increase as terrestrial radio slowly decreases.

The daily cume is declining slowly.  More people are choosing to use other forms of media everyday, so the daily audience from terrestrial radio is decreasing.  Each month there is a little less AM/FM radio use than there was last year.  Overall audio listening is up, but radio use is declining.

It’s important to focus on the “vertical” model, to get as many tune-ins during the day as you can.  You need to get the morning listener to come back and listen in the afternoon, but you also need to use the “horizontal” model, making sure you get the listener to come back tomorrow and everyday in the week.  Starbucks doesn’t try to get you to buy a larger cup of coffee when you’re there, they try to get you to come back tomorrow.  Starbucks’ goal isn’t to have the current customer spend more while they’re in the store, it’s goal is to make sure they become a repeat customer.  They look to sell more cups of coffee, not larger cups.  The same applies to sports radio.

We spend 80 hours a week consuming content.  Why should people choose radio?  Why should they choose your brand?  There are niche’s carved in talk radio that the consumer can only get from your brand.

Nielsen is evolving, we’re figuring out the digital numbers.  Currently, you get the most credit for your terrestrial brand.  Nielsen has not caught up to measuring digital platforms.  We understand stations are promoting their digital brand and need to get credit for those numbers, but measuring that audience has been more challenging than we originally thought.

SESSION 3 Day 2 – Bringing Your Imaging to Life: 

  • Jim Cutler

It’s effective to learn by listening to bad examples.  Put content into your imaging, not “fluff.”  Replace fluff with topical content, don’t waste time on-air.

Avoid:
– “You just don’t know what you’re going to get with the —- Show.”
– “The —- Show is unpredictable, you never know what you’re going to hear next.”

Focus on highlighting good content and what’s happening right now.  News talk and sports talk is a gift because it provides content to promote and put into your imaging.

Imagine if breaking news alerts on your phone said “Things are happening out there,” rather than giving you an actual alert or update.

You can’t say you’re “cool” and relevant by using liners that say “we’re number 1.”  Your listeners and callers are a better way of promoting that success and relevancy.

Recognize how long thirty seconds to your audience is.  If the promo or on-air discussion is wandering it will make your audience leave fast.  Jim then played an audio sample where he muttered “blah, blah, blah blah, blah” for thirty seconds.  It felt like an eternity inside the room.  Programmers were reminded to maximize the time available to engage listeners.

Where do you get non-filler for your station?  Look at YouTube.  There are a lot of bad aspiring broadcasters posting things on YouTube, but there are a lot of great ones too.  You no longer need a radio station to create content, but radio station’s are still magical and if you invest the time you can find good undiscovered talent.

Working with a radio station is a great way to promote a podcast.  Anybody can launch a podcast, but a radio station pushing the podcast as “this is something we can’t say on-air,” rather than just saying, “listen to more in our podcast,” is a way to get listeners.

Jim also played a few video samples demonstrating how music artists use fans in their videos to show how they matter, and closed out by answering questions from the room.

SESSION 4 Day 2 – Developing Your Social Voice (moderated by Bill Adee, VSiN): 

  • Brad Boron – Chicago White Sox
  • Jen Tulicki – Chicago Bears
  • Dan Moriarty – Chicago Bulls

Brad Boron – We work a little with players on how to use social media.  We show them what previously worked and didn’t work.  We can’t go down the road of telling players you should post this and you shouldn’t post that because fans are savvy and can tell what is genuine and what is not.  When Twitter was in its infancy, we could probably tweet on behalf of a player but now fans can tell right away.

People get news from many avenues.  We look at our account as what happens if we could never break news again?  We try to enhance information, not be a breaking source of information.  If someone comes to us for breaking news, great, but for people that already saw the news, they can still get something extra from our account.

We have a content calendar, but we don’t need to follow it too strictly.  We have a weekly content meeting where everyone brings in ideas.  The best thing that anyone can do to create content is step back and think about what’s something we can provide that no one else will.

I tell players, “Be crazy but with a purpose.”

Jen Tulicki – One of the great things about social media is it’s gray, there are no black and white rules for what will happen when you show up to work in the morning.  You never know what news can break that will change your content for a day.  Keep Twitter open and available to listen to your audience and fans.

A good social media post is authentic and we try to push the limits to create thumb-stopping videos and graphics.  When a follower is continuously scrolling, we want to make sure they stop on a Bears post.

Instagram is easy to delight our fans with graphics.  We put stories on Twitter and Facebook to try and drive people to our website.  Right now we’re prioritizing Instagram, creating those thumb-stopping graphics and engaging videos to attract people that tend to use Instagram as an escape from the news stories on Twitter, or posts from their friends and family on Facebook.

Quality over quantity is the smart way to approach social media.  Make sure you’re choosing relevant posts that offers something to fans.  We have a fan base of 75,000 on Snapchat and 700,000 on Instagram so prioritizing is something we have to do.  Although we want to be part of the fan experience in every social space, I’m OK with being less active on Snapchat and more focused on other platforms where we have higher interest.

As far as bombarding your fans with aggressive posts on Facebook are concerned, use common sense.  You don’t want your social media account to be seen as the friend that never shuts up.

Dan Moriarty – We try to talk to our entire fan-base, we have male and female fans of varying ages and backgrounds.  How do we differentiate ourselves from other social media accounts Bulls’ fans are following?

What’s happening in the real world is the biggest thing for us.  You need to “strike when the iron’s hot.”  If we’re losing by 20 points at halftime I’ll send half of our team home because we can put out great content, but if it’s coming after a loss, the interest isn’t there.  When Zach LaVine came back from his injury and had a good game in a win against his former team, we had the full social media team going until after midnight because fans were interested.

Buying followers is something that can quickly make you irrelevant.  An account might have 50,000 followers, but if their content is only getting one like, or less activity than an account with 1,000 followers, you quickly realize which accounts have legitimate followers.  The only way to gain followers is through good content.

At the Bulls we institute a six pillars strategy and for content to be posted it must check three of those six boxes. It also can’t be something that isn’t in line with our six pillars.

Your goal should be to create content that will lead to multiple posts across all platforms.  To do that you have to use different images, videos, shorter clips, behind the scenes stuff, etc.  By taking one piece of content and featuring in different ways, it allows you to get the most out of it and it doesn’t become boring or repetitive for the consumer.

If a radio company is suggesting to post nearly fifty times a day on Facebook that seems like a disaster waiting to happen to me.  However, I’ve seen the head of Facebook Sports show data about what works and high frequency can provide a big payoff, but most of the time it is driven by video.  If you’re not using video and just posting 50 times a day, that’s not going to help you serve your fans.  It’s only going to drive them away.

Social Media Tips:
– Get an iPhone Gimbal to stabilize and prevent shaky videos
– Use scheduling tools to continuously make social media posts
– Spend money on software
– Use Slack
– Use graphics

SESSION 5 Day 2 – Inside the Millennial Mind (moderated by Dave Zaslowsky):

  • Bernie Goin – I.M.S.
  • Julio Rasseuo – I.M.S.
  • Joey Alexander – I.M.S.

Julio Rasseuo – I still listen to regular radio, I use Tune-In to hear broadcasters throughout the country.  I’ve been a cord cutter for four years but I have a TV that was gifted to me except it’s never been plugged in.

Some of the personal talk and fluff is fine.  I’m investing my hours with a host on a daily basis so I don’t mind getting to know them, but you still want good sports content.

Content is key.  It doesn’t even need to be on the air.  If you’re a right’s holder give me as much team coverage as you can using podcasts.  In-terms of politics, unfortunately the line is blurred sometimes and you need to talk and listen to a political conversation.

I admire Dave Portnoy.  I’m not a Barstool reader or fan of the brand, but I admire what he built.  He took a risk with a digital platform and that’s an area where everyone in sports radio should be taking risks.

Joey Alexander – I had a teacher suggest reading a newspaper, but I didn’t even know where to get one.  It was foreign to me.  I get my news on Bleacher Report.  I never needed the paper.

Sometimes I’ll hear a station talking about something outside of sports, and it might be funny for a minute or two, but I want them to quickly get back into sports.  Too much time gets wasted on the air and as a younger guy I just don’t have time for it.

One topic which quickly turns me off is politics.  I don’t care about a host’s political opinions.  I hate hearing anything about politics on a sports talk show.  It’s caused me to venture away from ESPN’s TV shows.  “I go to sports to get away from the world, not hear about the world.”

Bernie Goin – I still like reading an actual newspaper, and like the variety that it provides.

Listening to sports talk radio, I find I don’t get enough sports.  After listening to a show I still need to search to get more sports because they talk too much about their personal life, especially on a local level.

A better way to humanize yourself is to tell me about your experiences as a fan, rather than your experiences outside of sports.

If I get a breaking news alert on my phone, I’m not going to the radio or TV to tell me what’s going on, I do my own research to find more information on a story.

Radio hosts need to portray that they care about what’s going on.  If you need to be angry about a team then do that.  As a fan, I don’t want to hear a host making excuses for a team or player.

SESSION 6 Day 2 – The BSM Blitz: 

  • Jason Barrett – BSM

Using social media in a creative way helps you drive tune-ins and extend your brand’s connection to the audience.  Look at the way Joe Fortenbaugh promotes his guests each morning on 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area.  It’s smart, creative, local and much more likely to grab a listener’s attention than the useless tweets some hosts send out with  few lines of text and no real call to action.

JB showed some additional samples of stations using social well, and others filling space rather than using it to their benefit.  One example that stood out was how WIP in Philadelphia captured video of their broadcast team during the final call of the Super Bowl and shared it with their fans.  The views and responses were tremendous.

For a PD, doing a Twitter takeover or Facebook Live is a smart way to build a connection to the audience.  It’s free research and it shows you value your listeners.  Even more importantly, it becomes on-air content because your on-air talent can have fun with.

Branded content has become a must for advertisers.  You’re going to need ideas to generate larger dollars in the future.  Relying on spots and added value features is a recipe for disaster.  Too often programmers are conditioned to say NO to advertising requests but if you’re the brains of the operation and trusted to know talent and creative content then you should also be able to help your sellers find ways of weaving business into content.

If you think branded content is posting an ad on Facebook or Twitter or doing a video endorsement for a client, then you’re asleep at the wheel.  It’s about making the client look cool and feel naturally connected to your programming.  A video sample was then shown which highlighted a 101 ESPN video spot, Bad Joke Telling by Whistle Sports and the Tourism Australia ad.  Barstool is another brand which is brilliant at connecting clients to content in a smart way.

JB asked the room to raise their hand if their brand currently sold merchandise.  Not one PD said they were selling brand related merchandise.  JB pointed out “the narrative on the industry is that revenues are flat to down, your brands pump out content 24-hours a day, so why on earth are you not using your megaphone and social platforms to sell product?”

Craig Carton sells merchandise on his website.  Crossing Broad in Philadelphia did a great job of selling Eagles shirts right after the Eagles won the Super Bowl.  Clay Travis has become a brilliant marketer using Outkick The Coverage to move t-shirts.  Perhaps the most perplexing example though is Barstool Sports who sold Mike Francesa t-shirts promoting great slogans such as “Can’t spell Francesa without FAN” and “Numbah One” while WFAN didn’t.

You have to recognize the connection your talent have in the marketplace and pick up on the catchy things they say and do and turn them around quickly because you’re leaving money on the table.  Barstool says merchandising represents a third of their business.  At this point, sports radio should be more than motivated to add NTR dollars.

In sports radio circles, KFAN in Minneapolis created cool t-shirts for the Minneapolis State Fair and by all indications they were a hit yet after the fair they’re not available on their website.  Why not?  What if ESPN New York had created a Don LaGreca t-shirt that read “FIX THAT” after he had his meltdown on the air a few weeks ago?  How much product would either of the Houston sports stations moved if they had pounced and created merchandise after the Josh Innes-Seth Payne situation on radio row?

The bottom line, you have to recognize what catches fire, react, and understand how merchandise can drive extra revenue for your brands.  There’s no downside to it either.  If customer demand isn’t there, you don’t print.  If there is, you do and it becomes additional revenue.  This should be a no-brainer.

If your airwaves are valuable enough to advertisers to purchase time on to sell products and important enough to audiences to listen to your content, then why aren’t you using the same space to grow your business?  If it means eliminating a few programming promos to run merchandising promos it’ll be worth the adjustment.

Shows need to be less predictable and programmers have to study the content, not just the ratings.  Look at the times when you take calls, bring guests on or even talk about specific teams.  Does a feature still have legs or has it run its course?  If you don’t surprise your audience, don’t be surprised when they’re tuning out due to fatigue.

Events such as a celebrity roast, or awesome events like Wing Bowl in Philly or Ticket Stock in Dallas are so important, especially during the dead zones of the sports calendar.  They allow you to make money plus create content and drive ratings during otherwise slower times.  Too often we live day to day and trust that the topics of the day will be enough but what good are they if the audience sees no reason to out on the radio?  Case in point, the week of the All-Star game in MLB.

SESSION 7 Day 2 – The Talent Perspective (moderated by Jeff Rickard): 

  • David Kaplan – ESPN 1000
  • Laurence Holmes – 670 The Score

David Kaplan – I appreciate the honest feedback from my program director.  After a show, he lets me know what segments he felt worked or didn’t.  The PD should be giving feedback, partaking in meetings and communicating with me, “Good, bad or indifferent, but let’s talk.”

I don’t want to hear from the PD during the show.  I know there’s a line.  I’m going to be opinionated and try different things, but it’s important to know the PD has my back.  You also need to have a boss that’s able to let you make fun of them on air because it’s entertaining and relatable.

My producer isn’t afraid to say to me “No, you’re out of your mind,” and I value that.  It takes time to build trust with a producer to have that conversation, but that back and forth and trust between host and producer is what creates good content.  I want my producers to get involved on-air.  I want the show to sound like three people having a good time, not just one person preaching.

Too many times people use guests as a time filler.  We’ve gotten away from jamming eight guests into a show and having guests for guests sake.  Fans tune into the show to hear my opinion, not a show packed with guests.

I despise people that tweet “Touchdown Bears.”  I love engaging on social media.  You can blast at me, I’ll come back at you.  If someone’s really over the top I’ll mute them because I don’t want them to get the satisfaction of being blocked.

Don’t say “good morning everybody,” say “good morning to you.”  I’m not talking to everybody, I’m talking to you and engaging on social media is a way to develop that personal connection.  One way I do that beyond the show, I’ll record videos of myself talking about stuff, tweet them out and use them to drive a reason to tune in at 9am.

Laurence Holmes – I want my PD to know that I understand what the current topics are, but if I’m trying something else, I’m doing it for a reason.  I’m trying to bring in a new audience.  If it fails, I’m okay with my PD saying don’t do that again.

If I get to the end of a show and we’ve used all the content I spoke to my producer about prior to the show, I feel the show was a failure because it means something didn’t take off or we had just enough content and sputtered towards the end.  I want a show to end with me saying we didn’t get to everything we planned.

Sometimes I get feedback from my PD during a segment, but usually it’s a funny text.  If there’s something he didn’t think worked, it will wait until after the show.  I want there to be two-way communication.  It can be great to have a PD offer a clear set of eyes to give a small suggestion, change things around a bit to make it better.

I realized over the last few years that I needed to get younger producers.  I need to make sure I’m updating my references because the 25 year old in the car might not understand them.  As a host, we think we know everything that’s going on, but I need a younger producer to tell me “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

If you’re filling time on your radio station than your wasting my time.  I don’t want you thinking about a segment that will just get us from point A to point B, anyone can fill time, not everyone can program time.

It’s important to understand where you can stretch segments and when you need to pay attention the clock.  PD’s know when we need to break and when we need to tease a segment, and hosts can all do a better job of paying better attention to the formatics of a show.

The most difficult thing for me is understanding the matrix of how many calls to take.  There are days you have to take calls the whole show, but nothing can derail a show faster than a terrible call.  I’ve done four hour shows with zero phone calls and walked away saying that was a great show.  I’ve done a show filled with calls that I thought was a great show.  I struggle with the daily balance of “should I be creating segments that generate calls or not?”

I remind people on social media that we’re watching a show together.  The social connection is similar to the one you build on air.  They’re both intimate mediums.  People follow you because they want your opinion and think your funny, so reach out to them, make them feel good about interacting with you and in turn they’ll listen to you.

SESSION 8 Day 2 – Winning With and Without Play-by-Play (moderated by John Hanson):

  • Mitch Rosen – 670 The Score
  • Ryan Maguire – KIRO-FM
  • Hoss Neupert – 101 ESPN

Mitch Rosen – The Bulls was a future buy.  We helped out this year since they were in need of a new partner, and we’re hopeful of them being a playoff team next year.  We push the Cubs a lot because being known as “The home of the Cubs” is priceless.  Nielsen told us the Cubs winning the world series was the highest rated event ever on Chicago radio.

If the team is winning, people are going to listen regardless of who is in your broadcast booth.  There are certain exceptions but the team brands will always draw an audience if they’re performing.

The Cubs are great content and better than any local show when they’re winning.  Some ratings success is attributed to having the Cubs, and some will say “they won because of the Cubs,” and I say “So what.”  We pay a lot of money to be “the home of the Cubs,” so I’m not going to apologize for it helping us bring in a massive audience.

We’re not the flagship for the Bears, but we use “Bears Monday” and “Bears Friday” where we fill the shows with Bears content.  We’re not the flagship, but we have days where we can legally use the “Bears” name and brand.

Ryan Maguire – The trick, besides monetizing being a flagship, is finding a way to take the broadcast cume and turn it into listening during primetime, M-F 6a-7p.

There is no replacement for live sports.  We live in an era of “on-demand,” and you don’t need to listen to your favorite radio show or watch you favorite television show live because you can access it later on-demand.  There’s no replacement though for live sports.

Experiential things from a rights deal is important.  Getting tickets to give to sponsors, not only to games, but other events going on at the stadium.

If a competing station is the flagship, you can do a longer pre and post-game show, build better shows, offer better coverage.  Encroach on the flagship space until you get pushed back.  It’s always better to ask for forgiveness, not permission.

Chris “Hoss” Neupert – We can get so deep in the rabbit hole of being controlled by a right’s deal and needing to provide them with so much programming.  We were the flagship station of the Rams, but since they’ve moved to Los Angeles our ratings have stayed strong and even increased.  We cover the team, but we don’t try to alienate the audience.

Use your rights deals to help you gain better access to coaches and players to help drive more listening to your weekday shows.  Tickets are always important too for listening and sales purposes.

Showcase the games even if you don’t have them on your station.  It’s OK to talk about games broadcast on other stations, both on-air and through social media.  It tells fans where to find them and they’re not dumb.  They’ll appreciate you more for your approach.  They’ll also come back to listen and react on your airwaves.

When you’re not the flagship you can be more honest and you can market yourself that way.  Most flagship pre and post-game shows are based around ads and crappy features, so be better than that.  Talent matters and you can build a better show with honest coverage.

CLOSING:  JB then went around the room with each programmer asking for their takeaways from the two-day event.  Many applauded BSM for putting on an action packed show but JB reminded them that it only works when programmers take the initiative to get out of the office and invest in their own development.  Even if someone isn’t able to attend a BSM programming summit, getting to a different event and picking up a few new tricks is critical to a brand leader’s professional development.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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

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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!

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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

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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!

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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

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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!

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