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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

Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, Don Martin, Sam Pines and Amanda Brown to Speak at the 2023 BSM Summit

“All six of these media professionals have enjoyed success throughout their careers and bring different perspectives, styles, and experiences to the room.”

Jason Barrett

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I announced last week that the 2023 BSM Summit will be returning to Los Angeles. We had a fantastic experience in LA in 2019, and I expect our next conference on March 21-22, 2023 to be even bigger and better. But to do that, we need the right people on stage, and I’m excited today to reveal the first six additions to the show.

The 2023 BSM Summit in Los Angeles is proud to welcome FOX Sports Radio and FOX Sports 1 host Colin Cowherd, FOX Sports 1 co-host of the new weekday program SPEAK, Joy Taylor, CBS Sports Radio and CBS Sports Network superstar Jim Rome, FOX Sports Radio and iHeart Sports SVP of Programming, Don Martin, and the brain trust of ESPN LA 710, Senior Vice President Sam Pines and program director Amanda Brown.

All six of these media professionals have enjoyed success throughout their careers. They bring different perspectives, styles, and experiences to the room, and I’m sure those in attendance at The Founders Club at the Galen Center at USC will enjoy and appreciate learning from them.

We will have more announcements in the future about additional speakers to the 2023 BSM Summit. A reminder that if you work in the media industry and would like to attend the conference, you can purchase tickets and secure your hotel room by visiting BSMSummit.com.

I’d also like to thank last year’s sponsors who have already confirmed participation in our 2023 event. The Summit isn’t possible without their support. For folks interested in sponsorship details for the conference, please email Stephanie at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now here’s some press information about each of our six participants.

Colin Cowherd: He is one of the most thought-provoking and successful sports talk show hosts in the country, and has been a key part of FOX Sports Radio and FOX Sports 1 since September 2015. He is also the founder of The Volume, a digital-first sports media brand which has created an immediate impact in podcasting and on YouTube.

Cowherd’s three-hour sports talk program, THE HERD WITH COLIN COWHERD, airs simultaneously on FS1 and the FOX Sports Radio Network weekdays from Noon to 3pm ET. It is also available on www.FOXSportsRadio.comwww.FOXSports.com and has a dedicated iHeartRadio station, available live and throughout the day. The Herd has been chosen by industry programmers and executives as the top national sports talk radio show an unprecedented six times in seven years as part of BSM’s annual Top 20 series.

Jim Rome: Jim Rome is heard nationwide hosting ‘The Jim Rome Show‘ weekdays from Noon to 3pm ET on CBS Sports Radio. The program can also be watched on the CBS Sports Network. The show delivers three hours of aggressive, informed sports opinions, rapid-fire dialogue, tons of sports smack, and is consistently supported by Rome’s legions of fans otherwise known as the clones.

Rome also delivers his unique take on the day’s sports headlines via the CBS Sports Minute, 60-second commentaries which can be heard hourly on CBS Sports Radio affiliate stations. He also hosts his own podcast, The Reinvention Project, contributes to CBS Sports television, and has previously been seen on ESPN, FOX Sports, and in numerous movies and TV shows.

Joy Taylor: Joy Taylor co-hosts FS1’s new weekday program SPEAK alongside Emmanuel Acho and former NFL running back LeSean McCoy. She has previously worked as a co-host on THE HERD, as the moderator of SKIP AND SHANNON: UNDISPUTED, and as the host of her own podcast, “Maybe I’m Crazy”. She has also hosted programs for FOX Sports Radio.

Prior to joining FOX Sports, Taylor spent five years in Miami radio, including a successful three-year stint at 790 AM The Ticket, where she was co-host for the station’s top-rated morning-drive program, “Zaslow and Joy Show,” after starting with the station as the show’s executive producer. Taylor also served as the host of “Thursday Night Live” and “Fantasy Football Today” on CBSSports.com. She is a Pittsburgh native and the younger sister of former Miami Dolphins star Jason Taylor.

Don Martin: A 27-year veteran of iHeartMedia, Don is currently the SVP of Programming for FOX Sports Radio, the EVP for iHeartMedia Sports, and the SVP of KLAC-AM 570 LA Sports. Additionally, he provides oversight of the iHeartPodcast Network, which includes more than 40 national and 100 local sports podcasts and exclusive podcast agreements with the NFL and NBA. Don has been a featured speaker at prior BSM Summit’s and was recently a guest on The Jason Barrett Podcast. To hear it, click here.

Sam Pines: A fixture with Good Karma Brands since 2000, Pines is now charged with leading ESPN LA 710 since GKB assumed control of local operations. Prior to taking over the Los Angeles sports brand, Pines served as the GM and Sales Manager of ESPN Cleveland from 2006-2022. He has written a sales and leadership series, “Time to Win”, which focuses on coaching relationship-based selling and marketing, and is also involved with numerous boards and nonprofits.

Amanda Brown: Amanda has spent her entire twenty year career in sports radio working for the worldwide leader in sports. Currently responsible for creating and implementing the programming strategy for ESPN LA 710, Amanda has enjoyed nearly twelve years with the LA based brand after spending nearly six years in Bristol, CT producing national shows for the ESPN Radio network. Her career started behind the scenes in Dallas, TX where she worked as a producer at ESPN 103.3.

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7 Years of BSM and The Official Announcement For The 2023 BSM Summit

“Fast forward to now, and where this thing has advanced to is far beyond my expectations.”

Jason Barrett

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Apologies in advance if some of this column feels like I’m giving myself and our brand a pat on the back. I am. When this company launched, many assumed I was just writing a few articles and biding my time until another programming job popped up. I had a number of friends say ‘there’s no future in sports radio consulting‘ and after putting my programming career in the rear view mirror to go home to NY, I wasn’t sure what was in store for me.

What I did know is that my interest in doing the same thing that I just did for the past decade in three different cities was gone, but my interest in working with brands and individuals was still very much alive. I loved creating and programming 95.7 The Game but my choice to come home was driven by personal reasons, not professional. I wrote in great detail about it back in February 2015 so if you’re not aware of my story and want to know more, click the link.

Some of you do know these details already so I’m not going to repeat myself. I also don’t like talking on this website about personal issues because that’s not what brings us together each day. Media news, insight, and opinion does. But when this day rolls around each year, I hope you can understand why I take a moment to celebrate it. I moved home with no job, no plan, and no business but 7 years later, here we are are still ticking.

Launching this company has been the best professional decision I’ve ever made. Erika Nardini just had this conversation recently with Mark Cuban and he said taking a leap when you have nothing is the best time to do so. As crazy as that sounds, he couldn’t have been more right. That said, it’s pretty humbling going from successfully managing a top 4 market brand and earning six figures to being unemployed with no income and not being sure what you want to do. There were many days where I wondered ‘what was this all for?’. I hadn’t been without a job for a long time but I didn’t want to rush into something I wasn’t excited about especially since I knew I had to take care of my son and wanted to set a good example for him.

When I announced I was leaving San Francisco, I said I’d consider staying with the company if a position could be created that would allow me to work from NY and travel to help brands. Entercom back then wasn’t as big as Audacy is now, so that wasn’t an option. That led to small talk about consulting but quite frankly, I had no interest in doing that. I thought consulting was something folks did at the end of their careers or others used as a temporary excuse to explain what they were up to after leaving a job. I was 41 at the time and felt I had two decades left to give to the business, and if I was going to go down that road, I’d do it differently.

As I began to clear my head and think about what was next, I decided I was going to create the position that Entercom didn’t have available except rather than being exclusive to one group, I’d be accessible to all of them. I wanted to make a difference in multiple cities and expand my reach beyond radio. Now I work with brands involved in radio, TV, podcasting, social media, sales, sports betting, etc..

I’m also very entrepreneurial, so the idea of building a digital company that focused on covering the sports media business had great appeal to me. I built my radio career by doing everything early on and saw that as an advantage. Back in 2015, there were outlets covering the radio business, but none dedicated to sports radio. Even the newspapers that wrote about sports TV and other media issues, often examined them with folks who hadn’t been on the inside for quite some time. I had recent experiences programming brands in three different parts of the country, I learned how to build a website, I didn’t mind selling myself, and I wasn’t restricted from writing and sharing my honest and candid opinions. That helped me give BSM life and a voice. I also had one other advantage. I was talking weekly with industry people, going to different cities to work with multiple groups and seeing up close why certain things worked and others didn’t. That helped me tell better stories, build deeper relationships, and assist clients with greater knowledge.

Fast forward to now, and where this thing has advanced to is far beyond my expectations. I’ve been presented with opportunities to work with groups I never expected. I’ve had people reach out to present opportunities, including purchasing the company, that others would be shocked were considered (Btw I’m not looking to sell). Our brand now generates hundreds of thousands in traffic per month thanks to an exceptional team of 20 writers which produces 35-40 pieces of content per day on the sports and news media industry. In fact, August was our best month of traffic this year. We were up 30% year over year. We create 5 podcasts per week, distribute multiple newsletters, consult a strong amount of media brands, sell and work with advertising partners to help grow their businesses, deliver content through social media channels that are followed by thousands of people, and host an annual conference, which is well attended and supported by industry professionals and broadcast companies.

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Which brings me to the next part of this column – the 2023 BSM Summit.

After hosting our last two shows in New York City, I told all in attendance that our next event would return to the west coast. Finding the right city and venue takes time, and this one was tough because there were great options in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, but after reviewing the possibilities, I’m thrilled to share that the 2023 BSM Summit will take place in Los Angeles, California at The Founders Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California. The dates will be Tuesday March 21st and Wednesday March 22nd (we didn’t want to do dates that conflicted with the NCAA Tournament). Show time both days will once again be 9a-5p PT.

I couldn’t be happier with this location. The space we have to work with is fantastic, the people involved with USC have been great, and to bring a room full of sports media professionals to the USC campus will be awesome. We’ve also partnered with the USC Hotel which is within walking distance of our venue. Room rates and ticket prices for the Summit can now be found on BSMSummit.com.

I know everyone will start texting, emailing, calling, and DM’ing to ask about tickets, speakers, sponsorships, the after-party and awards show, etc.. I’ll have follow up announcements coming soon about the first few speakers we’ve lined up. Most people attended the 2022 show live, but some checked out the show virtually too. I’m not sure yet if we’re going to make this one available virtually. If we do, we’ll announce it on the site at a later time. Like anything, if enough people want it we’ll find a way to get it done. In the meantime, Stephanie Eads is setting up conversations with former and future conference partners so if you have a sponsorship question, hit her up by email at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

One thing I do want to ask of those who are planning to attend the Summit, email me to let me know what you’re interested in learning about at the show. We’ve been blessed to have some incredibly smart, successful people in the room, but as cool as that may be, I want to make sure folks return to their buildings afterwards with information to improve their operations. This only works if you take the knowledge and use it to help your brands and people. If anything in particular is of interest, please let me know by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

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As I look ahead to year 8, I’m extremely bullish on continuing our momentum on the sports media side. We’ve just added Eddie Moran as a new features writer, and if it makes business sense to add more writers or create additional podcasts down the line, we’ll examine those opportunities as they arise. A few years ago it was just Demetri and I running the day to day business. Now we have Stephanie, Andy, Garrett Searight, Arky Shea, Alex Reynolds, and Eduardo Razo involved, and though having a larger staff doesn’t guarantee success, I like how we’re positioned. If anything, our focus now is on doing impactful work not busy work. As much as I’d love to keep everyone and never stop adding, running a business effectively requires regularly examining what is and isn’t working. Having people involved who are passionate and consistently reliable is vital. If they can’t be then it means the fit isn’t right.

Having said that, I believe we can always get better. As we move ahead, I’m counting on my team to find and create more original content, strengthen and increase relationships, gain a stronger grasp of SEO, and collectively, we’ll work on improving our digital marketing to promote our content and develop better affiliate partnerships. One way the industry can help us in return, let us know when you create something on-air that might fit the site. Most of what we gather comes from finding it ourselves yet content gets created daily on sports TV and radio. We’re not going to write stories about sports opinions but if it’s media-centric, a heads up helps. So too does sharing our content on social media.

Though BSM is an integral part of our company’s future growth, I am equally as bullish on building Barrett News Media. We started BNM on September 14, 2020 and our first year was slow. We needed to dip our toe in rather than dive in head first, but over the past 9 months we’ve increased our relationships and our readers are now starting to see what we’re capable of. We’ve assembled a strong cast of news writers, reporters, and columnists, and just added to our team last week with the addition of Joe Salzone. Adding writers and consulting clients remains an ongoing process, and make no mistake about this, I want to help news/talk stations just as I have helped sports brands. Maybe down the line we’ll add a few news media podcasts too, but we have other things to focus on first.

For starters, if you’ve read this website over the years then you’re likely familiar with the BSM Top 20. It’s a series we produce recognizing the best in the sports media industry. It’s voted on by a large number of sports radio programmers and executives, and for 6 years in a row it has been our website’s largest traffic driver. I thought previously about doing a series for the news media industry, but because we had less help, little time, and an unfamiliar brand, I held off.

But that’s about to change.

Later this year, we will introduce the very first BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will include voting participation from news media programmers and executives, with the goal being to showcase the best national radio shows and podcasts, and the top local stations, shows, and PD’s from both the major and mid markets.

It will be a giant undertaking but it’s long overdue for our brand. Though I’m sure the process will be exhausting, I’m looking forward to sharing the results and shining a brighter light on the news/talk media business. When I’m ready to announce the dates and schedule for the series, we’ll reveal it here on the site and across our BNM social media channels. Stay tuned.

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As I bring this column to an end, I’ll end by sharing a few things that have surprised me over the years. First, I’m seeing less interest the past 3 years from younger people becoming programmers than I did between 2015-2019. Is that because of the pandemic? The rise of sports gambling? A lack of confidence in the radio industry? As someone who’s helped 15-20 brands find and hire brand leaders, and talks to more people than most, that’s concerning.

I think sports radio also needs to do a better job of grooming people for these roles and showing them a path to long-term success. PD’s should be more actively championing their people for growth too than they do. If you value someone and want to see him or her reap the rewards for their hard work, you have to look beyond how it’ll affect your day to day duties. Focus on the big picture, not just what makes your life easier.

What should concern executives is the fact that in the past five years, sports radio has lost Armen Williams, Jeremiah Crowe, Joe Zarbano, Adam Delevitt, Tony DiGiacomo, Terry Foxx, Brad Willis, Chris Baker, Tom Parker, Jay Taylor, Kyle Engelhart, Hoss Neupert, and John Hanson. I’m sure I’m missing a few too. That’s a lot of programming experience out the door including some with decades left to give to the industry. Maybe some weren’t built for the job long-term or others were kicking down the door and ready to lead but in most businesses, if you saw that type of change in key management roles, you’d be questioning if it’s an industry you want to be a part of. If the veterans don’t stay or become too expensive, and the leaders of tomorrow aren’t sticking around, where does that leave us?

From the talent end, how are you helping yourself when there isn’t a job to chase? If the only time you contact a PD is to ask about a gig, don’t be surprised when your calls go straight to voicemail. Relationships are a two-way street. Build them when there’s nothing to be gained and you’ll be amazed at how it pays off later. By the way, that goes for me too. I get asked by a lot of people to find time when there’s trouble in paradise but when life is good, crickets. Those who keep in touch and support BSM/BNM whether that’s through a monthly membership or buying a Summit ticket have more success getting a hold of me. I’m not trying to be a hard ass but I’m not an agent, so building your career isn’t my priority. Taking care of my family and business partners is. However, I do help people and make time for many, but it’s got to work both ways. My members and clients know they can ask for something and receive an answer. Others I’ve built and maintained relationships with receive the same. But if you’re counting on me to help you find work and gossip about the business with you, I’m not your guy.

If there’s been a winner the past 7 years it’s been the growth of sports betting. As other categories have produced less, sports betting has emerged as an important growth driver for the sports format. And this has happened with most of the country not even legal yet. As more states give the green light to legalize sports gambling, revenues and content opportunities should follow. We will likely reach a point where consolidation comes into play and certain brands and companies overload their content in a way that makes them insufferable to listen to but for every few setbacks there are far greater reasons to be optimistic. In the past 7 years we’ve seen Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and YouTube become big players in sports television. Might FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, Fanatics, Barstool and others do the same in the sports media space? That’s going to be an interesting follow for sure.

Knowing how everything can change in an instant, I take nothing for granted with BSM and BNM. This could all end tomorrow, and if it did, I’d look back on it as the best days of my professional life. I want to keep growing as a professional, while remaining an asset to my current partners, and finding ways to work with new brands and companies in both sports and news media. I’m also enjoying hosting a podcast again, and if you haven’t checked out The Jason Barrett Podcast, the latest episode with Colin Cowherd is a good one to start with.

The future for sports and news media may change but both will remain viable and important. I love that we’ve been able to be a small part of this business each day for the past 7 years, and I hope to make the next 7 years as fulfilling as the past 7. If I’m able to do that, it’ll mean the 20 years I spent in studios were needed to make a nationwide impact from a home office.

So on behalf of our entire team, past and present, thank you for reading the twenty thousand pieces of content we’ve produced since 2015. None of this is possible without an army of BSM/BNM supporters. I hope to see you in Los Angeles this March for the 2023 BSM Summit.

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The Podcast Movement Conference Made a Mistake Rejecting Ben Shapiro

“If this is a conference about podcasting, and you have someone in attendance who excels at it, has a massive following, and their company is supporting your event as a sponsor, why are you treating them like a disease?”

Jason Barrett

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I’ve had the pleasure of attending multiple Podcast Movement Conferences over the years. Those involved in putting the event together do a fantastic job creating an action packed agenda full of accomplished speakers, and the visual displays and access to different brands and industry professionals have always been nothing but positive. It’s why I was disappointed this year when my schedule didn’t allow for me to make the trip to Dallas.

So imagine my surprise late last week when I learned the conference took a stance against Westwood One radio host and co-founder of The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro

Shapiro’s company was a sponsor of this year’s show, and according to reports, the well known podcaster and radio host wasn’t registered for the event. He made a brief appearance at his company’s booth, shaking hands and taking photos with fans who stopped by to say hi, and his mere presence at the show led to some protesting his involvement on social media.

After learning Shapiro had stopped by, the Podcast Movement Conference posted a series of tweets which said “Hi folks, we owe you an apology before sessions kick off for the day. Yesterday afternoon, Ben Shapiro briefly visited the PM22 expo area near The Daily Wire booth. Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence.”

The conference added, “Those of you who called this “unacceptable” are right. In 9 wonderful years growing and celebrating this medium, PM has made mistakes. The pain caused by this one will always stick with us. We promise that sponsors will be more carefully considered moving forward. No TDW representatives were scheduled to appear on panels, and Shapiro remained in the common space and did not have a badge. If you have questions, we’re here to talk. Thank you for reading, and we hope you’ll continue to join us from here on out.”

A quick search shows that Shapiro has one of the top performing podcasts on the charts. According to Westwood One, it is downloaded over fifteen million times per month. In addition, his radio program is carried on hundreds of radio stations, he has 13 million followers combined between Facebook and Twitter, and his company, The Daily Wire, adds another 5.5 million supporters to the mix. They also showed they were supportive of the conference by making a financial commitment to sponsor a booth.

Having explained all of that I was stunned that the Podcast Movement Conference took this position. Let me be clear, it was a mistake. Their stance has led to a flood of negative attention over the past 72 hours, and it all could’ve easily been avoided. Though their next event is still a year away, given how much attention this story has received, it could have a carry over effect on future sponsorships and attendance. Only time will tell.

As someone who runs an annual conference, albeit much smaller, I know how hard it is to put an event together. What the Podcast Movement organizers put together each year requires a herculean effort, which is why I’m baffled that they picked sides in this situation. The media industry is large and full of people, brands and companies with different views and approaches to business and everyday life. The second you start judging and making decisions based on personal beliefs and/or social media activity, you’re in trouble.

I’ve long maintained that if someone works in the sports media industry and wishes to learn and share information to help improve the business, they’re welcome at our BSM Summit. We make changes to our schedule each year based on what we feel is topical for the attendees but we don’t discriminate, support one brand over another or allow personal views to dictate if someone can or can’t be present.

Case in point, at our March conference, I had a few people privately upset that I asked Craig Carton to speak. Craig’s prior arrest and time served in jail is well documented. First, I have a ton of respect for what Craig has accomplished, and I believe in second chances, but personal views aside, he’s the afternoon host in the nation’s largest market working for WFAN, a top rated sports radio brand. History has shown that he’s damn good and successful, and more than qualified to speak on the subjects we cover at our event. When a few folks expressed their displeasure with my decision I told them ‘If you’re not a fan of Craig, don’t attend that session. If it bothers you beyond that, I understand if you can’t attend the show.’

Quieting the noise gets easier when you focus strictly on the business. Making everyone happy is impossible when you organize an event, but if you allow multiple viewpoints to be present in the room, you end up in a decent place more times than not.

You also have to remember that social media can make things appear worse than they are. Is the issue you’re dealing with being raised by conference partners and supporters who attend the event each year or from someone who’s not in the building and thrives on creating a social media firestorm for the causes they oppose and fight against?

Some may recall that I dealt with a few headaches in 2019 prior to our LA Summit after folks involved with groups that had no interest or desire to attend our show started trying to create a controversy out of nothing. Though it was frustrating playing defense on Christmas night when individuals from the New York Times, Deadspin and WNBA teams started poking holes in our conference’s flyer, I learned an important lesson. As long as you do the right thing and have the support and trust of your friends, family, attendees, and partners, who cares what others think or say who don’t know you and aren’t in the room for your event.

That’s what I don’t understand here. Is Shapiro not one of the most successful podcasters out there? Was his company not a paying partner of the event? If this is a conference about podcasting, and you have someone in attendance who excels at it, has a massive following, and their company is supporting your event as a sponsor, why are you treating them like a disease? Most would roll out a red carpet for someone with Shapiro’s track record of success not publicly condemn them for showing up and sponsoring the show. I know I would. I’d also do the same for someone who’s equally successful and views the world the exact opposite way.

I can’t help but wonder how folks at Westwood One feel about this incident. Don’t they promote and support this conference and include their people in the event? Think they might object to one of their top personalities being treated this way? Furthermore, how about the talk radio format? It’s no secret that most of the programming on news/talk radio stations leans right. A number of top performing podcasts follow a similar path. It’s safe to say that most in the format are going to support Shapiro, and I don’t think that helps the conference with attracting future business and participation.

To be clear, I don’t listen to Ben Shapiro’s podcast or radio show, and I don’t read The Daily Wire. I only point that out because I don’t want anyone to assume that I’m supporting him because of personal interests or a professional relationship. We’ve never spoke or crossed paths. My opinion is based solely on the facts surrounding this situation, nothing else.

That said, I understand Ben has shared opinions that some take offense to and I don’t blame those folks for not wanting to be around him. But there’s a simple solution, don’t go near him or his booth. It’s the same thing I tell people who don’t like a particular radio station’s hosts or a piece of content on our website; if you don’t like it, don’t read or listen to it. The Podcast Movement Conference takes place in a large convention center. There’s more than enough room to keep everyone separated and happy. Last time I checked, there were attendees in the room who stopped by to meet Ben at his booth. Do they not count?

Look, you don’t have to agree with Shapiro, but this is a podcasting business conference, and it’s something he’s done at a higher level than most. That qualifies him to be there. You can’t get in the middle and start determining who is and isn’t allowed in based on personal beliefs or trying to please agenda driven people on social media. Would Podcast Movement tell Joe Rogan, one of the most successful podcasters out there, that he couldn’t attend if people who didn’t like his views on Covid-19 protested? What’s next, not giving out industry awards to stations and individuals who we don’t like or agree with? When does the insanity end?

Here’s the reality, there are likely other sponsors and attendees in the room who have views that some may consider offensive. Our content and advertisers aren’t just supported by good, honest people. There are thousands, if not millions, who listen and support us who are shady, sick, and morally bankrupt. That’s beyond our control. Our job is to inform and entertain, and make people care enough to come back regularly. If we do that well, sponsors will follow. Keep those things happening, and everyone remains satisfied.

Moving forward, the Podcast Movement Conference has to decide if it wants to be open to all or only to some. I root for the conference to do well. I’ve enjoyed attending previous shows and hope to attend future ones. But if they expect to maintain support and enjoy future growth, learning from this situation is important. There’s much more money in staying neutral than alienating one side of the room.

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