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Golic and Wingo Are Rolling With The Punches

Jason Barrett

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It’s 8am in Charlotte, the middle of May, and Uber driver Mike has his SiriusXM dial tuned to ESPN Radio. Being a transplanted New Yorker, he isn’t attached to the local sports stations, but has pledged his support to the one network which has provided him with a consistent listening experience that suits his tastes, ESPN Radio.

Just ten years ago the father of two relocated to the area, hoping to find a show that talked about his hometown teams and partially resembled the program he had grown up on, “Mike and the Mad Dog.” But that type of show didn’t exist in North Carolina so it required adjusting to what was available. Although he enjoyed Mark Packer on WFNZ, he didn’t care as much about local topics.

That opened the door to finding a new brand and talk show. After sampling a number of options, “Mike and Mike” became his preferred listening experience. The show spent time talking about the New York sports teams, and had their finger on the pulse of what mattered most to sports fans each day. Over the next decade, Greeny and Golic were part of Mike’s routine, until November 2017 when ESPN decided to make a change in mornings.

“When they announced Mike and Mike were going away, I was upset and not sure I was going to stick around,” said Mike. “I enjoyed Greenberg and Golic and wasn’t happy that ESPN split them up. Luckily though Golic stayed and they added Trey who I knew and liked from TV, and that convinced me to give them a chance. I’m glad I did because it’s a similar show.”

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The feelings shared by Mike are similar to what many others feel. There’s been a comfort in hearing ESPN Radio’s morning programming for close to two decades, and although “Mike and Mike” had their differences from “Golic and Wingo,” there’s enough similarities to retain the base that’s been loyal to ESPN’s morning show.

But anytime a station or network changes a popular show after eighteen years, it’s going to create noise, especially if the show isn’t considered broken. “Mike and Mike” were a huge part of the morning radio experience for sports radio listeners all across the nation, not to mention one of the most popular tandems on any of ESPN’s platforms. If the network was going to split them up and explore a new direction in morning drive, they’d likely have been given a pass. After all, introducing new faces and voices on a huge national network like ESPN Radio requires time.

But starting over isn’t an easy decision. It’s made even more difficult when you still have one part of the show in tact, and he’s familiar and popular with listeners and advertisers, and shown an ability to continue performing on a high level. Figuring out where Golic fit into the company’s plans was very important but this wasn’t just a company call. Golic had to make a few decisions too.

After going thru multiple morning shows on the same network with different partners, did he want to give it a third try? Did he want to continue dealing with comparisons to his former show? Was he still excited, energized and in love with the job he had done for over two decades, and willing to trust his employer to set him up for success after the previous year had produced a number of internal and external tensions as a result of his breakup with Mike Greenberg?

When the dust settled, ESPN chose to make subtle tweaks in morning drive rather than wholesale changes. There was an internal belief that Golic had more left in the tank, and affiliates and advertisers were comfortable and satisfied with the association and preferred for it to continue. Once Golic learned that Trey Wingo was an option to be his partner, and the addition of his son Mike Golic Jr. was being considered, it was clear to him that it wasn’t time to ride off into the sunset just yet.

“When the idea of working with my son and Trey was brought up it re-energized me,” said Golic Sr.. “This is my third time around the block. I worked first with (Tony) Bruno, then Greeny, and now Trey, and I felt the show was at its best when it was focused on being a radio show. The company said they wanted to get back to that and as I thought about it and the idea of working with Trey and my son, I felt we had a chance to grow faster than the last two shows did because the relationships were already established.”

Upon the announcement of ESPN Radio naming “Golic and Wingo” its new morning show, enthusiasm wasn’t as high among sports radio members outside of the ESPN Bristol campus. Many hoped the network would shake things up, and the idea of offering a similar style show was initially viewed as less than inspiring. As one unnamed source told me “ESPN had an opportunity to do something exciting and instead served up a second serving of vanilla radio.”

To content people not inside the ESPN bubble, higher value is placed on big personalities and unfiltered opinions. What isn’t given much consideration is whether a show is the right fit for the ESPN brand, sustainable for affiliates, and pleasing to the company’s paying clients.

But in executive circles, the ESPN brass had to consider a myriad of factors including the difficulties of replacing a high profile show. It’s easy to clamor for something new when moving on from an established program, but why purchase a new car if the one you already own drives well, is strong under the hood and only needs a few cosmetic changes?

“We’re proud of what we accomplished with Mike and Mike and saw this is an opportunity to build on the past 16 years,” explained ESPN Radio Senior Director, Programming and Operations Justin Craig. “Since making the change in mornings to Golic and Wingo, not one major market affiliate or dollar has been lost. I think that speaks to the power of our brand, the quality of our talent, and the trust we’ve earned from super serving our radio partners.”

Fast forward to today, six full months into their morning radio adventure, and “Golic and Wingo” have done their part to represent ESPN Radio well in the affiliate and advertising space. They’ve also produced the same multi-platform content that has made ESPN successful in mornings in previous years. The ratings may be down year over year in top markets like New York and Chicago (Two of ESPN’s owned stations and operated markets), but that’s not a surprise as any new show going in after Mike and Mike would require time before an audience committed to them. ESPN Radio Senior VP Traug Keller mentioned on the BSM Podcast last month that he believes new shows need over a year in order to establish a connection.

The bigger reflection of the show striking the right chord for company folks is that it’s held on to the “Mike and Mike” base, fueled the fire of the same “Mike and Mike” critics, and done its part to satisfy business partners. Although there’s a confident belief in the show’s development, areas of improvement aren’t being dismissed either.

“I think it’s a good show right now, but it has the potential to be great,” said Marcia Keegan, Vice President, National Radio Programming and Production. “The show could benefit from adding a few bigger guests, football talkers, and creative stunts. We’re always trying to find ways to improve. We’re only a few months into this show and already I can hear how it’s grown. As the guys gain more reps, they’re going to develop an even stronger rhythm.”

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One advantage “Golic and Wingo” have over the prior two morning shows on ESPN Radio is the instant chemistry and familiarity that already existed between Golic Sr., his son Mike Jr. and Trey. Their relationship history doesn’t guarantee anything, but it helps a host feel comfortable when they already know their partner’s hot buttons, weaknesses, quirks, and day to day approach. It certainly was a huge factor in Wingo in making the decision to take on the challenge of hosting a 4-hour radio morning show.

“It’s very rare in this business to be twenty years in and get the chance to do something new with someone you love working with,” said Wingo. “Our prior relationship made this easy and worth doing. My biggest adjustment was adjusting to the morning schedule. I’m a night person. I’m still on that routine of “wake up idiot”.”

If Wingo thinks it’s rough hitting the airwaves at 6am each day, imagine what must be rolling thru Mike Golic Jr.’s head. He wakes up each day after 2am and sets a number of additional alarms just to make sure he doesn’t oversleep. He then hits the airwaves across the country at 4am, hosting “First and Last,” before making a seamless transition from his solo show to joining the first hour of the morning program.

Despite not having the opportunity to pre-plan with the morning crew due to being on the air, Golic Jr. says they’ve found a way to work around it.

“We talk a lot and prep the night before,” explained Golic Jr.. “They also get to listen to me while driving in which gives them a chance to hear what I’m passionate about and react to it too. We’re fortunate to have a good cast around us too and we’ll rely on them and trust their feedback to determine if we should stick with something or change direction. Nobody is afraid to speak up and voice their opinion on ways to make the show better.”

But when family relationships carry over to the workplace, sometimes they’re counterproductive. That isn’t the case though for the Golic’s. Mike Jr. made the choice to pursue a football career just like his father, and when that didn’t work out, he pursued his father’s second labor of love, the sports media business. So far, so good.

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Since making the move, Golic Jr. has increased his value inside ESPN. He’s gone from making occasional on-air appearances, contributing to fantasy football programming, and co-hosting “First and Last,” to hosting “First and Last,” taking part in social media shows, and appearing each day on “Golic and Wingo.”

Given the nature of the sports media business, there will of course be whispers about Golic Jr. gaining advantages due to who his father is. He’s not naive, he understands that. Ironically, most who move up the ladder in this industry do so based on having talent and relationships. Rarely do people land a high profile opportunity by blindly submitting a resume and demo tape.

No matter what your perception is of Jr.’s ability to get his foot inside the door, he’s had to work hard to stay there. He’s also had to perform in front of the nation’s eyes and ears, knowing that he’ll forever be compared to his father. Though those comparisons may bother some, Golic Jr. wears them like a badge of honor. He’s proud of who his father is, and acknowledges how much of an influence he’s had on his career.

“I saw the proof of concept in my dad,” shared Golic Jr.. “Mike and Mike was a big part of my life. The work dad did on that show inspired me to want to be in this business. Now look at where we are. How many people get to talk sports with their dad each day for a living? The only downside of working with him is that he’s wrong a lot. He could also dress better and improve his footwear.”

That good ole fashioned ribbing between father and son has been on display since the show was introduced on ESPN Radio in November. It allows them to provide a family friendly sports program for morning commuters, while embracing unexpected moments that may leave them initially startled. No time was that more evident then when Rhonda Rousey appeared on the program.

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“Golic and Wingo” aren’t going to be confused for a shock-jock morning show or a program which goes for the throat of whoever’s on the front page of ESPN.com. They concentrate their efforts on having insightful, topical and entertaining sports conversations while mixing in laughter, guests and social interaction. That may not be a revolutionary approach but it’s a formula that keeps an audience engaged and advertisers and affiliates happy.

“We want to continue building the relationship and get comfortable discussing anything on the show,” said Wingo. “I’m not worried about numbers and things beyond our control. We’re just going to roll with the punches, do what we do, and see what happens. Just like the NFL Draft, nobody really knows what’s going to happen. You’re making educated guesses. Right now, we’re having fun and delivering what we feel is a good show and we’re going to enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.”

Though he might downplay it, Wingo understands the high stakes involved in running point on ESPN Radio’s morning show. The program, which also broadcasts on television on ESPNEWS, is critically important to the network’s success. If ratings, revenue or affiliates were to decline, so too would the fun.

But unlike some in local situations, if the show doesn’t work out, Trey doesn’t have to worry about finding employment. Having been one of the best and most respected hosts on ESPN’s NFL programming, he’s earned trust with the viewer, and likely gained a few more fans in the company by agreeing to take on the challenge of filling Greeny’s spot and hosting the morning show. Despite having done a great job on the network’s NFL coverage, Wingo admits the chance to expand his horizons was welcomed.

“My presence on ESPN around the NFL has been tremendous but this now gives people a chance to learn more about me and my personality,” said Wingo. “Sports fans are discovering that I keep my finger on the pulse of other sports too. You’re not going to hear hot takes from me. That’s not my style. I’ll give opinions when I feel I need to, but I believe it’s about organic conversation and this shows provides plenty of opportunities to create that.”

The challenge of creating those organic conversations depends largely on strong chemistry and familiarity. Trey and the Golic’s have a firm handle on that. Golic Sr. has been down this road before, and knows all too well how difficult it can be and how long it can take to find the right mix with a co-host. His prior two morning shows with Greeny and (Tony) Bruno were each successful, but required developing relationships and learning what to do and what not to do.

In this case though, relationships were already formed. Golic and Wingo have worked inside the same location for over twenty years, they’ve done shows together, and they’re friends with mutual interests. That certainly helps when assembling a new show, and Justin Craig says that preexisting chemistry has made a difference in the way the show has grown over the first six months.

“They’re in their first season,” Craig points out. “In sports, teams get better with time. There’s still work to be done of course but I think Mike and Trey launched at a higher point than others.”

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To make sure the morning show is firing on all cylinders, ESPN Radio has spared no expense in surrounding their on-air stars with a top notch behind the scenes crew. The production team is led by radio producer Dan Stanczyk, social media producer Ali Bronson, board op Cliff Augustin, production assistant Devin Kane, and imaging director Jerry Mailhiot.

And that’s just the radio side of things. The television crew includes producer Rob Morgan, director Carlos Mejia, production assistant Andrew Distler, and researchers Brett Perrotta and Riley Foreman.

With that type of support given to the show, creating a multi-platform successful product for ESPN is the expectation. When you watch on TV, listen on radio, follow on social media, or catch up later on the website, the reason things run smoothly is because of all of the individuals involved in the show.

But how does that factor into the content creation process? Ali Bronson acknowledged that teamwork, attitude and role definition are important behind the scenes, but having consistent input and solid execution from the hosts makes all the difference.

“These guys are motivated to deliver a great show and there’s a collective understanding of what’s expected each day,” said Bronson. “They each know their role on the show, and participate in the content process including how to use social media and GIF’s to create tune ins. Golic Sr. steers us back to where we need to be if we get off track. Trey drives the show and looks for his spots to react. His being new to the show has brought a new energy and allowed everyone to have fun. In terms of what we talk about, it depends on what matters most at that particular time. The NBA Playoffs and NFL topics though generate the strongest reactions from Trey and Mike Sr. so we make sure they’re a big part of what we do.”

With nearly six months in the books and having weathered the storm of replacing a high profile morning show, it’s natural to wonder “what’s next?” The content may be topical, the chemistry natural and the energy high, but to expand the audience, increase the confidence, and elevate the position of what was initially viewed by some as “Mike and Mike Part 2,” it’s all about where the show goes from here.

Golic Sr. acknowledges that they’re off to a strong start, but hasn’t lost sight of the way the business works or his own career aspirations:

“I view this industry very similar to my football career, I’m on the same team but the roster changes sometimes,” explained Golic. “I think this show has the ability to grow faster than the last two did and we’re off to a good start but if we’re able to get Jr. more involved in the future that would be welcomed. As long as I’m having fun, I want to keep doing this. I would though like to call more games.”

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So, that begs the question, should Golic Jr. be more involved? If the network is going to include him in the first hour, why not utilize him during the remaining three?

To their credit, network officials have eased Golic Jr. into the show rather than immediately throwing him into the deep end. That strategy has allowed Trey and Mike Sr. to find their groove together, which is essential for the program to ascend to its highest level.

However, the youthful approach that Golic Jr. supplies has added a nice touch. That’s especially important given that Trey and Mike are in their mid fifties. It allows the show to play to both ends of the sports radio demographic. One thing’s for sure, an increased role certainly wouldn’t be rejected by Golic Jr. if it were to be presented.

“I love doing this and want to contribute more but that’s not up to me,” Golic Jr. said. “If they feel in the future that my role should be expanded then I’ll happily have that conversation. But right now, I’m just thrilled to be a part of it.”

Golic Jr. may have his sights set on advancing his career and earning more air time on the nation’s largest sports morning show, but after enduring the public barrage that comes with replacing a popular show like “Mike and Mike,” Trey and Mike have reached a point where they’re done looking in the rear view mirror. They’re not worried about how they stack up to the former show, if ESPN executives are second guessing their decision, or if their style of show makes the masses happy. Their primary concern is doing a show they can feel good about it. If that results in affiliates, advertisers, listeners, and executives being satisfied, then that’s icing on the cake.

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“I don’t get caught up in numbers and all that stuff” said Golic. “If I can leave you with one serious and one funny note then I feel good about what we did.”

Never one to pass up an opportunity to lighten the mood, Wingo countered with “If I can wake up and get thru 4 hours, that’s a good day.”

Six months into the start of their show, the lights remain on, the affiliates are still there, and the revenue is strong. That has to give ESPN executives confidence that they’re on the right track.

For Golic and Wingo though, there’s another way to measure progress. Their badges still work, the checks still clear, and they continue to do a show with people they enjoy being around. If that’s not the definition of success, then what is?

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett

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When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on BarrettNewsMedia.com and sports gets less crowded on BarrettSportsMedia.com. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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