The Talkers 2018 conference in New York City is over but a few things remain in my mind after attending the event. Michael Harrison and his team put together an excellent full day schedule which was well attended and supported by industry leaders. Altogether 71 people from a variety of backgrounds in the media business spoke, and finding an open seat in the Helen Mills Theater was not easy.
Having spent countless hours at conferences during my career, and especially over the past three years since launching BSM, I’ve viewed each of these events as a chance to expand my knowledge and grow my network. I realize some things we hear are repeated year after year but there’s also new information and opinions shared which can go a long way in helping you grow as an industry professional. I also think there are many similarities between sports and news/talk so if I can pick up a few tips to benefit my clients, I’m glad to make the trip to attend.
Before I dive into some of my takeaways, I want to address one item which came up last week. I learned that there were a number of people upset that Alex Jones was listed on the conference schedule. As it turns out, his appearance was cancelled. I’m not here to tell you that you should or shouldn’t attend an event based on your feelings towards someone who’s views you strongly reject, but I refuse to let my personal beliefs get in the way of an opportunity to learn and strengthen professional relationships. I’d rather walk out of the room, make a phone call or grab a bite to eat during a session which I’m opposed to, instead of punishing 70 other talented speakers. But hey, that’s just me.
As far as the sessions were concerned, there were 15 jammed into the 8-hour day. Some flowed smoothly and delivered tremendous information. Some were tougher due to an overcrowding of guest speakers and a short period of time to explore subjects. Overall though it was a productive and beneficial experience.
For starters, I thought Karen Hunter of SiriusXM did a nice job when accepting the Freedom of Speech Award. She reminded the audience that the microphone has an ability to destroy people if you’re not responsible with it. Her points on aiming to bring people together to create a coalition, and discuss issues and ideas in an honest manner was refreshing. I also loved her commentary on challenging hosts to find a way to add to people’s peaks rather than their pain.
Michael Harrison also provided a few gems, starting with a reminder that the only thing holding back the radio industry is the radio industry itself. He mentioned that we’ve got to be open and willing to share our experiences with others because it allows us to learn and build a better industry. This is something I’ve challenged sports radio people time and time again to do a better job of. If you don’t tell your brand’s story, you can’t bitch when it’s told poorly by someone else.
In his fireside chat with FOX News television and radio personality Brian Kilmeade, Harrison asked about the challenge of conducting real interviews with high profile people without kissing their ass. In Kilmeade’s case, he’s had a rapport with Donald Trump prior to his becoming President, so now when conversations take place, there’s an even bigger focus placed on whether the FOX News host is being fair or lobbing softballs.
Kilmeade said his approach to those situations is to lead with a fact, ask a question and avoid sensationalizing. He said President Trump isn’t unwilling to hear criticism but he expects to be treated fairly.
One great example shared by Kilmeade was when he interviewed WWE Chairman Vince McMahon during his steroids trial. Brian began by trying to boost him up before the discussion by pointing out how he enjoyed the product to which McMahon replied “I don’t need a fan. Just ask the questions. I have the answers.” It showed Kilmeade that if a person has the truth on their side, they’re less worried about facing the music.
After Kilmeade’s appearace, Beasley Radio CEO Caroline Beasley spoke with Harrison and shared how much she believes in the sports talk space, proclaiming 98.5 The Sports Hub to be the best sports radio brand in the nation. Beasley then offered some thoughts on the digital space, and pointed out that the company launched 63 of their stations on Alexa, and now receives 12% of their listening on the platform. Among her biggest concerns was the lack of real numbers due to on-air and online listening not receiving true measurement.
Following Beasley was Salem Media Group’s SVP of the Spoken Word format Phil Boyce. The former WABC programmer presented some outstanding data to show what NewsTalk listeners want most, and explained how that data should be applied when hosting shows. The reason why Sean Hannity mentions the words “Breaking News” within the first 30 seconds of his show is because data shows it to be the number one thing people take an interest in. He said it’s the understanding of an audience which has allowed FOX News to continue winning despite losing 3/4 of their stars.
Boyce labeled Donald Trump “the gift that keeps on giving” and talked about how his ascension to the highest office has been the biggest boom for NewsTalk since Monica Lewinsky’s infamous encounter with Bill Clinton. Boyce read a great quote from the Washington Examiner which said “The President is one of the wildest, most exciting things to ever happen to this industry, and if you think there’s a chance that the national media will dial back their 24-hour Trump coverage in 2020, willingly passing up the financial benefits that come with covering this circus, then you don’t know media.”
Insights were then shared by Boyce from Salem’s research which highlighted what people value most and least on talk radio. He pointed out how some hosts and stations have spent time talking about nonsense and how it’s come back to bite them in the ass. If time allows, I encourage you to log on to Talkers.com and watch the video presentation. It’s on the top right of the page and about an hour and fifteen minutes in. It’s well worth your time it if you’re a fan of research and how it shapes a programming strategy.
A Talkers conference wouldn’t be complete without a visit from WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa. The New York sports radio icon mentioned that we are on a collision course between content and platforms. He offered a few thoughts on the demand for live play by play and why he expects sports to deliver more suitors and dollars in the future. One note which Francesa shared which won’t make programmers happy is when he pointed out that he does a self-sufficient show and receives minimal involvement from his PD. Given his length of time and success in the business, Mike doesn’t believe he needs to be regularly coached. He closed up by challenging on-air talent to take a stronger interest in learning the business, especially the ratings and revenue portion of their jobs, adding how Don Imus and Brent Musburger were influential on his development as an industry professional.
After hearing about the values of sports and news/talk radio, the conversation shifted to the podcasting space. Podcast One Chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz took the stage and touted the various ways brands can use metrics to satisfy advertisers. Pattiz pointed out how uniques are similar to cume and don’t often tell the whole story of a program/brand’s success. Among the biggest issues Pattiz notices is how podcasting has been sold as value added rather than programming with unique value. He believes the most important sale is a host read commercial, and it has increased value in podcasting due to limited commercial availability.
In closing, the Podcast One CEO cautioned that we haven’t reached the golden age of podcasting yet. In fact he feels we’re not even close to it yet. When exploring talent to add to his platform he said if someone can generate an audience, then they’re attractive, because anyone with an audience, has an ability to sell something to them. He shared that someone with 50K in social media followers won’t have the door shut on them but if they walk in with a few million that’s going to immediately get the company’s attention because podcasting recognizes and builds influencers.
One of my favorite sessions of the day was hearing Steven Goldstein of Amplifi Media present his findings on the growth of smart speakers. Goldestein, who is in business with Fred Jacobs of Jacobs Media, noted that smart speakers are growing faster than smart phones did. He said we’re moving to a post-text world where voice becomes the number one way to communicate, and shared that by the year 2020 it’s expected that 50% of all searches will be done thru voice. Goldstein presented some great numbers to further illustrate the importance of the smart speaker space, mentioning that 20% of Americans now one one, Google AdWords revenue has soared to $95 billion, and Amazon has built a 5000 person staff to work on Alexa.
How that applies to radio is pretty simple according to Goldstein. He said smart speakers have put radio back in the home, but it’s critical for stations to develop skills so they can be easily found. He cautioned that the first time a listener searches for the brand and can’t find it, is the last time they search for it. Another valuable reminder was that when it involves the voice space, there is no AM/FM button. Currently there is an abundance of choice including 5 streaming services, one hundred thousand radio stations and five hundred fifty thousand podcasts. If ever there was a time to analyze your brand, people, and programming and consider the ways they can be received on smart speaker devices, this is the time.
The final session which I found interesting was The Big Picture discussion which featured Mike McVay of Cumulus Media, Justin Chase of Beasley, Chris Berry of iHeartMedia, Julie Talbott of Premiere Radio Networks, and EVP of the Weiss Agency, Heather Cohen. Over the course of thirty minutes the panel answered questions from ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones on the present state of the business and expected changes. Chase specifically raised some valuable points on radio’s relationship with the auto industry and how it’s in a good place and important to the future of our business. McVay announced that Cumulus has begun reworking incentives for their people, taking into account digital impact, not just ratings. The sense among all involved was that podcasting is certainly important, and a big part of each group’s future plans, but the optimism for radio has not wavered.
Other notable speakers included Westwood One President Suzanne Grimes, AM 970 The Answer host and known comedian Joe Piscopo, WABC morning host Sid Rosenberg, and program directors Craig Schwalb, Scott Masteller, Grace Blazer and Mike Bendixen. Bendixen in particular won the day for most swear words used during a session. Before you judge him, let me point out that it was entertaining. It not only showcased Mike’s true passion for the business, but the reality is that many of us talk this way on a regular basis, so I appreciated the authenticity.
If there was one thing to point out that I found concerning it’s that these conferences continue to be supported and attended by an aging demographic. This isn’t just a Talkers issue, it’s an industry issue. To make it even more depressing, rarely do you find personalities in the room looking to learn.
That leaves me to wonder, are industry members in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s interested where we are and where we’re headed? With the world changing as rapidly as it is, and companies investing time and resources every day to get an edge, do we honestly believe the answers to progress are going to come by just doing the job in front of us inside our own hallways? I continue to see an issue with reaching younger professionals, and I question what these conferences will look like in 10-15 years. If we don’t take advantage of the opportunities to learn while they exist, we may not have that option in the future. I don’t think that helps any of us.
Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network
“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”
To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.
As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.
If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Which brings me to today’s announcement.
If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.
After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.
The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.
I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.
One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.
Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.
Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.
What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.
Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.
Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.
5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs
“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”
I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.
Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.
But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.
Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.
If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.
Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.
For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.
At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.
I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.
Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.
Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.
Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.
Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.
Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.
Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.