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What We Can Learn From NBA Jerseys

There are appropriate times to focus on national stories in local radio, but it’s hard to lose when you set your sites not on being the perfect show, but on being the perfect show for your market.

Demetri Ravanos



My son is 7-years-old and he absolutely loves the NBA. His favorite team is the Washington Wizards, because his favorite player is John Wall. That is awesome. John Wall is from Raleigh. My son is from Raleigh. It’s a perfect fit right now, but it’s going to be a real problem for his dad, who is a lifelong Celtics fan, if the Knicks pull off this trade they are rumored to want so badly. 

Because my son is 7 and because I am a sports aesthetics enthusiast, we started talking about the NBA’s City Edition Jerseys over the weekend. There are a lot of cool looks this year. I asked him which was his favorite. He said the Wizards, because…well, he is one of those fans that can’t recognize when his team is wearing pure trash. 

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He asked me what my favorite was. I told him I was torn. I love that the Timberwolves went with the Purple Rain motif…then of course, had to explain what Purple Rain was. My son loves Prince’s music but we may be a few years away from bathing ourselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.  

The Nets’ Notorious BIG-inspired threads look really cool as well. I’m also partial to Utah’s Red Rocks jerseys and New Orleans’s Mardi Gras theme.

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Notice the pattern?

All of the best City Edition jerseys this year make the biggest impact with the team’s local fanbase. They would only work for the team in the city they’re in. 

Take note as you prepare your rundown each day. There is nothing wrong with a host in Miami talking about the Rams and Bears on Monday morning. It was the most watched game of any sort this weekend.

What will have a bigger impact on that host’s listeners though is talking about the game between the Heat and Lakers on Monday night. It will be the last time D-Wade and LeBron share a court in the NBA, as Wade has announced this season is his “last dance.”

Think of the local angles he or she could take here. These guys brought a pair of championships and four trips to the NBA Finals to the city together. What are fans’ memories of that run? How did those four years together compare to the host’s expectations the day of that pep rally the Heat held to introduce the Big 3 for the first time in 2010?

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Surely you’ve heard the phrase “play the hits.” It’s the mantra of nearly every music format. Translated to sports talk it means you devote the most time to the biggest stories. I am never going to tell you that is wrong, but in sports radio, there is a specific way you go about deciding what the hits are.

What will ignite the most passion?

If you’re a host that relies on phone calls, texts, and tweets, you need to be looking for the topics that will drive the most listener interaction. If you’re a multi-person show that stays insulated, you should gravitate towards topics that trigger memories and strong opinions from every voice on the show. 

How do you do that? By finding the stories that the largest segment of your audience have the strongest connection to. More often than not, those stories will be the ones involving local teams and athletes.

Wrapping your station and your show in a local identity doesn’t mean ignoring major national stories. When Urban Meyer retires at age 54, that is something any market with any level of college football enthusiasm should pay attention to, but just because it is SportsCenter’s A-block that day, it doesn’t mean that story jumps ahead of talk about Ron Rivera’s job security on Charlotte sports stations.

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If we learn anything from the NBA’s City Edition jerseys, let it be this. It is tempting to follow a trend you see everywhere. That’s why the Pacers, 76ers, and Grizzlies have essentially the same “special” gray jersey. Look across the internet at articles reacting to these jerseys. The reaction to the gray ones are exactly the same. “These are boring and generic. There is nothing special about them.”

Now look at the reaction to something like the Warriors’ tribute to the most famous Chinatown in America or the Thunder’s jersey, which is perfect for a team in the state with the highest Native American population per capita in America. 

Those jerseys look good, but that is not why the positive reactions to them are so strong. It is because they so perfectly capture a design and a feeling that is only appropriate for a team from those cities. Let that be the goal for your show.

Pick the topics and put together the segments that give you the best chance to create memorable content. Anything that elicits emotion and reaction fits that bill. There are appropriate times to focus on national stories in local radio, but it’s hard to lose when you set your sites not on being the perfect show, but on being the perfect show for your market. 

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.




In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.


I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves



Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table



Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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