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Radio Needs Less Dave Gettlemans

“When you’re in charge, you have to make some difficult decisions. That means sometimes people that are popular in the hallways have to be let go and sometimes you have to put a package together to convince someone a little more standoffish to stay.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Dave Gettleman has no vision for what the New York Giants need to be this time next year. He either has no ability or no desire to evaluate what headaches are worth enduring in pursuit of a greater goal.

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He has two core beliefs. First, he knows games are won and lost in the trenches, so he will never pass up a chance to add talent to either of his lines. Second, he just wants things to be as easy as possible. That means anyone that asks him about his longterm plan is going to be met with an eye roll and be treated like they are a pain in the ass.

That was on full display when Gettleman met with the media after using the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. It was a controversial pick that warranted answers. Fans wanted to know what it meant for Eli Manning’s future. They wanted to know why Jones and not Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, whose stats and predraft evaluation were both considerably better.

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Gettleman seemed to have no answers and got annoyed at the reporters that were trying to get him to clarify his vision for how Jones will eventually be moved into the starting role. He just kept repeating the phrase “we may use the Green Bay model” over and over.

Look, I don’t really care whether or not Dave Gettleman has a plans for the Giants. He could trade the whole roster for a can of Beefaroni and burn MetLife Stadium to the ground for all I care. It’s not a team that I have much of a feeling about one way or the other.

What I do care about is that PDs and GMs look at Dave Gettleman and instantly recognize that he is not something they can afford to be. You have to have a plan to replace aging talent. You have to have a plan for dealing with difficult talent. Most of all, when questioned, you have to be able to articulate your plan for taking the station from where it is to where you believe it needs to be.

Dave Gettleman knows he has to replace Eli Manning eventually. Rather than approach that job with what would be best for the Giants in mind, he seems to be prioritizing what Eli wants.

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Look, Eli Manning won two Super Bowls for the Giants. He deserves some deference, but in a management role, your job is to protect the brand and make sure it stays healthy even when the current star is gone. It doesn’t seem like Gettleman is prioritizing the Giants in this process and it makes him look weak and clueless.

When he was the GM of the Carolina Panthers, Dave Gettleman chose to release Josh Norman after the defensive back turned in the very best season of his career. Why? Because contract negotiations broke down and for whatever reason Gettleman saw using the Franchise Tag as letting Norman win their standoff and letting Norman win would have been unacceptable.

He traded Odell Beckham Jr, the best receiver in Giants’ franchise history for two draft picks. Why? Because Beckham was too much of a diva and that’s not something Gettleman is willing to put up with.

Look, my colleague Brian Noe writes a lot about the need to be a good teammate and lift up the performance of those around you. I don’t disagree with him. Being a good teammate is a good professional quality to have, but if you’re a bad teammate and still deliver where it counts, who cares if you’re everyone’s buddy, right?

When you’re in charge, you have to make some difficult decisions. That means sometimes people that are popular in the hallways have to be let go and sometimes you have to put a package together to convince someone a little more standoffish to stay. As long as you can look your staff in the eyes and tell them with conviction that the decisions you’ve made are the best ones to achieve long term success, they may not agree with you but they will be more likely to trust you.

That is Gettleman’s greatest failing. When he had the opportunity to clearly explain why he took Daniel Jones with the 6th pick and what that says about his long term plans for Eli Manning, he figuratively punted. Rather than send a message that there is a quality plan for future success in New York, he instead sent a message that he doesn’t trust his own plan or worse, there is no plan at all.

Gettleman is getting roasted by fans and the media. That isn’t ideal, but it isn’t really a problem either. What will be a problem is the way these comments are met in the Giants’ locker room and coaches’ offices.

Does Pat Shurmer really believe sixth-round pick Darius Slayton is an adequate replacement for Odell Beckham Jr? Do guys like Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram have faith that their primes will not be wasted by a QB that can’t be benched no matter how bad he plays because he is a franchise legend?

Your team has to trust you and they won’t if you cannot look them in the eye and articulate your vision for the station. They won’t trust that you can achieve that vision if you cannot figure out a way to work with your best performer even if the two of you don’t always get along.

I don’t know how to help Dave Gettleman, and for all I know he may not need anyone’s help. He could have this all figured out, but the point is that without being able to articulate his vision, there’s no way he can get his team to buy into it. If your team doesn’t buy into your vision, you aren’t really much of a leader.

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.

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WRONG BAD

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.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

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

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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

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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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