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Sports Radio’s 2019 Spring Book Ratings Recap

“A look at how sports stations in 20+ markets performed in the 2019 spring book.”

Jason Barrett

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Each quarter at BSM we highlight how sports radio stations across America have performed in their latest ratings books. I’ve been asked before why this piece comes out a few weeks after the results are in and the answer is that it takes time to gather information from over 20+ markets and other business needs require attention too. That said, I’m grateful that many format folks look forward to reading it.

Having been a programmer and analyzed panel changes, meter counts, hot zips, listener trends and every other factor that goes into generating ratings, I know how much it means to those involved with a radio station to have their work matter and be appreciated. Because I love this format, respect those involved in programming circles, and understand the challenges brands face generating advertising dollars, I continue to research market results and write this column. I hope it helps educate clients on why sports radio brands are worth investing in. I’m also optimistic that industry leaders will be reminded of some of the great work being done by their people and brands and put a few things into perspective when analyzing the numbers. Sometimes they lose sight of it.

But I’d be lying if I said I enjoy writing this column as much as I once did. Although I love giving brands recognition and credit for a job well done, there’s also the reality of this industry continuing to be poorly measured, especially digitally. When I analyze 20-30 markets and find streaming numbers practically invisible for some of the format’s top brands, it’s difficult for me to fake enthusiasm. Too many of these stations have bigger audiences and impact than they receive credit for. It’s got to get better.

This is not a ‘get off my lawn’ moment. It’s a simple reminder that we need more comprehensive data to compete against ALL media. Social media giants and tech companies are eating everyone’s lunch. The projections for the future look similar. To have a fighting chance we’ve got to be able to capture the full story of what these brands are delivering while also adjusting internal mindsets that it doesn’t begin and end with numbers.

Ratings have been a part of my world for the past 15 years. I love studying them and seeing friends, peers, and industry professionals reap the rewards of a job well done. Sports talk radio delivers an emotional connection with its audience and in the process these personalities earn trust. That helps businesses that align with them move product. That by itself is worth investing in. The numbers are the icing on the cake.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how sports radio brands around the country performed during the 2019 spring book.

NEW YORK:

Sports radio listening in the big apple remained strong with WFAN’s Boomer and Gio finishing 1st in the market in morning drive with Men 25-54. FAN’s morning team finished with a low 6 share, two points higher than 98.7 ESPN NY’s airing of Golic and Wingo which came in 10th.

Middays were strong for Beningo and Roberts and CMB on WFAN. Joe and Evan produced a low 7 share to finish 1st between 10a-1p. CMB recorded a high 6 share to come in 2nd during their timeslot of 1p-3p. 98.7 ESPN’s Humpty and Canty and the Stephen A. Smith show generated the same number (just under a mid 3 share) for the quarter. Humpty and Canty were 10th, Smith 11th.

The always interesting battle between Mike Francesa and the Michael Kay Show remained close. If you include both radio and streaming listening for both stations, Francesa wins the head to head matchup by two tenths of a point. Without the Fan’s streaming taken into account Kay wins. Using the combined number, Francesa delivered just above a mid 6 share. Kay was just under a mid 6 share. The two shows finished 1st and 2nd respectively in the market which is outstanding.

The one issue that has created confusion in New York City’s ratings has been the way Entercom New York and ESPN New York’s differ in how they operate and sell ads. ESPN combines radio and streaming whereas The Fan produces them separately.

Regardless of how you want to slice it, both brands had reasons to celebrate the spring book. Summer could be a little different with Kay off the radio due to vocal cord surgery, Gray out due to maternity leave, and Francesa taking a week or two for summer vacation.

LOS ANGELES:

ESPN LA 710 was pleased with its progress for the quarter. The station finished just under a 3 share, gaining six tenths of a point year to year. Mason and Ireland remained the top rated program in the market with a high 3 share. All of 710’s weekday programs improved their numbers from spring to spring. It was the stations best spring book since 2015.

AM 570 LA Sports also had a few reasons to be happy with the quarterly report. The radio station picked up a full point spring to spring in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). 570 also nearly doubled their share in morning drive year to year thanks to the Dan Patrick Show.

CHICAGO:

670 The Score continued its winning ways, securing victory for the spring book in both weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) and the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with Men 25-54. The Score generated a low 5 share to finish 4th and 5th respectively in those two categories. Cubs baseball certainly helped. ESPN 1000 came in 9th in prime, and 11th for the full week.

Fueling The Score’s success was the morning team of Mully and Haugh who finished 3rd with just under a mid 7 share. The show was just one tenth of a point away from being tied for 1st overall with Men 25-54. ESPN 1000’s airing of Golic and Wingo did make strides too, gaining 10% to climb into the top 10 with a mid 3 share.

A close race developed in middays between The Score’s Bernstein and McKnight and ESPN 1000’s Kap and Company. The Score’s tandem won the quarter by finishing 7th with a high 3 share. Kap’s program was tied for 9th with a mid 3 share. Also, Laurence Holmes bested Carmen and Jurko between the hours of Noon and 2pm by a little more than a point. Holmes finished 5th, Carmen and Jurko were 9th.

The afternoon drive battle this quarter was won by The Score’s McNeil and Parkins. 670’s show was tied for 3rd with a little better than a mid 5 share, nearly a point and a half ahead of ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy who were 7th with a low 4 share.

One last item worth sharing, 670’s combination of Cubs baseball and Joe Ostrowski were 1st between the hours of 6p-10p. Play by Play and Julie DiCaro were ranked 3rd between the hours of 10p-12a.

SAN FRANCISCO:

Both KNBR and 95.7 The Game had success stories worth sharing this quarter. KNBR finished 2nd overall in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a high 5 share, three tenths of a point ahead of The Game. The Sports Leader also won the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) edging The Game by one tenth of a point. The Game’s big victory came in the month of June when the station won the month, finishing 1st overall in the market.

In mornings, KNBR’s Murph and Mac came in 4th, four tenths of a point ahead of Joe, Lo and Dibbs who finished 6th. The former midday team of Gary and Larry led KNBR to a win between 10a-1p, finishing six tenths of a point ahead of Steiny and Guru and 1-hour of The Greg Papa Show with Bonta Hill (Papa has since joined KNBR). The final 2-hours of Papa and Hill’s show from 1p-3p earned The Game a seven tenths of a point victory over Fitz and Brooks (Brooks has since moved to PM drive on KNBR, Fitzgerald is no longer with the station).

Afternoons saw both Tom Tolbert and Damon Bruce perform strong with Tolbert winning the matchup by six tenths of a point. Bruce’s daypart though was The Game’s highest ranked for the quarter. Both shows benefited from a few Giants and Warriors games airing during their time slot.

Closing things out at night, The Game placed 2nd to KNBR’s 5th, winning the evening matchup for the quarter by nearly a point and a half.

Overall a strong showing by both brands. With the recent lineup shuffling at both stations, and football season approaching, the next two books should be an interesting follow.

DALLAS:

It was a strange quarter for both Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket and 105.3 The Fan. In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) The Ticket was 1st and The Fan was tied for 10th. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) The Ticket was 1st and The Fan 14th. That’s the good news if you’re at The Ticket. Not so much if you’re at The Fan.

However, what makes this strange is that the winter book had the two brands ranked 1st and 3rd in the market, and last year during this same time period The Fan was ranked 4th. Looking deeper into the numbers, June was especially tough year to year for all of the Dallas sports stations. Among Men 25-54, The Ticket’s share was 44% lower, The Fan was down by 38% and ESPN 103.3 down 37.5%. Considering that the lineups haven’t changed, and both stations remain strong relevant brands, it appears a meter or two has created market challenges.

Meter challenges aside, The Ticket had more reason to celebrate thanks to a 1st place finish in mornings from The Musers, a 2nd place finish between the hours of 10a-3p with Norm and Donovan and BaD Radio, and a 1st place performance in afternoons from The Hardline.

For The Fan, their best results came in middays courtesy of GBag Nation. The show was ranked 7th for the quarter. The station’s drive time programs with Shan and RJ and Ben and Skin finished in the teens which hasn’t happened since we started following the market a few years ago.

One positive for The Fan, they defeated The Ticket in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 18-34. Those numbers though were also lower than usual.

A word of caution to industry folks looking at the market this quarter, tip your cap to Jeff Catlin and his team at The Ticket for their overall 1st and 2nd place finishes but don’t overreact to the results. Both of these stations have been rock solid brands consistently ranked in the Top 5 with much higher shares. With football season approaching, it’s just a matter of time til the meters return and we’ve got another strong battle between two great sports radio brands.

PHILADELPHIA:

Sports Radio WIP has been on a roll for quite some time, and the spring book was no exception. The station won the local competition against 97.5 The Fanatic, finishing a little more than 2 points ahead with Men 25-54 and just under 2 points in front with Persons 25-54.

Mornings remained the same with Angelo Cataldi continuing to own the daypart, registering a 2nd place finish with just under a 10 share. He was also 2nd with Adults with a high 6 share. The Fanatic though has been making strides with Marc Farzetta and turned in a very respectable high 6 share performance to finish 3rd.

In middays, Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie were 3rd for the quarter with just under an 8 share. The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano and Jason Myrtetus continued to gain ground but were a little more than a point and a half behind en route to finishing 4th.

Turning to afternoons, WIP’s duo of Jon Marks and Ike Reese claimed another quarterly victory, finishing three tenths of a point in front of The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli. The Fanatic points out that if streaming numbers are included in the mix, it’s a different story. Marks and Reese were ranked 1st overall with Men 25-54 with just above a 9 share. Missanelli was 2nd just under a 9.

Not to be forgotten, evenings on WIP featuring Philadelphia Phillies baseball and night time host Joe Giglio turned in a 1st place finish with Men 25-54 at just under a 10 share. The Fanatic was tied for 5th for the quarter.

HOUSTON:

ESPN 97.5 enjoyed another successful quarter, winning weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) against Sports Radio 610 and SportsTalk 790. 97.5 was three tenths of a point higher than 610 and a point and a half better than 790. One thing worth noting, the lineup schedules for 610, 790 and 97.5 are all different. This can create some confusion if you’re just looking at the traditional Nielsen dayparts.

Looking at the local weekday shows, 97.5 won the hours of 7a-9a thanks to The Bench with John Granato and Lance Zierlein. John and Lance have now won those hours every month since October 2018.

Another positive for 97.5 was the afternoon performance by The Blitz with AJ Hoffman and Fred Faour. The Houston duo won their timeslot of M-F 4p-7p for the quarter. They’ve now finished ahead during those three hours every month since January 2018.

Two positives for 610 saw the station finish one tenth of a point ahead of 97.5 between the hours of 2p-6p. 610 and 97.5 were also tied between the hours of 10a-3p.

610 recently made changes to their weekday lineup which they’re hoping will reverse the latest results. The summer book will offer the first look at how the market receives those changes. For now, 97.5 is in front.

BOSTON:

98.5 The Sports Hub cruised to a comfortable spring book victory generating a low 9 share to finish 1st with Men 25-54. WEEI was 4th with just under a mid 5 share. Both station’s numbers include their streaming performance.

In mornings, Toucher and Rich were 1st with a low 9 share. WEEI’s former morning show Mut and Callahan came in 5th with a mid 6 share. WEEI has since turned mornings over to The Greg Hill Show.

Middays saw The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand deliver a 3rd place finish with a mid 9 share. The team of Dale and Keefe on WEEI came in 4th with a low 6 share.

The Hub got their best performance in afternoons thanks to Felger and Massarotti. The market’s top rated program produced a low 12 share en route to a 1st place finish. WEEI’s OMF ranked fourth with just under a mid 5 share.

The evening slot also belonged to The Sports Hub. The Adam Jones Show and combination of Bruins and Celtics playoff games led 98.5 to a 1st place finish with a low 10 share. WEEI’s mixture of Boston Red Sox baseball and local programming came in 8th with a low 4 share.

WASHINGTON DC:

106.7 The Fan continued to excel taking 3rd place for the quarter in both weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) and full week (M-SU 6a-Mid). The Fan popped a mid 6 share for the full week and a low 7 share in weekday prime. The Team 980 was rated in the high teens in both categories.

The best performance on The Fan came from The Sports Junkies who delivered a 2nd place finish with just under a 10 share. Grant and Danny ranked 3rd in middays with a low 7 share. Chad Dukes finished up the weekday prime shows by securing a 6th place finish in afternoons with a mid 4 share. The Team 980’s weekday shows were all ranked in the upper teens.

With Cumulus introducing a new sports talker to the market in ESPN 630 The Sports Capitol, there will be more to keep an eye on going forward. Until proven otherwise though, The Fan is operating on a different level.

DETROIT:

97.1 The Ticket continues to operate on another level, delivering some of the best performances for the entire format. The spring book saw the Detroit sports station finish 1st in every daypart with Men 25-54 except mornings (2nd). Karsch and Anderson‘s midday show, Mike Valenti’s afternoon show and the station’s full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) all produced above a 12 share.

An even more impressive case for the brand is how they’ve continued to excel with Persons 25-54. The Ticket were 3rd in mornings with Adults with a mid 5 share, 1st in middays with a low 8 share, 1st in afternoons with a mid 7 share, 2nd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with just under a 7 share, and 5th for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with a solid 6 share showing.

The Ticket’s continued dominance is a great example of sports radio’s ability to compete and win against ALL formats in top markets. These type of numbers are a big reason why the station was recently nominated for the Marconi Award for Sports Station of the Year.

PHOENIX:

Congratulations is in order for the staff at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM who for the first time in station history entered the top 10 (8th overall) in the money demo of Persons 25-54 for weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p).

An even more impressive performance was found with Men 25-54 where 98.7’s morning team of Doug and Wolf finished 4th with just under a 6 share. The morning show was also 6th with Persons 25-54.

Afternoons saw Burns and Gambo turn in a top 3 performance with a low 6 share among Men 25-54. John and Dave produced the best share on the radio station for the quarter.

Rounding things out, the midday team of Bickley and Marotta came in 6th with a mid 4 share among Men 25-54, and the evening combination of live play by play and Luke Lapinski produced a 5th place finish with Men 25-54 with just under a 5 share.

SEATTLE:

710 ESPN led steady as the market’s top rated sports station due to a strong spring book performance. Among Men 25-54, the radio station ranked 4th in mornings (Brock and Salk), 5th in middays (Bob, Groz and Tom) and 3rd in afternoons (Danny, Dave and Moore). 710 finished 6th overall. KJR was in the upper teens.

Given the lack of excitement from the Mariners this baseball season, both local stations have to be clamoring for football season to hurry up and get here. 710 though made the most of a slower sports period.

MINNEAPOLIS:

KFAN continued to impress, turning in a strong spring book. The station finished 2nd in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with just under an 11 share and 2nd for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with just under a mid 9 share.

Leading the way were The Power Trip who came in 2nd in morning drive with just under a 13 share. Paul Allen followed up by pulling in a low 10 share from 9a to 12p to generate a 3rd place finish.

Moving to the afternoon portion of the schedule, ‘The Common Man‘ also grabbed 3rd place with a low 9 share from Noon to 3p, and Dan Barreiro stayed strong in afternoons, locking up 1st place with a low 11 share.

SKOR North which launched in January and places less emphasis on traditional radio ratings did see some nice gains during the book too. The station grew by a half of a point book to book and year to year. They’ve also increased their cume with Men 25-54 from January to June by 60%.

Two particular stories worth highlighting, Golic and Wingo have tripled their share year over year with Men 25-54, and the afternoon show, Mackey and Judd with Ramie has increased the station’s share by nearly a full point year to year during the hours of 4p-6p. Even more impressive given the brand’s digital first focus, they’ve increased podcast downloads by 60% year to year.

DENVER:

The spring book found 104.3 The Fan in good shape, finishing 4th overall in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with a mid 6 share. The station was also 6th for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with a low 5 share.

Leading the way for The Fan was the morning team of Schlereth and Evans who secured a 1st place ranking with a low 9 share. The combination of Cecil and Pritch and Nick Ferguson (Nick took over the midday slot in late April) delivered a low 5 share to place 7th from 9a to noon. Stokley and Zach came in 8th between noon and 3p with a low 5 share, and The Drive with Tom Nalen and DMac (Nalen joined the show in mid April) were tied for 1st in afternoons with a low 6 share.

Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 which moved to the FM dial in mid-September 2018 also saw some progress this quarter. The station picked up 4 tenths of a point for the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) with Men 25-54 and 5 tenths of a point in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). The station’s weekday shows, Moser, Lombardi and Kane, Harris, Hastings and Dover, and Kreckman and Lindahl (Andy joined the show in early June) all gained five tenths of a point book to book.

TAMPA:

A few notes from Tampa where WDAE is still celebrating landing the rights to USF by blasting Creed tunes inside the program director’s office. The reunited tandem of Ron and Ian continued making progress finishing the quarter up a full share to secure a top 10 finish. Afternoon drive has improved by 35% year to year.

Another positive worth sharing were the gains among Men 35-64 (Tampa tends to skew older for sports radio listening). Ronnie and TKras were 9th in the demo in mornings up a full share year to year. The station’s weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) performance with Men 35-64 was also in the top 10.

Last but not least, a good start from the Tampa Bay Rays helped the station grow more than 20% year over year at night with Men 25-54.

PORTLAND:

102.9/750 The Game has been on quite a roll in 2019. The Portland sports station won the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) for the quarter, besting former market leader 1080 The Fan, and the Trail Blazers’ radio home NBC Sports Northwest Rip City Radio 620. The Game produced a low 3 share, nine tenths of a point higher than The Fan and nearly triple the performance of Rip City’s.

The best market performance was turned in by The Dan Patrick Show which delivered just under a 9 share for The Game, earning 2nd place with Men 25-54. The show was also 6th with Adults 25-54. The Fan’s morning team of Dusty and Cam finished 13th. Rip City’s morning show was in the mid 20’s.

From 9a-12p The Jim Rome Show won his matchup with just under a 4 share. Rome finished 10th overall. The Fan and Rip City were in the 20’s.

Between the hours of Noon and 3pm, The Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano led The Game to victory over The Fan and Rip City. Canzano was 10th at just under a 4 share. The Fan was ranked 19th. Rip City finished in the mid 20’s.

Closing up in afternoons, The Fan picked up a win thanks to the team of Isaac and Suke. The familiar drive time duo generated a mid 3 share to rank 16th. The Game’s airing of Bill Reiter’s show ranked 21st. Rip City’s Chad Doing and Travis Demers were slightly behind in 22nd.

ST. LOUIS:

101 ESPN remained consistent across all four local dayparts in the spring book. The St. Louis sports station produced a low 7 share to lock up the 3rd position in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) among Men 25-54.

Turning to the weekday programs, The Bernie Miklasz Show‘s mid 7 share performance was enough to lock up 3rd place in morning drive. The Kevin Wheeler also secured a 3rd place finish between 10a-1p with a high 6 share.

The Turn with Anthony Stalter delivered the station’s best share for the quarter, popping a high 8 share to finish 3rd between 1p-3p. And the always strong afternoon show, The Fast Lane, held down the 3rd spot in their daypart with a high 7 share.

CHARLOTTE:

No Hornets. No Panthers. No local MLB. No problem.

WFNZ turned in a top 10 performance with Men 25-54 for the quarter, driven by an impressive 1st place ranking for the book with TSL. Those who listen to the station are spending a lot of time with it, a sign that the station’s content and talent are a destination. WFNZ has now finished in the top 3 for TSL for 11 straight months, dating back to September 2018.

The station’s weekday programming saw Mac and TBone produce a top 10 finish in mornings with a little above a mid 3 share. Wilson and Parcell produced an 8th place finish with just under a mid 4 share, and The Clubhouse with Kyle Bailey reeled in a 7th place finish with a mid 4 share performance.

BALTIMORE:

The spring book saw 105.7 The Fan deliver big, placing 3rd overall with a high 8 share among Men 25-54. Leading the way for the station was the Big Bad Morning Show with Ed Norris, Rob Long and Jerry Coleman. The BBMS finished 3rd in Persons 25-54 and 2nd with Men 25-54 with a low 10 share.

Moving to middays, Vinny and Haynie came in 4th with Persons 25-54 and 2nd with Men 25-54 with just under a mid 9 share. Finishing up in PM drive, Scott Garceau and Jeremy Conn finished 3rd in their daypart with Men 25-54.

INDIANAPOLIS:

For the first time in a while, 107.5/1070 The Fan saw all of their daily local shows deliver Top 10 performances. Leading the way was The Dan Dakich Show which finished 4th overall with a mid 6 share among Men 25-54 during the hours of Noon to 3pm.

In afternoons, The Ride with JMV cracked the top 10 with a high 4 share. The brand new Fan Morning Show featuring Jeff Rickard and Big Joe Staysniak shifted timeslots midway thru the book and helped lift the station to a Top 10 finish with just under a 4 share.

MEMPHIS:

The spring book saw another impressive performance turned in by market leader 92.9 ESPN. The Memphis sports station finished 2nd overall with a low 8 share with Men 25-54 in weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p). Year to year they’re up over 2 points and if you look at a 2 year period it’s even better at 3.5 points.

Looking at the station’s local shows, the best rated performance was turned in by the midday show Jason and John. The popular program hosted by Jason Smith and John Martin produced a mid 9 share to finish 2nd in their time slot.

Next up was The Gary Parrish Show which ranked 2nd in afternoons with just under a mid 8 share. Geoff Calkins maintained his consistent success by finishing 2nd with just under an 8 share. Wrapping things up, the brand new Giannotto and Jeffrey Show popped a low 8 share en route to finishing 3rd in their timeslot. The duo were on the air for half of the spring book and contributed to the station’s best performance from 2p-4p in 4 years.

MILWAUKEE:

The three station race between Entercom, iHeart and Good Karma Brands heated up during the spring book. This quarter the top spot was held by GKB’s ESPN 94.5 which narrowly edged 105.7 The Fan and 97.3 The Game. A half of a point was all that separated the three sports talkers.

In weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 25-54, ESPN 94.5 finished two tenths ahead of The Fan and five tenths ahead of The Game. For the full week (M-SU 6a-Mid) 94.5 bested both The Fan and The Game by three tenths of a point.

Going forward this is going to be a market to keep your eye on. All three brands feature good talent, the local sports scene is on fire with the Bucks, Brewers and Packers providing a lot of optimism for local fans, and all three brands continue making tweaks to stay ahead of the competition.

Barrett Blogs

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.”

Jason Barrett

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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.

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Barrett Blogs

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.”

Jason Barrett

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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.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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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.

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