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Business Survival Lessons From a New York Florist

“When unprecedented situations happen, the way we respond has everything to do with our ability to recover. Equally as important is the speed in which we adjust.”

Jason Barrett



Radio Flowers

The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc all across the country, especially in my home state of New York. The big apple has been hit the hardest, and although I’m fortunate to live an hour away where less are affected, cases in my county have spiked from 3 on March 13th to 1247 on March 29th. It’s forced my fiance to take a leave of absence from work, and denied my son an opportunity to enjoy his senior year of high school. At this point, we’re just hoping he has a graduation day.


In my 46 years on this earth, I’ve not seen anything like this. We’ve had wars, deadly illnesses, mass shootings, and terrorist attacks, many which have resulted in a larger number of deaths, but I don’t recall people being stuck in their homes, and concerned about returning to everyday life. It’s made many of us question the importance of certain things, and created a massive amount of difficulty for corporations and small businesses.

When unprecedented situations happen in life, the way we respond has everything to do with our ability to recover. Equally as important is the speed in which we adjust. Credit and blame become part of the daily noise, but none of that matters. What does is your short-term and long-term plan for protecting yourself or your business.

If you’re working right now for a sports media brand, ratings and content should be the least of your worries. This is about business survival. If you’re not spending most of your day thinking about what you can do to help your company retain listeners and clients, your head’s in the wrong place. I’m not telling you to go out and deliver a poor show, but few are going to care about your topics, bits, and guests if 50% of your business evaporates.

I’ve been helping my clients with stories, ideas, information, and examples, and I want to share something with you that I saw take place not too far from where I live. Just a few weeks ago, the President and Governors across the country issued mandates for essential and non-essential businesses. We knew hospitals, supermarkets, restaurants, and police departments would be open, but what if you owned a local printing company, sporting goods store or car wash? Are you supposed to just standby and watch as your life’s work goes up in smoke?


In Montgomery, NY there’s a business called Secret Garden Florist. When NY state mandated everyone stay home, it put pressure on local florists that depend on events and foot traffic. Some might say ‘just shut your doors and deal with it’, but when people lose loved ones or have important days in their lives to celebrate, flowers have a way of making things better. But if people can’t stop in to buy them, and weddings, prom’s, anniversary’s, and other events get cancelled, how do you stay afloat?

What Secret Garden has done to try and survive has been awesome to follow. Rather than throw in the towel, the owner, Bonnie McDermott, adjusted her hours of operation, ran a few sales, and offered drop off and curbside pickup to her customers. But those things are what you’d expect a business owner to do when unexpected circumstances arise. What she did next is what really got my attention.

Bonnie started reaching out to other local businesses to forge partnerships. She worked with The Table, a local restaurant to launch ‘Burgers and Bouquet’s. She partnered with Hudson Valley Chocolates on ‘Cookies & Carnations‘. She teamed with Duffy’s to feature ‘Burgers & Blooms‘. She joined forces with local Verizon Wireless Stores offering a free bouquet of flowers to anyone who showed a receipt from one of their stores. She connected with The Wildfire Grill and introduced a Pandemic Night For 2, and formed an alliance with Cascarino’s Pizza to create ‘Pizza, Garlic Bread, 2 Liter & Pom Pom’s‘.

Then to drive additional awareness, Bonnie got interactive on social media. She posted daily selfie videos inside of her shop. She created the hashtag #spreadflowersnotfear to remind people of the positives that come from giving someone flowers, and supported the message by promoting it in image and video form. She showed feedback examples sent in by customers who thanked her for brightening their day with her great work, and she gave away free flowers to thank people for their continued support.

Rather than waving the white flag, Bonnie did the opposite. She showcased her creativity and love for the community by teaming with other local businesses who were also hurting, and used social media to remind people that there’s a face behind the brand. When the havoc caused by this coronavirus is over, her customers will feel a greater connection to her. That should help with the rebuilding process.


If you’re working in the media industry, you’re dealing with similar issues. Sports fans are less excited to watch or listen due to the sports world going dark. Advertisers are slashing budgets to offset lost revenues. Businesses are cutting employees to avoid shutting their doors. People are making short-term decisions out of fear that they’ll never recover.

As hard as it may be, this is a great time to rethink and retool your business. Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw told Inside Radio last week that as difficult as this situation is, it also presents an opportunity for radio stations to clean up their clocks, lower spot loads, and demonstrate rate integrity for their products. I couldn’t agree more. There’s no escaping the short term damage, but what we do moving forward will determine how quickly we recover, and how successful we’ll be when this situation expires.

Maybe this becomes the time where your radio station launches a web solutions division, subscription business, or a video, podcasting, events or merchandising strategy. Maybe it opens the door to new partnerships (ex: Hubbard and Bonneville in Seattle). For sports stations, it’s a great time to lay the groundwork for developing broadcast training centers. I talked about that at last year’s Summit in L.A.. These are all revenue opportunities independent of on-air inventory.


As a small business owner myself, I’m facing the same challenges and fears. I don’t ever lose sight of the fact that I’m on the last page of the budget. I love what I do, and am thankful to work with partners who don’t panic at the first sign of a problem. That said, if this crisis lasts for months, it could hurt BSM. That’s made things tougher for Demetri Ravanos and I, but as I told him on our last call, if this whole thing ended tomorrow, we’d go down knowing we made a difference. I can live with that.

In the meantime, we’re going to use the situation to examine what we’re doing and how we can make it better. What areas of the industry are we not focused on that we could be? What stories are we not telling that could benefit our partners? When do we launch a member directory to help industry professionals and aspiring broadcasters? Is adding an online store a smart idea? Do our podcasts have value or would we better off focusing on other projects? Would it make sense to host more events for different areas of the media industry? Who on our team is hungry to contribute? Who isn’t on our staff who should be?

Whether it’s BSM, the Secret Garden Florist or the media company you’re working for, we’re all searching for solutions to unfamiliar problems. Our best ideas and execution may help, but they still might not be enough to help us survive. One thing though is for certain, if you don’t take time to analyze your business, and explore new ways to improve your performance and extend your existence, it’ll be just a matter of time until you’re wearing that non-essential label.

Barrett Blogs

California College Students Earn Chance to Win 10 Free Tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit Thanks to Steve Kamer Voiceovers

“In order to win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event.”

Jason Barrett




With a new year comes renewed energy and optimism for the sports media business. Yours truly is looking forward to showcasing the best our business has to offer when we gather the industry in Los Angeles, CA at the 2023 BSM Summit at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California on March 21-22, 2023. Our conference is returning to the west coast for the first time since 2019. We’ve announced some super talented speakers. We’ve got additional things in the works and I plan to make additional announcements in the next few weeks.

People often ask me what the biggest challenge is putting this event together. My answer is always the same, it’s getting people to leave the comfort of their office and spend two days in a room together learning and discussing ways to grow the business. We have great sponsorship support and exceptional people on stage and are fortunate to have a lot of folks already set to attend. Our venue this year has extra space though, so I’m hoping a few more of you make time to join us. If you haven’t bought a ticket or reserved your hotel room, visit to make sure you’re all set.

If there’s one thing our industry could get better at it’s opening our minds to new ideas and information. There’s more than one path to success. Just because you’re in good shape today doesn’t mean you will be tomorrow. Building brands, growing audiences, increasing revenue, and examining new opportunities is an ongoing process. There are many shifts along the way. We may not solve every business challenge during our two-days together but you’ll leave the room more connected and informed than when you entered it.

Each year I’ll get two or three emails from folks sharing that they learned more about the industry in two-days at the Summit than they have in ___ years inside of their building. That’s truly gratifying and what I strive to achieve when I put this event together. I remember when conferences like this didn’t exist for format folks and I take the risk and invest the time and resources to create it because I love the sports media industry and believe I can help it thrive. I see great value in gathering professionals to share ideas, information, and meet others who can help them grow their business, and if we do our part, I’m confident some will want to work with us too. That’s how we benefit over the long haul.

But as much as I focus on serving the professional crowd, I also think we have a responsibility to educate young people who are interested, passionate, and taking steps to be a part of our business in the future. The BSM website is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each month and it’s become a valuable resource for folks who enjoy sports radio and television. I think it’s vital to use our platform, influence and two-day event to connect generations and I’m happy to announce that we will once again welcome college students at this year’s Summit.

Most of us who’ve been in this line of work for two or three decades learned the business without podcasts, YouTube, social media, the web or conferences delivering two full days of sessions that taught you more about the business than what’s available inside of a class room. We learned by doing, and hoping we were right. Then we copied others who had success. Some of that still exists, and that’s not a bad thing. But where our business goes in the future is going to be drastically different.

I’d like to see the difference makers in our format remembered for years to come, and practices that have stood the test of time remain valued down the line. Change is inevitable in every business and I’m excited about the road that lies ahead especially some of the technological advancements that are now available or will soon become a bigger part of our industry. I think we can embrace the future while enjoying the present and celebrating the past. The best way to do that is by bringing together everyone who is and is hoping to be a part of the sports media universe.

So here’s two things we’re doing to make sure future broadcasters have an opportunity to learn with us.

First, I want to send a HUGE thank you to Steve Kamer Voiceovers. Thanks to Steve’s generosity, TEN (10) college students will be given FREE tickets to attend the 2023 BSM Summit in March. Steve is a USC graduate (Class of 1985) and he bought the ten tickets to help young people learn about the industry, save money and make valuable connections. When I first received his order, I thought he hit the wrong button. I reached out to tell him a mistake was made and I needed to refund him. That’s when he told me what he wanted to do for students who were pursuing their broadcasting dreams just as we both did years ago. A very classy gesture on his part.

As it pertains to the contest, here’s how it’s going to work.

To win tickets to attend the Summit, students must submit a 2-minute video by email to explaining why they’d like to be in attendance and what they hope to learn at the event. Included in your email should be a list of steps that you’ve taken or are pursuing to explore opportunities in the media industry. If you want to pass along a resume and audio or video clips too to showcase your work and experience, that’s fine as well. BSM will accept submissions until February 17th. The winners will be announced on Friday February 24th.

Helping me select the winners will be an exceptional panel of media executives. Each of these folks below will choose one person to attend our L.A. event. The final two will be picked by Steve Kamer and myself.

  • Scott Shapiro – Senior Vice President, FOX Sports Radio
  • Justin Craig – Senior Program Director, ESPN Radio
  • Jeff Sottolano – Executive Vice President, Programming, Audacy
  • Bruce Gilbert – Senior Vice President of Sports, Cumulus Media & Westwood One
  • Amanda Gifford – Vice President, Content Strategy & Audio, ESPN
  • Jacob Ullman – Senior Vice President, Production and Talent Development, FOX Sports
  • Greg Strassell – Senior Vice President, Programming, Hubbard Radio
  • Scott Sutherland – Executive Vice President, Bonneville International

To qualify for the BSM Summit College Contest, students must be enrolled in college in the state of California, pursuing a degree that involves course work either in radio, television, print or the digital business. Those attending local trade schools with a focus on broadcasting are also welcome to participate. You must be able to take care of your own transportation and/or lodging.

This is a contest I enjoy running. We’ve had great participation during our prior two shows in New York City but haven’t done it before on the west coast. I’m hoping it’s helpful to California students and look forward to hearing from many of them during the next month.

For students who live out of state and wish to attend or those enrolled at local universities who enter the contest but aren’t lucky enough to win one of the ten free tickets from Steve Kamer Voiceovers, we are introducing a special two-day college ticket for just $124.99. You must provide proof that you’re currently in school to take advantage of the offer. This ticket gives you access to all of our sessions inside the Founders Club. College tickets will be limited to forty (40) seats so take advantage of the opportunity before it expires.

The 2023 BSM Summit will feature award ceremonies with Emmis Communication CEO Jeff Smulyan and legendary WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, sessions with influential on-air talent such as Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome, Joy Taylor, and Mina Kimes, big picture business conversations with executives from groups such as Audacy, iHeart, Bonneville, Good Karma Brands, Barstool, The Volume, Omaha Productions and more. For details on tickets and hotel rooms visit

I look forward to seeing you in March in Los Angeles!

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett News Media To Gather The Industry in Nashville in September 2023

“I’ve been lucky enough to play a key role in bringing the sports media industry together on an annual basis, and in 2023 we’re going to attempt to do the same for news/talk media professionals.”

Jason Barrett




One of the best parts about working in the media business is that you’re afforded an opportunity to use your creativity, take risks, and learn if an audience or advertisers will support your ideas. Sometimes you hit a homerun, other times you strike out, but regardless of the outcome, you keep on swinging.

I’ve tried to do that since launching a digital publishing and radio consulting company in 2015. Fortunately, we’ve delivered more hits than misses.

When I added news media industry coverage to our brand in September 2020, I knew it’d be a huge undertaking. The news/talk format is two and a half times larger than sports, many of its brands are powered by national shows, and the content itself is more personal and divisive. I wanted our focus and attention on news media stories, not politics and news, and though there have been times when the lines got blurred, we’ve tried to be consistent in serving industry professionals relevant content .

What made the move into news media more challenging was that I’d spent less time in it. That meant it’d take longer to find the right writers, and it required putting more time into building relationships, trust, respect, and support. Though we still have more ground to cover, we’ve made nice strides. That was reflected by the participation we received when we rolled out the BNM Top 20 of 2022 the past two weeks. Hopefully you checked out the lists. Demetri Ravanos and I will be hosting a video chat today at 1pm ET on BNM’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and through Barrett Media’s YouTube page discussing the series, as well as this article.

It’s because of that growing support, trust, and confidence in what we’re doing that I’m taking a risk yet again. I’ve been lucky enough to play a key role in bringing the sports media industry together on an annual basis, and in 2023 we’re going to attempt to do the same for news/talk media professionals.

I am excited to share the news that Barrett News Media will host its first ever BNM Summit on Thursday September 14, 2023 in Nashville, TN. Our one-day conference will take place at Vanderbilt University’s Student Life Center Ballroom. The venue we’ve selected is tremendous and I’m eager to spend a day with news/talk professionals to examine ways to further grow the format and industry.

If you’re wondering why we chose Nashville, here’s why.

First, the city itself is awesome. The access to great restaurants, bars, entertainment, hotels, and famous landmarks is unlimited, and when you’re traveling to a city for a business conference, those things matter. Being in a city that’s easy for folks across the country to get to also doesn’t hurt.

Secondly, a conference is harder to pull off if you can’t involve successful on-air people in it. If you look at Nashville’s growth in the talk media space over the past decade, it’s remarkable. Many notable talents now live and broadcast locally, major brands have created a local footprint in the area, and that opens the door to future possibilities. I have no idea who we’ll include in the show, and I haven’t sent out one request yet because I wanted to keep this quiet until we were sure it made sense. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of interest in participating and I can’t promise we’ll be able to accommodate all requests but if you have interest in being involved, send an email to

Third, finding the right venue is always difficult. We looked at a bunch of great venues in Nashville during our vacation this past summer, and when we stepped on to the campus at Vanderbilt University and walked through the SLC Ballroom, we knew it was the right fit. It had the space we needed, the right tech support, access to private parking, a green room for guests, and it was within walking distance of a few hotels, restaurants, and the Parthenon.

As I went through the process of deciding if this event was right for BNM, a few folks I trust mentioned that by creating a Summit for news/media folks, it could create a competitive situation. I don’t see it that way. I view it as a responsibility. I think we need more people coming together to grow the industry rather than trying to tear each other down. I hear this far too often in radio. We worry about what one station is doing rather than strengthening our own brand and preparing to compete with all audio options.

For years I’ve attended conferences hosted by Radio Ink, NAB, Talkers, and Conclave. I’ve even spoken at a few and welcomed folks who operate in the consulting space to speak at my shows. I’ll continue to support those events, read various trade sites, and invite speakers who work in a similar field because they’re good people who care about helping the industry. I believe BNM and BSM add value to the media business through its websites and conferences, and though there may be a detractor or two, I’ll focus on why we’re doing this and who it’s for, and let the chips fall where they may.

I know juggling two conferences in one year is likely going to make me crazy at times, but I welcome the challenge. In the months ahead I’ll start lining up speakers, sponsors, building the conference website, and analyzing every detail to make sure we hold up our end of the bargain and deliver an informative and professionally beneficial event. The news/talk media industry is massive and making sure it stays healthy is critically important. I think we can play a small role in helping the business grow, and I look forward to finding out on September 14th in Nashville at Vanderbilt University.

Hope to see you there!

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Barrett Blogs

Jimmy Powers, Raj Sharan, Matt Berger and John Goforth Added to 2023 BSM Summit Lineup

“BSM is having a special Holiday SALE this week. Individual tickets are reduced to $224.99 until Friday night December 23rd at 11:59pm ET.

Jason Barrett




In less than a hundred days, the BSM Summit will return to Los Angeles for two-days of networking, learning, laughing, and celebrating. The conference hasn’t been held on the west coast since 2019, and we’re looking forward to returning to the city of angels on March 21-22, 2023, and bringing together sports media professionals at the Founders Club, located inside the Galen Center at the University of Southern California.

For those of you who haven’t purchased your ticket(s) yet, BSM is having a special Holiday SALE this week. From today (Monday) through Friday 11:59pm ET, individual tickets are reduced to $224.99. If you’re planning to come, and want to make sure you’re in the room, take advantage of the extra savings and secure your seat. To buy tickets, reserve your hotel room, and learn more about the Summit’s speakers, click here.

We’ve previously announced twenty one (21) participants who will join us on stage at the 2023 BSM Summit. Today, we’re excited to expand our lineup by welcoming four (4) more additions to March’s industry spectacular.

First, BSM is thrilled to have two accomplished sports radio programmers contributing to the event. Jimmy Powers of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit will make his Summit debut in L.A.. Fresh off of a Marconi victory earlier this fall, The Ticket’s brand manager will share his insights on the present and future of sports radio on one of our programming panels. Also taking part in that panel will be the leader of 104.3 The Fan in Denver, Raj Sharan. Raj appeared on stage at the 2022 BSM Summit in NYC, and we look forward to having him return to lend his voice to an important sports radio programming discussion.

But programming won’t be the only thing we invest time in out west. Growing a business, more specifically, a digital business will be part of our conference agenda as well.

When it comes to maximizing digital revenue, few brands understand the space better than Barstool Sports. Charged with growing the brand’s revenue is Senior Vice President and Head of Sales Matt Berger, and we’re looking forward to having Matt join us for a conversation that will focus on monetizing digital opportunities. Before joining Barstool, Matt sold for Bleacher Report/House of Highlights. He’s also worked for Warner Brothers and the Walt Disney Company. We’re excited to have him share his wisdom with the room.

Also taking part in our digital sales panel will be John Goforth of Magellan AI. John knows the radio business well from having served previously as a sales manager and salesperson. Since leaving traditional media and joining Magellan AI, John has studied the podcasting advertising space and learned who the top spenders are, who’s making big moves with their podcast advertising budgets, and which publishers are best positioned to benefit. Having his expertise on stage will help many in the room with trying to better understand the digital sales space.

There are other speaker announcements still to come. We have some big things planned, which I’m hoping to reveal in January and February. I want to thank ESPN Radio, FOX Sports, Showtime, and Point to Point Marketing for coming on board as partners of the 2023 BSM Summit. The support we’ve received heading into Los Angeles has been tremendous, and we greatly appreciate it. If you’re looking to be associated with the Summit as an event partner, email Stephanie Eads at

That’s all for now, but be sure to take advantage of the Summit Holiday Sale. You have until Friday night December 23rd at 11:59pm ET to take advantage of discounted tickets. Happy Holidays!

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