Good hosts and shows aren’t struggling for content right now, but who knows how long it will be before we get live sports again? Sure, the NFL Draft is coming up, but do you know what you’re going to do once the stories generated by that event have run their course? Hell, we’ll have been without sports for nearly a month and a half at that point.
We’re all in this together, right? That’s why Barrett Sports Media is creating a content grab bag and we’re asking everyone to pitch in.
Got an idea that can help someone else? Do you have a perfect bit in mind, but maybe your situation has changed and now you have nowhere to pull it off? Don’t let it go to waste! If you want to contribute, reach out to Demetri Ravanos on Twitter.
The latest contribution comes from Nick Kayal, the former morning man at 102.5 the Game in Nashville. He isn’t sharing a new, groundbreaking bit today. Nick is making sure you’re thinking about all the different avenues you can go down for interviews now that there is nothing pressing that has to be talked about.
It is April 17, 2020 and sports talk radio hosts around the country don’t have the option to “stick to sports.” As the sports world has come to a screeching halt, due to Covid-19, sports talk radio personalities are forced to provide compelling content almost any way they can.
Sure, you can still talk NFL. You can give your takes on the upcoming NFL Draft, talk about prospects, positions of need or read countless mock drafts, but that only fills your show with so much content.
Now, more than ever, sports hosts are not only delving into entertainment to get through a program, but they are talking about social and political issues that stem from the Corona virus and the impact it is having globally.
Life and death, medical supplies, the stock market, and small businesses. Everything seems to be on the table and fair game during this global pandemic.
But what if you could talk sports with non-sports people? Or what if you could talk politics and social issues with sports people? Specifically, what if I told you that you had your choice of selecting 3 figures from the sporting world, and you could gather together (6-feet apart, of course) and talk about the implications of Covid-19 on the world as we know it but not address the sports impact? Who would you find to be the most compelling and engaging speakers? And how about sitting down with 3 non-sports figures and talking nothing but sports? Who would you choose?
I’ll start the conversation for Barrett Sports Media and let you guys & gals react off of my list and create your own as well.
3-sports figures to talk non-sports with
1. Charles Barkley
I find Chuck to be one of the most authentic, raw and real sports figures of all-time. Forget his playing days, I’m speaking specifically on his ability to talk about anything in life. Sir Charles, at times, couldn’t care less about talking hoops, but is never shy or short of an opinion on things going on with society.
Barkley would be a fantastic guy to sit down with and talk about race relations, politics, finances and almost anything else. You may not agree with him, you may think he’s uneducated on certain topics and just shoots from the hip but that’s what would make it so interesting. Charles is easily number 1 on my list.
2. Nick Saban
I think Saban would be compelling from the standpoint of how things materalize and go from it’s infancy to the best of the best. It’s what he calls “The Process.” Nick Saban has always been a guy who takes on a challenge, elevates a team, and then moves on to another task (for the most part.) He did it at Michigan State, LSU and now Alabama.
I’d love to pick his brain on how he would go about handling different life issues. Not necessarily the specifics, even though he’s uber-detail oriented, but how the the process would play out. Where do you begin? How do you get the end result you’re seeking? How do you stay in the moment? I’m pretty sure Saban could give you a blueprint on how to create a gameplan for almost any avenue of life.
3. Clay Travis
I think the thing that seperates Clay from the rest of the national sports talkers is his ability to talk about politics, business and media and be bold without having to yell and scream and be brash by going overboard. Clay uses his legal background, logic and data to draw conclusions that ruffle peoples feathers but reamins authentic and entertainting in his presentation.
To be honest, when I think of Clay I think of his battle vs ESPN, his opinions on the POTUS, Kaepernick and gambling more than I do anything sports specific related. And that’s not a shot at him, that’s a compliment. He could clearly branch away from sports someday and go full steam ahead in news or political talk and be just as successful. It’s these reasons listed above as to why he’s on my list of 3.
3-non sports figures to talk sports with
1. Donald Trump
I’m not here to judge the President on his political career, nor am I here to discuss his personal life. Here is what I know about Donald Trump: he loves sports, he loves to play golf and he’s been involved with casinos and gambling. Those 3 are right up my alley.
POTUS is very opinionated and love him or hate him he will tell you what’s on his mind whether or not you agree with what comes out of his mouth or if what is coming out of his mouth is factually incorrect. He would make a great sports talk radio host because he would illict reaction. Easily a guy I’d love to spend 30-minutes with doing a show on sports talk topics.
2. The Rock
The Rock is certainly a sports figure and entertainer but he’s so much more. He has become a global brand and Hollywood’s top earner. The Rock started out as a football player (fun fact: He lost his starting job on the University of Miami’s defensive line to Warren Sapp!), who transitioned to WWE(F) and has now gone full-steam ahead as a movie star. In recent years he’s even shown up on a list of odds to one day run for President.
Talking sports with Dwayne Johnson would absolutely be a compelling conversation. And he’d probably lay the smack down on a lot of people and their awful sports takes.
3. Larry David
He’s one of the funniest guys of all-time, and a man who has had enough of the failing New York professional sports franchises. Recently, on the Michael Kay Show he brought up a story on how he tried to tell then-Jets GM Mike Maccagnan to draft Lamar Jackson. Maccagnan apparently laughed at Larry, but who’s laughing now? Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
From everything I’ve gathered, Larry is more than a comedic genius, he’s pretty bright about the NYC sports teams he follows so closely.
Those are my two three-somes. What are yours? Let’s keep the conversation going!
Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing
…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.
In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.
“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.
“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”
Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.
The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?
That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.
You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.
“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”
Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.
Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”
Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”
Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”
Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”
It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.
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.
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.
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.
Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table
Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.