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Investing In Your Brand Produces The Best Rewards

“Our goal is to educate, motivate, and entertain people in the industry thru the work we do, while helping and connecting partners to those who can benefit their brands.”

Jason Barrett

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2020 hasn’t been kind to many. Hundreds, if not thousands have lost jobs in our industry, and it’s forced a lot of us to look in the mirror and question the direction our business is headed in. I’d be lying if I said those prior conversations about moving into the agency business or returning to run a large media operation didn’t creep into my head, but as stressful as the past few months have been, I’ve never been prouder of our team of writers or the work we’ve done.

I don’t share a lot of details about our traffic because I’ve always felt that reaching 100 industry executives mattered more to our business than 10,000 clicks. I also know we cover a niche space, sports media, which produces less traffic than a full service sports site. Our goal has been to educate, motivate, and entertain people in the industry thru the work we do, while also helping and connecting partners to those who can benefit their brands. As long as we deliver on those promises, I’m satisfied.

But I was blown away to see that the news we share, the stories we tell, and the opinions we offer, have connected with more people during the darkest days in our business. Our traffic in June beat our prior 4 year page view totals by 6-7x, and in July, we beat June by 30%, crushing our prior 4 year page view totals by 8-9x. Our best months previously were January 2019 and 2020, months when we release our annual BSM Top 20. So much for sports not mattering huh? I’ll use this moment to remind you that if you’re in charge of advertising for a company that’s looking to connect with a professional audience, email me for a copy of our advertising deck.

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I’d love to tell you that we devised a masterful strategy to fuel our growth, and though we made some SEO adjustments, the recent success has more to do with luck, and betting on the brand. In late May, I welcomed Jay Mariotti, John Michaels, Chrissy Paradis, Rob ‘Stats’ Guerrera, Ricky Keeler and Jacob Conley to our writing team. A few people close to me thought I was nuts considering the radio and advertising industry was weakening, and my own livelihood wasn’t secure. Though my bank account is a little lighter, the early returns have been favorable. We’re not out of the woods by any stretch, but the things we can control, we’ve done well at. It has reinforced my belief that you can’t be afraid to take risks during down times.

Secondly, we dove into some subjects that mattered greatly to our readers. Mike Golic and Will Cain‘s exits from ESPN Radio’s lineup, the network’s new programming schedule, Dave Portnoy-Big Cat’s issue over the President Trump interview, Emmanuel Acho’s ‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man‘, and COVID-19’s impact on sports, were of great interest to readers. So too were a few of our columnist’s weekly pieces. Staying on top of so many things while trying to balance other jobs hasn’t been easy, but we’ve done the best we can, and I’m pleased with the progress.

Jay has especially been out in front on a lot of these items, cranking out 3-4 columns per week, delivering some of the best written sports content on the internet. He has his fans and critics, and I’m often surprised by the reaction of hosts who want him to pipe down when he offers an opinion they don’t agree with. Did we forget how this business works? You share a point of view, support it with evidence, and let an audience decide where they stand. Some will love you, and listen, watch or read more, and some will hate you, and tune you out. Nobody forces you to consume what you read. If it doesn’t cost you a dime, and you continue devouring content from someone you don’t agree with, then that’s your issue to resolve, because the host, or in this case, the columnist, is living rent free in your head.

What’s funny is I’ve had a few people assume that I share the same views as Jay, and ask me why I’d publish a piece if I didn’t agree with it. For example, I don’t agree with Jay that Dave Portnoy should be canceled. But it isn’t about what I think, it’s about offering different viewpoints, and letting those who consume your content decide where they lie on the issues. If the only thing we posted on this site was what satisfies my personal tastes, we’d be missing out on a much larger audience. This country, and more specifically the media business, used to disagree without it feeling contentious. The sooner we get back to that the better it’ll be for all of us.

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Before I weigh in on five media items, I do want to share a few news items. A new BSM Podcast episode will be out soon with Mike Greenberg. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with Greeny, and discussing his return to the national sports radio circuit. Look for the episode later this week.

Later next week, look for a story by Demetri Ravanos on FOX Sports Radio’s 20 year anniversary. We’ve been talking to a lot of people over the past month and a half about their experiences at the network to try and capture what the past two decades were like at one of America’s premier sports radio networks. There are a few more people to track down still, but the goal is to publish the piece either next Thursday or Friday.

I’m also thrilled to share that we’re adding Stan Norfleet as a writer at BSM. Stan wrote a great piece for Deadspin last month, which I encourage you to check out if you haven’t already done so. I’ve known him from his time hosting shows in Atlanta and Charlotte, plus he attended the BSM Summit in NYC this past February. Stan’s a sharp guy with a lot of personality, but he made a mistake on the air that cost him his gig in Atlanta in 2019. He’s doing his best to learn from that experience, and move his career forward, and I’m happy to give him a chance to rebound. His addition not only adds another talented perspective to the site, but it helps us strengthen our diversity, an issue that is important to me. I look forward to having him contribute. His first piece comes out this Thursday.

Five Things:

Barstool Documentary | Blogs & Videos | Barstool Sports

#1 – Barstool Sports has critics who want to sentence the brand to death for its history of offensive commentary, but if you can allow yourself to be entertained without reading too deeply into everything the brand does, you’ll find their documentary series to be excellent. I watched all 15 episodes with my 18-year old son, and we laughed our asses off. As someone who didn’t consume a ton of Barstool’s content during their early years, I enjoyed getting a better understanding of their progression, and seeing how the brand grew from an idea in Dave Portnoy’s head to a major mainstream media force.

The series gave me a new respect for Portnoy’s passion and vision. A lot of people want to see Dave go down in flames, but you don’t create a monster brand and compete against heavyweights if you don’t have talent, work ethic, creativity, and vision. Say what you want about Dave, but he gave up a good paying job to create a newspaper with no guarantees. He then busted his ass delivering papers all across Boston, writing under different aliases to make the brand look bigger, sold advertising (loved the fake ad trick), recruiting writers, and eventually developed events, merchandise, apps, podcasts and so much more. You get a good sense of how the brand took calculated business risks and continued to pivot throughout the series.

I also enjoyed learning how Barstool’s personalities discovered the brand, became who they are, and didn’t shy away from controversy no matter how complicated things became. Though some will loathe the brand for it, it’s become a huge part of their DNA. In doing so, they changed the game.

Despite an army of haters, Barstool also has a legion of fanatics who support the company’s initiatives every step of the way. So many get caught up in analyzing the commentary of their talent, but don’t give the brand enough credit for how skilled they are at operating their business. Think I’m wrong? Go look at where they stack up when it comes to podcasting, social media engagement, merchandise, popular apps, etc.. You don’t receive a massive investment from Penn National and the Chernin Group if you’re not doing something extremely well.

As a 46 year old professional male, I’m not their target, but I can see why the 18-34 demo digs what they’re doing. My favorite episode by far from the series was Chapter 12 (Tiko Texas). Though the belly button image grossed me out, and Portnoy’s rap song is lyrically crude, I was in tears laughing because his rhythm was terrible from start to finish. For the record, KFC won that rap battle, despite introducing one of the cheesiest rap tunes I’ve ever heard. What’s undeniable though is both Portnoy and KFC are far more skilled in the rap arena than Tiko Texas.

My advice, go to their website and in the search bar, enter ‘Barstool Documentary Series‘, and then watch the content. Or if you have Roku and prefer to watch on TV as I did, download their app, and go thru each chapter to see which one you enjoy most. The episodes are 16-35 minutes in length, and if you’re open minded, you’ll find yourself laughing often.

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#2 – I admit that I have a biased answer to this next question, but is there any better of a fit on WFAN than Brandon Tierney? BT and I worked together in San Francisco and remain friends today. I’m sure he’ll see this at some point, and call me and express his frustration over it, but it needs to be said. His voice, passion, knowledge, and unwavering love for NYC should be on display on WFAN, not on CBS Sports Radio. I know he’s lived in many different places, and has the national experience to fit the bill, but The Fan is a bigger platform and it’s where he belongs.

What’s always confused me is why Tierney isn’t on the station’s radar despite working in the same building. He’s in his mid-40’s, lives and dies with the Yankees, Knicks and Jets, is unafraid to challenge decision makers, oozes passion, and connects to the NYC sports fan. He was barely given a sniff when Mike Francesa vacated afternoons, and though he did a show or two with Boomer following Craig Carton’s exit, Gio was the better fit in that spot.

I look at it from afar and wonder sometimes why he’s good enough to be on SNY, MSG, CBS and ESPN NY, but not The Fan. I raised it one time with him a year or two ago and he exited that conversation quicker than Eric Davis leaving the building in San Francisco after doing 4 hours of radio with him.

I understand that he occupies afternoons on CBS Sports Radio and the show is simulcast on the CBS Sports network, but before anyone tries to sell me on his value to the network, save your energy. The sports cash cow for Entercom New York is WFAN, not CBS Sports Radio. If you have an asset that fits well on the station, and can be a part of its long-term success, that comes first.

I applaud Mark Chernoff and Chris Oliviero for putting BT and Tiki Barber on the NYC radio airwaves last week. It was refreshing, and a good start. I just hope the next time it’s permanent.

Townsquare Media - Wikipedia

#3 – A tip of the cap is in order for executives at Townsquare Media. The company recently took the same path that Saga Communications did in March, eliminating Nielsen ratings in all 51 of their markets, a decision that should, but won’t, be carried out at every other radio company. I’m a fan of data, and enjoy crunching numbers to help talent maximize ratings, and salespeople and advertisers get the biggest return for their advertising dollar, but it’s time this business stopped spending money on a faulty service.

PPM has been flawed from its inception. I say that as someone who pumped his fist many times when the numbers were good, and cashed numerous bonus checks when the results benefited brands I managed. The measurement is embarrassingly low, and it’s often inconsistent with a station’s digital data, creating a ton of confusion and a lot of second guessing. It’s also led to a false sense of confidence for some talent and programmers who ‘think’ they know what works based on the behavior of a few meters.

Great vision starts in the mind. Success follows if topical and creative content is delivered consistently by a talented individual or team with a strong work ethic, and an ability to make adjustments, continue improving, and retain the confidence and patience from management. Add a winning play by play franchise to the airwaves, and a brand will be fine. This is rocket science.

If we know what works based on designing strategies to satisfy meters, then why hasn’t local sports radio produced a huge podcasting hit? Or shown an ability to understand and excel at social media? We’re living with patterns of the past, and assuming we’ll be fine as others like Spotify, SiriusXM, and Amazon aim to push us aside.

Talk radio must build new stars, and create ideas and killer content to generate excitement, and those things are far more important than chasing ghosts (meters), especially during a time when data means little to local businesses who are fighting to survive. The last time I looked, Joe Rogan, Bill Simmons and Dave Portnoy weren’t ‘killing it’ in the ratings, but each built brands that earned nine figure investments. If you have unique talent, and timely and creative content, you won’t need ratings to prove your value, it’ll already be understood.

Keyshawn, Jay, and Zubin (Mornings 5-9 on 103.3 FM ESPN) | KESN-FM

#4 – In 6 days, ESPN Radio will unveil its new weekday lineup and I don’t need a crystal ball to tell you what will happen on Monday morning August 17th. The new team of Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti will take the air, social media will freak out because it sounds different than the past two decades of ESPN Radio’s morning show, and many will declare the show dead, on life support, or a terrible decision by management. By Tuesday or Wednesday, the noise will amplify even more, and a month later it’ll drastically decline.

Nobody can predict if this morning show will work and last 6-12-18 months, so the best thing these guys can do is prepare, spend time together, create the best content possible, and absorb social media in small doses. The public almost always reacts negatively to something new. We saw it with Get Up and CMB, and it’s why Rob ‘Stats’ Guerrera preached patience from ESPN executives last week in his column.

Winning the PR game during week 1 for a new show isn’t supposed to happen, so don’t spend time worrying about it. Focus on winning the race, not the first mile. If the show has talent, creativity, work ethic, chemistry, and enough surprise moments to keep people on their toes, it’ll be fine. Just know going in, the warm embrace comes later, not during the first week.

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#5 – Sports media people have needed sports to return more than I think they even realized. It sounds great when hosts are bullish about the best talent being able to turn dog shit into gold, but they don’t consider that people may not care about their on-air discussion about a movie or TV show, their first public dining experience since COVID-19 hit or their reaction to world news. It’s one thing to have hours worth of material to talk about, but it’s another to have content that an audience actually values.

Having spent more time lately listening, consulting, handling sales, social media, and publishing than writing and hosting podcasts, I’m amazed by how little we learned from the mistakes of a few years ago. When ESPN faced an image crisis over too many personalities being outspoken on political issues, it wasn’t fake news. Neither was the backlash the NFL faced over the anthem issue. Ratings went down, negative publicity up, and advertisers got nervous. Once the noise went away, changes were made, audiences returned, negative publicity declined, and business was booming.

But that took place in a world with sports….not the one we’ve lived in the past few months.

Here we are entering the fall of 2020, once again in an election year, dealing with a global pandemic, one which has sports media folks questioning which path to take. After stating they wouldn’t go down this road again, ESPN has reversed course yet again. Making matters more complicated has been the reaction by leagues to make political issues a larger part of their focus. It’s led many personalities to use their on-air and social platforms to deviate from talking sports, and unleash their fury on a variety of sensitive issues. I realize that the images we’ve seen on our televisions and phone screens in recent months have made many of us angry, myself included, but despite how furious we become with society, we can’t forget that we’re hired to provide a distraction from life’s chaos not add to it.

I saw a tweet recently from Linda Cohn which I thought hit the nail on the head. She asked “Why is the media keeping score on who is kneeling or standing for the national anthem? Don’t we all want the same thing, ending racism in our country?” The easy answer to those questions was yes, but some commentators want an excuse to connect sports to political issues because quite frankly they don’t care about sports, only the access the medium provides to being able to serve a steady diet of their unfiltered personal opinions to an audience.

I understand debating whether games should be played given the challenges presented by the virus. I think that subject is important and unavoidable because it’s impacted each of our lives, and is the biggest reason why our sports viewing experience is being affected. Though we may disagree on the right path forward for beating this pandemic, we’re all dealing with it and rooting for the same outcome. If the games and people we watch though start making divisive matters such as anthem protests, China, the election, defunding the police, racism, etc. part of the broadcast experience, you’ll see more people upset and the channel changed.

The question we should be asking is “do you care about the subject matter you’re tasked with talking about on a daily basis?” If the answer is no, that’s OK. Explore a move into news. Will Cain and Sid Rosenberg did it, so too did Keith Olbermann. The news format needs new voices, and there’s a massive audience seeking that type of content. But don’t stand in the way of those who still care about the thing you’re supposed to.

Sports has never been more important in our lifetime. Without it we’ve seen how dark the world is. Hope, joy, laughter, and an uplifting distraction are needed by fans, listeners, viewers, and readers, not an avalanche of messaging that triggers an immediate tune out. Ratings so far are showing it doesn’t work. Many will blame the decrease on the pandemic, just as they blamed past results on cord cutting, the election, and other issues, ignoring the fact that nobody is in stadiums or arenas this time, and fans have gone thru months of sports withdrawal, meaning we should have more people watching, not less.

The public isn’t seeking a greater mixture of sports and politics, the media and sports leagues are. We can beat this drum again and again, but after a while, the same results appear, and eventually, the excuses run out.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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Barrett Blogs

Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett

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When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on BarrettNewsMedia.com and sports gets less crowded on BarrettSportsMedia.com. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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