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Sometimes It Pays Not To Have a 5-Year Plan

“When you consider that 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small businesses fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years, it’s rewarding to know that we’ve beaten the odds so far.”

Jason Barrett




Five years is a long time to run a media consulting business. To put it in perspective, that amounts to sixty months, two hundred and sixty weeks, one thousand eight hundred and twenty five days, forty three thousand eight hundred hours, and two million six hundred twenty eight thousand minutes spent operating a business, knowing it could end tomorrow if I don’t stay on top of my game.

When you consider that 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% of small businesses fail in their second year, and 50% of small businesses fail after five years, it’s rewarding to know that we’ve beaten the odds so far. However, 70% of small business owners fail by their 10th year in business, so the next 5 will be our toughest challenge yet.

When I started this venture I had no expectations or five-year plan. All I wanted was to move home to NY, be with my son, continue making a difference in the radio business, help people, and make enough money to pay bills. I didn’t have a writing team, member directory, a podcast, website advertisers, or an annual conference, just a home office, website, a few social media accounts, and a whole lot of time to turn my passion and ideas into online content. I’d love to tell you I saw this role lasting longer than my previous programming gig (4 years) at 95.7 The Game, but that’d be a lie.

Yet here we are.

When I reflect on the past five years, there are so many parts of this ride worth recognizing. For starters, I’m glad I trusted my gut and pursued being a front facing consultant rather than one who operates in the shadows. The demand to know who you are, what you’re about, and where you stand on industry issues is high in 2020, and having this platform to share strategic advice, opinion, insight, news, and details about brands and individuals, has helped me create and strengthen relationships, expand my knowledge, and ultimately grow my business. If I had stayed in the background I don’t think any of this would’ve happened.


Secondly, none of this happens without the support of tremendous clients and friends. I’ve had the pleasure of helping and learning from so many great people, but I’m especially proud to have worked with Matt Hanlon, John Kijowski, Dan Seeman, Phil Zachary, Matt Hutchings, Brenda Egger, Dan Mason, Greg Strassell, Dave Alpert, Elizabeth Hamma, Carl Gardner, Dave Pridemore, Keith Barton, Mike Kelly, Joe O’Neill, Lisa Decker, Dave Fleck, Ken Barlow, Steven Griffin, Todd Mallinson, Scott Mahalick, Mark Hannon, Pat Paxton, Dave Tepper, Tommy Mattern, Chris ‘Hoss’ Neupert, Phil Mackey, Darrin Ariens, Terry Foxx, Tony DiGiacomo, Mike Salk, Joe Zarbano, John Hanson, Steven Spector, Tom Parker, Justin Dove, Mark Rider, Brady Farkas, Nick Cattles, Tim Donnelly, Jeremy Menard, Bruce Collins, Paul Mason, Ken Brady, Chadd Scott, Jim Villanucci, Sam Hauser, Aaron Custodio, Matt Apana, Josh Pacheco, and every talent, producer, sales manager, and industry professional I’ve crossed paths with on the road.

Though I spend a lot of time listening to brands, talking to clients, and researching opportunities to help my clients improve their business, the rest of my professional time is spent in some capacity with the BSM website. To know that people care enough to read our content, share it on social media, spread the word to others, and pass along tips and ideas thru text, email and DM’s is a cool feeling. It’s even more rewarding knowing the material helps people improve and gain a stronger understanding and appreciation of the business they’re in.

To date, our industry focused site has published 8,195 pieces of content since launching in 2015, and we’ve had over 4 million visitors consume more than 5.5 million pages of our work. I’ve always told our crew that traffic mattered less here because our content is targeted to an industry audience, and I’d rather reach 100 PD’s, GM’s and Corporate Execs than 10,000 fans because it opens more doors to potential business. But now we’re starting to appeal to more than just the industry professional.

Between June and early September, we generated a million page views. It would’ve taken us a full year to do that during our first 2 years. That’s a credit to the tremendous work done by Jay, Demetri, Brandon, Brian, Stan, Tyler, John, Chrissy, Ricky, Jacob, Andy, and Rob. Jay, Brandon, and Demetri have especially been on fire lately cranking out thought provoking columns and timely news stories on a daily basis.

Having spent five years operating this brand, there’s one old saying that continues to ring true: ‘you have to spend money to make money‘. That approach was necessary in launching the BSM Summit in Chicago in 2018, and expanding it into Los Angeles and New York the past two years. Though we won’t have a show in early 2021 due to the pandemic, I know that when it’s safe to gather again, a successful show won’t be possible without making investments to assure a positive experience for attendees.

Ironically I learned an important lesson with our last show in NYC. We managed to survive the early stages of a pandemic, but almost had our schedule altered at the last minute by an executive who shall remain nameless. Despite this person’s attempt to hurt the event, I took the high road and emailed them afterwards to explain why the event mattered to people, and offered a free ticket to join us for our next one. They didn’t reply. It reminded me that no matter how much good you do for people and companies, there will still be external forces trying to stall your momentum.

But overcoming obstacles is all I’ve done since entering this business in November 1995. It’s something I dealt with in making this website work. During the first two years, I wrote daily, but if a business trip or conference came up, the site would go dark while I was away. I knew that wasn’t a great plan, but the only way to change it meant spending money for help. When you’re only earning enough to get by, and unsure if the business will be viable, that’s a scary thing to consider.

I got lucky and met good people like Demetri Ravanos, Brandon Contes, Brian Noe, Dave Greene, and Matt Fishman who shared a similar love for the business and wanted to write about it, even if it was for free or just enough to fuel their car or cover a trip to the movies. With their help, the site improved, more eyeballs read the content, and it helped a few of those guys land industry opportunities. We now have 12 members contributing content to the BSM brand, earning a monthly check, and I’m proud to share we’ll be expanding to 14 this week with the additions of Jeff Caves, and Vik Chokshi.

Jeff is no stranger to sports radio folks. He spent three decades in Idaho where he contributed as a host, program director, general manager, and salesperson. He’s also worked on television. His background in sales though especially interested me, and I’m excited to have him add a weekly sales column to the site. His first column will be published this Thursday.

Vik on the other hand has a strong passion for sports betting, and has written for The Action Network, The Big Lead, and Front Office Sports. With the gambling space continuing to grow, we’re going to increase our focus on brands and individuals in the sports betting space. Vik’s first piece is on the site today, a feature on ESPN’s Joe Fortenbaugh.

But that’s not the only area we’re expanding in.


If you listened to the last episode of the BSM Podcast which featured Entercom New York’s Chris Oliviero, you heard me tease that BSM would be expanding into News/Talk. This has been a move I’ve considered for the past 2 years, but I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew as BSM was growing. I also knew that if I started consulting News/Talk stations, that I’d need help because there are over 1,900 stations in the format, and as much as I enjoy being busy, I don’t want to compromise my effectiveness by spreading myself too thin.

I’ve felt for a while that similar to sports radio, News/Talk talent and brands don’t receive enough online attention. You’ll see stories on high profile hosts, the TV ratings battle between FOX News-CNN-MSNBC, and details about people signing new deals or getting taken off the air for making controversial remarks, but there are so many more stories out there waiting to be told. The format is triple the size of sports talk, and I’m curious to see if we can do for BNM what we’ve done with BSM.

The BNM of course stands for Barrett News Media, a separate entity of our company, which will debut online as on Monday September 14th. By the way, save the URL, but don’t click on it, because the website isn’t live yet. Also be sure to add @BNMStaff on Twitter as we will use that account to promote daily content.

Unlike BSM which started with only me, the BNM brand will launch with 5 columnists, 3 features reporters, 2 daily news contributors, and 1 TV ratings writer. I expect to add a few more writers too during the first 30 days to complete out our coverage. A huge thanks to Steve Stone Voiceovers for signing on as our first advertising client to allow us to get the BNM brand off the ground. If interested in learning more about our advertising opportunities email JB******@sp***********.com.

Joining us for BNM’s maiden voyage are columnists Pete Mundo, Angel James, Rick Schultz, Evan Donovan, and Ryan Maguire, reporters Kyle Thomas, Kim Redmond, and Catherine Maddux, ratings writer Douglas Pucci, and news contributors Ryan Hedrick and Eduardo Razo. Our collective goal will be to offer insight, opinion, education, and storytelling on News radio, television, print, and digital brands and individuals. We are fortunate to have a strong diverse group contributing to this product, and I am looking forward to our readers getting to know more about them and their abilities in the weeks and months to come.


Since I know there will be questions let me address a few up front. BSM and BNM will function as two different websites. We may share content on social platforms from time to time if we feel it’s of value to our followers, but the goal is to run the two brands separately. We will also not be doing stories on presidential candidates, protests, policies, vaccine updates, or other world news. We’ll leave that to bigger brands. The only way those items will come into play is if they’re connected to a media personality or brand (EX: TV host leads a protest, Reporter breaks news on Biden or Trump, Host trades jabs with Fauci over vaccine, Radio exec runs for office, etc.).

In terms of goals for the site, all I care about right now is highlighting the news media industry, and giving those who make a living in it an online platform to learn more about the business and ways to excel at it. Will we do a BNM Summit, BNM Top 20 or launch a BNM Members Directory in the future? Maybe. I don’t want to think about traffic numbers or other ways to grow the brand yet. We need to start with delivering compelling content on a consistent basis, and grow our relationships. If we do that, then we can discuss ways to make additional improvements down the line.

As it pertains to consulting, I will offer my services to news/talk stations who are looking for fresh ideas, strategic insight, and an ability to maximize talent, content, and ratings. The news format has seen a surge of sports programmers join it in recent years, and I’m excited to take the plunge as well because it’s one I have great interest in. I’ve worked on a few smaller projects with news/talk stations as part of my sports consulting work, and after starting my career at a news/music station, I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons and relationships, and helping more people and brands get better.

But I won’t be alone on this adventure.

BNM is pleased to add Ryan Maguire, a seasoned program director who’s managed 610 Sports in Kansas City, WQAM in Miami, 105.7 The Fan in Milwaukee, 97.3 The Fan in Pittsburgh, and KIRO-FM in Seattle, where he was part of the team that delivered the Marconi award for Best News/Talk Station of the Year in 2019. Ryan and I have known each other for over a decade, we’re both in our mid-40’s, and his ability to coach talent, dissect content, and help brand’s elevate their performance is reflected by his track record. Ryan currently works as a producer for SpokenLayer, the leading provider of voice media for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and he will remain in that role while lending consulting support to BNM clients. I’m looking forward to working with him and having him help our partners.


“When Jason approached me with the idea of working with him on helping build Barrett News Media, saying ‘yes’ was a very easy decision,” said Maguire. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for JB not only as a programmer, but how he’s been able to grow BSM so quickly over the last five years. Most importantly, we share a lot of the same philosophies on what it takes to build, grow and monetize spoken word brands and talent.  Radio is going through a metamorphosis right now, but my passion for the business and for creating great audio content has never waned. It’s a big part of what fuels me every day. I can’t wait to get started.”

When you look at the News/Talk format today, it’s had the benefit of consistently featuring a lot of elite personalities. But soon some of those familiar faces and voices will depart, forcing brands to add new talent, ideas, and strategies. When those big changes happen, will your brand be ready? Do you know where to turn next? Are you positioning your product to meet the needs of the past or the future? How does social media and podcasting factor into your overall strategy? These are just some of the things we’re excited to explore. When you’re ready to talk, let us know.

If I’ve learned anything over the past 5 years it’s that you’ve got to keep your foot on the gas, and be ready to pivot at a moments notice. No year has taught us more about that than 2020. If we can continue to be of value to our clients and readers, and tackle new challenges successfully, I’ll be more than happy to do this til I’m old and grey. To make it that far though we’ll need to keep evolving and improving so if I can bug you to click this link and answer a short survey I’d greatly appreciate it.

Two things that remain difficult are convincing larger companies to invest in outside support, and getting market managers, program directors and corporate executives to adjust their perceptions. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, I dislike the word ‘consultant‘ because too many ‘think‘ they know what I do based on others who have come before me. Except not everyone operates in the consulting space the same way. For example, I’ve met many music consultants over the years who don’t do what Fred Jacobs does, yet somehow they’re all lumped into the same category.

If I could find a word that defines a writer, host, creator, ratings analyst, advisor, researcher, influencer, seller, sales connector, recruiter, coach, social strategist, and brand builder I’d make the switch, but for now I guess I’m stuck with an outdated title. What I do know is if it involves content, creativity, sales, and management, I speak the language, and my track record of results shows I know how to help brands win.


To those I’ve had the good fortune of working with, it’s been a privilege to be a small part of your success. Your trust and partnership matters more than you know, and without it none of this is possible. To those who read our content, thank you for the continued support. We have a great team here at BSM who care deeply about the industry, and I appreciate you making time each day to digest the words that appear on your screen.

I’m lucky to wake up each day and pour my energy into something I love. We’ve made it five years, and I’d like to do this for another five. I guess that means I should probably start working on that five year plan.

Barrett Blogs

Rachel Nichols and Baron Davis Headline Final Speaker Announcements For the 2023 BSM Summit

“I’m sure Baron and Rachel will have all eyes and ears focused on them when they take the stage together next Tuesday at 2:45pm PT.”

Jason Barrett




The 2023 BSM Summit schedule is set. After months of planning and talking to everyone across the industry, I’m ecstatic to roll out next week’s agenda including making one final announcement involving seven great additions to our conference.

For starters, it is a pleasure to welcome Showtime’s Rachel Nichols to the BSM Summit. I’ve admired her work on television for years, and am thrilled to have her guiding a session which I think many in the room are going to really enjoy.

Rachel’s guest will be former NBA star Baron Davis. Baron runs his own company, Baron Davis Enterprises, and he has been active in investing in media brands, and exploring ways to evolve the industry. Among his areas of passion, athletes taking more control of their brands, and the media industry needing to improve its track record with diversity. I’m sure Baron and Rachel will have all eyes and ears focused on them when they take the stage together next Tuesday at 2:45pm PT.

Also joining the Summit are a few longtime industry friends. For starters, VSiN’s program director Jon Goulet is someone who I’ve known and worked with, and he understands the sports betting audio space extremely well. Jon and BetQL VP of Programming Mitch Rosen will spend time with another industry friend, Bryan Curtis of The Ringer. Collectively they’ll examine the state of sports betting audio on Tuesday March 21st from 3:35p-4:10p, and what they look for when it comes to sports betting talent, and how they determine what is and isn’t success in the sports gambling content world.

With Mitch taking part in the sports betting panel, Jeff Rickard of WFNZ in Charlotte steps into The Programmer’s Panel alongside Jimmy Powers, John Mamola and Raj Sharan. The session is scheduled for Wednesday March 22nd from 9:10a-9:45a PT. Ironically, all four of these programmers work for different companies, so it’ll be interesting to hear how they differ and where they align while navigating through a few sports radio programming topics.

Next, I’m excited to introduce a social media session with Karlo Sy Su of ESPN Los Angeles and Matthew Demeke of AM 570 LA Sports. If you look at the performance of their brands on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook, they’ve each delivered strong audiences and engagement. I’m looking forward to hosting this one and learning about their processes, how they decide which platforms to focus on most, what they consider a social media win when analyzing social statistics, and how they develop their content process. Given our location, we’re calling the session ‘Social Media Goes Hollywood‘. It’s scheduled for Wednesday March 22nd from 3:35-4:10 PT.

I realize you’re not going to remember all of these session speakers and times off the top of your head, so to make it easier, log on to and scroll down past our speakers. That’s where you’ll find our detailed list of sessions/times and activities planned each day. We have eighteen sessions, two awards ceremonies, and two parties. Our kickoff party is presented by the WWE and takes place Monday March 20th from 7p-9p at the 1880 Founders Room. The ESPN Radio After Party takes place Tuesday March 21st from 6p-8p at the Lab Gastropub. Both party locations are in walking distance of the USC Hotel and our conference venue.

As an added bonus, thanks to the generosity of our friends at WWE, we will be giving away a pair of tickets to the first night of WrestleMania, and a WWE title at our kickoff party. WrestleMania takes place this year in Los Angeles at Sofi Stadium on March 25-26. You must be present at the kickoff party to win either prize.

We’ll have more to share next week including providing an ongoing blog with session news and notes for our readers. We’ll also have a ton of content available on our social media channels so if you’re not following @BSMStaff on Twitter, @BarrettSportsMedia on Facebook or @BarrettMedia on LinkedIn, what are you waiting for?

The focus now shifts to finishing our creative for next week’s show, sending information to our speakers for their sessions, and finalizing our attendees list. For those who are attending, we’ll be sending out an email on Friday or Saturday with a complete list of names of who’s coming so you can plan meetings in advance.

If you forgot to buy your ticket after seeing months of promotion about the event and meant to do so, you can still do that, but it costs more. Students on the other hand can take advantage of a low rate established for college kids at

Putting this event together isn’t easy, but I’m extremely pleased with how it’s come together. We have a lot of smart, talented, and accomplished people making time to be part of this, and I appreciate each and every one of them for doing so. Now, it’s all about the execution. Hope to see you next week in LA.

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Barrett Blogs

Sports Broadcasting Icon Al Michaels To Be Honored at the 2023 BSM Summit

“This is a man who has spent more than five decades on your television screen calling the biggest games, and producing some of the most iconic moments sports has to offer.”

Jason Barrett




If you work in the sports media industry you’ve likely heard someone along the way utter the phrase “don’t bury the lead“. I’m usually good about following that advice but I didn’t do that at our 2022 BSM Summit.

We introduced the greatest tandem in sports radio history, Mike Francesa and Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo and it was a special half hour. Mike and the Mad Dog were reunited after seven years apart and every individual at the event knew they were witnessing something magical on stage. I created a Mike and the Mad Dog Award for the event, which went to Felger and Mazz, who were the absolute right choice to win it. Even Chris remarked ‘that’s the right call‘.

But I learned quickly that although the intention was right in honoring the industry’s current top performing show, when you have legends in the room and they’re in their element, the last thing you want to do is overcrowd them. The connection Mike and Chris had on the air became the gold standard by which we measure successful sports talk shows, and they didn’t need an award created to deliver a special moment, just two mics and 20-30 minutes of stage time.

As I began thinking about the 2023 BSM Summit, I knew there was an opportunity to build on what we started last year with Mike and Chris, and after talking to a few people who I trust and respect, the decision of who we would recognize became crystal clear. I believe it’s important to honor the greats in our business because those who leave a permanent mark on our industry deserve it. The man we’ve selected has spent more than five decades on your television screen calling the biggest games, and producing some of the most iconic moments sports has to offer. He’s worked with the best of the best inside the booth, has helped elevate the presentation and execution of in-game content for ABC, NBC and Amazon, and his call of the Miracle on Ice, the US Olympic hockey team’s 1980 gold medal win over Russia remains one of the best calls in the history of sports.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored and privileged to share that Al Michaels will join us on Wednesday March 22nd at the 2023 BSM Summit for our awards presentation, where we will present him with BSM’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Michaels is one of America’s most respected sports broadcasting voices, known for his exceptional work on Monday Night Football (1986-2005), Sunday Night Football (2006-2022) and Thursday Night Football (2022-Present). He’s called the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, Hagler-Hearns, the Olympics, the Indy 500, Horse Racing’s Triple Crown races, College Football and Basketball games, Golf, and more. He’s even held roles as the voice of the University of Hawaii, the Cincinnati Reds, and the San Francisco Giants, and was in the booth in 1989 when an earthquake rocked the Bay Area during Game 3 of the A’s-Giants world series.

The Brooklyn native turned Los Angeles resident has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and owns a ton of hardware including five sports Emmy’s, three NSMA Sportscaster of the Year honors, the 2013 Pete Rozelle Radio & Television Award distributed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award given out by the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Though his trophy case may be full, we’re excited to add another to his collection to show our appreciation and respect for the impact he’s made on the sports media business.

A quick reminder, the BSM Summit takes place on Tuesday March 21st and Wednesday March 22nd at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California. Tickets are on-sale at

Be advised, we have started adding sessions and times on the website. As always, the schedule is subject to change. Our final agenda will be posted by the end of next week. In addition, attendees will receive an email by next Friday with details of who will be in attendance. We hope to see you there.

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Barrett Blogs

Rob Parker, Brian Long, Sean Thompson and Matt Fishman Join The BSM Summit Speaker Lineup

“I’m excited to welcome a few folks who have enjoyed success in different parts of the country, and in different areas of the business.”

Jason Barrett




As we gear up for our 5th annual BSM Summit on March 21-22, 2023, I’m starting to get a better feel for how the final puzzle may look. When this process starts I have no idea how it’s going to turn out because so much depends on who says yes and no. Many who’ve attended over the years have complimented our lineups, and I appreciate it because I put a lot of time and effort into featuring a strong mix of professionals from different areas of the industry. Though I’m proud of the work we do and the schedule we deliver, there are so many things pursued leading up to the event that I can’t help but wonder ‘what if this or that had worked out?’

One thing that some folks don’t understand if they haven’t been to the show before is that this is not a talent conference. It’s a sports media business conference. That means we feature radio, TV and digital executives, programmers, researchers, sales professionals, and yes, talent. I believe on-air performers are vital to the industry’s success and I want the best of the best sharing their wisdom with everyone in the room, but we’re also not going to do two full days of on-air conversations. Being successful in sports media requires understanding the on-air side and the business side, and we do our best to offer a blend of both.

For today’s announcement, I’m excited to welcome a few sports media pros who have enjoyed success in different parts of the country, and in different areas of the business.

First, Rob Parker is someone who has made a name for himself as a radio host, writer, TV commentator, and teacher. He’s currently heard weeknights on FOX Sports Radio, teaches students at USC Annenberg, writes for Deadspin, and is helping MLBBro gain awareness and a bigger mainstream media presence covering Major League Baseball. He’s experienced, smart, and never short on opinion. I’m looking forward to having him join Mitch Rosen of 670 The Score/BetQL, and Scott Shapiro of FOX Sports Radio for a session titled “Aircheck On Campus“. They’ll take the stage together on Wednesday March 22nd from 2:10-2:45.

My next three speakers, all come from the sports radio programming department.

Matt Fishman is the Director of Content for ESPN 850 Cleveland. Fishman has been with the brand since January 2020 following stints at SiriusXM, 610 Sports in Kansas City, and 670 The Score in Chicago. He even wrote for BSM for a few years.

Sean Thompson is responsible for programming decisions at Arizona Sports and ESPN 620 AM. He joined the well respected Phoenix brand after more than a decade in Atlanta at 92.9 The Game. Sean has also worked in affiliate relations for Westwood One, and on the air and as a programmer in music radio for Good Karma Brands in Madison, WI.

Brian Long is the program director of both San Diego Sports 760 and KOGO 600 in San Diego. In addition to guiding two of the top talk brands in his market, he has also managed Seattle Sports 710, and served as the Assistant Program Director for ESPN LA 710.

Matt, Sean, and Brian will be part of one of our final sessions on day two of the Summit. The Last Call which yours truly is hosting, will explore unique revenue opportunities created by local brands, and examine a few new ideas and missed opportunities that brands and managers may want to take advantage of in the future.

As of today, the Summit has more than forty accomplished professionals taking the stage at the Founders Club at USC’s Galen Center on March 21-22, 2023. I’ve got a few others still to announce as well, including a few cool giveaways planned for the WWE’s Kickoff party.

If you haven’t bought a ticket and wish to be in the room, visit The last day for ticket sales will be Monday March 13th. I’m hoping to release our final schedule of sessions on Tuesday March 14th. Hopefully I’ll see you in the city of angels.

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