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Jason Barrett Is Doing It Big

“If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it big or don’t do it at all. It’s the same way I programmed a radio station; are we here just to talk and fill time, or are we here to maximize minutes?”

Brian Noe




It’s funny, looking back now. I once had a role in putting together a small event at a local radio station. I thought it’d be easy. It didn’t take long to notice that all of the coordinating, communicating, and moving parts were far more in-depth than I ever anticipated.

With that in mind, I don’t even want to know how many grease fires need to be attended to while piecing together the latest BSM Summit. It has to be like an IKEA project on steroids and HGH at the same time.

That’s one of the things I respect most about Jason Barrett; the guy doesn’t shy away from a challenge. The president of Barrett Sports Media holds an event that benefits the entire sports radio industry, regardless of the workload. How can you not admire that? He truly has a passion and a genuine love for the industry. If sports radio were a car on the side of the road, JB would either be pushing it or changing a tire like a NASCAR pit crew member.

NFL Draft analyst Bucky Brooks has a great saying that quarterbacks are either trucks or trailers; some guys carry a team while others are carried by the squad. It works the same way in sports radio. JB isn’t a guy who is carried by the industry; he’s got a trucker hat on.

JB also represents what the industry needs; sports radio needs people that look beyond what they can get out of it and instead focus on what they can put into it. Sports radio improves when people look to boost the format, not just their bank accounts.

The purpose of this interview isn’t about highlighting JB as the All-American guy. It’s about focusing on how the Summit can impact the mission to make sports radio bigger and better. JB and I also chat about the biggest difficulty he faces while putting the conference together and the impact of COVID on this year’s event. He also shares a few thoughts on radio’s greatest challenges and opportunities going forward. Enjoy!

Brian Noe: First off, why do you choose to run the event?

Jason Barrett: That’s a good question to start. I would say first of all, one of the biggest holes our industry has had for a long time is that every company is focused on what their strategies are, what they think is the best for reaching an audience, selling advertising, all of that.

But I remember I would go to these workshops and people would be in the room and everybody spoke the same language. I bonded with some people who thought like me. Everyone would be saying the key to this is teasing, playing the hits, and all the same bullshit we’ve heard forever.

But then I just listened to Tom Tolbert talk for 25 minutes about barbecuing and playing badminton in the backyard, and he kicked the shit out of me for three quarter-hours doing something that all of us in the room would’ve said is not playing the hits. Then I would listen to Mike Francesa not play sound, not tease, take an interview 40 minutes, and he’d be number one. I’d say, but the room I’m in, everybody said this is the path to be successful.

As you get more and more of those examples you just start to realize, there’s so much information out there, and so many people who succeed doing it differently, that I think you become smarter and more successful as a professional the more you surround yourself with other smart professionals. If I can learn one thing from an iHeart guy, an Audacy guy, a Bonneville, Beasley, and Hubbard guy, I’ve got five keys now in my tool belt that’s going to make me better at what I do.

On top of that, let’s face it, if you work in the business, we’ve all read about each other. We follow a lot of each other’s brands and we go, oh yeah, I heard the Hub is really good. You know what? Do you know why they’re good outside of one time you hit a stream button? What if you met some of these people?

I just looked at it as hey, I’m fortunate that we’ve built this up pretty well over the last six-plus years. You’ve been a big part of that Brian. In doing so, if we can use this platform to bring an industry together, to share ideas and information so we all get out of there with some things that will help us, that’s the goal.

I don’t forget that 80% of the country still listens to music. When we think about, oh, I’ve got to knock this sports station out, I’m like, no, you need them to thrive too. We’ve got four out of five people listening to a music station. We need to pull some of that over so we all win in a bigger way. That’s really the motivation for it.

Then beyond that, look, we all personally like to meet each other, spend some time, and enjoy two days. I think right now, coming off of what we’ve all just went through for the last two years, I think the industry could use it.

BN: What do you hope people gain from the event when they walk away?

JB: I think if there are three things, it would be one — the first and foremost — I hope you come out of there with information. If you don’t leave there in 16 hours of being in that theater with a few things that make you better, then you probably haven’t been paying attention, or you were just hanging out at the after-party getting smashed. [Laughs] That’s number one; I want people to learn something about the business.

Number two, I think it’s great for people to make relationships because those extend beyond the two days. People lose sight of this, Bri, you go to an event and you go, oh yeah, that’s that PD over there. I have no connection to that market. Then a year later, I’ll give you a perfect example, at the last Summit, Rod Lakin is presenting on stage for Phoenix. I’m sure a lot of people were like, oh, West Coast PD, Rod’s really sharp but I’m on the East Coast. What does that have to do with me?

Then all of a sudden, the news comes out two years later Rod Lakin’s now running WIP. I go, did you take time to say hello at the event? It’s always better to build a face-to-face connection because you have no idea where this business is going to take you in five years. The more friends you have, the more likely you are to continue working and the more of a network you have, the better it is to serve you.

If there’s a last takeaway beyond information and making relationships, I think the last part would be celebrating. It’s honoring people at the awards ceremony. It’s shaking someone’s hand who was on stage for a session and saying, hey man, that was really good.

We are all so competitive and we spend 52 weeks in a year trying to stay ahead of competition. We’re battling so many damn choices for the ear these days — or the eyes, we’re not just audio anymore. Sometimes it’s okay to say, hey man, this is a pretty cool damn business to be in.

If you were in L.A., holy shit, I met Colin Cowherd. He’s cool as hell. I went to New York; I met Craig Carton and Fred Toucher. These guys are highly successful personalities in the business. I think if we could celebrate our industry, give people some information, and at the same time, make a few connections, that puts everybody in a good spot.

BN: What’s the biggest difficulty you deal with when you’re putting a conference together like this?

JB: The biggest difficulty is literally being the organizer, executive producer, and host of it. I’m also the lead sales person on it. I’m also the one who goes down to the theater to talk to the manager and make sure the tech is going to be okay. I’m the designer of every image that you’re going to see on that stage, aside from those that I ask to create things because it’s part of their session. It becomes a bear putting the show together.

One of the things I’m proud of is that people see the final agenda and they’ll say, that’s damn good. What they don’t see are the people that I talked to that couldn’t be here. I talked to people for nine months. When I started, I was having dialogue with Mark Cuban because I thought we were going to do a virtual conference. Then literally, the event pivoted to being live and virtual. I knew, okay, I’m not going to be able to get Mark to fly in for this. So okay, we’ll cross that bridge down the road.

You go through a lot of those things because ultimately I look at it as this: if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it big or don’t do it at all. It’s the same way I programmed a radio station; are we here just to talk and fill time, or are we here to maximize minutes and create unforgettable moments? It’s the same with an event. I want people to walk out of there and go, that guy did a damn good job. He’s got a great team around him.

I couldn’t focus on this Summit if our website wasn’t fresh and the social wasn’t on point. In the past, I had to do that too; it doesn’t work. Now I’ve got people like yourself writing content, Demetri is scheduling social. People forget I have to do the top 20 at this time too, the biggest thing we do of the year, next to the Summit. You’ve got all of this going on and there is a reason why I’m up at seven and I go to bed at two.

I’ve got clients to serve but at the same time, I’ve also got to put on a kick-ass show. Otherwise, people aren’t going to find it valuable. If someone’s getting on a plane to come spend two days in a theater, and especially coming off of COVID and all of the stuff we’ve dealt with, I owe them the best experience possible. That’s what my focus is.

BN: What are your concerns related to putting on an event when COVID is still a part of our lives?

JB: Look, I’ll be honest — early January, I was terrified. I thought there was a possibility this would have to get moved back because Omicron started to rear its ugly head and everybody rightfully so was worried about their health and safety. As much as I like getting people together and celebrating the business, I don’t want people to leave here sick, exposing their family to stuff, so that was very much a concern.

New York in general, if you’re going to go to an event, you’ve got to be vaccinated. I knew that was one part of this, but people are vaccinated and have still gotten COVID. I can’t control what the world does.

I think one thing that’s made it a lot easier and the way I’ve communicated this to some around me has been, look, I get it, there are going to be some concerns for some people that maybe they’re not comfortable being in a theater. My answer to them is, well, then buy the virtual ticket. Don’t come. It’s okay, you’re not going to hurt my feelings if you can’t make it because I respect that. I don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable being somewhere. If they feel that way, they should buy the virtual ticket and take it in that way.

I went to Madison Square Garden in January with my son. There were 15,000 people. Some had masks on, some had masks off. At some point you just say, look, as an adult I’m going to make a decision. I’m either okay being here or I’m not okay being here. I chose to go there. I wouldn’t have done that a year earlier. I did. I came out of it. I’ve been okay.

I flew out to Los Angeles for The Volume’s party. Shook hands, gave a few bro hugs, thought to myself, crap, this would be really bad if I came out of this party and got COVID a month before the Summit. But am I not going to support people who supported me? No, I have to do that. It’s the right thing for business. It’s the right thing for relationships.

I think if we can go to venues where there are 15,000 people and enjoy a sporting event, we should be able to go to a theater with 200 and get through it. I don’t promise anything because I know none of us are health experts. We’re trusting that the air around us is going to be okay and that we’re not in a bad spot. Everyone’s got to make that choice for themselves and if they choose to come or not come, I respect it either way.

There are different ways this time to enjoy the show. Those who are comfortable will be there, those who are not will go online and hopefully down the road, we’ll be in a spot where everyone’s comfortable being together.

BN: What’s the biggest fire you’ve had to put out in the past or just the craziest scenario you’ve encountered?

JB: Honestly, I’ve been lucky to dodge some major fires. Back in Los Angeles, we were scheduled to have Daryl Morey be part of the esports panel. I was really looking forward to that because I think he’s brilliant. He’s just got a really sharp mind for business.

On the morning of, I was notified that he couldn’t make it. They sent in his place their head of Clutch Gaming at the time when Daryl was with the Rockets, Sebastian Park. Now you know our audience, and Sebastian was great, but people want Daryl Morey.

Fortunately, that same morning I had connected with Eric Shanks. I hadn’t told people that Eric was going to be there because I wasn’t planning on him being there. He literally said I will come to the GRAMMY Museum to say a few words on behalf of Tony Bruno. When I took the stage to tell people I’ve got some good news and some bad news, Daryl Morey — and I heard the collective sigh — then I said but we’ve added FOX Sports President and CEO Eric Shanks, everyone went that’s pretty damn good.

I’ve been lucky to get through it but, look, it’s like when a band goes on stage, you can rehearse the songs, you could know what each other is supposed to do, what positions you’re supposed to be in, and then literally some roadie in the back knocks over a set of speakers that falls on the drummer and the whole show is changed. [Laughs] I’m lucky we haven’t had a roadie knock the speakers over yet.

But when you’re doing 16 hours of live programming, you’re always one step away from chaos. I pray that we’re not dealing with a major fire. It would be great if we could do this every year and not have one because once it happens, you just don’t want the building to burn down.

BN: What do you see as radio’s greatest challenges and opportunities going forward?

JB: First of all, the biggest opportunity is that audio listening is at a record high. Especially if you look over the last seven years, the growth of spoken word and listening is through the roof. There’s a lot of options out there for people.

I think that also presents the biggest obstacle. More people are creating content than ever before. More people are listening because of technology. We all have phones. We’ve got smart speakers. The opportunities to consume audio, everybody’s got earbuds in their ears, or they’ve got a phone nearby, or a computer, or if they’re in the car, the radio.

I think the real challenge — and what’s going to be interesting to follow in the next decade — is going to be the shift from the radio to streaming. We were already seeing it, but when you look at some of the rapid growth; I remember two years ago, and this is something I’m going to talk about at the show, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek had said radio is their biggest competitor. He’s interested in basically making sure linear dies. At the time — obviously as a radio guy, you’re a lifer like myself — you go, man, this is a great business, I don’t want to see linear die.

It’s not that it’s dying, it’s moving to different places. Whether it’s Pardon My Take being offered through podcasting platforms or through a terrestrial speaker, it’s still a show that we’re all going to enjoy and listen to. It’s just how you listen. The real challenge going forward is if that shifts, does the advertising shift with it? That’s going to be hard to replicate. We’ve been so dependent on the terrestrial model.

The other part of this is measuring it and finding it. Discovering where content lives is easy when you’re ESPN and you’ve got the world’s biggest reach and everyone knows they’ve got ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, or ESPN podcasts. You’re going to find them everywhere, but what do you do if you’re in a local market in Indianapolis, Kansas City, Salt Lake, how do you break through on the charts so people know your stuff?

At the same time, how do you turn those advertisers who’ve been spending money for the radio space and convince them to shift to a digital plan when you can’t even show the digital measurement the way you’ve shown radio measurement?

There’s a lot of things that are going to change. Who knows where we’re at in 20 years, Bri. Facebook became Meta. Pretty soon, we’re going to have artificial intelligence shows going on. This world is going to be crazy. I’m just glad that it’ll be my son’s problem to deal with in 20 years, not mine.

BN: I hear you, man. Do you have a final message you’d like to convey with the Summit set to begin?

JB: I’m grateful for everybody making the trip into New York. Especially thankful for the support we’ve had from our sponsors on it. This is the best year we’ve had with it and coming off of COVID, it’s really rejuvenated me to see that people care about their business enough to put their support behind It.

I just want people to come to New York, learn, laugh, have a good time, and ultimately walk out of there with some information to make their brands better. If we can accomplish that in 16 hours, I’ll feel we’ve done our job. Then we take a little reprieve before focusing on the next one.

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BSM Writers

Ian Rapoport Is Competing Against Everyone

“When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive.”

Derek Futterman




The 2023 NFL Draft was a weekend filled with speculation, intrigue and musing among football fans and experts alike. After two quarterbacks were selected with the first two picks – Bryce Young by the Carolina Panthers; and C.J. Stroud by the Houston Texans – Ian Rapoport had the inclination that something was about to break at the event in Kansas City.

The third pick of the night was held by the Arizona Cardinals, but through previous intel, Rapoport knew there was a chance the team would trade it. His phone then lit up with a text message from a source that simply read, “Texans trading.” Receiving a message of this magnitude takes years of networking, credibility and immense trust from the people you cover. Rapoport has worked hard to attain all of them. 

He replied by asking, “Did the Texans trade up to three?,” as the team was not set to pick again until No. 12 overall. Once he got confirmation of the scenario, he began to visibly shake in excitement and captured the attention of the NFL Network team.

“I sit there with a camera in front of me that’s not always on air – this is during the Draft – and the producer gets in my ear and he goes, ‘Can you go on air with whatever you have?,’ and I just say, ‘Yes.’” Rapoport recalled. “And then I hear Rich Eisen go, ‘Ian, you have news,’ and I was able to break that the Texans have traded up to three to go get Will Anderson.”

This is the craft through which Rapoport has cultivated a successful journalism career, ultimately distinguishing him as NFL Network’s goto insider. He hardly ever separates himself from the job, equipped with an unparalleled work ethic to ensure he can communicate messages accurately and in a timely manner. While some people may argue that he is in direct competition with others in his position, such as Adam Schefter of ESPN, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports, the reality of the situation is that it is Rapoport vs. the world.

“It’s such a small world now and everyone is interconnected – and with Twitter, literally anyone could break a story and have it go viral,” Rapoport said. “Obviously, you want everything first, but really you’re competing against everyone that exists because anyone could get the story at any moment.”

Work-life balance in such a role is usually quite insurmountable in today’s dynamic, interminable breaking news environment. Rapoport strives to find some level of normalcy in his life by playing golf and attending his sons’ sporting events. In the end though, he knows the world of football never sleeps, and it is up to him to remain in the know at all hours of the day, essentially always on standby to break the next big story.

“I do not turn my phone off because that’s actually way more stressful,” Rapoport said. “At least now when my phone’s on and near me, if something crazy happens, I can react rather than having a fake relaxation moment and then being caught off guard with something.”

Rapoport recognized that journalism was the field for him almost immediately after stepping onto the Columbia University campus. He worked his way up at The Dial to ultimately become its associate sports editor. In the summer preceding his senior year, he landed a coveted internship with ESPN where he gained invaluable experience in the world of television production. 

By the time he graduated, Rapoport envisioned himself becoming a nationally acclaimed sportswriter, but he knew it was going to require he start small. Three hundred eleven job applications and two interviews later, he landed a part-time role with The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y. covering high school sports. It gave him a start in the highly-competitive business – and kept him close to home while trying many new things.

Two years later, he found himself moving from the bright lights of New York City to the quaint town of Starkville, Mississippi for a notable opportunity. He had landed a job covering the Mississippi State Bulldogs for The Clarion-Ledger in the nearby capital city of Jackson and was under the direction of sports editor Rusty Hampton.

“I knew how to write, but I really didn’t know how to report,” Rapoport said. “He was probably the best [at] showing me, ‘This is all about reporting. It’s all about telling people something they don’t know rather than how well you can pen a sentence.’ To be really valuable to society or your newspaper, you really need to inform rather than entertain. I think he was probably the first and best person to teach me that.”

After spending two years in Mississippi, Rapoport became a beat reporter for The Birmingham News tasked with following the Alabama Crimson Tide. Just months into his new role, the program made a coaching change and hired Nick Saban, who has since led the program to six national titles. 

Rapoport learned the thoroughness necessary to cover the Southeastern Conference as he rapidly watched the program become a perennial contender. In turn, he became an eminent college football reporter and his work began to be consumed nationally.

Simultaneously, Bill Belichick, another accomplished football head coach in his own right, was in the process of trying to lead the New England Patriots back to championship glory. Known to be stoic and restrained in his press conferences, reporters asking him questions knew extrapolating answers was not the easiest of tasks. 

When Rapoport saw a job opening to cover the team with the Boston Herald that required NFL experience, he knew that he was not qualified verbatim per se. Yet he figured the experience he had in covering Saban and Alabama would serve him well in the role, and articulated such in a protracted email to the newspaper’s editors. His strategy worked, proving why Rapoport is considered one of the industry’s best communicators at the micro and macro levels.

“You don’t see a lot of sources within the Patriots or sources within Alabama – there’s not a lot of that,” Rapoport said. “So I learned to report despite that and kind of work the edges and get the information I needed, despite head coaches who weren’t always the most forthcoming with information.”

NFL Network oftentimes has local beat reporters on the air to interact with studio talent and give their perspectives about teams, and it was something Rapoport did while at the Boston Herald. He had no television experience outside of other appearances he made on Comcast New England and certainly no intention to pursue the medium as a career. 

In Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants overcame the New England Patriots, who were undefeated for the year entering the game. Rapoport was on hand for the proceedings, and shortly afterwards was called into a meeting with NFL Network executives. 

He didn’t know he was interviewing for a job until he asked just why he had been summoned. He expressed his lack of television experience to the executives, who said the network would teach him everything he needed to know. 

Once the meeting concluded, Rapoport called his wife, who he had met while living in Starkville, Mississippi, and told her what had just happened. She tempered his expectations, warning him not to get his hopes up as he remained optimistic. One month later, Rapoport received a job offer and found himself moving once again – this time to the Lone Star State.

“I hired an agent and moved to Dallas and basically spent the next year reporting on the Cowboys and some other things being very, very bad at TV, but learning and eventually figuring it out,” Rapoport said. “At the time, this guy, Eric Weinberger, who was our boss, kind of mentioned to me the possibility of transitioning [me] from reporter to insider.”

Rapoport acknowledged that he did not have the contacts necessary to effectively work as a league insider for a national outlet, but through his years of experience, he knew how to network and he was ready and willing to take the challenge. 

Once he began the new position, Rapoport, along with reporter Michael Silver, was on the road for Thursday Night Football and contributed to its pregame and halftime coverage. While his television skills improved, Rapoport was hard at work bolstering his contacts and took somewhat of a geographical approach. 

Every time he arrived in a new city, he would contact anyone and everyone he could conjure up, including general managers, scouts and head coaches. If he could not schedule a meeting time with them, he would introduce himself by roaming the sidelines at practices and before games. He engaged in a similar practice before the NFL Draft Combine, training camps and the Super Bowl along with other premier events, always staying focused on the task at hand.

“It probably took me five or six years to get a baseline of sources where if something happened, I had someone to call,” Rapoport said. “And then it took me a couple more years to get to the point where I would know before a lot of people when something was about to happen. It’s all a multi-step process, and just [the] layering and layering and layering of sources is really the sort of engine that drives this thing.”

Ian Rapoport always attempts to triangulate his sources to verify information before he releases it publicly. There is no guarantee sources are always truthful or acting in a professional manner. Therefore, it is incumbent on a journalist to ensure the validity of content before publishing it themselves. 

“If you’re only right some of the time, then none of it is really worth it,” Rapoport expressed, “because then you say something and they’re like, ‘Well, wow, that’s a big story if this is true.’ The whole point of doing this is when I pop up on TV or when people see my Twitter alerts or whatever, they have to know that it’s true – they have to know.”

One day, Rapoport was having a conversation with a source and discovered through their conversation that Rob Gronkowski had informed the New England Patriots that he would return to the game of football under the stipulation he be traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reunite with quarterback Tom Brady. There had been much speculation pertaining to Gronkowski’s future after he had worked as an NFL analyst with FOX Sports, and now Rapoport realized he had a monumental scoop – that is, if it was true. Within six minutes, Rapoport verified the story with three sources, contacted his editor and reported to the world Gronkowski’s intentions. The story was picked up virtually everywhere.

“I just think about the job all the time, and I make little lists for myself of things that I need to track down, and I just make a lot of phone calls for it,” Rapoport said. “When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive. It ends up just a brain full of football thoughts, and then I spend the rest of the time trying to figure out what I can learn from it.”

Working for a league-owned entity can sometimes epitomize an inherent conflict of interest. For Rapoport however, he has found working at NFL Network to be hassle-free. He knows, however, the nature of his job means he will not be universally liked.

“Whatever you do, you’re going to report and the people you report on are going to be happy or upset or neutral – or whatever it is,” Rapoport said. “I’m never going to criticize a referee, for instance, because that’s a nuanced thing and people might say, ‘NFL criticizes referees.’ I’m never going to do that, but I wouldn’t do that anyway.”

Rapoport continues to appear on a variety of external media outlets, perhaps most notably The Pat McAfee Show, which recently concluded its “Up to Something Season.” The grand conclusion of the proceedings was McAfee announcing he would be bringing his show to ESPN’s linear and digital platforms starting in the fall. 

While McAfee is retaining creative control and has expressed on multiple occasions that his show will not be changing, many have wondered whether insiders employed by other networks will be able to continue making appearances. It is an answer Rapoport himself does not know, nor has he asked about.

“When the news broke, my phone blew up with all sorts of people saying all sorts of different things,” Rapoport said. “I have no idea. I really don’t.”

Even so, Rapoport is elated for McAfee and his team taking the next step in their show’s journey and is genuinely glad to see them succeed. He does not think McAfee’s goal was to reshape sports media, but rather to cultivate a distinctive sports talk program built for fans and today’s generation of consumers.

“You get to know someone and you think they’re a good person and you respect the way they work. Some people have success and some people have a little success and some people don’t. It’s really rare to see someone who has every bit of success that’s essentially possible and deserves every bit of it, and that’s kind of how I thought about Pat. It’s really cool, honestly. He’s built it himself.”

It was on McAfee’s show where another prominent football insider – Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports – said it would be a matter of “when,” not “if” the NFL would have games seven days per week. While devoted football fans like Rapoport are open to such a proposition, he is not sure the league would ever go that far. 

“I don’t even know that it would affect my schedule that much,” he said. “It sort of doesn’t matter. I’ll report all year round anyway.”

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Face-to-Face Sales Meetings Have Never Been More Valuable

“With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F.”

Jeff Caves




When did you last attend a face-to-face (F2F) in-person sales call? Let’s imagine for a second.

In New York, Sarah, a determined sports radio salesperson, got tired of chasing a major client for months. Despite her calls, emails, and text, she couldn’t break through to get a meeting. 

Throwing caution to the wind, Sarah decided to go for it. She loaded her deck and took her burning desire via airplane to Florida to make the pitch. She showed up unannounced at the client’s office and startled the decision-maker. She was given the meeting and won over the client, getting a substantial annual contract and a movie deal in Hollywood. 

We have all seen that storyline. F2F meetings used to be the obvious choice over a phone call, and most buyers were open to that idea. We even conducted market trips to meet our buyers in person and create better relationships. 

With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F. Lots of us work and listen from home. 

Gartner Research points out that live, in person selling is superior to virtual selling in financial services or, as I think, in radio sales. Now, prospecting new clients F2F is much more difficult. You have never met them, you don’t know who you are looking for, and gatekeepers and remote decision-makers make walk-ins more challenging. 

How about getting out and seeing your current or former clients F2F? 65% of outside account executives attain quota, 10% more often than inside reps. Here are some simple strategies to get outside and F2F:


Turn the sales faucet on ‘drip’ and contact your current clients with whatever works: phone calls, emails, or texts. Tell them you are checking in to see if anything has changed, give them a local business lead, or share your latest insight on their favorite team. When doing so, tell them you want to meet F2F and go deep into the next quarter’s ad plan or a new idea to get them back on the air. They may start looking forward to your communication. 


Schedule an annual review ahead of their busiest time of year to review the upcoming messaging in ads. Go over what worked or didn’t last year. Share a success story of a similar advertiser in another market or show them a new opportunity that fits. 

Be upfront that with F2F, we can get more specific, work with better feedback, and partner on hitting their goals. Be the person who looks ahead and helps keep your client focused.


Organize workshops for your current clients. Teach that about streaming, OTT, or Google ads. Get your digital person involved. Let them know you are bringing in other local businesspeople they may want to know or network with and meet F2F! A Mortgage broker may want to meet a realtor who wants to meet a wealthy local businessperson interested in meeting the local head coach. Stand out as a leader in the industry and watch clients brag about working with you. 


Attend trade shows where your current clients will be. This will show you are serious about their business and want to stay current so you can learn and earn. Set up a meeting over coffee or a drink. Share what you learned. 


Client Appreciation Events held at your town’s most meaningful events or places. Do whatever it takes to get hospitality tents at big games and concert suites to show appreciation and bond with your current clients. Host a luncheon at the hottest new local restaurant. Focus on providing an atmosphere or experience everyone wants, but not many can attend. Be the exclusive person in town.


Leverage your existing client relationships to seek referrals. Do it in person. Tell them you want to see them and ask for help and advice. Ask for introductions to potential new clients they know, and you will be surprised how much they like working with you. 


Bring your Digital manager to them and do a free review of their SEO, PPC, whatever. Working off your client’s pc and bringing them an expert at no charge or obligation is much easier. Watch your partnership grow by providing so much expertise at no extra expense. 

Don’t forget the value of F2F meetings. It’s a great way to build trust, connect, and unlock new opportunities. We are in a people business doing business with tons of local directs who still make most of their money serving retail customers F2F. Let’s get out and sell! 

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All Jason Timpf Needed Was A Moment of Clarity

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this.”

Tyler McComas




There was once a time when Jason Timpf always included Colin Cowherd in his commute to work. As he made his morning drive to a sales job at Verizon, The Herd was appointment listening each morning for Timpf. The ex-college basketball player would marvel at Cowherd’s ability to make relatable references and break down all of the same basketball games he would watch the night before. 

One of the unique things Timpf can remember from listening to The Herd during that time was Cowherd saying if FOX ever put someone in front of him, he could tell in five seconds if that individual had the skills to be a host. It was far from a hot take on the Lakers, but still a distinct moment that stuck with Timpf for many years. Little did he know at the time but Cowherd would soon give a five-second evaluation of Timpf’s career.

Jason Timpf was a late-bloomer in basketball. He played college hoops at an NAIA school in Utah, but not until his third year, after being a regular student the first two. After graduating, he pursued a basketball career overseas in India. However, after the league folded, he left the game for a normal job in the States.

There was a real desire for Timpf to get into the sports media business, but he was having difficulties finding the right fit. He wanted advice on the best way to start, but the tips he received just didn’t feel like the right initial path.

“I’d hear, hey, go bang on a radio station’s door and ask if you can work the soundboard,” said Timpf. “Or, try to go to a journalism school. Another big one that everyone was doing was the SB Nation blogs and FanSided blogs. I briefly tried to do that a little bit. But none of it was materializing the way that I had hoped.”

But then the lightbulb went off for Timpf and it happened during the middle of a podcast interview. In October of 2020, Jason Maples of Blue Wire reached out to Timpf to talk hoops on his podcast. It was in the middle of that interview when it all made sense. It felt exactly like the camaraderie he enjoyed with his old teammates and friends talking basketball. It was relaxed, fun and what he used to do for enjoyment. The perfect fit had just found Timpf organically. 

“It was, ‘this is it,’” said Timpf. “‘This is how I want to do it.’ It was like a moment of clarity. Like, this is the way I want to talk about the game. Fortunately, I was working in real estate at the time, so I was super flexible, so I literally was just trying to fake it until I made it.”

While Timpf was grinding away on his new platform choice, he was constantly putting out his content on social media. For a handful of years, he had used Twitter as an outlet for basketball talk – not because he was trying to build his brand, but because it was his preferred method of sharing his takes during and after basketball games. 

“My wife actually played basketball in college but she, like a lot of people, got out of it and was like, ‘actually I’m so sick of basketball, since it’s all I did growing up, that I’d rather not talk about it,’” laughed Timpf. 

As Timpf had built up years of basketball takes on Twitter, he also built up followers. Not a crazy amount, but enough to have regular interactions with several basketball fans. He had no idea at the time, though he remembers occasionally interacting with him, but one of his followers in the beginning was Logan Swaim, who just happens to be Head of Content at The Volume.

Being such a huge fan of Cowherd, Timpf was absolutely familiar with The Volume, a company started by the FOX Sports Radio host. In fact, during his first plunge into podcasts, he quickly took note of how much success The Volume was having with instant reaction and video content. He wanted to emulate what they were doing and would host a Twitter Space after each Lakers game.

Swaim kept up with Timpf’s journey and continued to be impressed with what he saw. He was so impressed, in fact, that a video eventually made it in front of Cowherd’s eyes. It was the moment Timpf had always heard about while driving to his job at Verizon. Cowherd was about to make a declaration on Timpf’s abilities. 

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this,” Timpf said. “That was a huge boost of confidence for me, because it meant somebody I deeply respected believed I could work in this business.”

Timpf made his dream come true. He was offered a job by The Volume hosting Hoops Tonight. As much of a dream as it was when he was initially hired, the experience since has been nothing but ideal for Timpf. He gets to cover his favorite sport the way he wants to cover it. 

“When I first started and Logan and I were structuring out the show, he kinda viewed it as my show would be the slower, more methodical pace, where I work through my thought process of a game. And also that I’d be a guest on other Volume shows for more conversational podcasts. I really wanted to break down pick and roll coverage. It’s just going to take me a while, so trying to do that in a debate show format or conversational format can get hard. It’s a place where I can let more of my crazy depth out. And I can also have a side format where it’s more conversational.”

Timpf has learned prep for podcasts is one of the biggest elements to being successful. As Hoops Tonight continues to draw impressive numbers over audio and YouTube, he’s figured out the best method to prepare for a long-form podcast where he’s hosting solo. 

“I digest the game from the simple concept of how the game was won,” said Timpf. “Where was it won? There’s 100-something possessions in this game, there’s seven different storylines and several runs and sequences and sways in momentum, but what’s the one? Usually I’ll target that first in the opening segment of the show.

“While I’m watching the game I’ll take ancillary notes. About five minutes before I record, I sift through everything I’ve written down and limit it down to the things I think are most important. But generally the flow of the show is how the game was won.”

The whole experience has been gratifying and a full-circle moment in many ways for Timpf. Not only has it been vindicating to do things his way and see it become a success, but he’s gotten to do it with someone who he considers an idol.

Sure, Timpf always envisioned growing up he would be talking to Cowherd as a pro athlete, but talking to him as a colleague is certainly the next best thing. So when he got the call to talk with Cowherd during last year’s West Conference Finals, he didn’t hesitate.

“I was so incredibly nervous, as you could imagine,” laughed Timpf. “But I immediately remember him making me feel comfortable and confident. It immediately calmed me down.

“This is probably my favorite part of the entire experience, I think a lot of people think that these networks try to shove people in certain directions and The Volume has given me such freedom to cover the game exactly the way I want to and nobody is telling me to say crazy stuff. Nobody is pushing me in certain directions, it’s like total creative freedom. The way that Logan and Colin have been letting me do me, so to speak, has been so cool. To see my version of what I want it to look like makes me feel vindicated for talking about it the way I want to.”

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