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2022 BSM Summit – March 3, 2022 (Day 2)

“Check back throughout the day for updates on all of the latest developments from day two of the 2022 BSM Summit.”

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Jason Barrett takes the stage to introduce Day 2 of the BSM Summit, thanking the partners who helped make this event happen. Jason announces that the 11:15 a.m. ET “Dominating Digital” will only be WWE’s Steve Braband as ESPN’s Mike Foss was unable to attend.

But the big news is that Mike and the Mad Dog, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, will reunite for the awards ceremony beginning at 11:50 a.m to present the Mike & the Mad Dog Award to Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti for the country’s best local sports show.

Already planning for next year’s BSM Summit, the location has not yet been determined. But it will take place out west.

Jason shares data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study that shows younger listeners gravitating toward podcasts, while older consumers are sticking with radio. Yet the overall takeway is good news: Audio listening is increasing across demographics and regions.

9:10-9:50 – The Power Panel Revisited presented by

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  • Jeff Sottolano – Audacy
  • Steve Cohen – SiriusXM
  • Bruce Gilbert – Cumulus Media/Westwood One
  • Don Martin – iHeart Media/Premiere Radio Networks/FOX Sports Radio

Jeff Sottolano – Audacy
Outlets need to focus on distribution, how to reach the audience that is increasingly going to podcasts rather than listening to radio. But that presents an opportunity. The ears are there; they’ve just moved.

We need to spend less time thinking about the boxes and more about the content that goes into those boxes. How much content ends up going into the ether? But with clips, we can make sure that content is available and listeners can find, for instance, everything we have on the New York Giants.

We need to be audience-agnostic. Listeners increasingly care less about where they’re getting audio.

How can new program directors, brand managers be developed? – We need to make sure roles are established and restored, so that pathways are available for those managers to develop. We have to invest in people with leadership potential. That applies to talent as well.

Don Martin – iHeart Media/ Premiere Radio Networks/FOX Sports Radio
We have a massive platform for podcasting. Colin Cowherd is an example who is working across mediums — radio, podcasts, social media, video — to reach different segments of the audience.

The infighting within our game needs to stop. It’s all the same business. On-demand podcasts and radio content aren’t separate; they just provide different value depending on where and when you’re listening. We make the message. How do we move this forward together?

Companies must invest in the back end. You need to put a great team together to push the content, to push the talent.

How can new program directors, brand managers be developed? – We need self-starters. People have to want it and go get it. It’s not up to us to make young people care, potential managers care. They have to care. We can teach them the rest. But it starts there and we can take them to the top.

Bruce Gilbert – Cumulus Media/Westwood One
Some talent is better at unique podcast content than others. So a podcast strategy is necessary. Who at the operation is best suited to carry that initiative out? Content is important, but distribution is king. It has to be available where people can find it.

For metrics, what we get is a small sampling of the actual audience. But the cream rises to the top, which is what the charts and data show. Talent, branding, and distribution is the most important.

Nielsen is doing the best it can, but the sample is way too small. There’s a lot of anecedotal information, but we need more analytics. Behavior needs to be measured. Where are people listening? What are they doing while listening. It’s important to be everywhere.

Steve Cohen – SiriusXM
My job is to get you listening wherever you are. Ultimately, this comes down to talent and giving the audience the programming it wants. But what we do with podcasting is different from radio, providing “snackable” content to meet the needs of the audience. Live doesn’t matter as much anymore for sports talk.

It all starts off with programming. Look at movies. Something can be No. 1, but it’s a bad movie. But it was promoted well. People were told about it. There was a game plan. The company believed in the product.

Do ratings matter? – The important thing to determine is “Do you like my radio show? Are you listening to my radio show?” If the fans listening to our channels like that programming, we’re doing our job. But we have to stay on top of what’s going on. Pat McAfee was huge for us. That was a game-changer. It showed us there was a different way to do this.

9:50-10:25 – Betting on Sports Media presented by

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  • Ari Borod – Fanatics
  • Brian Angiolet – DraftKings
  • Mike Raffensperger – FanDuel

— Moderated by Joe Fortenbaugh of ESPN’s Daily Wager

Mike Raffensperger – FanDuel
Fantasy sports have a built-in, unique advantage in creating sports betting content, reaching those customers.

Our content partnerships continue to grow. What helps is that even for people who aren’t sports bettors, sports betting content is interesting content and we can utilize that. Personalities who enjoy betting like Charles Barkley can help us, give customers something to hook onto.

Pat McAfee is someone who moves the needle for our business. He’s thinking about things we can launch together, looking ahead to events like March Madness and helping to plan strategy. Talent needs to have an authentic relationship with the audience. We’re not giving him an ad read. He has an active role in reaching out to listeners.

Brian Angiolet – DraftKings
We’ve been successful expanding from Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) content with new products to reach an audience we already have and use that to reach bettors.

To promote our brand, talent has to be at the forefront to present authenticity. But there has to be a mix between traditional campaigns and creating content that reaches the audience in an authentic fashion, rather than just trying to sell something.

What do you value in new partners? – Media companies still tend to look at content as inventory. Relevancy, interpretation, making this more approachable is extremely important. And a live read doesn’t always convey that. We need to work together on ideas.

Ari Borod – Fanatics
What are the best aspects of the fan experience for sports and how do we build on that? Where will those fans be five years from now, 10 years from now?

If a media company or personality goes into partnerships with our companies simply to make money or if our companies just look at how much money can be made, it won’t be as productive. There has to be buy-in on both sides. We have to work harder to educate media markets and the audience.

What do you value in new partners? – The approach has to be, “Let’s do this together.” We know what’s important to us, but they might have an idea of what they want to say.

Joe Fortenbaugh – ESPN
Betting content needs to make sure it educates the audience. “Picks, picks, picks” is reliable content and it’s what people want. But there are so many terms, different sorts of bets that viewers and listeners don’t know about or need to learn about. Future content needs to take that into consideration as it builds.

10:25-11:00 – The Craig Carton Conversation presented by

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  • Craig Carton – WFAN

Act 2 of Carton’s career, doing a show with Evan Roberts – It all started because Bart Scott said no! But there was a thought that because of the success of Mike & the Mad Dog that there had to be hard sports talk in the afternoon, unlike the morning. I disagreed with that. We have to be entertaining. I chose Evan because he represented things I never could or even try to.

How did you know a lighter approach would work in afternoons? – Total ego. I know how to attract an audience. We have to teach the audience what to expect. There’s a whole new audience that doesn’t know what Mike & the Mad Dog.

You can’t quit on what you’re doing. You have to give it three months. You have to train the audience. Sports is the baseline, but if you are tunnel-vision focused on just sports, I think you lose the audience. Not every bit comes out the way I want it to, so I have to look back at how the audience responded.

Twitter is fake. We pay too much attention to what’s going on there. Ratings, phone calls, tell you want the audience wants, what they’re listening to.

My kids don’t know radio exists. That’s a big problem for us going forward. We just have to produce good content and repurpose that content to where people can find it. Pat McAfee does such a good job of repurposing clips, going beyond what the live show is. If he was on radio, he’d be getting killed. We need to do a better job with that. We need to repurpose the best of our content.

Marketing to sports betting listeners – I’m a compulsive gambler. I’ve gone four years without making a wager now. Audacy doesn’t make me read that stuff on the air. They let me do a public service on Saturdays talking about gambling addiction. But I partnered with FanDuel because they’re responsible with their content.

I listen to a lot of gambling shows out there. No offense, but they’re full of shit. The betting expert does not exist. I think the best content is to just talk about the games. We can get into the spreads, but talk about the teams, what’s going on, and make a decision based on the information you have.

Working with program directors, planning shows – We don’t do a good enough job of teaching people how to do radio. It bothers me when I turn on the radio and hear them clearly mailing it in because they didn’t prepare. I’m there three hours before the show; I’m locked in. I know what I’m doing at 4:15.

COVID, in a weird way, exposed who didn’t know what they were talking about. The guys who are still here know what they’re doing. People might know more sports than I do. But they don’t know how to keep an audience.

You have to get out there and figure out what people are talking about. In Philadelphia, we never talked baseball. It was outlawed. You get to New York, you better know baseball. You have to figure out who you are as a show, who you are in a particular market. But who you are on the air doesn’t have to be who you are off the air. Figure out what you do well, what you don’t do well. I can’t read off a script. I know that.

I’m a radio geek. I love radio. We can reach an audience in ways no place else can. Podcasts can’t do it. TV can’t do it. Radio connects with the audience, and I love that. I love radio. I want to do radio for a long time. I missed it. I’m grateful to have been given another opportunity.

After a quick break, the 2022 BSM Summit returns for its next session.

11:15-11:50 – Dominating Digital presented by

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  • Maggie Gray – CBS Sports Radio
  • Steve Braband – WWE

# Last-minute change: Mike Foss was unable to attend

Steve Braband – WWE
The biggest challenge was educating others while we were educating ourselves. We had to be almost like Kindergarten teachers in educating on digital content, platforms like YouTube, and social media.

Digital and social has come a far way from being the island of misfit toys. So much time and effort has been put into creating these platforms and it’s been gratifying to see how successful it’s been, how it’s broken through. Let people fail. Not everything is going to work. But trying is important. It may end up working for something else. Just don’t repeat those mistakes.

The linear television, documentary, digital, and social teams have to communicate with each other. There can’t be silos where this team is doing one thing and this team is doing another. You have to meet with everyone and discuss strategy, what stories are being pushed, which current stars are being pushed. But we have to understand each department’s goals — What matters to PR, what matters to sales, what matters to partners — and how we can work together.

Tik Tok has presented an opportunity for clips and videos that might not do as well on TV, like bloopers. We had a promo where Rey Mysterio was doing pull-ups in the background and then he fell. That didn’t make it to TV, but we put it on Tik Tok and people loved it. So that’s created a new opportunity and we’re going through our archival video now for moments like that to share.

The Miz is someone who goes to our team and asks how he can help them. What do they want to try? Or he’ll bring ideas to them to see if they could work. If you aren’t following him on Tik Tok, you should. He’s bought all the way in and it’s been really successful. More of our stars are getting that.

11:50-12:15 – BSM Summit Awards Ceremony presented by

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The Mark Chernoff AwardRick Radzik, 98.5 The Sports Hub

A video tribute to Mark Chernoff includes highlights from his career, including appearances on Don Imus’s show and WFAN’s Mike & the Mad Dog and Boomer & Gio, and testimony on him pushing the sports radio format forward.

Introducing Rick Radzik, a congratulatory video from 98.5 The Sports Hub executives and on-air talent with praise and compliments plays. Among the remarks: “Best program director ever.” (One employee took the opportunity to say he needs Monday off.)

Accepting the award, Radzik thanks Chernoff, crediting him as a pioneer for the work he did at WFAN, setting a standard and path to success for so many to follow. He thanks the staff at The Sports Hub that helps produce great programming each day and keeps the station running smoothly, allowing everyone to do their best work.

On a personal note, Radzik dedicates the award to his late wife, who fell to cancer three years ago. He thanks her for the perspective she gave him and their daughters on life moving forward.

The Mike & the Mad Dog AwardMike Felger & Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Jason Barrett says he’s been thinking of creating an award to credit local sports radio for a long time. No one did more with the format than Mike & the Mad Dog, “blazing the trail for what so many of us enjoy today.” That leads to a video with a few of Mike and the Mad Dog’s best moments on radio and subsequent reunions on radio and TV, such as on MLB Network’s High Heat.

Mike Francesa and Chris Russo reminisce about the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks, inspired by some of the clips shown in the video. The two them talk about making families and seeing each other’s children grow.

“It’s been 14 years, believe it or not, since Mike & the Mad Dog,” said Francesa. “We could not only do a good show, but could fill a building today.”

Francesa expresses gratitude for this award being named after their show. When they started out, there was no sports talk. But with a lot of support — including from Don Imus, who was crucial — Mike & the Mad Dog took off and launched the sports radio format across the country, in addition to inspiring debate TV like Pardon the Interruption.

The sports talk guy used to be the low man on the radio station totem pole. Now, they’re the most important person at many stations.

Russo calls it a “perfect storm,” with good teams in New York and an audience willing to listen for 24 hours a day. He also credits Radio Row at the Super Bowl for showing how the format was working in so many places and showing businesses this was a product to invest in.

Francesa and Russo took questions from the audience and looked back on their long career together. Francesa admitted that when he got afternoon drive at WFAN, which he always coveted, he didn’t want a partner. But he was convinced to give Russo a chance. It didn’t take long to realize that they had something.

But their long run together included some significant friction between the two when they weren’t talking to each other except for when they were on their air. Even during commercial breaks! Francesa admitted that he didn’t want Russo at his wedding, but his wife invited him and if not for that, Mike & the Mad Dog probably wouldn’t have survived as long as it did.

Following the Q&A, Francesa and Russo introduce a video of Felger & Mazz highlights. Felger and Massarotti were unable to attend the BSM Summit due to scheduling conflicts, but recorded a thank-you video for the award, expressing gratitude to The Sports Hub and the Boston fans for their success. They also thanked Mike and the Mad Dog for their pioneering work, saying they were honored to win an award named after them.

The 2022 BSM Summit takes a one-hour lunch, and then returns for the second half, led off by a conversation with Meadowlark Media CEO, John Skipper.

1:30-2:15 – The Day 2 Keynote Conversation presented by

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  • John Skipper – Meadowlark Media

Asked about the decision to launch Meadowlark Media, Skipper says he and Dan Le Batard had discussed a joint venture for a long time. So when Le Batard left ESPN, they announced their new endeavor very soon thereafter.

Meadowlark’s deal with DraftKings gave them the money to start the business and look to expand quickly. The company didn’t have to worry about licensing content and DraftKings helps with distribution. The partnership has worked very well so far.

Most of the company’s content is in audio right now. Le Batard still loves terrestrial radio, which is demonstrated in producing a quality show. Putting content online has provided unique opportunities, such as the live reaction shows which have been very successful.

Our business model is to have an idea, develop the idea, take it to potential partners for production, rather than try to produce and finance those projects ourselves. Going into Spanish-language content and women’s sports content are initiatives they probably couldn’t pursue if Meadowlark wasn’t its own company that can take projects to other studios and outlets.

People say they want to do more women’s sports, but they don’t want to pay for it. So we’ll make it, then find the right place for it, Skipper said.

“The status quo will eventually overtake you and stifle creativity,” said Skipper. “You have to try new things.”

Skipper points out that Le Batard had a long run at ESPN, but him leaving shows how relationships and ambitions evolve. Le Batard wanted to do content ESPN preferred him not to, and ESPN wanted Le Batard to do more of what the network asked. Skipper uses Bill Simmons as another example of how things can change, regardless of how well each side may have previously benefited. He credits Simmons with helping his success at ESPN, boosting ESPN.com and creating the popular 30 for 30 documentary series.

It’s hard to break through in the podcast space, but Meadowlark has an advantage with Dan’s show, a tentpole to build around and use to steer listeners to other shows on the network. Personality allows you to drive audience, Skipper says. That allows Meadowlark to take chances like on audio documentaries like its upcoming The Mayor of Maple Avenue on the Jerry Sandusky case.

Skipper says the future of sports is streaming. He believes there are some NFL owners who think the Super Bowl should be on pay-per-view. Look at what’s happening in Europe with soccer. If you wanted to watch La Liga, you needed beIN SPORTS. (Now you’ll need ESPN+.) That will likely happen in the United States eventually. Amazon getting Thursday Night Football is probably the first step in this process.

“You’re going to miss your pay TV when it’s gone because it was easier,” said Skipper.

2:15-2:50 – Talk To My Agent presented by

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  • Kevin Belbey – CAA
  • Heather Cohen – The Weiss Agency
  • Mark Lepselter – MAXX Sports & Entertainment Group
  • Mike McVay – McVay Media

Heather Cohen – The Weiss Agency
Not everyone should have an agent. Not everyone is ready for an agent or needs one. An agent can be good for talent and management; we’re the buffer in between. It’s important for us to manage expectations, but get a deal done, find a compromise that’s good for both sides.

Transparency is very important. Give me the ratings, give me the data. I need to know what the revenue looks like. With that on the table, then management can see why we’re presenting a certain number. It’s a game; let’s just cut the game and get to the deal.

I’ve had management tell me they’re happy when talent has agents because the agent can have a difficult conversation with a client that a manager can’t.

I encourage my clients to do many different things. Fred Toucher, who was here yesterday, he has like 13 things going, not just the radio show. Angela Yee, she’s working all the time to get on social media to promote her brands — her coffee, her juice line. Does she want to be doing that all the time? Probably not. But she knows how important it is. I hate to say it, but those willing to work seven days a week are the ones who will be the most successful.

Kevin Belbey – CAA
I’ll often tell people, you don’t need an agent. But I’ll also say we’d like to work with you because we believe in your talent. For management, we want to make a deal that’s good for them as well. I think it’s important for them to realize we’re partners. A good negotiation should be, everyone wins. We want to cut through a lot of the B.S. and get right to getting the best deal done.

I tell my clients they can be influencers. Maybe you only have 500 followers or 2000 followers, but you can reach people that way and need to. They need to be involved in other things outside their shows, they need to have other things going on.

Mark Lepselter – MAXX Sports & Entertainment Group
It’s important to be an enhancement to talent’s career. It’s also important to bridge the gap between your client and management. Sometimes, that means protecting them from themselves in some aspects.

2:50-3:25 – The Art of Storytelling presented by

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  • Jim Cutler – Jim Cutler New York

People are deciding in the first 20 seconds of watching something whether or not to stay with something. They quickly decide if it’s worth their time.

Why care about storytelling? Everyone on social media fancies themselves a storyteller. And everyone is trying to get better at it to make money. Storytelling is really all we have when we’re creating content.

Sunday Night Football producer Fred Gaudelli says they prepare 25 to 50 stories ready to use for a given telecast. But the game is the primary story; that has to be the priority. We can’t layer in stories that don’t have anything to do with what’s happening. If it doesn’t fit, we don’t use it. Only jam in what’s appropriate.

Looking at visual storytelling, images alone can be powerful without sound — or accompanied by music instead. Images show you who the people are in the story without needing to tell you why or add to what’s already seen. But look at video games and how they’ve changed sports. Skycams and drones have completely changed sports coverage on TV. The “gameification” of sports storytelling.

But for radio and podcasts, the fundamentals of content have not changed. As Amplifi Media’s Steven Goldstein says, the speed it gets to the consumer has changed. If content is average and has no heat, it’s disposable. Another example provided comes from Colin Cowherd, who illustrated Manny Ramirez’s relaxed approach at the plate with an audio bit joking about Ramirez’s mindset, rather than just giving play-by-play or statistics.

Video of South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone speaking to a college class is shown in which they explain the beats of storytelling and how to keep it compelling and moving along. If you have “and then” between moments, “you’re fucked.” Yet if it’s “therefore” or “but,” the story is moving forward. The viewer wants to follow along. “This happened. Therefore, this happened. But this happened.” It’s not just saying what happened. Each action begets the next one.

Authenticity is vital. You have to be real. You can’t show the audience the sell. If they see the sell, they’re turned off. Stephen A. Smith is authentic to the audience. Someone else who’s authentic is ABC’s David Muir. Colin Cowherd explains how admitting when he’s wrong comes across as authentic to the audience. He knows he’s “in theater,” but has to come across as a real person.

A brief timeout for attendees to recharge, and then we’re back to close up Day 1 of the Summit with two more excellent sessions.

3:40-4:15 – The Value of Traditional Media presented by

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  • Ariel Epstein – Yahoo Sports
  • John Jastremski – The Ringer
  • Kazeem Famuyide – MSG Networks
  • Demetri Ravanos – Barrett Sports Media

Ariel Epstein – Yahoo Sports
On doing gambling content on terrestrial radio – The change was getting gambling language into regular sports news and conversation. It’s not just “picks, picks, picks.” I say how the line moves according to the sports news of the day, like Trae Young not playing for the Hawks tonight. How do you build an audience and get them to trust you? It’s having good information.

I used to post my picks from the night before to show how I did. But I realized that people don’t care about that. They want to know about what’s happening tonight. What can they hear from me that’s different from what they’re getting everywhere else?

Kazeem Famuyide – MSG Networks
On working directly with athletes – We can eliminate the filter with athletes and work directly with them, let them show their personalities and interests. Like we talked to Trae Young and got his 15 favorite songs, then we created a playlist. He’s more accessible to the audience.

On being accessible as media – You have to be yourself. People can see that. And MSG lets me do that too. I can show up in a suit one day, Jordans the next. But it’s all me and people see that.

John Jastremski – The Ringer
I want my content to be conversational, like you and me at the bar. I don’t want to act or come across like I know more than you. I don’t want people assuming I think that either.

You have to understand what buzz is surrounding your particular work environment. You need a sixth sense. If you know your town, you know what they want to hear. The NFL and NBA are always going to play. But you can’t assume either. What’s the story in your town?

On being accessible as media – Social media has changed how people see media. Like they know “J.J.’s a gambling guy” or “J.J’s a Knicks guy.” I didn’t know that about the people on TV growing up. I couldn’t ask Bob Costas a question on Twitter back then.

Being in a lot of different places, doing a lot of different things is crucial. You can’t be defined as one thing.

4:15-4:50 – Programmer’s MasterClass presented by

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  • Justin Craig – ESPN Radio
  • Scott Shapiro – FOX Sports Radio
  • Mark Chernoff – Formerly of WFAN
  • Jason Barrett – Barrett Sports Radio

Justin Craig – ESPN Radio
How to select content – Play to the biggest part of your audience. The biggest names and topics. And then reset. What is the expectation of your audience? When they turn on your show, what are they expecting? And are you filling that expectation? Like what’s the first thing you think of with Stephen A. Smith? Yelling? So if he’s talking in a real quiet voice, they’re wondering what’s going on.

On ratings – I check them every day and share them with the talent. They’re our report card. Which markets are listening, which aren’t.

Scott Shapiro – Fox Sports Radio
On the clock and length of breaks – Ultimately, we’re in the ratings game. So the fewer off-ramps you can give the audience to go some place else, the better. There are so many options now. You’re on the phone. You’re going somewhere. We want to give listeners as few opportunities as possible to go away.

Mark Chernoff – Formerly of WFAN
I don’t like to overmanage. I don’t want to tell people to stick to the clock. For new talent, emphasizing the fundamentals are good. But it all revolves around sports. Content is king. It’s like being in music. You can play a deep cut. But if you play all deep cuts, you lose the audience.

I got the “POKE” theory of success from Eric Spitz (from SiriusXM). Passion, Opinion, Knowledge, and Entertainment. If a host has those four things, they’re going to be a success.

On simulcasting for digital and video – I tell the talent, remember you’re on radio, not TV. Don’t play to the camera.

Barrett Blogs

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

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

Jason Barrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Barrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

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

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

Jason Barrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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