Working in the sports radio industry is a privilege that some of us often take for granted. We get to play in the toy department of life and engage in spirited discussions that are often referred to by industry types as “soap opera for men” and have access to people that most of our friends would pay large sums of money to spend 2 minutes with. We’re not digging ditches or ripping shingles off of roofs and we’re not heading home after each shift talking about how much we dislike our jobs. Face it, we’re pretty lucky….and we get paid to do this!
Over the past 10 years of my career I’ve taken road trips with Dan Patrick, talked about coaching and motivating people with Tony LaRussa and Rick Venturi, attended a barbecue at Steve Spagnuolo’s house, sat with Billy Beane and listened to his views on the business of baseball and shared a stage with former Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen. To say I’ve been treated to some special experiences would be a massive understatement but that’s what you become accustomed to when you work in this industry.
While all of that may be fine and dandy and it showcases the extra perks of working in this industry, it’s not as rewarding as making an impact on the people you work with every day. Sure it looks sexy and it sounds cool when starting a conversation with your friends but in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? Not really.
In my opinion, one thing that matters a great deal is something that not everyone is willing to do – pushing people to get better and to take on bigger career challenges! Not every relationship will be positive but I try to make sure that wherever I work, I leave behind more people who felt like they learned something from me than those who didn’t. If a few friendships are made along the way, that’s icing on the cake.
I’m aware that my personality and style isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and every strong leader with strong opinions is going to have critics and fans. I don’t worry about whether or not I’m liked or disliked or if people care to have beers with me outside the work place. My job is to coach people, make them better, deliver results, make sure they’re prepared for the next step in their careers, fight for the brands I represent and by doing that it often leads to earning the respect and trust of those I lead. When I head home each day, that’s what matters to me.
In this industry so many of us are conditioned to compete and it becomes very easy to fall into the trap of worrying about ourselves. We worry first about our own needs, our own paychecks, our ratings, meeting our sales budgets and how we’ll personally be impacted if something around us changes. It’s much harder to think about a co-worker and how we can play a larger role in helping them take the next step in their career.
Case in point, when I left the Dan Patrick Show to become the first Program Director for SportsTalk 950 in Philadelphia (now 97.5 The Fanatic), Dan wasn’t initially excited for me. He was concerned about how my departure would impact his show and I didn’t blame him. He had a very successful program on the biggest sports radio network in the country and as a team we were starting to gel. Once the smoke cleared and Dan saw that everything would be fine (and probably better, haha) he was able to genuinely wish me well.
That reaction out of people is natural but I believe that each of us sometimes need to be reminded of the bigger picture and how important it is to help someone take steps in their career rather than focus negative energy on how it may impact our own situations. If we’re good at what we do, we’ll be fine regardless of who’s around us. If we use our talents to grow those around us, it speaks even higher volumes about what you stand for as a professional and more importantly as a person.
That leads me to the headline of this column and how I personally relate to it. In 2002 I was working in Poughkeepsie, NY paying my dues for radio station 1340/1390 ESPN Radio. We had one local afternoon show and I was producing and doing updates on it for about a year. I was making strides inside the workplace and enjoying my role and it led to my Operations Manager Scott Carlin and General Manager Bill Palmeri taking a liking to me.
One day I was called up to Scott’s office and he wanted to talk to me about how we could improve the radio station. Our PD/Afternoon Host had been let go earlier in the day and Scott was of the opinion that if I took on the PD role and afternoon host position we’d get better. I was honored that he and Bill believed in me enough to trust me leading the radio station and I saw it as a great growth step for my career and I gladly accepted the opportunity.
Right after Scott informed me of the salary and shook my hand, he uttered the following words “congratulations, now start training your replacement“. I was confused and asked him if he was referring to making sure we had a new producer and update guy in place to fill my old spot. He smiled and said “No. Make sure you get the next Programmer ready for us“.
Considering I had worked hard to earn this position and had just been offered the job, I wasn’t thinking straight and the thought of getting someone else ready to do the job wasn’t sitting well. Scott then explained his rationale and once he spoke his piece it all made perfect sense. He told me he knew I’d one day go on to do bigger things and when that opportunity comes my way, it’ll be important for me to make sure that the place I leave behind is in capable hands. The building in Poughkeepsie wasn’t going to change locations so it was my responsibility to prepare others for future opportunities with the company.
I then told him I’d do my best to make sure we had great depth at the radio station and I’d focus my efforts on making sure I made those around me better. That conversation that day made a major impact on me because it taught me that what you leave behind matters and it also influences how people measure you and talk about you long after you’ve left a situation.
Since that day, I have taken great pride in trying to help people advance their careers. When I worked at ESPN Radio as a Producer, I pushed my intern Amanda Gifford to become great. She had natural talent and a great way of communicating with people and she loved being challenged. While she was new to the business I wasn’t going to let that be an excuse to not make an impact. Because she worked her tail off and impressed those around her, she kept moving up the ladder. Today she’s a Program Director for ESPN Radio Network.
In St. Louis, I spent 5 years working with Chris “Hoss” Neupert at two different radio stations. I challenged him to showcase his creativity and manage people and collaborated with him on numerous events and ideas. When I left 590 The Fan, KFNS he was named as my replacement and when I left 101 ESPN he wasn’t initially put in as PD but he’s in that position now and nothing makes me happier than seeing him kick ass and take names and knowing I played a small part in helping him reach that level.
In San Francisco when we launched 95.7 The Game, I knew I needed a partner who understood my way of doing radio and had the passion and desire to run a station in the future. I convinced my former ESPN Radio colleague Jeremiah Crowe to leave Bristol and join me as the radio station’s Executive Producer. Over the next 4 years I challenged him again and again and it helped put him in position to earn a promotion to Assistant Program Director. He’s now ready to become a Program Director either here in San Francisco or somewhere else in the country.
Additionally, some of my former producers have made great strides professionally. John Semar who worked for me at 101 ESPN in St. Louis and 95.7 The Game in San Francisco is now the Executive Producer of CBS Sports 920 in St. Louis. Ben Boyd who produced for me at 101 ESPN is the Executive Producer for KMOX in St. Louis. And my former afternoon producer at 95.7 The Game Kyle Englehart, now holds the Executive Producer title at XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego.
In each of their cases, I’ve pushed for them to take on bigger challenges. When Ben came to me at 101 ESPN and asked what he should do when Sirius XM put a bigger opportunity on the table, I told him to take it, even if it meant leaving us where he’d done remarkable work. As it turned out, the Sirius XM situation didn’t last but Ben gained valuable experience from it, and that combined with his strong track record in St. Louis earned him a bigger role with KMOX.
In John’s case, I not only encouraged him to leave St. Louis and join me in San Francisco to take on the challenge of a different show and market, but when he decided St. Louis was where he wanted to live and work and his current boss Tim McKernan asked my advice on hiring him, I told Tim he’d be improving his company immediately by adding John. Tim elected to take my advice and hire John and their partnership has turned out to be very positive.
When my fellow PD and good friend Brian Long reached out and asked for suggestions on strong candidates to become his right hand man in San Diego, I suggested Kyle without hesitation. Kyle was surprised when I called him to my office to tell him I recommended him for a job back home in San Diego and he was very appreciative that I had done so. While selfishly it would have benefited my station and afternoon show to have him stay, I had to think about what was best for his career. I had faith in my own abilities to create a solution that would keep the station and show in strong shape while allowing Kyle to take the next step in his career and everything has since worked out great for both parties.
Some of my staffs have heard me use the line “graveyards are full of irreplaceable men” and whether that’s ignorance or cockiness on my part can certainly be debated but I believe in the “next person up” mentality. You hear it often in pro football and I believe it translates to radio too. Find me an organization without depth and talented people ready to step up and I’ll show you a losing organization.
Nobody is impossible to replace. However, you’ve got to develop your key people and your bench because if you don’t then you’ll never be your best and you won’t help your people reach their full potential. I can accept losing an employee to another company because they did great work and were presented with a growth opportunity. What I dislike is having to part ways with someone because they either didn’t get the job done or conducted themselves unprofessionally.
I remember when I covered the NY Jets early in my career and I had a chat with Bryan Cox who told me that Bill Parcells was dogging him after he had an outstanding game. Parcells walked on to the practice field with two gas cans, one which was full and one which was empty. Bill told Bryan “you started as one of these, now you’re the other one, you figure out which one you are“.
Cox was pissed because he was coming off of a great game but the trick worked because he went out that Sunday and played a great game and the Jets won. The following week Bryan told Bill he could kiss him where the sun didn’t shine for suggesting he was on empty and Parcells loved it because he knew he had pushed his player to perform. However, he also gave Bryan some words of wisdom that stuck with me and I use when developing my radio teams.
He told Bryan “never lose sight of the fact that every single day you’re competing for your spot. What you did last game doesn’t guarantee a strong result in the next one. If a day comes and I think your backup, his backup, another teams starter or another teams backup can do the job better than you, you’re not on this field. It’s your job to make sure you bring it every day and give me no reason to look for other alternatives“.
The point of those examples above isn’t to showcase how they’ve each had success in their careers nor is it to pat myself on the back for helping them. It’s to emphasize the importance of looking out for what’s best for your people and doing your part to help them be their very best, even if it means having to lose them at some point. I believe that when you do that and you show people that you care about them and their future, you get more respect and buy in from them. It also sends a strong message to the rest of your employees and other professionals that you’re the type of person worth going through a wall for.
We sometimes forget that people in this business go to work for other people, not companies. Life decisions are made based on who we like, trust, respect and feel we will gain something from. It isn’t just about money, although that sometimes blinds us when accepting positions. When someone comes to work for me, they enter into a partnership with me and the radio station I oversee. Yes the company has certain standards that need to be met and they issue a paycheck and benefits but the day to day decision making comes from the person you work for. That relationship normally dictates how long you stay in a position and whether or not you enjoy the experience.
Not everything I’ve done over the years has been endorsed by the companies I’ve worked for but the majority of my employers have respected and trusted my approach and I’ve been lucky more times than not to work for good companies and good people who empower me to make decisions. It’s then my job as a manager to make smart choices that are best for the brand and our people. I take both of those priorities very seriously and I treat them equally important.
Even when I’ve parted ways with people in this business, it’s never personal unless someone wants it to be that way. In many cases I’ve worked with people multiple times. Case in point, the late and great Bryan Burwell worked for me twice in St. Louis. Bob Ramsey, Chris Neupert and Sara Dayley did as well. In San Francisco the same holds true for Mychael Urban, Dan Dibley, Drew Hoffar and Matt Steinmetz. If I believe someone can help the organization and they’ve conducted themselves professionally, regardless of the prior situation it’s my job to do what’s best for the radio station. If I think they can help us get better, I don’t hesitate to re-open the door.
If there’s something to take away from this article it’s that I hope if you work in this industry that you recognize how important it is to make lasting impressions on people and lift them up to your level (and hopefully beyond it) rather than keeping them stagnant. A disruption is never ideal and maybe the solution won’t be as good but it’s not the end of the world or your career. If you’re smart, talented, willing to put the work in and help people improve, you’ll be just fine!
If you value those around you and challenge them to get better, they will. When they do, they’ll likely get scooped up or they’ll rise inside your company. Their job is to make sure they’ve prepared their replacement. Because as I learned in 2002, the building doesn’t relocate!
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.
Takeaways From The NAB Show and Six Days in Las Vegas
“I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm for the NAB Show was elevated this year.”
Six days on the road can sometimes be exhausting. Six days in Las Vegas, and it’s guaranteed. That was my world last week, as I along with more than fifty thousand people headed to sin city to take in the 2022 NAB Show.
The event didn’t draw as many as it had in the past, but after two years of inactivity due to the pandemic, it was good to be back. Judging from some of the vendors I talked to, the sessions I attended, and the feedback I received from folks I met with, though far from perfect, it was a solid return for an important event. Seeing people interact, celebrate others, and talk about ways to improve the business was a positive reminder of the world being closer to the normal of 2019 than the normal of 2020-2021. The only negative from the week, the consistent failure of Uber to appear in the right place at the right time. But that had zero to do with the NAB.
It feels like whenever I attend industry conferences, there are two different type of reviews that follow. Some writers attend the show and see the glass half full. Others see the glass half empty. I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm was elevated this year. Maybe it was because BSM was a media partner or maybe it was due to the show not happening for years and just being happy to be among friends, peers, and clients and operate like normal. Either way, my glass was definitely half full.
For those who see events this way, it’s likely they’ll remember the numerous opportunities they had to create and reestablish relationships. They’ll also recall the access to different speakers, sessions, products, and the excellent research shared with those in attendance. The great work done by the BFOA to recognize industry difference makers during their Wednesday breakfast was another positive experience, as was the Sunday night industry gathering at The Mayfair Supper Club.
Included in the conference were sessions with a number of industry leaders. Radio CEO’s took the stage to point out the industry’s wins and growth, credit their employees, and call out audio competitors, big tech, and advertisers for not spending more with the industry. When David Field, Bob Pittman, Ginny Morris and Caroline Beasley speak, people listen. Though their companies operate differently, hearing them share their views on the state of the business is important. I always learn something new when they address the room.
But though a lot of ground gets covered during these interviews, there are a few issues that don’t get talked about enough. For instance, ineffective measurement remains a big problem for the radio business. Things like this shouldn’t happen, but they do. NBC and WarnerMedia took bold steps to address problems with TV measurement. Does radio have the courage to take a similar risk? That’s an area I’d like to see addressed more by higher ups.
I can’t help but wonder how much money we lose from this issue. Companies spend millions for a ratings service that delivers subpar results, and the accountability that follows is often maddening. Given the data we have access to digitally, it’s stunning that radio’s report card for over the air listening is determined by outdated technology. And if we’re going to tell folks that wearables are the missing ingredient for addressing this problem, don’t be shocked if the press that follows is largely negative. The industry and its advertising partners deserve better. So too do the reps at Nielsen who have to absorb the hits, and make the most of a tough situation.
Speaking of advertising, this is another one of those critical areas that deserves another point of view. Case in point, I talked to a few ad agency professionals at the show. Similar to what I’ve heard before, they’re tired of hearing radio leaders blame them for the industry’s present position. This has been a hot button topic with executives for years. I often wonder, do we help or hurt ourselves by publicly calling out advertisers and ad agencies? How would you feel if you ran an agency which spent millions on the industry and were told ‘you don’t do enough’? I’m a champion of radio/audio, and am bullish on spoken word’s ability to deliver results for clients, but having attended these shows for nearly seven years, it might be time for a new approach and message. Or maybe it’s time to put one of our CEO’s with one of theirs and have a bigger discussion. Just a thought.
Of the sessions that I attended, I thought Erica Farber’s ‘What Business Are You In?’ was excellent. I especially liked Taja Graham’s presentation on ‘Sharing Your Truth’. I also appreciated Eric Bischoff’s tips on ways to monetize podcasts, and am curious to see how Amazon’s AMP develops moving forward. My favorite session at the show though was “A GPS Session For Your Station’s Car Radio Strategy” led by Fred Jacobs. The insight shared by Joe D’Angelo of Xperi and Steve Newberry & Suzy Schultz of Quu was outstanding. Keeping the car companies on our side is vital to our survival, and how we position ourselves on the dashboard can’t be ignored. Other tech companies and audio operators take it seriously. We must too.
Sessions aside, it was great to check out the VSiN and Blue Wire studios, connect with a bunch of CEO’s, GM’s and Market Manager’s, and visit with Kevin Jones, Joe Fortenbaugh, Jeremiah Crowe, Jon Goulet, Bill Adee, Q Myers, Mike Golic Jr. and Stormy Buonantony. The NFL’s setup for the Draft, and the light show presented at the Bellagio was without a doubt spectacular, plus Stephanie had a chance to say hello to Raiders owner Mark Davis who was inside the back room of a Westgate restaurant where we were having a business lunch meeting. The personal tour we received at the Wynn showed off some of the best suites I’ve seen in Las Vegas, and I was finally able to witness Circa’s Stadium Swim in person, and meet owner Derek Stevens (heck of a suit game). What an outstanding hotel and casino.
Altogether, it was a productive trip. As someone who knows all about building and executing a conference, I appreciate the work that goes into pulling it off. This event is massive, and I have no idea how the NAB makes it happen so flawlessly. This was the first time my head of sales, Stephanie Eads, got to attend the show. She loved it. Our only negative, going back and forth between convention halls can get exhausting. Wisely, Stephanie and Guaranty Media CEO Flynn Foster took advantage of the underground Tesla ride to move from the North hall to the West hall. I wasn’t as bright. If that’s the worst part of the experience though, that’s pretty solid. I look forward to returning in 2023, and attending the NAB’s NYC show this fall.
You’ve likely seen posts from BSM/BNM on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn promoting a number of open positions. I’m adding crew to help us pump out more content, and that means we need more editors, news writers, features reporter’s and columnists. If you’re currently involved or previously worked in the industry and love to write about it, send a resume and few writing samples by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
With that said, I’m excited to announce the addition of Ryan Brown as a weekly columnist for BSM. Ryan is part of ‘The Next Round’ in Birmingham, Alabama, which previously broadcast on WJOX as JOX Roundtable. The show left the terrestrial world in June 2021 to operate as its own entity. Ryan’s knowledge and opinions should provide a boost to the site, and I’m looking forward to featuring his columns every Tuesday. Keep an eye out for it tomorrow, and if you want to check out the guest piece he previously wrote for us, click here.
Demetri Ravanos and I have talked to a lot of people over the past month. More additions will be revealed soon. As always, thanks for the continued support of BSM and BNM.
Six New Contributors Join Barrett Media
“These latest additions will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.”
Building a brand starts with a vision. Once that vision is defined, you identify the people who fit what you’re creating, lay out the game plan, and turn them loose to execute. If the product you’re creating is original, fills a gap in the marketplace, and the work turned in by your team is consistently excellent and promoted in the right locations, more times than not you’ll build an audience.
As you grow, the focus turns to studying what your audience wants, needs, and expects from your brand. Certain things you expect to be big turn out small, and the things you saw limited upside in create opportunities you never saw coming. It’s critical to be open minded and ready to pivot while also examining where and when people consume your product, which pieces of content do and don’t matter, and then use that information to direct your team to give folks more of what they value and less of what they don’t. Team members should want that feedback too. It tells them what is and isn’t worth spending their time on.
As I lay all of that out it may sound like I’m talking about a radio station or television operation. These are the things programmers do frequently to make sure the talent, shows, and brand is satisfying the expectations of an audience. But what I’m actually referring to is the brand you’ve made a choice to click on to read this column, Barrett Media.
I’ve mentioned many times on this website how I started this operation by myself, and didn’t expect to have a team of writers involved in it. I was focused on consulting sports stations, sharing my programming views on this website, and as I cranked out content consistently, I discovered others loved the business like I did and had a desire to share their insights too. Rather than sticking to my original plan, I pivoted and increased our content offerings. In return, the audience grew, clients grew, and it’s led this brand to grow beyond my expectations. Now we cover sports AND news media, we run an annual conference, feature a membership program, create podcasts, deliver a daily 8@8 and three times per week BNM Rundown newsletter, and work with various brands and companies across the broadcasting industry. I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position and don’t take it for granted.
But with growth comes change. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of talented people contribute to this site over the years, and as they produce quality work, and others across the industry recognize it, they earn interest for their services. That then leads to some having to sign off for bigger opportunities. I see that as a great positive for the brand. Would it be nice to have more consistency and keep a crew together for years? Of course. I know it’d make Demetri’s life a lot easier. If we’re losing people for the right reasons though, and they’re landing opportunities that help them advance their careers, I’m going to be happy for their success, and trust that we’ll find others to keep us moving forward. The success of our team helps make what we do more attractive to others because it shows that if you do good consistent work here, you can put yourself in a position to attract attention.
Over the past two months, I have challenged Demetri Ravanos to invest more time talking to people about writing for us. Expanding our Barrett News Media roster is a priority. So too is adding quality people to help us improve Barrett Sports Media. BSM has had just under seven years to earn trust with readers. BNM has had less than two. We’ve put out ads on our website and newsletters, social posts, an ad on Indeed, and we’ve reached out directly to people who we’ve felt may be able to add something interesting to our brand. Most of my time is spent listening to stations and talking with clients, but my eyes are always roaming looking for content, and my mind is always thinking about what we can create next to make an impact.
I don’t judge our brand’s success based on clicks, shares, breaking news before other outlets or showing up in the top three listings on Google. I care more effort accuracy, timeliness, passion, consistency, storytelling, insight, and being fair and non-agenda driven. We’ve found our niche being able to tell stories about broadcasting professionals, relaying news, and offering expert knowledge to serve those involved in the broadcasting industry. If we continue to excel doing those things consistently, I’m confident our audience will reward us by reading and sharing more of our content. It’s why we never stop recruiting to keep things fresh.
Having said that, I am excited today to reveal six new additions to the Barrett Media staff. Peter Schwartz is a name and voice many in New York sports radio circles are familiar with. Peter has spent three decades working with various outlets and I’m thrilled to have him writing weekly feature stories for us. Brady Farkas is a talented host and former programmer who now works for WDEV in Burlington, VT. Karl Schoening is a play by play broadcaster who has worked in San Antonio sports radio and has had the added benefit of learning the industry from his talented father Bill who calls Spurs games. Each of them will produce bi-weekly feature stories for the brand. Jason Ence is in Louisville and has written about sports betting for Twin Spires while also working for ESPN 680. He’ll be writing sports betting content for us on a weekly basis. Jasper Jones will help us by adding news stories on Friday’s. He’s presently in Philadelphia learning the business working for Audacy. Last but not least, veteran author, Brewers writer, and former radio professional Jim Cryns comes on board to help us with features on news media professionals.
These six additions make us stronger, and I’m excited to have them join the team to help us add more quality content to the website. That said, we’re not done yet. Demetri and I are still talking with others and I expect to make a few more additions in the weeks ahead. As I said earlier, we want to improve the news media side of our operation and continue adding people to help us make a bigger dent in the sports media space. Broadcast companies invest in us to help them, and I believe it’s important to invest back.
If you’ve programmed, hosted a top rated show, worked in measurement, led a cluster as a GM, sold advertising, represented talent or have worked in digital and feel you have knowledge to share, reach out. I can’t promise we’ll have room but we’re always willing to listen. I’m not worried about whether or not you’ve written for professional publications. Passion, experience and unique insights matter much more than a resume or journalism degree.
I appreciate everyone who takes time to read our content, like and share it on social, and all involved with this brand who help bring it to life each day. The latest additions of Schwartz, Farkas, Schoening, Ence, Jones and Cryns will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.