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The Challenge of Replacing High Profile Personalities

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In light of the recent news of Colin Cowherd leaving ESPN, I thought it’d be a good time to take a look at the challenges of replacing a major brand name, why personalities leave and how the process works.

The reality in today’s media world is that any great talent who works for a brand and delivers results is going to be desired by another company at some point. While a GM, PD and Host may start off a relationship with the intent of enjoying a career lasting relationship together, the truth is that people who perform, like to be desired, and those positive feelings get tested when other competitors enter the equation and start throwing larger dollars, more flexibility and more control their way.

russoFor example, if you were a New York sports radio fan, you likely grew up on Mike and the Mad Dog and would never picture them apart, even though they may have had their personal differences. Yet when Sirius XM entered the conversation with a large chunk of money and building a network around Chris’ brand name, Russo’s stay with Mike came to an end after nineteen years.

If you grew up on ESPN and enjoyed watching Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann own SportsCenter and make it must-see sports television, you’d believe they’d be there forever. Well not only did Keith leave to work for Fox Sports, TBS, MSNBC and a few other groups but Dan did as well. Today Dan has rebuilt his brand through multiple outlets. He has a TV deal for the radio show with DirecTV, a radio deal with Premiere Radio Networks, a TV anchor position for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, he appears frequently in Aadm Sandler films and he has a content arrangement with Sports Illustrated.

romeRemember the powerful sixteen year relationship between Jim Rome and Premiere Radio Networks? It was thought to be unbreakable. Until it was. Jim was courted to head to CBS and he jumped ship to host his radio show for the CBS Sports Network, make television appearances on CBS’ bigger sporting events and host his own television program for Showtime.

In all three cases, the talent were very successful, built a large following with sports fans and other media companies took notice and were prepared to compete to lure them away. When each of these personalities were given more money, more flexibility and more control, they exited the places where they had built their brand name and value. And you can’t blame any of them because most people would do the exact same thing.

Keep in mind, this isn’t only happening on the network levels or in market #1. This happens in many other cities as well. Nobody knows that reality more than myself as I had to go through a number of changes with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco plus a few in St. Louis too.

EDWhen I was overseeing The Game, we launched with an afternoon show hosted by Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis. Like with any new relationship, they had their fair share of challenges but they also had a lot of talent and a strong sound. It was easy to see pretty quickly that if they could stick it out together they had the potential to have a lot of success.

However, one year into the relationship Eric was pursued by the NFL Network and they were offering morning drive, major exposure across the country and a lot of money. Given Eric’s background as a former NFL player this made all the sense in the world for him to explore and while it personally sucked for myself, Brandon and our company, if any of us had been in that same situation we’d have done the same exact thing and left. While the intent wasn’t to leave, the opportunity was too great for E.D to pass up.

One thing I’ve learned as a manager is that as hard as it may be at the moment to see the solution and while it may be personally exhausting dealing with the backlash of losing a popular personality from a passionate audience, eventually the show does go on, another great personality joins the team and fills the void, and you can still have success.

prosconsWhat’s important when going through one of these situations is to not let your emotions get in the way of decision making. Those in my inner circle will learn of my passion and opinions on the situation but once it’s time to get down to business and move forward, that becomes the focus. When you let your personal feelings get in the way of business it’s usually a bad omen. While decisions may not always be popular, it’s about growing an audience and being profitable – not just satisfying the audience! People often forget that this is a business and the last time I checked, nobody stays in business long if they’re not making money.

Once I know a personality has made a choice to move on and I know the company has done everything it can to retain them, it’s on to the next plan. I don’t have time to waste and my employer, our clients and our audience are expecting a solution. I’ll normally take a few hours to clear my head and let the emotions of the situation subside, think about what could be potentially exciting and great if we could pull it off, start compiling a list of potential targets, and then begin making phone calls and sending emails to see what’s possible.

BTBucherThe second I knew Eric was gone, my focus turned towards how to surround Brandon with a strong partner, who to target for the audition process and what the timeline should be for filling the vacancy. Over the next 4-6 weeks I’d bring in Ric Bucher, Mychael Urban, Gary Payton, Rod Woodson, Jon Ritchie and Lincoln Kennedy for tryouts and we ultimately felt Bucher was the best fit of the bunch to fit with Brandon and replace Eric.

Unfortunately I had to go through that same process a couple of other times over the next two years as a number of high profile personalities were either sought out for their abilities by larger networks or they wanted to explore a change in their careers and while we got through it and put the brand in a strong position, it was very challenging and not a lot of fun.

bernieI can go on and on about a number of these situations because they’re more common than you realize. In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz left his radio show which was a giant void for 101 ESPN. My understudy and current PD Chris Neupert came out of that situation with flying colors though as he moved Chris Duncan from the afternoon show and paired him with Anthony Stalter while replacing Duncan’s Cardinals presence on the afternoon show with Brad Thompson. While I’m sure he’d have preferred to have Bernie stay and continue dominating the market in middays, he found another way to succeed once it was understood that Bernie wasn’t going to continue.

If there’s one positive going through a process like this, it’s that it really does test your resolve and allow you to find out what you’re made of. I look at it as a personal challenge and opportunity to do something big. Word of advice to those in hiring positions – if you don’t like pressure, do something else. The process will cause you to lose sleep, tear your insides apart and you’ll have every set of eyes inside and outside of your building watching you and waiting to see how you adapt. One sign of weakness and you can lose the confidence of the room. If you can’t perform with your back to the wall there are many other jobs with less stress.

sklarOne of the fun parts of this process is allowing yourself to think outside the box. Let’s be honest, high profile athletes, broadcasters and entertainers aren’t browsing your company’s website checking the jobs section to find you, so if you have an idea, it’s your job to find them, explain your idea and get a sense if it’s something worth exploring. I’ve had the pleasure of having discussions with people I’d never have imagined talking with about a local sports radio show but when you open up your mind, anything is possible. The old saying applies, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward so you can never be afraid of being ballsy.

That makes for a perfect segway because I don’t know of any ballsier of a move than replacing Tony Kornheiser at the ESPN Radio network with an unknown commodity named Colin Cowherd but that’s what Bruce Gilbert did in 2006 and here we are ten years later talking about Colin’s upcoming departure and how it’ll be a major blow to ESPN.

cutbudgetSo that leads us to the obvious question “how does ESPN survive without him“? The answer is simple – the same way they have before when they’ve lost Tony Bruno, Tony Kornheiser, Dan Patrick and Scott Van Pelt. But this time they’ll have to do it with shackles around their ankles due to Disney’s mandate to reduce expenses.

Does it suck to lose Colin? Yes. He’s a dynamite talent and one of the industry’s best. Does it make you question what’s happening at the four letter network when you see Scott Van Pelt and Colin both leave radio shows within a few months in addition to the television staff losing Bill Simmons and Keith Olbermann? Yes. But they’re still the largest sports media company in the world and they’re always going to have talent options to consider so do I expect them to come out of this and make a solid hire? I do.

That doesn’t mean the show will be as good as Colin’s or a good fit for the markets where his show aired but they will have options. For example, internally they have Dan Le Batard who could be moved up, they’ve got Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley in Los Angeles who they could consider and they’ve got every other sports broadcaster on the planet looking at Colin’s vacancy as the launching pad for their career much like Colin saw it that way when he replaced Kornheiser.

What I do think is a bigger concern for ESPN at this time isn’t whether they’ll fill Colin’s void. It’s how do they keep their revenue stable when advertisers are losing the high profile personality brands they’ve associated their products with. Usually when a major change is made, clients take a wait and see approach or invest less during the interim period.

berryOne other challenge for ESPN will be, how many of their radio affiliates will continue clearing Colin’s timeslot if Colin isn’t there? Let’s face it, stations who clear network programming are doing it because it reduces expenses for hiring talent and because it offers a high profile name that the audience will be familiar with. If the radio station clearing the show doesn’t see the replacement as a strong option (ex: Tirico replacing Patrick) they’ll pull the plug and put in a local show. This just happened yesterday as Arizona Sports 98.7FM struck immediately by naming former NFL superstar Bertrand Berry to replace Colin’s spot in Phoenix.

The other factor that plays into this is how does Colin’s replacement fit the market where the show is being cleared? One of the positives that Colin brought was that he had a strong west coast style which was an alternative to the network’s east coast heavy presentation. If his replacement though is heavily invested in Yankees-Red Sox talk or things that don’t have appeal beyond the east coast, and you’re a station clearing the show in California, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona or Washington, that may cause stations to battle the network and force change with their programming options.

ESFoxAnd if that wasn’t enough to consider, if you run a station who has a relationship with ESPN Radio and you’ve carried Colin’s program and received solid ratings or revenue from it, what will you do when his program is pitched by Fox Sports and you have to choose between adding Colin and losing your ESPN brand affiliation or keeping the affiliation and losing access to his show?

Those are the types of decisions that keep programmers and executives up at night and while they’re not fun or easy to tackle, the great ones find a way to navigate through the difficulty. Nobody has done that better in sports radio circles than Mark Chernoff who had to overcome losing Don Imus and Chris Russo at WFAN and both times wound up with higher performing programs (Boomer & Carton and Mike Francesa). That’s the task that awaits ESPN and it’ll be interesting to see how they respond since this is unfamiliar territory.

dlrWhile I’m sure today is a difficult day for the ESPN brass, a lot can be fixed by making a series of strong programming decisions. On the other hand, they can’t afford to make any move similar to the one CBS made years ago when they replaced the departing Howard Stern with David Lee Roth. Too much is at stake. Given the recent PR facing ESPN due to the departures of Olbermann, Simmons and Cowherd, now would be a good time to hit a homerun and remind people why they are the biggest brand in sports entertainment.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Additional:

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.

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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.”

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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.

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