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5 Tips From Rocky Which Can Help Your Talk Show

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If you were born in the seventies and are a child of the eighties, chances are you’re familiar with some iconic movies. Star Wars, E.T, Back To The Future and countless others have stood the test of time and earned our respect and appreciation but there’s one particular series that I hold in high regard.

I’m talking about Rocky, which has now added a new twist with the recent release of “Creed”.

Creed06467.dngI had a chance last weekend to see the movie and I thought the writing, production, and story created by Ryan Coogler was brilliant. There was a connection between the past and the present and the general public seemed to agree because the film has produced nearly 70 million dollars in 2 weeks.

After watching “Creed” with my son Dylan, I realized that he hadn’t been exposed to the Rocky series. I felt he’d enjoy it and connect to it the way I once did, so I picked up the Rocky 1-4 DVD set and this past week we started watching them one by one. As I expected, he loved them too.

I began thinking about the reasons why I felt a connection to those films and why my son who’s nearly thirty years younger felt the same. For a film to span generations and deliver the same reaction, it has to have certain ingredients. Consider that Rocky 1-3 each generated over 200 million dollars, and Rocky 4 produced 300 million. If the formula leads to that type of success, I’m interested in understanding it better.

What I discovered was that the same reasons my son and I love Rocky, are the same reasons the best sports talk shows stand out. There are many components in a show that help it resonate with an audience which is constantly being bombarded with distractions. I think you’ll agree as you sort through this piece, that the similarities between the two are very similar.

rocky3aEvery Talk Show Needs A Villain – In Rocky you get some of the best of all-time, Apollo Creed, Mr. T, Ivan Drago, etc. Whether it’s Apollo’s insults towards Rocky and painting him as a hopeless bum, Mr. T verbally attacking Rocky’s wife and sending his trainer Mick to his death, or Drago killing Apollo inside the ring, all of those characters evoke an emotion of anger and frustration and make us more sympathetic and emotionally attached to the Rocky character. When you hear Drago say “If he dies, he dies“, it’s impossible to not want to jump through the screen and hit him yourself. That’s what a villain brings to the content experience.

If you look at it from a talk show perspective, the villain usually comes in the form of a central figure on the day’s biggest topics. For example, “The NFL Referees blew the call and screwed us“, “Greg Hardy should be cut by the Dallas Cowboys but Jerry Jones is asleep at the wheel“, “Dave Stewart and Tony LaRussa got fleeced by the Braves and have damaged our future“, “Jed York’s ego caused the 49ers to lose Jim Harbaugh and become mediocre“.

Whichever example you use, when we highlight a topic that is timely and built around a polarizing figure or questionable decision, it puts the host in the hero position. This makes the audience pull for you and it keeps them engaged in your content. Most people in the world root for good over evil and they want the underdog or blue collar guy to knock off the favorite or white collar individual.

The one exception to this is when you have a talk show that is built around a controversial figure. Love and hate are two big reasons why audiences tune in and a big part of why shows like First Take and Bill O’Reilly generate the buzz and success that they do. Regardless of your personal feelings towards them, they embrace the role of the villain and in doing so, they grab your attention.

If you paint an effective picture of a character and outline why they deserve our wrath or attention, you place yourself inside the crowd and 99 times out of 100, they’re going to stand right by your side. Even if they don’t though, they’re still invested in what’s being said and that’s what matters most in measuring success.

rocky1aEvery Talk Show Needs Laughter – Rocky delivers some memorable one-liners that are still remembered forty years later. Classics such as “Women weaken legs“, “You’re going to eat lightning and crap thunder”, “I feel like a Kentucky Fried idiot” and “Why do I want to fight? Because I can’t sing or dance” stay with us because they’re timely, well executed and offer a nice change of pace. By creating moments that allow us to laugh, it breaks things up and makes the dramatic scenes stand out more.

In a talk show, the same challenge exists. Every host can hit hard with opinions, interact with or take on a caller, and ask a good question of a guest, but when the intensity is building, do you have the clock in your head and the wit and creativity to mix it up by offering a strong one-liner? If not, do you have a go-to drop to help emphasize your points in a funny fashion? Can you keep the audience on the edge of their seat wondering if today will be the day you have them emotionally angry, happy, sad, or laughing?

Being naturally funny and self-deprecating goes a long way with people. Those who can pull it off will find the audience sees them as being human, relatable and capable of not taking themselves too seriously. Those who can’t are usually perceived as being unapproachable, out of touch or even worse, a complete asshole. We can all be on a quest to find the truth in sports and seek to deliver opinions that rattle a person’s bones, but when you allow and invite light hearted moments to become part of your daily experience, you benefit a lot more from it.

rockycastEvery Talk Show Needs a Great Supporting Cast – In Rocky, Sylvester Stallone plays the lead role and as great as he is, he earns legendary status because he’s surrounded by great villains (Creed, Drago, T) and a memorable supporting cast (Adrian, Paulie, Mick, Thunderlips, etc.). These people play a vital role in helping introduce love, sadness, drama, anger and doubt into the story and without them the movie would miss the mark. Every twist and turn in the Rocky series, revolves around those words and every key moment includes those people.

Now think about it from a talk show perspective. Do you have an update anchor involved in your program? Does the producer play a role? Do you use your voice guy or callers to add to the content? Are there set guests who are with you daily or weekly and have become a part of the show’s dysfunctional family? Maybe the Program Director or General Manager is brought into the show as “The man” trying to hold you back. You can use created voices/characters too.

Regardless of the approach, all of these things contribute to the show’s entertainment value. Rather than going it alone and focusing on yourself, think about how you can use others to further lift the show and help you showcase the multiple sides of your personality. The more you offer to the audience, the harder it is for them to change the dial.

rocky2aEvery Talk Show Needs Authenticity – One of the real beauties of the Rocky character is that he represents everyone in the world who’s trying to make ends meet to survive and prove they’re not a failure. He’s a normal guy from the streets of Philadelphia who was given an opportunity and took advantage of it, even when the whole world doubted him. He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but he’s kind, respectful, funny, genuine and honest. We see a man who might not be the best in his sport, but has heart and courage and is willing to try. Those qualities make us root for him. He’s the real life version of David overcoming Goliath.

As a personality, you have to be yourself and put yourself on display. Every positive attribute and every flaw should be showcased every single day. When people know who you are and what you represent and can count on you to be consistent, it makes it easier to listen to you. People tune in for hosts for multiple reasons but if they feel like you’re putting on an act or holding back, they’ll sniff it out and stop listening.

Who you are on the air should be reflected by who you are off the air. What we see on social media or when a camera is on, should be consistent with the person we listen to through the speakers. Sometimes people feel the need to try and change their voice to sound stronger or play a character on the air to generate bigger buzz and it may work for a little while but it can’t be sustained. Being yourself, embracing your strengths and weaknesses, and not being afraid to invite the audience in, are things you can do until the day you retire.

rocky4Every Talk Show Needs Drama – If there’s one quality that separates a Rocky movie from many others, it’s the film’s consistent ability to produce high level drama. From Balboa’s quest to connect with Adrian, to his troubles with Paulie, to his issues with Mick, to the loss of people close to him, to the fight’s themselves, each movie provides twists and turns which leave you emotionally spent.

If you’ve watched these films and didn’t feel a sense of nervousness or excitement when Apollo slid down at the count of 9 and Rocky won the title, or when Mr. T says “My prediction? Pain!“, or when Ivan Drago utters “I must break you”, then get your pulse checked immediately. Each movie delivers a powerful story that is easy to connect with and the journey through that story is what makes it important to us.

It’s no different than what you deal with each day when building topics on a talk show. Any host can hit the airwaves and ask “How confident are you that this team can make the playoffs“. It’s low hanging fruit. You give an opinion on a timely issue, relay a few stats, build some hope, generate calls and tweets, and then sign off and go home.

rocky4aBut is that memorable? Will it leave your audience confused, excited, nervous, angry and talking with their friends and families about what they heard on your show? No!

What works is when you can dig deeper into a topic and find a creative and compelling way to tell the story. That stirs emotion.

Think about some of the items I’ve mentioned above. Does the story include a villain? Does it include laughter? Are their others in the show adding something different to the discussion? Is there conflict? What parts offer me hope and which ones have me concerned?

Once you have those elements, then it comes down to the headline you create, the way you frame the story, and your ability to extend the conversation in a compelling way.

Close your eyes for a second and envision one listener in a car listening to you. Can you hold their attention for five minutes? Ten minutes? If you can’t, you’ve got no ratings.

The way to invade someone’s mind is by being authentic, offering a firm position, using facts to support your stance, and delivering the story creatively.

colinThe reason Colin Cowherd stands out to so many in our industry is because he’s an amazing storyteller. He doesn’t go into a show reliant on phone calls and he doesn’t take the bait on simple topic points. He also puts time into writing some of his opinions and analogies and he understands when to stick to the script and when to toss it aside.

For example, if Colin was hosting a local show in Arizona today, I doubt you’d hear him build a segment by asking “Did the Diamondbacks give up too much for Shelby Miller“. The obvious answer is yes and with that response comes little drama, suspense or unpredictability. If the audience can figure out the answer without having to think too much about it, then why would they stick around to listen to you?

While I’m no nostradamus and not inside Colin’s brain, I do think that if he was hosting locally in Arizona today, he’d offer something different on the subject. I’d expect him to use the topic as a starting point for explaining why in life you sometimes pay more for things than what they’re worth, and how a short-term benefit can often be worth the long-term pain.

That’s what a great storyteller does. They look beyond the headline and search for ways to make it interesting, making sure that drama is a part of every single conversation.

By taking this path, it makes the local listener forget about how much the team gave up and gives them a chance to see the story from another perspective. You think they’ll care as much about Miller’s asking price next October if it results in a World Series title? No!

By approaching it differently and more creatively, it lends itself to becoming content that lives in the mind of the audience well beyond the show. And that’s what counts.

rocky3Think for a second about the Rocky story and picture it as a real life topic today. Some hosts would hit the airwaves asking “Do you think this underdog can shock the world and knock off the champion? Your calls and tweets next“. They’d give their opinion, field the audience’s reaction, maybe invite a guest or two on the show, and then blame the subject matter if the ratings for the segment were low.

But if you took a great storyteller like Sylvester Stallone or Ryan Coogler (writer and director for “Creed”) and gave them the microphone, you’d be taken through a very different emotional experience with the content. Based on the results their films have produced, I think they’d do ok in the ratings!

Because they concentrate on telling a powerful story that can move an audience and they incorporate all of these qualities above, we’re still discussing these movies forty years later. The only question now is, when will there be a Creed 2? And will it be as successful as the first one?

Ask yourself, “Is my show selling out the theatre on a daily basis“? “Do I leave people wanting more like “Creed” has? Am I incorporating these qualities into my show? If not, you may want to consider it. Who knows, they could help you stay relevant for the next forty years!

Barrett Blogs

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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