As a kid, I used to read the New York Daily News, and New York Post. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about my local sports teams from the media members who covered them, and I trusted the information they provided. When a columnist wrote an opinion piece it was clear that it was subjective, and I was able to form my own thoughts based on what I had read.
When I turned on the television, sports anchors like Warner Wolf, Len Berman, Scott Clark, Russ Salzberg, and Sal Marciano, made local sports fun, and informational. Although they each had their own style, and preferences, they relied on the facts to help tell each night’s stories.
Granted, back then things were a lot simpler. There was no internet, social media, a flood of sports radio stations, and the world wasn’t as cynical, and reactionary as it’s become today. We relied on the newspaper, watched the nightly sportscasts, and we trusted the people who reported the news to us.
Maybe I was naive, and things were worse than I knew, but in the 1980’s the broadcasters, and reporters that I supported, didn’t make themselves the story. Instead that honor was reserved for the individuals involved in the games. The focus was placed on what transpired between the lines, rather than what occurred outside of them. Sure there were players who weren’t warm and fuzzy, but the relationship between the media and athletes was cordial. More importantly, the public’s trust in the media was higher.
The inspiration I drew from those sportscasters, and writers, along with the local personalities I listened to on WFAN, led me to pursue a career in broadcasting in 1996. I loved sports, and the passion people felt for them, and the thought of telling a story, and talking about it with an audience, seemed like the greatest job on the planet.
Who wouldn’t want to attend sporting events, form relationships with athletes, coaches, and executives, and report the information back to listeners? I looked forward to attending games, talking to people, and sharing what I learned. I never considered twisting the words of the people I covered, or letting my personal feelings get in the way of the truth. I considered it a responsibility to be factual, and I didn’t feel it was right to manufacture drama.
During my early years, I saw the media change right before my very eyes. I stood at a locker next to Bobby Bonilla when he was with the New York Mets, and famously told a reporter “make your move”. I watched Bill Parcells berate broadcasters who tried to lecture him how he should’ve coached against the Seahawks when he was running the New York Jets. I even witnessed Michael Strahan lose his cool when media members attempted to bait him into saying things to create bigger headlines for upcoming rivalry games.
As these moments unfolded, I sat there wondering why these media members sought to provoke and create additional issues. It wasn’t their job to draw Bonilla, Parcells or Strahan into a fight. They were supposed to be there to ask questions, and report the facts.
The great Walter Kronkite once said “our job is only to hold up the mirror – to tell and show the public what has happened”. But as I discovered, sometimes the truth just isn’t sexy enough.
Without drama, what will the front page of next day’s newspaper say? Will people want to watch a sportscast without some form of controversy? Are people going to call a sports radio station if something doesn’t stir their emotions?
This is the formula that helped make ‘First Take’ successful. It’s why the public gets overloaded with Barry Bonds, Brett Favre, Tim Tebow, and Johnny Manziel stories. We bitch and complain about negativity and controversy, yet stop to watch the car crash. It’s why we flocked to a Mike Tyson fight, but failed to give our full respect to Evander Holyfield who kept doing things the right, and honest way.
While those days in the 90’s were certainly different than what I had experienced in the 80’s, I can’t help but feel like many parts of the media business today are even worse. That’s not to suggest that errors and agendas didn’t occur in the past, but today’s influx of media outlets and the audience’s quest to control situations have led to many more mistakes, irresponsible reports, and agendas aimed to satisfy personal beliefs.
To gain access in the past, you had to work for an established media company, and possess the qualifications necessary to be placed in an important setting. Now press passes are given out like candy on halloween to children. Everyone fancies themselves as a talk show host, and due to the advancement of technology, they are. The launch of a podcast, YouTube page, or website makes you a part of the media machine.
Some of these things are excellent. I love that interest in broadcasting and writing has grown. Audiences deserve to have content options. But somewhere along the line, we became more enamored with being first than being right. Generating web traffic, and social media response, now matters more than presenting stories fairly. Relationships with athletes, coaches, and team executives are quickly fractured because there are media members who won’t hesitate to embarrass someone if it helps them gain favor with their bosses. For each person who treats someone fairly, there are others who don’t. As a result, trust is difficult to gain.
Because agendas have gotten in the way of the information, it’s led athletes to break news on their own social media platforms, websites, or places such as “The Player’s Tribune“. This allows the athlete to tell their side of the story in a safer environment, and while that may annoy various members of the media, it’s partly our own fault.
Last week I read a piece on “The Undefeated” titled “36 Hours in Beast Mode“. Lonnae O’Neal was the reporter. She spent time in Oakland, with Marshawn Lynch and members of his inner circle. Lynch, who’s notorious for saying very little, wasn’t eager to be cooperative because he’d been burned by the media before. If he couldn’t trust O’Neal to present his story fairly, and honestly, why speak at all?
Lynch’s cousin, Quarterback Josh Johnson told O’Neal, “The problem with the media is that you’ve got someone telling your story who doesn’t know you, or where you’re from, or what you’ve been through. On top of that, the story is already written. They just want a couple of quotes to confirm what they want to put out there. It’s a created perception. And the media doesn’t have to live with that perception, we have to live with that perception. It affects our family and friends, the community, and our ability to make money going forward. You flew in here to exploit this story, and now you’re going to go back, where editors can twist our words and faces, and turn them into something unrecognizable. And he’s (Marshawn) not having it”.
As I read those quotes, I couldn’t help but find myself agreeing with him. The reason so much mistrust is in place is because few care about the individual they’re reporting on, only the information they can provide. If a quote can be squeezed out of Lynch to say something negative about Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, the Seahawks, or Roger Goodell, it’s media gold.
That’s exactly what Al Jazeera and Shaun King of the New York Daily News did to assassinate the character of Peyton Manning. Was the future Hall of Fame Quarterback completely innocent of what he was accused of? Who knows. But why was the story coming up in the first place? It was more than twenty years old.
Secondly, why wasn’t Manning’s side of the story told? Where was the research into the backgrounds of the individuals claiming he had done something wrong? It wasn’t hard to uncover. BSN Media discovered it.
When someone is successful in sports, and relatively clean throughout the majority of their career, many media people are cynical. They’ve been burned before by famous athletes, so they see it as a personal challenge to dig up dirt to knock an individual down. The second they have one small ounce of information, they present it irresponsibly, and with malice and bias.
When these stories come out, public opinion usually sways in favor of the report. That’s terrifying, because it goes against what our society tells us – that we’re innocent until proven guilty. Those words were true when I was growing up, but now people find themselves guilty until proven innocent.
It’s even worse for a professional athlete. If they get accused of something, and don’t sue, the speculation increases immediately. I can recall being in St. Louis when the Mitchell Report came out, and media outlets rushed to judgment on Albert Pujols. Customers at his restaurant were harassed, and the good name he had built as a solid member of the community was stained immediately.
What did Pujols gain when it was discovered that his name wasn’t on the report? An apology? Nope. His big win was banning one local television station from attending his news conference. Doesn’t exactly seem like a fair trade does it?
How about the Duke lacrosse case. Remember that? If you don’t, watch the “30 For 30” on it on ESPN. It’s brilliant.
The public formed quick opinions on the case due to the way the story was presented by the media. The families involved endured public humiliation, and emotional pain, Duke’s head coach was fired, and the three accused men had their reputations permanently damaged.
We later learned that no evidence existed to find any of the men guilty, and a corrupt district attorney seeking re-election, money, and fame, attempted to use the case as a springboard for his professional career. Had numerous members of the media stuck to reporting the facts rather than attempting to be the judge, jury, and executioner, they wouldn’t have been left to eat a healthy heaping of crow.
I’m trying to come to grips with why members of our industry adopt this practice. Why is it that the information is not enough, and we feel a responsibility to tamper with evidence? What happened to allowing the public to form an opinion based on what we know? Are we so thin-skinned that we can’t stomach the thought that the public won’t agree with our point of view?
Here’s another example. The Washington Post conducted a poll to find out how offended Native Americans were by the Washington Redskins team name. In the poll, nine out of ten said they weren’t bothered. The results were similar to a previous study done in 2004.
Why was this a story in the first place? Were Native Americans beating down the doors of the press demanding justice? The team name had been acceptable for the past eighty years, so what changed that made it a larger mainstream issue?
The answer – the media and government. It didn’t matter that the franchise had built its entire image, history, and business around the name for eight decades, or that the majority of Native Americans weren’t offended. Media people and politicians took exception, so they decided to try and flex their muscles and influence the result, rather than report the facts.
Except, it never was their fight in the first place. It wasn’t their job to tell Native Americans how to think or feel or Dan Snyder how to run his business. Other NFL teams, television announcers, analysts, and reporters even started referring to the Redskins as “Washington” on team schedules, and national broadcasts. Did the viewing public request that? Did the team apply for a name change? The answer is no.
We don’t have to agree with it, and we can express our views that we believe things should be done differently, but we don’t make the rules, set the laws, and decide how others consuming our work should feel. It’s our job to present the information, offer both sides, explain where we stand, and let the public figure out how they feel about the issue.
Just last week, the New York Times did a hit piece on Donald Trump because they don’t think he should be our next President. They crafted a story and used quotes from a woman he previously dated (Rowanne Brewer Lane) to present an image of Trump behaving poorly towards women.
Except, Rowanne Brewer Lane quickly took to the television airwaves of MSNBC, and Fox News, and proceeded to destroy the Times for attempting a smear campaign. She mentioned how well Trump had treated her, and how the Times took her words and edited and twisted them to present the narrative that they wanted.
If a Times columnist writes an opinion piece taking Trump to task, that’s acceptable. A columnist is paid to present their opinions. They are essentially the written version of a talk show host. The reader consumes the material that they present, knowing that it’s one person’s point of view. But when news stories are reported, the public expects them to be factual, not altered to support the newspaper editor’s personal preference.
One week prior, a former Facebook employee pointed out how the social media company uses editorial judgment to decide what news you receive in your trending topics. While that may not seem like a huge deal, when the majority of the information provided represents only one side of a story to billions of people, that’s not presenting an even playing field.
If Mark Zuckerberg and his company choose to vote, and live their lives under democratic guidelines, that’s ok. They have that right as Americans. But to attempt to influence thought, belief, and opinion of the public by showcasing only one side of the news, rather than allow them to form their own judgments after seeing both, is wrong.
To Zuckerberg’s credit, he responded quickly, and met with conservatives, and acknowledged that Facebook has to do better. This isn’t about politics, and whether or not republicans or democrats are better, it’s about being fair, balanced, factual, and letting the public decide for themselves.
Media outlets operate like they’re in the middle of a war zone, and social media platforms have become the new battleground. The minute something happens, people rush to Facebook, and Twitter to express their views. What’s frightening is to see how many individuals, and companies overreact due to negative feedback.
Not every situation is defensible. I recognize that there are times where you have to cut bait or punish someone for poor judgment. However, not every situation warrants that. It takes courage to stand by someone during difficult times. But, if you believe they’ve done nothing wrong, be prepared to have their back, even when others might not.
The general public, and professional athletes, coaches, and executives, have become less trusting of the media because of agenda driven reporting. When information is withheld, words are twisted, and judgments are rushed, it’s hard to put faith in reporters.
That’s not what our business is supposed to be about. When you cover a team, athlete, executive, or event, the story can be told by keeping your eyes and ears open, and gathering facts. Your job is to share what you’ve uncovered, and let the audience decide what to think about it.
It may not always be fancy, or create an avalanche of social media activity, but you can’t put a price on sleeping with a clear conscience. Some would rather take a shortcut and advance their career at the expense of those they cover. I believe you can enjoy the same success by earning their trust and respect. In doing so, you may even improve the image and reputation of an industry that few have confidence in.
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.