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It’s Barrett Sports Media’s One Year Anniversary

Jason Barrett

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The past twelve months have provided a series of twists and turns that have been a combination of exciting, challenging, confusing, and rewarding. It’s because of those experiences that today is extra special. Last year at this time I hadn’t thought about where Barrett Sports Media would be one year later. I was simply trying to build a brand that I could be proud of and hope that others in the industry would take notice. Much to my surprise and delight, they have, and because of your support, I’m able to celebrate the first anniversary of what I hope will be many more, of running BSM.

When I look back at September 2015 I do so with a smile because it was then that I decided to announce my intentions to travel down this path, despite being told by many that it would be difficult to sustain. I was encouraged to pursue programming jobs and avoid this journey at all costs, but anyone who knows me is fully aware that I perform best with my back against the wall, and I welcome taking risks, and am not afraid to fail.

I moved to New York after a four year stint in San Francisco to be closer to my son Dylan. I had no job lined up but thanks to some advanced planning I wasn’t pressured to find work immediately. I started thinking about my professional future and starting my own company was an idea I was intrigued by but I wasn’t sure I could do it. I had never run my own business or considered entering the consulting space because I felt that not enough companies valued outside support to help their stations get better. I recognized that the world of sports media was rapidly changing though due to the rise of podcasting, websites, and social media. Although there was more interest in talent and content, I also knew that I couldn’t rely on business finding me. Instead I’d have to create demand by demonstrating my value.

Before making the commitment to launch BSM, I talked to a few people about a few job opportunities. I felt it was important to weigh all of the options before deciding. In going through meetings and processing the information, I kept feeling unfulfilled. The money would be better, but the idea of doing the same thing I had just done for four stations in three markets over the past decade didn’t excite me. I learned long ago to never make a career decision based on economics, so I wasn’t about to start now.

I started thinking about the various successes and experiences I was fortunate to be a part of, and the relationships I had built across the country and felt my knowledge, network, and abilities could make a bigger difference. My true passions are teaching radio, scouting talent, and creating strategies to help people win, and I felt that I’d be limiting myself by working in one market for one organization.

So in August of 2015 I began sending a few emails to a number of industry friends to let them know what I was planning to do, and on the day after Labor Day, September 8, 2015, I officially became an entrepreneur and launched Barrett Sports Media.

The past year has provided a number of valuable life lessons and it’s opened my eyes and ears to many different parts of our industry. I’ve learned how numerous companies operate, why many brands win or lose, who understands the importance of networking (and who doesn’t), and which areas of our format have significant challenges. I’ve seen how powerful the web and social media can be in growing your brand and content, and why the ratings system is one that poorly represents our industry and will never truly capture the reach of many of our greatest sports radio brands.

Indulge me if you will for a little while longer as I go through a few specific areas that have stood out since I launched this company. I appreciate every business partnership and relationship that I’ve developed over the past year, as well as every social media follower, website reader, new industry connection, and the various radio stations, newspapers and websites who have sought me out for insight on industry related subjects. It’s been a very rewarding year and I wouldn’t be in position for a solid second year without your support.

The Growth of the Website: When I started SportsRadioPD.com I was still programming 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. I did it as a labor of love and focused mostly on writing a few blogs, not necessarily reporting a ton of news. The updates were sporadic and I wasn’t heavily promoting it. None the less, I started to see that there was interest in reading the content since it was very industry specific.

Upon launching BSM, this became a huge focus. I looked at the end of 2015 as a time where it was more important to build my brand rather than worry about adding clients. I felt that if I produced great content on a regular basis, and expanded my network, that it would lead to opportunities when brands had needs.

During that time I reconnected with an old friend Zach McCrite to bring his “Podcast About Sports Radio” to the website. I also started focusing on my writing and reporting. If there’s one thing I learned about myself this past year it’s that I enjoy writing. Typing a column isn’t easy to do. There were many nights where I didn’t go to sleep until 5AM. But there’s a certain creative freedom that comes from producing your own material, and as long as people continue to have interest in reading it, I’ll keep doing it.

Little by little the interest grew in the written content. I wrote stories on specific subjects with perspectives added by industry friends. I traveled to radio stations to better understand their approach and share their story. I traveled to conferences and shared my findings including having the privilege of attending Mike and Mike’s Hall of Fame induction in Las Vegas where I’m pretty sure Kim Komando is still speaking. I connected with radio executives in large and small markets to help them better share their brand’s successes, and I gave radio folks a platform to tell their own stories. I even began to tap into my various relationships to get the inside scoop on a number of stories, and in doing so, my social media following tripled on Twitter, and doubled on LinkedIn.

I quickly recognized the value of social media because it’s where we all reside throughout each day. By producing quality content and promoting it on multiple platforms, BSM generated 1.5 million clicks over the past year, something I never could have possibly imagined.

There were many pieces I was proud to publish this past year but the one that provided the biggest impact were the inaugural Barrett Sports Media Awards. I thought they’d do well, but the interest far surpassed my expectations. I was stunned yet flattered by the publicity that came from it. Various shows across the nation talked about them on the air. All Access gave consistent promotion to it on their website. It even got attention on sports television. It worked because of the contributions of many top executives in the format and I look forward to a second installment coming your way in late January or early February. To those that discussed or promoted the awards I simply say thank you.

Two other projects which I was happy to invest time in were the columns on Tackling The Issue of Diversity in Sports Radio and 15 Talents You May Not Know But Should. These two pieces taught me that there are a lot of great people performing in this business but sometimes they fly way below the radar. By highlighting their work, a few performers with some exceptional talent were able to be recognized for the great work they provide on a daily basis.

I also discovered how important it is to explore subjects that may make some uncomfortable yet need to be brought into focus. I don’t believe any hiring decision should be made based on the color of one’s skin but I also realize that as an industry we need to do a much better job of looking at candidates from all backgrounds. We tend to gravitate towards what we know or are comfortable with yet the audiences we broadcast for are very diverse.

From the Awards to the Minority Voices to the 15 Talents Undiscovered and many other columns that I wrote, I learned that written work touches a nerve. Not everyone was pleased with my columns or reports, and they took the time to express themselves either through email or social media. Whether I agreed or disagreed I always tried to respond. I was told by an industry friend “there’s power in the pen” and he certainly wasn’t kidding.

A few friends labeled me the Adam Schefter of the sports radio space, and while it was funny and probably rang true in a few instances since few outlets were breaking industry news, I realized that reporting is tough. There’s a fine line between breaking a story for the benefit of your readers and costing yourself a relationship with an individual and/or company. If I was building a career as a writer or reporter, I could break news on this industry on a daily basis. But I enjoy working with brands and their staffs and if jumping out in front on a story is going to burn a bridge or cost me a valuable relationship then I’m willing to let someone else enjoy the glory of being first. Some who read the website may prefer a different approach but I do have a responsibility to balance business and news.

Networking and Promoting: If there’s an area where the radio industry needs major work it’s in these two words. Networking is something that many struggle with yet it’s critical in everything you do. I’ve learned that many individuals reach out to a programmer only when a job opening is posted. They don’t invest the time in getting to know the executive prior to it. The same holds true for many programmers. Let’s be honest, most jobs in this business aren’t filled through sending in an application. It’s word of mouth, and internal and external relationships, and although it might be a pain in the ass, you control your own fate in deciding whether or not to get to know people. The more people you know, the more options you’ll have. The only thing standing in the way is your own effort.

As it applies to promoting, this is more on brands and their leaders than it is on talent or producers. If you want people to change their perceptions of your market, ratings, competitive picture, or your brand and talent, you have to tell them about it. When you add an employee, that’s worth promoting. When you create a new promotion, add a weekly guest or make a programming change, that’s worth promoting. When you have a great month in the ratings, that’s worth promoting. Too many in our industry treat their information like it’s damaging material hidden inside of Hillary Clinton’s emails when the reality is that if you get out in front of the story and control the narrative, more people are likely to pay attention and reward you for it. You have thousands of fans following your brands on social media because they care about your product. All you have to do is keep them informed.

Think about the irony for a minute. We use the airwaves everyday to produce content and run advertiser messages yet don’t use them or our social media platforms and industry relationships to help grow our profile. You can have the best ratings in the nation but if nobody knows besides the 50-100 people inside your building then it’s your own fault if you don’t receive the credit you deserve. It may not be comfortable but to change perceptions you have to give people new information and it has to be sent to the proper locations. I offer to help every station in this format. All Access, Radio Ink, Inside Radio and many others offer the same. We’ll help you get the word out. You have only one small job to do – share your story.

Becoming a Consultant: When people refer to me as a sports radio consultant it still feels weird. In a sense it is what I am but I believe the role can be further developed. In many ways I see myself as a sports media strategist. Too often when you talk to people in our industry about consultants, they view them as people with expertise to share but who have been away from a building for two to three decades. In my case, that’s not accurate. I spent the past decade programming and just left a building last year.

Secondly, most of the time the instant perception is that the consultant gets paid to provide advice, strategy and information on how to develop your ratings. That’s part of the job, but digital and social media has become a huge priority for brands, generating revenue is a bigger responsibility than ever before, and I don’t believe you can measure an individual’s impact on ratings alone.

I want to help the brand’s I work with enjoy stronger ratings, but I also want to arm the programmer and market manager with every bit of information that I can to help them enjoy success in all departments. Whether it’s helping them create a strong digital and social media strategy, assisting with recruitment, meeting with a sales team, sharing success stories and ideas from other markets, writing a story to showcase the brand’s growth, offering insight on employee negotiations and how to retain or land a deal with a play by play franchise or network, or listening to the competitor and offering observations, all of those things are valuable. I also make myself available for radio hits on the subject of sports media.

When I work with a brand on an annual basis, I become deeply invested in their success. I care about my clients, the challenges they’re going through and I listen to and analyze their progress to help them make a bigger difference. Too many radio operators expect the program director to solve every issue, but even the best PD’s need a trusted advisor and shrink. Many groups are content to keep doing things a certain way without adjusting, but as the audience changes their habits, so should a brand. I’m not saying I’m the answer for everyone, but whether it’s me or someone else, companies should always be looking to find new ways to lift their performance.

Adding an outside perspective does make a difference. I speak from experience, not as a salesman. I grew as a programmer the past six years because I had access to a consultant. We didn’t agree on everything but I valued the additional insight, information, and differing of opinion because it helped me grow and put the brand in position to have better success. If there’s one thing that still surprises me it’s how intimidated some programmers get when the idea of working with a consultant comes up. The best in any profession look to surround themselves with as many smart and talented people as possible. If you’re confident in what you do and delivering good results, you don’t need to look over your shoulder. If you’re successful and the company you work for is foolish enough to let you go, someone else will be ready to welcome you into their organization with open arms. Good talent is always wanted.

Closing: The interest in sports media is extremely high and it’s not slowing down. That’s great news for all of us who love this type of work. I get asked often “are you going to go program radio station ____ (fill in the blank)” whenever opportunities arise, and I can’t say it more definitively than this – I went into this space because I saw a void in it and I thought I could be good at it. I enjoy it, have a passion for it, and love where I’m at. I have no desire to enter one building and program in one market. I’m also committed to getting my son through high school in New York and am not interested in relocating. Plus why would I want to give up working from a home office in pajama pants? Seriously?

As I move into year #2 I have a lot more I want to accomplish. I’m thrilled to be working with some great companies and stations and I hope to increase my reach with other organizations who are seeking to gain a competitive edge. I’ve added a new layer to my business (customized in-market training) for brands who can’t afford regular support but want to help their staffs, and between listening, writing, reporting, promoting, and networking, I’m fortunate to be busy. I’m also looking forward to further expanding my relationships with the sports agents I’ve gotten to know during the past year, and if it works out, I may even do another international project. I’ve begun getting more involved in public speaking too and am looking forward later this month to being part of the NAB in Nashville. Over the next twelve months I anticipate adding other engagements.

If there’s one goal I have for the immediate future it’s to grow the business strong enough to afford adding someone to update news content on the website. That’s become a big area of interest for readers and I recognize the importance of keeping it updated regularly. However, my first priority is to serve my clients, and then try to cram in listening to other brands and talent and write a column so managing it all isn’t easy. I’m not in position yet to make an addition but I hope to do so before next Labor Day,

To bring this full circle, it’s been a fantastic first year. I appreciate everyone who’s played a part in it. But this isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning. Onward and upward we go.

Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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Barrett Media is Making Changes To Better Serve Our Sports and News Media Readers

“We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future.”

Jason Barrett

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When I launched this website all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching this brand, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on our site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited our website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting next Monday November 28th, we are relaunching BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will be available daily under that URL. For the first 70-days we will display news media columns from our BNM writers on both sites and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have the two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting on Monday November 28th, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to send it out daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register. Be sure to scroll down past the 8@8 area.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers begins today and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a number of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send an email to me at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you’ll soon have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Starting November 28th, news takes center stage on BarrettNewsMedia.com and sports gets less crowded on BarrettSportsMedia.com. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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Julie Talbott to Receive The Jeff Smulyan Award at the 2023 BSM Summit

“The best leaders are the ones who empower their people, work with their talent, and study situations to determine where room for growth exists.”

Jason Barrett

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Each year at the BSM Summit, we take time to recognize some of the true difference makers in the sports media industry. It’s become a special part of the event, and it reminds everyone in the room of what’s possible if you do your job well and create impact.

Four awards in total are presented over the two-day event thanks to our friends at Premiere Networks. Each award has a different focus.

The Jeff Smulyan Award is presented to a radio industry executive who has led by example, taken risks, produced results, and made a significant difference for the sports radio business. The Mark Chernoff Award is given to sports radio’s top programmer. The Mike and the Mad Dog Award is presented to the top local sports radio show in America. And The Champions Award along with a financial contribution from BSM is given to an industry member who has used their platform to make a difference for others.

Since we began taking the Summit live in 2019, Mitch Rosen and Rick Radzik have been recognized as winners of the Mark Chernoff Award. Adam Schefter and the team of Keith Murphy and Andy Fales have been recipients of the Champions Award. And the top rated combination of Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti received the first ever Mike and the Mad Dog Award at the 2022 BSM Summit in NYC.

Which brings us to the Jeff Smulyan Award.

A number of top notch executives have joined us to accept this honor over the years. It started in Los Angeles with Kraig Kitchin, continued in New York City with Dan Mason, and then Traug Keller took home the honor during our last show, which also took place in the big apple.

As we looked to 2023, the goal was to identify someone who’s been active in growing their company’s footprint across the sports radio industry. Equally important was someone who has the full confidence and trust of their people, a track record of delivering results, and has uncovered new business opportunities to lead their company forward.

After a brief conversation, Jeff and I knew exactly who the right person was.

It is my honor to announce and congratulate Julie Talbott, President of Premiere Networks on being named our recipient of the 2023 Jeff Smulyan Award. Julie will be present in Los Angeles at the Founders Club at the Galen Center at USC to accept the honor at the 2023 BSM Summit on March 21-22, 2023.

“I’m humbled and honored to receive this award – especially with Jeff Smulyan’s name associated with it. I’ve been a fan of his throughout the years” shared Julie Talbott. “Premiere Networks and FOX Sports Radio are dedicated to delivering the best multiplatform sports audio content the industry has to offer, and this award truly recognizes the amazing efforts of our entire team, who I couldn’t be more proud of.  Thanks to Jason Barrett and BSM for this incredible honor.” 

“I have known Julie for many, many years and our industry doesn’t have a better ambassador than her” added Jeff Smulyan. “She has worked tirelessly to build Premiere into a remarkable enterprise and she has made legions of friends and admirers along the way. She is so deserving of this award and I couldn’t be happier that my friend, Julie Talbott is the winner of the 2023 Jeff Smulyan Award. Nothing makes me happier than to present it to her this March at USC!” 

“FOX Sports Radio’s growth under Julie’s watchful eye has been impressive, but when combined with Premiere’s performance and reach, and seizing opportunities in the digital space by launching strong brands such as The Volume, in partnership with Colin Cowherd, you start to see how she’s put her magical touch on the industry,” explained BSM President Jason Barrett. “The best leaders are the ones who empower their people, work with their talent, and study situations to determine where room for growth exists, and few have the respect, trust, and confidence of their people better than Julie Talbott.”

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