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It’s Barrett Sports Media’s One Year Anniversary

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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

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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