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Setting Realistic Expectations For FS1 Vs. ESPN

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One of the biggest sports media stories of the summer was Skip Bayless’ decision to depart ESPN for Fox Sports 1. The polarizing personality who teamed with Stephen A. Smith to make First Take a huge ratings success, elected to chase larger dollars and more freedom by realigning with Jamie Horowitz at FS1. In previous months, Horowitz went on the record stating that his goal was to add more “opinionists” to his network, and develop the brand into the sports television equivalent of Fox News.

His vision began to take shape when he pried Colin Cowherd from ESPN and launched him on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports Radio. He followed that up in June with the debut of Speak For Yourself, a program featuring Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Jason McIntyre.

The next big move was to raid ESPN again and steal Bayless away, and build a new program around him which would run opposite his creation First Take. Horowitz then added NFL Hall of Fame Tight End and former CBS NFL Analyst Shannon Sharpe, and moderator Joy Taylor to the mix, and the trio now form Skip and Shannon: Undisputed.

Whether you like each personality or not, there’s no question that they possess the ability to connect with an audience. Their prior track records prove that to be the case. Opinions will differ from show to show and host to host, but if you polled most sports media fans, they would likely agree that Fox Sports 1 has improved itself during the past twelve months.

When Horowitz was asked last year about his plans for FS1, he made it clear they were in it to win it. He told attendees at the 2015 NeuLion Sports Media and Technology Conference “We’re here to compete all hours of the day, seven days a week. We’re not going to concede any ground to ESPN. Not now, not in the future, and I think that’s represented in the decisions we’ve made recently.”

A step in the right direction was certainly needed for the company, and the big name additions of Bayless, Cowherd, Whitlock, and Sharpe have provided buzz and a reason to tune in. The early signs are encouraging. FS1 has also done a nice job adding and featuring rising stars such as Katie Nolan, Kristine Leahy, Nick Wright and Clay Travis. But, while Horowitz’s game plan comes into focus and signs of progress follow, others in the media are expecting instant results that are unrealistic.

If you’ve ever worked in the sports media business in an executive role, you know that new shows take time to catch on. You don’t overreact over the first day, week or month of a new program’s performance. It’s understood going in that the goal is to deliver strong content and slowly build a loyal following. To do that, a brand must have consistent effort, popular personalities, creativity, marketing, and the word few people like to hear – patience!

It’s fun to write stories and draw instant clicks by declaring a show dead on arrival when its ratings don’t immediately catch fire, but anyone who expects a new show on a relatively new network to show up and immediately knock off a competitor like ESPN is kidding themselves. If it were that easy, someone else would’ve already done it, and personalities like Bayless and Cowherd would be worth more than six million per year.

On a recent appearance on the “Podcast About Sports Radio“, Cowherd summed it up perfectly: “You don’t do these things overnight. It’s a slow methodical rebuild. I’m already at 80-85% of my previous audience, and we’ll get back to where we were within 12-18 months”. Notice that Cowherd talked about regaining the audience he had, not expanding the audience beyond where it was. To do that takes even more time and promotion, which is why FS1 likely has a five year plan to evaluate their progress.

Many in the media love to critique, complain, defend and attack new shows when they launch, but the harsh reality is that most successful shows reach their level of success after a few years. Let’s not forget, when Cowherd took over for Tony Kornheiser on ESPN Radio many thought it was a recipe for disaster. First Take also existed for a while before it took off with Bayless and Smith. The program featured rotating personalities opposite Bayless, and although their were modest gains compared to Cold Pizza’s previous performance, it was nowhere near the ratings juggernaut that it’s become in recent years.

A sports television network doesn’t invest six million dollars annually, and twenty five million over the span of four years in a personality without expecting success. However, they also understand that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and you can’t get trigger happy after a few shows.

Yet that’s what I see happening throughout the sports media universe. There’s a large segment of the media who are watching Bayless, Cowherd, and Bill Simmons at HBO, and laying in the weeds like a venomous snake waiting to strike an unsuspecting victim. I’ve noticed that many in the media are more interested in seeing these men fail than succeed. Much of that I suspect is driven by personal opinions on each host, but usually when David (the host) faces Goliath (ESPN) , there are more people cheering him on rather than rooting for his demise.

What many fail to realize is that if these personalities have success, it will open the doors for others in the industry to enjoy opportunities. It may also lead to additional companies wanting to invest more in the sports television business. But more importantly, it gives viewers more to choose from. ESPN is an outstanding operation with a large number of talented people. They have the staff, skill, experience, and programming options to compete with any media outlet on the planet. But even the best deserve to be challenged.

When sports media companies feel the pressure to perform, they often deliver their best. That puts the viewer in a great position. Too often we get caught up in which brand won and lost and lose sight of the bigger picture – to grow the sports media experience and leverage the interest in it to increase business.

We don’t blink an eye when we hear ten or fifteen music stations on the radio. We don’t have an issue with ten or twenty movie channels appearing on our channel guide, and we have multiple apps on our phones to provide us with entertainment. Having two debate shows air opposite one another on two different networks should be no different.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t evaluate their content and performance. That’s absolutely fair game. But, we should hope that both shows deliver an audience because it helps lift our entire business. We also need to be able to put things into proper perspective because the FS1-ESPN matchup is in the early stages, not where it potentially could be in the next few years.

The other side of this conversation that creates challenges is when ratings are covered. Unless you understand how they work, it’s easy to be fooled by numbers. Most people form their opinions based on whether a number is up or down. If they see a decline, the next column discusses why a show is headed for a downward spiral. They don’t take into account numerous factors that determine how the number was achieved.

For example, a show could’ve lost yet had its hosts on vacation for most of the month. Maybe the show was pre-empted 3-4x. A show could be ahead for the first 90 minutes yet stumble badly during its final thirty minutes which causes it to finish second.  Or one network may aggressively market their brand, while the other chooses not to. Never mind the fact that in many cases a few thousand people in a ratings system represent the viewing interests of millions.

Among FS1’s biggest challenges are that audiences like routine. People don’t change their plans until they’re given a reason to do so. Some will switch to FS1 because they’re drawn to Skip, but even many of his supporters and casual fans will take a wait and see approach. There’s also the reality that many people don’t like Skip, so those viewers are likely to avoid his new show at all costs.

Larger than that though are two other key factors. First, people know where ESPN is on their television. The same recall doesn’t exist for FS1. Earning that space in an individual’s memory bank takes time. Then there’s the challenge of viewers deciding whether to watch or tune out based on their opinions of Sharpe. If that wasn’t enough, toss in the challenge of trying to build an audience while going up against First Take.

Fans either love or loathe Bayless because of his work on First Take, and getting them to change their allegiance when Stephen A. remains on ESPN won’t be easy. It isn’t as much about whether or not Skip and Shannon have a great show, as it is about getting people to sample their content. This is why you see FOX promoting Undisputed on TV, billboards, websites, social media platforms, and anywhere else that they can reach people.

As difficult as it will be to unseat First Take or any of ESPN’s other key shows, don’t think that it can’t be done. Nobody in this business is unbeatable. TNT’s “Inside The NBA” with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaq has consistently beaten ESPN’s NBA shows, and Adrian Wojnarowski regularly scoops ESPN’s NBA reporting team for inside information. That shows that even the best have weaknesses.

But to accomplish that feat takes hard work, consistently great content, massive amounts of marketing, internal and external patience, and a little bit of luck.

Last week in the Washington Post, Scott Van Pelt said FS1’s ratings were abysmal and Horowitz and friends deserved to be held accountable for them. He’s right. They’re very low. If they’re still this bleak in twelve to eighteen months then Horowitz may have some corporate suits pressuring him to change his strategy. But, to expect a relatively new network to be locked in a dead heat with the world’s largest sports media company when they don’t have a ton of play by play, decades of an established presence, or a ton of original programming is silly.

Whether you want to hear it or not, these things do take time. It may sound cliche when people utter “Rome wasn’t built in a day” but it’s absolutely true. FS1 right now has to concentrate on being better today than yesterday and growing its audience. The rest of the world can compare each day and month’s ratings to ESPN’s but FS1 has to stay focused on their overall strategy and creating incremental progress.

I believe you have to look at FS1’s development similar to that of a sports franchise. It starts with a few talented people, which puts you on the map. Then you add additional high profile talent (Bayless, Cowherd, Whitlock, Sharpe, Leahy, Wright, Taylor) which brings in new fans. Next, you focus on self improvement. Then, when a team has great talent, exceptional content, a smart strategy, and growing interest, a successful story starts to develop. Before long, you set your eyes on the prize and push yourself to knock off the champion.

Right now, ESPN is the storied sports media franchise. They’re seen as the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Lakers of the sports media space. FS1 on the other hand is more in line with the Kansas City Royals, Denver Broncos, and Cleveland Cavaliers. They may not be the brand with the better historic track record, familiarity, talent roster or programming options, and they may have to move mountains to reach the top, but don’t forget, the Cavaliers, Broncos and Royals all won titles last year.

Enjoying massive success won’t happen overnight for FS1. It might not even happen at all. And although Jamie Horowitz and his staff probably don’t want to hear that, and are driven to win immediately, it’s important to remember that when you’re shooting for the stars, you first need to get off the ground and into the sky.

That being said, if Horowitz was given an ESPN voodoo doll and could poke it and cause Bristol’s programming to go off the air and speed up his own network’s timeline, you can bet your ass he wouldn’t hesitate. That’s called being competitive and hungry to win.

We’ve become a sports society of Monday morning quarterbacks who expect instant gratification, and view the world in black and white. That doesn’t bode well for FS1, whose narrative over the next 12-18 months will consist of shades of grey. It may be entertaining to read, write, and compare FS1’s ratings and shows against ESPN’s, but the two brands have different short-term expectations, and are at different stages of their development. That may not sound as sexy as the other headline options, but it’s honest and realistic. And sometimes, whether you like it or not, patience and a reality check are necessary.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

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How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.

But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?

As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.

Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.

Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.

I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.

What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.

As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.

Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.

But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.

Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.

There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.

I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.

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Takeaways From The NAB Show and Six Days in Las Vegas

“I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm for the NAB Show was elevated this year.”

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Six days on the road can sometimes be exhausting. Six days in Las Vegas, and it’s guaranteed. That was my world last week, as I along with more than fifty thousand people headed to sin city to take in the 2022 NAB Show.

The event didn’t draw as many as it had in the past, but after two years of inactivity due to the pandemic, it was good to be back. Judging from some of the vendors I talked to, the sessions I attended, and the feedback I received from folks I met with, though far from perfect, it was a solid return for an important event. Seeing people interact, celebrate others, and talk about ways to improve the business was a positive reminder of the world being closer to the normal of 2019 than the normal of 2020-2021. The only negative from the week, the consistent failure of Uber to appear in the right place at the right time. But that had zero to do with the NAB.

It feels like whenever I attend industry conferences, there are two different type of reviews that follow. Some writers attend the show and see the glass half full. Others see the glass half empty. I’m certainly not afraid to be critical but my enthusiasm was elevated this year. Maybe it was because BSM was a media partner or maybe it was due to the show not happening for years and just being happy to be among friends, peers, and clients and operate like normal. Either way, my glass was definitely half full.

For those who see events this way, it’s likely they’ll remember the numerous opportunities they had to create and reestablish relationships. They’ll also recall the access to different speakers, sessions, products, and the excellent research shared with those in attendance. The great work done by the BFOA to recognize industry difference makers during their Wednesday breakfast was another positive experience, as was the Sunday night industry gathering at The Mayfair Supper Club.

Included in the conference were sessions with a number of industry leaders. Radio CEO’s took the stage to point out the industry’s wins and growth, credit their employees, and call out audio competitors, big tech, and advertisers for not spending more with the industry. When David Field, Bob Pittman, Ginny Morris and Caroline Beasley speak, people listen. Though their companies operate differently, hearing them share their views on the state of the business is important. I always learn something new when they address the room.

But though a lot of ground gets covered during these interviews, there are a few issues that don’t get talked about enough. For instance, ineffective measurement remains a big problem for the radio business. Things like this shouldn’t happen, but they do. NBC and WarnerMedia took bold steps to address problems with TV measurement. Does radio have the courage to take a similar risk? That’s an area I’d like to see addressed more by higher ups.

I can’t help but wonder how much money we lose from this issue. Companies spend millions for a ratings service that delivers subpar results, and the accountability that follows is often maddening. Given the data we have access to digitally, it’s stunning that radio’s report card for over the air listening is determined by outdated technology. And if we’re going to tell folks that wearables are the missing ingredient for addressing this problem, don’t be shocked if the press that follows is largely negative. The industry and its advertising partners deserve better. So too do the reps at Nielsen who have to absorb the hits, and make the most of a tough situation.

Speaking of advertising, this is another one of those critical areas that deserves another point of view. Case in point, I talked to a few ad agency professionals at the show. Similar to what I’ve heard before, they’re tired of hearing radio leaders blame them for the industry’s present position. This has been a hot button topic with executives for years. I often wonder, do we help or hurt ourselves by publicly calling out advertisers and ad agencies? How would you feel if you ran an agency which spent millions on the industry and were told ‘you don’t do enough’? I’m a champion of radio/audio, and am bullish on spoken word’s ability to deliver results for clients, but having attended these shows for nearly seven years, it might be time for a new approach and message. Or maybe it’s time to put one of our CEO’s with one of theirs and have a bigger discussion. Just a thought.

Of the sessions that I attended, I thought Erica Farber’s ‘What Business Are You In?’ was excellent. I especially liked Taja Graham’s presentation on ‘Sharing Your Truth’. I also appreciated Eric Bischoff’s tips on ways to monetize podcasts, and am curious to see how Amazon’s AMP develops moving forward. My favorite session at the show though was “A GPS Session For Your Station’s Car Radio Strategy” led by Fred Jacobs. The insight shared by Joe D’Angelo of Xperi and Steve Newberry & Suzy Schultz of Quu was outstanding. Keeping the car companies on our side is vital to our survival, and how we position ourselves on the dashboard can’t be ignored. Other tech companies and audio operators take it seriously. We must too.

Sessions aside, it was great to check out the VSiN and Blue Wire studios, connect with a bunch of CEO’s, GM’s and Market Manager’s, and visit with Kevin Jones, Joe Fortenbaugh, Jeremiah Crowe, Jon Goulet, Bill Adee, Q Myers, Mike Golic Jr. and Stormy Buonantony. The NFL’s setup for the Draft, and the light show presented at the Bellagio was without a doubt spectacular, plus Stephanie had a chance to say hello to Raiders owner Mark Davis who was inside the back room of a Westgate restaurant where we were having a business lunch meeting. The personal tour we received at the Wynn showed off some of the best suites I’ve seen in Las Vegas, and I was finally able to witness Circa’s Stadium Swim in person, and meet owner Derek Stevens (heck of a suit game). What an outstanding hotel and casino.

Altogether, it was a productive trip. As someone who knows all about building and executing a conference, I appreciate the work that goes into pulling it off. This event is massive, and I have no idea how the NAB makes it happen so flawlessly. This was the first time my head of sales, Stephanie Eads, got to attend the show. She loved it. Our only negative, going back and forth between convention halls can get exhausting. Wisely, Stephanie and Guaranty Media CEO Flynn Foster took advantage of the underground Tesla ride to move from the North hall to the West hall. I wasn’t as bright. If that’s the worst part of the experience though, that’s pretty solid. I look forward to returning in 2023, and attending the NAB’s NYC show this fall.

Additional:

You’ve likely seen posts from BSM/BNM on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn promoting a number of open positions. I’m adding crew to help us pump out more content, and that means we need more editors, news writers, features reporter’s and columnists. If you’re currently involved or previously worked in the industry and love to write about it, send a resume and few writing samples by email to JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

With that said, I’m excited to announce the addition of Ryan Brown as a weekly columnist for BSM. Ryan is part of ‘The Next Round’ in Birmingham, Alabama, which previously broadcast on WJOX as JOX Roundtable. The show left the terrestrial world in June 2021 to operate as its own entity. Ryan’s knowledge and opinions should provide a boost to the site, and I’m looking forward to featuring his columns every Tuesday. Keep an eye out for it tomorrow, and if you want to check out the guest piece he previously wrote for us, click here.

Demetri Ravanos and I have talked to a lot of people over the past month. More additions will be revealed soon. As always, thanks for the continued support of BSM and BNM.

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Six New Contributors Join Barrett Media

“These latest additions will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.”

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Building a brand starts with a vision. Once that vision is defined, you identify the people who fit what you’re creating, lay out the game plan, and turn them loose to execute. If the product you’re creating is original, fills a gap in the marketplace, and the work turned in by your team is consistently excellent and promoted in the right locations, more times than not you’ll build an audience.

As you grow, the focus turns to studying what your audience wants, needs, and expects from your brand. Certain things you expect to be big turn out small, and the things you saw limited upside in create opportunities you never saw coming. It’s critical to be open minded and ready to pivot while also examining where and when people consume your product, which pieces of content do and don’t matter, and then use that information to direct your team to give folks more of what they value and less of what they don’t. Team members should want that feedback too. It tells them what is and isn’t worth spending their time on.

As I lay all of that out it may sound like I’m talking about a radio station or television operation. These are the things programmers do frequently to make sure the talent, shows, and brand is satisfying the expectations of an audience. But what I’m actually referring to is the brand you’ve made a choice to click on to read this column, Barrett Media.

I’ve mentioned many times on this website how I started this operation by myself, and didn’t expect to have a team of writers involved in it. I was focused on consulting sports stations, sharing my programming views on this website, and as I cranked out content consistently, I discovered others loved the business like I did and had a desire to share their insights too. Rather than sticking to my original plan, I pivoted and increased our content offerings. In return, the audience grew, clients grew, and it’s led this brand to grow beyond my expectations. Now we cover sports AND news media, we run an annual conference, feature a membership program, create podcasts, deliver a daily 8@8 and three times per week BNM Rundown newsletter, and work with various brands and companies across the broadcasting industry. I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position and don’t take it for granted.

But with growth comes change. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of talented people contribute to this site over the years, and as they produce quality work, and others across the industry recognize it, they earn interest for their services. That then leads to some having to sign off for bigger opportunities. I see that as a great positive for the brand. Would it be nice to have more consistency and keep a crew together for years? Of course. I know it’d make Demetri’s life a lot easier. If we’re losing people for the right reasons though, and they’re landing opportunities that help them advance their careers, I’m going to be happy for their success, and trust that we’ll find others to keep us moving forward. The success of our team helps make what we do more attractive to others because it shows that if you do good consistent work here, you can put yourself in a position to attract attention.

Over the past two months, I have challenged Demetri Ravanos to invest more time talking to people about writing for us. Expanding our Barrett News Media roster is a priority. So too is adding quality people to help us improve Barrett Sports Media. BSM has had just under seven years to earn trust with readers. BNM has had less than two. We’ve put out ads on our website and newsletters, social posts, an ad on Indeed, and we’ve reached out directly to people who we’ve felt may be able to add something interesting to our brand. Most of my time is spent listening to stations and talking with clients, but my eyes are always roaming looking for content, and my mind is always thinking about what we can create next to make an impact.

I don’t judge our brand’s success based on clicks, shares, breaking news before other outlets or showing up in the top three listings on Google. I care more effort accuracy, timeliness, passion, consistency, storytelling, insight, and being fair and non-agenda driven. We’ve found our niche being able to tell stories about broadcasting professionals, relaying news, and offering expert knowledge to serve those involved in the broadcasting industry. If we continue to excel doing those things consistently, I’m confident our audience will reward us by reading and sharing more of our content. It’s why we never stop recruiting to keep things fresh.

Having said that, I am excited today to reveal six new additions to the Barrett Media staff. Peter Schwartz is a name and voice many in New York sports radio circles are familiar with. Peter has spent three decades working with various outlets and I’m thrilled to have him writing weekly feature stories for us. Brady Farkas is a talented host and former programmer who now works for WDEV in Burlington, VT. Karl Schoening is a play by play broadcaster who has worked in San Antonio sports radio and has had the added benefit of learning the industry from his talented father Bill who calls Spurs games. Each of them will produce bi-weekly feature stories for the brand. Jason Ence is in Louisville and has written about sports betting for Twin Spires while also working for ESPN 680. He’ll be writing sports betting content for us on a weekly basis. Jasper Jones will help us by adding news stories on Friday’s. He’s presently in Philadelphia learning the business working for Audacy. Last but not least, veteran author, Brewers writer, and former radio professional Jim Cryns comes on board to help us with features on news media professionals.

These six additions make us stronger, and I’m excited to have them join the team to help us add more quality content to the website. That said, we’re not done yet. Demetri and I are still talking with others and I expect to make a few more additions in the weeks ahead. As I said earlier, we want to improve the news media side of our operation and continue adding people to help us make a bigger dent in the sports media space. Broadcast companies invest in us to help them, and I believe it’s important to invest back.

If you’ve programmed, hosted a top rated show, worked in measurement, led a cluster as a GM, sold advertising, represented talent or have worked in digital and feel you have knowledge to share, reach out. I can’t promise we’ll have room but we’re always willing to listen. I’m not worried about whether or not you’ve written for professional publications. Passion, experience and unique insights matter much more than a resume or journalism degree.

I appreciate everyone who takes time to read our content, like and share it on social, and all involved with this brand who help bring it to life each day. The latest additions of Schwartz, Farkas, Schoening, Ence, Jones and Cryns will make our product better. Now the challenge is finding others to help us continue growing.

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