The media world has been buzzing since Richard Deitsch broke the news that Mike Greenberg would be leaving his radio program on ESPN Radio in the foreseeable future. Although a date and replacement show haven’t been announced, industry sources say they expect the situation to be resolved sooner rather than later.
There are changes that will take place on the television side due to Greenberg gaining a new show and prominent role, but for the sake of this conversation I want to keep the focus on the radio side of things.
Mike and Mike have been the face of ESPN Radio in morning drive for a little more than 18 years. Losing a program that possesses ability, consistency, credibility, and longevity is difficult for any radio operator. Especially when it could lead to a loss of revenue, ratings and affiliates. Couple that with ESPN losing a few high profile personalities in recent years, and it magnifies the situation even more.
You learn early on in the radio industry that change is constant. When it occurs, others will smell blood in the water and look to seize the moment. That’s just the simple nature of operating in a competitive industry.
I don’t need to be a fly on the wall inside of the offices of FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio, Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio, and SB Nation Radio to know that they’re strategizing how to approach ESPN affiliates to try and crack open the door to gain clearance for their programming. Whether they can get inside the room though and stay awhile will be based on the way ESPN handles their relationships with their radio partners, and what quality programming they make available in place of Mike and Mike.
Other excellent personalities still exist on the ESPN radio network, but the brand will take an instant hit by losing Greenberg. Keeping Golic may help ease the pain in the short-term but regardless of his involvement in the next program, he will always be identified as one half of Mike and Mike. His daily presence will serve as a reminder of what once was, just as ACDC and Van Halen discovered how different they were received after Brian Johnson and David Lee Roth were no longer singing their songs.
That’s not to say that ESPN radio won’t thrive in the next year or two without Mike and Mike, but retaining partnerships and convincing listeners that the network is heading in a better direction is difficult when you break up a show with 18+ years of staying power.
What will be interesting to keep an eye on in the future is how ESPN radio adjusts its focus towards radio. Is the network better served being a content provider for markets outside of the top 20 which operate with smaller budgets? Is it going to continue to insist on clearance of its top shows in major markets? Will they allow their own local stations to pass on network programming in favor of local shows which have a stronger ability to generate higher ratings and revenue? Does it evolve into a brand with a heavier focus in the digital space? And how do those changes appeal to national radio talent and affect future negotiations?
One huge positive going forward for the network is that they’ll soon have the influence and guidance of Justin Craig who has done a fabulous job running the company’s brands in Chicago and New York. Craig, cut his teeth at the network and gained respect for the way he produced Mike and Mike, and has spent the past decade programming ESPN 1000 and 98.7 ESPN NY, and helping each brand enjoy success. The decision to have him return to Bristol to oversee the network’s radio operations is a smart one. Dave Roberts will remain involved as well, but his responsibilities with First Take and other TV programs take precedence.
I was curious how the news of Mike and Mike’s eventual farewell was being received by programmers and market managers, so I decided to involve 6 individuals who have a history of working with ESPN radio on a local level. Their identities have been protected in order to gain the most candid insight available. Here are their responses.
What was your immediate reaction to the news of Mike and Mike coming to an end?
Executive 1: It confirmed that TV is the primary focus at ESPN.
Executive 2: I was extremely surprised. In an age where sports syndication is a fight to gain affiliates, this show has had amazing tenure in multiple markets.
Executive 3: It was a hell of run. Not many shows these days can last a year let alone 19 so they definitely deserve a ton of credit. But like a long marriage can sometimes get stale, this happened with this show. No matter what guests or third host’s were added, the program never seemed to evolve. It played well for medium sized markets. Not so much for most large markets. So I’m not shocked that it’s run is over.
Executive 4: I’m shocked and seriously disappointed. An iconic show with two strong personalities, wrapped around by the biggest and best stars in both sports and entertainment.
Executive 5: I’m not surprised. I’ve felt like the show had become stale in recent years. The guys were so comfortable with one another that I think their evolution was stunted a bit by both their success over many years, and the possibility that there was/is a lack of someone at the mothership who’d challenge them in ways they might not particularly like.
Executive 6: I was not surprised. I had heard the rumors. After the “we’re moving the show to New York” blew up and Greeny dropped his agent over it, ESPN was going to appease Greenie. I feel with Golic staying that keeps substance and relatability to the show.
How does the loss of the Mike and Mike brand affect your perception of ESPN Radio?
Executive 1: This show has been the foundation of the network for a long time. I am curious to see what they do now. How do they reinvent the morning show and make sure it plays to the largest audience possible?
Executive 2: I don’t think it does. It’s been a great brand and a tremendous marriage.
Executive 3: Mike and Mike were ESPN Radio. Really the only ESPN program left that had some familiarity and traction nationally. In the last couple years the programming has gone significantly backwards which I think has taken a toll on its perception and this will initially only make it worse.
Executive 4: It takes a hit. Mike & Mike set the day and tone for the rest of ESPN Radio.
Executive 5: It depends on how they replace Greeny. It’s a given that theirs is the signature show on the network, but I think they need to be very careful about who they put in that lead chair and what they want it to say about the direction moving forward.
Executive 6: Of course it affects it. Any change and especially one in AM drive will have a huge impact. Now, how does ESPN handle it is the question. The audience will decide, but there is a comfortability to having Golic stay. He provides the personality and tone of the show. The driver is important, but in my opinion, it would be a bigger deal if Golic was leaving and Greeny was staying.
If you are/were running a station with Mike and Mike in the morning, how would you proceed going forward? (EX: clear the next ESPN Radio show in mornings, switch radio affiliations, move a local daypart on your station into morning drive and clear a different ESPN Radio program, etc.)
Executive 1: The key is to wait and see what their plans are for the future. ESPN is the #1 brand in sports. Everywhere you go today there are challenges in terms of branding and perception because there are more and more options available for consumers. While waiting to see what happens, I would at the same time be exploring all possible options. What gives my station the best opportunity to drive quarter-hours and revenue is what it is all about.
Executive 2: I would wait to see how the new show does since one of the hosts are remaining. Many forget that while it wasn’t as successful, there were hosts before Mike Greenberg. Greenberg and Golic are a terrific pair who have taken the show to amazing levels. Let’s see if a new host can maintain it.
Executive 3: Be open to what they propose as the replacement but definitely look at other options immediately. What one does next entirely depends on the market/budget etc. If you have strong local talent available to you that is always the best approach to succeed in this format.
Executive 4: I would go local and not look back. ESPN Radio might as well scrap the whole “Mike” thing because even a different variation, with one “Mike” or some other form will always look like a weak imitation.
Executive 5: I think it’s going to depend on what the next show is. I certainly have to think about possibly doing my own morning program and then clearing LeBatard live, instead of what we do now (run M&M in morning drive and then go local until 7p).
Executive 6: We’ve talked about it and can’t afford to “wait and see”. This is the most important ESPN radio show. It’s what starts the day and sets the tone. If they don’t get it right, it could alter ESPN radio’s dominance. I do feel confident they’ll get it right but you can’t experiment.
If you were to drop ESPN Radio from your station, which other sports radio network do you believe provides the best lineup, product and value?
Executive 1: I am not sure if just one network can truly get the job done. Every market is different, and thus the programming strategy needs to be different. It also depends on how much local programming my budget can afford, and what other network shows would be available. Maybe I go live in one day part and syndicated in another with a show that is different from what I’ve carried in the past. Each operator has to do what will be best for their individual station.
Executive 2: CBS Sports Radio. It’s the most consistent lineup with brand names.
Executive 3: If you can’t go local I would consider Fox Sports Radio’s Outkick the Coverage show with Clay Travis. At least he’s willing to provide strong opinions, doesn’t take himself too seriously, and understands how to play the digital game.
Executive 4: I’d stay with ESPN Radio. The rest of the lineup is still better and their play-by-play assets are second to none. Go local though, in morning drive.
Executive 5: FOX Sports Radio, but ONLY because of Dan Patrick.
Executive 6: We won’t drop them. We’re connected at the hip in branding and have enough live/local programming that I’m not too concerned if Trey Wingo is the guy. However, they are going to be impacted audience wise, and so will others. The balance of your station’s brand will make the difference, along with the performance of the new show. It’s the best network show in the AM when compared to other network choices and local options cost a lot more. If you can afford that though, that’s certainly an option to consider.
If you were in charge of operating ESPN Radio and putting in a replacement for Mike and Mike, and millions of dollars were at stake, what would you do? (EX: accept whatever show the network provides next, pair two or three other ESPN personalities together, bring in someone from the outside, shift another show from the network into mornings, etc.)
Executive 1: The show that has been the staple of the network will never be the same again. Still having Golic on the show is good as he is a link to the past success of the show. Lots of deep discussion needs to take place both internally and externally. I would certainly want to get a sense from key affiliates what they are thinking and what they feel can move the needle in the future.
Executive 2: Put one host with Golic. Trey Wingo is an excellent choice if that’s the case. Golic is a major radio personality so you should continue to build around him.
Executive 3: I expect ESPN Radio to go the safe route to attempt to preserve as much of the revenue as possible. That means staying in-house and building around Golic. If they truly wanted to produce the best “sports radio” morning product possible they would go outside and bring in an entertaining opinionated “radio” lead host or complete new team. That was done in the past but with a different management team. The end result of that move resulted in…Colin Cowherd.
Executive 4: Do something different in morning drive on ESPN Radio. There’s a reason why they’re breaking up the Mike’s. If the reason is so strong to put at risk millions of dollars, some other off shoot currently being suggested isn’t the answer. It might be a stop gap, a band-aid of sorts, but even that will eventually fail. It will look like a weak imitation, which is exactly what it will be.
Executive 5: I’ve always felt the show lacked both a certain amount of spontaneity and edge. Trey certainly helps in those areas. But I think a big female personality could help (Beadle?), though it would depend on chemistry and fit. Booger McFarland is also a star in the making. The show needs some diversity!
Executive 6: I’d keep Golic, and if Wingo isn’t an option, then Ian Fitzsimmons would make the most sense. I’ve always love Stink too!
Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network
“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”
To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.
As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.
If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Which brings me to today’s announcement.
If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.
After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.
The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.
I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.
One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.
Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.
Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.
What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.
Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.
Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.
5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs
“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”
I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.
Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.
But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.
Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.
If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.
Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.
For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.
At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.
I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.
Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.
Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.
Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.
Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.
Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.
Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.