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Pump The Brakes: Tony Romo Will Be Just Fine On CBS

Jason Barrett

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The media can be a tough crowd. Never was that more clear than when the news broke that Tony Romo was retiring and heading straight to the broadcast booth to become the lead analyst for The NFL on CBS.

Given the immediate overreactions, you’d think the former Cowboys quarterback committed grand theft or physical assault. But before you write Romo off and cry foul on CBS for undercutting Simms, pump the brakes.

I recognize that Romo hasn’t worked one television broadcast. It’s true he’ll have all eyes watching him like a hawk and waiting for him to stumble. And yes there will be immediate comparisons made to Simms, who was a staple of the CBS broadcast for nearly twenty years. But despite those less than convenient circumstances, I have confidence that Romo will settle into his new role just fine.

Why am I optimistic?

Have we forgotten that NFL television booths are made up of former players who at one point didn’t know the first thing about the broadcasting business? I realize some of us in the media want to make this job sound harder than it is but it is possible for a former player to learn how to adjust to different cameras, change his facial expressions, and insert comedic lines and timely analysis and opinion during a three hour broadcast. The last time I checked, Jon Gruden didn’t venture into a small market to learn the ropes of the television business. Instead he was thrust quickly into ESPN’s Monday Night Football programming, and judging from the results, ‘Chucky’ has done just fine.

The same can be said of Simms, Troy Aikman, and most of the remaining NFL analysts who work on network broadcasts. Maybe they weren’t thrust immediately onto the #1 broadcast team but if someone is good enough to be on the 2nd or 3rd team handling an analyst role, then let’s not act like this is the equivalent of advancing from cashier to Chief Financial Officer.

As I read numerous articles, tweets and Facebook posts about how poorly Romo would do, how unqualified he was, and why CBS was on the verge of going down like a plane without two wings, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Broadcasting a football game on television can be taught. This isn’t brain surgery or being tasked with creating algorithms. I’m not suggesting that anyone on the planet can enter a booth and be successful, but if an athlete knows the game, has an ability to speak well, looks good on camera, is familiar to the audience, and is willing to work on his craft seven days per week to be great on game day, just as they did during their playing career, they’ll be fine.

In mentioning those qualities, let’s analyze how they apply to Romo.

First, an analyst must have an ability to speak well. Judging from Tony’s interviews over the years, the way he conducts himself before and after games during press conferences, not to mention his numerous appearances in commercials and other unrelated media roles, he undoubtedly possesses that skill.

Next, they must look good on camera. In case you forgot, Romo has dated Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson, and is married now to Candice Crawford. Although I’m sure they enjoyed the bragging rights of being involved with the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, there had to be some visual attraction involved too to gain the attention of some of those beautiful women. Romo flashes a great smile on camera, presents himself in a classy and charming manner, and has shown that he has a good sense of humor. His ability to pass the eye test shouldn’t be a problem.

That then brings us to the understanding of the game. Romo enjoyed a successful NFL career playing the position of quarterback which requires knowing what is happening on the field on both offense and defense at all times. If Tony was able to be the leader everyone took their cue from, then I’m sure he’ll settle in when presenting information to the audience that they find valuable. This is a guy who’s very bright and entering the booth directly from the field, which gives him an advantage when talking about subjects that will come into focus next season.

The last piece of the puzzle involves the three P’s – preparation, pressure, and passion.

Starting with prep, for the past 13 seasons (and even before that when he played college ball) Romo has spent 6-7 days per week studying game film and playbooks. He’s dedicated countless hours to his craft to become highly productive, and after going undrafted and lingering for a few seasons on the practice squad, he was given a chance to start for the Cowboys. That doesn’t happen if his coaches and teammates sense that he’s not a hard worker. Heck, he’s even maintained that approach with his golf game. People who possess a strong work ethic don’t just flip a switch and turn it off. Which is why I’m confident he’ll invest himself 150% into his new line of work.

Regarding pressure, is there any NFL team under the microscope more than the Dallas Cowboys? Romo has had every single throw, turnover, game result and off the field personal decision of his analyzed, scrutinized and debated for over a decade. He’s been the face of a franchise led by high profile owner Jerry Jones and it’s never caused him to break. Sure he’s had bad games and been involved in a few losing seasons, but you don’t play the position of quarterback for America’s team as long as Romo did if you can’t handle the heat.

Last but not least is the one word that we know Romo possesses on the field, but have no way of knowing if it will transfer into the broadcast booth, and that’s passion. When Tony played on Sunday, you knew he loved the game, and left it all out on  the field. As a New York Giants fan, I especially enjoyed when he offered up those timely interceptions and fumbles, but all joking aside, he played with passion, and that was captured on video and in audio anytime he spoke before or after a game. Whether he’ll bring that same burning desire to this business is anyone’s guess, but we could say that about any player making the jump from the field to the booth. If being able to guarantee that a player would maintain passion for a role in television was a prerequisite for landing a high profile opportunity, we’d have a lot of booths operating without the presence and credibility of NFL players.

In making his transition into broadcasting, Romo is going to discover quickly that every sentence he utters, every opinion he delivers, and every prediction he misses, becomes headline news and the subject of conversation on Monday’s and sometimes for the remainder of an entire week. It’s what the sports media does. We grab the hot topic, regurgitate it until we get bored or the audience gets frustrated, and then move on. With red meat available, critics will be looking harder and listening closer to see if he has what it takes to get the job done. The second he misfires, the media vultures will be swooping down to feast on him as if he were mouthwatering roadkill.

But as media pundits standby waiting for their opportunity to pounce on him for mistakes and use it as a springboard to question his credentials and experience, let’s also not be hypocritical. If Peyton Manning or Brett Favre were being given this opportunity would the same media outrage exist? Neither Brett or Peyton have booth experience, yet when stories have been written in the past about their future possibilities in sports television, the narrative was certainly a lot more positive. I’d expect Tom Brady to receive similar treatment when his playing days are done if he wishes to pursue a move into sports television.

Something else which has not been mentioned much but deserves being brought to light is the track record of CBS Chairman Sean McManus. Without question, he’s done an excellent job over the years of identifying and hiring great analysts. While I haven’t been part of the CBS circle of trust, I have to believe that McManus wouldn’t have removed Simms from the lead analyst spot if he didn’t have a great feel for Romo and a belief in his ability to transition smoothly into this new role. I also don’t buy the stories that have been floated about Tony being receptive to leaving the booth next season to return to the field. This isn’t a stopgap job. It’s one you retain for a decade or longer, especially if you do it well.

Is McManus’ perfect? Of course not (Mike Carey? Really?). Even the greats swing and miss from time to time. That said, his batting average would be good enough to place him in the hall of fame. Call me naive or too optimistic, but I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt to an executive who nails the majority of his decisions before I assume that he’s lost his fastball.

And if you’re going to scream bloody murder over Simms being given a raw deal let me remind you of something – this is the media business. Things like this happen all the time. It’s very similar to the way business is conducted in professional sports. We don’t work for the government where 15-20 years of employment is given as long as we keep our noses clean. This industry is extremely competitive, and networks are going to constantly overturn every rock they can to find an edge to increase their ratings and revenues. Sometimes that requires demoting or parting ways with classy, talented, and loyal people, and even though it sucks and isn’t fair, it’s a reality of the business we’re in.

I’m not saying that what happened to Simms was right. Far from it. But Phil owned a seat for a very long time that many others have salivated over sitting in, and at some point, it’s going to be occupied by someone else. Although I’m sure it wasn’t his preference, he can take solace in the fact that he’ll still be well compensated, while performing in a new role that allows him to continue being seen by a large nationwide audience, and having now gone thru this experience, he’ll be further appreciated and respected by his peers.

Just because Joe Montana and Emmitt Smith sucked on television doesn’t mean Romo will. If Tony is willing to walk away from the NFL and pass up an opportunity to extend his career in order to start the next chapter of his professional life, while absorbing the extra pressure of being the guy who was added to the broadcast at the expense of Simms, then we should at least let him get inside the booth and perform before we order his tombstone and read him his last rites.

That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. Romo is going to have to practice speaking in soundbytes and work on developing on-air chemistry with Jim Nantz. Audiences are going to expect him to be critical and speak on their behalf, which means that he’s going to have to cut the cord on his past and embrace his future. One advantage he has is that CBS’ NFL games package involves the AFC, which means he likely won’t be working a high number of Cowboys games. That would put him in an awkward position during his rookie broadcasting season.

Although it may be fun to debate if Romo will be a great game analyst on Sunday’s and whether or not he deserves to be in this position, the truth is none of us really know if he’ll excel in this line of work. Until he’s standing next to Nantz and opening his mouth for the first time, only then will we have something to measure him by. Maybe he’ll freeze when the lights go on just as he did during a few critical games during his playing days, but maybe this becomes the role for which he’s best remembered.

And think about the irony in that. Tony Romo could soon make the biggest impact of his career on Sunday’s, except this time from the inside of a broadcasting booth. Sometimes these stories just write themselves.

Barrett Blogs

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.”

Jason Barrett

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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.

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Barrett Blogs

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.”

Jason Barrett

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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.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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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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