Connect with us
Register for the BSM Summit Now

Barrett Blogs

3 Sports Media Stories Worthy of a 30 For 30

Published

on

What if I told you, that another sports media show or personality would be given a future 30 for 30 documentary. Who would you nominate to earn that honor?

On Thursday evening July 13th, ESPN premiered the 30 for 30 film on WFAN’s longtime afternoon show, Mike and the Mad Dog. The story revolved around Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, and the New York sports radio duo’s rise to prominence in the big apple. Mike and Chris enjoyed nineteen successful years on the air together, and in the process, influenced the growth of the entire sports radio format, and many of the broadcasters who operate in it today.

By the end of the episode, Twitter was exploding with conversation about the film, making it one of the evening’s top trending topics. The film ran sixty minutes in length, which I felt was short, but the episode brought back many great memories for those who were familiar with Mike and Chris and their importance to the sports radio format.

When the ratings came out, the film was ESPN’s highest rated 30 for 30 episode in New York City. However, it failed to gain traction outside of the nation’s top media market. Given the regional nature of sports talk radio and its personalities that wasn’t surprising.

After learning about the ratings, I began thinking to myself, which other sports media shows, hosts, stations or stories would be worthy of a similar honor? 30 for 30 films aren’t handed out to just anyone. To earn that type of respect and recognition as a media personality or show, a significant contribution to the industry must be made for a lengthy period of time.

I began jotting down ideas and contemplating who had blazed a large enough trail in the sports media business to warrant consideration. I don’t claim for this list to be bulletproof. But maybe it spurs additional ideas, and reminds us to appreciate the style, skill and special qualities that many great broadcasters have brought to the airwaves, and the life lasting connections they’ve formed with the audience.

There are many giants in our industry. Some have retired after decades of excellence. Some continue to steal the spotlight on television and radio, adding to the legacies they’ve already established. And others have joined the guy in the sky after owning space in the hearts and minds of sports fans during the length of their broadcasting careers.

It’s easy to make a case for Chris Berman, Mike and Mike, Jim Rome, Stephen A. Smith, Pardon The Interruption, Bob Costas and Al Michaels. The same can be said for Stuart Scott, John Saunders, Harry Caray and Craig Sager. And there are many others that belong in the conversation as well.

I don’t expect ESPN to create future 30 for 30 documentaries on these individuals, let alone the ones that I’m making a case for in this article, but since this is the land of make believe, and we’re all allowed to dream, I’ve laid out a few thoughts on who I think is worthy of having their story told. Each of these candidates have left an indelible mark on the sports broadcasting profession, and their ability to resonate with fans on a national level would create greater public interest in their documentaries.

If 30 for 30’s writers, filmmakers, and producers choose down the line to develop a film from one of these ideas, a simple thank you to Barrett Sports Media in the final credits will suffice. Unless of course you’re paying seven figures. In that case, call me!

But while I spend my time sitting around waiting for their call, use your next few minutes to review the three candidates that I’ve chosen, and the reasons why they deserve consideration to be featured in a future 30 for 30 documentary.

Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann – Before the landscape of sports television exploded with tons of options and channels, Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann owned the attention of every sports fan across America for a five year period. The times may have been simpler, the competition less formidable, and the production quality and studio display less appealing, but when Dan and Keith took the air to host The Big Show, viewers adjusted their schedules to make sure they were in front of a television to watch them perform.

From their signature catchphrases to their on-camera chemistry and the sheer joy in which they informed you about the best moments each night from the world of sports, Dan and Keith became television rock stars. They were your friends on SportsCenter and the guys who both fans and athletes each wanted to spend time hanging out and having a beer with. Their style was contagious, their laughs were natural and they inspired many to want to stand in front of camera and develop a career calling sports highlights.

The only downside to Dan and Keith’s tenure is that it didn’t last long enough. Patrick stayed at ESPN until 2006, but Olbermann was long gone, departing in 1997. Upon his exit from Bristol, a town in which Keith was not fond of and had publicly been critical of, sources said there was a better chance of hell freezing over before Olbermann would be welcomed back.

When the network celebrated 25 years of its history, Keith was the one marquee name who wasn’t present. The two sides did though finally turn the page and work together in 2013 when KO signed on to host his own self-titled nightly program. He also returned for ESPN Radio’s 25th anniversary. Patrick cut ties with the network too for a few years, but finally returned in 2015 as Scott Van Pelt’s first guest on SportsCenter.

The emergence of The Big Show gave SportsCenter the jolt of energy it needed during an important time in the show’s history. Although the program had gained ground prior to Dan and Keith’s arrival, once the two teamed up to own the 11pm ET time slot, patterns changed, allegiances were formed, and late night sports television became must-watch and must-discuss.

Since departing from the four letter network, the two broadcasters have taken different roads, enjoying varying levels of success. Olbermann expanded his profile by tossing his hat into the political arena. Patrick stayed true to his sports roots, developing a nationally syndicated radio/television show, and becoming the studio host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football. He’s also continued to make appearances in Adam Sandler films.

They say the true measure of impact is what you accomplish during the time that you’re doing it. Well, for five years Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann owned the attention of every American sports fan, athlete, coach and executive. If 30 for 30 shined the spotlight on their influence on SportsCenter and sports television, they’d earn the nation’s attention again, even if only for an hour or two.

Vin Scully – Like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, Vin Scully warmed the sports fan’s soul for over six decades. The graceful voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the epitome of class. He made sports fans feel like they were at the ballpark enjoying the sound of the crowd, the taste of the hot dogs and beer, and the smell of the grass, even as they relied on his magical voice to convey the excitement over their radio airwaves. You couldn’t think of the L.A. Dodgers without thinking of Vin Scully.

Throughout his career, Scully shined in nearly everything he did. He was behind the microphone for Hank Aaron’s record breaking 715th home run in 1974. He called NFL games for CBS including Dwight Clark’s catch from Joe Montana against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1982 NFC Championship game. He spent 1983-1989 with NBC where he called three World Series including the classic between the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox in 1986 and the 1988 A’s-Dodgers series which included Kirk Gibson’s infamous pinch hit home run against Dennis Eckersley. He also served as the network’s lead announcer for PGA coverage, working alongside Lee Trevino.

One of the more interesting sagas of his career occurred at CBS where the network chose Pat Summerall over him to work opposite John Madden. The network felt Summerall blended better with Madden, which ultimately proved to be a good decision. The sting from that situation led Scully to NBC.

The list of awards and accomplishments that Scully racked up over his broadcast career is impressive as well. He was given the Ford Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, honored with a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award for sportscasting along with induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995, and was named the California sportscaster of the year 32 times. He has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was honored with the Icon Award at the 2017 ESPYS awards show.

Scully was America’s friend on the radio, a master at painting pictures with words, and his excellence continued until his final sentence was uttered in 2016.

The only challenge with producing a Vin Scully documentary is that it’s missing a lot of negativity and friction. Maybe I’m naive to think that respect, decency, and greatness would be enough to make people care, but I’d roll the dice on telling the story of one of America’s finest broadcasters. A story about Vin would not only capture a few eyeballs, but it’d also leave them wet.

Howard Cosell – Few sportscasters were as successful, influential, controversial and colorful as Howard Cosell. Many loved him. Others hated him. But all paid attention to him.

What made Cosell a trailblazer was his uncomfortable and unapologetic approach which often ruffled the feathers of many he spoke with. He was a bombastic personality with a huge ego who referred to himself as arrogant, obnoxious, vain, verbose and a little bit of a showoff. He stood firmly behind his convictions, often using the line “I’m just telling it like it is”.

Perhaps the New York Times described him best when they wrote his obituary in 19995. The newspaper said that Cosell entered sports broadcasting in the mid-1950s, when the predominant style was unabashed adulation. Cosell provided a brassy counterpoint which was first ridiculed, and then copied until it became the dominant note of sports broadcasting.

All of those character traits became part of Cosell’s magic. After carving out a solid niche on New York radio and television, he became a national figure thanks to his interactions with Muhammad Ali. Despite their differences as people, the two discovered an instant chemistry. They were able to cover territory in their conversations that others simply didn’t. The various twists and turns and occasional sparks, made their interviews worth the price of admission.

Cosell was one of the first sportscasters to support Ali when he refused to be inducted into the military. He also publicly supported John Carlos and Tommie Smyth after they raised their fists in a “black power” salute during the 1968 medal ceremony. Most broadcasters sought to steer clear of social and racial issues, but Cosell embraced them, enhancing his public profile, but creating mixed reactions along the way.

It was Cosell who was behind the microphone for one of the most memorable moments in professional boxing history. The brash broadcaster screamed “Down Goes Frazier. Down Goes Frazier. Down Goes Frazier” after George Foreman rattled Smokin’ Joe Frazier in round 1 of their 1973 heavyweight title fight. Foreman would go on to knock out the champion in round 2. The call remains one of the most popular in sports broadcasting history.

To have one of those moments is special enough, but another on-air moment is equally as important to Cosell’s legacy as any other. During a Monday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots on December 8, 1980, Cosell stunned the audience by revealing that John Lennon of The Beatles had been shot and killed outside of his apartment in New York City. At first, Cosell was hesitant to announce the news of Lennon’s death, but after being pressed by Frank Gifford, he eventually relayed the information, making it one of the most defining on-air moments in sports television history.

There are many other acts, moments, controversies and contributions that make up the Howard Cosell story. From his introduction of the line “The Bronx Is Burning”, to his controversial remarks about Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett, to his best selling memoir “I Never Played The Game” which created tension at ABC and led to his dismissal, Cosell was a colorful and complicated individual. That’s usually what makes for compelling and entertaining programming. If 30 for 30 chose to tell his story, I don’t think they’d struggle to find an audience for it.The beauty of sports media is that it never stops producing interesting personalities and stories. The growing amount of networks and platforms, and interest among viewers, readers and listeners, means we’ll have plenty to choose from when determining which trendsetters and game changers warrant a documentary worthy of the world’s attention, and which ones have built a nice niche but are best remembered in their local backyards.

Maybe one day we’ll profile the digital empire Bill Simmons built. Or Barstool Sports’ influence on sports fans. Or the impact of the Woj bomb after a decade of NBA news breaking dominance. Heck, maybe another sports radio program will have a larger impact on an audience than Mike and the Mad Dog, although I have a difficult time picturing it.

Imagine the uproar if ESPN announced a 30 for 30 was in development to profile the Embrace Debate model and how it changed sports television? The social media insanity would be worth the price of admission alone. As much as people knock it and complain about it, a case could be made that it’s not only produced ratings and big media stars for ESPN, but it’s influenced the way other television networks present their own programming. And I’m not just talking about FS1.

For many in the sports media industry this is a fun topic to debate and discuss. Selfishly we love to hear about members of our business and the stories behind their careers, even if the overall interest in the subject is less when compared to the world of sports and all that it creates. That isn’t to suggest that what we do doesn’t matter or that it’s not worthy of recognition, but choosing the right story is critically important to generating success for a film.

Let me end this column by leaving you with the question that I presented in the opening paragraph. If you were in charge of developing a 30 for 30 documentary, and tasked with creating the next big hit around a sports media personality, show or story, which one would you choose?

But let’s raise the stakes. If you choose right, you earn a lifetime contract to produce films for ESPN. If you make the wrong call, you can never film anyone or anything again.

That shouldn’t be too difficult right? After all, it’s only your career that’s on the line. Choose wisely my friends.

Barrett Blogs

Black Friday Sale TODAY For 2022 BSM Summit Tickets

“BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets will begin at 12:01am ET on Friday November 26th and expire at 11:59pm later that same night.”

Published

on

There are less than 100 days remaining until the 2022 BSM Summit takes place in New York City. We’ve announced 31 participants for the show so far, and have more to reveal in the weeks and months ahead. I think you’re going to like what’s still to come.

Putting this conference together isn’t easy. It requires months of meetings, brainstorming, promotion, selling sponsorships, pursuing speakers, and creating everything that attendees see on stage over a two day period. I’m thankful to have help from some amazing partners, but as I’ve mentioned previously, this isn’t an event that makes us rich or ends with 5-10 new clients signing up to work with BSM. The goal each year is simple, make sure the conference is valuable for those who attend, and don’t run BSM out of business by doing it. As long as those two things remain solid, it’s worth doing.

Some might wonder, why go thru months of headaches if you’re not going to break the bank or immediately add clients. That’s fair to ask. If you look at it from a pure business standpoint, one could easily make a case that pouring this type of energy into something else could be more lucrative. But money was never the motivation for doing this. I felt the sports media industry lacked a signature event where smart, successful media professionals (who don’t often cross paths) could gather at one location to laugh and learn together, and I wanted to change that. If over a two day period attendees could gain insight, information, ideas, and introductions, it’d put everyone in a stronger position to remain successful.

I’ve unapologetically loved the sports media business since I started listening to Mike & the Mad Dog on WFAN and watching SportsCenter on ESPN. I was fortunate to live and work in a number of cities over the past two decades, learning how different companies and people operate, and I remain involved today thru my work with BSM. I mention this because I also know media people. They tend to wait until the last minute to book hotel rooms, airfare, and purchase tickets, even if they can save money by acting sooner. I know, I used to do it too. I can’t control when you book your room or plane ticket, but I do want to give you an added incentive to buy your ticket to this year’s show. Seating is limited, and once the last seat is filled, that’s it. We can’t make extra room.

With that in mind, most of you are either taking today off or working inside a much quieter building. If you’ve thought about coming to the Summit, take 5-10 minutes to log on to BSMSummit.com to take advantage of our special Black Friday sale. We’ve reduced tickets for the day, so whether you’re planning to attend in NYC or watch the conference online, there’s a discount to help you out. Just $199.99 for live tickets, and $124.99 for virtual.

BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets expires at 11:59pm tonight. In the meantime, Hotel Edison in NYC is offering rooms for just $109 + taxes to Summit attendees. Click here to take advantage of the special room rate we’ve secured for this year’s show. Those of you planning to fly to NYC for the show, there have been a ton of great deals offered by American, Southwest, United, JetBlue and Frontier. It might be worth checking into today since Black Friday often has even better sales on travel.

If you’re interested in learning more about the industry, staying a step ahead, forming new relationships, strengthening existing ones, exploring potential business deals, and celebrating the business you’re in, I hope you’ll join us either online or in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit. I’m making it easier on you, by offering lower ticket prices today. The rest is up to you!

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

Craig Carton, Fred Toucher, Mike Felger To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit

“Few understand what it takes to deliver success in this format consistently like Craig, Fred and Mike, and I’m glad they’re making the time to share their knowledge with us.”

Published

on

When you talk to industry people about successful brands in sports talk radio, most conversations include WFAN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. The New York and Boston sports radio brands are consistently recognized for their ability to deliver large audiences and revenues.

Helping to create that success is a mixture of strong play by play partnerships, skilled programmers and even more importantly, some of the most dynamic on-air personalities in the format. Fortunately for us, a few of those gamechangers will be present to share their opinions and insights on content matters in New York City at the 2022 BSM Summit.

Starting in New York, it’s an honor to welcome WFAN afternoon drive host Craig Carton to the 2022 BSM Summit. Heard daily on ‘Carton and Roberts‘ alongside Evan Roberts, which is also featured on TV on SNY, Carton has made his presence felt ever since returning to the airwaves in November 2020. Prior to taking on the challenge in afternoons, Craig spent a decade partnering with Boomer Esiason on ‘Boomer and Carton‘, forming one of the most successful sports radio morning shows in the country. In addition to enjoying success in New York, Craig has also experienced the ups and downs that come with performing in different markets. His radio travels have taken him to Philadelphia, Denver, Buffalo and Trenton, NJ. The Syracuse graduate and outspoken host is expected to join BSM President Jason Barrett for a one on one conversation at this year’s Summit.

Shipping up to Boston, it’s a pleasure to welcome two of the format’s highest rated performers to New York City. They’re heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub in morning and afternoon drive, and at the Summit, they’ll interact together during an in-depth content conversation with BSM President Jason Barrett.

Fred Toucher is one half of the Sports Hub’s popular morning show ‘Toucher & Rich‘, which recently added syndication. The Detroit native started his career in Georgia before moving to Boston in 2005. Toucher & Rich, which includes Rich Shertenlieb, officially moved into the sports talk format in 2009. Since making the format switch, the duo have consistently produced some of the best ratings in the entire format in mornings during the past fifteen years. Toucher & Rich have also been recognized by industry executives as one of the top two morning shows in the format each of the past three years in the BSM Top 20, including taking top honors in 2018.

Mike Felger on the other hand is heard on the ride home alongside Tony Massarotti on The Sports Hub. The Marconi Award-winning afternoon radio show has been a fixture in Boston since the station’s inception in 2009. During the past twelve years, Felger & Mazz have been a steady force atop the Men 25-54 ratings including recently delivering an impressive 18.9 share in the summer book to finish 1st. The Milwaukee native also hosts a show for NBC Boston, and has previously served as a columnist for the Boston Globe. Similar to Toucher & Rich, Felger & Mazz have earned high praise from format execs in the BSM Top 20. They’ve been voted one of the top 2 afternoon shows each of the past 2 years including grabbing the top spot in 2019.

We’re excited to add all three of these men to the lineup for the 2022 BSM Summit. As vital as it may be to spend time on business issues in order to stay ahead of a rapidly changing media climate, without great talent and content, the rest is irrelevant. Few understand what it takes to deliver success in this format consistently like Craig, Fred and Mike, and I’m glad they’re making the time to share their knowledge with us.

To reserve your hotel room, purchase tickets or learn more about the speakers we’ve lined up for the 2022 show, visit BSMSummit.com. We hope to see you online or in New York City this March.

Continue Reading

Barrett Blogs

BSM Summit Adds Borrell, Crain, Cutler, Goldstein, Scott, Shapiro & Thomas

“The Summit is just 104 days away, so if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do so. Half of the room is already full and seating for the conference is limited.”

Published

on

The 2022 BSM Summit continues to add firepower to the sports media industry’s premier conference. After previously announcing the first twenty one participants to take part in March’s event in New York City, another seven talented media professionals have been added to the speaker schedule.

Making his BSM Summit debut in 2022 will be the media industry’s leading business analyst Gordon Borrell. The well respected and accomplished CEO of Borrell Associates is featured frequently in the trades and mainstream publications for his insights on advertising trends and forecasts in local media. Borrell will join Amplifi Media CEO Steven Goldstein on stage at the Summit for an in-depth discussion on the advertising climate in 2022. The two men will offer insights and opinions on what advertisers value most, where they’re expected to invest future dollars, which categories will continue to rise and decline, and what brands can do to position themselves better to increase revenue. Additionally, Borrell will be hosting his local advertising conference in Miami a few days after the Summit. Those interested in heading to South Beach and learning more about the marketing world can learn more by clicking here.

Switching to the content end, the Summit is thrilled to welcome The Volume’s Jake Crain to New York City. The host of The JBoy Show will also be making his debut at the conference. Crain will be part of a talent panel along with John Jastremski and Kazeem Famuyide.

Also making his debut at the Summit will be Carl Scott. Meadowlark Media’s Executive Director of Audio will join our podcasting panel featuring Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones and The Volume’s Head of Content Logan Swaim. Hubbard Radio’s Digital Content Director Phil Mackey will guide the conversation.

Not everyone participating at the Summit will be new to the audience though. Returning to the stage as part of our GM’s discussion will be newly appointed Audacy Boston Market Manager Mike Thomas. Thomas recently led ESPN 1000 in Chicago as the station’s GM after working with Mark Hannon to turn 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston into one of sports radio’s top performing stations. It should be noted that each time Thomas appears at the Summit it follows a recent promotion. We figure by 2023 or 2024 he’ll be running the entire industry.

A Summit isn’t complete without attention given to programming matters. To help us address some of those key issues, we’re excited to welcome back the Vice President of FOX Sports Radio & Podcasts Scott Shapiro. The passionate network executive who oversees many of the nation’s top national programs is always a great listen for folks interested in learning how programmer’s view and tackle the industry’s most important affairs.

Last but certainly not least, voice talent extraordinaire Jim Cutler will return to the stage to lead a session on storytelling. One of the industry’s prominent station voices and creative minds has a penchant for putting on entertaining and informative sessions. If you’ve attended the conference before, you’re already aware. To those planning to catch this one, you’re in for a treat.

Keep an eye out over the next two weeks. We’ll be making additional announcements involving a few high profile talents we’ve lined up for the 2022 BSM Summit. A reminder, the event is just 104 days away, so if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, please do so. Half of the room is already full and seating for the conference is limited. I realize some folks may prefer to wait until the last minute to make sure the world is safe. If you’re not comfortable flying to NY for the show, we do have an option in place to enjoy the conference virtually thanks to NuVoodoo Media. For more information on tickets, click here.

That said, the in-person environment is excellent. If you haven’t attended the Summit before I think you’ll find the two days in New York City to be time well spent. This conference is not open to the general public. You must either presently work in an area of the media industry or be pursuing a degree in the broadcasting field.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we still have some sponsorship opportunities available for the show. We’re thrilled to have the support of great partners, ESPN Radio, Premiere Networks, FOX Sports Radio, Stone Voiceovers, Compass Media Networks, Point to Point Marketing, and Core Image Studio. If you’d like to be part of the event too, email JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com for additional details.

One final note, airfare is low right now. There are roundtrip flights to and from New York from many major cities for less than $200.00. We’ve also secured a low hotel rate of $109.00 per night at Hotel Edison in NYC to help companies and individuals keep costs down. The sports media industry has endured two years of difficulty due to the pandemic, preventing many from networking, learning, celebrating, and growing. The two days we spend together in the big apple won’t solve every issue facing our business, but I promise you’ll leave the show more informed, more connected, and better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Hope to see you in New York on March 2nd and 3rd.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.