Connect with us

BSM Writers

The Social Advantage



There are certain thoughts that will not enter your brain after reading this column. Phrases like “never thought of that before, he just blew my mind, is Noe also a philosopher?” will not be swirling in your head. However, learning a brand new lesson isn’t required to make progress. Once we’re grown, we actually are reminded of valuable lessons that we already know more times than learning new ones.

During Week 6 of the NFL, I wondered out loud how many of the league’s current head coaches are active on Twitter. Sometimes, I have a bad habit of wondering about random things like “is an artichoke a vegetable” without researching them. Luckily my girlfriend, the lovely Christina, did some crack research. She found out that there are seven NFL coaches that have active Twitter accounts.

We know that Bill Belichick wouldn’t be caught dead on Twitter, so the question becomes, “Who would?” The NFC South is well-represented with every coach besides Dirk Koetter of the Bucs. Sean Payton, Ron Rivera, and Dan Quinn all have active accounts. Rounding out the magnificent seven are Bruce Arians, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, and Jack Del Rio.

The coaches use their accounts for common reasons. They give props to how crazy the home crowd was during the previous game. They give birthday shout-outs to family members and props to their kids. They tweet thoughts and prayers for victims following tragedies like the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Success for NFL head coaches isn’t measured by how many followers or retweets they have — by the way, Pete Carroll is the leader with 2.2M — success is measured by how many games they win. For sports talk radio hosts, success is also measured by wins and losses. The scoreboard is different though because we don’t go on a football field and hammer things out with the station across the street. Success is measured by ratings, and social media can be a valuable asset in winning the ultimate battle.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t do a good job of using social media regularly. It’s mainly because I never thought it through. I failed to fully understand how it can be a great asset in winning the ratings competition. While I’ll never post things for the sake of posting them like a giddy schoolgirl, there are plenty of missed opportunities to display witty, funny, or thought-provoking comments.

All hosts have the opportunity to engage their audience even when they’re not on the air. Letting these chances slip away makes no sense. Whether you’re posting about the Austin Seferian-Jenkins touchdown reversal, or the symphony guy playing the triangle like a rock star in that Geico commercial, we have the ability to interact with our audience whenever we’d like. Take advantage of this advantage.

Besides being engaging and entertaining on the air, there are two extremely important factors in being a successful sports talk host — relating to the audience and showing that they matter. Social media is tailor-made in assisting hosts accomplish both.

Simply acknowledging the audience goes a long way. Have you ever noticed how many people have a positive or negative autograph story? “Aww, man, I went up to (so & so) and he totally blew me off!” The same concept can play out online. Make your audience feel like you value them. Respond and interact like they’re friends of yours, because ultimately, they need to be.

As far as relating to the listeners, there are thousands of things to post that’ll accomplish this objective. Whether it’s the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, or something mundane like pumping your own gas, there’s something endearing about facing the same joys and pains in life as everyone else. For the audience to truly support you, they need to know you. Show them who you are.

Eminem is the best-selling artist of the 2000’s in the United States. Yeah, he’s uniquely talented, but he also did something that every sports talk host should do — he let us know who he is. He rapped about his daughter, Hailie. He let us know about his mom and ex-wife in very detailed ways. He told us about his upbringing. We have a sense of much more than what he thinks. We have a sense of who he is.

I don’t care which platform is your go-to — Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram — just find creative ways to interact with your audience. Bill Belichick doesn’t need to relate to his fans or show that he values them. Andy Reid doesn’t need to share pictures of his latest vacation or detail who he is. Jason Garrett doesn’t need to post thoughts about Deshaun Watson having a chance to win the MVP award, or who would win a fight between Nickelback and N’Sync, but you do.

Engage your audience on and off the air. Your ratings will thank you.

BSM Writers

Mike Greenberg Asked a Fine Question, But He Can Do Better

Asking questions that can get a subject to talk about their feelings is a much better way to get an interesting answer.



USA Today

When ESPN’s Mike Greenberg interviewed Paolo Banchero in the lead-up to the NBA lottery on Tuesday, he asked what I’ve concluded is the single most maddening question that can be asked of any athlete preparing for any draft.

“Why do you believe you should be No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?” Greenberg said.

Before I point out exactly why I have such a visceral reaction to such a harmless question, I want to point out the positives because Greenberg’s question avoids some of the most common pitfalls:

1) It is an actual question. That’s not as automatic as you think given the number of poor souls who are handed a microphone and say to their subject, “Talk about (whatever issue they want a quote or a sound bite on).” This is the mark of an amateur, creating the opening for an uncooperative subject to slam the door by saying, “What do you want me to say?”

2) Greenberg’s question can not be answered with a yes or a no. Questions that start with the word “Can you …” or “Did you …” may sound like they’re tough questions for the subject, but they’re actually fairly easy if the subject wants to offer an answer. Now, most interview subjects won’t take that one-word exit, but some will in a touchy situation.

The problem with Greenberg’s question has to do with the result. Why do we ask questions of the athletes we cover? Seriously. That’s not rhetorical. What’s the goal? It’s to get interesting answers. At least that’s the hope whether it’s for a quote that will be included in a story, a sound bite to be replayed later or — like in this situation — during an interview that is airing live. The question should be engineered to elicit interesting content, and there was very little chance that the question Greenberg asked Banchero was going to produce anything close to that.

I know that because I have heard some version of this question asked hundreds of times. That’s not an exaggeration. I attended the NFL scouting combine annually for a number of years, and if a player wasn’t asked why he should be the first overall pick, he’d get asked why he should be a first-round pick or why he should be one of the first players chosen at his position. Never — in all that time — have I ever heard what would be considered an interesting or informative answer. In my experience, players tend to talk in incredibly general terms about their own abilities and then seek to compliment their peers in an effort to avoid coming off as cocky.

Here’s how Banchero answered Greenberg’s question: “Yeah, thank you all for having me, first off., I feel like I’m the number one pick in the draft because I’m the best overall player. I feel like I check all the boxes whether it’s being a great teammate, being the star player or doing whatever the coach needs. I’ve been a winner my whole life. Won everywhere I’ve went, and when I get to the NBA, that’s going to be the same goal for me. So just combining all those things, and knowing what I have to work on to be better is a formula for me.”

There’s nothing wrong with answer just as there was nothing wrong with the question. It’s just that both are really, really forgettable. ESPN did put a clip on YouTube with the headline “Paolo Banchero: I’m the best overall player in the NBA Draft | NBA Countdown” but I think I’m the only who will remember it and that’s only because I’m flapping my arms and squawking not because there was anything bad per se, but because there was nothing really good, either.

First of all, I’m not sure why it matters if Banchero thinks he should be the number one overall pick. He’s not going to be making that decision. The team that holds the top draft pick — in this case Orlando — is. Here’s a much better question: “How important is it for you to be the number one overall pick?” This would actually give an idea of the stakes for Banchero. What does this actually mean to him? Asking him why he should go number one is asking Banchero to tell us how others should see him. Asking Banchero how important it would be go number one is asking him to tell us about his feelings, something that’s much more likely to produce an interesting answer.

The point here isn’t to question Greenberg’s overall competence because I don’t. He’s as versatile a host as there is in the game, and anyone else in the industry has something to learn from the way he teases ahead to content. What I want to point out not just how we fail to maximize opportunities to generate interesting content, but why. Interviews are a staple of the sports-media industry. We rely on these interviews as both primary content that will be consumed directly, and as the genesis for our own opinions and reaction yet for all that importance we spend very little time thinking about the kind of answer this question is likely to produce.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 74



This week, Demetri is joined by Ian Casselberry and Ryan Brown. Demetri talks about the NBA Draft getting an ABC simulcast, Ian talks about Patrick Beverley’s breakout week on TV, and Ryan reminds us that Tom Brady may be the star, but Kevin Burkhardt is the story we shouldn’t forget.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

The Client Just Said YES, Now What?

We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES.



One of the most significant moments in radio sales is when the client agrees to your proposal and says YES. But, when they do say YES, do you know what’s next? We better have an answer!

We spend a lot of time getting ready for clients with research, spec spots (thank you, radio sales trainer Chris Lytle-go to 22:30), proposals, and meetings. All of our focus is on getting the client to say YES. We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES. For example, getting newer sales reps to sell annual advertising contracts would be ideal for building a list. They would have less pressure, more job security, and could spend more time making the advertising work for their clients. But, since most newer reps don’t know the business yet, they don’t bite off more than they can chew and sell a package of the month.

When a client says yes to the weight loss promotion, it’s pretty clear how to write the ads, what the promos will say, etc. BUT, if a newer sales rep starts selling annual contracts to a direct local client who needs a resource, how will that work? Let’s make sure we paint the picture right upfront. More experienced reps know that they need to assume the client will say YES to the weight loss promo and have a plan accordingly.

They have the next steps to building copy and promos, a credit app or credit card payment form, and any other detail the client must provide. But, when we ask a direct local client for an annual advertising contract, watch out! You have just made a partnership. Why not lay out, upfront, what that will look like. And I understand not every local client needs the same level of service.

A car dealer has the factories pushing quarterly promotions, agencies producing ads, and in-house marketing directors pulling it all together sometimes. Other clients need your help in promotions, copywriting, or idea generation. Make a plan upfront with your client about when you will meet to discuss the next quarter’s ad program. Include your station’s promotions or inventory for football and basketball season, a summer NTR event, digital testimonials with on-air talent, etc., in your annual proposal. Go out as far as you can and show what you have to offer to the client and how you can execute it. This exercise is good for you and, once mastered, guides the client on how you will take care of them after the sale. It also opens your eyes to what it takes to have a successful client partnership inside and outside the station.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.