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Welcome To Your First Day in Radio

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Do you remember your first day in radio? I remember mine like it was yesterday.

It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college, June of 1994. The day after I came home from school, my best friend’s dad, who was in the advertising business, lined up an interview for a summer internship with KFNS in St. Louis.

I met with the Program Director and the Assistant Program Director and they both seemed as if they wanted to be doing anything else besides talking to me. In fact, the APD fell asleep while we were talking – true story.

They said I was a little late in coming to talk with them, but if someone backed out they would give me a call. Sure enough, about a week later, the PD called and asked if I’d be willing to work the morning shift and get to the station at 5:30am, three days per week. I lived about 45 minutes away from the station, but he could have said 2:30am, I was in!

The following Sunday night, I don’t think I slept. I was so excited and was so worried about sleeping through my alarm that I was dressed and ready to go by 4:00. I hopped in my car and drove to the radio station, in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, and parked in the garage as I was instructed. What wasn’t in my instructions was how to get in the building. Every door I went to was locked. I had no clue what to do and I was panicking. As I went back towards my car, a woman had pulled into the garage and was running hurriedly to the door as if she was late. Turns out, she was the producer of the morning show on a sister station and she was, in fact, running late.

“I’m trying to get up to KFNS,” I yelled as she was sprinting to the door. “This way,” she yelled back as the door was about to close. I caught it with my foot and followed her up the stairs and through the door to the radio station. “New guy’s here, nice of you to tell him how to get in,” she hollered at the producer in the KFNS studio as she ran into the studio across the hall.

And so, it began. I was hooked from my first shift. I never wanted to leave. As it turned out, I hardly ever did. I’ve written about this before, but those that are new to my column may not know that I worked for KFNS for the next seven and a half years, eventually co-hosting morning drive, until I took my first management job in Memphis. I later came back and was part of an ownership group that bought KFNS and spent another four and a half years there as President and General Manager.

I bring all this up to lead you to this week when I hired two brand new salespeople to join our staff at KCSP in Kansas City. To protect the innocent, I will use only their first names as I tell you a little bit about how their first day on the job went.

Nick is 25 years old and is a ball of energy. I met him through one of our on-air hosts when he was working as a General Manager for two Mr. Goodcents locations in the Kansas City area. He came in to talk with me about some promotional ideas and after talking with him for about ten minutes, I wanted to hire him. I asked him about his background and he told me about some selling he had done in the wireless industry and in digital media. That was all I needed to hear. High energy, creative, smart and had done some sales. I quickly turned the conversation towards seeing how happy he was in his current position and it turned out he was ready for a change.

Adam is a 30-year-old former Division I basketball player who answered a post we had on Indeed.com. He was one of several interviews I did in one day and stood out from the others I had talked to by far. After playing some pro ball overseas, Adam worked for a couple of technology companies and had a lot of experience with sales and, most importantly, with cold calling. Mostly, I loved that Adam was very motivated by money and loved competition. He’s also very good at tracking his own success. I know this, because I’d looked up his basketball stats and mentioned that I saw he shot 39% from behind the three-point line. He quickly pointed out that it actually rounded up to 40%!

After a hectic first day I sat down with both and first asked them about what they’d been thinking about since officially taking the job just over a week prior. “To me, the toughest part of starting any sales job is learning the products and turning your leads into appointments,” said Nick. “I was mainly thinking of my game plan so that I can learn the products in such a way that I can get people to want to talk to me. For me, it’s all about absorbing all of the information and becoming comfortable with the products as quickly as possible.”

Adam said: “My first thoughts were about which customers I have previous relationships with that I can call and get an appointment with. Who do I know that will give me the ten or fifteen minutes I might need to get in front of them and tell them where I’m at and see if it might be a fit for them?”

I also wanted to know what they were looking forward to, now that they had a little bit more information about the company and what the job was. “I’m just looking forward to being in the environment and to learning the industry,” Nick said. “I can’t wait to get out and sell these guys that I’ve been listening to for years and helping them make money, which in turn will help me make money.”

“Same for me,” said Adam. “At first, I thought the job was just selling radio ads and I didn’t know too much about digital, events and the other things we have to sell. I’m excited to learn about all of those things and then get out and inform businesses about how all the products can help them grow.”

When their first day was complete they had each met close to 100 new co-workers, filled out a giant stack of paperwork, received usernames and passwords to several different new systems, started online training modules and even had their first celebrity encounter when six-time Pro Bowler Neil Smith came into my office to fill out some paperwork. I was curious to know after all of that, what they told people about their first day.

“I went home and told my wife my brain was absolutely fried,” Adam said. “I was really excited and was just trying to process all of the information that had come my way.”

Nick told me he called his mom and said he told her, “I am so stoked to be in an industry I have really wanted to be a part of, doing something I know I’m going to be good at. I really can see myself working for this company for a really long time.”

I was just glad I had remembered to tell them both how to get in the building!

So how will Nick and Adam do in their new careers? I’ll plan to update you every so often on their progress and you’ll be able to follow along as they set out on their new journey.

BSM Writers

Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC

“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”

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NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade.  A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well.  However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).

NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season.  NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.

NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.  

Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.

Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.

If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.

“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”

Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm. 

“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”

While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.

Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock. 

Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week. 

My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic.  When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV.  Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams.  After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England.  They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.

I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.

I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters. 

By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.

Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.

Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.”  NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.

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BSM Writers

6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio

“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”

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For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.

Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

Well, let’s go Digging for Gold. 

The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.

Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.

If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way?  I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:

  • Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
  • Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
  • Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
  • Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
  • FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $ 
  • Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months

The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details. 

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