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New Year’s Resolutions



Happy New Year, everyone!

It’s the first week of January. Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? If so, take a look in the mirror. Snap a few selfies. This is probably one of the only two weeks you’ll stick to it.

Why are we obsessed with self-improvement this time of year? I think it has less to do with the new year and more to do with the one that has just ended. December rolls around and we all start to think about who we are or where life has taken us, and to the detriment of our mental health, so many of us (self very much included here) think about what we aren’t or what we haven’t done. In a way, New Year’s resolutions are our way of shouting out to the universe “here are my problems!”.

Another year of your show has passed. Just like in your personal life, now is a good time to take stock of your professional life. You don’t have to be creative or overly reflective. A lot of the same resolutions from your personal life will work as you create goals for your show in the new year.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite resolution – losing weight. A few different studies I’ve come across in preparing this column have suggested that as much as 20% of Americans will make this their goal for 2018. So let’s make it work for your show.

In the entertainment world, “fat” is anything that isn’t entertaining. Some of it is necessary to get us where we need to go. Too much of it can ruin a good thing. Think about the casino planet scene in The Last Jedi. Pure fat. Nothing of consequence happens and as a result, we stop caring about Fin, an otherwise cool character in the Star Wars universe.

So how do we “lose weight” and cut the fat in sports radio? It’s simple. Get to the point faster! Are you looking for calls? Start your segment with your question, then follow it up immediately with the phone number and/or Twitter handle.

You can also cut fat by making your opinion obvious. Don’t hide it in an effort to put “both sides of the argument” out there. You don’t have to be stand-offish on everything, but be clear about where you stand. How pointless is a segment that either takes too long to get to what you want or leaves the listener unsure of what the host’s opinion is?

Another popular New Year’s resolution is making smarter financial decisions. Doing this in any talk format can be tricky. Let me be perfectly clear, “protecting your money” and playing it safe on air is not a smart financial decision. It makes you boring and thus expendable.

Make smarter financial decisions by getting involved with the sales strategy of your show. Ask to visit weekly sales meetings occasionally. Make yourself available to meet with sales reps and even their clients. Make sure the people who control the amount of money coming into the station know who you are and what you do well. If those people respect you and like you, they will have respect for the show.

It’s not just about growing the number of endorsement deals that you get. This strategy will also help those same people understand why you work the way you do. Businesses that get the show and value you as a partner are more likely to give money to sponsor your big ideas like taking the show on the road or providing major promotional backing.

Finally, let’s talk about a resolution that I am adopting this year. It’s something I wish I had put a focus on sooner. This year, I want to be a better family member. That means being a more supportive partner for my wife and a more attentive dad for my daughter and son.

It’s easy to make this resolution work on your show. Be a better partner. If you’re part of a team, figure out how to bring your partners’ ideas to fruition. Take note about what works in segments that makes your partner’s star shine a little brighter than your own and remember that any win for the show is a win for you.

Also, take time to be a mentor in 2018. As a community, our goal for the sports format shouldn’t just be for it to survive. It should be for the definition of what sports radio can be to evolve and thrive. So, when you recognize talent nurture it. If you’re a PD, offer to air check your part-timers or producers that have their eye on becoming a host. It can only work out well for you. If you’re a successful host, make time to answer questions interns, producers, or even listeners have that may not get answered in their daily interactions with you or the show.

The radio industry, sports radio in particular, can be a better version of itself in 2018. You don’t personally have to make a resolution for your show or professional life for the year. You should make time to think about what is and isn’t working for you. Take stock and be willing to make changes. Yes they can be scary, but change is necessary for growth and improvement and growth and improvement is the end goal of every New Year’s resolution.

BSM Writers

Asking The Right Questions Helps Create Interesting Content

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.

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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.

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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.

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