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Lessons Learned at the BSM Chicago Programming Summit

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When I’m in the moment it can be difficult to enjoy and appreciate the wins. My mind is always thinking about the next challenge or the previous one and what I could have done differently to be more effective. But this week, I’ve allowed myself a little bit of time to reflect back on the BSM Chicago programming summit because this was a brand new experience.

The idea first entered my mind two and a half years ago when I traveled to Chicago for the Podcast Movement Conference. Anytime I’m on the road, I try to find a few local sports radio people to connect with in person. I believe that’s an important part of keeping relationships strong.

During that trip, I dropped by to see Mitch Rosen and Adam Delevitt at each of their offices. When Mitch showed off the Blue Cross Blue Shield Performance Stage area and said “if you do a future conference, keep Chicago in mind” my mind started racing.

I liked Chicago because it’s not only an incredible city, but it’s centrally located. I felt that would make it easier for all who were traveling. I also knew Mitch and Adam were friends despite competing for local ratings bragging rights, and that’s a positive because when you’re considering putting on an event, you want both local brands to be part of it. The event may occur in one company’s building, but having local balance is important.

What stood out most from last week’s summit was how many smart, talented and passionate radio programmers made the trip to share thoughts and ideas on how to evolve our format. We had 20-30 brand leaders in the room, along with a number of exceptional speakers with experiences in a variety of areas related to our business. I wasn’t sure going into the summit if the room would welcome straight-talk on real issues facing our business, but much of the pre-conference feedback suggested that another rah-rah speech on the radio business wasn’t necessary and having honest discussions about ways to improve was important.

I could feel the passion and candor for the topics we explored. That energy grew from session to session. Given that the room consisted of executives from Entercom, Bonneville, Hubbard, iHeart, Cumulus, Beasley, Emmis, Tribune, NRG Media, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, SiriusXM, VSiN, and the Chernin Group, it allowed us to spread our wings and have more meaningful conversations rather than just echoing one point of view.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you can see some of the videos that were recorded during the two-day summit, but I also want to pass along a few things that stood out while listening and conducting on-stage conversations.

  • Sarah Spain and Jason Goff (along with Dan Zampillo) were tremendous on the subject of diversity in sports radio. It’s not easy to be open and honest on a topic like this, especially in front of a number of people who could potentially impact a future paycheck, but they were. I’ve written about this subject before, and have called on our format leaders to step up their efforts to expand the audience and showcase more personalities from various backgrounds. The US population is nearly 50% female and 40% minority yet the representation on sports radio stations is far below that. 13% of M-F hosting jobs belong to minorities and only 12 women are installed as M-F show hosts. Making that even more perplexing is that the overall listening audience is 92% “Other” (white) and 8% minority. One may say “if it’s 92% then you have to superserve them” but I submit that the ceiling has been reached doing it that way, and the real growth is in bringing more minority and female listeners into the sports radio tent.
  • Jon Miller of Nielsen and Larry Rosin of Edison Research provided deep dives into the sports radio ratings picture, and growth opportunities in podcasting and smart speakers. PD’s know that digital/social content is a vital part of their present and future, but challenges remain for getting full ratings credit for it. Nielsen is trying to find permanent solutions to satisfy their clients and although that may frustrate programmers in the short-term, a long-term mindset is needed when connecting with an audience. Seeing the data of how podcasting and smart speaker consumption has grown, it makes business sense to continue creating content in those spaces. The questions every programmer should be asking are “How is my brand standing out in those spaces” and “How easy is it to find my station and on-air content on smart speakers and podcasting platforms?”
  • I loved the spirited discussion on social media benefits and pitfalls with Danny Parkins, Scott Shapiro and sports agent Barry Meister. I showed a few social media examples involving sports media members, some which may have raised an eyebrow or two in the room. Given that the panel included perspectives from a host, agent and executive, it allowed everyone to better understand how each person thinks and operates when grey areas are reached. Between debating which examples warranted punishment and whether or not social media provided enough of a financial reward for the amount of risks it involves, we couldn’t have had three better people weighing in on an important yet imperfect subject.
  • If there was a moment which made every PD stop in their tracks, it was when Laurel Cline of Wintrust Financial said “Until today I don’t think I’ve ever met a sports radio program director.” Unfortunately that’s pretty common in our format. It served as a great reminder that account executives and market managers must do a better job of involving their PD’s in bigger sales discussions. Not to be excused, programmers must also make it a higher priority to help their sales teams. I showed examples in one of my sessions of how certain brands miss the mark with branded content. It’s because social platforms are used as a dumping ground for ads and PD’s turn a blind eye because they’re focused on the radio airwaves. When you look at the lack of reach and engagement on those sales posts, put yourself in the client’s shoes and ask, “Why would I spend more money with a brand when the evidence shows that they can’t deliver one like or share for my business?” Look at how Barstool, Bleacher Report, Vice, Whistle Sports, etc. produce branded content. They weave clients seamlessly into programming, and that’s something we must do better too. It starts by getting reps, clients and PD’s into the room together and thinking beyond the speaker.
  • Hearing Tim Spence of KHOW and Orange & Blue 760 moderate a discussion with Todd Manley of WGN, Brian Long of XTRA 1360/Newsradio 600 KOGO and Chris Kinard of 106.7 The Fan on The Trump Effect and sports radio’s challenges with choosing whether to embrace or ignore topics involving the President and life/social issues was really interesting. I thought John Hanson of 610 Sports summed it up best at the conclusion of the summit when he said “No matter how experienced you are in this business, you’re not experienced in this. I’ve made mistakes. My talent have called me out on them, and they were right. It’s something we’re all trying to figure out together.”
  • Anytime David Kaplan and Laurence Holmes share a stage together you’re in for a real treat. Hearing them share their insights with Jeff Rickard on the business, how they prepare and use social media, what they need most/least from a program director, etc. was excellent. The passion these Chicago hosts have for our format was evident, and if you have 50-minutes to spare, watch their session. It was very entertaining.
  • Sports stations struggle to give their brands a social media voice. Personalities are popular on their own accounts, but future ad dollars in the social space will be reduced if you can’t create impact. I thought Dan Moriarty of the Chicago Bulls, Jen Tulicki of the Chicago Bears and Brad Boron of the Chicago White Sox gave great insight on the way teams operate. They face the same challenges, except they’ve done a better job of using personality and strategy with their approach. Jen pointed out that any post made by the Bears takes into account the words “tough and humble.” Dan’s mention of the Bulls six pillars (Human, Iconic, Timely, Thumb Stopping, Inclusive and Differentiating) and how no piece of content should be published unless it checks at least three of those boxes and never wanders beyond those areas was eye opening. He also noted that the Bulls employ 2-3 FT digital content creators and 2-3 seasonal employees, and their challenge is to take one piece of content and find 10-12 ways to promote that material across multiple platforms in different ways. Jen’s insights on being comfortable with infrequent activity on Snapchat and placing a larger emphasis on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram made a ton of sense given that the audience size is smaller. Perhaps the biggest takeaway for radio folks though was when the subject of sports stations posting 50x per day on Facebook came up. Jen said it best “Nobody likes that annoying friend who won’t shut up.” Dan followed with “That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen….posting that much only makes sense if you’re using video where the numbers are huge. Otherwise, it’ll cost you followers.”
  • Jim Cutler‘s speech on ways to image your radio station successfully was inspiring. He showed samples of ways to help or hurt your brand, and his airing of thirty seconds of “Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah” reinforced the point of just how long that amount of time is and why it’s critical to make good use of it or risk losing your audience. I also thought his input on not boasting you’re great but letting your audience say it for you was smart. Perhaps his most memorable quote during the session was “a line draws a line” and that’s something every programmer should take into account when trying to reinforce the position of being a dominant performer in their local markets.
  • We were also fortunate to hear from Mitch Rosen, Ryan Maguire and Chris “Hoss” Neupert on winning with/without play by play. Justin Craig offered valuable insights on satisfying the fan experience and across multiple platforms. Mike Thomas shared his wisdom on how to make your sports radio station rock thru imaging. Chad Millman of the Action Network and Bill Adee of VSiN chatted with Joe Ostrowski about the future of sports betting and why it’s a huge category for sports radio folks. Dave Zaslowsky conducted an engaging conversation with three millennials, Bernie Goin, Julio Rausseo and Joey Alexander about the way they use and view sports media brands. And I scared the heck out of a few folks by offering some input on the future of the PD role, the missed opportunity with merchandising and other areas of the business we should be looking at in my Sports Radio Re-imagined and BSM Blitz sessions.

Altogether the event was a great success. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Entercom Chicago for providing a great room and a professional staff which helped us deliver a positive experience for all in attendance. Now that the summit is in the rear view mirror, I’ve got a few things in mind that I’d tweak if I chose to hold a second one. For those who weren’t there but have kept up via the website or social media, should this be done again in the future? I’ll take your feedback at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

I do believe that independent conferences like this are important. Many companies do a great job of bringing their employees together for annual learning, but that just reinforces your internal beliefs and opinions. It doesn’t expose you to different ideas, strategies and people, and there are certainly many other ways to grow ratings and revenue.

It took months of hard work to make this a reality. I didn’t charge a dime for it even though many said I should. In fact, I spent money doing it, but I believe it’s a worthwhile investment. I don’t go into things like this with my hands out or an expectation that it’ll lead to follow up business. I obviously hope it does, but I trust that if I produce good content, bring people together, and teach the business to those in positions to grow it, then companies will find ways to utilize me to help them. That doesn’t always happen, and sometimes it can be frustrating and make me question if industry people value outside support, but I quickly get past those moments of doubt, and return my focus and energy to doing what I love, trying to make our business better.

One thing I’d like to see improve down the road should we do this again is the attendance from market managers. I realize sales are vital and getting out of the building isn’t always easy, but the reason every brand holds a significant place in the hearts and minds of the audience is because of the programming. We have some incredible station managers in this format, and when big decisions have to be made to a programming lineup or an adjustment is needed for a brand’s digital, social or on-air strategy, it helps to be as informed as one can be. Given that there are people involved in the two-day affair beyond the terrestrial radio space, there’s no shortage of information or ideas to help people grow.

Think of it like this, if the PD of your radio station is Steven Spielberg, and your talent are Tom Hanks or Al Pacino, the more you know about the creation, execution and promotion of the film, the better it will perform at the box office. And in that case, you’ll still be helping the bottom line!

Barrett Blogs

Angiolet, Borod, Craig & Sottolano Added To 2022 BSM Summit

“If you’re planning to attend, please buy your tickets as soon as possible. We have limited room and it’s first come, first serve.”

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We promised we had more great news to share regarding the 2022 BSM Summit. Just four days after revealing the addition of ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro to this year’s show, we’ve added four more heavyweights to March’s sports media industry conference.

First, it’s a pleasure to welcome for the first time, DraftKings Chief Media Officer Brian Angiolet to the BSM Summit. Brian joined DraftKings in April 2021 after two decades with Verizon where he helped the company strike a number of multi-billion dollar broadcasting, sports and entertainment content and advertising deals. Some of the key groups to do business with Verizon during Brian’s tenure included the NFL, NBA, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM. DK has been a large advertiser and supporter of the sports media industry for many years, in addition to becoming a larger content provider following the acquisition of VSiN. We look forward to having Brian join our sports betting executive panel (hosted by ESPN’s host Joe Fortenbaugh) to share his insights on how he sees sports betting groups participating now and in the future in the sports media content world.

Second, it’s an honor to add Fanatics Chief Commercial Officer Ari Borod to the sports betting executive panel for his first appearance at the BSM Summit. Ari’s fingerprints have been all over the sports betting business for years, first with FanDuel, then with the Action Network. He joined Fanatics in June 2021, reuniting with former FanDuel CEO Matt King, and in less than a year, the company became the official trading cards partner of MLB, purchased the Topps Trading Company, and applied for a sports betting license in New York. Possessing a massive customer base, deep executive knowledge of the sports betting business, and a desire to make a larger dent in the sports betting arena, we’re thrilled to have Ari lend his perspective on how Fanatics views the future of sports betting and the evolution of the sports media industry.

Next, I am thrilled to have Audacy’s EVP of Programming Jeff Sottolano appear on stage for the first time at the Summit. In his current role, Jeff is responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across all broadcast and digital platforms. Jeff has played a key role in the launch, development and growth of the BetQL Network, while also helping Audacy evolve its position as one of America’s top audio companies. Jeff will be part of one of my favorite sessions, The Power Panel, which includes SVP of Premiere Sports and EVP of iHeart Sports Don Martin, Cumulus and Westwood One SVP Bruce Gilbert, and SiriusXM SVP of Sports Programming Steve Cohen. All four men will participate in a lengthy discussion on sports talk programming and the various challenges facing brands, talent, and programmers today.

A BSM Summit can’t just feature new faces though, especially when familiar ones add valuable knowledge to important programming conversations. ESPN Radio Program Director, former colleague and longtime friend Justin Craig will join us for our Programmers Masterclass alongside a few other notable leaders. The group will examine what does and doesn’t work from a content standpoint when trying to capture ratings. They’ll also share which ingredients are essential in successful talent/shows, and provide an on-site review of a piece of audio content. Those interested in learning how great programmer’s think will want to be present for this panel.

If you haven’t purchased a ticket to the Summit but are planning to attend, please do so before seats are no longer available. We have limited room inside the theater and it’s first come, first serve. Additionally, all attendees in New York will receive an online registration to be able to watch the show on-demand afterwards. This can be helpful when looking to share insight with local staffs who aren’t able to attend.

For those not able to travel but interested in enjoying the Summit, we do have virtual tickets available. Details on tickets, speakers, and hotel rooms can be found on BSMSummit.com. I hope to see you there!

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ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit

“Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.”

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The largest player in the sports content business today is ESPN. From television to radio to streaming, social, podcasts, websites and more, the network remains a force in satisfying the appetites of sports fans around the globe.

But creating sustainable global success isn’t easy. It requires investing billions of dollars in key programming partnerships, holding off competitors who seek to elevate their own standing, and hiring and retaining talented professionals and providing an environment for them to thrive in. If that wasn’t difficult enough, a company must also embrace new technology, and accept that certain things will fail while pursuing a path to excellence.

The man charged with making sure ESPN thrives in each of these areas is Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, and I’m excited to share that he’ll be joining us in March in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit.

I’ll have the pleasure of spending 35 minutes on stage with Jimmy discussing the state of the sports media industry, the opportunities and challenges facing operators in 2022 and beyond, the growth of sports betting, network radio, podcasts, subscriptions, social, and many other issues. No matter what space we’re talking about, ESPN has held a dominant position among all media brands. Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.

Jimmy has been with the Walt Disney Company since 2010. He became ESPN President in 2018 and was elevated two years later to his current role as Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content. You can learn more about his professional background by clicking here.

A reminder that the 2022 BSM Summit is an industry-only event. You must work in the media business in order to attend the show. This includes sales, public relations, advertising agency professionals and agents, as well as programming folks. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet of attending the Summit, feel free to visit our YouTube page to see some clips from past shows. It’ll give you an idea of what you can expect. You can also see the full list of speakers scheduled to appear at our 2022 show by visiting BSMSummit.com. We’ll announce a few more executive additions to March’s event later this week.

For those who manage brands and have joined us before in New York, Los Angeles and/or Chicago and are planning to come but haven’t bought a ticket yet, please do so asap. Seating is limited and once we’re full, we can’t add seats inside the room. You can also take advantage of a great hotel deal ($109 per night) with our partner Hotel Edison by clicking here.

One additional note, for those who are concerned about traveling, there is an opportunity to buy a virtual ticket. This year’s show is available both online and in person. For those planning to join us in NYC, in addition to receiving your live ticket, you’ll also get an online account so you can view the event on-demand afterwards. This can be especially helpful if you wish to replay a session or use any information afterwards to help members of your team. A big thanks to our virtual partner Nuvoodoo Media for helping make it happen.

We’re just 49 days away from putting on a spectacular show for industry folks in the big apple. We hope to see you there!

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BSM, BNM Ready To Grow In 2022

“We’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners.”

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It’s commonplace in our business to self-reflect when a new year full of possibilities arrives. We should probably do it more often rather than reserving it for the final day of the year or the first day of the next, but in the media business, finding time isn’t always easy.

As I look back at 2021, and the obstacles, adversity, accomplishments, enlightenment, and unpredictability that awaits BSM and BNM in 2022, I’m grateful to be able to do work that many enjoy and benefit from. Since I left the programming world in 2015 not a day has passed where I thought ‘I need to get back to running a radio station‘. That may sound crazy considering I spent two decades inside of buildings, loving the job, and living and breathing it 24/7, but from the second I moved into this space, I knew it was where I needed to be.

I had my fun building brands, chasing ratings, leading corporate programming calls, and making good money, but that restricted me to working in one city for one company with one brand and one staff. Now, I get to wake up each day and help clients in multiple cities, and run my own brand, collaborating with a great group of people to tell stories about the business we love. Combine that with hosting an annual conference, working with advertising partners and industry friends to create cool content and examine ways to grow their businesses, and connecting with folks to stay plugged in on details that others won’t know about until weeks or months later, and I consider myself very lucky. The added bonus, I get to do it in running pants and t-shirts inside the comfort of my home office/studio.

But with operating a business comes a different set of challenges. In 2020, we ended the BSM Summit on a high only to watch the entire world spin out of control weeks later due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That created a bunch of short-term issues, which fortunately we were able to overcome. Fast forward to this year, and we’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners. I never assume we’re in the clear because things can change quickly, but the support we’ve received is appreciated. It fuels me to reinvest in others to continue growing our operation and helping the industry.

So let’s talk a little bit about how we’re doing that in 2022.


First, we merged Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media in May 2021 to bring news and opinion from both the sports/talk and news/talk worlds under one roof. We tried running them independently initially but that wasn’t the best strategy for a new brand. Since bringing them together, BNM’s exposure has increased, the content has been read more regularly, and though we have more to do to get the brand on par with BSM, we’re making progress. BSM had a 5+ year head start on BNM, and though I know at times it may seem weird to read a sports media and news media story on the same website or social media account, as I tell those who ask, sports and news have mixed together since the invention of television, radio and newspapers.

Boosting BNM’s awareness and content is a goal for 2022, and to do that I want to share two things we’re creating to help us make progress.

I’m excited to share that we are launching The BNM Rundown. This will be a newsletter we distribute 3x per week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) via email similar to what we’ve done with the BSM 8@8. The Rundown will go out around 5pm ET on each of those three days, and it’ll contain ten (10) news media stories, five (5) advertising slots, and the latest stock prices for radio groups. There will be additional content and advertising added in the future, and we may increase delivery to five days per week down the line. I’m happy with the layout and think you’ll enjoy it. If you’d like to receive the BNM Rundown or discuss advertising opportunities inside of it, click here to sign up. A big thanks to Ryan Jaster for all the work he’s done getting it ready for distribution.

In addition to the newsletter, 2022 will become the first year where we roll out BNM’s Top 20 of 2022. Similar to how we’ve produced the BSM Top 20, we are going to do the same for the News/Talk format. Categories will be announced at a later time, and we’re expecting to present our results towards years end. There’s a lot to be done to make it a success, but if we’re able to do for News/Talk what we’ve done for Sports/Talk during the past 6 years, I’m confident folks will appreciate it.

When I look at BNM right now, I see a number of excellent writers on the site. If you’re not reading Pete Mundo, Jerry Barmash, Douglas Pucci, Rick Schultz, McGraw Milhaven, Ryan Hedrick and Eduardo Razo, you really should. Each of those guys have been rock stars for the brand, but we need more help, especially another columnist or two. If you work in news radio or TV, love writing, and live and breathe the business, email: JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

Though we do need to add columnists, a bigger hole has been a dedicated Assistant Content Editor. I’ve poured my heart and soul into BSM over the years, Demetri Ravanos has as well, and that’s helped us build a strong connection with sports radio folks. For BNM, that love, interest, and unwavering passion for telling stories about news radio and news television has been missing in the editor role. Though frustrating at times, it’s all part of building a brand. You have to go thru a few things before it all starts to click. Now after talking to a bunch of talented people over the past two months, and thinking about the brand’s need for TLC, I’m happy to announce the internal promotion of Eduardo Razo.

Since joining us Eduardo has been a steady fixture on the site, writing news, scheduling social posts, and putting an extra set of eyes on the content that comes in from our team. He cares about the site being clean, conducts himself neutrally and professionally when adding news, and he believes in the brand. If hours go by and the site doesn’t have new content, he’s the one who points it out. When Eduardo first joined us he was just learning the ropes. Over the past fifteen months he’s been consistently excellent, and I have no doubt he’ll make even more progress in his new role as BNM’s Assistant Content Editor.


Making sure Eduardo has support to help him though is also important. I’d love to be that person myself, but client projects require much of my focus, so having a strong #2 is key. I’ve been lucky to have a great one in Demetri Ravanos who I’m excited to share is being elevated to the new role of Director of Content. In his new position, Demetri will continue producing columns, creating original feature stories, and hosting a weekly podcast. He’ll also be responsible for daily social creation and scheduling, working with yours truly on client projects and Barrett Media events, recruitment of writers, growth of the BSM Member Directory, BSM merchandising, additional BSM audio projects, and oversight of BSM and BNM’s Assistant Content Editors.

That last line implies that there will be multiple editors involved in shaping BSM and BNM’s content, and with Demetri and Eduardo promoted, that means we’re adding someone to help grow BSM. I’m thrilled to welcome Ian Casselberry to our team as BSM’s new Assistant Content Editor. Ian is familiar to many in the sports media universe for his work with Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He’s also contributed to Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, SB Nation Detroit, and MLive.com among others.

I’ve read Ian’s work for years and have always appreciated his passion for sports radio and sports television. Adding someone with his experience, creativity, and attention to detail has been a huge priority for me. I’m looking forward to turning him loose on January 17th when he officially begins working with us. Under his direction, and in tandem with Demetri and I, we’re going to aim to produce more quality sports media content, and continue expanding BSM’s footprint across the industry.

As awesome as all of these moves are for creating interest in reading the site, if you don’t have someone in position to help sell it, the upside is going to be limited. For the past six years I’ve been the one making those sales myself. But I’ve also had to be a consultant, social scheduler, content creator, summit organizer-creator-host, finder of new clients, and the one in charge of billing and payroll. I love being busy, but a brand’s potential can’t be maximized without help.

Placing the company’s sales efforts in someone else’s hands though requires trust. I’ve learned the past few years that unless you’re inside my world and understand everything that goes on with BSM and BNM, it’s not an easy brand to sell. Media sellers are used to working with more assets, bigger dollars, and they expect things to move faster. They’re also used to corporate environments where a crew provides support from the beginning to the end of a sale. That’s not how it works here. This is more of a family business. Our success depends on one on one relationships, accessibility, being a self-starter, and patience. It means keeping in touch with industry friends and partners even when there isn’t a sale to be made. Nobody knows this brand, business, and who we serve better than the person who’s lived it with me for the past six and a half years, Stephanie Eads, my new Director of Strategic Partnerships.

Not only has Stephanie worked in sales and customer service most of her adult life, she’s honest, organized, and outstanding with people. She’s been exposed to every aspect of my radio life for the past sixteen years, and if you’ve been to a BSM Summit before then you already know how on the ball she is at making sure things get done. This is something we’ve talked about for years, but the timing was never right. Now it is, and I’m excited to watch her blossom. Having her add extra support to help me with billing and payroll is an added bonus.

The BSM brand will also welcome a few additional writers starting this week. First, I’m glad to have Danny O’Neil joining us as a weekly columnist. I got to know Danny in Seattle at 710 ESPN Seattle over the past six years, and he’s always been smart, passionate about media, and an exceptional writer. He’s now based in NYC and his debut column will hit the site this Friday. Also joining us in a daily news writer role is Will Dundon. Will is based in Nashville where he works as a producer for 102.5 The Game. Having him involved will help us stay on top of day to day news stories.


In terms of upcoming content, the BSM Top 20 of 2021 will be released February 7-11 and 14-15. The series moves back a week this year in accordance with a later Super Bowl date. During the seven day span we will highlight the best local sports radio stations, program directors, and morning, midday, and afternoon shows. We will also recognize the best national sports talk shows and original sports podcasts. To do that, we will once again involve more than 50 program directors and executives in the voting process.

One thing we will do differently this year is create an extra piece which recognizes the top performer in twenty smaller categories. These will be determined by a combination of BSM staff and select experts for specific fields. Some of these categories will include Best Sports Betting Content Brand, Best Wrestling Audio Show, Best Sports Radio Social Brand, and more.

After the Top 20 concludes, we’ll turn our attention to the 2022 BSM Summit, which is scheduled for March 2-3, 2022 in New York City at the Anne Bernstein Theater. The show will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. I’m excited about the guest speakers we’ve lined up for this year’s event, and have more tremendous additions to announce later this week and next week. I realize the Omicron/Covid-19 situation has created some concern over the past month, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. As of today, we’re planning to host the event. If the situation were to worsen and we couldn’t keep people safe and comfortable, we’d reschedule the show. I’m hopeful of seeing familiar faces and many of sports media’s best and brightest in sixty days. If you haven’t bought your ticket, log on to BSMSummit.com and do so before you’re on the outside looking in. In the meantime, stay tuned to this website and the BSM 8@8 for details. We should all know more January 15th when New York State updates everyone on their mask ordinance.

Other content projects are in the works as well for March-December. We’ve got a number of ideas we’ve talked about for March Madness, and the NFL Draft. Items like last year’s Meet The Market Managers or a programmer’s version of it may also land on the content calendar. Not to be forgotten is the importance of continuing to improve the BSM Member Directory to help people stay informed, ready, and land in front of the right decision makers when job openings arise. Seeing a few of our members earn gigs the last 4-5 months of 2021 was very cool, and we hope to see more of that in 2022. Last but not least, I’m hopeful of giving the website a new layout in either quarter 2 or 3.


As I bring this column to a close, I’d like to remind you that BSM and BNM exists because we love the business and advocate for it daily. Since 2015, I’ve prioritized professional storytelling, research, industry news, relationship building, social media marketing, and consulting. Inside information and building relationships are important, and sure, it’s occasionally fun being first, but I’ve never worried about clicks, scoops, cash grabs or ruining reputations to elevate my own. I try to think about the big picture, even if it means missing out in the short-term. That applies to who I work with in a consulting capacity as well as how I operate the site. There’s no better example of it than last week. Most of our crew had the week off. It was tough missing out on stories when we were taking a mental timeout, but people come first. If you want long-term productivity and a staff to stick with you, support and sacrifice are essential.

If there’s one thing I know, this outlet has been a great resource for industry professionals. I wasn’t as fortunate during my studio days to have a site this rich in content to learn from, debate with, and stay connected to. We’ve hired 20+ contributors to help serve the industry, and I’m honored to have each one of them here. The additions we’ve made to improve the brand in 2022 will make us even better. We’re not perfect by any stretch, but we try to be fair and accurate. I also try to be accessible, especially when difficult situations arise. There are going to be times when our crew deliver strong opinions or tackle sensitive issues, and when those instances occur, I hope you’ll remember what I said about accuracy and fairness. We won’t operate as shills for the industry but we’re also not going scorched earth on folks.

Our goal here is simple, help folks stay informed about the sports and news radio/television formats, overdeliver for clients who place their trust in us, connect our advertising partners and members to others who can benefit from their services, and give industry people access to content from other professionals so they can do their jobs better.

If we can do these things consistently we’ll be in great shape. If we miss along the way, we’ll clean up the mess, and try to learn from it. We’re nine months away from celebrating seven years in operation, and we couldn’t have made it this far without your full support. Thanks for riding with us, now let’s make 2022 a year to remember.

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