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Tyler’s Take: View From the Penalty Box

Tyler McComas

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Title: View from the Penalty Box episode 20

Date: March 6th, 2018

Length: 36 minutes

Hosts: Cam and Kristofer Connor

Extra: You can subscribe on iTunes or listen on their website at viewfromthepenaltybox.com

Analysis:

Playoff hockey is incredibly exciting. It’s made me wish for a long time that I had a deep-rooted interest in an NHL team. The culture, environments and the fact that a game can be won or lost in a split second, makes the NHL one of the best postseasons in all of sports.

When you think of the sport of hockey, one word that is synonymous with it is ‘tough’! So, for a hockey podcast, you expect hear wisdom and stories from someone that epitomized that hockey toughness, and on “View from the Penalty Box with Cam Connor” I got exactly what I was looking for.

The premise of this podcast is very cool. Alongside Connor is his son Kristofer, who steers the conversation. What works for this show is the fact that it creates a vibe that sounds like a father and son sitting around the table, as dad shares old stories from his playing days. The only difference, is these aren’t the ordinary hockey stories you’d hear from any father. Instead, Cam shares details about his numerous interactions with Wayne Gretzky, or the time he was suspended two games because he went to the opposing team’s locker room and beat up an opposing player. Cam is a gifted story teller and it shows on this podcast. I may have come for the hockey talk, and I got some of it, but I stayed for his stories and infectious personality.

Kristofer knows his role on the podcast and plays it to perfection. He serves up questions that put his father in position to knock it out of the park. In some instances, one question can lead to a 5-minute story or opinion from Cam, however Kristofer isn’t afraid to have a laugh at his dad’s expense or correct him when he mispronounces a name. When moments like that occur, it adds to the show.

As father and son, the Connor’s may have started the podcast to further strengthen their bond. I hope that’s the case. If not, they’ve mastered the art of portraying a son marvel at dad’s stories, while dad beams with joy at his son’s amusement. Not to get too corny, but hosting a podcast with your dad is pretty damn cool.

If there’s one thing I’d do differently, it’s the timing of each episode. Kristofer gives warning that they don’t have a certain timetable for each episode, but weeks without a new podcast can stunt a show’s momentum. Granted, this seems to be more of a hobby than a job for the two, so it’s not all that surprising, but a set schedule would benefit the fan base they’ve developed through their first 20 episodes.

Though there’s a simple, but effective open to each episode, in no means is View from the Penalty Box going to amaze you with its production quality. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it needs very little production to work. The feel throughout the entire episode is genuine, not fake or forced. So in that case, why take away from that feel? I’m a big proponent of podcasts that take extra steps with production value, but I found myself appreciating the fact that little production preserved the genuine quality this podcast possesses.

Final Thoughts:

If View from the Penalty Box ever takes the time to set a certain schedule for released episodes, it’ll become a huge hit with hockey fans across North America. Especially those who are old enough to remember the days of Cam as one of the most feared enforcers in the league. However, I hope they never change the identity of what this podcast is built on. The day it starts to feel like a job for both Cam and Kristofer, is the day they’ll lose what makes this podcast special. If it’s treated as a hobby, it’ll be in the best interest of not only Cam and Kristofer, but the listener, as well.

BSM Writers

3 Tips For Solving Co-Host Conflicts

If there’s a specific, repetitive behavior that is bothersome say something.

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What I wrote last week in this space wasn’t wrong, per se. It wasn’t the whole story, either. And at the risk of dragging out the dead horse of intra-show conflict for another week’s worth of whacks, I’d like to resuscitate the topic because there’s something else to learn here.

First, a cliff notes version of our previous episode: I wrote about how I had learned to work with a particular co-host who from time to time drove me up a wall. While I was careful to state this co-host was funny, and unique and described him as a crucial component to whatever success the show enjoyed, I did this in about as backhanded a manner as possible, mentioned him by name, and effectively labeled him as an asshole.

Not my proudest moment. For one, it was unnecessarily hurtful. I could have made the very same points without turning my co-host into a punching bag or even mentioning his name. Second, I do like this particular co-host even if he can make me madder than anyone I’ve ever worked with. He’s an all-time great dad and at his core a kind-hearted man. And finally, even if I didn’t like him, he didn’t deserve that after we worked together successfully for 5 years. So to Jim Moore, I am truly sorry for writing last week’s column the way that I did.

But I’d like to go a little bit deeper here because while last week’s column was an accurate – albeit harsh – reflection of my experiences on the show, it didn’t reflect the full reality of what occurred. This was pointed out to me by several helpful folks in the Seattle area where we worked together, and I’m going to include two examples here, one from a Twitter comment that was deleted and another from an email I received.

The Tweet to me: “As a co-worker, you always seemed to be a management suck-up. My co-workers would make bets on how many times you would whine or berate Jim Moore during a show. You always exceeded their expectations.”

The email: “Do you know how many times I heard you disparage him on the air? … Yours weren’t of the petty variety that you chronicled about him. Yours were biting, relating to his age or supposed lack of work ethic — things that could plant in management’s mind that he — and not you — was dispensable.”

In other words: Jim certainly was not the only person on the show who could be described as an asshole from time to time, and he may not have been the biggest. I did make jokes about my co-host’s age and his work ethic among plenty of other things, including my insistence on bringing up the fact that Jim once invested $10,000 in a so-called “Gold Machine” which was supposedly capable of refining what was previously unprocessable ore. I saw all of this as playing along with the character my co-host had developed, the Beta male. That’s my perspective, though. I don’t know how he felt though, given the reaction to last week’s piece, I think I have a pretty good idea that for him it wasn’t the harmless ribbing that I felt it was.

If this were a normal sad-sack apology, I would now apologize if he was offended. But I try to avoid sad-sack apologies. I make them with my entire chest, and I’m sorry that I acted in a way that could have left my co-host feeling diminished, demeaned, and belittled. I also know that anyone who has spent any amount of time working on a live program has been guilty of these sorts of transgressions and has also been on the receiving end. It’s pretty much endemic to the format especially if you’re looking for subjects that will evoke an emotional reaction. The key to sustaining a show is not avoiding conflict but learning how to manage it.

I also think there are a couple of lessons to be learned here, too.

1)    Set some ground rules

If there’s a specific, repetitive behavior that is bothersome say something. I spelled out last week how I stated that the time to declare a segment as being stupid or unworthy was before the show and not during it. Jokes about my co-host’s age and work ethic should have faced a similar prohibition. Making someone the butt of the same joke without their consent is the recipe for resentment.

2)    Develop a procedure for resolving conflict

It can be a one-on-one meeting. Perhaps there’s a designated mediator like the producer or program director. One tip: Don’t do it over email. That’s a one-way medium that’s prone to venting because you’re not able to see or read the reaction of the recipient as they’re working their way through your list of grievances.

3)    Remember we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions, but others by their actions

I think this is a natural tendency we all have. We seek to minimize any harm we cause by focusing on what we meant. We seek to explain the harm we suffer by focusing on how it felt. Understanding this underlying bias can help us see that the actions of others aren’t always malicious and our reactions aren’t always virtuous.

I’m going to close with a line from NYPD Blue, a cop show where Andy Sipowicz played a quick-tempered detective who wore short-sleeved shirts with ties and exhibited a penchant for violence came off as (troublingly) admirable. He also had an aquarium with saltwater fish, which he used as a metaphor for a younger detective he was paired with.

“You have to keep a clean tank,” he said. “Not too cool, not too warm, keep it all in balance.”

It’s true for a show, too. Too tranquil, it gets boring. Too antagonistic, it becomes volatile. Everyone involved has to be willing to make adjustments when necessary because everyone – from time to time – is going to run a little too hot or feel a little cold.

In the five years I worked with Jim, Dave Wyman, and Jessamyn McIntyre, we kept our tank balanced well enough to sustain an afternoon drive show that many people in Seattle remember fondly. It was some of the most fun that I’ve had working in sports media. Anyone who knows Jim and me knows how much I love his writing. I’m able to quote directly from columns he doesn’t remember writing. I’m laughing right now thinking of the time he described Rick Neuheisel’s sister flipping Hugh Millen the “double Dick Bennett” during Neuheisel’s lawsuit against the NCAA and the University of Washington. If you know, you know.

Jim was also capable of making me madder than any other co-worker I’ve ever had. That’s not a criticism. It reflects as much on my level of sensitivity as his behavior. I am glad that I learned to accept who he was as a co-worker throughout our time working together because it made the show more enjoyable for me. I wish I had learned that lesson well enough to have written last week’s column with a smile instead of a snarl.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise Episode 86: The Big Ten Won’t Be The NHL

Demetri Ravanos

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It’s golf, college football and history on Media Noise this week as Demetri talks about the LIV Tour’s media future, Arky Shea wonders if the Big Ten made a mistake exiting ESPN and Peter Schwartz talks about the next legend from WFAN to get the call from the Hall of Fame.

ITunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/media-noise/id1203576506?i=1000569222383

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1meEteEjZbXWt4j9SjoY6A?si=YDFfVLC4Q1Sc-imAztuHLw

iHeart: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-media-noise-99061203?cmp=ios_share&sc=ios_social_share&pr=false&autoplay=true

Google: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9iYXJyZXR0c3BvcnRzbWVkaWEuY29tL2ZlZWQvcG9kY2FzdC8

Amazon: https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/d3c79ba0-e042-4078-b43e-eb4aa6fb60c8/media-noise

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BSM Writers

Are You Sales Material? Take the Sales Quiz

Sports radio needs consistent, motivated, driven people to make the engine run. That’s on the air and that’s making the sales.

Jeff Caves

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Quiz

Sports radio needs consistent, motivated, driven people to make the engine run. That’s on the air and that’s making the sales. However, not everyone in the industry doing sales is cut out for it. Are you? Take this quiz to see if you are qualified to hold your current sales job:

Are you passionate, motivated, and high performing, at goal and above consistently?

Do you develop and maintain deals with clients using all your platforms and, in every market, possible?

Do you sell your station’s social media to a high percentage of your clients?

When was the last time you included OTT or geo fencing in your digital presentation?

Have you sold one of your music stations in the last quarter?

Did you have a sponsor in a station community or sports event in the last quarter?

Are the top three ways your peers describe you as driven, resourceful, and a problem solver? 

Are you considered a champion of diverse cultures, or do you stick with like-minded people?       

Do you always understand your client’s goals, objectives, performance benchmarks, and systems of doing business? 

Do you understand all your client’s customer and market trends?

Do you customize your proposals to meet what the advertiser needs or take proposals off the shelf?

Are most of your presentations featuring digital, social, and over-the-air elements?

Do you have a recognizable negotiation and closing skill set?

Are you known as the person in the office who develops clients from cold calls to annuals and records it all in the CRM?

Is your knowledge of every station in the cluster above a “B”? Can you explain streaming, website, social advertising, and digital audience extension products to clients without help?

Do you do the following weekly: attend networking events, cold call, go door to door, and get client referrals?

Are you on time, submitting accurate orders, sales projections, and new clients list, and analyzing your competitors? 

Do you handle all your client’s billing issues on the same day? 

Do you read company research reports as they come out? 

Are you committed to your manager’s standard for the staff, or do you have your own?

If you didn’t say yes to all these questions, your company likely doesn’t want you working there. Because when your company goes looking to hire new salespeople, they expect them to have all of these qualities. And, when the ad is written to attract those candidates, it is very standard and generalized if they mention compensation.

It is no wonder the industry has such difficulty hiring new people. This type of job description scares most people away. Not often enough or in detail do companies say what THEY offer in support to get you where you need to be. Management support, sales support, presentation support, sales development assistance, digital education, CRM software, or paperwork assistance.

Interviewees should turn the table on the interviewer and start asking THEM questions. And I believe the industry offers support and tools but could do a better job selling it. I hope we start looking at how we recruit new sellers into the industry. There must be a better way. 

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