It’s 8am in Charlotte, the middle of May, and Uber driver Mike has his SiriusXM dial tuned to ESPN Radio. Being a transplanted New Yorker, he isn’t attached to the local sports stations, but has pledged his support to the one network which has provided him with a consistent listening experience that suits his tastes, ESPN Radio.
Just ten years ago the father of two relocated to the area, hoping to find a show that talked about his hometown teams and partially resembled the program he had grown up on, “Mike and the Mad Dog.” But that type of show didn’t exist in North Carolina so it required adjusting to what was available. Although he enjoyed Mark Packer on WFNZ, he didn’t care as much about local topics.
That opened the door to finding a new brand and talk show. After sampling a number of options, “Mike and Mike” became his preferred listening experience. The show spent time talking about the New York sports teams, and had their finger on the pulse of what mattered most to sports fans each day. Over the next decade, Greeny and Golic were part of Mike’s routine, until November 2017 when ESPN decided to make a change in mornings.
“When they announced Mike and Mike were going away, I was upset and not sure I was going to stick around,” said Mike. “I enjoyed Greenberg and Golic and wasn’t happy that ESPN split them up. Luckily though Golic stayed and they added Trey who I knew and liked from TV, and that convinced me to give them a chance. I’m glad I did because it’s a similar show.”
The feelings shared by Mike are similar to what many others feel. There’s been a comfort in hearing ESPN Radio’s morning programming for close to two decades, and although “Mike and Mike” had their differences from “Golic and Wingo,” there’s enough similarities to retain the base that’s been loyal to ESPN’s morning show.
But anytime a station or network changes a popular show after eighteen years, it’s going to create noise, especially if the show isn’t considered broken. “Mike and Mike” were a huge part of the morning radio experience for sports radio listeners all across the nation, not to mention one of the most popular tandems on any of ESPN’s platforms. If the network was going to split them up and explore a new direction in morning drive, they’d likely have been given a pass. After all, introducing new faces and voices on a huge national network like ESPN Radio requires time.
But starting over isn’t an easy decision. It’s made even more difficult when you still have one part of the show in tact, and he’s familiar and popular with listeners and advertisers, and shown an ability to continue performing on a high level. Figuring out where Golic fit into the company’s plans was very important but this wasn’t just a company call. Golic had to make a few decisions too.
After going thru multiple morning shows on the same network with different partners, did he want to give it a third try? Did he want to continue dealing with comparisons to his former show? Was he still excited, energized and in love with the job he had done for over two decades, and willing to trust his employer to set him up for success after the previous year had produced a number of internal and external tensions as a result of his breakup with Mike Greenberg?
When the dust settled, ESPN chose to make subtle tweaks in morning drive rather than wholesale changes. There was an internal belief that Golic had more left in the tank, and affiliates and advertisers were comfortable and satisfied with the association and preferred for it to continue. Once Golic learned that Trey Wingo was an option to be his partner, and the addition of his son Mike Golic Jr. was being considered, it was clear to him that it wasn’t time to ride off into the sunset just yet.
“When the idea of working with my son and Trey was brought up it re-energized me,” said Golic Sr.. “This is my third time around the block. I worked first with (Tony) Bruno, then Greeny, and now Trey, and I felt the show was at its best when it was focused on being a radio show. The company said they wanted to get back to that and as I thought about it and the idea of working with Trey and my son, I felt we had a chance to grow faster than the last two shows did because the relationships were already established.”
Upon the announcement of ESPN Radio naming “Golic and Wingo” its new morning show, enthusiasm wasn’t as high among sports radio members outside of the ESPN Bristol campus. Many hoped the network would shake things up, and the idea of offering a similar style show was initially viewed as less than inspiring. As one unnamed source told me “ESPN had an opportunity to do something exciting and instead served up a second serving of vanilla radio.”
To content people not inside the ESPN bubble, higher value is placed on big personalities and unfiltered opinions. What isn’t given much consideration is whether a show is the right fit for the ESPN brand, sustainable for affiliates, and pleasing to the company’s paying clients.
But in executive circles, the ESPN brass had to consider a myriad of factors including the difficulties of replacing a high profile show. It’s easy to clamor for something new when moving on from an established program, but why purchase a new car if the one you already own drives well, is strong under the hood and only needs a few cosmetic changes?
“We’re proud of what we accomplished with Mike and Mike and saw this is an opportunity to build on the past 16 years,” explained ESPN Radio Senior Director, Programming and Operations Justin Craig. “Since making the change in mornings to Golic and Wingo, not one major market affiliate or dollar has been lost. I think that speaks to the power of our brand, the quality of our talent, and the trust we’ve earned from super serving our radio partners.”
Fast forward to today, six full months into their morning radio adventure, and “Golic and Wingo” have done their part to represent ESPN Radio well in the affiliate and advertising space. They’ve also produced the same multi-platform content that has made ESPN successful in mornings in previous years. The ratings may be down year over year in top markets like New York and Chicago (Two of ESPN’s owned stations and operated markets), but that’s not a surprise as any new show going in after Mike and Mike would require time before an audience committed to them. ESPN Radio Senior VP Traug Keller mentioned on the BSM Podcast last month that he believes new shows need over a year in order to establish a connection.
The bigger reflection of the show striking the right chord for company folks is that it’s held on to the “Mike and Mike” base, fueled the fire of the same “Mike and Mike” critics, and done its part to satisfy business partners. Although there’s a confident belief in the show’s development, areas of improvement aren’t being dismissed either.
“I think it’s a good show right now, but it has the potential to be great,” said Marcia Keegan, Vice President, National Radio Programming and Production. “The show could benefit from adding a few bigger guests, football talkers, and creative stunts. We’re always trying to find ways to improve. We’re only a few months into this show and already I can hear how it’s grown. As the guys gain more reps, they’re going to develop an even stronger rhythm.”
One advantage “Golic and Wingo” have over the prior two morning shows on ESPN Radio is the instant chemistry and familiarity that already existed between Golic Sr., his son Mike Jr. and Trey. Their relationship history doesn’t guarantee anything, but it helps a host feel comfortable when they already know their partner’s hot buttons, weaknesses, quirks, and day to day approach. It certainly was a huge factor in Wingo in making the decision to take on the challenge of hosting a 4-hour radio morning show.
“It’s very rare in this business to be twenty years in and get the chance to do something new with someone you love working with,” said Wingo. “Our prior relationship made this easy and worth doing. My biggest adjustment was adjusting to the morning schedule. I’m a night person. I’m still on that routine of “wake up idiot”.”
If Wingo thinks it’s rough hitting the airwaves at 6am each day, imagine what must be rolling thru Mike Golic Jr.’s head. He wakes up each day after 2am and sets a number of additional alarms just to make sure he doesn’t oversleep. He then hits the airwaves across the country at 4am, hosting “First and Last,” before making a seamless transition from his solo show to joining the first hour of the morning program.
Despite not having the opportunity to pre-plan with the morning crew due to being on the air, Golic Jr. says they’ve found a way to work around it.
“We talk a lot and prep the night before,” explained Golic Jr.. “They also get to listen to me while driving in which gives them a chance to hear what I’m passionate about and react to it too. We’re fortunate to have a good cast around us too and we’ll rely on them and trust their feedback to determine if we should stick with something or change direction. Nobody is afraid to speak up and voice their opinion on ways to make the show better.”
But when family relationships carry over to the workplace, sometimes they’re counterproductive. That isn’t the case though for the Golic’s. Mike Jr. made the choice to pursue a football career just like his father, and when that didn’t work out, he pursued his father’s second labor of love, the sports media business. So far, so good.
Since making the move, Golic Jr. has increased his value inside ESPN. He’s gone from making occasional on-air appearances, contributing to fantasy football programming, and co-hosting “First and Last,” to hosting “First and Last,” taking part in social media shows, and appearing each day on “Golic and Wingo.”
Given the nature of the sports media business, there will of course be whispers about Golic Jr. gaining advantages due to who his father is. He’s not naive, he understands that. Ironically, most who move up the ladder in this industry do so based on having talent and relationships. Rarely do people land a high profile opportunity by blindly submitting a resume and demo tape.
No matter what your perception is of Jr.’s ability to get his foot inside the door, he’s had to work hard to stay there. He’s also had to perform in front of the nation’s eyes and ears, knowing that he’ll forever be compared to his father. Though those comparisons may bother some, Golic Jr. wears them like a badge of honor. He’s proud of who his father is, and acknowledges how much of an influence he’s had on his career.
“I saw the proof of concept in my dad,” shared Golic Jr.. “Mike and Mike was a big part of my life. The work dad did on that show inspired me to want to be in this business. Now look at where we are. How many people get to talk sports with their dad each day for a living? The only downside of working with him is that he’s wrong a lot. He could also dress better and improve his footwear.”
That good ole fashioned ribbing between father and son has been on display since the show was introduced on ESPN Radio in November. It allows them to provide a family friendly sports program for morning commuters, while embracing unexpected moments that may leave them initially startled. No time was that more evident then when Rhonda Rousey appeared on the program.
“Golic and Wingo” aren’t going to be confused for a shock-jock morning show or a program which goes for the throat of whoever’s on the front page of ESPN.com. They concentrate their efforts on having insightful, topical and entertaining sports conversations while mixing in laughter, guests and social interaction. That may not be a revolutionary approach but it’s a formula that keeps an audience engaged and advertisers and affiliates happy.
“We want to continue building the relationship and get comfortable discussing anything on the show,” said Wingo. “I’m not worried about numbers and things beyond our control. We’re just going to roll with the punches, do what we do, and see what happens. Just like the NFL Draft, nobody really knows what’s going to happen. You’re making educated guesses. Right now, we’re having fun and delivering what we feel is a good show and we’re going to enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.”
Though he might downplay it, Wingo understands the high stakes involved in running point on ESPN Radio’s morning show. The program, which also broadcasts on television on ESPNEWS, is critically important to the network’s success. If ratings, revenue or affiliates were to decline, so too would the fun.
But unlike some in local situations, if the show doesn’t work out, Trey doesn’t have to worry about finding employment. Having been one of the best and most respected hosts on ESPN’s NFL programming, he’s earned trust with the viewer, and likely gained a few more fans in the company by agreeing to take on the challenge of filling Greeny’s spot and hosting the morning show. Despite having done a great job on the network’s NFL coverage, Wingo admits the chance to expand his horizons was welcomed.
“My presence on ESPN around the NFL has been tremendous but this now gives people a chance to learn more about me and my personality,” said Wingo. “Sports fans are discovering that I keep my finger on the pulse of other sports too. You’re not going to hear hot takes from me. That’s not my style. I’ll give opinions when I feel I need to, but I believe it’s about organic conversation and this shows provides plenty of opportunities to create that.”
The challenge of creating those organic conversations depends largely on strong chemistry and familiarity. Trey and the Golic’s have a firm handle on that. Golic Sr. has been down this road before, and knows all too well how difficult it can be and how long it can take to find the right mix with a co-host. His prior two morning shows with Greeny and (Tony) Bruno were each successful, but required developing relationships and learning what to do and what not to do.
In this case though, relationships were already formed. Golic and Wingo have worked inside the same location for over twenty years, they’ve done shows together, and they’re friends with mutual interests. That certainly helps when assembling a new show, and Justin Craig says that preexisting chemistry has made a difference in the way the show has grown over the first six months.
“They’re in their first season,” Craig points out. “In sports, teams get better with time. There’s still work to be done of course but I think Mike and Trey launched at a higher point than others.”
To make sure the morning show is firing on all cylinders, ESPN Radio has spared no expense in surrounding their on-air stars with a top notch behind the scenes crew. The production team is led by radio producer Dan Stanczyk, social media producer Ali Bronson, board op Cliff Augustin, production assistant Devin Kane, and imaging director Jerry Mailhiot.
And that’s just the radio side of things. The television crew includes producer Rob Morgan, director Carlos Mejia, production assistant Andrew Distler, and researchers Brett Perrotta and Riley Foreman.
With that type of support given to the show, creating a multi-platform successful product for ESPN is the expectation. When you watch on TV, listen on radio, follow on social media, or catch up later on the website, the reason things run smoothly is because of all of the individuals involved in the show.
But how does that factor into the content creation process? Ali Bronson acknowledged that teamwork, attitude and role definition are important behind the scenes, but having consistent input and solid execution from the hosts makes all the difference.
“These guys are motivated to deliver a great show and there’s a collective understanding of what’s expected each day,” said Bronson. “They each know their role on the show, and participate in the content process including how to use social media and GIF’s to create tune ins. Golic Sr. steers us back to where we need to be if we get off track. Trey drives the show and looks for his spots to react. His being new to the show has brought a new energy and allowed everyone to have fun. In terms of what we talk about, it depends on what matters most at that particular time. The NBA Playoffs and NFL topics though generate the strongest reactions from Trey and Mike Sr. so we make sure they’re a big part of what we do.”
With nearly six months in the books and having weathered the storm of replacing a high profile morning show, it’s natural to wonder “what’s next?” The content may be topical, the chemistry natural and the energy high, but to expand the audience, increase the confidence, and elevate the position of what was initially viewed by some as “Mike and Mike Part 2,” it’s all about where the show goes from here.
Golic Sr. acknowledges that they’re off to a strong start, but hasn’t lost sight of the way the business works or his own career aspirations:
“I view this industry very similar to my football career, I’m on the same team but the roster changes sometimes,” explained Golic. “I think this show has the ability to grow faster than the last two did and we’re off to a good start but if we’re able to get Jr. more involved in the future that would be welcomed. As long as I’m having fun, I want to keep doing this. I would though like to call more games.”
So, that begs the question, should Golic Jr. be more involved? If the network is going to include him in the first hour, why not utilize him during the remaining three?
To their credit, network officials have eased Golic Jr. into the show rather than immediately throwing him into the deep end. That strategy has allowed Trey and Mike Sr. to find their groove together, which is essential for the program to ascend to its highest level.
However, the youthful approach that Golic Jr. supplies has added a nice touch. That’s especially important given that Trey and Mike are in their mid fifties. It allows the show to play to both ends of the sports radio demographic. One thing’s for sure, an increased role certainly wouldn’t be rejected by Golic Jr. if it were to be presented.
“I love doing this and want to contribute more but that’s not up to me,” Golic Jr. said. “If they feel in the future that my role should be expanded then I’ll happily have that conversation. But right now, I’m just thrilled to be a part of it.”
Golic Jr. may have his sights set on advancing his career and earning more air time on the nation’s largest sports morning show, but after enduring the public barrage that comes with replacing a popular show like “Mike and Mike,” Trey and Mike have reached a point where they’re done looking in the rear view mirror. They’re not worried about how they stack up to the former show, if ESPN executives are second guessing their decision, or if their style of show makes the masses happy. Their primary concern is doing a show they can feel good about it. If that results in affiliates, advertisers, listeners, and executives being satisfied, then that’s icing on the cake.
“I don’t get caught up in numbers and all that stuff” said Golic. “If I can leave you with one serious and one funny note then I feel good about what we did.”
Never one to pass up an opportunity to lighten the mood, Wingo countered with “If I can wake up and get thru 4 hours, that’s a good day.”
Six months into the start of their show, the lights remain on, the affiliates are still there, and the revenue is strong. That has to give ESPN executives confidence that they’re on the right track.
For Golic and Wingo though, there’s another way to measure progress. Their badges still work, the checks still clear, and they continue to do a show with people they enjoy being around. If that’s not the definition of success, then what is?
Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network
“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”
To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.
As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.
If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Which brings me to today’s announcement.
If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.
After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.
The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.
I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.
One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.
Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.
Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.
What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.
Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.
Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.
5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs
“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”
I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.
Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.
But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.
Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.
If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.
Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.
For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.
At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.
I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.
Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.
Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.
Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.
Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.
Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.
Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.