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Pay Attention to the ESports Revolution

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Sports radio is full of people with unique and interesting stories of how they got to where they are. One of those interesting stories in Jon Lunceford. He currently hosts Jox Primetime on JOX 94.5 in Birmingham. 

Lunce was a professional gamer for a time before he launched his media career. That’s why we thought he was the perfect guy to write a little bit about the esports revolution. You may not pay attention to professional video gaming, but your kids certainly do. Is sports radio ready for the day when who Robert Kraft signs to play for the Patriots is less relevant in the pop culture landscape than who he signs to play for his esports team?

Professional gamers are everywhere. Sure, they have their own YouTube channels and Twitch streams, but Turner Sports is putting big events on television. Your tween sons are probably watching DisneyXD’s block of gaming-related shows every weeknight.

In his guest column for BSM, Jon Lunceford talks about his experience as a pro gamer, how the industry has caught the attention of some of the sports world’s most powerful names, and what sports radio can do to embrace esports in a way that isn’t jarring for our current listeners.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE ESPORTS REVOLUTION

It’s a sunny afternoon in Los Angeles, and Oklahoma City forward Paul George arrives at the newly built Banc of California Stadium.  Also in the building is Los Angeles Laker guard Josh Hart.  Could this be it?  Is Paul George taking his talents to the Lakers next season?

Don’t get your hopes up quite yet Laker fans.  George isn’t there to meet with Hart about potentially joining the franchise that some think he may end up with this season.  Instead, he is joining Pistons big man Andre Drummond, Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried plus UFC fighters Tyron Woodley and Demetrious Johnson along with more athletes and entertainers to play in the first ever Fortnite Celebrity Pro-AM at E3.

If you’re in sports media, and you haven’t heard about esports, it’s time you started paying attention, because the athletes, coaches and executives you already cover are, and they are putting their money and brands into the vastly growing world of professional video gaming.

If you don’t know who Faker, Ninja or Daigo are – don’t worry, you’re not alone.  But these are some of the biggest stars in the world thanks to their success in games like League of Legends, Fortnite and Street Fighter.

I know what you’re thinking…no one cares about video games and the nerds that play them. We have more important things to discuss each day on our radio programs.  I get it.  I work in a market where it’s Alabama and Auburn football all the time, even now in the middle of the summer when there is nothing going on with either of those schools.

However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t hurt to follow the money.

That’s what I did.  As a college football player over a decade ago, I unfortunately got injured and had to stop playing.  However, I found a new competitive outlet – esports.  At the time, it wasn’t near as big as it is now, but I found a way to keep my competitive juices flowing while earning free trips to Germany, China, South Korea and all over the United States. I also won a little money while I was at it.  

While college football or basketball may be the only reason you ever want to talk about collegiate sports, it might be worth keeping an eye on esports.  Scholarships are being handed out around the nation for the top esports players out of high school.  High schools themselves are getting in on the action with the already established High School Esports League and now the National Federation of High Schools has partnered with PlayVS to bring esports to a number of member associations this year.  While esports is very worldwide now, this brings it to us on the local level.

After graduation, there are many professional leagues that not only pay full time salaries to compete, but the prize money is growing with each competition and into the millions for many games.

Esports revenue is growing at an incredible rate – 41.3% year-over-year according to Newzoo, an esports data gathering firm.  Esports is expected to make approximately $1.5 billion in revenue in 2020 with over 300 million people watching esports around the world.  ESPN, NBC and Turner have already signed deals to carry various events on their networks.

So what does this mean for sports radio?

First, let’s look at TV trends.  We have all watched ESPN struggle over the last few years.  Whether it’s due to their layoffs or politically leaning programming, the Sports Leader is going downhill.  The NFL is a league that as a whole has seen a decrease in viewership over the last couple of years for multiple reasons.  While most reports will point to people not tuning in due to the protests or bad match-ups in primetime, many young viewers are just finding interest in something else.

According to a survey from Limelight Networks, men 18-25 are spending more time online watching video gaming and esports events on average (1.95 hours) than sports (1.67 hours), news (1.45 hours) or other TV programming (1.88 hours).

If we look at Nielsen’s Total Audience Report from 2017, we see that live TV viewing has gone down 16 minutes since 2015 while viewing content on a smartphone or tablet has gone up 1 hour and 41 minutes in those two years.  Radio has been a constant, sitting at the same amount of time listened each day over the years.  However, it went from the second most used medium to the third most used behind smartphones.

It’s all about understanding where people are, and how these future generations will consume media differently than most adults in our core demographic of 25-54 do now.  There doesn’t have to be a seismic shift into all of the sudden paying attention to esports and making it a part of our daily sports radio lives.  However, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

One of the major stories in sports media has been the lack of viewers for ESPN’s new early lineup including Get Up! and High Noon.  Both shows are struggling to build their brands and get viewers this summer before football season starts back up.  While I am sitting here reading an article about their numbers being under 200,000 viewers at certain times, I am also watching a Twitch.tv stream of Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who is currently doing nothing but sitting in the lobby on Fortnite in front of 150,000 viewers.  I flip over, and watch a regular season game from the League of Legends Championship Series that currently has 165,000 viewers.  

While those numbers aren’t beating ESPN for standard daily viewership, there are multiple reasons why those esports numbers are more intriguing to a potential sponsor looking to spend their money in a more efficient way.  Not many organizations can show over 1 billion measurable views like the League of Legends Championship Series can, as they just hit that mark this summer.

It’s also curious when you look at the money and viewership involved with the biggest esports event each year, The International, and compare it to major events in traditional sports like The Masters.  Last year’s International saw five winners made $2.17 million each, more than this year’s Masters winner Patrick Reed made at $1.98 million. The International wasn’t quite as highly viewed as The Masters, but it is getting closer.  The International 2017 peaked at 10.9 million viewers while The Masters 2018 peaked at 16.8 million viewers.  The International 2018 is August 15-25 in Vancouver if you’re curious.

While I am on the younger side of sports radio, in my early 30’s and right in the middle of the Millennial generation, I understand that esports isn’t what I need to talk about daily on my radio show.  Most people out there would rather hear me discuss whether I think Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts should start for Alabama next season for the 50th time instead of talking about the Overwatch League playoffs.  But that doesn’t mean that no one wants to hear it.

Slowly we are starting to see gaming and esports products pop up.  Westwood One has Checkpoint Radio which stations can carry each week to discuss the latest in gaming.  Many radio personalities are starting their own podcasts to discuss topics like esports as well.

The best way we’ve found to discuss esports is by finding a way to tap into that small part of our listeners that does enjoy video games, whether they did as a child, or their children now play games.  When recapping weekend events a few weeks ago, I mentioned E3, and in doing so, was able to relate it to sports games we all have played at one point or another such as FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K and more.  It generated great discussion among listeners who wouldn’t have cared about discussing video games normally.

The most important thing with esports is to try and understand it.  Is it a sport?  As someone who has played college football and competed in esports professionally, I always say no despite understanding every argument that says it is.  But it still can have a place in sports.  

Former ESPN President John Skipper said that esports was not a sport in his mind and that he was only interested in doing “real sports” on the network.  Nevermind that the World Series of Poker is one of ESPN’s biggest attractions and isn’t even remotely close to a sport, nor is the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

I’m sure many of your kids are playing Fortnite non-stop, but the difference with video games is – there is always a next game.  Once the Fortnite fad dies down, there will be another game that your kids will be playing while professional athletes and celebrities jump on to promote it.  That allows esports to be so accessible to the general public and why watching it online has become so large.  

Of the eight personalities on our radio station, only one other person besides me has played sports on at least the collegiate level.  Yet video games are something that everyone can play no matter their age or experience.  It’s something that is easy to pick up and use to connect us with our friends, family, coworkers and even complete strangers.

It’s something that when we watch professionals play, they are literally playing the same game I am.  There is nothing different about the game I’m playing of League of Legends compared to the game that a professional is playing in front of a sold out crowd at the Staples Center or Madison Square Garden, and yes. That is happening. 

The accessibility is unparalleled and is why multiple professional team owners such as Robert Kraft, Stan Kroenke and more have bought into the Overwatch League or the League of Legends Championship Series.  It’s why across the world, we see celebrations in football, basketball, baseball and soccer that mimic dances found in Fortnite.  

It’s why Adam Silver and the NBA have bought in, creating the NBA 2K league.  Because while I may not ever be able to go out and play with LeBron James in the NBA, I can certainly pick up a copy of NBA 2K and play the same way the pros do.

When the entire sports world is buying into something, it might be worth it for sports radio to take a look at it.

Esports isn’t the norm right now, and it may take a long time before it is.  For now, we’ll wait and see if Paul George goes back to LA, but this time to play basketball instead of Fortnite.

Barrett Blogs

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.”

Jason Barrett

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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.

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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.”

Jason Barrett

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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.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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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.

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