A week in Sin City can feel like an eternity, especially when you’re in town covering CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Day after day you’re inside a hotel or convention center battling mobs of people to check out the latest inventions from some of the world’s top technology brands, hoping to get a jump start on the future before it becomes the present.
Although it’s a long week, there’s much to gain from it. As you’re introduced to various products, your mind starts to race with ideas. You begin thinking about the way the world will change, and contemplating what’s important to the future of your business, and what’s just fun to look at, but has little value to your line of work.
Whenever I attend a conference, I like to take a day or two to process what I saw before writing a column. So much gets tossed in your direction in a short period of time, and though we’re in a constant rush to feed the machine with content, I believe it’s important to step back and evaluate things. Had I rushed to write this piece after my first day or two at CES, I’d have told you flying taxi’s were going to be huge, and Google was on a different level than Amazon. By week’s end, I wasn’t convinced of either.
Starting with Google, they made a statement with their marketing on the outside, but when you went on the inside to talk to their people, they were energetic, personable, and happy to show you around, but didn’t take a ton of time explaining their products. They had a lot of items on display utilizing voice technology. That made it clear they’re bullish on the space. But I was there three different times, and not once did the staff look to engage, and discuss what they were introducing to the marketplace.
Meanwhile, Amazon operated with much less space, but everywhere I turned it felt like the company had assigned someone to their products who had a great understanding of them. Their people were less bubbly, but much more interested in sharing and showing what their products can do.
Whether it was the way Alexa worked inside Audi’s new electric vehicle or how their technology would improve consumer experiences with printers, television, refrigerators, alarms, and thermostats, Amazon reps were informed and confident about what they have in store for consumers. Their attention to detail during demonstrations made it very easy to become excited about what they were selling.
I had been told previously to expect nothing from Apple, so when I left for Las Vegas I had zero expectations. Sure enough, they weren’t to be found on site. However, they did display a huge banner outside of the Las Vegas Convention Center which created a lot of chatter. Displayed on the side of a hotel and taking up the equivalent of thirteen floors, Apple sent a powerful message to attendees: What Happens on Your iPhone, Stays on Your iPhone.
It’s clear that Tim Cook’s company is betting big on privacy meaning a great deal to customers. The banner was installed to remind consumers that Apple doesn’t attempt to sell your data while Amazon and Google both use it. That message I’m sure resonated with many who saw it.
During my travels to the Aria, Venetian, Sands, Mandalay Bay, Westgate, and Las Vegas Convention Center North and South halls, I tried to think of how certain products could affect the future of the radio business. For example, if a session took place and focused on 5G, autonomous cars, or voice technology, that was relevant to our business. If speakers scheduled for sessions had a connection to the radio industry, I tried to be there too to learn how they saw radio’s future opportunities.
What I didn’t do was get too caught up in stuff that may be fun, but had little connection to radio. Case in point, robots may become personal assistants for people in the future, but unless you believe they’ll be hosting future talk shows, I’m not too concerned about where they fit.
If you were looking to find technology to analyze your breast milk, your baby’s poop, or restock your refrigerator with beer when you run out, it was there. So too were electric mirrors, voice enabled light bulbs and toilets, bread makers, laundry folding machines, and headbands used to measure your brain signals and focus levels.
Though they’re each interesting and worth looking at for a few seconds, they had little connection to radio, therefore I enjoyed them for what they were, visual distractions. The only exception I made was stopping by the DreamWave area to test out their new massage chair. It would take one hell of a sales job to convince me to spend six thousand dollars on a chair, but they came damn close. The product was perfect for anyone dealing with physical pain or soreness.
Aside from enjoying my fifteen minutes of relaxation, I spent a lot of time exploring the future of autonomous vehicles and smart cities. When you see what each manufacturer has planned for consumers it’s pretty impressive. But whether it looks good in a show room at CES or not isn’t what matters. The big questions are, is it realistic, and if so, how soon?
Self-driving cars and digital roadways may be on the horizon, but opinions are very divided on how soon they’ll become a reality. That was made immediately clear during the very first session I attended when a group of speakers debated the pros and cons of building digital cities and relying on self driving vehicles.
When you factor in the construction that will be needed to create smart cities, the privacy concerns of having automakers know your in-vehicle habits, the challenge of making driver’s feel comfortable about giving up control behind the wheel, the cost of these vehicles, where they get stored, who insures them, and how situations will be handled when glitches or emergencies occur, there’s a lot still to figure out.
Can that be solved in 5 years? I don’t believe so. But whether it’s 5 years, 10 years, or longer, car companies would not be investing their time and resources towards this project if they weren’t committed to seeing it all the way thru. The future of driving will eventually change. When it does, it’s going to make the battle for content consumption even more interesting.
Much has been made the past few years about 5G being the savior to all of our internet problems. The next generation of internet speed is said to be lightning quick, capable of making the process of downloading songs, streaming movies, and loading websites nearly 10 times faster than 4G. According to most experts, it’s expected to be in place in 2020. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint though plan to launch 5G smartphones by late 2019.
CES provided opportunities for the world’s top mobile companies to hype up the arrival of 5G. Verizon in particular did a fantastic job of showing how things will work once 5G becomes available. CEO Hans Vestberg provided a number of examples, and called upon a few different participants to illustrate how much better things will be once 5G is introduced. If time allows I recommend watching the presentation. You can do so by clicking here.
Other sessions which earned my attention revolved around gaming, podcasting, and social media. Jemele Hill announced plans to launch an exclusive podcast for Spotify titled UnBothered starting in March. The music streaming service appears eager to ramp up its podcast offerings. Twitter announced plans to introduce single player camera angles during games as part of their partnership with Turner and the NBA. eSports was on display too with revenue growth and future impact being key areas of focus.
Speaking of eSports, I ventured over to the Luxor to scout the HyperX eSports arena. The venue is spectacular, and if places like this existed across the country, kids, and young adults would flock to it. There were 20 gaming spaces for people to play, big screens to watch competitive battles, merchandise for sale, and a private area for individuals or companies to reserve for private events.
If you work in sports radio, chances are you’ve heard a lot about the growth of eSports, but questions remain about whether or not it’s a fit for the sports format. The most popular game of 2018 was Fortnite, and while it may be fun to play, hearing it discussed on sports radio isn’t as appealing. Would it be different if the games being talked about were sports focused? Probably not, but at least they’d be sports themed.
That said, millions of people are playing video games. The investors behind these eSports teams aren’t investing millions of dollars because they’re bored. Arenas have been selling out for eSports events, sponsorship dollars are increasing, and talent agencies have started signing gamers just as they do professional athletes. Whether or not eSports can become mainstream is up for debate, but consumption of competitive gaming has been generating major interest, especially with younger fans. How that will carry over to sports radio, television, and print in the future though remains unclear.
As intriguing as competitive gaming may be, traditional operators are more enthusiastic about the growth of sports betting. As state after state loosens the reigns to allow legalized sports gambling, media brands are searching for ways to reap the rewards from being active in the space. If you stopped by Caesars Palace, you’d see signage everywhere highlighting the casino’s partnership with the NFL. Given how strict the NFL has been towards gambling in the past, this new relationship serves as a reminder that these are very different times.
Caesars may have the NFL association, but when I want to learn more about what’s going on, the place I go to is the South Point Casino, home of VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network). Brian and Brent Musburger held a special sports betting summit as part of CES week which included Gavin Maloof, Jimmy Vaccarro, Vinny Magliulo, Johnny Avello, Matthew Holt, Darren Rovell, Wayne Kimmel, and others. The three hour event offered tons of insight into legalization, betting safety, guarding against athletes affecting the outcome of games, and more.
As I watched the on-stage discussion though, I kept thinking about the critical importance of monitoring trends and identifying talent. If you rewind the clock to a few years ago, media brands weren’t rushing to sign guys like Vaccaro, Avello, Magliulo or Todd Fuhrman. Nor were they creating sports betting shows and featuring them in their weekday lineups. These guys were known in Vegas and inside the sports betting industry, but traditional operators viewed the space as niche. Now, everyone wants them because they’re experts in their field, sports gambling is becoming mainstream, and the money to be made figures to be substantial.
It wouldn’t have made sense to attend CES and not drop in on conversations with WWE’s Stephanie McMahon and George Barrios. I grew up a wrestling fan, but since becoming a media professional I’ve gained a far greater appreciation for how WWE operates as a business. That’s a testament to the vision and execution created and enforced by Vince, Stephanie and Shane McMahon, and Paul “Triple H” LeVesque.
What impresses me about WWE is that they’ve become a major global attraction. They’ve done so by continuing to develop new stars and programming, expanding their audience, increasing their revenue streams, and taking giant risks. In today’s cluttered media climate they stand out as one of the most forward thinking and successful digital brands, and consistently do a great job of sharing their story and creating buzz. You could see and feel that when Stephanie talked about the rise of women in professional wrestling, and she shined in spite of being poorly set up by a moderator who wasn’t fully prepared for the conversation.
As I bring this column to a close, I find myself excited, curious, optimistic, and cautious about the future. CES showed that the world’s best technology companies are working hard to create the next big things in our lives, but not every invention will be important to us. Especially for many of us involved in the radio business.
What concerns me is that there have been far too many examples of the radio industry being slow to adapt. We’ve also had a tendency to rely on others to create solutions rather than leading the charge ourselves. It’s far too common to find folks comfortable with where they sit today, and less worried about how they may be affected tomorrow.
If you walked around CES, you saw people everywhere who were driven by innovation and creativity. I thought about radio and its need to continue launching new products, formats, programs, and personalities, while also exploring new platforms and technologies. We sometimes forget that many of these great products that feature us still own the real estate, data, and audience. We are simply renters.
Aside from iHeart’s Bob Pittman, Beasley’s Caroline Beasley, and NPR’s Jarl Mohn taking part in panels at CES, I didn’t see any radio groups on display. To be fair, I didn’t expect to. Should we have been there? What would we have showcased? I’m not sure, but I do know that we can’t wait for opportunity to find us. It’s imperative that we work ahead and prepare for what’s next. Brands like VSiN and The Action Network are great examples of that.
We also need to do research to understand the challenges and best case scenarios ahead, and have confidence and conviction in what we’re working on. You’re going to take some lumps early on when you introduce new ideas. If you’re not prepared to be bloodied, don’t get in the ring.
I know the radio industry is excited about voice technology and the arrival of 5G. Both will make our business better. Autonomous cars and smart cities may take longer to embrace simply because they’re much further away. What we can’t do though is assume that these things will make us necessary. We’ve got to do a much better job of selling the value and success of our business, get more creative, take more chances, and make our brands, talent, and platforms a vital part of each listener and advertiser’s life. Anything less is asking for trouble.
The faster technology works, and the more time people have to enjoy content inside their homes or vehicles, the tougher the challenges will be to stand out. Competition is increasing, and coming from every form of media, not just audio providers. If your brand isn’t known for more than its format and signal, you’re on the fast track to becoming forgotten instead of seen as a vital part of the future. The good news, you still have time to change it. Just don’t wait too long because the future’s on the verge of becoming the present.
Angiolet, Borod, Craig & Sottolano Added To 2022 BSM Summit
“If you’re planning to attend, please buy your tickets as soon as possible. We have limited room and it’s first come, first serve.”
We promised we had more great news to share regarding the 2022 BSM Summit. Just four days after revealing the addition of ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro to this year’s show, we’ve added four more heavyweights to March’s sports media industry conference.
First, it’s a pleasure to welcome for the first time, DraftKings Chief Media Officer Brian Angiolet to the BSM Summit. Brian joined DraftKings in April 2021 after two decades with Verizon where he helped the company strike a number of multi-billion dollar broadcasting, sports and entertainment content and advertising deals. Some of the key groups to do business with Verizon during Brian’s tenure included the NFL, NBA, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM. DK has been a large advertiser and supporter of the sports media industry for many years, in addition to becoming a larger content provider following the acquisition of VSiN. We look forward to having Brian join our sports betting executive panel (hosted by ESPN’s host Joe Fortenbaugh) to share his insights on how he sees sports betting groups participating now and in the future in the sports media content world.
Second, it’s an honor to add Fanatics Chief Commercial Officer Ari Borod to the sports betting executive panel for his first appearance at the BSM Summit. Ari’s fingerprints have been all over the sports betting business for years, first with FanDuel, then with the Action Network. He joined Fanatics in June 2021, reuniting with former FanDuel CEO Matt King, and in less than a year, the company became the official trading cards partner of MLB, purchased the Topps Trading Company, and applied for a sports betting license in New York. Possessing a massive customer base, deep executive knowledge of the sports betting business, and a desire to make a larger dent in the sports betting arena, we’re thrilled to have Ari lend his perspective on how Fanatics views the future of sports betting and the evolution of the sports media industry.
Next, I am thrilled to have Audacy’s EVP of Programming Jeff Sottolano appear on stage for the first time at the Summit. In his current role, Jeff is responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across all broadcast and digital platforms. Jeff has played a key role in the launch, development and growth of the BetQL Network, while also helping Audacy evolve its position as one of America’s top audio companies. Jeff will be part of one of my favorite sessions, The Power Panel, which includes SVP of Premiere Sports and EVP of iHeart Sports Don Martin, Cumulus and Westwood One SVP Bruce Gilbert, and SiriusXM SVP of Sports Programming Steve Cohen. All four men will participate in a lengthy discussion on sports talk programming and the various challenges facing brands, talent, and programmers today.
A BSM Summit can’t just feature new faces though, especially when familiar ones add valuable knowledge to important programming conversations. ESPN Radio Program Director, former colleague and longtime friend Justin Craig will join us for our Programmers Masterclass alongside a few other notable leaders. The group will examine what does and doesn’t work from a content standpoint when trying to capture ratings. They’ll also share which ingredients are essential in successful talent/shows, and provide an on-site review of a piece of audio content. Those interested in learning how great programmer’s think will want to be present for this panel.
If you haven’t purchased a ticket to the Summit but are planning to attend, please do so before seats are no longer available. We have limited room inside the theater and it’s first come, first serve. Additionally, all attendees in New York will receive an online registration to be able to watch the show on-demand afterwards. This can be helpful when looking to share insight with local staffs who aren’t able to attend.
For those not able to travel but interested in enjoying the Summit, we do have virtual tickets available. Details on tickets, speakers, and hotel rooms can be found on BSMSummit.com. I hope to see you there!
ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit
“Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.”
The largest player in the sports content business today is ESPN. From television to radio to streaming, social, podcasts, websites and more, the network remains a force in satisfying the appetites of sports fans around the globe.
But creating sustainable global success isn’t easy. It requires investing billions of dollars in key programming partnerships, holding off competitors who seek to elevate their own standing, and hiring and retaining talented professionals and providing an environment for them to thrive in. If that wasn’t difficult enough, a company must also embrace new technology, and accept that certain things will fail while pursuing a path to excellence.
The man charged with making sure ESPN thrives in each of these areas is Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, and I’m excited to share that he’ll be joining us in March in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit.
I’ll have the pleasure of spending 35 minutes on stage with Jimmy discussing the state of the sports media industry, the opportunities and challenges facing operators in 2022 and beyond, the growth of sports betting, network radio, podcasts, subscriptions, social, and many other issues. No matter what space we’re talking about, ESPN has held a dominant position among all media brands. Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.
Jimmy has been with the Walt Disney Company since 2010. He became ESPN President in 2018 and was elevated two years later to his current role as Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content. You can learn more about his professional background by clicking here.
A reminder that the 2022 BSM Summit is an industry-only event. You must work in the media business in order to attend the show. This includes sales, public relations, advertising agency professionals and agents, as well as programming folks. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet of attending the Summit, feel free to visit our YouTube page to see some clips from past shows. It’ll give you an idea of what you can expect. You can also see the full list of speakers scheduled to appear at our 2022 show by visiting BSMSummit.com. We’ll announce a few more executive additions to March’s event later this week.
For those who manage brands and have joined us before in New York, Los Angeles and/or Chicago and are planning to come but haven’t bought a ticket yet, please do so asap. Seating is limited and once we’re full, we can’t add seats inside the room. You can also take advantage of a great hotel deal ($109 per night) with our partner Hotel Edison by clicking here.
One additional note, for those who are concerned about traveling, there is an opportunity to buy a virtual ticket. This year’s show is available both online and in person. For those planning to join us in NYC, in addition to receiving your live ticket, you’ll also get an online account so you can view the event on-demand afterwards. This can be especially helpful if you wish to replay a session or use any information afterwards to help members of your team. A big thanks to our virtual partner Nuvoodoo Media for helping make it happen.
We’re just 49 days away from putting on a spectacular show for industry folks in the big apple. We hope to see you there!
BSM, BNM Ready To Grow In 2022
“We’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners.”
It’s commonplace in our business to self-reflect when a new year full of possibilities arrives. We should probably do it more often rather than reserving it for the final day of the year or the first day of the next, but in the media business, finding time isn’t always easy.
As I look back at 2021, and the obstacles, adversity, accomplishments, enlightenment, and unpredictability that awaits BSM and BNM in 2022, I’m grateful to be able to do work that many enjoy and benefit from. Since I left the programming world in 2015 not a day has passed where I thought ‘I need to get back to running a radio station‘. That may sound crazy considering I spent two decades inside of buildings, loving the job, and living and breathing it 24/7, but from the second I moved into this space, I knew it was where I needed to be.
I had my fun building brands, chasing ratings, leading corporate programming calls, and making good money, but that restricted me to working in one city for one company with one brand and one staff. Now, I get to wake up each day and help clients in multiple cities, and run my own brand, collaborating with a great group of people to tell stories about the business we love. Combine that with hosting an annual conference, working with advertising partners and industry friends to create cool content and examine ways to grow their businesses, and connecting with folks to stay plugged in on details that others won’t know about until weeks or months later, and I consider myself very lucky. The added bonus, I get to do it in running pants and t-shirts inside the comfort of my home office/studio.
But with operating a business comes a different set of challenges. In 2020, we ended the BSM Summit on a high only to watch the entire world spin out of control weeks later due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That created a bunch of short-term issues, which fortunately we were able to overcome. Fast forward to this year, and we’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners. I never assume we’re in the clear because things can change quickly, but the support we’ve received is appreciated. It fuels me to reinvest in others to continue growing our operation and helping the industry.
So let’s talk a little bit about how we’re doing that in 2022.
First, we merged Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media in May 2021 to bring news and opinion from both the sports/talk and news/talk worlds under one roof. We tried running them independently initially but that wasn’t the best strategy for a new brand. Since bringing them together, BNM’s exposure has increased, the content has been read more regularly, and though we have more to do to get the brand on par with BSM, we’re making progress. BSM had a 5+ year head start on BNM, and though I know at times it may seem weird to read a sports media and news media story on the same website or social media account, as I tell those who ask, sports and news have mixed together since the invention of television, radio and newspapers.
Boosting BNM’s awareness and content is a goal for 2022, and to do that I want to share two things we’re creating to help us make progress.
I’m excited to share that we are launching The BNM Rundown. This will be a newsletter we distribute 3x per week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) via email similar to what we’ve done with the BSM 8@8. The Rundown will go out around 5pm ET on each of those three days, and it’ll contain ten (10) news media stories, five (5) advertising slots, and the latest stock prices for radio groups. There will be additional content and advertising added in the future, and we may increase delivery to five days per week down the line. I’m happy with the layout and think you’ll enjoy it. If you’d like to receive the BNM Rundown or discuss advertising opportunities inside of it, click here to sign up. A big thanks to Ryan Jaster for all the work he’s done getting it ready for distribution.
In addition to the newsletter, 2022 will become the first year where we roll out BNM’s Top 20 of 2022. Similar to how we’ve produced the BSM Top 20, we are going to do the same for the News/Talk format. Categories will be announced at a later time, and we’re expecting to present our results towards years end. There’s a lot to be done to make it a success, but if we’re able to do for News/Talk what we’ve done for Sports/Talk during the past 6 years, I’m confident folks will appreciate it.
When I look at BNM right now, I see a number of excellent writers on the site. If you’re not reading Pete Mundo, Jerry Barmash, Douglas Pucci, Rick Schultz, McGraw Milhaven, Ryan Hedrick and Eduardo Razo, you really should. Each of those guys have been rock stars for the brand, but we need more help, especially another columnist or two. If you work in news radio or TV, love writing, and live and breathe the business, email: JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Though we do need to add columnists, a bigger hole has been a dedicated Assistant Content Editor. I’ve poured my heart and soul into BSM over the years, Demetri Ravanos has as well, and that’s helped us build a strong connection with sports radio folks. For BNM, that love, interest, and unwavering passion for telling stories about news radio and news television has been missing in the editor role. Though frustrating at times, it’s all part of building a brand. You have to go thru a few things before it all starts to click. Now after talking to a bunch of talented people over the past two months, and thinking about the brand’s need for TLC, I’m happy to announce the internal promotion of Eduardo Razo.
Since joining us Eduardo has been a steady fixture on the site, writing news, scheduling social posts, and putting an extra set of eyes on the content that comes in from our team. He cares about the site being clean, conducts himself neutrally and professionally when adding news, and he believes in the brand. If hours go by and the site doesn’t have new content, he’s the one who points it out. When Eduardo first joined us he was just learning the ropes. Over the past fifteen months he’s been consistently excellent, and I have no doubt he’ll make even more progress in his new role as BNM’s Assistant Content Editor.
Making sure Eduardo has support to help him though is also important. I’d love to be that person myself, but client projects require much of my focus, so having a strong #2 is key. I’ve been lucky to have a great one in Demetri Ravanos who I’m excited to share is being elevated to the new role of Director of Content. In his new position, Demetri will continue producing columns, creating original feature stories, and hosting a weekly podcast. He’ll also be responsible for daily social creation and scheduling, working with yours truly on client projects and Barrett Media events, recruitment of writers, growth of the BSM Member Directory, BSM merchandising, additional BSM audio projects, and oversight of BSM and BNM’s Assistant Content Editors.
That last line implies that there will be multiple editors involved in shaping BSM and BNM’s content, and with Demetri and Eduardo promoted, that means we’re adding someone to help grow BSM. I’m thrilled to welcome Ian Casselberry to our team as BSM’s new Assistant Content Editor. Ian is familiar to many in the sports media universe for his work with Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He’s also contributed to Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, SB Nation Detroit, and MLive.com among others.
I’ve read Ian’s work for years and have always appreciated his passion for sports radio and sports television. Adding someone with his experience, creativity, and attention to detail has been a huge priority for me. I’m looking forward to turning him loose on January 17th when he officially begins working with us. Under his direction, and in tandem with Demetri and I, we’re going to aim to produce more quality sports media content, and continue expanding BSM’s footprint across the industry.
As awesome as all of these moves are for creating interest in reading the site, if you don’t have someone in position to help sell it, the upside is going to be limited. For the past six years I’ve been the one making those sales myself. But I’ve also had to be a consultant, social scheduler, content creator, summit organizer-creator-host, finder of new clients, and the one in charge of billing and payroll. I love being busy, but a brand’s potential can’t be maximized without help.
Placing the company’s sales efforts in someone else’s hands though requires trust. I’ve learned the past few years that unless you’re inside my world and understand everything that goes on with BSM and BNM, it’s not an easy brand to sell. Media sellers are used to working with more assets, bigger dollars, and they expect things to move faster. They’re also used to corporate environments where a crew provides support from the beginning to the end of a sale. That’s not how it works here. This is more of a family business. Our success depends on one on one relationships, accessibility, being a self-starter, and patience. It means keeping in touch with industry friends and partners even when there isn’t a sale to be made. Nobody knows this brand, business, and who we serve better than the person who’s lived it with me for the past six and a half years, Stephanie Eads, my new Director of Strategic Partnerships.
Not only has Stephanie worked in sales and customer service most of her adult life, she’s honest, organized, and outstanding with people. She’s been exposed to every aspect of my radio life for the past sixteen years, and if you’ve been to a BSM Summit before then you already know how on the ball she is at making sure things get done. This is something we’ve talked about for years, but the timing was never right. Now it is, and I’m excited to watch her blossom. Having her add extra support to help me with billing and payroll is an added bonus.
The BSM brand will also welcome a few additional writers starting this week. First, I’m glad to have Danny O’Neil joining us as a weekly columnist. I got to know Danny in Seattle at 710 ESPN Seattle over the past six years, and he’s always been smart, passionate about media, and an exceptional writer. He’s now based in NYC and his debut column will hit the site this Friday. Also joining us in a daily news writer role is Will Dundon. Will is based in Nashville where he works as a producer for 102.5 The Game. Having him involved will help us stay on top of day to day news stories.
In terms of upcoming content, the BSM Top 20 of 2021 will be released February 7-11 and 14-15. The series moves back a week this year in accordance with a later Super Bowl date. During the seven day span we will highlight the best local sports radio stations, program directors, and morning, midday, and afternoon shows. We will also recognize the best national sports talk shows and original sports podcasts. To do that, we will once again involve more than 50 program directors and executives in the voting process.
One thing we will do differently this year is create an extra piece which recognizes the top performer in twenty smaller categories. These will be determined by a combination of BSM staff and select experts for specific fields. Some of these categories will include Best Sports Betting Content Brand, Best Wrestling Audio Show, Best Sports Radio Social Brand, and more.
After the Top 20 concludes, we’ll turn our attention to the 2022 BSM Summit, which is scheduled for March 2-3, 2022 in New York City at the Anne Bernstein Theater. The show will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. I’m excited about the guest speakers we’ve lined up for this year’s event, and have more tremendous additions to announce later this week and next week. I realize the Omicron/Covid-19 situation has created some concern over the past month, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. As of today, we’re planning to host the event. If the situation were to worsen and we couldn’t keep people safe and comfortable, we’d reschedule the show. I’m hopeful of seeing familiar faces and many of sports media’s best and brightest in sixty days. If you haven’t bought your ticket, log on to BSMSummit.com and do so before you’re on the outside looking in. In the meantime, stay tuned to this website and the BSM 8@8 for details. We should all know more January 15th when New York State updates everyone on their mask ordinance.
Other content projects are in the works as well for March-December. We’ve got a number of ideas we’ve talked about for March Madness, and the NFL Draft. Items like last year’s Meet The Market Managers or a programmer’s version of it may also land on the content calendar. Not to be forgotten is the importance of continuing to improve the BSM Member Directory to help people stay informed, ready, and land in front of the right decision makers when job openings arise. Seeing a few of our members earn gigs the last 4-5 months of 2021 was very cool, and we hope to see more of that in 2022. Last but not least, I’m hopeful of giving the website a new layout in either quarter 2 or 3.
As I bring this column to a close, I’d like to remind you that BSM and BNM exists because we love the business and advocate for it daily. Since 2015, I’ve prioritized professional storytelling, research, industry news, relationship building, social media marketing, and consulting. Inside information and building relationships are important, and sure, it’s occasionally fun being first, but I’ve never worried about clicks, scoops, cash grabs or ruining reputations to elevate my own. I try to think about the big picture, even if it means missing out in the short-term. That applies to who I work with in a consulting capacity as well as how I operate the site. There’s no better example of it than last week. Most of our crew had the week off. It was tough missing out on stories when we were taking a mental timeout, but people come first. If you want long-term productivity and a staff to stick with you, support and sacrifice are essential.
If there’s one thing I know, this outlet has been a great resource for industry professionals. I wasn’t as fortunate during my studio days to have a site this rich in content to learn from, debate with, and stay connected to. We’ve hired 20+ contributors to help serve the industry, and I’m honored to have each one of them here. The additions we’ve made to improve the brand in 2022 will make us even better. We’re not perfect by any stretch, but we try to be fair and accurate. I also try to be accessible, especially when difficult situations arise. There are going to be times when our crew deliver strong opinions or tackle sensitive issues, and when those instances occur, I hope you’ll remember what I said about accuracy and fairness. We won’t operate as shills for the industry but we’re also not going scorched earth on folks.
Our goal here is simple, help folks stay informed about the sports and news radio/television formats, overdeliver for clients who place their trust in us, connect our advertising partners and members to others who can benefit from their services, and give industry people access to content from other professionals so they can do their jobs better.
If we can do these things consistently we’ll be in great shape. If we miss along the way, we’ll clean up the mess, and try to learn from it. We’re nine months away from celebrating seven years in operation, and we couldn’t have made it this far without your full support. Thanks for riding with us, now let’s make 2022 a year to remember.
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