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The 2020 BSM Summit is Coming to New York City

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It feels like just yesterday that I was standing on a stage at the Grammy Museum hosting the 2019 BSM Summit in Los Angeles. It was a blast to see so many radio companies present for the event, and everyone interacting, sharing ideas, and discussing solutions to improve the radio business. From programmers to market managers to advertising agencies, on-air talent, producers, imagers, and voice guys, the mix was excellent. It’s one of my most proud accomplishments since starting BSM four years.

Prior to that event, I had no idea if we’d fill half the room or have every seat accounted for. Many of my industry friends kept telling me it was a lock that the conference would be a success. I wish I could say I shared their optimism but when you invest a ton of your own money to create an educational event for people and have a lot at stake, it’s impossible to feel comfortable. Fortunately everything worked out great, and after 4 months of reflection and a much needed mental break, I’m ready to dive back in.

That brings us to today’s announcement, and I am thrilled to share that the 2020 BSM Summit will take place on February 26th and 27th in New York City at the Ailey Citigroup Theater on W. 55th Street at 9th Avenue. This is the first time we will host the event on the East Coast.

You would think that a guy from Brooklyn, NY who now lives and operates his business 1-hour away from NYC would’ve made the big apple his first stop when starting this event. After all, the commute is much easier. But truth be told, I wanted to test myself in places that I had less connections in first. I also wasn’t sure if my industry friends would travel to the big apple over other destinations especially since the show occurs in February.

But then an interesting thing happened after the L.A. conference. I asked attendees and industry folks for feedback on where our 2020 Summit should take place. Seven cities were under consideration and I expected the majority of people to choose a warm weather climate with gorgeous beaches, bars and casinos. To my surprise, they voted for the concrete jungle.

Throughout the process I kept thinking the results would change but they never did. I saw that as a sign that people were actually interested in being part of a great event and learning and networking with their peers rather than using the conference as an excuse for a 2-3 day mini-vacation.

After processing the feedback and evaluating the pros and cons, I took five different trips into New York City to scout locations. I looked at fifteen different venues in all different parts of the city and narrowed it down to a final three. It became pretty clear that The Ailey Citigroup Theater was the right fit for us. Not only is the theater layout excellent, but we have private rooms for our speakers and off-stage filming, and it’s a little bigger than last year’s location. That will allow us to comfortably fit 235-260 people in the room. That said, the demand to attend this year will also likely be higher.

I also took time to scout the surrounding area, and found a bunch of restaurants within walking distance of the theater. Hotels were also only 2-3 blocks away. On that note, I’m happy to share that we’ve partnered with The Watson Hotel to make sure those traveling in can secure a room at a great price. Details will be made available soon.

When you think about the sports world and the top brands and talent in our industry, many of them operate out of New York. There’s ESPN, FOX Sports 1, WFAN, 98.7 ESPN NY, SiriusXM, Westwood One, NFL Network, NBC Sports, DAZN, CBS Sports Network, Barstool Sports, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, The Athletic, The Player’s Tribune, YES Network, MSG, SNY, the NY Times, NY Post, NY Daily News and more. I haven’t even mentioned yet the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and WWE or the ad agencies, media agents, and social networks who occupy real estate in the big apple.

For attendees seeking adventure after the conference, there’s plenty to see and do. Times Square and Madison Square Garden are a short Uber/Cab or train ride away. So too are Central Park, Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios/The Jimmy Fallon Show, The Stephen Colbert show, Comedy Central, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, The Museum of Natural History, the 9/11 Memorial, and a host of others.

Given the amount of talent and popular brands in New York City, putting together a star studded cast of speakers shouldn’t be difficult. The challenge though will be creating a schedule that covers a variety of issues even if it means not being able to include a few folks I like. The process to build an action packed show starts immediately.

One thing we will continue is the award ceremonies. I’m looking forward to assembling a list of candidates and determining who will receive the 2nd annual Jeff Smulyan and Tony Bruno awards. We will also introduce two new awards at this year’s show. Details to be announced at a later time.

For those wishing to attend the 2020 BSM Summit, tickets will go on-sale on Monday June 24th. We will have a special introductory price to those who purchase their tickets early. Prices will increase on October 1st and again on February 1st so it pays to take advantage of the early bird special.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention sponsorship opportunities being available too. If you represent a company or business and wish to be part of our two-day event, please email JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

For everything else, keep an eye on our social media accounts and stay tuned to BSMSummit.com and BarrettSportsMedia.com. It’s going to be an exciting event and I look forward to seeing you next February in the city that never sleeps!

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2022 BSM Summit Adds Pablo Torre, Joe Fortenbaugh, Kazeem Famuyide & John Jastremski

“By the time March’s conference rolls around, we’ll have somewhere between 50-60 people announced to participate at the two day Summit.”

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The announcements continue for the 2022 BSM Summit. After recently sharing the news that former ESPN Radio executive Traug Keller would join us in the big apple to accept the Jeff Smulyan Award, and previously revealing the first fourteen participants scheduled to appear, it’s time to inform you of a few key talent who will participate in sessions at March’s show.

I’m thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Pablo Torre to the 2022 BSM Summit. Pablo’s been with the worldwide leader since 2012. During that time he’s served as a senior writer for ESPN.com, the host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and has appeared on shows such as Around The Horn, Highly Questionable, and The Dan Le Batard Show. He also previously co-hosted High Noon with Bomani Jones. Prior to joining ESPN he spent five years writing for Sports Illustrated. Having worked with a mixture of talent from various backgrounds, I’m looking forward to having him share his insight and opinions on the value of it at the show.

Pablo isn’t the only ESPN personality joining us in New York for the conference. I’m excited to welcome back a great friend and one of the smartest sports betting analysts on television, Joe Fortenbaugh. Joe is regularly featured on ESPN’s sports betting program Daily Wager. He also appears on other ESPN programs and segments on television, radio and digital platforms. Prior to joining the network he hosted 95.7 The Game’s morning show in San Francisco, and hosted “The Sharp 600″ sports betting podcast. He’ll moderate a conversation with sports betting executives at the show.

Given that this two-day sports media conference is taking place in the heart of New York City, it’d be silly to not include someone who’s passion, energy, sound, and content embody what New York is all about. The Ringer’s John Jastremski will make his BSM Summit debut in 2022. The ‘New York, New York’ host is known to many for his years of contributions on WFAN. It’ll be fun picking JJ’s brain on the differences between performing on a traditional platform and the digital stage.

Jastremski isn’t the only one with a connection to The Ringer who will participate at our 2022 event. My next guest is someone who I’ve followed on YouTube and Twitter for years, has infectious energy and likeability, and has taken his life experiences and sports passions and turned them into opportunities with MSG Network, SNY, The Ringer, Bleacher Report, WWE, The Source and various other outlets. Kazeem Famuyide will join us to shed light on his journey and offer his perspective on the value of traditional vs. non-traditional paths.

By the time March’s conference rolls around, we’ll have somewhere between 50-60 people announced to participate at the two day event. I’ll be announcing the addition of a very special executive in mid-October, as well as a few high profile speakers and awards recipients in the weeks and months ahead. I’m appreciative of so many expressing interest in speaking at the conference, and as much as I’d like to include everyone on stage, I can’t. Keeping the Summit informative, fresh and focused on the right issues is important, and to do that, I’ve got to introduce different people, perspectives and subjects so our attendees gain value to further improve the industry.

A reminder, the 2022 BSM Summit is strictly for members of the sports media industry and college students aspiring to work in the business. It brings together people from more than thirty different media companies and focuses on issues of relevance and importance to media industry professionals. The show takes place March 2-3, 2022 in New York at the Anne Bernstein Theater on West 50th Street. Tickets and hotel rooms can be secured by visiting BSMSummit.com. For those unable to attend in person, the Summit will also be available to view online. Virtual tickets can be purchased by clicking here. Hope you’ll join us!

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Traug Keller Named 2022 Recipient of the Jeff Smulyan Award

“Former SVP of ESPN Audio and President of ABC Networks Traug Keller has been chosen as our 2022 recipient of the Jeff Smulyan Award.”

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Photo Credit: ESPN Images

Sometimes decisions are difficult. Other times they’re not. This was one of the easiest ones I’ve made since launching the BSM Summit in 2018.

If you haven’t attended the Summit before, one of the cool parts of the conference each year is that we take time to honor people who have left a permanent mark on the industry we love. Awards ceremonies are held both days to recognize difference makers who have made positive contributions to the sports radio business. At our 2022 BSM Summit, I am pleased to share that a great man will be celebrated for his life’s work.

It is my honor to announce that former SVP of ESPN Audio and President of ABC Networks Traug Keller has been chosen as our 2022 recipient of the Jeff Smulyan Award. Keller becomes the third industry executive to earn the honor. Kraig Kitchin and Dan Mason were the first two to be recognized at the 2019 and 2020 BSM Summit’s.

Upon learning that Traug had been selected as the next Jeff Smulyan Award winner, Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan said, “Traug Keller has left an indelible imprint on not only sports radio, but on all of broadcasting through his remarkable career. I’m proud to call him my friend, but I’m just one of the legions of people who have loved every minute of their time with him. He’s a broadcaster’s broadcaster, but more than that he’s one of the best people I’ve ever known.”

“I am humbled for sure but thrilled to be receiving an award with the name of my good friend on it, Jeff Smulyan,” added Traug Keller, now the EVP and COO of American Media. “Jeff did what all too few leaders in business do, he took risk and action against all kinds of headwinds and the rest of us in the great business of Sports Audio were the beneficiaries of it. Thanks to BSM for this great honor and I look forward to seeing a bunch of old friends in March!”

Anyone who has crossed paths with Traug over the past three decades knows how important he was to the success of ESPN Radio. He’s been a friend to many, a great partner to hundreds of radio affiliates, and a champion for talent. His support for BSM has also meant a lot.

Perhaps even more impressive was Traug’s ability to connect with his affiliates, clients and colleagues, offering steady leadership and on-air stability for ESPN Radio. No executive leaves with a perfect record, but Keller had a knack for landing on the right side of many decisions. None as impressive though as retiring from sports radio in February 2020, one month before the sports world came to a screeching halt and a global pandemic rocked the entire advertising industry. Talk about timing Traug, haha.

In all seriousness, having Traug and Jeff together on the same stage in front of the industry to give folks an opportunity to show their appreciation for their accomplishments is a real treat. So many enjoy professional success today due to bold and smart decisions made by each of these men, and I couldn’t be happier to spend time with both in New York City this March.

For tickets, hotel and additional details regarding the 2022 BSM Summit visit BSMSummit.com.

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Barrett Blogs

14 Participants Announced For The 2022 BSM Summit

“The industry is rapidly evolving, so as a professional, it’s vital to learn new skills, build relationships, discover what clients want in order to generate more revenue, understand audience behavior, and pick the brains of your peers to create new ideas.”

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To most people, six months is far enough away to not think much about it. But when you’re building a conference, it feels way too close to get everything done in time that’s required to execute a high caliber event.

By now you’ve likely heard that the 2022 BSM Summit is returning to New York City on March 2-3, 2022. I shared that news on July 19th, but didn’t provide many details other than the date and venue (Anne Bernstein Theater). Tickets weren’t even put on sale because I wanted to make sure a few other items were nailed down first before we started accepting payments.

Before I discuss some of those details, I want to remind folks that for the first time ever, the Summit will be available to attend both in-person and virtually. A big thanks to Nuvoodoo for partnering with us to make the Summit available online. If you’ve been to this event before, then you know the live experience is extremely valuable. That said, due to the ongoing issues in our country with Covid-19, some may prefer not to travel and watch it online instead. We’ve gone to great lengths to make this valuable for industry professionals, including pricing tickets differently on BSMSummit.com to account for the live vs. online advantages. If you’re planning to attend, you can now purchase tickets on the website.

As far as other key items are concerned, finding the right hotel partner was important. I’m pleased to share that Hotel Edison will serve as the official hotel of the 2022 BSM Summit. I know that keeping travel costs low is vital yet industry professionals also want to stay in a nice location close to the event. I think we’ve pulled that off again. Hotel Edison is only a 3-block walk to the Anne Bernstein Theater and they’ve provided an excellent rate for attendees. Rooms will go fast though, so click here to reserve your room asap to avoid missing out.

The next part of this process involved gathering sponsors. As an independent operator who focuses more on content and consulting than sales, this part isn’t always easy. I don’t have a sales team working for me nor do I have 40-hours a week to focus solely on Summit sponsors. Fortunately, I’ve built a few great partnerships over the years, so I’d like to thank ESPN Radio, Compass Media Networks, and Stone Voiceovers for offering their support once again. I know other clients will return too, but there are many other broadcasting companies and businesses with products targeted to industry professionals who haven’t been part of this event before. So here’s an opportunity to change that. Check out our Advertising page, and if you see something that appeals to your group, get in touch so we can discuss how we might be able to work together. Your support allows us to continue doing this event for the industry.

Now that we’ve taken care of the business, let’s talk about the thing that everyone cares about most, the speakers. I usually start off by announcing some of the high profile personalities who will be part of the show. This year though, I’m going to start by focusing on some of the top programming minds in the industry. It’s an honor once again to welcome Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan, Premiere Radio Networks SVP of Sports Don Martin, Westwood One and Cumulus Media SVP of Sports Bruce Gilbert, SiriusXM SVP of Sports Steve Cohen, Audacy New York Market Manager Chris Oliviero, former WFAN Program Director Mark Chernoff, current WFAN Program Director Spike Eskin, 670 The Score and 1250 The Fan Program Director Mitch Rosen, and Hubbard’s Director of Digital Content Phil Mackey to the BSM Summit.

As great as it is to have those nine gentlemen part of the event, I’m equally excited to welcome a few new faces. Joining us for the first time will be Blue Wire Podcasts CEO Kevin Jones, The Volume’s Head of Content Logan Swaim, Nuvoodoo Media’s CEO Carolyn Gilbert and EVP of Research Analysis Leigh Jacobs, and WFNZ Program Director and the creator of 92.9 The Game in Atlanta and 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, Terry Foxx.

If you’ve followed how we promote this event over the years, you know that I don’t share all the details at once. The credentials of these fourteen individuals are well documented, and having them involved is important to me. By the time March rolls around though, we’ll add 30-40 others with similar qualifications. I won’t tell you who else has committed to join us for the show, but there’s some serious firepower to be announced in the coming weeks and months. I’m especially excited to spend time on stage with one well respected executive during one of the Summit’s featured sessions.

What I value most about the Summit is that it brings the industry together and allows us to examine many different layers of the industry over a sixteen hour period with a lot of smart and successful people. In doing so, folks are able to return home with valuable knowledge and action steps to help themselves and their brands. This conference started with a focus on radio but has since expanded to cover podcasting, social media, sports betting, marketing, video, print, etc.. The industry is rapidly evolving, so as a professional, it’s vital to learn new skills, build relationships, discover what clients want in order to generate more revenue, understand audience behavior, and pick the brains of your peers to create new ideas. The more informed you are, the better your chances of being successful, and the education provided at the BSM Summit will absolutely help you grow as a professional.

Look for our next announcement early next week. There’s a lot to dive into in New York and I’m eager to spend time with the industry’s best and brightest, as we work on making 2022 a huge bounce back year for the sports media business.

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