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A Twitter Strategy From The Play-By-Play Booth

“I don’t just repeat or retweet things I may see on Twitter unless I know the source.”

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In this day and age, social media can be a useful tool, but if not used correctly it can end up being your worst nightmare. All of the popular sites are great resources to self-promote, give out valuable information or gather the same. Don’t approach social media, well don’t approach social media without an approach. I use most of the platforms, but the one I use most is Twitter, so I’ll gear this column towards that. 

My basic need while the game is going on is information sharing. Now, I don’t just repeat or retweet things I may see on Twitter unless I know the source. I make sure I follow credible sources for each Major League Baseball team: beat writers, beat reporters, radio announcers, television announcers and the teams’ various PR Twitter handles. 

For example, on the night of July 12th, I was doing a game in Oakland with the White Sox, there was something special going on a few hundred miles down the coast. The Angels were combining to throw a no-hitter in their first game at home since the tragic death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs. I was following along through the Angels account and several of their beat writers. It was an easy way for my listeners to know what was going on in Anaheim without me being distracted and looking all over the place for information. It was a special thing that I wanted my audience to be aware of. I use Twitter for just this reason, to provide up to date information on things of note that are going on around the league. 

Image result for angels no hitter

I make sure to return the favor when it applies. During a day game in Chicago on April 17th, the White Sox and Royals had the benches clear after Tim Anderson was hit by a pitch following a home run in which he ‘flipped’ his bat. A large gathering of players and coaches milled around the field while the umpiring crew tried to figure out who stayed in the game and who was to be ejected.

I tweeted the information so my fellow broadcasters and my audience that couldn’t be listening to the game would know what had happened. I also tweeted out a picture of the aftermath of the incident to supplement our coverage.  I did offer a few opinions about the decisions on ejections as well, because we were talking about it on the air after order had been restored. That’s just an example of the information during a game that I will tweet out. 

Before a game, I get to play reporter. Providing news from the pregame manager scrum, things I learned in the clubhouse that day and giving out information on official team releases as well. Plus, I get to tie in a promotion for my pregame show and guests and the game broadcast time and radio station. Free advertising for yourself and the flagship station is never frowned upon. I will from time to time use a photo of the field or something else going on at the park before the game to enhance the tweet. I especially include a picture when the weather is either beautiful or awful!  I think fans really appreciate those times you take them behind the curtain, showing them the inner workings of the broadcast and of the field before a game. 

Another thing to get in the habit of doing is ‘retweeting’ others. A lot of the time there is a guy in Chicago that is a master of the “nugget” during games. He’ll Tweet out excellent information that can’t easily be gathered. I admire his effort and will retweet him often with a comment. I feel like his information is accurate and credible, so give him credit. It also shows that you are willing to share someone else’s information for benefit of your audience. Promote others and they are likely to promote you when you have information that they don’t have. 

That’s the good of social media, but believe me there is a not so good side too. You will be told sometimes how bad you are, how many mistakes you’ve made and try to bate you into a retort. Best bet is to ignore it and move on. I’m sure your first thought is to fire back, but what good will it do you to engage a fan online? Live by this motto: THINK BEFORE YOU TWEET. If you remember nothing else, remember those 4 words, they could save you a lot of unnecessary headaches. 

Think about who is going to see the response, your friends, colleagues and more than likely your bosses. Is it worth it? Probably not. Is your job worth it? Again, likely the answer is no. A good portion of these active tweeters just do it to get a rise out of you. Don’t engage. Sometimes to get my anger out, I’ll open up a word document and type out a response just to get it off my chest and then delete. There are other occasions where it’s necessary to respond. Every once in a while, I’ll respond with a “thanks for listening, we appreciate it.”. More often than not, the listener will respond by ‘back peddling’ because they never thought you’d either see it or for sure respond. 

I’ll wrap this up by giving you a list of things that you should be thinking about doing and not doing on your social media posts. 

DO:

  1. Update your profile on the platforms regularly to make sure they’re current.
  2. Be consistent, during the baseball season, I’m all about baseball, people expect it.
  3. Interact with your audience, but again don’t respond to all the negativity. If you are asked a question, try to answer it to the best of your ability. 
  4. Just like during a broadcast, inform and entertain the audience. 
  5. Try new things, like polls, photos and GIFS.
  6. Be on your best behavior, be couteous on Social Media. Be conscience of who you are tagging in posts.
  7. Be careful on posting political opinions, you will likely alienate half your audience. Not saying you can’t, but be ready for the backlash.  
  8. Use your account for good

DON’T:

  1. Use improper grammar or spelling, makes you a less credible follow. Typos happen, so proof before tweeting. 
  2. Overshare things. If you have a podcast, or a blog post, don’t share it 25 times during the day. Maybe once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once at night. 
  3. Along those lines, don’t be a needy Tweeter. Oversharing, begging for followers or retweets is not a good habit to get into. 
  4. Retweet “fake accounts”. I’ve been burned a few times especially during baseball trade season with the copycat Ken Rosenthal account. Block them. 
  5. Provide fake information yourself either
  6. Come across as someone that knows everything and can’t be challenged on things
  7. Spend all your time on social media platforms, there’s a great big world out there

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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