Connect with us
blank

BSM Writers

Joe Ovies Drinks Beer And Talks About It

“When I see Baker Mayfield eating a beer at a game or Aaron Rodgers unable to crush a beer at a basketball game, I immediately identify those types of stories and I turn them into topics we can talk about on the air”

Tyler McComas

Published

on

blank

You’ve probably noticed by now, but your favorite NFL quarterback chugged a beer on camera this offseason. Whether it was Aaron Rogers failing miserably at a Bucks game, Matt Stafford chugging from inside a restaurant or Baker Mayfield biting into a beer at an Indians game, it seems like every starter in the league showcased their beer drinking skills at one point or another this summer. 

Image result for baker mayfield beer chug

What’s been beneficial for each guy that’s chugged a beer, or in Rodgers’ case, attempted to chug a beer, is the relatability that’s come along with it. In most cases, an enjoyment of beer at a sporting event is only way the regular fan can relate to a franchise quarterback. Athletes that attempt to humanize themselves often benefit greatly from it.

But the same can be true with sports talk radio hosts. Whereas some people may view a host as a faceless name that only spouts off sports opinions, being more relatable to the listener will almost always make you more likeable to the audience. Not to break any news, but beer and sports go together. They always have. Any host who ignores that fact is likely doing themselves a disservice. 

Joe Ovies of 99.9 the Fan in Raleigh has taken the initiative to bring beer talk to a sports talk format. Along with Adam Eshbaugh, the 919 Beer podcast has weekly episodes that focus solely on locally brewed beer in the area. The podcast features interviews with brewers, reviews and news on local beers as well as anything else a beer drinker in The Triangle would want to know. Since anything, especially if it can be sold, can be used by a station in the podcast space, it’s a mystery as to why more haven’t duplicated Ovies idea to bring sports fan more content to something they enjoy – beer.  

TM: So how did this all get started with the 919 Beer podcast?

JO: We’ve been doing this now coming up on six years. That gave way to our radio station partnering up with the guys who are on the beer podcast with me, into their annual beer festival, which takes place in October. If I understand the arrangement correctly, we essentially handle all of the sales and they run the festival itself. We’ve taken over all the title sponsorships, selling and all that stuff. Recently, with NC State having their deal with New Belgium and introducing their own beer, that’s been a topic of conversation with our area, too.

Image result for old tuffy

Where are you are does matter in the sense that North Carolina has a pretty robust craft beer community. I forget the exact numbers of craft breweries, I think it’s over 300 right now, but there are a lot of reasons why it makes a lot of sense for us in the grand scheme of things.

TM: How is the station handing the content you’re putting out each week? Is it simply in podcast form or does it get played over the air, too?

JO: We’re at the radio station and we record the beer podcast there, it’s all cleared by the station.  We take anywhere between 50-55 minutes that we do on the podcast and broadcast it. So it typically comes out on podcast form on Fridays and we also air it on one of our radio stations on Saturday mornings. 

TM: Is there any way doing a beer podcast makes you more relatable and likeable to your regular listener? 

JO: Yes, but the one thing that I can say is that it has to be organic. If you’re not a beer drinker don’t be a beer drinker. My co-host on the Fan in the afternoons, Adam is not exactly a robust beer drinker. We usually tease him about, like, it takes him a week to finish a beer, that sort of thing. When we talked about in the past like Aaron Rodgers is trying to chug a beer badly at a Bucks game, well that’s relatable to my co-host, in that, I can’t do that. It’s like the one thing Aaron Rodgers and I have in common, he may have a Super Bowl but he and I chug beer at the same rate.

Image result for aaron rodgers chug

One thing I will say about beer in general is that if you’re in a heavily college area like we are, with NC State, North Carolina and Duke, and we talk a whole lot about college football and college basketball, and throw in the tailgate culture that exists in the area with NC State and during the NHL Playoffs with the Carolina Hurricanes, the area matters and makes you more relatable in the sense that, much like sports is a common denominator for people, what you drink can also be a common denominator. Are you an IPA guy? OK, if you’re an IPA guy you might have that in common with some other people.

One thing I’ve been railing on, both on the podcast and occasionally on the air, is that sometimes people just want beer flavored beer. They don’t want some crazy desert beer or some double IPA. They just want something that’s crisp and refreshing and a drink they can have multiple of, whether they’re watching football or at a tailgate. Those topics, every so often, get spun into the on-air conversation during my show from 3-7 in the afternoon.

Image result for joe ovies studio

When I see Baker Mayfield eating a beer at a game or Aaron Rodgers unable to crush a beer at a basketball game, I immediately identify those types of stories and I turn them into topics we can talk about on the air, because they become instantly relatable. Whether they’re instantly relatable to how you consume your alcohol now, or, what’s always fun, is kind of reminiscing back to when you were in college. Baker Mayfield is out here eating a beer and our producer Alec used to be that guy back in college. So we can spend that and ask him things like, hey Alec when’s the last time you bit in to a beer? It becomes a fun conversation that way.

TM: The relationship between beer and sports is pretty easy to see. But what’s the relationship between beer and sports talk? 

JO: The relationship between beer and sports and beer and sports talk, works on a couple of different levels. I don’t think I have to explain the relationship between beer and sports, so that one is easy to figure out. You see it advertised a bunch, it’s served at games, it’s all about tailgating, etc.

I don’t want to sound cliché but if you’re a dude, or even to a certain extent in our case, we have a lot of women that listen to the station as well, because of the market that we’re in. Women like hockey and college basketball. Women do like sports and women do like beer. That can also become a relatable thing as well. It’s a really easy thing to figure out, that it’s all around you, so you might as well incorporate it with how you talk about sports.

TM: I do see some stations around the country that are doing things such as Free Beer Friday and some other creative things that incorporate local beers into shows. But what’s the exact rule of being able to drink on the air, with the FCC? 

JO: My understanding is that you’re actually able to drink as long as you’re not operating the equipment. So if I were a board op or a producer I would not be able to drink. Where we do it in the studio I don’t control my microphone, or I don’t have to control my microphone, I should say. Therefore I can drink and we do so during the podcast. We’ve also had instances, and I can’t remember how long ago it was, but we did the show from a place called World of Beer. It’s a chain and we sold it as a remote.

We picked the entire NFL playoff rounds by sampling beers from the respective cities. Based on the beers we liked, that’s how we ended up picking the playoffs. I actually did a video piece on the web a couple of years ago for the College Football Playoff, where I did a blind taste test on four beers paired up and whichever ones I liked, were basically, oh, that’s the one from the South Carolina area, then Clemson is moving on, that sort of thing. These are things you can do that are within the rules.

TM: Have you had strong reactions with the show? What’s your interaction from listeners been like with the beer podcast? 

JO: There are three components to it. The first component is the one I want to get across the most, which is, here’s this new brewery, or, a brewery you might know, but they have some new stuff. You know, the classic case of, aww man, I haven’t had their beer long time because I’ve been chasing something new. It’s good to catch up with the brewery that you remember that you liked back in the day, and it’s like, oh cool, what are they up to these days? Then you go back and check them out. Then there’s the breweries that are new and you’ve never heard of, and there’s an element of, I want to be on top of it and introduce my friends to this new brewery. That’s the first component, it’s kind of like information, process, story and getting people familiarized with a certain brewery that we’re talking to that day. Sometimes we talk to the marketing person, sometimes we’re talking to the brewer themselves, or even the owner. There’s various ways you can talk to these breweries. 

The second component is to be about the community in general. So much like a sports talk host you want to be out and seen, you don’t want to be the guy that never leaves the studio. When I go travel throughout the state, to the beach or the mountains, I’ll check out a place and I talk about it to say, hey, I’m out there with y’all, too. You might see me at a particular brewery, and this happens to me, someone will come up and say, hey, I heard you talk about this place in the past. It’s funny to see you here, that sort of thing. To be out there front and center is good for you as a host, because that makes you more relatable and approachable to the audience.

Image result for joe ovies at brewery

The third component to the beer podcast is just the fact that it’s good business. It is a thing in which you can sell remotes. During April there’s a thing called North Carolina beer month. For us specifically in April we sell a package that will take the podcast on location to your place. It gives you a lot of run, like,  hey, come out to this place and try this beer they’re introducing for North Carolina beer month, which helps raise awareness for your place and it helps sell. It’s a really easy thing for the sales department to grasp, because it’s, hey, beer. You can either sell a brewery, you can sell a bottle shop, you can sell a sports bar, and you can sell any number of things related to that podcast.

I will add this to the sales part of it and what’s tricky about that, and this is why you need to get sales department, it’s easy for a bottle shop or a local brewery to rely on social media and word-of-mouth. So what the podcast or your broadcast sales department have to do together is, hey look, it’s nice that you have this but we can blow it up bigger. Like you may actually be in a bubble and that bubble is good for you, for lack of a better term. You might have that beer bro demo down, right? The beer bros know who you are. But for the casual person, who might not be aware of your stuff, this is where we can bring them in and help spread your brand through radio and through the podcast. 

BSM Writers

The Future Is Now, Embrace Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+

As annoying as streaming sports is and as much as I haven’t fully adapted to the habit yet, Amazon and Apple have done a magnificent job of trying to make the process as easy and simplified as possible.

Avatar photo

Published

on

blank

This week has been a reckoning for sports and its streaming future on Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+, ESPN+, and more.

Amazon announced that Thursday Night Football, which averaged 13 million viewers, generated the highest number of U.S. sign ups over a three hour period in the app’s history. More people in the United States subscribed to Prime during the September 15th broadcast than they did during Black Friday, Prime Day, and Cyber Monday. It was also “the most watched night of primetime in Prime Video’s history,” according to Amazon executive Jay Marine. The NFL and sports in general have the power to move mountains even for some of the nation’s biggest and most successful brands.

This leads us to the conversation happening surrounding Aaron Judge’s chase for history. Judge has been in pursuit of former major leaguer Roger Maris’ record for the most home runs hit during one season in American League history.

The sports world has turned its attention to the Yankees causing national rights holders such as ESPN, Fox, and TBS to pick up extra games in hopes that they capture the moment history is made. Apple TV+ also happened to have a Yankees game scheduled for Friday night against the Red Sox right in the middle of this chase for glory.

Baseball fans have been wildin’ out at the prospects of missing the grand moment when Judge passes Maris or even the moments afterwards as Judge chases home run number 70 and tries to truly create monumental history of his own. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand has even reported there were talks between YES, MLB, and Apple to bring Michael Kay into Apple’s broadcast to call the game, allow YES Network to air its own production of the game, or allow YES Network to simulcast Apple TV+’s broadcast. In my opinion, all of this hysteria is extremely bogus.

As annoying as streaming sports is and as much as I haven’t fully adapted to the habit yet, Amazon and Apple have done a magnificent job of trying to make the process as easy and simplified as possible. Amazon brought in NBC to help with production of TNF and if you watch the flow of the broadcast, the graphics of the broadcast, NBC personalities like Michael Smith, Al Michaels, and Terry McAuliffe make appearances on the telecast – it is very clear that the network’s imprint is all over the show.

NBC’s experience in conducting the broadcast has made the viewing experience much more seamless. Apple has also used MLB Network and its personalities for assistance in ensuring there’s no major difference between what you see on air vs. what you’re streaming.

Amazon and Apple have also decided to not hide their games behind a paywall. Since the beginning of the season, all of Apple’s games have been available free of charge. No subscription has ever been required. As long as you have an Apple device and can download Apple TV+, you can watch their MLB package this season.

Guess what? Friday’s game against the Red Sox is also available for free on your iPhone, your laptop, or your TV simply by downloading the AppleTV app. Amazon will also simulcast all Thursday Night Football games on Twitch for free. It may be a little harder or confusing to find the free options, but they are out there and they are legal and, once again, they are free.

Apple has invested $85 million into baseball, money that will go towards your team becoming better hypothetically. They’ve invested money towards creating a new kind of streaming experience. Why in the hell would they offer YES Network this game for free? There’s no better way for them to drive subscriptions to their product than by offering fans a chance at watching history on their platform.

A moment like this are the main reason Apple paid for rights in the first place. When Apple sees what the NFL has done for Amazon in just one week and coincidentally has the ability to broadcast one of the biggest moments in baseball history – it would be a terrible business decision to let viewers watch it outside of the Apple ecosystem and lose the ability to gain new fans.

It’s time for sports fans to grow up and face reality. Streaming is here to stay. 

MLB Network is another option

If you don’t feel like going through the hassle of watching the Yankees take on the Red Sox for free on Apple TV+, MLB Network will also air all of Judge’s at bats live as they are happening. In case the moment doesn’t happen on Apple TV+ on Friday night, Judge’s next games will air in full on MLB Network (Saturday), ESPN (Sunday), MLB Network again (Monday), TBS (Tuesday) and MLB Network for a third time on Wednesday. All of MLB Network’s games will be simulcast of YES Network’s local New York broadcast. It wouldn’t shock me to see Fox pick up another game next Thursday if the pursuit still maintains national interest.

Quick bites

  • One of the weirdest things about the experience of streaming sports is that you lose the desire to channel surf. Is that a good thing or bad thing? Brandon Ross of LightShed Ventures wonders if the difficulty that comes with going from app to app will help Amazon keep viewers on TNF the entire time no matter what the score of the game is. If it does, Amazon needs to work on developing programming to surround the games or start replaying the games, pre and post shows so that when you fall asleep and wake up you’re still on the same stream on Prime Video or so that coming to Prime Video for sports becomes just as much of a habit for fans as tuning in to ESPN is.
  • CNN has announced the launch of a new morning show with Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlin Collins. Variety reports, “Two people familiar with plans for the show say it is likely to use big Warner Bros. properties — a visit from the cast of HBO’s Succession or sports analysis from TNT’s NBA crew — to lure eyeballs.” It’ll be interesting to see if Turner Sports becomes a cornerstone of this broadcast. Will the NBA start doing schedule releases during the show? Will a big Taylor Rooks interview debut on this show before it appears on B/R? Will the Stanley Cup or Final Four MVP do an interview on CNN’s show the morning after winning the title? Does the show do remote broadcasts from Turner’s biggest sports events throughout the year?
  • The Clippers are back on over the air television. They announced a deal with Nexstar to broadcast games on KTLA and other Nexstar owned affiliates in California. The team hasn’t reached a deal to air games on Bally Sports SoCal or Bally Sports Plus for the upcoming season. Could the Clippers pursue a solo route and start their own OTT service in time for the season? Are they talking to Apple, Amazon, or ESPN about a local streaming deal? Is Spectrum a possible destination? I think these are all possibilities but its likely that the Clippers end up back on Bally Sports since its the status quo. I just find it interesting that it has taken so long to solidify an agreement and that it wasn’t announced in conjunction with the KTLA deal. The Clippers are finally healthy this season, moving into a new arena soon, have the technology via Second Spectrum to produce immersive game casts. Maybe something is brewing?
  • ESPN’s Monday Night Football double box was a great concept. The execution sucked. Kudos to ESPN for adjusting on the fly once complaints began to lodge across social media. I think the double box works as a separate feed. ESPN2 should’ve been the home to the double box. SVP and Stanford Steve could’ve held a watch party from ESPN’s DC studio with special guests. The double box watch party on ESPN2 could’ve been interrupted whenever SVP was giving an update on games for ESPN and ABC. It would give ESPN2 a bit of a behind the scenes look at how the magic happens similarly to what MLB Tonight did last week. Credit to ESPN and the NFL for experimenting and continuing to try and give fans unique experiences.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

ESPN Shows Foresight With Monday Night Football Doubleheader Timing

ESPN is obviously testing something, and it’s worth poking around at why the network wouldn’t follow the schedule it has used for the last 16 years, scheduling kickoffs at 7 and then 10 on their primary channel.

Avatar photo

Published

on

blank

The Monday Night Football doubleheader was a little bit different this time around for ESPN.

First, it came in Week 2 instead of Week 1. And then, the games were staggered 75 minutes apart on two different channels, the Titans and Bills beginning on ESPN at 7:15 PM ET and the Vikings at the Eagles starting at 8:30 PM on ABC and ESPN+. This was a departure from the usual schedule in which the games kicked off at 7:00 PM ET and then 10:00 PM ET with the latter game on the West Coast.

ESPN is obviously testing something, and it’s worth poking around at why the network wouldn’t follow the schedule it has used for the last 16 years, scheduling kickoffs at 7:00 PM and then 10:00 PM ET on their primary channel. That’s the typical approach, right? The NFL is the most valuable offering in all of sports and ESPN would have at least six consecutive hours of live programming without any other game to switch to.

Instead, they staggered the starts so the second game kicked off just before the first game reached halftime. They placed the games on two different channels, which risked cannibalizing their audience. Why? Well, it’s the same reason that ESPN was so excited about the last year’s Manningcast that it’s bringing it back for 10 weeks this season. ESPN is not just recognizing the reality of how their customers behave, but they’re embracing it.

Instead of hoping with everything they have that the customer stays in one place for the duration of the game, they’re recognizing the reality that they will leave and providing another product within their portfolio to be a destination when they do.

It’s the kind of experiment everyone in broadcasting should be investigating because, for all the talk about meeting the customer where they are, we still tend to be a little bit stubborn about adapting to what they do. 

Customers have more choices than ever when it comes to media consumption. First, cable networks softened the distribution advantages of broadcast networks, and now digital offerings have eroded the distribution advantages of cable networks. It’s not quite a free-for-all, but the battle for viewership is more intense, more wide open than ever because that viewer has so many options of not just when and where but how they will consume media.

Programmers have a choice in how to react to this. On the one hand, they can hold on tighter to the existing model and try to squeeze as much out of it as they can. If ESPN was thinking this way it would stack those two Monday night games one after the other just like it always has and hope like hell for a couple of close games to juice the ratings. Why would you make it impossible for your customer to watch both of these products you’ve paid so much to televise?

I’ve heard radio programmers and hosts recite take this same approach for more than 10 years now when it comes to making shows available on-demand. Why would you give your customers the option of consuming the product in a way that’s not as remunerative or in a way that is not measured?

That thinking is outdated and it is dangerous from an economic perspective because it means you’re trying to make the customer behave in your best interest by restricting their choices. And maybe that will work. Maybe they like that program enough that they’ll consume it in the way you’d prefer or maybe they decide that’s inconvenient or annoying or they decide to try something else and now this customer who would have listened to your product in an on-demand format is choosing to listen to someone else’s product entirely.

After all, you’re the only one that is restricting that customer’s choices because you’re the only one with a desire to keep your customer where he is. Everyone else is more than happy to give your customer something else. 

There’s a danger in holding on too tightly to the existing model because the tighter you squeeze, the more customers will slip through your fingers, and if you need a physical demonstration to complete this metaphor go grab a handful of sand and squeeze it hard.

Your business model is only as good as its ability to predict the behavior of your customers, and as soon as it stops doing that, you need to adjust that business model. Don’t just recognize the reality that customers today will exercise the freedom that all these media choices provide, embrace it.

Offer more products. Experiment with more ways to deliver those products. The more you attempt to dictate the terms of your customer’s engagement with your product, the more customers you’ll lose, and by accepting this you’ll open yourself to the reality that if your customer is going to leave your main offering, it’s better to have them hopping to another one of your products as opposed to leaving your network entirely.

Think in terms of depth of engagement, and breadth of experience. That’s clearly what ESPN is doing because conventional thinking would see the Manningcast as a program that competes with the main Monday Night Football broadcast, that cannibalizes it. ESPN sees it as a complimentary experience. An addition to the main broadcast, but it also has the benefit that if the customer feels compelled to jump away from the main broadcast – for whatever reason – it has another ESPN offering that they may land on.

I’ll be watching to see what ESPN decides going forward. The network will have three Monday Night Football doubleheaders beginning next year, and the game times have not been set. Will they line them up back-to-back as they had up until this year? If they do it will be a vote of confidence that its traditional programming approach that evening is still viable. But if they overlap those games going forward, it’s another sign that less is not more when it comes to giving your customers a choice in products.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: Sunday Ticket Has Problems, Marcellus Wiley Does Not

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

On this episode of Media Noise, Demetri is joined by Brian Noe to talk about the wild year FS1’s Marcellus Wiley has had and by Garrett Searight to discuss the tumultuous present and bright future of NFL Sunday Ticket.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.