Connect with us

BSM Writers

Can You Get A Difficult Player To Talk To You?

“Some players can’t separate the person from the “media”, they lump us all together and don’t give us a chance. That’s fine, just go on doing your thing and continue to be professional.”

Published

on

If you’re in this business long enough, you’re bound to come across a player or a coach that is just not fun to deal with. Why? It’s like asking, “why does the sun rise in the East?”, we don’t know, it just does. 

Sometimes it’s because a player got burned by talking in the past. Other times the person just doesn’t like dealing with the media. In a few instances it’s because a player is a misunderstood person with issues unrelated to anything you did or didn’t do. Sometimes it’s just because they just don’t like to interact with others. Do your best to cultivate a relationship, but don’t let it define your season. 

Image result for saban so quit asking

Over the years I’ve encountered many of those things I covered in the opening paragraph. I’ll share some of the ways I dealt with these situations, without naming the player or coach because that’s not what’s important. 

Early in my baseball career Player A was all the rage. He made the difference in many games for Team A and yet was impossible to deal with. The player was often moody and would never agree to do a pregame interview on the Flagship Radio Station. Since I was kind of new to the “game”, it started to really bother me. I thought that maybe I had done something to rub Player A wrong. After consulting with other members of the media, I was not alone in his avoidance. TV was where he wanted to be, so every once in a while, he’d appear on their pregame show. Begrudgingly through the intervention of the Media Relations staff, we’d get him, but it was never a comfortable encounter. I justified having him because this was a well-known player and we just needed to have him, good, bad or indifferent. 

I have found, and even have mentioned this in previous columns, that a conversation with a player, without your microphone can go a long way. Especially if it’s a difficult person to deal with, getting to know the human outside of the player can pay dividends. Introduce yourself, tell him what you do for the club or radio station. Ask him/her about routines or rituals that they go through before a game. If you are going to need them eventually for a pregame show, this is a great way to find out when that player is available to do the interview.

One player I met a while back, Player B, was very clear about when I could or couldn’t bug him for the show. So, I knew going in that if he was just hanging out at his locker chatting with teammates and basically facing the room, it was a good time. If he was facing his locker, he was either reading a scouting report or attending to personal business and I knew it was not a good time. This information was invaluable to me. Plus, he was impressed that I took the time to get to know him and his activities before a game. 

Image result for locker room sitting

Persistence can pay off as well. In Player C’s case, he was having a rough go of it to begin the season. He’d had a few run ins with some of the beat reporters and was really considered an “off limits” guy. Nobody wanted to approach him. I wanted to get him on the pregame show in the worst way.

One day I walked up to him and before I could even say anything, he basically shooed me away. Ok I thought, I’m going to get him. I let a couple of days go by and approached again. I think Player C was shocked to see me come up to him again. This time he at least let me ask the question “can I get you for a couple of minutes for pregame?”. He said no, but it was a polite no this time. I told him that I was going to get him on one day soon and that I’d keep asking. Not sure he believed me. But there I was again two days later. He asked me what I wanted to talk to him about. I said, let’s talk about your start and what’s been going wrong. I want you to explain what you’re doing to get back to form. He seemed to still be on guard and wasn’t exactly bending over backwards to do the interview. It got a bit contentious but after it was over, some 17 minutes later, I had great stuff and learned why Player C was so reluctant to talk. There were some issues going on with him off the field. Issues no player should ever have to go through, let’s just leave it at that. I had a newfound respect for a guy that I didn’t really like going into the chat. He and I are still friendly to this day. 

I’ve also found that on occasion, you can break the ice with a difficult to deal with player simply by him/her seeing your association with other players on his/her team.  It really can be that simple. If you’ve developed a relationship with some of the key players and leaders on a team, you tend to ingratiate yourself with those that might otherwise be a little difficult to deal with.  

Image result for new friends

Let’s face facts, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. For whatever reason the player won’t crack and give you the time of day, let alone an interview. From my experience this is the exception, not the norm. Don’t let it bother you. Most of the time as mentioned it has absolutely nothing to do with you.

Some players can’t separate the person from the “media”, they lump us all together and don’t give us a chance. That’s fine, just go on doing your thing and continue to be professional. Don’t go around bad mouthing that player because in this day and age, they usually find out. Then there is no chance of ever getting him/her to talk to you. 

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.

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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

Published

on

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.  

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.