Connect with us

BSM Writers

Do You Dare Bite The Hand That Feeds?

“At the local level, we need the support of our station management. They need to understand what your job is and how to protect your interests, the station’s interests and satisfying the team partner all at the same time.”

Published

on

It’s such a delicate balance. The lines are sometimes blurred. In the end there is a choice to be made and sometimes it doesn’t sit well with those paying the freight. It’s that fine line between calling it like you see it and doing it at the expense of a network or station partner.

What do you do? Not speak the truth and risk your audience thinking you aren’t credible or speaking your mind and risk, well in some cases your job? 

I bring this up because of the situation that happened on Monday Night Football earlier this week. The Lions were called for two crucial “Hands to the Face” penalties, helping to take Detroit out of its game with the Packers. Now you could argue (and you’d be right), that the Lions took themselves out a possible victory all on their own, but let’s concentrate on the controversy for argument’s sake. 

Image result for lions hands to the face

ESPN Monday Night Football analyst couldn’t hold back what he thought about both infractions, but had the most to say about the second call against Lions lineman Trey Flowers. McFarland exclaimed, “Again, that is a terrible call!” “That’s twice on Trey Flowers in crucial situations that the refs have blown the call.”

Remember ESPN and the NFL are partners in the broadcast rights of MNF on the network. But McFarland didn’t let that fact get in the way of more pointed commentary on the officiating. “That’s a bad call!” McFarland said. “That can’t happen!”

McFarland’s broadcast partner Joe Tessitore seemed to try and steer the ship in a direction that backed the umpire on Clete Blakeman’s officiating crew that threw both penalty flags. Tessitore tried to make a point that Flowers had never been called for a hands to the face penalty in his career. McFarland without missing a beat, said, “And he shouldn’t have been called tonight. Let’s make sure we let America know that. That’s twice. The first time it cost (the Lions) a sack. This time it cost them the game.” 

ESPN’s rules official, former NFL referee John Parry watched the replay along with McFarland. Parry tried to cover for the officials, but in the end based on what he saw, couldn’t. “Let’s see if we can find something in the neck because keep in mind (the penalty is for a hand in the) neck or face mask,” Parry said. “But Booger, I do agree, based on what we’ve seen so far, it does look like he’s on the shoulder pad rather than the neck.” McFarland added, “That’s inexcusable. That cannot happen on a play like that. They’re gonna have to do some serious, serious explaining to the Detroit Lions.” 

The NFL ultimately issued a sort of apology for the second foul, which really seemed to support the rant that McFarland went on. Social media showed a split decision in what the fans, players and media members thought. Some showed a distaste for the way McFarland expressed himself and others backed him unconditionally. 

The comment on Twitter that made me start to think about this topic came from “The Athletic’s” Richard Deitsch. He wrote: “Booger McFarland was absolutely tremendous tonight in the 4th quarter. It’s also good for ESPN and the NFL in the longterm. You want people airing your product to be honest. MNF viewers had to suffer for years with analysts who saw everything via NFL-colored glasses.”

Image result for booger mcfarland

Will the NFL actually feel that way? It’s hard to think they would. Nothing has been said about any reprimands by ESPN or the NFL in McFarland’s case. There shouldn’t be any either. It’s hard to disagree with McFarland on this one. Love him or dislike him, he spoke the truth. If the NFL has issues, well maybe it should concentrate on its main problem this season: the officiating. Make that better and comments won’t have to be made like they were Monday night. 

Most of us though, don’t work for high powered networks. We work for radio stations that have entered into deals with local teams, not their leagues. To me this relationship is a little more tricky. Stations rely on the teams for revenue, promotion and in some cases ratings. There isn’t as much leeway on the local level as there may be on the national stage. Those of us that handle these broadcasts need to be more mindful of commentary and rants. This isn’t to say you can’t be truthful in your broadcast because it is important to your listeners. I’ve covered ways to be truthful without bashing in previous columns. 

At the local level, we need the support of our station management. They need to understand what your job is and how to protect your interests, the station’s interests and satisfying the team partner all at the same time. It’s crucial that they have your back under these circumstances. 

There will always be that imaginary line drawn in the sand. The easiest thing to do would be never to cross it. More realistically, just have that inner voice within you telling you to watch out as you approach it and use your best judgement when you get 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.

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.