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Points to Ponder From The 2020 BSM Summit

“Jason Barrett reflects on some key moments from the 2020 BSM Summit.”

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One week ago, I was on stage hosting the 2020 BSM Summit. New York City was an excellent location for this year’s show, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of this year’s show. Pulling off an event like this requires a lot of help. Without great partners, speakers, and attendees, none of it works. To each of you who gave your time or offered company support, I sincerely appreciate it. It makes the nine month process worthwhile.

I’m a firm believer that we should never stop seeking new ways to learn, and that our industry needs to rally together more rather than try to tear each other down. Each year projections for the radio industry fluctuate between flat and down, and if we expect to turn the tide, then we’ve got to find new ways to innovate and educate, and strengthen relationships. If you attend the show and don’t leave the room with actionable items to improve yourself, your staff, and your brand, then I’d question how much attention you paid at the conference. There’s progress and money to be made by attending the Summit, and it’s good to see many who hold it in high regard.

That said, each year when the show ends, I try to get as far away from it as possible. It’s a mentally exhausting process which involves scouting locations, selling sponsorships, creating sessions, securing speakers, laying out details for each member of the BSM team, and designing programs, signage and on stage presentations. There’s also the work after the event such as video editing, photo gathering, sending thank you cards, and gathering feedback on what attendees valued most.

Having had a chance to clear my head and reflect on what stood out, I wanted to pass along a few of my takeaways. I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting, but these particular points stuck with me.

‘MAYBE YOU DON’T REACH A YOUNGER AUDIENCE’

Bruce Gilbert made the point about radio chasing younger fans who may not be possible to reach over the airwaves during our ‘Power Panel’, and Mike Francesa added to that conversation when he explained why radio is making a big mistake by ignoring older listeners. It got me to thinking about the advertising and ratings world. We’ve measured sports radio’s success for decades based on Men 25-54, but who says that has to continue to be the case?

Mike’s points about people living older, and folks between the ages of 55-64 spending more money on sponsor’s products were fair. It’s also tougher to lure a younger audience to the radio because they consume content much differently. If the main goal of advertisers is to generate ROI (return on investment), and sports radio has the ability to motivate high income earners to support those businesses, then why do we care if the listener is 22 or 62? Shouldn’t the point be to reach people who spend money? Why is a 60 years old listener considered less valuable than a 25 year old male?

Furthermore, who says sports radio is only attractive now to men? Are we going to continue to pretend that women don’t enjoy this type of content too? This notion that sports radio’s success should be based on what mattered 20-30 years ago to Men 25-54 seems antiquated. If the proof shows that older fans watch and listen to games and sports talk more than younger fans do, and the interest in sports talk is growing among women, then maybe it’s time to expect our stations to reach ALL audiences, not just one smaller targeted demographic.

Nobody thinks sports television isn’t big business, yet when it comes to radio, the sports format gets treated like the little engine that could. That needs to stop. There’s no format in radio built for the present and future better than sports talk. Spike Eskin also made a great point about total reach needing to be where we direct our focus moving forward in determining the overall impact and importance of a talent and programmer.

’30 IDEAS IN 30 MINUTES’

One of the coolest things we did at the show was putting 10 PD’s/GM’s on stage to showcase 30 unique ideas in 30 minutes. Too often people go to conferences to network and tune out the information passed along, but if you were in the room for this session, chances are you were on your laptop or phone taking notes or capturing screenshots. The fact that each PD delivered their presentation on time (or very close to it) was a shocker.

Watching this session from the side of the stage reminded me how critical great ideas are. Judging from what each presenter brought to the stage, there’s a lot of cool stuff happening in markets across the country. Now the challenge is taking these big ideas back to our sales teams, and getting them to feel the same enthusiasm when pitching opportunities to existing and potential clients. There’s certainly no shortage of big thinking.

‘FOLLOWING UP AND HELPING SALES IS A MUST’

I’m always fascinated when we do an advertising panel because there’s always something said that resonates. In Chicago in 2018, one of the city’s top advertisers shared that she had never met a program director until our Summit. Last year, Ad Results mentioned that they cared less about Nielsen ratings and more about ideas and podcasting. This year we heard from a key sports radio advertiser that the follow thru from sales isn’t as crisp as it should be. The client was also not familiar with the PD’s of two big stations they do business with.

First, any business spending money on your station’s airwaves deserves five star treatment. That means following up, offering to update copy, checking in to see how the client is feeling about the campaign, and offering added value when opportunities arise. Are you in business with a partner or a sponsor? If it’s the latter, don’t be surprised when they don’t renew.

Secondly, sales professionals should be involving the PD much more in the buying process. If a PD gets in front of the client, and has the ability to hear the client’s ideas and objectives, and share how the station works and what stands the best chance of delivering results, both sides are more likely to have a positive experience.

By nature, most programmers are creative and have an ability to get the talent’s support when executing things to benefit station partners. If you’re in sales and not getting the programmer in front of the client to help you make them feel special, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Don’t get caught up worrying about what the PD might say or who’s idea got used on the air, focus on satisfying the client, following up with them, and delivering what they want most – results!

‘BARSTOOL IS PLAYING CHESS, RADIO IS PLAYING CHECKERS’

I was personally excited to spend time chatting with Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini. I find her to be refreshingly candid, one of the brightest and most forward thinking executives in the entire sports media business, and given the success of the Barstool brand, we should all be listening anytime she’s willing to share her wisdom. As I expected, she was tremendous.

There were many great points raised by Erika during our 35 minutes together that were valuable, but a few specific items stuck with me. First, she mentioned how the company understands pace when turning around merchandise. This is an area that Barstool thrives on and radio is asleep at the wheel on. The company has generated roughly a third of its revenue from moving products by recognizing when something is catching on, and reacting swiftly. They also understand that some things will fail, and don’t allow it to discourage them from creating new items. She explained that consumers won’t wait for things today, and compared it to SportsCenter previously being the place to turn to for reaction to the night’s games, whereas now, commentary is available as soon as a key moment occurs on the field or court.

I also appreciated Erika’s insights on podcasting and subscription models. She believes in the value of the live read, and not cluttering digital audio shows with programmatic ads. Erika also said she isn’t as high on the subscription business and feels it’s a lot to ask a brand’s fans to pay for content in addition to buying merchandise, supporting advertisers, purchasing a Rough N Rowdy pay per view, etc..

Lastly, she came across as someone who values radio and believes in fighting for talent. Erika shared that if she oversaw a radio company she’d build more community around talent, taking advantage of meetups, merchandising, and campaigns. She also spoke about the importance of having the back of key talent and not buckling to pressure when outside forces try to harm your business. She expressed how important it is at Barstool to stand for something, and not allow others to push the company around, which in turn has made working with talent like Dave Portnoy and Kirk Minihane valuable to their business.

RESEARCH, SOCIAL & PROGRAMMERS ARE CRITICAL

Between Larry Rosin, Fred Jacobs, and Steven Goldstein, we had a lot of smart people on stage offer insights into audience behavior. Each had different areas of focus that resonated with the room, but I particularly enjoyed seeing the amount of people in the room write notes and react as Larry showed video of a focus group weighing in on the insane length of commercial breaks. The on screen example definitely struck a chord.

I also loved Steve Cohen’s passion when I asked why a PD is still necessary in 5 years. We’ve seen a growing trend in the industry where GM’s are now also serving as sales manager for clusters. Companies have tasked some PD’s with managing brands in two cities simultaneously or overseeing 2-4 stations in one building, all with different needs, personalities, and content. Steve emphatically pointed out that people can’t get better and generate results if they don’t have support, training, and someone to work with them. Chris Oliviero followed up by comparing the PD to the conductor of an orchestra. The music may play without them, but without organization and direction, it’s just a matter of time until things don’t function properly.

My one regret is that our Social Studies session went on last on Thursday. I should’ve put it on Wednesday’s schedule. There were a number of PD’s and executives who weren’t in the room for it but needed to be. Demetri and I shared the results of a survey we conducted with 405 industry professionals on how they view their brand’s social media performance. We then did a deeper dive into two stations, showing how ineffective they were in the social space.

I’ve studied social media heavily for the past few years, and I see a few brands operating well, but most are either using a corporately mandated cookie cutter strategy which may work on music brands, but is less effective with a sports radio crowd. Others don’t even have a social strategy. The growth potential in social media is massive, and if sports radio wants to drive listening and advertising, then we’ve got to be much better at it. When your brand is ready to get serious about it, call me.

HONEST ADVICE FROM A TOP TALENT

The session I hosted with Bomani Jones, Peter Rosenberg, Brandon Tierney and Paul Finebaum was tremendous. It offered an honest point of view from key talent on how they view the world of sports radio. With other mediums available, many paying higher rates for top talent, why do personalities still feel radio matters?

There were a ton of great takeaways in this session, but two specific things that Paul Finebaum said stayed with me afterwards. When I asked Paul what he’d tell a young person who’s thinking about going into the radio business, he said he’d advise them not to. Paul shared how the industry is crowded, doesn’t pay people well enough, and doesn’t support the talent with making sure important support staff are treated well enough to be able to focus on their job. It was a commentary that sparked a few followups and became a topic of conversation with programmers and others in the room.

The other part of the discussion which connected with me was when Paul talked about the value of an agent and why professionals should look into representation when they’re ready. Paul explained how he’d reached a limit when using a local attorney to do local deals, and though some companies may not like dealing with them, agents work on behalf of the talent to help them earn better treatment. That isn’t always an option when representing yourself and trying to handle your own business.

With podcasting paying premium dollars to top talent to do less work, and TV rewarding personalities who have an ability to pop thru the screen, radio needs to do its part to hold on to exceptional talent. There’s a belief among many that I speak with that radio companies will do all they can to not pay their best people higher salaries. If they do agree to pay more, it usually comes with requesting 5-6 outlandish things that most personalities won’t agree to. Skilled performers will always command attention and bigger dollars, so if radio groups want to hold on to their stars, they’re going to have to accept that costs will continue to rise for those who do it well.

DOING THE RIGHT THING ALWAYS PAY DIVIDENDS

I introduced the Jeff Smulyan and Tony Bruno awards last year because it felt right to honor those who’ve made a significant impact on our industry. This year we added the Mark Chernoff award, and that too felt right to me. Just seeing the pride and joy on each of their faces as they talked about their experiences and earned laughs and cheers from their peers was rewarding. When Dan Mason, Pat McAfee and Mitch Rosen collected this year’s trophies, those positive vibes were once again felt in the theater. I also thought Chris Oliviero’s speech was one of the best 5 minutes of the entire two day event. Very sincere, moving, honest and accurate.

But what personally moved me was a moment that took place on stage between yours truly and Andy Fales from KXnO in Des Moines. Andy and his partner Keith Murphy risked their jobs in January after six of their colleagues were laid off. They expected to be fired but were pleasantly surprised when KXnO management re-hired the six employees, and used the opportunity to expand KXnO on to the FM dial.

Keith and Andy knew they were being presented with the Champions Award for their contributions in saving sports radio in Iowa, but they had no idea that I’d be sending them $1000 dollars to enjoy a fun night out with their teammates. I could’ve just recognized their story without digging into my wallet and most would’ve said ‘that’s pretty cool’, but I wanted folks to understand and appreciate what these guys did for their community, and take notice that BSM cares about the sports radio business.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done to highlight this format. Nobody has spent more more time and energy presenting the sports radio industry in a positive and professional light. From our columns, news stories, podcasts, Top 20 lists, the Summit, and every phone call I take throughout the year, people turn to BSM because they know we love the business and want to help people succeed at it. Ben Franklin once said ‘an investment in knowledge pays the best interest‘, well so too does doing the right thing. It may not always come back in the form of a paycheck, but impacting lives is pretty damn cool. I’ll sleep comfortably knowing the work we’re doing matters, even if it takes a few others a little bit longer to come around.

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THE LOCATION FOR THE 2021 BSM SUMMIT IS….

We’ve done Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, and so far so good. My goal for next year is to bring the conference south, and give folks in other cities a chance to experience it. With that in mind, five cities are possible to host our 2021 show. They are Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Tampa and Las Vegas.

If you could spare a moment to cast your vote it’d be helpful to us. Simply log on to https://bsmsummit.com and let us know where you think next year’s show should be held.

THAT’S A WRAP

I screwed up at the end of the conference and forgot to bring my crew on stage for a final bow. Fortunately, Demetri remembered to acknowledge a few of our team, and that led me to recognize a few others who were part of making this year’s show a success.

Since I blew the final picture opportunity, I’d like to use this space to thank Stephanie Eads, Dylan Barrett, Demetri Ravanos, Tyler McComas, Brian Noe, Brandon Contes, Austin Stellato, Stephen Bolsenbroek, and Michael Matalavage for their help with the 2020 BSM Summit. It takes teamwork to execute a successful conference, and I’m thankful to have had a lot of support from a great group.

It was also very special having my son help out and see his dad in action. Hearing him tell me how proud he was of me, and seeing how the event has since elevated his desire to blaze his own trail in the business has me feeling I’ve succeeded at the one job that matters most – being a dad.

I’d like to close this column by expressing my gratitude to Premiere Radio Networks/FOX Sports Radio, ESPN Radio, Hubbard Radio, Compass Media Networks, Benztown Branding, Skyview Networks, Core Image Studio, Steve Stone Voiceovers, and Harker Bos Group. Their support of the BSM Summit is what makes it possible to produce this show. Any group who supports our business deserves the same in return. I’m more than happy to do my part. I encourage you guys to do the same.

Til next year.

To see some of the video highlights from this year’s Summit, visit our YouTube page by clicking here. You can also see some clips by following us on Twitter.

Barrett Blogs

ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro To Speak At The 2022 BSM Summit

“Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.”

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The largest player in the sports content business today is ESPN. From television to radio to streaming, social, podcasts, websites and more, the network remains a force in satisfying the appetites of sports fans around the globe.

But creating sustainable global success isn’t easy. It requires investing billions of dollars in key programming partnerships, holding off competitors who seek to elevate their own standing, and hiring and retaining talented professionals and providing an environment for them to thrive in. If that wasn’t difficult enough, a company must also embrace new technology, and accept that certain things will fail while pursuing a path to excellence.

The man charged with making sure ESPN thrives in each of these areas is Chairman Jimmy Pitaro, and I’m excited to share that he’ll be joining us in March in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit.

I’ll have the pleasure of spending 35 minutes on stage with Jimmy discussing the state of the sports media industry, the opportunities and challenges facing operators in 2022 and beyond, the growth of sports betting, network radio, podcasts, subscriptions, social, and many other issues. No matter what space we’re talking about, ESPN has held a dominant position among all media brands. Having Jimmy with us will allow our attendees to learn how ESPN views the current sports media landscape in order to better understand where the business is headed in the future.

Jimmy has been with the Walt Disney Company since 2010. He became ESPN President in 2018 and was elevated two years later to his current role as Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content. You can learn more about his professional background by clicking here.

A reminder that the 2022 BSM Summit is an industry-only event. You must work in the media business in order to attend the show. This includes sales, public relations, advertising agency professionals and agents, as well as programming folks. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet of attending the Summit, feel free to visit our YouTube page to see some clips from past shows. It’ll give you an idea of what you can expect. You can also see the full list of speakers scheduled to appear at our 2022 show by visiting BSMSummit.com. We’ll announce a few more executive additions to March’s event later this week.

For those who manage brands and have joined us before in New York, Los Angeles and/or Chicago and are planning to come but haven’t bought a ticket yet, please do so asap. Seating is limited and once we’re full, we can’t add seats inside the room. You can also take advantage of a great hotel deal ($109 per night) with our partner Hotel Edison by clicking here.

One additional note, for those who are concerned about traveling, there is an opportunity to buy a virtual ticket. This year’s show is available both online and in person. For those planning to join us in NYC, in addition to receiving your live ticket, you’ll also get an online account so you can view the event on-demand afterwards. This can be especially helpful if you wish to replay a session or use any information afterwards to help members of your team. A big thanks to our virtual partner Nuvoodoo Media for helping make it happen.

We’re just 49 days away from putting on a spectacular show for industry folks in the big apple. We hope to see you there!

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Barrett Blogs

BSM, BNM Ready To Grow In 2022

“We’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners.”

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It’s commonplace in our business to self-reflect when a new year full of possibilities arrives. We should probably do it more often rather than reserving it for the final day of the year or the first day of the next, but in the media business, finding time isn’t always easy.

As I look back at 2021, and the obstacles, adversity, accomplishments, enlightenment, and unpredictability that awaits BSM and BNM in 2022, I’m grateful to be able to do work that many enjoy and benefit from. Since I left the programming world in 2015 not a day has passed where I thought ‘I need to get back to running a radio station‘. That may sound crazy considering I spent two decades inside of buildings, loving the job, and living and breathing it 24/7, but from the second I moved into this space, I knew it was where I needed to be.

I had my fun building brands, chasing ratings, leading corporate programming calls, and making good money, but that restricted me to working in one city for one company with one brand and one staff. Now, I get to wake up each day and help clients in multiple cities, and run my own brand, collaborating with a great group of people to tell stories about the business we love. Combine that with hosting an annual conference, working with advertising partners and industry friends to create cool content and examine ways to grow their businesses, and connecting with folks to stay plugged in on details that others won’t know about until weeks or months later, and I consider myself very lucky. The added bonus, I get to do it in running pants and t-shirts inside the comfort of my home office/studio.

But with operating a business comes a different set of challenges. In 2020, we ended the BSM Summit on a high only to watch the entire world spin out of control weeks later due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That created a bunch of short-term issues, which fortunately we were able to overcome. Fast forward to this year, and we’ve ended 2021 with record high’s for monthly traffic and social impressions, and our client and advertiser base the best its ever been thanks to the support of outstanding partners. I never assume we’re in the clear because things can change quickly, but the support we’ve received is appreciated. It fuels me to reinvest in others to continue growing our operation and helping the industry.

So let’s talk a little bit about how we’re doing that in 2022.


First, we merged Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media in May 2021 to bring news and opinion from both the sports/talk and news/talk worlds under one roof. We tried running them independently initially but that wasn’t the best strategy for a new brand. Since bringing them together, BNM’s exposure has increased, the content has been read more regularly, and though we have more to do to get the brand on par with BSM, we’re making progress. BSM had a 5+ year head start on BNM, and though I know at times it may seem weird to read a sports media and news media story on the same website or social media account, as I tell those who ask, sports and news have mixed together since the invention of television, radio and newspapers.

Boosting BNM’s awareness and content is a goal for 2022, and to do that I want to share two things we’re creating to help us make progress.

I’m excited to share that we are launching The BNM Rundown. This will be a newsletter we distribute 3x per week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) via email similar to what we’ve done with the BSM 8@8. The Rundown will go out around 5pm ET on each of those three days, and it’ll contain ten (10) news media stories, five (5) advertising slots, and the latest stock prices for radio groups. There will be additional content and advertising added in the future, and we may increase delivery to five days per week down the line. I’m happy with the layout and think you’ll enjoy it. If you’d like to receive the BNM Rundown or discuss advertising opportunities inside of it, click here to sign up. A big thanks to Ryan Jaster for all the work he’s done getting it ready for distribution.

In addition to the newsletter, 2022 will become the first year where we roll out BNM’s Top 20 of 2022. Similar to how we’ve produced the BSM Top 20, we are going to do the same for the News/Talk format. Categories will be announced at a later time, and we’re expecting to present our results towards years end. There’s a lot to be done to make it a success, but if we’re able to do for News/Talk what we’ve done for Sports/Talk during the past 6 years, I’m confident folks will appreciate it.

When I look at BNM right now, I see a number of excellent writers on the site. If you’re not reading Pete Mundo, Jerry Barmash, Douglas Pucci, Rick Schultz, McGraw Milhaven, Ryan Hedrick and Eduardo Razo, you really should. Each of those guys have been rock stars for the brand, but we need more help, especially another columnist or two. If you work in news radio or TV, love writing, and live and breathe the business, email: JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.

Though we do need to add columnists, a bigger hole has been a dedicated Assistant Content Editor. I’ve poured my heart and soul into BSM over the years, Demetri Ravanos has as well, and that’s helped us build a strong connection with sports radio folks. For BNM, that love, interest, and unwavering passion for telling stories about news radio and news television has been missing in the editor role. Though frustrating at times, it’s all part of building a brand. You have to go thru a few things before it all starts to click. Now after talking to a bunch of talented people over the past two months, and thinking about the brand’s need for TLC, I’m happy to announce the internal promotion of Eduardo Razo.

Since joining us Eduardo has been a steady fixture on the site, writing news, scheduling social posts, and putting an extra set of eyes on the content that comes in from our team. He cares about the site being clean, conducts himself neutrally and professionally when adding news, and he believes in the brand. If hours go by and the site doesn’t have new content, he’s the one who points it out. When Eduardo first joined us he was just learning the ropes. Over the past fifteen months he’s been consistently excellent, and I have no doubt he’ll make even more progress in his new role as BNM’s Assistant Content Editor.


Making sure Eduardo has support to help him though is also important. I’d love to be that person myself, but client projects require much of my focus, so having a strong #2 is key. I’ve been lucky to have a great one in Demetri Ravanos who I’m excited to share is being elevated to the new role of Director of Content. In his new position, Demetri will continue producing columns, creating original feature stories, and hosting a weekly podcast. He’ll also be responsible for daily social creation and scheduling, working with yours truly on client projects and Barrett Media events, recruitment of writers, growth of the BSM Member Directory, BSM merchandising, additional BSM audio projects, and oversight of BSM and BNM’s Assistant Content Editors.

That last line implies that there will be multiple editors involved in shaping BSM and BNM’s content, and with Demetri and Eduardo promoted, that means we’re adding someone to help grow BSM. I’m thrilled to welcome Ian Casselberry to our team as BSM’s new Assistant Content Editor. Ian is familiar to many in the sports media universe for his work with Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He’s also contributed to Bleacher Report, Yahoo! Sports, SB Nation Detroit, and MLive.com among others.

I’ve read Ian’s work for years and have always appreciated his passion for sports radio and sports television. Adding someone with his experience, creativity, and attention to detail has been a huge priority for me. I’m looking forward to turning him loose on January 17th when he officially begins working with us. Under his direction, and in tandem with Demetri and I, we’re going to aim to produce more quality sports media content, and continue expanding BSM’s footprint across the industry.

As awesome as all of these moves are for creating interest in reading the site, if you don’t have someone in position to help sell it, the upside is going to be limited. For the past six years I’ve been the one making those sales myself. But I’ve also had to be a consultant, social scheduler, content creator, summit organizer-creator-host, finder of new clients, and the one in charge of billing and payroll. I love being busy, but a brand’s potential can’t be maximized without help.

Placing the company’s sales efforts in someone else’s hands though requires trust. I’ve learned the past few years that unless you’re inside my world and understand everything that goes on with BSM and BNM, it’s not an easy brand to sell. Media sellers are used to working with more assets, bigger dollars, and they expect things to move faster. They’re also used to corporate environments where a crew provides support from the beginning to the end of a sale. That’s not how it works here. This is more of a family business. Our success depends on one on one relationships, accessibility, being a self-starter, and patience. It means keeping in touch with industry friends and partners even when there isn’t a sale to be made. Nobody knows this brand, business, and who we serve better than the person who’s lived it with me for the past six and a half years, Stephanie Eads, my new Director of Strategic Partnerships.

Not only has Stephanie worked in sales and customer service most of her adult life, she’s honest, organized, and outstanding with people. She’s been exposed to every aspect of my radio life for the past sixteen years, and if you’ve been to a BSM Summit before then you already know how on the ball she is at making sure things get done. This is something we’ve talked about for years, but the timing was never right. Now it is, and I’m excited to watch her blossom. Having her add extra support to help me with billing and payroll is an added bonus.

The BSM brand will also welcome a few additional writers starting this week. First, I’m glad to have Danny O’Neil joining us as a weekly columnist. I got to know Danny in Seattle at 710 ESPN Seattle over the past six years, and he’s always been smart, passionate about media, and an exceptional writer. He’s now based in NYC and his debut column will hit the site this Friday. Also joining us in a daily news writer role is Will Dundon. Will is based in Nashville where he works as a producer for 102.5 The Game. Having him involved will help us stay on top of day to day news stories.


In terms of upcoming content, the BSM Top 20 of 2021 will be released February 7-11 and 14-15. The series moves back a week this year in accordance with a later Super Bowl date. During the seven day span we will highlight the best local sports radio stations, program directors, and morning, midday, and afternoon shows. We will also recognize the best national sports talk shows and original sports podcasts. To do that, we will once again involve more than 50 program directors and executives in the voting process.

One thing we will do differently this year is create an extra piece which recognizes the top performer in twenty smaller categories. These will be determined by a combination of BSM staff and select experts for specific fields. Some of these categories will include Best Sports Betting Content Brand, Best Wrestling Audio Show, Best Sports Radio Social Brand, and more.

After the Top 20 concludes, we’ll turn our attention to the 2022 BSM Summit, which is scheduled for March 2-3, 2022 in New York City at the Anne Bernstein Theater. The show will also be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person. I’m excited about the guest speakers we’ve lined up for this year’s event, and have more tremendous additions to announce later this week and next week. I realize the Omicron/Covid-19 situation has created some concern over the past month, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. As of today, we’re planning to host the event. If the situation were to worsen and we couldn’t keep people safe and comfortable, we’d reschedule the show. I’m hopeful of seeing familiar faces and many of sports media’s best and brightest in sixty days. If you haven’t bought your ticket, log on to BSMSummit.com and do so before you’re on the outside looking in. In the meantime, stay tuned to this website and the BSM 8@8 for details. We should all know more January 15th when New York State updates everyone on their mask ordinance.

Other content projects are in the works as well for March-December. We’ve got a number of ideas we’ve talked about for March Madness, and the NFL Draft. Items like last year’s Meet The Market Managers or a programmer’s version of it may also land on the content calendar. Not to be forgotten is the importance of continuing to improve the BSM Member Directory to help people stay informed, ready, and land in front of the right decision makers when job openings arise. Seeing a few of our members earn gigs the last 4-5 months of 2021 was very cool, and we hope to see more of that in 2022. Last but not least, I’m hopeful of giving the website a new layout in either quarter 2 or 3.


As I bring this column to a close, I’d like to remind you that BSM and BNM exists because we love the business and advocate for it daily. Since 2015, I’ve prioritized professional storytelling, research, industry news, relationship building, social media marketing, and consulting. Inside information and building relationships are important, and sure, it’s occasionally fun being first, but I’ve never worried about clicks, scoops, cash grabs or ruining reputations to elevate my own. I try to think about the big picture, even if it means missing out in the short-term. That applies to who I work with in a consulting capacity as well as how I operate the site. There’s no better example of it than last week. Most of our crew had the week off. It was tough missing out on stories when we were taking a mental timeout, but people come first. If you want long-term productivity and a staff to stick with you, support and sacrifice are essential.

If there’s one thing I know, this outlet has been a great resource for industry professionals. I wasn’t as fortunate during my studio days to have a site this rich in content to learn from, debate with, and stay connected to. We’ve hired 20+ contributors to help serve the industry, and I’m honored to have each one of them here. The additions we’ve made to improve the brand in 2022 will make us even better. We’re not perfect by any stretch, but we try to be fair and accurate. I also try to be accessible, especially when difficult situations arise. There are going to be times when our crew deliver strong opinions or tackle sensitive issues, and when those instances occur, I hope you’ll remember what I said about accuracy and fairness. We won’t operate as shills for the industry but we’re also not going scorched earth on folks.

Our goal here is simple, help folks stay informed about the sports and news radio/television formats, overdeliver for clients who place their trust in us, connect our advertising partners and members to others who can benefit from their services, and give industry people access to content from other professionals so they can do their jobs better.

If we can do these things consistently we’ll be in great shape. If we miss along the way, we’ll clean up the mess, and try to learn from it. We’re nine months away from celebrating seven years in operation, and we couldn’t have made it this far without your full support. Thanks for riding with us, now let’s make 2022 a year to remember.

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Black Friday Sale TODAY For 2022 BSM Summit Tickets

“BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets will begin at 12:01am ET on Friday November 26th and expire at 11:59pm later that same night.”

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There are less than 100 days remaining until the 2022 BSM Summit takes place in New York City. We’ve announced 31 participants for the show so far, and have more to reveal in the weeks and months ahead. I think you’re going to like what’s still to come.

Putting this conference together isn’t easy. It requires months of meetings, brainstorming, promotion, selling sponsorships, pursuing speakers, and creating everything that attendees see on stage over a two day period. I’m thankful to have help from some amazing partners, but as I’ve mentioned previously, this isn’t an event that makes us rich or ends with 5-10 new clients signing up to work with BSM. The goal each year is simple, make sure the conference is valuable for those who attend, and don’t run BSM out of business by doing it. As long as those two things remain solid, it’s worth doing.

Some might wonder, why go thru months of headaches if you’re not going to break the bank or immediately add clients. That’s fair to ask. If you look at it from a pure business standpoint, one could easily make a case that pouring this type of energy into something else could be more lucrative. But money was never the motivation for doing this. I felt the sports media industry lacked a signature event where smart, successful media professionals (who don’t often cross paths) could gather at one location to laugh and learn together, and I wanted to change that. If over a two day period attendees could gain insight, information, ideas, and introductions, it’d put everyone in a stronger position to remain successful.

I’ve unapologetically loved the sports media business since I started listening to Mike & the Mad Dog on WFAN and watching SportsCenter on ESPN. I was fortunate to live and work in a number of cities over the past two decades, learning how different companies and people operate, and I remain involved today thru my work with BSM. I mention this because I also know media people. They tend to wait until the last minute to book hotel rooms, airfare, and purchase tickets, even if they can save money by acting sooner. I know, I used to do it too. I can’t control when you book your room or plane ticket, but I do want to give you an added incentive to buy your ticket to this year’s show. Seating is limited, and once the last seat is filled, that’s it. We can’t make extra room.

With that in mind, most of you are either taking today off or working inside a much quieter building. If you’ve thought about coming to the Summit, take 5-10 minutes to log on to BSMSummit.com to take advantage of our special Black Friday sale. We’ve reduced tickets for the day, so whether you’re planning to attend in NYC or watch the conference online, there’s a discount to help you out. Just $199.99 for live tickets, and $124.99 for virtual.

BSM’s Black Friday sale on Summit tickets expires at 11:59pm tonight. In the meantime, Hotel Edison in NYC is offering rooms for just $109 + taxes to Summit attendees. Click here to take advantage of the special room rate we’ve secured for this year’s show. Those of you planning to fly to NYC for the show, there have been a ton of great deals offered by American, Southwest, United, JetBlue and Frontier. It might be worth checking into today since Black Friday often has even better sales on travel.

If you’re interested in learning more about the industry, staying a step ahead, forming new relationships, strengthening existing ones, exploring potential business deals, and celebrating the business you’re in, I hope you’ll join us either online or in New York City for the 2022 BSM Summit. I’m making it easier on you, by offering lower ticket prices today. The rest is up to you!

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