Connect with us

BSM Writers

Content Grab Bag: Make Friends With Erik Gee

“Right now, talk-show hosts have an opportunity to forge relationships that will last a lifetime.”



Good hosts and shows aren’t struggling for content right now, but who knows how long it will be before we get live sports again? Hell, we’ll have been without sports for nearly a month and a half at that point.

We’re all in this together, right? That’s why Barrett Sports Media has created a content grab bag and we’re asking everyone to pitch in.

Got an idea that can help someone else? Do you have a perfect bit in mind, but maybe your situation has changed and now you have nowhere to pull it off? Don’t let it go to waste! If you want to contribute, reach out to Demetri Ravanos on Twitter.

This week, we turn to Erik Gee of The Pat Jones Show on The Sports Animal in Tulsa. Erik offers some specific ideas, but really, he is taking the 30,000 ft view approach and talking about what your show can be to the listener right now. A veteran of music formats, Erik knows just how important it can be to find ways to make personal, human connections with your listeners in uncertain times.

Erik Gee

Good news, you are essential! You may not be working 20 hours a day at a hospital, but your listeners need you now more than at any point in your career.

Don’t think of them as listeners. Think of them as friends who need an emphatic ear and need their minds taken off whatever real-world problems are affecting them. 

Right now, talk-show hosts have an opportunity to forge relationships that will last a lifetime. You’ve been given a gift, don’t waste it on mundane questions such as, ‘Who’s the best athlete ever to wear the number 13 (and we all know it was Paul George when he was in Oklahoma City).’ Use this time to entertain and comfort your friends. 

It’s important to remember that when it comes to entertaining, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be funny. So relax, if you’re not Corby Davidson. There are other ways to keep your friends engaged. 

Your friends want to know how you are dealing with shelter-in-place orders. For example, we’re all going to be lucky to come out of quarantine in our current relationship. My wife has the benefit of knowing me for 30 years; therefore, she is not surprised by my annoying habits, such as breathing too loud at rest. Plus, if she dumps me now she knows that I’ll keep try to wear her down as I did in high school. At some point, you either have to go out with the guy or change your parents’ phone number, and that was a lot harder to do in 1990.

You want to not only reach out to the listener but to the listener’s significant other. There is a better than 50 percent chance that both are listening at the same time since they are stuck together for the foreseeable future. I’m not a fan of phone calls, but if you can get the couple on the phone at the same time to talk about habits they have discovered about one another over the past six weeks, you might strike gold.

Keep in mind, light and easy is better. Everybody is on edge right now. You’re not trying to start an argument; you’re just trying to show that “we’re all in this together.” So make sure you stress that the couple still loves one another during the call.  

You also open this up to social media and text and read some of the responses you’re getting. Be sure you highlight responses women to both create a balance persepctive and find every funny angle. If executed well, you will have accomplished a the key things you’re looking for: sharing a bit of your life and letting your friends be a part of the show. You’re cultivating those relationships, and most of all, entertaining those who are needing an emotional lift. 

One key component of every great show is storytelling. We’re lucky because we have Pat Jones as our anchor. Pat can draw on his over 40 years of coaching experience in college football and the NFL to entertain at the drop of a hat. In our show, he is the red hot Klay Thompson; it’s my job to get him the ball.

Where were you when Barry Switzer resigned 25 years ago? | OU ...

Not everyone can be an expert storyteller. You need to know your role. If you’re the setup man, be the best one you can be, and know when to get out of the way, so you’re “star” can do his thing.

You might not get the credit from the listeners you think you deserve, nor will you have the most Twitter followers, but if you do your job right, your partner will see how invested you are. It will keep those relationships intact, which is hard to do in a business that has more ego than a dinner table with Michael Jordan, Michael Irving, and Deion Sanders. 

Your most crucial function, while we are waiting to get back to normal, is to be the friend you would want if your life were turned upside down. 

BSM Writers

Asking The Right Questions Helps Create Interesting Content

Asking questions that can get a subject to talk about their feelings is a much better way to get an interesting answer.



USA Today

When ESPN’s Mike Greenberg interviewed Paolo Banchero in the lead-up to the NBA lottery on Tuesday, he asked what I’ve concluded is the single most maddening question that can be asked of any athlete preparing for any draft.

“Why do you believe you should be No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?” Greenberg said.

Before I point out exactly why I have such a visceral reaction to such a harmless question, I want to point out the positives because Greenberg’s question avoids some of the most common pitfalls:

1) It is an actual question. That’s not as automatic as you think given the number of poor souls who are handed a microphone and say to their subject, “Talk about (whatever issue they want a quote or a sound bite on).” This is the mark of an amateur, creating the opening for an uncooperative subject to slam the door by saying, “What do you want me to say?”

2) Greenberg’s question can not be answered with a yes or a no. Questions that start with the word “Can you …” or “Did you …” may sound like they’re tough questions for the subject, but they’re actually fairly easy if the subject wants to offer an answer. Now, most interview subjects won’t take that one-word exit, but some will in a touchy situation.

The problem with Greenberg’s question has to do with the result. Why do we ask questions of the athletes we cover? Seriously. That’s not rhetorical. What’s the goal? It’s to get interesting answers. At least that’s the hope whether it’s for a quote that will be included in a story, a sound bite to be replayed later or — like in this situation — during an interview that is airing live. The question should be engineered to elicit interesting content, and there was very little chance that the question Greenberg asked Banchero was going to produce anything close to that.

I know that because I have heard some version of this question asked hundreds of times. That’s not an exaggeration. I attended the NFL scouting combine annually for a number of years, and if a player wasn’t asked why he should be the first overall pick, he’d get asked why he should be a first-round pick or why he should be one of the first players chosen at his position. Never — in all that time — have I ever heard what would be considered an interesting or informative answer. In my experience, players tend to talk in incredibly general terms about their own abilities and then seek to compliment their peers in an effort to avoid coming off as cocky.

Here’s how Banchero answered Greenberg’s question: “Yeah, thank you all for having me, first off., I feel like I’m the number one pick in the draft because I’m the best overall player. I feel like I check all the boxes whether it’s being a great teammate, being the star player or doing whatever the coach needs. I’ve been a winner my whole life. Won everywhere I’ve went, and when I get to the NBA, that’s going to be the same goal for me. So just combining all those things, and knowing what I have to work on to be better is a formula for me.”

There’s nothing wrong with answer just as there was nothing wrong with the question. It’s just that both are really, really forgettable. ESPN did put a clip on YouTube with the headline “Paolo Banchero: I’m the best overall player in the NBA Draft | NBA Countdown” but I think I’m the only who will remember it and that’s only because I’m flapping my arms and squawking not because there was anything bad per se, but because there was nothing really good, either.

First of all, I’m not sure why it matters if Banchero thinks he should be the number one overall pick. He’s not going to be making that decision. The team that holds the top draft pick — in this case Orlando — is. Here’s a much better question: “How important is it for you to be the number one overall pick?” This would actually give an idea of the stakes for Banchero. What does this actually mean to him? Asking him why he should go number one is asking Banchero to tell us how others should see him. Asking Banchero how important it would be go number one is asking him to tell us about his feelings, something that’s much more likely to produce an interesting answer.

The point here isn’t to question Greenberg’s overall competence because I don’t. He’s as versatile a host as there is in the game, and anyone else in the industry has something to learn from the way he teases ahead to content. What I want to point out not just how we fail to maximize opportunities to generate interesting content, but why. Interviews are a staple of the sports-media industry. We rely on these interviews as both primary content that will be consumed directly, and as the genesis for our own opinions and reaction yet for all that importance we spend very little time thinking about the kind of answer this question is likely to produce.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

The Client Just Said YES, Now What?

We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES.



One of the most significant moments in radio sales is when the client agrees to your proposal and says YES. But, when they do say YES, do you know what’s next? We better have an answer!

We spend a lot of time getting ready for clients with research, spec spots (thank you, radio sales trainer Chris Lytle-go to 22:30), proposals, and meetings. All of our focus is on getting the client to say YES. We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES. For example, getting newer sales reps to sell annual advertising contracts would be ideal for building a list. They would have less pressure, more job security, and could spend more time making the advertising work for their clients. But, since most newer reps don’t know the business yet, they don’t bite off more than they can chew and sell a package of the month.

When a client says yes to the weight loss promotion, it’s pretty clear how to write the ads, what the promos will say, etc. BUT, if a newer sales rep starts selling annual contracts to a direct local client who needs a resource, how will that work? Let’s make sure we paint the picture right upfront. More experienced reps know that they need to assume the client will say YES to the weight loss promo and have a plan accordingly.

They have the next steps to building copy and promos, a credit app or credit card payment form, and any other detail the client must provide. But, when we ask a direct local client for an annual advertising contract, watch out! You have just made a partnership. Why not lay out, upfront, what that will look like. And I understand not every local client needs the same level of service.

A car dealer has the factories pushing quarterly promotions, agencies producing ads, and in-house marketing directors pulling it all together sometimes. Other clients need your help in promotions, copywriting, or idea generation. Make a plan upfront with your client about when you will meet to discuss the next quarter’s ad program. Include your station’s promotions or inventory for football and basketball season, a summer NTR event, digital testimonials with on-air talent, etc., in your annual proposal. Go out as far as you can and show what you have to offer to the client and how you can execute it. This exercise is good for you and, once mastered, guides the client on how you will take care of them after the sale. It also opens your eyes to what it takes to have a successful client partnership inside and outside the station.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 74



This week, Demetri is joined by Ian Casselberry and Ryan Brown. Demetri talks about the NBA Draft getting an ABC simulcast, Ian talks about Patrick Beverley’s breakout week on TV, and Ryan reminds us that Tom Brady may be the star, but Kevin Burkhardt is the story we shouldn’t forget.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.