Connect with us

BSM Writers

It Never Hurts To Make A Few Friends In The Industry

“You aren’t being sneaky or shady by making friends in the industry. You are building relationships because that’s what smart people do.”

Brian Noe

Published

on

I’ve heard many people say, “You haven’t worked in radio until you’ve been fired.” The reason this is sadly a saying is because there is a lot of truth to it. ESPN is laying off roughly 300 employees, which will reduce the company’s workforce by about 10 percent. The cuts will impact multiple sections of the conglomerate including ESPN Radio.

Chris Cote, one of the producers of the “Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz,” revealed on Twitter Sunday night that he is one of the people involved in the layoffs.

The news of Chris Cote and many other ESPN employees losing their jobs made me think of a few things. First I’d love to give COVID a Stone Cold Stunner to prevent hard workers from losing employment. The layoffs also made me think of the importance of networking while you have a job, which was something I did a horrible job of many moons ago when I was laid off.

It was Inauguration Day in January of 2009. While Barack Obama was about to be sworn in, I was about to get booted out. I walked inside the Clear Channel building in Fresno, California like any normal workday. I saw two friends/coworkers, Andre Covington and Doug Ray, with eyes the size of golf balls. When I walked over they said, “Yo, the Samurai sword is bloody.” I was like ‘huh?’. They said that heads were getting chopped left and right.

We had heard rumors of a nationwide work reduction for months, but after a while I started to think the whispers might not be true. They were. The next thing I knew I was tossing a couple of items into a box immediately after being offered a severance package. My producer at the time, Eric Marshburn, walked into my office ready to put a show together as I told him something like, “Hey man, I don’t work here anymore.”

Radio is a very unpredictable business to begin with. Mix an erratic industry with a recession in ’09, or COVID-19 in ’20, and all of a sudden unpredictability swells up like Barry Bonds’ head after taking PEDs.

Thinking back to that time I was laid off it dawned on me how important it is to network while you have a job. When it comes to networking, I’d give myself a passing grade when I don’t have a job, but I’m a borderline failure when I am employed. I, like many others, am the type of person that pours myself into my job. It isn’t a bad thing to work hard, but if you become so laser-focused on your work that you stop networking, what happens if you lose that job? Well, there’s a good chance you’re completely screwed. 

In the past, there have been many reasons why I didn’t feel comfortable or motivated to network while I had a job. I’m a head-down-and-grind type of employee. I’m way more focused on my current job than my next gig. It was also a respect thing. It felt a little slimy to network with various employers while I currently worked for another company. It’s like having a girlfriend while I openly flirted with other females. Instead of being faithful, I felt like the sketchy guy chain smoking on the corner under the cloak of night as I told a random girl how great she looked in that skirt.

But none of those reasons are good enough to avoid networking while employed. First off networking isn’t cheating. Have you ever felt like a backstabber while chatting with programmers during events like Jason Barrett’s Summit or Super Bowl week? My answer is no, not at all. It’s just talking to people. You know — fellow human beings. I never bump into a PD and desperately ask, “Dude, are you guys hiring?” I just talk to them and try to get to know them. You aren’t being sneaky or shady by making friends in the industry. You are building relationships because that’s what smart people do. 

The word “networking” sounds so official. It makes me think of scowling FBI agents talking into their wrists while wearing sunglasses. I don’t think of it as networking. I think of it as making friends. It doesn’t benefit you to have contacts in the radio business that are the equivalent of Facebook friends you don’t really know. Real friendships are much more powerful. If you don’t have a friendly relationship with decision makers in the industry, that’s a problem. You should be able to text programmers something casual like, “The only thing worse than the Jets is my luck with women.” Now that’s bonding.

The ESPN layoffs also made me think about this; have you ever forgotten the name of a program director or manager? Have you ever said something like, “Oh yeah, my guy what’s his face? Why am I blanking on his name?” If you have, there is a great chance that manager has said the same or worse about you.

Do you think your odds of getting hired are good if a programmer can’t even remember your name consistently? Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians didn’t say, “Todd Bowles is going to be my defensive coordinator. I’ve never met the man and don’t know much about him, but I think he’ll do a great job for us.” No, the two men knew each other as assistant coaches on the Cleveland Browns staff in the early 2000s. They established a friendship. It isn’t a coincidence that Bowles has been the defensive coordinator on Arians’ staff with the Arizona Cardinals and now in Tampa.

“Friends In Low Places” is a catchy song by Garth Brooks. It doesn’t hurt to have friends in high places either though. Your friends at the oasis that are chasing their blues away with beer won’t do much good when a radio executive taps you on the shoulder like the Grim Reaper indicating your gig is over. Why not make friends with big wigs? Don’t just network or rub elbows with decision makers, befriend them even if you have a job. Work doesn’t last forever these days. It might not last through next Tuesday.

One suggestion while making friends with anybody, including powerful people, is to always be genuine. Girls can tell if a sketchy guy is just trying to hook up with them. I think programmers have similar skills. They can tell if radio hosts are reaching out genuinely, or if they just want that afternoon drive booty. Programmers aren’t robots. They are people too. You have to be sincere.

Meeting people for the first time | Learning English | Cambridge English

The radio industry has taught me the value of networking. The pandemic has shown me the necessity of true friendships. Friends look out for you and help you. Acquaintances don’t. I don’t have acquaintances that would drive me to the airport in the middle of the night or help me move. I have friends that do. Establish friendships. If friendships mean more than acquaintances in life, why would the business world be any different?

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.