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What Do GMs Want To See From Programming Candidates?

“I asked two GMs in very different markets in very different parts of the country what they are looking for when they are reviewing candidates for a program director opening.”



Last month, Andy Masur started what we really were not intending to be a series. He asked programmers and executive producers from around Major League Baseball what they were looking for on a play-by play demo. I followed that up earlier this month by asking PDs what they wanted to see on a host’s demo.

Today, I thought it was only fair that we give some guidance to the people that are eyeballing jobs that would take them off air and put them in a decision making role. I asked two GMs in very different markets in very different parts of the country what they are looking for when they are reviewing candidates for a program director opening.

Programmer Wanted In Oxford

My first question was for Michael Spacciapolli, Market Manager for Entercom in Pittsburgh. When I asked how important references are he fired back “very important.” He wants to know how managers and subordinates view the candidate and their experiences with him or her. “Previous relationships and reputation tell you a lot about somebody that you will be working side-by-side with every day,” he shared in an email.

Okay, so references. Check. What about the resume itself? It seems to me that so much about a candidate for any leadership role is something that has to be learned through conversation. How can a resume tell a hiring manager enough to make them say “yes, I need to talk to this person”?

Keith Williams agrees with me that most answers are going to come through conversations, but a resume needs to get the wheels turning in the brain of the people reviewing it. “A resume doesn’t give all the details,” Good Karma’s Vice President in Madison, WI says, “but if laid out well, it can tell a story of a person’s career, goals and accomplishments.”

What specifically does Keith think he should be able to learn from a resume?

“When we’re reviewing resumes, we’re looking for a wide variety of things: relevant experience and length of experience at different organizations, accomplishments within that role – specifically problem-solving or adding value in a tangible way, and evidence that this person is collaborative in working within and across sales and marketing as well as innovative in their ideas and solutions they have brought to the team.”

Keith Williams (@keithgwilliams) | Twitter

I asked Michael a similar question, but admittedly got a little more specific and a little more self-serving. See, I have written here before that I am ready to take on my first programming opportunity, but I struggle to figure out how to make it clear to a GM or VP that even though I have never held the title before, I am ready for the challenge.

Surely I can’t be the only one struggling with this, so I asked Michael point blank. What do you want to see from someone applying to be a PD for the first time? What would make you believe that applicant is ready for the challenge of management and leadership?

“I always remember that somebody gave me my first opportunity to grow in our business and feel that if a candidate has the attributes that I am looking for then the fact they have never been a Brand Manager previously does not factor into the decision,” he says. “A first time Brand Manager with great ideas and a tremendous desire to win versus a 10 year veteran who is unwilling to adapt as we evolve is an easy decision for me.”

Finally, I wanted to get both leaders perspectives on ratings. How many ads for PD openings have called for evidence of past ratings success? I wondered why that was and how each viewed it in terms of their hierarchy of needs from a candidate.

Keith’s cluster doesn’t subscribe to Nielsen. He told me that ratings will never be a determining factor in whether or not a candidate lands the job, but it can tell a story of their leadership. It’s the classic “How It Started” vs “How It’s Going” meme.

“Sometimes past ratings success is interesting and it may be something that comes up when interviewing candidates, but it’s more important for us to understand why they made content choices, how they manage and work with people, and how they feel they can best connect with our audience, wherever they listen or consume audio or our content,” Williams says. “We’re looking for innovative, creative thinkers and great managers when hiring a Director of Content or PD and we want someone who aligns with our belief that the three groups of people who matter most are our fans, teammates and advertising partners.”

A focus on past ratings success can be a sign that a hiring manager is relying too much on what has happened in the past. Michael Spacciapolli says that ratings success is secondary to him. He wants to know how a candidate plans to keep winning in the future.

“As listening consumption continues to change I focus on our vision for the future and where we are going in all aspects of our business. A brand manager who has a clear vision on how we can engage listeners now and in the future on multiple platforms is very important to me.”

Pittsburgh radio pioneer KDKA takes major step as it celebrates centennial  - Pittsburgh Business Times

These suggestions obviously aren’t one size fits all. Different managers will value different things in a PD candidate, but if you are out there trying to find your first or next programming gig, I hope this gives you a guide for how VPs and GMs see the job and what makes someone qualified to hold it.

BSM Writers

Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC

“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”



NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade.  A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well.  However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).

NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season.  NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.

NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.  

Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.

Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.

If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.

“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”

Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm. 

“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”

While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.

Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock. 

Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week. 

My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic.  When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV.  Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams.  After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England.  They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.

I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.

I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters. 

By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.

Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.

Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.”  NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45



Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.

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BSM Writers

6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio

“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”



For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.

Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

Well, let’s go Digging for Gold. 

The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.

Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.

If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way?  I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:

  • Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
  • Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
  • Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
  •,, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
  • FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $ 
  • Jos. A. Bank,,, we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months

The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details. 

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