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The NFL Draft Is Just Another Job Market

“Any serious candidate for a job can do the basics well. For quarterbacks, that means leadership and being able to make ‘all the throws’. For sports radio positions that can mean any number of things depending on what position you are trying to fill.”



I was thinking about the NFL Draft on Saturday morning while I was working out. Remember James Morgan? He was a quarterback at Florida International and as the 2020 draft was approaching, he was picking up steam as one of the two or three most promising quarterbacks in that third tier, the guys that were going to go in rounds three, four or five and need at least two seasons to learn the playbook and pace of the pro game before he was a viable starting option.

FIU QB James Morgan 2019 Highlights - YouTube

Morgan had the right frame for scouts to fall in love with. His highlight tape was full of all the right throws – dropping a dime over the receiver’s shoulder, the cross body scramble. You know the routine. As you are trying to parse out who had the better pro day, remember that every single quarterback capable of being drafted can make all these throws.

The New York Jets ended up taking Morgan with the 125th pick. He didn’t see the field at all during the regular season, and that is largely okay. That was kind of the plan. But here we are headed into the 2021 NFL Draft. The Jets traded incumbent starter Sam Darnold to Carolina and the consensus is that the team will use the second overall pick to draft another quarterback. Morgan isn’t even going to get consideration for the job, nor is the team confident enough in what they have seen that they felt like they could resign Joe Flacco as a placeholder and then do something different with the second pick.

You’re in sports radio, so you are not a one-for-one comparison to James Morgan. That doesn’t mean that there still isn’t plenty you can learn from him and the way the Jets and other NFL teams evaluated him.

Well, him and every single other draft prospect really. I really like FIU (class of 2017), so Morgan just sticks out in my mind this way.

Both job seekers and hiring managers can learn lessons here. We’ll get to the specifics in a moment, but it begins with the same fact. Any serious candidate for a job can do the basics well. For quarterbacks, that means leadership and being able to make “all the throws”. For sports radio positions that can mean any number of things depending on what position you are trying to fill. Every host worth hiring can entertain. Every viable PD candidate can coach talent.

For football players, the difference shows up in the game film. Why is Trevor Lawrence clearly the best QB this year? Because on tape you can see his touch, you can see he is calm in the pocket, and you can see the variety of ways he can beat defenders. The tape can also highlight the answers you need. Can Trevor Lawrence read coverage, go through his progressions and make good decisions with the ball? Jaguars brass had to do a little more work there, because playing for Clemson against ACC competition means that Lawrence didn’t have to do that very often.

Trevor Lawrence pleads to play amidst reports college football to be  canceled; #WeWantToPlay trends -

Do you have a candidate for a PD job that you like, but that person has never scored big ratings wins? You need to find out why and how significant that actually is. Was his/her station on a weak signal? Maybe the station didn’t win ratings battles, but did the station show growth? I don’t just mean in terms of listeners. Did the station show growth on the revenue side? Answers to those questions would help you evaluate how strong of a candidate this person is without relying solely on what numbers from a flawed system tell you.

Every person you talk to about a hosting gig will send you their very best audio. If you like them enough to set up an interview, it means they are compelling and know their stuff. How will each candidate play in your market? What can you expect if you are trying to pair them with one of your established talents? Do they have the kind of inexplicable “it factor” that people just kind of like? That’s why we ask for references and do interviews.

You know the old saying about drafting a quarterback. Guessing wrong can set a team back years (oh, hi there Broncos!). The same is true in our business. The highlights can only tell you so much. Your work isn’t done once you’ve been wowed. The job just changes.

Betting on the wrong leader for a new drive time show could send listeners looking for new options. Bringing in a program director that isn’t open to working on sellable content ideas could hurt revenue. Forget about looking forward and building for the future. Now you have to make changes just to get back to where you were.

Hiring doesn’t have to be hard, but it certainly isn’t easy. Rarely are you in the Jaguars’ position, sitting at the top the NFL Draft with a no brainer staring back at you. Then again, you are not hampered by rules about who you can and can’t get. When you find the ideal candidate, you can make a competitive offer and go to work selling him/her on joining your organization.

For all of the mock drafts and insider punditry, nothing has actually happened yet as far as the NFL Draft is concerned. Before anything does happen, the smart teams will be doing their homework, gaming out the scenarios they could be faced with and doing deep dives on any prospect they are intrigued by to make sure he fits their plans and has a positive impact on the organization.

Inside a war room during the NFL Draft - Sports Illustrated

The NFL Draft is just a job market. So if it is the NFL’s version of posting an opening on the BSM job board, doesn’t it make sense to follow those smart teams’ lead when you are looking to add to your own staff?

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.

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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.

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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.

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