One of the most memorable moments and lessons that I have learned during my career came from the great Conan O’Brien’s farewell from The Tonight Show.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be a part of the team that worked on the first show, watching Conan’s cold open to the show, seeing Pearl Jam rehearse “Got Some” to perfection from the control room before the first show aired, listen to William Shatner practice voicing special elements for segments, watch Tom Hanks humbly arriving early to practice the blocking for a stunt that would take place during the second show, meet Snoop Dogg as he brought his custom Lakers themed car “Magic” named after Magic Johnson to the set and so many more.
Ultimately, it was a pretty sad day when Conan’s final show aired months later. His advice is something I carried with me and still to this day try to apply to my life, both on a personal and professional basis. Filled with humility and gratitude, Conan shared his recipe for success with his audience and particularly asking something of his young viewers:
“You’ve made a sad situation joyous and inspirational. So to all the people watching, I can never, ever thank you enough for your kindness to me—I’ll think about it for the rest of my life and all I ask is one thing. I’m asking this particularly of young people. Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism, for the record it’s my least favorite quality, it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen—I’m telling you amazing things will happen. I’m telling you. It’s just true.”
The mantra ‘nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get’ is one that is particularly resonant in the wake of a pandemic, furloughs and job losses, and I thought I would take a page out of Conan’s playbook by highlighting the stories of the authors on the BSM team—noting what happens when you indeed work really hard and are kind, even in the face of challenging circumstances.
Brandon Contes, spending years with the Barrett Sports Media family recently wrote an article about his career and reflected on his experience, as he embarks on his new job with Mediaite—I highly recommend giving it a read. Here’s what some of the other talented writers from the Barrett Sports Media team have to say about their experiences and the impact working with BSM has had on their careers.
I asked Vik Chokshi, Content Producer at Audacy Sports, about his experience in working with BSM and the role it played in the development of his career.
CP: How did the opportunity to work with Jason and Barrett Sports Media manifest itself?
VC: I was freelancing for a couple of websites and was looking to land a full-time opportunity in sports. I decided to reach out to contacts that I admired in the industry like Jason for some advice. After listening to my situation, he gave me excellent tips and told me to give him a ring if I was interested in writing for Barrett Sports Media. I wanted to further my footprint in the sports gambling world and Jason was there to help.
CP: How did writing for Barrett Sports Media impact your career trajectory?
VC: Writing for BSM was great and it positively impacted my career trajectory. Jason opened up his network to me and gave me advice on topics to write about. He also mentored me on how to stick out in the industry. All things I needed at the time.
I started writing gambling industry related posts for BSM, which led me to making some great connections in the space. BSM also allowed my work to be seen by a bigger audience and decision makers, which helped my career as a whole.
CP: Which piece are you most proud of or would you consider as one of your favorites?
VC: Picking just one piece as my favorite is tough to do, because each individual that I connected with for my articles and profiles were amazing in their own right. To be able to chat with and learn from the giants in the gambling world like Dave Sharapan, Alan Berg, Chris Andrews, Tim Murray, Joe Fortenbaugh, Dough Kezirian, Ben Fawkes and Mitch Moss was like a dream come true.
If I had to choose one article though, I’d love to point out the piece I wrote titled Six Sports Betting Content Creators You Need to Know Now. I pride myself on identifying trends and talent in sports early, so it was pretty cool to see all six of the highlighted figures take major steps in the gambling industry after the article came out.
Rob “Stats” Guerrera, has been working as a podcast host/producer with SB Nation and additionally, doing some consultant work with FOX Sports Radio, joined me to discuss his journey with BSM.
CP: How did you first connect with Jason and what role did that relationship play in your career development over time?
RG: I first worked with Jason when he was the PD at ESPN St. Louis and I was working on Mike & Mike.
After that we stayed in touch over the years. Jason has always been good to me, and kept me in mind when the right opportunity crossed his desk.
When I was laid off in March, Jason had a columnist opening that I applied for and was hired.
CP: How did writing for BSM impact your career trajectory?
RG: Jason has always been great to me working with BSM was invaluable to me as a way to keep my name top of mind in the industry while I was otherwise unemployed. I can’t tell you how many people reached out to me about something I had written.
Brian Noe, host of The Noe Show weekdays on NBCSouthwest and weekends on FOX Sports Radio, shared his journey with Barrett Sports Media and the impact his relationship with Jason has had on his career trajectory.
BN: JB mentioned on one of his podcasts years ago that he was looking to add a few writers. It immediately appealed to me. I saw the potential to network and liked the challenge of cranking out creative pieces. JB and I met up at the Omni in Nashville back in 2017 while he was in town for a sports radio convention. We worked out a multi-year contract with a heavy signing bonus and no-trade clause. (That’s how I remember it.)
JB has vouched for me with various people in the business, which really means a lot to me. The guy knows everybody. Not just the Sunday morning host in market 189, but practically the guy who hung the drywall in their new studio. I’ve also been able to connect with a lot of great people in the industry that I wouldn’t have crossed paths with if not for writing. It’s really been a positive experience for me.
Stan Norfleet, afternoon host working with Nick Wilson on WFNZ in Charlotte, shared his experience and introduction to the Barrett Sports Media family.
SN: Not even a year ago, I was a relatively experienced young broadcaster exploring all avenues to reignite my career. I knew of Jason and the BSM site, but had yet to communicate with him directly. Therefore, I took it upon myself to make the investment in the 2020 Barrett Sports Media Summit, in hopes of networking my way into a better space. Although JB and staff were ridiculously busy with the event, he did make time for a proper introduction. That brief encounter, coupled with a freelance column I would write later, spawned a relationship with BSM that has forever changed my career! JB’s guidance, encouragement, and influence eventually landed me a spot-on afternoon drive. Who knew things could happen so quickly? A lot people talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion; I’m living proof Jason and his staff sincerely believe it. I am forever grateful, Jason Barrett!
Seth Everett, broadcaster at iHeartMedia, host and owner of three really successful podcasts and an adjunct professor at Syracuse, spoke on the path that led to him working with Jason and the BSM team.
SE: I was a big reader of Jason’s site, and I had just left a writing gig at Sports Illustrated and writing about sports media was something that always appealed to me. Jason and I stayed in touch—I had the writing bug and I wanted to do more. Jason, column First of all, it’s a good idea.
CP: How did writing for Barrett Sports Media impact your career?
SE: One of the best things that has come with this opportunity is that I’ve reconnected with old colleagues. People who either read the stories and reached out to me, or I was doing a story about someone from my past and it gave me a reason to reach out.
It’s Not a Vaccine Mandate, It’s a Test Mandate
“Chuck Todd from Meet The Press, the New York Times, CNN, numerous other media outlets and even the White House spokesman have called Biden’s policy a vaccine mandate. It’s not. So, why do they keep reporting it as such?”
I feel I must disclose my feelings on Covid-19 before my column this week so everyone knows my bias.
If you want to take the horse dewormer medicine, Ivermectin, for Covid-19, I DON’T CARE.
If you want to wear a mask in a crowd indoors or out, I DON’T CARE
If you don’t want to get a Covid-19 vaccine, again, I DON’T CARE.
In terms of full disclosure, I have been vaccinated. As far as I know, I haven’t had Covid-19, and only my dog has had some form of Ivermectin.
With that out of the way, can we talk about how President Biden’s mandate is being discussed and reported on? This is not a liberal or conservative issue, and it’s not a CNN vs FOX News issue. Most everyone has an opinion on it, yet most don’t care to find out what was actually proposed. Even the White House is misleading folks with its own policy.
This is not a vaccine mandate, it’s a test mandate.
President Biden’s policy has made two changes. All federal workers must receive a vaccine. You don’t have to work for the federal government, but if you do, you must be vaccinated. Again, not a mandate. No one is forcing you to work for the federal government. That’s your choice.
Delta Airlines implemented a policy charging employees $200 if they choose not to be vaccinated. As a result, thousands have received the Covid-19 vaccine to avoid the penalty. That is their choice.
Schools, public and private universities, hospitals, and companies big and small have made similar rules. If you want to work or attend, you must get a vaccine. Not a vaccine mandate, big difference.
Companies make all sorts of rules, some smart, some dumb. I know a radio station that will not let their on-air hosts talk to the media (dumb). My company policy says, I can’t eat food in the studio (smart). You can agree or disagree with a policy, and if you choose not to follow it, that is your choice. Nobody from the government is going to come to your home, hold you down, and jab a needle in your arm. Yet I’ve heard that said a few hundred times in the last few weeks.
Part two of President Biden’s policy says that if you are a company with over 100 employees, your employees will be required to have a vaccine or get tested weekly to see if they are Covid-19 positive. Again, this is not a vaccine mandate. It’s just a test, once a week. A test mandate, if you will.
Chuck Todd from Meet The Press, the New York Times, CNN, numerous other media outlets and even the White House spokesman have called Biden’s policy a vaccine mandate. It’s not. So, why do they keep reporting it as such?
I talk to neighbors, callers, and friends, and they’re all arguing over something that isn’t happening. Some have gotten really angry and stood defiant. They will not, under any circumstances, be forced to get a vaccine.
“How about a test?”
These are crazy times. We talk past each other, we debate our own set of facts, we get to choose the news we like, and disregard and disqualify the news we don’t. I’m afraid we have crossed some type of rubicon. Everyone is arguing and debating a policy but nobody knows the actual policy.
If you think taking a test to find out if you have a life threatening virus that could harm you, a family member, or a coworker is government overreach, I DON’T CARE. Quite frankly, I’m exhausted by the screaming. But if you are going to argue about it, you should do yourself a favor and know what the policy is before you decide you are for it or against it.
Few Media Outlets Were Brave Enough to #NeverForget Both Sides
Saturday marked 20 years since Sept. 11, 2001.
Everyone has a 9/11 story. Where they were. How they reacted. What they remember about that treacherous day in America.
Consuming media coverage and memorials over the weekend, there was one very common theme.
Unity. Unofficially the word was said 42,365,789 times this weekend.
Listening to the radio, I heard one newstalk host romanticize about how the entire country came together as one, and he didn’t feel we did the same fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before the NFL kicked off on Sunday, both Fox and CBS aired extended memorial video montages. The New York Yankees and New York Mets played the Subway Series and on Saturday wore hats representing the Fire and Police Departments of their city.
Netflix, Hulu and Peacock dropped streaming documentaries.
All of this coverage focused on the heroism, the devastation that destroyed 2,996 families, and the unified aftermath. Stats were dropped about the sales of United States flags hitting all-time highs. The patriotic shirt and bumper stickers industry was booming for months.
Let’s be clear – this aforementioned coverage was extremely important.
The following might be controversial, so I unfortunately feel obligated to include the following disclaimer:
I think 9/11 memorial coverage is necessary. #NeverForget is important. I’ve often thought that we don’t talk enough Pearl Harbor where 2,403 Americans also died, maybe that’s a generational coverage thing. So, in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, we should keep these stories prominent and always celebrate the heroes of that harrowing day.
Now that my stance on 9/11 coverage is very very clear…
We should also talk more about the racist hate-crime filled society we created for Muslims, Arabic speaking Americans, Sikhs, and anyone who appeared middle eastern or had dark brown skin. We should also never forget those innocent people whose lives were extremely affected during the aftermath.
Their stories are important. Acknowledging the ugliness can assist in learning from those mistakes.
Although the coverage wasn’t front page, there were news outlets brave enough to hit on those topics over the weekend. I wanted to take time to highlight them, quoting some excerpts that may be tough to read:
Anita Snow and Noreen Nasir of Associated Press for ABC News: “Sikh entrepreneur Balbir Singh Sodhi was killed at his Arizona gas station four days after the Sept. 11 attacks by a man who declared he was “going to go out and shoot some towel-heads” and mistook him for an Arab Muslim.”
Kiara Alfonseca for ABC News: “Mosques were burned or destroyed and death threats and harassment followed many Muslims in the weeks following the attacks, according to congressional testimony from the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2011. Some victims were beaten, attacked or held at gunpoint for merely being perceived as Muslim, the organization said.”
“But, you know, as often as you will speak to other Muslim and millennials especially, they feel like we feel like we’ve had to answer for the crimes of other people,” Warsi said.
He says linking the Islamic faith with these attacks was damaging mentally and physically.
“I myself have been discriminated against been a victim to hate crime with physical assault, just because I’m Muslim,” Warsi said.
Dorothy Hastings for PBS: “Since 2001, Muslims have been the second most frequent target for religiously motivated hate crimes, according to the federal hate crime data.”
Newstalk program directors, news directors and journalists should always strive to tell both sides of the story. It’s not the feel-good unified story, but nothing about journalism is easy. The industry isn’t for propaganda.
There are tough truths that need to be told. It’s part of the job.
The stories are important. The coverage is necessary.
The Weather Channel Was Go To Outlet for Hurricane Ida Coverage
The three major cable news outlets were surprisingly slow in covering Hurricane Ida, despite most of their offices located in New York City.
Hurricane Ida continued to wreak havoc on Wednesday, Sep. 1, as the storm that rocked Louisiana the previous weekend unleashed its fury upon the northeast.
The Weather Channel was the primary outlet for Ida coverage. Here was their ratings track as the storm reached New Jersey and New York that evening, according to Nielsen Media Research:
- 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET: 0.391 million viewers; 158,000 adults 25-54
- 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET: 0.461 million viewers; 154,000 adults 25-54
- 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET: 0.348 million viewers; 111,000 adults 25-54
- 11:00 p.m.-midnight ET: 0.269 million viewers; 100,000 adults 25-54
- midnight-1:00 a.m. ET: 0.230 million viewers; 72,000 adults 25-54
- 1:00-2:00 a.m. ET: 0.198 million viewers; 63,000 adults 25-54
3.15 inches of rain fell in Central Park from 8:51-9:51 p.m. ET — the largest amount of rainfall there within a one-hour period on record, a mark previously set just eleven days prior (Aug. 21) by the effects of Hurricane Henri’s storm (1.94 inches). 8.4 inches fell in Newark, New Jersey throughout the entire evening. Over 50 people in the northeast perished due to Ida.
The three major cable news outlets were surprisingly slow in covering Hurricane Ida, despite most of their offices located in New York City. Fox News Channel provided 10-minute special reports in the overnight of late Sep. 1/early Sep. 2:
- 1:00-1:10 a.m. ET: 0.875 million viewers; 213,000 adults 25-54
- 2:00-2:11 a.m. ET: 0.692 million viewers; 166,000 adults 25-54
- 3:00-3:08 a.m. ET: 0.526 million viewers; 129,000 adults 25-54
CNN’s “Newsroom Live” began at 2 a.m. ET, reporting on Hurricane Ida. It averaged 411,000 viewers and 128,000 adults 25-54 for the hour.
On the following morning of Thursday, Sep. 2, the governors of New Jersey (Phil Murphy) and New York (Kathy Hochul) held separate press conferences addressing the aftermath of Ida. Fox News, averaging 1.6 million total viewers and 265,000 in the 25-54 demo from 10-11 a.m. ET, aired most of these conferences until bailing on them when the topic of climate change was mentioned.
CNN (967,000 viewers/228,000 adults 25-54 from 10-11 a.m. ET) and MSNBC (Murphy: 843,000 viewers/90,000 adults 25-54 from 10:19-10:38 a.m. ET; Hochul: 778,000 viewers/86,000 adults 25-54 from 10:38-11:12 a.m. ET) both aired the Murphy and Hochul press conferences in full.
Here are the cable news averages for August 30-September 5, 2021.
Total Day (August 30-September 5 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 1.548 million viewers; 259,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 0.744 million viewers; 84,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.653 million viewers; 145,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.247 million viewers; 57,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.201 million viewers; 61,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.145 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.140 million viewers; 20,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.096 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54
Prime Time (August 30-September 4 @ 8-11 p.m.; September 5 @ 7-11 p.m.)
- Fox News Channel: 2.642 million viewers; 434,000 adults 25-54
- MSNBC: 1.260 million viewers; 145,000 adults 25-54
- CNN: 0.876 million viewers; 202,000 adults 25-54
- The Weather Channel: 0.259 million viewers; 72,000 adults 25-54
- HLN: 0.218 million viewers; 62,000 adults 25-54
- CNBC: 0.199 million viewers; 60,000 adults 25-54
- Newsmax: 0.163 million viewers; 33,000 adults 25-54
- Fox Business Network: 0.054 million viewers; 6,000 adults 25-54
Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top MSNBC, CNN and The Weather Channel programs with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:
1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.312 million viewers
2. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 4.130 million viewers
3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.846 million viewers
4. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.841 million viewers
5. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.620 million viewers
6. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.519 million viewers
7. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.506 million viewers
8. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.489 million viewers
9. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.393 million viewers
10. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/2/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.317 million viewers
19. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.763 million viewers
125. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 1.199 million viewers
190. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.909 million viewers
Top 10 cable news programs (and the top MSNBC, CNN and The Weather Channel programs with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:
1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.778 million adults 25-54
2. Hannity (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.667 million adults 25-54
3. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.667 million adults 25-54
4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.654 million adults 25-54
5. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.634 million adults 25-54
6. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.613 million adults 25-54
7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 9/2/2021 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.574 million adults 25-54
8. The Ingraham Angle (FOXNC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.569 million adults 25-54
9. Hannity (FOXNC, Tue. 8/31/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.564 million adults 25-54
10. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 9/1/2021 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.552 million adults 25-54
32. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 8/30/2021 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.367 million adults 25-54
71. Don Lemon Tonight (CNN, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.282 million adults 25-54
87. America’s Morning Headquarters (TWC, Mon. 8/30/2021 10:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.253 million adults 25-54
Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research
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