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Carrington Harrison Branched Out And Made A Documentary

“Nobody goes back to listen to old interviews or old tapes, sports news is always moving forward. I tried to think of something that would last and I felt like this was something that could stick.”

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Think of the people you admire the most in sports media and you’ll notice something similar between almost all of them. Colin Cowherd is known for his radio show on Fox Sports Radio, but he also has his own podcast network. Michael Kay has a drive-time afternoon show in New York City, but he’s also the television play-by-play voice of the Yankees. Dan LeBatard went from a great columnist to a great radio host. You get the idea, several well-known talents have more than one sports media gig. 

That realization hit Carrington Harrison around five years ago. It was at that time, he felt the urge to create something outside of his radio show at 610 Sports in Kansas City. 

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“Nobody who you would deem to be at the height of this profession only does a radio show,” He said. “They either write or have a podcast, they do something else. I think most people in our profession look at Bill Simmons as being the standard, especially in multi-platform kind of stuff. He basically had the idea of 30 For 30. I love movies and I love documentaries. It just felt like something I should try.”

So he did.

During the height of Covid-19 he made the decision to create a documentary about the history of high school basketball in Kansas City. The 93-minute film From Paseo to Pembroke is an authentic retrospective on the golden age of high school basketball in the city. The film covers the years from 1988 to 1998. 

“I didn’t think that anybody had compiled the history of high school basketball in Kansas City,” Harrison said. “I did a lot of reading and talking to different people and nobody had tried to do it. When Covid happened I noticed that so many people were trying to learn how to do something new, whether it was video editing or Twitch, whatever it is. I felt like people were trying to make the most of their time. I had a lot of free time because I wasn’t watching sports, all I was doing was watching a lot of movies at home. It just kind of came together.”

The documentary has been showing in select theaters throughout Kansas City and the local reviews have been fantastic. Shawn Edwards of Fox4 News gave it four out of five popcorn bags and said it’s “basically the KC version of ESPN’s The Last Dance.” 

The inspiration for the idea to make a documentary came from multiple places, including The Morning Show, a streaming television series on Apple TV. In the show, Steve Carell plays a character named Mitch Kessler, who was fired amidst a sexual misconduct scandal that spanned 15 years during his time as a morning anchor at one of the biggest TV networks in the country. During the first season, Kessler mentions how nothing they do truly matters. Nobody goes back and watches old shows, it’s all about the present. It was something that really stuck with Carrington Harrison when he watched that particular episode. 

“I really thought about that with my career. Nobody goes back to listen to old interviews or old tapes, sports news is always moving forward. I tried to think of something that would last and I felt like this was something that could stick. You know, something that people could show their kids. That was a big motivating factor for me. I felt it was our story and I felt like I was the right person to do it.

“I knew enough people in the story, I either knew them personally or I knew the person that knew the person. That made it easy and kind of like anything else, once you tell people what you’re doing, they’re much more inclined to want to help you. Especially something of this magnitude.”

Carrington Harrison was kind enough to share the documentary with me before I wrote this story. I’ve been to Kansas City a handful of times in my life, and have a pretty good understanding of the city, but to say I have any ties to the area would be inaccurate. But that didn’t negatively impact my feelings on the documentary. In fact, I was surprised when I found myself rooting for schools such as Raytown South to win the state title in 1990, even though I had never even heard of the high school. 

Raytown South 1990 Basketball team - Highlight video - "Hero's" - YouTube

It’s incredibly well done and I would urge any basketball fan to watch the documentary. That’s coming from someone who has no bias to the area. 

In all, 53 people were interviewed for the documentary. That’s where Harrison spent the majority of his time with the documentary. He was also very hands-on in the editing process. What really helped speed up the process was the help of Spectrum Sports. Most of the film is shown through archived footage, so the process of sorting through 10 years of video would have taken an eternity. Luckily, Harrison had help. 

“The people at Spectrum Sports were actually really, really helpful,” Harrison said. “There’s a guy named Shawn Beldin, he’s kind of the keeper of all the footage. One day I went up there and they had a sheet of all the games. It was, oh, this game is interesting and this game is interesting, they were super helpful with that. It made it to where the heavy lifting was done already.”

Carrington Harrison is already one of the most popular sports radio hosts in Kansas City, but this will undoubtedly add to the likeability factor he’s already built up with the locals. There’s no denying the effort he’s put in to give back to Kansas City and this venture could turn out to be his most memorable one. Harrison isn’t leaving the radio dial anytime soon, but creating a documentary that’s been this successful may be the start of a new passion. 

“I really enjoyed doing it,” Harrison said. “It was a different kind of challenge, where, in my day job, most of the things happen really fast. For example, the Chiefs play the Titans next week. You start on Monday and try to get a big Tennessee Titans guest and you know by Friday whether or not you’re going to get the guest.

“It’s kind of a quick turnaround and you have to replicate that 17 weeks. That’s not really how this works. It was really challenging and it took a lot of patience, which is a personal weakness of mine. It was one of those things where once I decided I wanted to do it, I talked to a lot of people who have done a documentary. They tell you what the experience is going to be like, but you don’t know until it’s done. It’s just exciting. It’s exciting to think you had a part in creating something like this. That part is really rewarding.”

If you’re interested in seeing the documentary, it sounds like you’re probably going to have multiple chances in the next few weeks. Again, coming from someone who has no ties or bias to the area, I would highly recommend this film. It’s informative. It’s entertaining. And it’ll make you feel something for schools and former players you have never heard of before. 

“We’re trying to figure out the next step, but if I had to guess, I think it will be available on DVD, probably here in the next 10 days,” Harrison said. “I think it’ll also go on Amazon Prime in the next 21 days.”

BSM Writers

Sam Mayes Got A Raw Deal But Tyler Media Made The Right Call

“You are being naive if you think a company should stand behind an employee that has put themselves in this situation.”

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I do not envy whoever at Tyler Media had to make a decision about Sam Mayes’s future with the company after audio of a private conversation in 2016 was leaked to the media. Mayes and now-former co-worker Cara Rice made a few racist jokes at the expense of Native Americans.

The recording, according to Mayes, was made without his knowledge and leaked illegally. He says in a recorded statement that he should have been given the opportunity to address the recording on air and make amends.

OKC Radio Host Sam Mayes Fired After Racist Audio is Leaked

Maybe that is true, maybe it isn’t. I hate for Sam to lose his job as the result of an illegal recording of a private conversation, but the fact is, that conversation isn’t private anymore. Tyler Media didn’t really have an option here. Sam Mayes had to go.

Someone had an illegal recording of the conversation and created an anonymous email account to send it to people in the Oklahoma City media. I was shown a copy of the email. The author states clearly that their goal is to see Mayes and Rice out of a job. There is nothing fair or just about that person getting exactly what they want. It feels slimy. I can’t say that it feels like it wasn’t the right call though.

We have debated whether or not someone should lose their job over comments made in a private conversation many times before. It happens in every field. It wasn’t long ago at all that we were having this same debate about Jon Gruden. His emails to Bruce Allen and others were sent in private. Is it fair he had to go when they were made public? No matter what horrible things were in there, they were said with the understanding that it would stay between friends.

I am going to say the same thing about Sam Mayes that I did about Gruden when that story first broke. You are being naive if you think a company should stand behind an employee that has put themselves in this situation.

You read that right. The circumstances of how the conversations in these examples came to light are absolutely unfair, but the conversations came to light. How it happened is irrelevant. Any sponsor or boss that stands behind Sam Mayes or Jon Gruden would be endorsing the language they used, either inadvertently or very much on purpose. Try explaining that to a sponsor.

People at Tyler Media may know Sam Mayes’s heart. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy. The fact of the matter is, once the audio became public, their hands were tied. There is no mistaking what was said or who said it.

How can any seller or manager take Mayes to advertisers now? How can they put him in front of the Lucky Star Casino, one of the station’s biggest advertisers? They can ask for an audience to let Sam explain himself and try to make amends. The Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribes, who own the casino, are under no obligation to forgive or even listen.

All About the Lucky Star Casino in El Reno, Concho
Courtesy: TripAdvisor/Adam Knapp

Maybe the day will come where Sam Mayes bounces back. I hope it does. I hope he gets the chance to address his comments with members of Oklahoma’s Native American community and listen to what they have to say in response. I do think it sucks that this is how his time at The Franchise comes to an end, but I get it.

If I have to explain to you why not to say dumb, racist shit, then I don’t think we have much to talk about. But, it is worth noting that the recording of Mayes and Rice’s conversation is proof that privacy is always an assumption, not always a fact.

In his audio statement, Mayes admits it is his voice on the recording. He also says that he was uncomfortable with Rice’s comments and he tried to end their conversation. I’ll take him at his word, but I will also point out that before he tried to end the conversation, he joined in on the jokes. Maybe when someone says that Native Americans are “too drunk to organize” it isn’t a great idea to respond. All it leads to is proof of you saying something dumb and racist.

Again, I’ll reiterate that how these comments came to light is unfair, but they did come to light. That is Sam Mayes’s voice on the recording. He is joining in on the jokes about Native Americans being drunks and addicts. At the end of the day, the only thing that was done to him was the audio being released. He fully and willingly committed the firable offense.

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What is the response to a client or potential client when they bring that up? All Tyler Media can do is try to recover and move forward. The company cannot do that with Mayes on the payroll.

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BSM Writers

Stop Prospecting, Start Strategizing!

“You cannot put a price tag on authenticity. It’s very rare and hard to find these days.”

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Struggling to get new business appointments? Dreading making prospecting calls? Having trouble writing creative emails that seemingly never get a response?

Generating responses to new business outreach is easier than you think. Just make sure you do your homework first and keep it “Simple Stupid”.

To do that, start with asking yourself these (3) simple questions:

#1: Did I do my home work on the business itself, their competition and those I plan on reaching out to?

#2: If I were on the other end of the phone and/or email with myself would I want to engage in conversation and/or reply to that email?

#3: Am I prepared to make a one call close given the opportunity to?

If the answer to any of these is “No”… do NOT pick up the phone and by all means do NOT hit the send button on that initial outreach email! Doing so will all but ensure you fall flat on your face. On the off chance you do happen to get the decision maker on the phone you won’t make that great first impression that sometimes can be so crucial. First impressions are always important… ALWAYS!

Skipping over these critical steps is a sure-fire way to ensure your email is completely ignored and will not generate the engagement from the prospect you’d hope for. Successful prospecting is all about the front end digging and research. Do your homework first then strategize a plan of attack for your call and/or email. Taking these extra measures on the front end is absolutely “Mission Critical” and will set you up for much more success with your prospecting endeavors.

Now once you’ve answered “Yes” to all of the above, you’re ready to attack with the knowledge and confidence that should set you a part from your competition. It’s all about the Game Plan, and if you don’t have one, you’re destined for failure time and time again. Incorporate these (5) things into your prospecting Game Plan for your next call/email and watch your results dramatically improve:

#1: MAKE IT PERSONAL & CASUAL – Be informal, find out something interesting about them.

#2: MAKE IT SHORT & CONCISE – Be straight forward and to the point, people are busy.

#3: MAKE IT TIMELY & RELEVANT TO THEM AND/OR THEIR BUSINESS – Give them a good Valid Business Reason.

#4: MAKE IT INTERESTING, COMPELLING & INFORMATIVE – Be the expert they’re missing.

#5: MAKE IT FUN – Fun people are easy to do business with and make it less like “work”.

Lastly, and most importantly, Be Yourself! You cannot put a price tag on authenticity. It’s very rare and hard to find these days. When clients do find it trust me, they value it and appreciate it way more than you’ll ever know!

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BSM Writers

Good Producers Can Teach The World A Lot About Christmas

“A lot has to be accomplished in the lead-up to Christmas. So much of it happens in the background without much recognition.”

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Who is Carl Christmas in your house? Who is the one that makes sure everyone that needs to get a card does? Who comes up with the plan for the lights? Who takes the reins on the shopping?

Chevy Chase, aka Clark Griswold, to light up stage in Berks | Berks  Regional News | wfmz.com
Courtesy: Warner Bros./National Lampoon

Every home needs one and in my house, that’s me. December (including the last week of November) is my time to shine, baby!

One thing I have tried to impress upon my mom and wife this year is that shipping and supply chain delays are real. So, if you are planning on procrastinating on your online shopping this year (you know, like usual) someone (me) is going to have no presents under the tree.

Veteran producers are used to operate this way. Young producers, listen up. Your job involves the most delicate balance of any in sports radio. You have to help bring your host’s and PD’s visions to life. That means you have to be able to take their direction. But you also have to keep the host on target. That means you cannot be afraid to be forceful and lead when the moment demands it.

There’s no value to being an unrepentant asshole to people, but you do have to hold them accountable. Look at that Christmas shopping example again. If you want to get what you want, you need to keep on task the people you know aren’t paying attention to the potential roadblocks. It isn’t selfish. It is making sure everyone gets the holiday W they are expecting. Sure, you would be disappointed if your gift doesn’t arrive on time, but so will the gift giver.

Being a stickler for the clock or moving a host off of a topic that has no value is the same thing. Of course there is something in it for you, but you are also helping the host do his or her job better. They may get annoyed with you now, but if you save them from an ass-chewing from the bosses or slipping ratings, then they have reaped the benefits.

I guess the unfortunate difference here is that there may be no acknowledgment of what you did or helped them to avoid. Oh well. Every producer has to expect a certain level of thanklessness.

Producers have to take on that Carl Christmas role in dealing with sales too. Remember, just because the producer’s name isn’t on the show doesn’t mean that isn’t every bit his or her show that it is the hosts’.

It’s like decorating your house for the holidays. You may have a certain design in mind. Maybe you have a traditional look you stick to every year. If your spouse or your kid comes home with a giant, inflatable Santa Claus in a military helicopter that they want on the lawn, you have a decision to make. Are you going to say no and suggest an alternative that aligns more with your goal or are you going to let your plan get run over?

25 Best Christmas Inflatables - Top Inflatable Christmas Decorations

Sales has a job to do. It is to make sure their clients’ messages are heard and to make money for the station. Both can be accomplished without sacrificing your show’s quality.

If a seller comes to you and says he wants his client to come in for five minutes and talk about now being the time to book an appointment to have your garage floors redone, you have to speak up. You have an obligation to make sure that the seller knows that even five minutes of that will hurt the show and have listeners diving for the preset buttons on their car stereo. That isn’t good for the station or his client.

Instead, offer to work with the seller and the client to come up with a piece of content that the client can put his name on and a 20-second ad read behind. Will the audience stick around to listen to some dude named Jerry talk about garage floors or will more people listen to you talk about the NFL playoff picture in a creative way and then still be there to hear Jerry’s message about garage floors? The answer seems obvious.

A lot has to be accomplished in the lead-up to Christmas. So much of it happens in the background without much recognition. If the background work wasn’t done though, the problems would be right out on the front lawn for everyone to see.

“Gatekeeper” is a term I really hate. It implies that someone is telling others what they are and are not allowed to enjoy. It is a necessary term though to properly describe what it is that a great producer and a great Carl Christmas do.

We don’t shut people out from being able to enjoy or be a part of what it is we are creating. We set or are handed down expectations and we block anything that can get in the way of achieving them. Sometimes, that is more thankless work than it should be. It is necessary though.

Kevin Anderson on Twitter: "Just noticed that I've been blocked by the  international civil aviation authority @icao Have others working on  aviation emissions also been blocked? Appears to be that their commitment

As my home’s self-appointed Carl Christmas and a former producer, let me give my countrymen the thanks others forget. We are the ones that make it possible for everyone else to be mindless. Wear it as a badge of honor. We may not get the kind of recognition we deserve everyday, but when plans go off without a hitch, we are usually the first to be recognized for making it happen.

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