Connect with us

BSM Writers

What Does Too Much Content Mean To A Producer?

“Don’t treat the smörgåsbord of sports as a cafeteria lunchline. You don’t have to put a little bit of everything on your plate.”

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

Sports radio never has more to talk about than it does in October. Depending on what part of the country you are in, there is the start of the NHL and NBA seasons and the MLB playoffs. The NFL is relevant no matter what part of the country you’re in. College football enjoys that same status in the South and the Midwest, but thanks to the legalization of sports gambling spreading across the country, it too, is starting to get a little more run nationwide.

It doesn’t matter what your role in the industry is. There is plenty you can use to hook your listeners right now. The producer has a particularly challenging role this time of year, because he or she has to find the right balance in all of it and decide, during a time when there is so much, how much of any one thing is too much.

Look at Birmingham, Alabama. It is the college football capital of the country. John SaBerre is the producer of 3 Man Front on JOX 94.5. He knows his listeners could talk about the SEC all day long. That doesn’t mean that nothing else that gets discussed. It just means that there is a high bar to clear.

“The way I view sports coverage this time of year is akin to that meme with the guy who looks at the girl walking the opposite direction while his girlfriend looks on in horror,” he told me via email. “There needs to be something appealing, alluring, or downright captivating to grab out attention away from Alabama & Auburn or even the SEC.  This time of year, we could talk Alabama and Auburn all day every day.  There are so many storylines, so many issues that come up in-game, so many people that want a coordinator fired that we can focus on the two largest state teams and no one would complain.  So for us to focus on something that’s not Tide or Tigers, there is a compelling reason for us to be doing so.  And I believe that we’ve built up enough trust with our audience that they know if they’re not hearing a discussion about AU or UA, it’s for a good reason and they need to hear what we’re saying.”

In Cincinnati, football still reigns, but https://barrettsportsmedia.com/2020/04/29/bsm-producers-podcast-season-2-episode-9-tarren-bland-espn-1530/Tarren Bland told me he is trying to find the balance. He produces The Mo Egger Show on ESPN 1530. It’s Ohio, so the NFL takes priority, but with multiple top five college football teams in the state, it is all about picking which football is right at the right time.

“This year, I would say it’s about 55% Bengals, 45% Bearcats football. We don’t even talk Ohio State, unless they’re in the news nationally or obviously playing UC,” Bland says. “The Bengals is what drives the conversation, especially over the past 2 years with the addition of Joe Burrow. I would say Bearcats are a little higher than usual because they are the #2 ranked team in the country, and have a chance of making history being the first group of 5 to make the college football playoffs. But Bengals is what drives the show. When they’re bad or when they are good like they have been this year our audience will have opinions one way or another.”

part0.jpg

Hockey rarely comes up in Cincinnati. If it is, it is because the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the middle of doing something amazing. Basketball will be reserved for later in the year as the Bearcats and Muskateers head towards conference play

But I wonder what sports gambling has done to that balance. Has the ability and desire to bet changed the appetite of the audience? Not really, according to Bland. It is still sports radio and people want to hear about the teams and games they are most passionate about.

“I’ve been working with Mo for almost 4 years now and I would say he was ahead of the curve as far as talking about gambling on the air.  Since I’ve been working with him, we would have a gambling expert on our show from the start of football season to the end of college basketball season.”

There is a blip on Birmingham’s radar right now that SaBerre will acknowledge people are paying attention to. There has never been a major league professional team anywhere in Alabama. That means, just like in most of the Southeast, a certain Atlanta baseball team was adopted long ago as the state’s home team and that team is about to play in the World Series for the first time in more than twenty years.

“The Braves hold a special place for a lot of listeners in our area. Whether you’re a fan of the team, like Landrum Roberts (co-host of Three Man Front), or enjoy needling their used-to-heartbreak fans, like Cole Cubelic (co-host of JOX 94.5’s morning show McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning), the hosts know how big this is. Even during football season, when the Braves are doing well, the hosts will section out some time to focus on the team.”

So does that mean the Braves are going to be taking big chunks out of the Alabama and Auburn talk on the station? John SaBerre will drop a Lee Corso “not so fast my friend” on that kind of talk.

“Even though it’s the Braves,” he says, “it is still baseball and it is still football season.”

John SaBerre on Twitter: "Checking in on quarantine, yet again… "

The best thing any producer can do this time of year is stick to talk about a gameplan with hosts and programmers and stick to it. Don’t treat the smörgåsbord of sports as a cafeteria lunchline. You don’t have to put a little bit of everything on your plate.

Instead, enjoy the constant stream of news that comes from the sport that matters most to your audience. Afterall, when the cup runneth over with content, the producer has an easier job.

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.