Connect with us

BSM Writers

Maybe There’s No Such Thing As A Good Job

“The answer to “is this a great job” is a math problem. Everything has to be right in order for you to come to the correct answer.”

Published

on

As I type this, there is a debate amongst college football fans. What is the best open job? Is it LSU or USC? Very dumb people will insist that Virginia Tech and Miami should be a part of that discussion too.

While the coaching carousel is a fun part of the college football season for us talking heads, I think trying to settle this debate is largely a fool’s endeavor every year.

College football is very similar to radio. There are no inherently good jobs. Every job’s quality and value is based largely on the situation. Some openings pay more, some have more support in place for you to succeed, but there is no job in either industry that is equally great for whoever gets it.

I tell everyone that reaches out to me about openings in our industry the same thing: don’t evaluate the job, evaluate your situation. Are you in need of real change or just some validation from your current job? Does your personality fit the market? Is the market somewhere you really want to be?

Look at how long Billy Napier has been at Louisiana. This will be the third consecutive coaching carousel where he is courted by multiple schools. So far, he has looked at what he has been offered and decided that none of it has been a significant upgrade over what he has going in Lafayette. That may change this year, but so far, his current situation hasn’t necessitated a change.

The answer to “is this a great job” is an algebra problem. The overall correct answer comes from finding the correct answers to smaller problems along the way. So here are some things to think about as you approach the job market.

First, the value of the job is going to change based on your performance. Right now, everyone that follows college football thinks that Alabama is a great job. It is easy to succeed there and the school has a booster base that is going to give a coach anything he says he needs to win.

I was in school there for not just one, but two coaching searches that saw the Crimson Tide be turned down by at least five coaches before it finally heard “yes!”. In the early 2000s, the job was seen as something of a garbage fire. Boosters were out of control. Expectations didn’t match the reality of the moment. The NCAA had just hit the school with a two year bowl ban and major scholarship reductions. I remember being a junior when Dennis Franchione bolted for Texas A&M and thinking “we are so screwed”.

So what changed from then to now? Oh nothing, the school just happened to hire the greatest coach in the history of the sport at any level. Nick Saban told the boosters that he would ask when their opinion or help was necessary, otherwise they needed to stay away. He built a machine of a program that churns out first round picks like Land O’ Lakes does butter. It is easy to change the perception of your job when the guy currently in it makes everything look so easy.

Now, look at Florida. It was supposed to be a turnkey operation. You’re in a state full of talent. You’re in the easier of the two divisions in the SEC. There’s a recent history of success. The job should be idiot proof, yet the last three hires have proven that just isn’t true. The reality is that Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer were so good that they made the job look easy.

The same is true in radio. Is afternoon drive on WFAN the best gig in all of radio? I am sure Mike Francesa would say it is. Chris Carlin may have a different answer. Same goes for stations and time slots all over the country. Ask Mike Salk and Paul Gallant what they each think of the morning drive slot at ESPN 710 in Seattle. I’ll bet they offer two very different opinions.

Management in radio is like a bank. They will usually offer leniency and advantages to the people that have demonstrated they need them less. For some, that is great. For others, it is no help at all.

Along those lines, what does it mean when your boss is willing to give you a long leash? In the best cases, it means management understands they are asking for the moon and they recognize that takes a lot of time and support. In most cases though, it is a subtle message that your performance doesn’t really matter and that your station/team/department is an afterthought.

Look at Stanford University. David Shaw inherited a program from Jim Harbaugh in 2011 that was as good as it had ever been, and he came out of the gate strong. Now, ten years later, Stanford is back to being another also ran in the PAC-12 and there seems to be little to no urgency about the state of the football program. That is fine for Stanford. They are one of the country’s three or four most prestigious universities. What message do you think it sends to the people the school may be interested in hiring when they decide it is time to replace Shaw though?

This happens in radio all the time. I have worked with stations where a 60-something talent has let the game pass him by and he is still given a new contract. Across the country, there are countless examples of stations that have shuffled lineups when no one is having ratings success instead of making any meaningful changes.

The long leash is nice to a point. There’s no pressure. It means there is some job security there. It also means there are severe limitations to your ability to grow and earn more.

Finally, there are always outside factors that you will never have control over. Butch Davis is on his way out at Florida International and he absolutely obliterated the school administration on his way out the door. He told Brett McMurphy that it is “sabotaging” the football program.

Davis is a respected coach that brought immediate success to FIU. Behind the scenes though, he was dealing with a budget he could not effect. His players were forced to use hand-me-down pads from other schools. His coaches couldn’t go on the road to meet recruits in person. No uniform redesigns or upgrades were even considered in a sport where that tends to be used as a selling point.

Budgets can be similar in radio, but do you know what the real factor that is out of your control is? Meters.

Neilsen’s distribution of portable people meters has very little to do with stations’ needs and everything to do with their success. Sure, Nielsen will listen to complaints when GMs or PDs call, but they aren’t obligated to do anything to make the situation better.

Programmers, hosts, and producers can absolutely bust their asses. They can bend over backwards to deliver the most entertaining product the market has ever heard. If the bulk of the meters go to people that aren’t sports fans, it is irrelevant. If the ones that do go to sports fans go almost entirely to older members of the demo, it will be very hard for a newer station to make a dent against a heritage brand.

My column isn’t an indictment of radio or of college football. Outside of my family, those are literally my two favorite things in the world.

Nobody tell Star Wars I said that.

empire strikes back release date - Online Discount Shop for Electronics,  Apparel, Toys, Books, Games, Computers, Shoes, Jewelry, Watches, Baby  Products, Sports & Outdoors, Office Products, Bed & Bath, Furniture, Tools,  Hardware,
Courtesy: LucasFilm

Let’s just call this what it is. Like your relationship status on Facebook, determining whether or not a job is good in either field is complicated. We can boil college football jobs down to a simple yes or no because to us it is just content. To those coaches though, this is their real life. The same is true with you and radio gigs. It’s misguided to try and simplify these evaluations.

BSM Writers

Grant Cohn’s Trolling of Players is Unacceptable

After an altercation between Javon Kinlaw of the San Francisco 49ers and Grant Cohn, it became clear that Kinlaw was being trolled by a member of the media.

Published

on

grant cohn

Grant Cohn is a media member who writes for the FanNation 49ers blog on SI.com. He also talks about the team on his YouTube channel, which has over 48,000 subscribers as of noon Thursday. His father, Lowell, was a longtime columnist in the Bay Area.

Javon Kinlaw is a defensive lineman, whom the San Francisco 49ers drafted in the first round despite concerns about the durability of his knee. He played four games last season, his second in the league.

The two were involved in two confrontations this week. The first one occurred off to the side of the 49ers’ practice field. Kinlaw apparently cursed at Cohn and knocked his hat from atop his head. Later in the day, Kinlaw again swore at Cohn, this time after joining a live stream on Cohn’s YouTube channel. (Side note: I have never felt so freaking old as I did while typing that previous sentence.)

OK. That’s my attempt at an absolutely straightforward and objective summary of a situation that scares the hell out of me. Not because a player was mad at a member of the media. I’ve had it happen to me and I’ve seen it happen to others. It’s my opinion that this has been happening for as long as human beings have scrutinized the athletic efforts of other human beings.

What scared me was that I was seeing some version of the future of sports media. A future in which media members behaved like YouTube trolls, acting purposely ridiculous or antagonistic to initiate conflicts that could be turned into more conflicts that would could be gleefully recounted as content for the audience. I thought that because that’s pretty much what Cohn did:https://youtu.be/4Hf9sjBttFY

Cohn essentially bragged about the number of different things he said that may have prompted Kinlaw’s reaction, and you know what? It worked. Kinlaw got mad. He confronted Cohn. Twice. TMZ published a story about it. So did SFGate.com.

This is troll behavior. You know, the online pests who say or do something intended to provoke a reaction, and once they get that reaction, they recount and scrutinize that reaction with an eye toward triggering another reaction. Lather, rinse repeat. Increasingly, entire online media ecosystems consist of nothing more than people who don’t like each other talking about how much they don’t like one another.

I’m not going to pretend this is entirely new in sports media. Sports columnists have been known to make reputations with their willingness to be critical of the home team. A huge part of Skip Bayless’ brand is his unwavering insistence on highlighting Lebron James’ perceived flaws. Stephen A. Smith has engaged in public feuds with players, namely Kevin Durant.

I do see a difference between this and what Cohn did, though. The reaction Bayless and Smith are primarily concerned with is from their audience, not their subjects. The subjects may get mad, but that’s not the primary goal. At least I hope it’s not.

What happens if that is the primary goal? What if someone is offering opinions not because it’s what they really think, but because they want to provoke a response from the subject? Media careers have been built on less.

I don’t know if that’s the case with Cohn. I’ve never talked to him in my life, and even if I had, it’s impossible to know someone’s true intent. But in listening to everything he said AFTER the initial confrontation with Kinlaw, I’m not willing to assume that Cohn was operating in good faith. Here’s how Cohn described the initial confrontation with Kinlaw, which occurred as practice was beginning.

“In the training room, I saw Javon Kinlaw, who is the king of the training room,” Cohn said. “He’s usually in the training room.”

Cohn said the two locked eyes, but were separated by about 70 yards at the time. Kinlaw then walked across the field to where the reporters were gathered. He stood directly behind Cohn.

“So I turn, and I say, ‘Wassup, Mook Dawg?’ “ Cohn said, referencing the nickname on Kinlaw’s Instagram account. “And he doesn’t say anything. And I say, ‘Why are you looking at me like that, Javon?’ “

“And then he said, ‘What are you going to do about it you bitch-ass,’ and then he said one more word that I can’t say,” Cohn said. “And then I turned to face him, and I said, ‘Oh, it’s like that?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it’s like that.’ And then he knocked the hat off my head.”

OK. Pause. In my experience, when your job is to publicly describe and critique the performance and attitudes of professional athletes, there will be times in which the athletes do not care for your description or your critique. Some of those who are displeased will make their objections known to you.

However, there are two things that are unusual here: First, the fact Kinlaw knocked the hat off Cohn’s head, which is unacceptable. Second, Cohn then posted a video on  YouTube to not only talk about what had happened, but state he had been so critical of Kinlaw for so long he wasn’t sure what specifically sparked Kinlaw’s anger.

“Javon, what are you upset about?” Cohn asked toward the end of  his video. “Is it the fact that I said you have an 80-year-old knee? Is it the fact that I said that you’re a terrible pass rusher and you’re just a two-down player? Is it the fact that I said the Niners shouldn’t have drafted you and should have taken Tristan Wirfs instead. Is it the fact that I said that you’re unprofessional and immature.

“It escapes me, which of the hundred negative things I’ve said about Javon Kinlaw the last couple of years, moved him to approach me in such a way, but you know what, I applaud Javon Kinlaw for coming to speak to me directly, and I ask you, what do you think Javon Kinlaw is mad about.”

Cohn was trolling Kinlaw. No other word for it.

That night, Cohn was conducting a live stream on YouTube, which Kinlaw joined, while apparently eating dinner, to make declarative statements about the size of Cohn’s genitalia — among other things.

Neither one looked particularly impressive. Not Kinlaw, who was profane and combative with a member of the media, at one point making a not-so-subtle threat. Not Cohn, who asked Kinlaw, “Do you think I’m scared of you, Javon?” He also said, “I don’t even know why you’re mad, Javon.”

I think Kinlaw would have been better off ignoring Cohn. If I was Kinlaw’s employer, I would probably prefer he not log into video livestreams to make testicular comparisons. But honestly, I don’t care about what Kinlaw did. At all. He’s not on a team I root for. He didn’t physically harm anyone. He used some bad words in public.

I am bothered not just by Cohn’s actions, but by some of the reactions to them because of what I think this type of behavior will do to an industry I have worked in for 25 years. Credentialed media members who behave like Cohn did this week make it harder for other media members who are acting in good faith. Preserving access for people like him diminishes what that access will provide for those who aren’t trying to use criticism to create conflict that will become content.

I think Cohn knew what he was doing. In his livestream, before Kinlaw joined, Cohn stated he was not scared because he knew — by virtue of his father’s history in the business — that if Kinlaw had touched him he would potentially be entitled monetary compensation.

By now, it should be pretty apparent how problematic this whole thing is and yet on Thursday, a number of 49ers fans online were sticking up for Cohn as just doing his job. Dieter Kurtenbach, a Bay Area columnist, Tweeted: “Javon Kinlaw does not know that @GrantCohn was built for this.” Built for what? Winning Internet fights? Kurtenbach also deleted a Tweet in which he called Kinlaw “soft.”

Cohn’s father, Lowell, is a former columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. He promoted the first video his son made on Tuesday:

Sorry, I don’t find it funny because it’s another step down a path in which media members seek reactions at the expense of information. Where they look to make fun of players instead of learning about them. They’ll stop acting like journalists and start acting like the trolls who make their money by instigating a conflict, which they then film: “Jake Paul, reporting live from 49ers practice …”

If that’s the case, thank God I’m about to age out of this business, entirely. I’m 47 years old and I can’t believe there’s anyone in our industry who thinks what Cohn did this week is acceptable.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 75

Published

on

A new episode of Media Noise is all about reaction. Demetri reacts to the ManningCast’s big win at the Sports Emmys. Danny O’Neil reacts to people reacting to Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Las Vegas and Andy Masur reacts to John Skipper’s comments about Charles Barkley.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Bron Heussenstamm Blends Bleav Podcasts Advertising with SiriusXM

Bron Heussenstamm, the CEO of the Bleav Podcast Network says blending podcasting advertising with satellite radio’s reach is a victory for both sides.

Published

on

Last week, the Bleav (pronounced believe) Podcast Network announced a deal with SiriusXM to make all 32 NFL team-specific Bleav pods available on the SXM app. SXM can also air Bleav content on any of its sports channels. Each NFL Bleav show pairs a former player with a host to discuss team issues. Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, and Pac-Man Jones are amongst the former players Bleav has signed as talent.

I have hosted a Bleav podcast about Boise State football -the Kingdom of POD. I am usually provided 1-3 advertisers per episode by the network and get paid by the download. My subject matter is regional, so my take-home pay is usually under four figures. I have enjoyed the technical assistance and cross-promotion I receive and I enjoyed meeting Bleav CEO Bron Heussenstamm. Bron is Los Angeles-based, a USC graduate, and founded Bleav in 2018. We discussed the SXM deal, podcast advertising, and the future. 

Will the podcast advertisers be carried on the SXM distribution platform?

Yes, Bleav baked-in advertisements and hosts read ads are distributed across all platforms. This enables the host to do their show once through, making it as easy as possible for the hosts and consistent for the advertisers.

Bron Heussenstamm, CEO Bleav Podcast Network

How is advertising on Bleav different? 

We want to be more than a ‘host read ad’ or a ‘digital insert’ with our advertising partners. When companies work with Bleav shows and talent, those companies can receive our omnichannel of distribution points—podcast platforms, YouTube, socials, streamers, TV, radio, and more. This allows for consistent branding across all platforms: great talent presenting great companies to fans and consumers no matter where they consume content. 

What is the growth pattern for podcasts that you see? 

The industry trades have presented 400%-800% percent growth over the next ten years. Once the COVID fog lifted, we really saw these gains. Sports are always going to be at the forefront of culture. The increases in all sports sectors have certainly carried into the digital space. 

SXM has started with NFL shows but can also air more Bleav content – what does that look like? 

We’ve started with our NFL network of 32 team shows hosted by a former player. We’ve kept the door open for our NCAAB, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, Basketball, and Soccer networks. We’re happy for our hosts to be part of such a tremendous company and platform. SiriusXM can continue to amplify its voice and give fans the access and insight only a player can provide. 

The Interactive Advertising Bureau-IAB- says podcast revenue grew 72% last year to $1.4B and is expected to grow to $2B this year and double to $4B by 2024. Have you seen similar growth? What is driving the industry now, and what will be the primary cause of growth by 2024?  

There is a myriad of reasons for the growth. I‘ll lean into a couple. 

At Bleav, we launch and maximize the digital arm of industry leaders. The technology upgrades to allow hosts to have a world-class show — simulcast in both audio and video – from their home has led to an explosion of content. With this, the level of content creators has risen. Having a YouTube, RSS feed, podcast, and more is now part of the brand, right alongside Twitter and Instagram. 

If a company wants to advertise on Bleav in Chargers, we know exactly how many people heard Lorenzo Neal endorse their product. We can also safely assume they like the Chargers. The tracking of demo specifics for companies is huge. It’s a fantastic medium to present products to the right fans and consumers.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.