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The BSM Top 5 National Radio Shows for Local Sales Reps to Sell

No shows were rated that don’t air on radio nationally on either Fox, CBS, or ESPN.

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The annual BSM Top 20 has started to drop. Last year, I wrote about how sales could capitalize on an award-winning air show. Now, I am launching my own BSM award.

Welcome to the inaugural BSM Top 5 Best National Radio Shows for Local Sales Reps to Sell.

The radio industry did a great job identifying the 2021 Top 20 national radio shows. As you know, forty-six radio PDs and radio industry professionals, not including Jason Barrett, select the Top 20 shows from the 84 eligible for consideration. JB admits that the panelists have different tastes and value certain factors differently. How a show sounds, originality, ability to entertain, multi-platform impact, on-air chemistry, and rating success are all considered.

For my Top 5, my admitted bias is that I have only sold ESPN and CBS sports radio national programming during my career but have faced competition from most of the Top 20. My career has been exclusively in a mid-sized mountain time zone market in Boise, Idaho’s non-professional sports town. Also, I didn’t score any show that doesn’t air on radio nationally on either Fox, CBS, or ESPN.

I only rated five shows because many shows don’t rank high enough and are probably not being sold independently by many local radio reps, in my humble opinion.  

Here is my scorecard: 

1. Access to national host endorsements for local advertisers

2. Local market appearances for sales opportunities

3. Ad delivery

4. Rating success

5. Local advertiser acceptance

I scored each category above on a 1-5 scale and yes, there is an upset! 

1. The Jim Rome Show

Rome used to take his show on the road and make a boatload of money for everybody. He has taken his act to off-air roadshows but could resurrect his world tour anytime. His audience is fiercely loyal, I have sold him on local spots, and he has massive credibility with his ad reads. His ratings have been outstanding, and while there is a love/hate relationship with advertisers, I always find plenty of love. At least they have all heard of him! 

2. The D.A. Show

Upset alert! Damon Amendolara has done two roadshows in Boise, Idaho. He stayed there for almost a week each time and made appearances in a 150-mile radius. UNREAL SUCCESS. Book D.A. in your market now! The only knock is his ratings are a tougher sell because of his time slot in the western markets. 4 a.m.-8 a.m. in MST, or 3 a.m.-7 a.m. in PST, is tough sledding live or can be a tougher tape-delayed sell. 

3. The Dan Patrick Show

Excellent ratings and ad delivery, and I am relatively sure will voice local commercials for a fee. The total show immersion they have done for Traeger is fantastic. 

4. The Herd with Colin Cowherd and Joy Taylor

Cowherd’s TV show has made his market awareness high, and his ratings have helped make him a local commodity. He should get extra points for his willingness to do radio ads for companies he invests in, like Perky Jerky. 

5. Greeny (Mike Greenberg)

Rating success and local advertiser acceptance are high for Greeny.

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.

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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.

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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

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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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