Whether you’re a small market operator or a big market difference maker, there’s always a challenge in keeping expenses low and profits high. In a perfect world we’d use 1 or 2 people to do the work, keep costs down, make a fortune, and earn the envy of the industry.
But the reality is that it takes people to produce content and deliver ratings. It takes people to make sales and hit budgets. It takes people to create social media impact and institute a good brand strategy. And it takes people to make your workplace a desirable business destination.
Having run radio companies in different regions of this country I’ve seen it all firsthand. I’ve prided myself on the image, execution and results of the brands I’ve managed but I’ve also learned to operate each station as if it were my own. Content people often think about what’s best for the show, but they’re not always familiar with what it costs to provide that type of excellence. Whether it’s been pursuing play by play partnerships, adding weekly contributors, creating special events and promotions, or hiring talent, I’ve always kept the bottom line in mind when making calls. You can brag about your brand and its incredible ratings, but if your profitability is in the toilet, jobs will be lost and the results you provide carry far less value.
No time has that been understood more on my end than the past two and a half years.
When I launched BSM in September 2015 and became an independent business owner I hoped to simply pay the rent and keep food on the table. I didn’t think about hiring people, setting travel budgets or making sure I invested enough back in the business to not take a punch in the stomach from Uncle Sam during tax time.
As the time has progressed and the company has grown, I’ve found myself at times trying to tackle more than I could. I’m a big thinker and ambitious person so I’m always trying to challenge myself to make the next year bigger and better than the last.
In the past twelve to eighteen months I’ve launched the BSM podcast and delivered 33 episodes, hired five columnists and a daily news writer, expanded the number of stations I’ve worked with, and produced my first programming summit for sports radio programmers. Those have been strategic decisions which have fueled growth for the company.
When you increase your workload though and remain the sole owner and operator of a growing company there are times where it becomes a massive challenge. My first and foremost commitment is to serve my clients. That means listening, observing, presenting ideas and information, and having numerous phone conversations and in person meetings. As important as the website and my social media’s presence is to the business, and as proud of the work I am of all involved in it, I know that it’s a marketing piece that keeps the brand front and center and it isn’t as critical as providing value to business partners.
Therein lies the struggle.
As a consultant and strategist, the majority of my focus is on the brands I work with, but there’s also the daily tug on my time to crank out compelling, topical and informative content on the website. If the commitment to the website isn’t consistent then it’s a poor reflection on me and that’s the last thing I want to be known for, especially to people who may become clients somewhere down the line.
One of the biggest positives of doing this line of work is that I have seen how the website has elevated the perception of the sports format and helped people find opportunities to grow their careers. This website has been a valuable resource, allowing many to learn from either myself, the BSM writing staff or other industry members. It’s also increased communication in the business between people at different companies and stations.
Not to be ignored, when an individual or station does something well and we’re able to present it on this website, it becomes a story which many sports radio professionals are able to use to showcase their people or brand’s success to advertisers. Sometimes our clients and potential buyers need a subtle reminder to continue making investments in our format and every little bit of press has potential to make a difference.
I bring this to light because as I’ve developed BSM, I reflect back on my beliefs of running quality sports radio brands. Every market manager I’ve spent time working with knows how much I believe in investing in people who can help deliver results, and I’d be a hypocrite if I wasn’t willing to do the same with BSM. Even if it’s much scarier doing so without the backing of a billion dollar company.
With that in mind, I’ve made the decision to hire Demetri Ravanos as Assistant Content Director of BSM.
Since joining the website as a weekly columnist in September 2017, Demetri has done a fantastic job of producing thought provoking pieces that serve a benefit to those working in the business. His increased role with the company means he’ll become further involved in the website’s content creation process. His years of experience in radio have also helped him develop a great ear and feel for the business, so when I assign him other projects to work on I know he’ll be able to provide good analysis that benefits me and anyone I work closely with.
What you’ll immediately notice in the coming days is that Demetri will be taking on the responsibility of writing daily sports television and print stories. Brandon Contes has done a great job handling the sports television beat but his true passion is sports radio, and this now allows us to turn him loose on the beat he values most without losing anything on the television and print side.
In addition, Demetri will serve as the point of contact for our columnists so their pieces are featured in a timely manner. We’ll also work together on creating original story ideas. One of the challenges I face as an independent business owner is making sure everything is posted in a timely manner, especially when I’m on the road working with a client or buried in a listening project. This will make things much smoother for all involved.
There are other things on the horizon for BSM but we’ll cross those bridges down the line. For now, I’m just thrilled to be doing what I absolutely love, working with great clients, smart people, and a talented writing team who offer their insights and opinions to help others involved in the sports radio business.
As the old saying goes, to make money you’ve got to spend money. By investing in good people, I’m counting on it doing for BSM what it’s done for the previous brands I’ve managed. That’s a formula that benefits any business.
Here’s to the next step!