Wed. Sep 19th, 2018

Cheers to 3 Years of Barrett Sports Media

Twenty six thousand two hundred and eighty hours. One thousand ninety five days. One hundred fifty six weeks. Thirty six months. Anyway you slice it, it adds up to three years, the length of time that BSM has now been fully dedicated to serving the sports media industry.

As we celebrate our third anniversary, it’s hard not to be nostalgic, and think about how far we’ve come. When this adventure began in September 2015, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn’t envision matching 75% of my run as program director of The Game in San Francisco or eclipsing the time I spent programming 101 ESPN in St. Louis. Yet here we are.

When I decided to leave San Francisco to return home to NY it was to gain custody of my son, and be closer to my family. I had ten different addresses in ten years, and proved to myself that I could build, sustain, and successfully program sports radio stations. As much as I loved the job, and experiencing different parts of the country, it was time to be near family, enjoy stability, and welcome a new challenge.

I initially contemplated leaving radio to pursue writing, but sports media writers weren’t in demand, and I wasn’t interested in being an author, team beat writer, or reporting on stories unrelated to the sports media business. I also talked to a few radio groups about an executive role overseeing sports brands, but the timing wasn’t right.

The more I thought about my future, the more I knew I wanted to teach/mentor programmers and talent, create content, and expand the sports radio format’s profile. I didn’t know how that would work, but I was determined to find out. Although it’d have been safer to work for one company, I felt I could make a bigger difference by not being under one group’s control. Those I called for advice cautioned me about going this route, which only fueled my desire to pursue it.

At first, it took some getting used to. When a check isn’t deposited every two weeks in your bank account, and the commute you’ve made for two decades suddenly becomes a walk downstairs to your home office, it can feel like you’re unemployed. Instead of meeting with shows, sales, and partners inside of a building, I was writing website content, listening to hours of sports radio shows and talent demos, typing notes, and strengthening relationships. I knew it’d be months before opportunities would arrive, but when they did, I wanted to be ready to provide value.

As the past three years have played out, I’ve been lucky to work with clients all across the country. I appreciate every group that has invested in BSM, and never take it for granted. This line of work isn’t easy, but I love it, and it affords me a chance to make an impact on those I work with. If we haven’t had the privilege yet of working together, I hope we can change that in the future. Whether it’s a 52-week project or one-time market visit, I’m always eager to help.

It’s humbling to think about the numerous programmers, hosts, and producers who’s careers we’ve helped advance. BSM has also assembled a quality team of radio professionals who write excellent columns, and that’s helped us produce over 4,000 written pieces, resulting in 2.8 million views of our content. I’ve also hired and received great support from my Assistant Content Director (Demetri Ravanos) who keeps things fresh, presents ideas, and lends an ear when needed.

I’ve also created the BSM Podcast, and since its inception we’ve released 33 episodes, generating thousands of downloads. The response to it surprised me because my initial expectations were low. In recent months BSM business has made delivering weekly episodes impossible, forcing me to reevaluate my strategy. I’ll get into further detail about that on the 5th episode of Season 3, which I’m pleased to inform you will be released tomorrow along with three others.

Another project I’m proud of is the BSM Summit. Last year’s inaugural event in Chicago was very rewarding, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of Mitch Rosen, and many of our format’s top programmers. The challenge of turning the next one in Los Angeles this February into an even bigger success is a huge focus of mine, and if you’re considering attending, I encourage you to purchase a ticket in advance. Prices will increase as we get closer, and seating at the Grammy Museum is limited, so I’d hate for you to get left out due to waiting too long.

On that note, allow me to speak to the Market Managers and Corporate Executives for a minute. I know the room will be full of programmers and on-air personalities. A few agents might be there too. But this conference isn’t just about programming. It’s also about growing business, leadership, future trends, and navigating issues that can harm your brands. I realize everyone is under the gun to grow revenue and keep expenses down, but an investment in knowledge always pays off. That’s my way of saying I hope to see you there.

The hardest part of assembling these events is creating the right schedule. Many ask to participate, but the sessions and speakers must appeal to the attendees. I try to involve a few high profile speakers, which is never easy, but fortunately a few folks have already agreed to take part. Details will be shared as we get closer. I will have one announcement this Thursday about the second award we’re introducing, and who it’s being named after, so keep an eye out for that.

To be able to even write this column, analyzing three years of work is a blessing. I’m grateful to every current and former client, and to all who take the time to visit the website, read our content, share it with others, listen to the podcast, and attend our summit. There are many conversations and meetings that I have with industry people away from the public eye, and to know that my insights and advice are valued is appreciated.

When I reach this point each September, it serves as a reminder to keep challenging myself to do more. I have a few things in the works that will be announced down the road. I’m also hoping to respond more to questions and emails thru video this year. If you have things you’d like my input on use the hashtag #BSMMailbag. I’ll do my best to respond on a weekly basis.

For those who ask “how can I help BSM?”, it’s as easy as sharing our content on social media, offering feedback on what we create, contributing to written pieces, and recommending us when station needs arise. Whether it’s tomorrow, next week or next year, I look forward to our paths crossing. When they do, I hope you’ll remember why I started this company – to help brands and individuals make a difference in the sports media industry.

Cheers to 3 years!