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Barrett News Media Has Arrived!

“This is our first journey into covering the world of news media, and we’re excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

Jason Barrett

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Welcome to the online home of Barrett News Media!

This is our first journey into covering the world of news media, and I’m extremely excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead. Two years ago this existed as an idea in my head, which I wasn’t sure we could pull off. I kept looking at the rapid activity of news media content, and the workload on our other platform, Barrett Sports Media, and it felt like way too big of a mountain to try and climb.

Maybe I’ll look back in the future and ask myself ‘what the hell were you thinking’ but what fun is life if you don’t swing for the fences every now and then?

Reaching this point would not be possible without the help of our entire crew. I especially want to acknowledge Ryan Hedrick and Eduardo Razo who wrote a combined 20-25 stories in the past few days to get us ready for launch day, and Steve Stone who pledged his advertising support to this brand so we could get off on the right foot.

If you’ve followed my other brand, Barrett Sports Media, then you’ll have an idea of how I operate. If you’re just learning about me, allow me to fill you in on what you can expect on our site.

First, we are a news media website. We have 11 excellent writers contributing to BNM, and they’ve been charged with elevating the awareness of news radio, television, print, and digital brands, talent, executives, and support staff. As much as you may know about the top local or national radio or television stars and brands, there are thousands of other stories waiting to be told, and we want to help tell them. If you’re with a news radio or television station or an online or digital brand and have future news to share, please email it to me at [email protected]. You’ll also be able to reach us thru Twitter @BNMStaff.

Secondly, our columnists may weigh in with opinions surrounding political matters that connect to the broadcasting business, but what you’re not going to find on BNM are deeper dives into presidential candidates, state laws and bills, protests or COVID-19 responses by different states. We’re wise enough to recognize there are larger brands in the industry doing tremendous work covering those stories, and we prefer to stick to what we know, the media business. There may be times where those issues involve or affect a media member or brand, if they do, we’ll explore it, but only for that reason.

Next, some may agree, some may not, but I prefer not to blur the lines between sports media, and news media coverage. Therefore we will operate BSM and BNM as two separate brands. Most of our writing teams are specifically designed to focus on each platform, and though there may be a little bit of crossover when it makes sense, my preference is to let them each concentrate on providing value for their targeted audiences.

The online brand is just one part of this venture, the other involves consulting news radio stations. There have been a number of people who have texted, called, emailed, and direct messaged me to inquire why I decided to make the jump into news/talk. I’d love to give you some complex answer that blows your mind, but it’s actually quite simple, it interests me. As much as I love sports, I also listen to news radio, watch news television, and read about a variety of different things. I believe in keeping my brain sharp, and staying informed. My first job in the business actually involved writing and reading news, and covering local issues.

I’m 46 years old and have had the benefit the past 5 years of working in a consulting role after spending the prior 10 years constructing, developing, and programming sports radio stations. I consider myself a better programming executive today then I even was when I operated inside of a building. What draws me most to news media is the mixture of content, personalities, conflict, and urgency. Similar to sports, the storylines are engaging, important, and absorbed by large amounts of people.

But as I look at the news/talk format today, I see nearly two thousand stations (two third the size of sports), many facing an uncertain future given the age and health of some of the format’s key stars. This puts a lot of brand managers in an uncomfortable spot because they have to look to the future while hanging on to the present. Nobody knows for sure when each host will ride off into the sunset, but one thing is certain, new ideas, energy, and strategy will be necessary to remain relevant, and continue succeeding.

As eager as I am to dive in and work with brands, I’m not going to be doing this alone. I’m thrilled to have Ryan Maguire on board because similar to myself, he has traveled the country and led a number of stations to success. At his last stop, KIRO-FM in Seattle, he was part of the crew that brought home a Marconi for Best News Talk Station of 2019. Whether I’m personally involved with a brand or Ryan’s running point with a client, the goal is to help our partners grow their business – end of story. That means adding more than just an ear and critique of a talent or piece of content. There are many factors that go into helping brands, and after establishing a positive track record for sports radio clients the past 5 years, I’m confident we can do the same for our future news talk partners.

But enough about our consulting plans, and online content strategy. This is our first day online and I’m sure you’re interested in checking out the content. I want you to have a positive experience, so please browse the site, familiarize yourself with our writers, and get a feel for what we do. We are committed to serving you and highlighting the best and most interesting parts of our industry, and will be counting on you to tell us how we’re doing along the way. Thanks so much for taking the time to check out BNM. Now it’s time to climb that mountain.

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Barrett Blogs

The 2024 BNM Summit is Coming To Washington D.C.

“Tickets will be regularly priced at $299.99 but for the month of January they’re on-sale for $199.99. Prices will not be this low after February 1st.”

Jason Barrett

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2024 BNM Summit

What better way to kick off the new year than to make an announcement. We’ve been working on our plan for the 2024 BNM Summit for months and I’m stoked to share the news today with the news media industry.

In 2023, we had an excellent debut event in Nashville. I recognize that I’m a new face to many in news talk radio and television. For that reason, I wasn’t sure what to expect last time. Would folks make the trip? What would our sponsor support look like? Could I create the right agenda for those in attendance? There were a lot of questions to answer. Judging from the feedback, I think we passed the test.

As we talked about the next one and reviewed industry responses, I knew we’d have to raise our game in an election year. We listed New York City, Chicago, Dallas, and Washington D.C. as possible destinations, and all were attractive for different reasons. But we can only pick one, and I’m excited to share that the 2024 BNM Summit is coming to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C..

The dates of the show will be Wednesday September 4th and Thursday September 5th. We’ll have more details leading up to the show. One thing you’ll want to take advantage of now is our special sale on tickets. Our regular price will be $299.99 but for the month of January tickets are on-sale for $199.99. Prices will not be this low after February 1st. We have 250 seats in the venue so it’s first come, first served.

When we considered the possibility of bringing the Summit to D.C., we knew it had a ton of benefits. There were great options for speakers, and numerous brands and networks operating locally. Being accessible to politicians, the NAB, and other businesses was also appealing. All that was needed was the right venue with nearby hotel options. Fortunately, we found it.

The Jack Morton Auditorium at The George Washington University will serve as our location for September’s show. It’s an awesome venue, which has been used before for high profile events. There’s also great parking and an awesome food court nearby, and it’s close to the main local landmarks. Having 3-4 hotels within walking distance was another advantage. Speaking of which, we’ll have more details on our hotel options soon.

The key information to be aware of for now are the dates of the show, and the special January ticket price. We’ll add speakers in the upcoming months and email attendees for insight on what they wish to learn at our next event. We expect this to be a strong conference, and I’m excited to bring the industry together a half a mile away from the White House.

If your group sponsored last year’s show or didn’t and would like to, reach out to Stephanie Eads. She has this year’s sponsorship deck now available. We had outstanding support last year, and expect demand for this one to be even higher. Stephanie can be reached at [email protected] or 415-312-5553.

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Barrett Blogs

Re-Watch The 2023 BNM Summit, On Demand Tickets Are Now Available

“If you weren’t able to make it to Nashville for the 2023 BNM Summit, I invite you to purchase an on-demand ticket to watch the show. The cost is just $49.99.”

Jason Barrett

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BNM Summit Tickets

When one of our Summits ends, it’s over for the attendees and speakers. The work is far from done though for yours truly. After packing up a SUV and driving home, the immediate focus turns to posting photos, gathering video of the sessions, sending out final invoices, making sure all ads on our websites and newsletters promoting the conference are updated, adding watermarks to the video footage to support our sponsor, editing clips for social, and then building a web page for folks to be able to go re-watch the show.

It’s a mountain of work and I dive head first into it because I want to make sure that anyone who attends one of our shows has an opportunity to catch a session they may have missed or go back and re-watch a speaker to make sure they have the right information before passing it along to help an individual or entire staff.

When you buy a ticket to one of our shows, I try to provide maximum value. You get an action packed two-day event featuring difference makers in various roles across the industry, access to multiple parties including free drinks, and a FREE on demand ticket to re-watch the show. The ticket price itself is also kept lower than many other events because I’d rather see folks in the room benefitting than worrying about whether or not we crushed our revenue goals. I don’t create these conferences to keep myself busy, boost my ego or get rich. I run them to try and improve the media business. It isn’t easy especially given how reluctant many radio folks are to get out of their buildings and routines to learn something new but someone has to try.

There’s an old Benjamin Franklin quote that I’ve loved and adopted over the years, which says “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” That’s what our conferences are about. We discuss opportunities and challenges and have open and candid conversations with smart people, share information, and provide examples that have hit and/or missed because the goal is to make improvements, and you can’t do that without deeper inspection.

With that said, if you weren’t able to make it to Nashville for the 2023 BNM Summit, I invite you to purchase an on demand ticket to watch the show. The cost is $49.99. Just click HERE to sign up. Once you press the Subscribe button down below, it will take you to the next page to enter your information to gain access. Those who attended the Summit have already received instructions on how to watch the show for FREE.

We will return with a 2024 conference in either Chicago, Dallas, New York City or Washington DC. Given that next year is an election year and we’ve got one of these shows under our belts now, I’m sure the next event will be even bigger, and better. If you’d like to vote on where the 2024 BNM Summit should take place, log on to BNMSummit.com. You should see the poll question just below our main section.

Thanks again for supporting the show. Until next time, may your revenue and ratings continue to rise.

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Barrett Blogs

Takeaways From The 2023 BNM Summit

Barrett Media President Jason Barrett shares some of the standout moments and opportunities for improvement from last week’s BNM Summit in Nashville.

Jason Barrett

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Our first BNM Summit is in the books, and overall, it was a great week in Nashville. The bar I set for our shows is high, so though I’m proud of the product we put out last week, I also know there are things we can do better next time. And yes, there will be another BNM Summit. I’m planning to host our 2024 conference in either Chicago, Dallas, Washington DC or New York. You can vote on it on BNMSummit.com.

Having had a few days to digest everything while driving from Tennessee to New York, here’s what stood out to me from our first show.

First, I heard a lot of positive feedback about our visual presentations. I appreciate that. I spend months listening to stations/shows, watching videos, studying brands, talking to people, and creating a ton of graphics, informative slides, and editing video and audio clips to advance discussions. Then it comes down to having smart conversations on stage with accomplished professionals, and putting on a show. I bill this as the equivalent of a two-day masterclass on news/talk media, and I hope it felt that way.

I understand how hard it is to keep people interested, educated, and entertained so a lot of time is spent on creating content that stands out, and assembling a lineup of speakers who bring different ideas and opinions to the table. Overall, I felt pretty good about those things.

From my vantage point, I thought Pierre Bouvard, Jim Cutler, and Larry Rosin delivered a ton of valuable information. Andy Bloom’s chat with Chad Benson, Erick Erickson, and Tony Katz was also insightful, and hopefully I added value too during my opening and closing remarks, and the art of interviewing session. I aim to send attendees back to their buildings with new information and ideas to make their brands and staffs better. If we can do that, then it makes the months of hard work worthwhile. This slide below and the one I showed during the Digital Dilemma about the lack of YouTube presence are just two examples that I hope people remembered.

Being a former programmer myself, I have great respect for those leading departments and media companies. It was great having Craig Schwalb, Phil Boyce, Steve Moore, Dan Mandis, Mike McVay, Tim Wenger, Martha Maurer, Drew Anderssen, Dave Tepper, Peter Thiele, David Wood, Charlie Cook, Brad Lane, Gary Krantz, James Derby, Tim Clarke, Jeremy Sinon, Lee Harris and the Dead Horse Branding team share their insights with the room. There were so many interesting opinions and pearls of wisdom shared on stage. It was equally great seeing folks like Bud Walters, John Zimmer, Greg Strassell, Carla Leible, Allison Warren, Paul Mason, Trevor Morgan, Mike Paradiso, Chip Miller, Heather Cohen, Richard Harker, Glenda Bos, Rob Walch, Amy Bolton, Jennifer Brown, Mike Ragozino, Kelvin Davis, Jim Daunais, Chuck Sullivan, Chris Crane, and Dr. Ed Cohen take in the sessions.

There were others in and out of the room too, and I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I’m also trying to avoid this column taking an hour to read. Most of the folks mentioned above haven’t been to our shows before so it was cool to hear how our work was received by a group that went in with eyes wide open.

As far as personal favorites are concerned, I thought Tomi Lahren absolutely crushed it. Her passion, insight, and opinions on a variety of industry related topics were outstanding. I knew the session had a chance to be a hit because I liked the design of it before we even took the stage but it only works if the guest is on point. She was. It was easy to see why she’s successful, and on the verge of having her star shine even brighter. What a talent. I appreciate her being there and giving everyone plenty to digest. She was exceptional.

The most creative session of the show was likely the Shark Tank. That was fun. I owe a big thank you to Jill Albert of Direct Results for helping us bring Omaha Steaks into the show to reward one of our speakers with a $4,000 advertising buy. I wanted to do something unique on the advertising side, and thought it’d be cool and different to give folks a chance to earn an ad buy for their company or cluster. Gordy Rush, Tim Wenger, and David Wood each used creative approaches in the session, and Andy Bloom’s Mr. Wonderful lines were hysterical. In the end, Tim Wenger earned the business for WBEN in Buffalo but it could’ve easily gone to any of the three. Nice job by all involved.

On a personal level, I was thrilled to spend time on stage with Clay Travis, Dave Ramsey and reconnect with my friend Jason Whitlock.

Starting with Clay, I have great respect for the work he’s done building Outkick into a national force. People have strong thoughts about Clay, good and bad, but one thing he doesn’t get enough credit for is how well he’s built OK and his own personal brand in the media industry over the past 5-10 years. You don’t step into Rush Limbaugh’s former timeslot, and earn a massive investment in your company from the Fox Corporation if you’re not business savvy. Clay’s passion for the media business and his comfortability discussing a wide range of issues made it easy to guide a conversation with him. In fact, we went twenty minutes past our time because it was the end of the first day and he was rolling. Because we’ve known each other for a while and share mutual respect, I think people learned a few things during our chat.

For my friend Mr. Whitlock, I’ve always enjoyed picking his brain. He’s a unique thinker with a lot of range, and I appreciate people who are authentic, which Jason certainly is. After years of making his mark in sports media, Jason has expanded his focus into other aspects of life. As I told him on stage, I’d like to see him available for radio syndication. Talk radio doesn’t have enough diverse voices let alone someone with Jason’s creativity and ability to tackle sports, faith, pop culture and politics.

I thought my chat with Dave Ramsey flowed well and covered a lot of ground. Dave gave everyone in the room a lot of insight into the way Ramsey Solutions views and approaches brand building, and content creation. You don’t become one of the industry’s largest shows if you’re not superb on every medium and platform. There were a lot of takeaways from that discussion, and I’m glad Dave enjoyed the Logan Roy comparison when talking about succession planning. I also appreciate Hank, Steve, and Brian being in the building and supporting the BNM Summit Social. The Debt Free Scream was a pretty good beverage too.

Aside from the discussions on stage, Braden Hull sounded great during his acoustic set during the BNM Summit Wrap Up. I also appreciate David Heim capturing insights shared by Audacy’s managers and sharing them on social media, and JJ Surma delivering live voiceovers during the Shark Tank. It was also nice hearing folks remark how impressed they were with our ability to keep the show on time and constantly moving. I’m big on pace, and keeping things on track. However, a case could be made to allow more time for each session rather than sticking to 30-35 minutes. We’ll debate that down the line.

Though I was very pleased with the show, there were things that I know we can do better.

Starting with myself, my intros into a few sessions could’ve been smoother. I went into the show well prepared, but sometimes things didn’t come out the way I intended them to. I’ve also got to reduce my hosting of sessions. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy talking to people but I don’t need to be on stage for 8 sessions. I was too involved at our first sports summit in Los Angeles in 2019 too, and adjusted the next year. That’ll be a goal for our 2024 show.

Another area where I could’ve been much better was during my chat with Ginny Morris and Julie Talbott. They were great. They usually are, and I hold both in high regard, so it’s bugged me for days that I didn’t set them up as well as I could have. I enjoyed the discussion about radio’s challenges with receiving full credit for its collective impact, and the battle over the dashboard with auto companies, but some of my earlier questions weren’t crisp. I could’ve put them in much better positions. That’s on me. I’ll be sharper next time.

Aside from cleaning up a few of my own mistakes, I learned that I’ve got to be more firm with deadlines for receiving materials and speaker presentations. We got through everything unscathed but could’ve ran smoother if those things were nailed down sooner. I’ve always left room to make changes especially if it’s going to improve a session. That said, we can organize things better to keep folks happy and avoid minor technical delays.

The other stuff we have to work on wouldn’t be noticed by most in the room. Stephanie, Alex, Andy, and Garrett did a great job handling multiple things but we were down a person, which put more pressure on everyone to juggle more than usual. When we operate at full strength we get more done so next time out, we’ll add a few people to make things easier.

If there was one thing that was unfortunate it was dealing with a few cancellations. It happens sometimes at our sports conferences too. People get sick or have personal or professional emergencies pop up. Though the goal is to deliver the event exactly as planned, I’m always ready with a Plan B. Fortunately, we had good backup options. This is why I never get too excited prior to a show when people tell me we’ve hit a home-run. Until everyone is on stage and the conversations produce value for those in the room, it’s just a cool looking poster.

Our biggest challenge moving forward is bringing more people into the room. We had a lot of decision makers in Nashville, which was great, but there were a few groups not represented and others who spent months saying they’d come but then didn’t. Being at an event like this should be a no brainer if you work in the news/talk media business. We deliver two days of content, a low ticket price, an action packed agenda, and attract a strong group of decision makers. That opens the door to do business, and I know of a few situations that are already in progress as a result of last week’s show. I don’t run events worrying about how many people attend. I prioritize reaching the right people. But news/talk media is a large space, and as we move ahead, I’d like to see more of the right faces in the room.

If I was surprised by anything it’s that college students and professors in Tennessee were less active than other places with pursuing free tickets to the show. We also didn’t have the Daily Wire in the building despite being local and carried on shows/stations across the country. Attempts to include them were made. Why they chose not to come, I’m not sure.

There are some folks in the format who we still have to win over, and I’m ok with that. We’ll keep building BNM, and make it impossible to deny our influence and reach. As I told everyone at the start of the show, I’m 49, passionate about news/talk media, and not going anywhere. Just as we’ve done with BSM (which was just included in a TV commercial for YouTube TV), we will strengthen the brand until it’s a force for news/talk media coverage.

But for now, we’ll put a bow on this one, and chalk it up as a great first event with room for improvement. I’m planning to sort through our video footage and make the sessions available later this week. I’m also hoping to add a ton of photos to the BNM Summit website. In meantime, you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Come 2024, an election year, we’ll be even stronger especially now that we’ve got one event under our belts. I appreciate everyone who took time to attend, participate, and sponsor the conference. None of this works without your support. Here’s to uniting the industry again next year.

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