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Programmer Perspectives: News and Sports Talk Radio Aren’t Much Different

“A sports radio station needs be fun to hang around with. A news talk station has to be trustworthy.”

Jason Barrett

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Kevin Graham, Brian Long, John Hanson and Scott Masteller discuss the similarities and differences between programming news and sports radio.

A great program director can adapt to any format. They study the needs of the audience, adjust to the content, and take the experiences they’ve gained coaching talent, analyzing ratings, developing a social strategy, reacting to breaking news, writing imaging, and creating unique promotions and programming to energize the radio station’s they’re tasked with managing.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

If you look at the News/Talk format today, you’ll find a number of talented brand managers are now guiding powerful brands after previously making an impact in sports radio. John Hanson, Kevin Graham, Scott Masteller, and Brian Long are just a few who have made that jump, and been thrust into the fire whether ready for it or not. To their credit, they’ve each made smooth transitions and have led their brands thru a few challenging situations, proving one doesn’t need to spend a lifetime in a particular format to be an effective leader in it.

Though sports and news may differ in content, the fundamentals to executing successful talk radio apply to both formats. I was curious to learn what differences and similarities they’ve noticed between the two formats, how they’ve altered their imaging approach to connect with a different demographic, what their daily content process includes when deciding which issues to focus on, and whether or not the controversies surrounding President Trump are good or bad for their hosts and their radio station’s ratings. Below is my conversation with Brian, John, Scott, and Kevin. Enjoy!

Jason Barrett: What are the biggest similarities and differences in programming a News/Talk station vs. a Sports talk brand? 

Brian Long, PD at KOGO: Sports stations by nature have seasonal themes. The content is normally following the local teams ups and downs, trades etc.. This is similar to how N/T has election cycles, kids back to school, tax day, etc.. The biggest difference I see is that N/T frequently is forced to shift on a dime. You might have a great show planned with some high profile guests that must be scrapped due to an unplanned news event like an out of control wild fire. N/T forces you to operate with much more urgency with decisions on programming to effectively cover breaking news as it happens. Unfortunately, this typically seems to happen at off hours of the day and night. That’s not to say big breaking stories don’t happen in sports talk that require a pivot, it’s just less frequent.

John Hanson, PD at WCCO: Fundamentally, I consider them to be just about the same on the talk side, but with different starting points. So often now a sports story will bleed into the news cycle, and a news story will become part of sports. The ideas of being interesting, having a point, having a takeaway, and having pacing and good teases are all the same though. And personalities win. What’s different is often what the audience expects. A sports audience primarily expects to be entertained. A news talk audience wants more information and more to think about, albeit, often times, as long as the line of thinking aligns with their own.

Kevin Graham, PD at WBAP/KLIF: The only difference in my opinion is the content. Otherwise, it’s similar from the standpoint of servicing your local community/listeners (in sports talk your local sports listeners) in providing information, opinions, analysis and entertainment. You still have to manage your talent to best maximize PPM principals as well as provide content that interests your target listener. From a news staff standpoint, it’s providing fair and balanced coverage of the big stories that have the greatest impact with your audience. In the end the best personalities and content usually win.

Scott Masteller, PD at WBAL: Regardless of the format it’s all about the topics that you present on the air, and playing to the broadest set of the audience. Whether it’s a local station or national network, it’s important to have a perspective on what the audience wants to hear about when they decide to listen to your product. We know attention spans are so limited and if you waste time you lose quarter-hours. Understanding the interests of the audience you are playing to has never been more critical as the consumer has so many choices as to where they can go for content.

The other big difference I see is the volume of breaking news. News is the foundation of our radio station and in one day we can have multiple press events that we carry live from either Washington or in our own region. We have to be prepared for news elements at a moments notice, and then when it makes sense be able to pivot and offer the audience reaction and analysis.

Barrett: How does your approach change when it comes to the way you image and position a News/Talk brand?

Long: My team tends to look to find ways to make the station continue to sound credible and local. You want to create the sound that reflects the breath of the city & region in which you are operating. The main goal for us is to always evolve our listening environment and strengthen our position as the go to place when news events happen.

Hanson: A sports radio station has that sports bar approach to branding. It needs be fun to hang around with. A news talk station has to be trustworthy. There CAN and should be a fun approach to branding with news talk, in relationship to the talk part of the brand, but it needs to be done appropriately.

Graham: I’ve used the experience and knowledge I’ve gained over the years of managing sports radio imaging and have applied it to the News/Talk format. Being topical and in the moment as much as possible is key. In this world that’s a huge challenge with the constant churn of the news cycle.  Otherwise it’s the same from the standpoint of keeping your branding simple, to the point and targeted to your core listenership. And when it comes to big events for instance like the upcoming election, it’s just like covering a Super Bowl. Tell the story to the listeners of what you’re doing and when. Planning and producing pre-election, during the election and post election imaging pieces etc..

Masteller: I actually took much of what has been part of sports and shifted it over to news when  I made the transition. The words “urgency and anticipation” have always been part of the vocabulary for me when it comes to production and imaging. News changes so frequently and with that so does production. Many times we will put an element on the air and it may only run for six hours. We write new production every day as the news cycle is moving faster than ever before. There’s nothing worse to me then hearing outdated production on the air. Having a voice talent that understands the news cycle is critical to the overall sound of the station.

Barrett: In sports radio, the hits are easy to identify because they’re most often of local relevance. In News, it can be harder because global, national, and local issues all have significant value to local listeners. How do your talk shows decide which content warrants a deep dive, and which material only deserves a few minutes or a quick mention?

Long: Many stations have built their lineup with a mix of national and local talent. When this happens you can tend to lean deeper into the local/regional topics on your local shows given the national perspective is covered at other times. On a station like KOGO, we attempt to always cover what people are discussing. If a national story is making headlines, we won’t shelve it in favor of a local story that is of less interest. Like sports radio, we always try to play the hits.

Hanson: There is a lot of information out there. But only a percentage truly affects the day to day lives of our listeners. The successful shows are the ones that will talk about local issues and take information on a large scale, and explain how it matters to their audience. 

Graham: I keep it simple with my staff. We have a targeted listener and I remind them constantly to ask themselves of what he wants to hear, and what interests and impacts him the most. That’s what we should be talking about. On any given day that can range from something that is directly affecting the local community, to something that is happening statewide or nationally that has an impact, directly or indirectly, on our Dallas-Fort Worth listenership.  The upside of this format is there is never a crazy slow day because in the end there is always something happening that resonates with our audience.  

Masteller: It is a balancing act, yet it depends on the mission of the station you are programming. WBAL NewsRadio is live and local 18 hours a day.  What is happening in Baltimore and the region drives a lot of what we present. Our hosts must be knowledgeable on both local and national issues. We are in an Election year and the push to November will dominate much of the conversation. The key for us is to be able to localize the content whenever possible but always remember to play the hits. One day the biggest story may be in Baltimore and the next day it may be somewhere in the country. It’s also very important for talent to understand how consumers listen. When you have a big story the talent must understand you are presenting to different people every quarter-hour.

Barrett: President Trump is notorious for offering strong opinions on sensitive issues. Those remarks often fuel his fan base while igniting his critics. Are Trump’s controversies good or bad for News/Talk radio and ratings?

Long: It really depends on the type of station you have and how you’re positioned. When he was on the campaign trail prior to becoming president, the headlines he generated were unlike anything the media has ever seen. However, it seems people are now somewhat predisposed to the fact the he is likely to send out a tweet or make a comment on a given story so I feel like the initial shock value that was generated has worn off a bit.

Hanson: Some may disagree, but I’ve had many conversations with those I respect in the business and my own experience that both tell me, the more you stay away from getting into the daily tweets of President Trump, the better off you’ll be. When listeners complain about something that was either said for, or against him, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever believed a listener when they’ve said, they’ll change the station.

Graham: I think this varies from market to market and what your brand is.  In our case with our two News/Talk brands reflecting the conservative community that is the Dallas-Fort Worth metro it definitely doesn’t hurt.  Love or hate him, the President always has something to say that drives conversation. It’s much like having an outspoken star or coach in a particular sports market. It drives controversial content which in turn usually drives ratings.

Masteller: What the President says always draws reaction and what is most important is how talent react. To me one of the aspects I always talk to hosts about is ‘tone”. It’s’ not always what you say, it’s how you say it. I’ve always felt it is important to never be mean spirited in how you discuss any issue or any person. It’s more than ok to disagree, but you should do so from a foundation of fact. Everyone has an opinion about the President and what he says and that hopefully leads to more quarter-hours.

Barrett: Talk radio shows often feature a mix of strong opinions, storytelling, breaking news, features, calls/texts, guests, bits, etc.. What do News/Talk listeners value most and least from that menu of options?

Long: This is a mixed bag. It really depends on the show and the hosts. I find N/T listeners still want the engagement of calls, texts, guests etc.. By contrast, I don’t find them being all that interested in produced bits or comedy. However, it all depends on the show and the time it’s on. In the end, the audience is looking for a host to have unique opinions and perspectives. 

Hanson: I’m a fan of relying on what you can control every day. So strong opinions, storytelling, features, bits…these are all elements that can be controlled daily by the professionals that were hired to do the job. Calls, texts and guests, those are putting your show in the hands of the unknowns, so I see them as valued, but less important. Or more appropriately, less reliable. The audience tunes in every day KNOWING one thing they’ll be hearing, which is the host or hosts. Breaking news is interesting, because radio isn’t great at the actual breaking of news, but we can still reap the benefits because it’s often the first place people hear the news, and/or the first place they turn to for more information or reaction to the news. So that too is important

Graham: It’s a combination of all the above. Ultimately, like the sports radio format, our ratings are driven more on time spent listening than cume. So that means it’s incumbent on the entire team–hosts, producers, news etc. to be on the same page driving the content that our target listeners crave. If it’s a slower news day, the hosts/producers have to be more creative in coming up with content that their passionate about that connects/illicits an emotion from the listeners. If it’s breaking news or huge events/stories that are happening then everyone has to pivot to report, give opinions, get listeners to respond, and own that story which includes up to the minute imaging to capitalize on it as well.

Masteller: There is no answer that fits all as there are some talk stations that have a large commitment to news as well as talk content. Other stations are more talk-focused. You may also have more than one news-talk station in a market. Having a strong commitment to the audience you serve is what makes the difference. WBAL is based on a foundation of news with an intersection of personality driven content hosted by talent that have a pulse for the local community that they serve. The biggest thing for listeners is to not waste their time. The best talent are the ones that deliver payoffs to the consumer for every quarter-hour so they feel like their investment of time in listening is a good one. Personalities that develop a relationship with the audience and are not necessarily depending upon external events are very valuable because they become the main reason to listen on a consistent basis.

Barrett: If there’s one thing that concerns you about the future of the N/T format and keeps you up at night, what would it be?

Long: The format lacks enough gender and race diversity. In terms of conservative radio, the big change on the horizon is what happens when Rush Limbaugh decides he’s no longer going to do his show. This pending retirement is going to take out a huge tent pole that has been a mainstay for years on many stations. In addition, I don’t think the format is doing enough to focus on attracting a younger audience.

Hanson: The format needing to be more inclusive of all perspectives.

Graham: As a programmer of two news/talkers that are on the AM dial obviously the continued aging of the format is an ongoing issue. We’ve put a lot of emphasis and time in our building into our digital brands and distribution points for content and streaming whether that’s our app, smart speakers or something else. Unfortunately we haven’t seen the benefits from Nielsen just our own data, which is actual accurate listenership, and has shown that we have continued to build and post all time levels of consumption. Which then leads me to the other thing keeping me up at night…Nielsen but then again that applies to all PD’s regardless of format! 

Masteller: Finding new and different voices that are the talk-stars of the future. Giving them the teaching, coaching and feedback that will help them grow to the next level and be able to succeed as an on-air host.

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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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