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Barrett News Media Has Relaunched To Better Serve Our Readers

“Starting today, we have relaunched BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will now be available daily under this URL.”

Jason Barrett

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When I launched this company all I wanted to do was share news, insight and stories about broadcasters and brands. My love, passion and respect for this business is strong, and I know many of you reading this feel similar. I spent two great decades in radio watching how little attention was paid to those who played a big part in their audiences lives. The occasional clickbait story and contract drama would find their way into the newspapers but rarely did you learn about the twists and turns of a broadcaster’s career, their approach to content or the tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the industry. When personal reasons led me home to NY in 2015, I decided I was going to try my best to change that.

Since launching Barrett Media, we’ve done a good job informing and entertaining media industry professionals, while also helping consulting clients and advertising partners improve their businesses. We’ve earned respect from the industry’s top stars, programming minds and mainstream media outlets, growing traffic from 50K per month to 500K and monthly social impressions from a few thousand to a few million. Along the way we’ve added conferences, rankings, podcasts, a member directory, and as I’ve said before, this is the best and most important work I’ve ever done, and I’m not interested in doing anything else.

If I’ve learned anything over seven years of operating a digital content company it’s that you need skill, strategy, passion, differentiating content, and good people to create impact. You also need luck, support, curiosity and an understanding of when to double down, cut bait or pivot. It’s why I added Stephanie Eads as our Director of Sales and hired additional editors, columnists and features reporters earlier this year. To run a brand like ours properly, time and investment are needed. We’ve consistently grown and continue to invest in our future, and it’s my hope that more groups will recognize the value we provide, and give greater consideration to marketing with us in the future.

But with growth comes challenges. Sometimes you can have the right idea but bad timing. I learned that when we launched Barrett News Media.

We introduced BNM in September 2020, two months before the election when emotions were high and COVID was a daily discussion. I wasn’t comfortable then of blending BNM and BSM content because I knew we’d built a trusted sports media resource, and I didn’t want to shrink one audience while trying to grow another. Given how personal the election and COVID became for folks, I knew the content mix would look and feel awkward on the BSM site.

So we made the decision to start BNM with its own website. We ran the two brands independently and had the right plan of attack, but discovered that our timing wasn’t great.

The first nine months readership was light, which I expected since we were new and trying to build an audience from scratch. I believed in the long-term mission, which was why I stuck with it through all of the growing pains, but I also felt a responsibility to make sure our BNM writing team and the advertising partners we forged relationships with were being seen by as many people as possible. We continued with the original plan until May 2021 when after a number of back and forth debates, I finally agreed to merge the two sites. I figured if WFAN could thrive with Imus in the Morning and Mike and the Mad Dog in the afternoon, and the NY Times, LA Times, KOA, KMOX and numerous other newspaper and radio brands could find a way to blend sports and news/talk, then so could we.

And it worked.

We dove in and started to showcase both formats, building social channels and groups for each, growing newsletter databases, and with the addition of a few top notch writers, BNM began making bigger strides. Now featured under the BSM roof, the site looked bigger, the supply of daily content became massive, and our people were enjoying the increased attention.

Except now we had other issues. Too many stories meant many weren’t being read and more mistakes were slipping through the cracks. None of our crew strive to misspell a word or write a sloppy headline but when the staff and workload doubles and you’re trying to focus on two different formats, things can get missed. Hey, we’re all human.

Then a few other things happened that forced a larger discussion with my editors.

First, I thought about how much original material we were creating for BSM from our podcast network, Summit, Countdown to Coverage series, Meet the Market Managers, BSM Top 20, and began to ask myself ‘if we’re doing all of this for sports readers, what does that tell folks who read us for news?’ We then ran a survey to learn what people valued about our brand and though most of the feedback was excellent, I saw how strong the response was to our sports content, and how news had grown but felt second fiddle to those offering feedback.

Then, Andy Bloom wrote an interesting column explaining why radio hosts would be wise to stop talking about Donald Trump. It was the type of piece that should’ve been front and center on a news site all day but with 3 featured slots on the site and 7 original columns coming in that day, they couldn’t all be highlighted the way they sometimes should be. We’re actually going through that again today. That said, Andy’s column cut through. A few sports media folks didn’t like seeing it on the BSM site, which wasn’t a surprise since Trump is a polarizing personality, but the content resonated well with the news/talk crowd.

National talk radio host Mike Gallagher was among the folks to see Andy’s piece, and he spent time on his show talking about the column. Mike’s segment was excellent, and when he referenced the article, he did the professional thing and credited the website – Barrett SPORTS Media. I was appreciative of Mike spending time on his program discussing our content but it was a reminder that we had news living under a sports roof and it deserved better than that.

I then read some of Pete Mundo, Doug Pucci and Rick Schultz’s columns and Jim Cryns’ features on Chris Ruddy, Phil Boyce, and David Santrella, and knew we were doing a lot of quality work but each time we produced stories, folks were reminded that it lived on a SPORTS site. I met a few folks who valued the site, recognized the increased focus we put on our news/talk coverage, and hoped we had plans to do more. Jim also received feedback along the lines of “good to see you guys finally in the news space, hope there’s more to come.”

Wanting to better understand our opportunities and challenges, I reviewed our workflow, looked at which content was hitting and missing the mark, thought about the increased relationships we’d worked hard to develop, and the short-term and long-term goals for BNM. I knew it was time to choose a path. Did I want to think short-term and keep everything under one roof to protect our current traffic and avoid disrupting people or was it smarter to look at the big picture and create a destination where news/talk media content could be prioritized rather than treated as BSM’s step-child?

Though I spent most of my career in sports media and established BSM first, it’s important to me to serve the news/talk media industry our very best. I want every news/talk executive, host, programmer, market manager, agent, producer, seller and advertiser to know this format matters to us. Hopefully you’ve seen that in the content we’ve created over the past two years. My goal is to deliver for news media professionals what we have for sports media folks and though that may be a tall order, we’re going to bust our asses to make it happen. To prove that this isn’t just lip service, here’s what we’re going to do.

Starting today, we have relaunched BarrettNewsMedia.com. ALL new content produced by the BNM writing team will now be available daily under this URL. For the first 70-days we will also display columns from our BNM writers on the BSM website and support them with promotion across both of our brands social channels. The goal is to have our two sites running independent of each other by February 6, 2023.

Also starting today, we will begin distributing the BNM Rundown newsletter 5 days per week. We’ve been sending out the Rundown every M-W-F since October 2021, but the time has come for us to distribute it daily. With increased distribution comes two small adjustments. We will reduce our daily story count from 10 to 8 and make it a goal to deliver it to your inbox each day by 3pm ET. If you haven’t signed up to receive the Rundown, please do. You can click here to register.

Additionally, Barrett News Media is going to release its first edition of the BNM Top 20 of 2022. This will come out December 12-16 and 19-20. The category winners will be decided by more than 50 news/talk radio program directors and executives. Among the categories to be featured will be best Major/Mid Market Local morning, midday, and afternoon show, best Local News/Talk PD, best Local News/Talk Station, best National Talk Radio Show, and best Original Digital Show. The voting process with format decision makers has already begun and will continue for two weeks. I’ve already got a lot of people involved but if you work in an executive or programming role in the news/talk format and wish to be part of it, send me an email at [email protected].

We have one other big thing coming to Barrett News Media in 2023, which I will announce right after the BNM Top 20 on Wednesday December 21st. I’m sure news/talk professionals will like what we have planned but for now, it’ll have to be a month long tease. I promise though to pay it off.

Additionally, I’m always looking for industry folks who know and love the business and enjoy writing about it. If you’ve programmed, hosted, sold or reported in the news/talk world and have something to offer, email me. Also, if you’re a host, producer, programmer, executive, promotions or PR person and think something from your brand warrants coverage on our site, send it along. Most of what we write comes from listening to stations and digging across the web and social media. Receiving your press releases and getting a heads up on things you’re doing always helps.

If you’re a fan of BSM, this won’t affect you much. The only difference you’ll notice in the coming months is a gradual reduction of news media content on the BSM website and our social accounts sharing a little about both formats over the next two months until we’re officially split in February. We are also going to dabble a little more in marketing, research and tech content that serves both formats. If you’re a reader who enjoys both forms of our content, you now have BarrettSportsMedia.com for sports, and BarrettNewsMedia.com for news.

Keep in mind that today is the return of BNM as its own brand. Though we love the layout of the new site, the team we have writing here, and the daily distribution of our newsletter, we’re going to keep making improvements. We’re excited about a few of the things we have in store for 2023 but as is the case with most brands, you learn what works, what doesn’t, and keep on adjusting to best serve your audience. That’s our plan.

Our first two years in the news/talk space have been very productive but we’ve only scratched the surface. Today is a new chapter. News is now featured on BarrettNewsMedia.com and BarrettSportsMedia.com is less crowded. We had the right plan of attack in 2020, but poor timing. So we’re learning from the past and adjusting for the future. If we can count on you to remember two URL’s (add them to your bookmarks) and sign up for our newsletters, then you can count on us to continue delivering exceptional coverage of the industry you love. As always, thanks for the continued support. It makes everything we do worthwhile.

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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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