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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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Barrett Blogs

2023 BNM Summit – Day 2

“Relaying news, information, insights, and interesting perspectives shared on stage at the 2023 BNM Summit.”

Jason Barrett

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Day two of the 2023 BNM Summit is originating once again from Vanderbilt University’s Student Life Center in Nashville, TN. We’re keeping you updated on news, key information, and interesting perspectives shared on stage by our speakers. BNM editor Garrett Searight will be updating this column throughout the day as each session wraps up, until the show is over, so be sure to check back multiple times to avoid missing anything important.

Also, make sure you’re following us on Twitter/X at @BNMStaff. We’ll be sharing photos, video clips from the stage, and backstage conversations inside the Core Image Studio green room courtesy of our friends at Steve Stone Voiceovers so be sure to follow along.

Barrett Media President Jason Barrett welcomed folks back into the room, thanking sponsors for their support of this year’s show. That was followed by an announcement of the BNM Top 20 of 2023 coming out in mid-December, and plans for the next Barrett Sports Media Summit in March 2024. After the promotional items were done, Barrett set the scene for the day by highlighting the three key areas of focus for today’s show; Business, Future, and Ideas. He explained how they connect to the upcoming sessions before pivoting to the first session of the day, a deep dive into the art of interviewing.

9:10-9:45 = The Art of Interviewing presented by:

  • Jason Barrett – Barrett Media

Barrett showcased some of the teachings of interviewer John Sawatsky.

The best questions are open, neutral, and lean. It gets people in a mood to share information. Also, good television or radio doesn’t mean it was a good interview.

These are the seven deadly sins of interviewing.

No Query

Not even having a question or making a statement to a guest is a problem. Just having a big guest doesn’t mean it’s great content.

Double Barreled

What do you think happens when you ask a guest two questions? They only answer the one they want to answer and avoid the tougher question. If you offer an “off ramp”, your interview will take it. Your subject will take the path of least resistance.

Overloading

Overloading is basic double double barreling. Rapid fire questioning, and asking several questions without allowing the guest to answer.

Remarks

Most hosts have the idea that they have to show the guest how much they know. That’s not the case. Your job is to ask a question to get information from your guest. Your subject should be reacting to your statements

Trigger Words

These can often lead to great television or radio, but can be bad for the interview. You still have to show respect and get great answers without triggering your guest.

Hyperbole

Hyperbole is great in a monologue, but not in an interview. If you listen to your shows, and you really care about the quality of content, you can hear hyperbole often in interviews that don’t advance a topic.

Closed Query

Asking yes or no questions. It can be the worst question in an interview. It shows poor planning and leads to poor execution. If you have a great plan, you’ll get great results.

Barrett concluded the presentation by giving tips to program directors on how to manage their talent, which type of questions produce the best results, and what tips they could give to help create better interviewers.

9:45-10:20 = The Marketplace of Ideas presented by:

  • Dave Tepper – KOA
  • Martha Maurer – KTAR
  • Peter Thiele – KZRG

Tepper took the stage first to showcase three promotions KOA has attempted.

He shared the station aired an “alternate broadcast” of the State of the Union address. They called it the “KOA Kast”, and utilized inspiration from the Monday Night Football “Manningcast”.

The station also also put together a strong New Year’s Eve promotion around tickets to Denver Broncos games, which featured targeting to both news/talk listeners and the franchise’s listeners.

The final promotion Tepper discussed was “A Hero’s Thank You”, which features military veterans winning $2,500 in cash. Five sponsors contributor to the money, with five winners receiving the winnings. Hosts and former Denver Broncos help present a suprise to the winners.

Maurer took the stage to share that Bonneville’s purpose is to provide leadership that builds up, connects, informs, and celebrates communities and families.

She shared the Community Impact Spotlight promotion showcased buriness and organization leaders in the Phoenix community. An interview during the morning show then is turned into a web story and social media posts on KTAR.

She continued by noting the station’s Tribute to a Teacher that honored area teachers based on entries by the community. Each month, a teacher is awarded $2,500 and is presented a check in the classroom. A local Toyota dealer completely sponsored the promotion.

The final promotion featured was the “Action Alliance” featured by midday host Mike Broomhead that supports community initiatives that make a difference in the community.

Peter Thiele featured a giveaway that would give away a tornado shelter. An F5 tornado destroyed large portions of his community in 2011, killing 161 people. However, he noted the giveaway was a failure. He shared that despite 65% of their audience being men, the overwhelming majority of the 1,200 entries were from women. Ultimately, actual listeners of the station were not entering the contest. They tried the giveaway again the next spring, and entires were cut in half. He joked men weren’t interested in the giveaway because they want to watch the tornado and aren’t preoccupied about having a potential place to avoid the storm.

He continued by showcasing the KZRG Morning News Watch Happy Hour, where once a month the morning show does a live appearance at a local restaurant or bar and meet with every table in the location.

The final promotion was a $500 a week giveaway to local listeners. The standard “enter a keyword” and “listen four times a day” promotion. Thiele shared that several of the winners brought gifts to the station when they came to claim their prizes because the station’s hosts had built such a personal connection with its audience.

10:20-10:55 = The Digital Dilemma presented by:

  • Tim Clarke – Audacy
  • Jeremy Sinon – Hubbard Radio
  • James Derby – Federated Media

The panel was asked to describe what they view as digital.

Sinon shared that “every department is the digital department, especially in 2023 and beyond” before saying anything in an online world is digital.

Clarke said the word grew in usage to differentiate that segment of content from traditional media, before saying he views the word as fading in usage and will ultimately be obsolete.

Derby says Federated Media views digital as “content marketing”. “I think it really goes back to the phone in my pocket. All of that is centered there,” Derby added.

The purpose of a company’s digital department really isn’t all that different from any other.

“You try to cobble together what you can with what you have,” Sinon said. “We’re trying to build more audiences, period. We say it’s the future all the time, but at some point, we need to realize it’s the present.”

Podcasting continues to be important to companies, and making it work can be a challenge.

“We’ve struggled on the revenue side on the local direct selling side. We sell our stream local direct, and we’ve been really successful, but have struggled on the podcast side,” Derby said, before adding his company asked everyone in the organization if they’re interested in hosting a podcast. 40 of the 120 full-time employees responded they were interested. He shared that endorsements of radio hosts haven’t carried over to their individual podcasts, which was unexpected.

Generating revenue in that space is important, and Clarke said he knows Audacy has scale, which helps, but there’s a balance.

“We have that benefit of having that national presence, but we need to think about where we can generate meaningful audiences. A great idea for an original podcast can come out of any newsroom, and that’s the benefit we have. That great idea for an original podcast that tops the charts could come out of any newsroom. The feed is the goal, right? If we can create a feed of meaningful subscribers, that’s going to be worth a lot in the long run.”

Podcasts migrating to YouTube has become more frequent, and the panel agreed if your podcast isn’t on the platform, you’re missing an opportunity. 24% of Coleman Insight responders said that not all of their favorite podcasts are available on YouTube.

Sinon noted that the CPM payments from video are simply more than audio CPM payments, so companies and creators are missing out on revenue by not putting their podcasts on YouTube.

Clarke argued that he’s not a big fan of simply pushing listeners to YouTube because there’s not a gigantic benefit to companies.

“We need to make our content available when they want it and how they want it,” Derby concluded.

The panel did agree that every station needs a video strategy.

“People are searching for content constantly. YouTube may be the best discovery engine out there,” shared Sinon. “If you’re just taking the YouTube pennies, it’s not the best thing for us, but the discovery is. You have to be careful how you play the game, but it exists and you have to play in the space because people live there.”

“YouTube is a great sampling opportunity for audiences that haven’t completely invested in our brands,” Clarke continued. “Video is hard. It’s much easier to create great audio than it is to create great video. We don’t always need to do Emmy Award winning production, but I would think deeply about the ‘how’, and particularly in news, and I would think about how we do it scrappier and more efficient in time to help our brands.”

The panel argued that there isn’t a one-stop social media shop.

“I think a lot of it depends on the format. We try to live everywhere, but we focus on where our audience is going to be living most,” Derby said.

“There’s an opportunity in accessing with younger news consumers. You have to force rank based on the resources you have, and not do all five in poor way,” added Clarke.

“They all matter,” Sinon said of social media platforms. “If your brand doesn’t exist on that platform, you don’t exist. They’re not all the same, and we have to utilize the resources best we can, and it’s not easy, but if I had to pick one, I’d pick TikTok. I mentioned YouTube as a great discovery engine, but TikTok is right there.”

11:05-11:40 = News/Talk Sales Opportunities and Advertiser Challenges presented by:

  • Pierre Bouvard – Westwood One/Cumulus Media

Bouvard shared five key take always for the news/talk industry.

Spoken Word Audio Deserves a Premium CPM

Social media has the least attentiveness from media consumers, while spoken word is at the top of the list. Radio is the least-skipped advertising mechanism. Plus, 51% of consumers seek out spoken word content to learn something new.

Your Stations Need a Podcast Strategy

In 2017, 4% of ad-supported audio listeners in 18+ was spent with podcasts. That number is now 19% in 2023. It is only going to continue to grow. Meanwhile, AM/FM Radio has dropped from 77% to 60%. In 25-54, podcasting went from 5% to 25%, while radio dropped from 73% to 50%.

Double Down on News

“News is a goldmine for your format,” Bouvard said.

66% of listeners 18-34 turn to AM/FM radio when news breaks.

In a media study, the highest-level of credibility and attention was on radio news.

News is the Solution for Brand Safety and Brand Suitability

The Global Alliance of Responsible Media has created benchmarks for advertising and media platforms. Most of the concerns presented by GARM are invalid for radio stations due to FCC guidelines.

A company judges brand safety and brand suitability for advertisers. News, traffic, and weather reports are unlikely to trigger any problems for national brands.

Ask Elected Representatives to Devote a Great Share of Political Advertising to Radio/Spoken Word

Elected officials are often eager to appear in radio interviews. However, only 2.7% of political advertising is spent on radio.

According to Nielsen, radio accounts for 14% of all media consumption. 45% of the population is zero to light television users. However, campaigns use 45% of their advertising budget. 30% of all ads on Georgia television were political in nature in a recent election time.

If campaigns relocated their budgets to an increase to 10% of political ad spending, from 2.7%, campaigns would reach 235,000 more voters at no extra cost.

11:40-12:15 = News/Talk Radio Re-Imagined presented by:

  • Mike McVay – McVay Media
  • Brad Lane – WCCO
  • Drew Anderssen – KRLD
  • Charlie Cook – Cumulus
  • Gary Kranz – Krantz Media

McVay asked the panelists to imagine what news/talk would like look if it was invented on the stage.

Lane argued that one of the biggest questions would be whether your station is a news station or a talk station. He continued by urging program directors to stop hiring hosts who only talk about politics.

Cook agreed with Lane, saying he’s heard enough about the current President, so hosts need more range than simply politics. He then shared his opinion that news/talk clocks need to be reimagined. “Talk radio stations don’t do a good job of designing clocks for different parts of the day,” Cook said.

Anderssen said the content, hosts, and distribution of talk radio needs reimagined. “We don’t have to be all-politics or all-conservative, we need to be entertaining first,” said Anderssen.

McVay asked what changes the assembled guests had made.

Lane noted a “legendary” moniker can be a double-edge sword, because people have preconceived notions.

“To put hosts on the air that sound and talk about things like my listeners do,” Lane said of his biggest challenges, noting his oldest host is 57 years old. “I continue to go back to that word relevant. I put it in front of our team: ‘Be relevant and be memorable’.”

Anderssen said other formats are also doing good talk radio, mentioning that rock radio hosts are often doing great talk radio. He mentioned Eric Von Haessler of 95.5 WSB is an example of someone doing a non-traditional talk radio program.

“When I came into the business, almost everybody was 21 or 22 years old. The oldest guy in the room was the GM and he was 36, maybe, or the chief engineer. To get more young listeners, we need to bring more young people into the business. It’s not as simple as that, but it makes sense,” said Krantz.

Lane said that depth, range, and storytelling need to matter as much as youth. He shared an anecdote about a midday host who didn’t have the life experience to relate to listeners that didn’t work on WCCO. He continued by noting that pairing a younger host with a more experienced host will set them up for future success due to the credibility a familiar voice has with the audience and helps bridge the generational gap.

Anderssen added that young voices don’t need to necessarily have a place on the air, but having young people in your station can help keep your demographic younger.

12:15-12:50 = The Shark Tank presented by:

  • Gordy Rush – Guaranty Media Baton Rouge
  • Tim Wenger – Audacy Buffalo
  • David Wood – WIBC Indianapolis
  • With special guest sharks Jill Albert of Direct Results, Andy Bloom and Peter Thiele of BNM.

Contestants in the live version of Shark Tank had three minutes to present their pitches to “sharks” Albert, Bloom, and Thiele for why Omaha Steaks should place a $4,000 buy with their News/Talk radio station.

Rush took the stage first. As operator of Talk 107.3, Rush joked that Louisiana is #1 in the obese tailgating demographic. His pitch included using one of his hosts as an influencer for the Omaha Steaks advertising program, calling morning host Brian Haldane the fabric of the Baton Rouge community.

Questions from the sharks included wondering about the social media size of the brand, with Rush saying the station’s morning show streams live on Facebook and YouTube.

Wenger took the stage next. He shared a story of a “catastrophic” snowstorm that was to hit Buffalo on Christmas week, and was worried about having enough coverage for the potential weekend storm. However, many of his hosts and reporters volunteered to spend the weekend at the station while his home became a studio. In total, six employees spent 72 hours at the station in the blizzard that killed 47 people. The only media outlet covering the storm from a studio was WBEN. A man named James was stuck in his car in the blizzard for two days and was rescued after his phone calls with WBEN, responders were able to find him, and the station saved his life. Wenger said if his hosts were going to sell steaks, the audience will buy them because of the pitches from the station’s hosts.

The sharks questioned how long the hosts had been with WBEN, and if they had a history with endorsements. Wenger said one of the hosts has 13 endorsements, and his travel endorsements have improved greatly in recent years. An additional question asked about potential beef consumption in a city known for its chicken wing consumption. Another shark asked about whether or not citizens in Buffalo will continue to grill with the massive amounts of snow in the market.

Wood was the final contestant. He joked that “Hoosier” is “French for carnivore”. Per capita, Indiana has the highest sales of the popular Big Green Egg. He added that morning and midday host Tony Katz has a syndicated weekend show about food, and has written a BBQ cookbook. Katz, who was in the crowd, gave a spec spot of how a potential endorsement would sound on the station.

Questions from the sharks pertained to Wood’s current grill and what fuels it. He admitted he owns a pellet grill. The questions then turned to Katz and his thoughts and feelings on the Omaha Steaks brand. He was then asked his favorite Omaha Steaks product, which he responded the brand has a fantastic filet mignon.

Ultimately, the sharks decided Omaha Steaks is looking for passion, and the pitch from Wenger was the one deemed victorious. WBEN earned the client’s business.

12:50-1:25 = The Keynote Conversation Presented By:

  • Ginny Morris – Hubbard Radio
  • Julie Talbott – Premiere Radio Networks

When asked about the state of talk radio, Morris said

“It is a format that we have great faith in, for sure. WTOP, to be clear though, is a straight up news station. It’s not a news talk station. We’ve got a female targeted talk station that does really quite well in spite of the fact that it is a relatively small community radio station,” Morris said. “It was product for clients like a university before. And so beyond that, we’re trying to just make sure that we’ve got personality that sounds a lot like talk shows in our music brands as well. Not just a morning drive but afternoon drive. We used to say we need every station needs at least one talent that we can’t afford to lose.”

COVID has completely changed the audio landscape, and Morris said it’s important to capitalize on the shifts and for stations to market themselves.

“The audio marketplace is more fragmented than ever before. It’s going to be more fragmented a year from now than it is today. But brands need to market in their markets. 25 years ago, you couldn’t drive down a highway or a side road without seeing competitive radio stations reminding listeners but they’re there. We don’t remind listeners that we’re even an option anymore. We’ve got dedicated marketing dollars in all of our markets and I think if all the companies were able to do that we would have a much more robust business than we do today,” remarked Morris.

“And then with COVID, people went home and their lives changed and their habits changed and now we can invite them back. Remind them that we’re there. And if I could wave a wand and make anything happen, it would be that the larger companies would invest in promoting brands, because I don’t think promoting the industry per se is anything that would resonate with the consumer and people they relate to the tailor, they relate to the brand they relate to the personality of a radio station industry per se.”

AI has become a hot-button issue in the broadcasting space, and Talbott argued the industry shouldn’t be intimidated.

“Just don’t be scared of it. I think that anything new, our natural instinct is to be fearful. We can’t be and I think that our industry has consolidated to a state where I think we’re at a — we’re running very efficiently, let’s say it that way. And every person I have on my staff, they need help. They need the help in every possible way,” Talbott said. “And if I can help support them in a way that doesn’t affect negatively our product. Let’s go for it, let’s use it, let’s try it, let’s experiment. If we experiment internally, and we don’t like it, we can get rid of it. But don’t be scared.”

The topic of radio’s placement in dashboards of automobiles has a chance of shifting in the future, and has been bandied about. Talbott argued that Ford’s motivation for removing in-dash radio’s was not about removing news/talk stations as much as they wanted to be in the subscription business and force owners to pay for radio. She said the way to ensure radio remains in cars is simple

“You just got to keep putting out the best product we have so people will keep wanting to have us,” Talbott said of keeping AM/FM radios in automobiles.

Barrett asked the pair if there would ever been a future for liberal talk programs.

“I thought Rush Limbaugh was popular because he was entertaining, not because of what he thought or said,” Morris said. “If someone can come on the scene with a similar talent, they’ll be popular.”

Talbott balked at the idea that Premiere Networks wouldn’t syndicate a left-leaning show. “I would absolutely put on a show if there was a great host. If I heard someone I thought was terrific, I’d absolutely put them on.”

1:25-1:35 = Closing Comments

Barrett concluded the conference by sharing with attendees that ultimately the success of the industry relies upon coaching and managing people. We get caught up in numbers and winning the next quarter, but this business is about people.

He added that the industry needs to commit to having a stronger presence in the digital space. Putting together a digital strategy is imperative. You have to be everywhere.

The industry is built on relationships and storytellers. The more you can bring people together and create connections, the more business and listenership you’ll create.

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Everything You Need To Know In Advance of Next Week’s BNM Summit

“Our full agenda for next week’s conference is set, and I’ve added a few last-minute surprises.”

Jason Barrett

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Our schedule for next week’s BNM Summit is set, and I’ve added a few last-minute surprises, which I’m excited to share with you. If you scroll down below you’ll see a photo of the agenda plus a link which takes you to the schedule page on the BNM Summit website. I’ve also added a lot of details about specific things related to the show so carefully review what’s laid out below so you’re in the loop on what’s planned.

Let’s get rolling and update you on what’s been added.

For starters, when the BNM Summit ends on Day 2 at 1:30pm, it will be immediately followed by the BNM Summit Wrap Up, a 90-minute opportunity to enjoy free lunch and network with industry friends and colleagues before heading home. In addition, I’m pleased to share that we’ll have a special live acoustic performance from upcoming country artist Braden Hull. I’m sure folks on hand will like what they hear.

Secondly, we initially listed ‘Details Still To Come‘ for the second session on Day 2, and now I can finally reveal what’s planned. That session will be titled ‘The Marketplace of Ideas‘ and feature Martha Maurer of KTAR in Phoenix, Dave Tepper of KOA in Denver, Peter Thiele of KZRG in Joplin, and McGraw Milhaven of KTRS in St. Louis. Each PD will spend six minutes taking attendees through three successful promotions/events their brands have created in their respective markets. We’ll leave a few minutes for questions as well.

The third addition to the schedule is one I’ve been working on for a bit and I’m so glad that it came together. Thanks to Jill Albert and the great teams at Direct Results and Omaha Steaks, we will make history at the BNM Summit during The Shark Tank. Except this version will have a twist.

Jill will serve as our lead shark with BNM’s Andy Bloom and Peter Thiele serving as special advisors. They will welcome Tim Wenger of WBEN in Buffalo, Gordy Rush of Talk Radio 107.3 in Baton Rouge, Dan Endom of Talk Radio 98.3 WLAC in Nashville, David Wood of WIBC in Indianapolis, and McGraw Milhaven of KTRS in St. Louis into the tank, where each will spend 3 minutes highlighting their brands influence, success, and value. 2-minutes will be available for follow ups from the sharks.

What exactly will they be pitching their brands for? That’s where it gets exciting. The best pitch will receive a $4,000 advertising buy courtesy of Omaha Steaks.

The purpose of the session is to educate the room on the sales-buyer process, and how to present your brand’s success story quickly, and succinctly. When this idea came to me after a brainstorming call with Demetri Ravanos, I knew we had a chance to do something big and different. Thanks to Direct Results and Omaha Steaks, we’re bringing the idea to life. I can’t wait to watch it unfold.

For the full list of sessions, see the image below or click here for the more detailed layout on the conference website.

There are a few other important items I want to make sure you’re aware of regarding check in, hotel shuttles, the BNM Summit Social on Wednesday night, tickets, sponsorships, and our college contest so stick with me for a few minutes more.

First, we’ve had to make a small change to our location for the BNM Summit Social due to needing more space. Our Wednesday night social from 5:30-6:30 presented by Ramsey Solutions will now originate from the Central Bar & Kitchen at the Marriott Nashville-Vanderbilt. The bar is located at 2555 West End Avenue, walking distance of the Summit, and right next door to our previous spot. I’ll provide reminders during the show to make sure everyone knows where to go for free drinks after Day 1.

Next, sponsorships for the Summit are no longer available. If companies are looking to take advantage of promoting themselves around this year’s event, reach out to Stephanie Eads to see what options exist on the BNM website and BNM Rundown newsletter. She can be reached by email at [email protected].

If you’re staying at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, a shuttle will be available to and from the event. The hotel is only a few blocks away our conference venue so walking is also an option. So too is using Uber or a taxi service.

Speaking of hotels, our room block and discounted room rate are no longer available. You can still book a room at a higher price at the Homewood Suites by Hilton or seek out another nearby option.

For those curious about check in, registration opens at 8am CT both days. Please bring photo ID with you so the process runs smoothly. An attendees list will be sent out next week to sponsors looking to reach out in advance to schedule on-site meetings.

As far as tickets are concerned, they will remain on-sale until close of business on Monday September 11th. They will not be available for purchase after that. To make sure you’re not left out of this year’s show, go here to secure your seat.

We are also running a special college contest to reward Tennessee students with free tickets to the show. All a student has to do for consideration is submit a 2-minute video by email to [email protected] explaining why they’d like to go, and what steps they’re taking to pursue a future in broadcasting or journalism. The deadline for submissions is Friday September 8th. If you know someone in school who’d benefit from being in the room, please make them aware of the opportunity.

Last but not least, we are looking for a few local people to help out at the show. If you’re in Nashville in college or working in radio-TV-print-advertising, etc. and interested in a paid opportunity, reach out to Stephanie Eads at [email protected].

I know that’s a lot to digest but I like to leave no stone unturned. If over the next seven days you’re unsure of what’s happening and can’t find it on BNMSummit.com, circle back to this article. It has everything you need to know in it. If you still can’t find an answer, Stephanie Eads from my team will help you out. Her email is listed twice in this column.

We’re closing in on a special moment for this brand, and I can’t wait to bring people together and put the News/Talk format on display. None of this happens without a lot of talented people making time to contribute, and great partners stepping up to support our efforts. I have high hopes for the future of this format but know there’s a lot that needs to be done to move it forward. We start digging in next week. I’ll see you in Nashville.

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New Speakers, Ticket Sale, College Contest, and the Full Schedule Release For The 2023 BNM Summit

“This is your last chance to take advantage of lower prices. Individual tickets are $174.99 from today through Sunday August 27th.”

Jason Barrett

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After months of conversations, submitting requests, brainstorming ideas, and analyzing feedback, we’ve released the full schedule for the 2023 BNM Summit. If you’re looking to see what’s planned, the schedule appears on the main page under the main image section, just above the full list of speakers. I’ll be emailing all speakers individually this week to make sure they’re aware, and fully prepared.

Additionally, you’ll also see that we are having a special SALE on tickets this week. This will be your last chance to take advantage of lower prices. Individual tickets are $174.99 from Monday to Sunday August 27th. From August 28-September 12 you’ll still be able to buy tickets but they will return to the normal rate of $224.99. Tickets are not available on the days of the conference.

Next, we are announcing a special contest for Tennessee college students. As we’ve done each year at our sports summit, we will give current students a chance to attend the show for free in order to learn from and meet the industry’s best and brightest. To be considered for a free ticket, students must submit a video explaining why they wish to attend the show, and pass along details on what they’ve done or are doing to explore a future in the media industry. It doesn’t matter if the student is at Vanderbilt, Fisk, Tennessee, Belmont, Middle Tennessee State or another university, just that they are currently enrolled and pursuing a path into the broadcasting business.

If that wasn’t enough, we’ve also added a few additional speakers to the lineup. I’m pleased to welcome WCCO 830 Program Director Brad Lane, KOA Newsradio 850/94.1 Program Director Dave Tepper, Guaranty Media Vice President and Market Manager Gordy Rush, and KZRG Program Director and BNM columnist Peter Thiele to this year’s lineup. I may still add another name or two to the schedule as there are a few things still being finalized. Aside from those remaining possibilities, we’re done accepting speaking requests.

For those making the trip and wondering what the plan will be for food/drinks, and travel to/from the Summit, here’s what you need to know.

First, if you’re staying at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, 2400 West End Ave. Nashville, TN, a shuttle will be available to and from the event. Please make sure you’re in line to catch your ride if using the hotel shuttle. If you can’t get on to the bus, the hotel is walking distance of our conference venue, the Student Life Center at Vanderbilt University. You also have the option of using Uber or calling a taxi. Registration opens at 8am on Wednesday.

Secondly, a big thank you to Ramsey Solutions. Thanks to their support we will have the very first BNM Summit Social from 5:30pm-6:30pm on Wednesday September 13th immediately following our Day 1 activities. Free drinks will be provided during the Social at P.F. Changs, 2525 West End Ave. Nashville TN. The restaurant is a 5-6 block walk from the conference. Attendees may also choose to use Uber or a taxi if they don’t prefer to walk. For those looking to eat at the restaurant after the Social, making reservations is recommended. You can do that by calling 615-329-8901.

Lastly, BNM will supply lunch on both days at the show. The only difference is the time of when it is served. On Day 1, lunch is from 12:15-1:15. Attendees have the choice of enjoying a sandwich on site or exiting the building to grab food at one of the nearby restaurants. For Day 2, lunch is part of the BNM Summit After Party, starting at 1:30pm and ending at 3pm, which is when the entire event ends.

Now that those details and the schedule are squared away, the only remaining things on our end are finalizing sponsorships. I want to thank ABC Audio for being the latest group to sign on as an advertising partner with BNM. The deadline to get involved in the Summit is Monday August 28th. We have a lot of partners for our inaugural conference, which is awesome, but we do have a few spots left. If interested, email Stephanie at [email protected].

When I put together a conference, it’s common for participants to want to know what the topics are in advance and will be part of their panel. Though it’d make my life easier to set this up months ahead of time, I believe it’s important to deliver the best event possible. If it means taking longer to post a schedule, making room to accommodate something great or adjusting an idea because another one is better or more relevant, then that’s what we do. It’s all about the final product.

Beyond taking care of our speakers and partners, my main responsibility is making sure we produce the greatest show we can, and providing maximum value for those who make time to join us. If people don’t have a great time and head home with new ideas, information, relationships, and ways to grow their businesses, then we haven’t done our job. That’s why I take my time building these conferences the way I do.

If you work in the News/Talk format and have been thinking about coming but haven’t booked your travel or bought a ticket yet, do it. You will get a lot out of this event. I know there are some in this format still discovering BNM and learning about me. There’s no better way to find out then to be in the room with many others in Nashville next month.

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