Barrett Sports Media’s Top 20 Mid-Market Sports Radio Program Directors in 2021
I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered many business topics, including finding your niche, knowing your audience and getting them the right content in the right places, the evolution of the BSM summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.
Having spent nearly seven years developing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what has worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better at, whether it’s social media, publishing, SEO, sales, news research, producing creative original content, or… adding staff. While there is always work to do and challenges to overcome, when you do something you love and are motivated to wake up every day doing it, that to me is success.
But lately, there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed: the hiring process. Fortunately, while browsing it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a great guy, a talented writer, and a fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s newest overnight editor. I’ll have a few more announcements later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be a copywriter or social media manager, I’m still working through the process to add these two positions to our brand. You can find out more about both jobs by clicking here.
Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a company. You communicate directly with yours truly and work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears, and radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you must love to write, understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands that produce daily content and the people who bring those brands to life. We get a lot of interest from people who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they are going to cover games or political events. They quickly discover that this is not what we do and that it does not interest us.
If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or received our newsletters, you have probably seen us promote openings with the brand. I even bought ads on Indeed and was lucky enough to have a few people in the industry share the posts on social media. We are well positioned and trying to improve our product, so to do that we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily made 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye-opening to see how many mistakes were made during the hiring process.
Receiving applications from people who don’t fully understand what we do is fine. It happens everywhere. Most of the time we eliminate them. It’s no different than when a PD receives an application for one of the top 5 lodging markets from a retail employee who has never spoken into a microphone. The likelihood of this person being the right fit for a role with no experience of how to do the job is very slim. What is confusing, however, is how many people express interest in opportunities, only to find that they are unprepared, uninformed, or even uninterested in the position they applied for.
For example, one candidate said to me on a call, “I’m not interested in your job, but I knew it would be difficult to reach you on the phone, and I thought it would help me introduce because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs Another sent a cover letter addressed to a different company and person, and a few others applied for an FT job only to share that they couldn’t work FT, weren’t interested in the job described in the job, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a boost of confidence after losing a job or having no computer and no place to operate.
At first I thought maybe this was an exclusive issue that only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside a radio or television station. In some cases, people may have good intentions and intend for something different than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of this stuff over the past few weeks, I was amazed to hear how many similar horror stories exist. A top programmer told me it’s much harder to hire today than it was just five years ago.
I was told stories of people applying for a producer role at a station and turning down an offer unless the PD added airtime to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire him because his grades were dropping. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another was given a resume aimed at competing radio and boss. I even saw a social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand lacked talent support.
These examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who runs a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not click with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you are looking for other ways to increase your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.
Find out before you apply – Take the time to read the job description and make sure it matches your skills and what you are looking to do professionally before applying. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you would like to be? Does it sound like a job from which you would derive personal and professional fulfillment? Are you able to meet the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of them produce a yes, that’s probably a situation to consider.
Proofread your email or cover letter and CV – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell correctly and you’re addressing them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes. he hires you. Attention to detail is important in the media business. If this is your pitch to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you need to go through your documents carefully before hitting send. If you can have someone else take an extra look at your introduction to protect you even better against a major mistake.
Don’t waste people’s time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t consider you a viable candidate, right? Well, it also works the other way around. If you’re not seriously interested in the job, or are going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t good or the finances aren’t working out, that’s okay. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after wasting their time or lying to them, trust me, they won’t.
Don’t speak like an expert about things you don’t know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenues are down? Do you know the company’s goals and whether the people inside are happy or unhappy? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid business conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has handled the challenges he’s facing, so don’t pretend. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.
Use socially wisely – Being frustrated at not having found a job is good. Everyone passes by there. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social media on how you could have defended yourself better is a good thing. It shows that you are trying to learn from the process to be better next time. But going to social media to write a book report lambasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company for a move that didn’t benefit you, just tells them they made the right choice by not not entering. Chances are they won I won’t call you in the future either.