BNM Summit
Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BNM Summit
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As the BNM Summit Approaches, Here Are Tips and Tricks to Get the Most Out of It

You need to be in Nashville for the BNM Summit. If you have never attended a radio convention, it is very important. You get to meet industry leaders, top Program Directors, and perhaps a syndicated host who is on your station.

I’ve attended 10 events similar to this one over the years. Building relationships is the key to making sure that your station gets the special attention it deserves. Every time that I have gone to an event like this, I have built a relationship with a syndicated host that is heard on my station. I don’t claim that we become best friends, but they know who I am. This has helped my station.

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These hosts get to know your community through you. Every market is different, and your perspective can provide them with a personal view of your audience. This is essential and every good, syndicated host wants to be successful in every corner of this country. 

Now, don’t stalk the host. Introduce yourself, your station, and market. Give the host a compliment and thank them for spending time with you. Some hosts will offer up an email, while many will not. But the connection will work well with your affiliate rep. Call that person and tell them all about your interaction with the host. Most affiliate representatives only hear complaints. This will open the door for your rep to make a note about you and your station.  Perhaps, you eventually may need to get a national host on your station for an interview or into the market for a station event. You have your foot in the door.

Meet the Program Directors at the event. There are several great PDs at the BNM Summit. I am a fan of several who will be in attendance. I have a couple of Program Directors that I have built relationships with over the years. 

Here is how I lean on them when I need to know something. I will write these people an email every 6 months. Just a “Hi, how are you?” note. Frequently I get a short reply. I never pepper them with questions. I will occasionally ask a quick question. If you are having a quandary over imaging, coaching, promotions, etc., the question is never long. If these very busy Program Directors want to know more, they will ask you. If you don’t get an answer, don’t harass them.  They are busy. Don’t abuse these people. They can help you and I have learned much from these Program Directors.

How to network with industry leaders: There will be people at the BNM Summit who are shot callers. Just meeting them is enough. Don’t monopolize their time. If they ask you questions, answer briefly. If they give you a card, email them the following week. Don’t come across as that guy who meets a gal at a party or bar and texts her like a psychopath an hour later. 

If you don’t get a card, here is a tip: write that person a handwritten note thanking them for the time. Just having these people putting your face with the name is a huge plus. Whatever you do, don’t ask for a job, even if you are on the beach. Feel free to tell them that you are looking for a job.  Let them ask questions. Let these leaders breathe.

How to interact with your peers: Be friendly and welcoming. Shake their hands, look them in the eye. This group is important. You can ask them for email addresses and share phone numbers if appropriate. Frequently, your peers know of the jobs that are open if you are on the beach. Your peers know the struggles of doing 2 jobs every day. Your peers know your struggle.  Be open with them. Sometimes, I have seen rivalries pop up at these events. This is so unnecessary. Leave the ego at the door.

Now, I think that all the Barrett News Media staff will agree with me: We need to know what is happening in your market. We need to know the special challenges that you are experiencing.  Realizing that many of the writers are in a radio station every day like you. I know that I need ideas and heck, I have no problem quoting people. The cool thing is that there are fewer of us today than there was a decade ago. It was not our fault. Market challenges to revenue, corporate debt, changing priorities of the industry, this all has hurt a still vital industry. 

So, here is the deal. Come to Nashville for the BNM Summit. I want to meet you. I know that the Barrett News Media team wants to get to know you. Let’s work together. Here is another tip: don’t stare at people’s name tags during the BNM Summit. Go up and introduce yourself. Ask them questions and meet a new friend. My interactions with peers and industry leaders at these events have helped me dramatically. It gives me perspective and knowledge to do my job better. You will realize the same, if you attend.

Oh, I forgot one thing: Have fun! These events are just a blast. Tell stories. Participate and ask questions of the panels. By the way, Jason Barrett has really put in a huge effort and risk to support our industry. Jason’s commitment to news/talk radio is needed and welcome. If you don’t have a ticket, get one today.

Peter Thiele
Peter Thiele
Peter Thiele is a weekly news/talk radio columnist for Barrett Media, and an experienced news/talk radio programmer. He recently served as program director for WHO/KXNO in Des Moines, IA. Prior to that role he held programming positions in New York City, San Francisco, Little Rock, Greenville, Hunstville, and Joplin. Peter has also worked as a host, account executive and producer in Minneapolis, and San Antonio. He can be found on Twitter at @PeterThiele.

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