Friday, August 29, 2008

Barrale's Plan to Get Baseball Games On Air

I never pretend to act like I know everything there is to know. I realize that while I feel old, I am still relatively young in this business. However, I have been working in broadcasting for nine years and in baseball for five years. So I also like to think I have a little knowledge of how things are done, and how they could be done.

One thing I am very passionate about is broadcasting baseball, more so, broadcasting baseball on radio. It is so much more pure on radio, because you have to really work hard to describe the action, paint that picture so the listeners know what you are seeing.

For that reason, that is why I think I never really chased the TV angle, because I love the radio side so much. I just don’t understand why some teams choose not to have radio. I have come up with a plan for how to sell radio that not only more than covers the cost to put games on the radio, but leaves plenty of money left over to pay the broadcaster a decent wage so the broadcaster is not living on bread and water while sleeping on a mattress thrown in the corner of a run down apartment next to a train track, not that I have ever done that….

Anyway, this is my idea. Call it the Barrale idea, or Nick’s radio idea or Plan B or whatever. Maybe there is a GM or President of a ball club out there that reads this and says, “you know, that makes since, lets do radio.” Or maybe there will be one out there that says, “That is the same plan we use now” or maybe there will be one out there that says, “that will never work and it’s a horrible idea.” Either way,
contact me and let me know your thoughts.

Here it is:

- Based on a radio broadcast having a 15 minute pre and post game show, there are 78 total spots available for sale.

- The Broadcaster sells all spots for the broadcast. Each 30 second spot is priced at $1,000 a piece. That equals $78,000 of potential add revenue. That is more than enough to not only pay the broadcaster, but the station for the air time.

- Depending on the market size, there should be more than enough “Mom and Pop” stores that are willing to spend $1,000 to be part of the local team broadcast. Divide that by the 140 game season, that is only $7.14 per spot. Not too many stations can sell a spot for that cheap and it provides an avenue for a business to be part of the team that otherwise would not.

- Also, for additional ad revenue not included in the above, in game sales. Those include live drop ins. For example, “Starting lineups brought to you buy..” “Our umpires for tonight..” “The folks at XYZ law firm remind you this game can not be rebroadcast…” “That stolen base brought to you buy..” “Pre-game show brought to you buy” “The pre-game interview brought to you buy” “Post game show brought to you buy” “Tonight’s play of the game sponsored buy” And so on and so on and so on. Those can all be sold separately.

- Keep stadium ad revenue and radio ad revenue separate. If the local dealership or big name business wants to be on radio along with a billboard advertisement, they still can. However it is important to keep both separate so you know for sure that radio can support itself. If that big name business wants to do radio as well, include it in the package buy adding the cost of radio, but always keep it separate.

- The broadcaster is in charge of arranging spots, spot traffic, spot rotation, spot production, broadcast production, liners, and ID’s. So many teams out there just play the same spots over and over again all year long. This would ensure that there is a mix of spots, keeps the breaks fresh and it provides a Major League style broadcast with spots constantly being rotated, updated and changed through the course of the season. It keeps the listener interested in the spots.

- Why not bring in the advertisers on the radio to sit down for a half inning to talk about their business? Sure, there will be businesses out there that just don’t feel comfortable doing this. However, there will be those that would love the chance to get on the radio during a half inning to hype up there business and talk baseball. Make them feel part of the broadcast, part of the team and important. Don’t just take their money and run. Be there for them.

- Who better to sell radio and the broadcast, than the radio broadcaster? This is the person that needs to be out there making these deals and the handshakes.

- There are other things that can be done as well that don’t directly make money but could lead to. For example, having promo’s that promotes upcoming games and giveaways during breaks. Just incase all 78 spot blocks are not sold, plug some promos in those spots so there is no repetitive spots. Keep the breaks consistent, 90 seconds between innings and 60 second pitching change.

So there you have it, a simple idea but one that involves a lot of work, but could produce a lot or reward. It also insures a job year round for the broadcaster and a consistant voice in the booth rather than a revolving door of one after another. Who knows, maybe one of those “Mom and Pop” stores will love the way they were treated so much that they will throw $15,000 into the ad pot next season for a billboard or season ticket package.

Also, having the games on the radio is a big time marketing tool because people can also tune into a game driving around town or at home and know what is going on with the team, which in turn, could increase ticket revenue, merchandise sales and ad revenue.

Again, it’s a simple idea, with the point of focusing on the “Mom and Pops.” Now it’s your turn, let me know what you think…..

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm Heading to Free Agency...

Augusta, GA - After two years of successfully broadcasting baseball in Augusta, GA, Nick Barrale is hitting the open market as a free agent. When the 2008 season comes to an end, Barrale will have broadcasted all 280 games over the past two years including the playoffs for the GreenJackets.

Hired as the first broadcaster for the Augusta GreenJackets when Ripken Baseball purchased the team, Barrale’s voice brought the action of GreenJackets baseball into the homes of GreenJackets fans in the Augusta area and around the country.

“I feel very fortunate and blessed to have been given the honor of working in Augusta with the GreenJackets and Ripken Baseball,” Barrale said. “The fact that they had enough confidence to bring me on as their first broadcaster means a lot.”

Barrale was the first person set in place that handled both the Media Relations department along with broadcasting games for the GreenJackets, Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.

“They really did not know how to structure the broadcasts and they had no radio equipment,” Barrale said. “I had to research and acquire equipment while staying under budget and set up the broadcasts.”

Barrale’s previous skills working with KMOX as a production assistant and producer for St. Louis Cardinals baseball paid off. Barrale produced, edited and voiced many spots and promos that aired not only during the broadcasts, but also over the six other Beasley radio stations in the Augusta area.

Broadcasting skills were just one of the many that made the St. Louis native an attractive fit in Augusta. Barrale’s networking ability along with his creative writing has garnered press releases that brought the GreenJackets national attention in 2008. Working with Minor League Baseball and Baseball America, Barrale was able to arrange and coordinate interviews with players for national exposure for online and printed articles over the past two years.

In April of 2008, Barrale pitched ideas to the Golf Channel’s Adam Barr that resulted in a feature story on the ’Jackets that aired during the Master’s, one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world.

Barrale again worked his creativeness into a press release for Brett Favre Night that gained national attention on news networks such as ESPN and CNN. Barrale appeared on Chris Myers’ nationally syndicated show on Fox Sports Radio talking about the promotion and the GreenJackets season.

Along with writing over 500 game recaps in his five years in baseball, close to 300 press releases, and broadcasting nearly 500 games, Barrale set himself apart with his skills on the computer with his web and graphic design work.

Barrale helped in creating custom graphics for the Augusta web site that highlighted player accomplishments and press releases. Barrale also used his web design skills and audio editing talent to create links to game highlights so fans could read the game recaps along with hearing the highlights from the previous night’s game.

“I really wanted to give fans another reason to go to the web site,” Barrale said. “I looked at all these other web sites out there and they featured highlights and fans get a real kick out of hearing them.”

Along with the highlights, Barrale created a link on the web site so fans could access the in-depth game notes he worked on daily to stay informed on all the latest stats and trends.

The GreenJackets have no plans right now to continue with radio in the 2009 season.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Multi-tasking...To Perfection

So recently someone asked me if I know how to multi-task efficiently and productively? That got me thinking about how much I multi-task in this job. More so during the game than any other time during the day. But usually I am juggling three different things at the same time. On a side note, I am a pretty good juggler when it comes to baseballs and tennis balls!

Anyway, during the day I am usually working on several things at once; doing the stat packs, compiling the game notes and then taking care of any press releases that have to go out. Stat packs and game notes both have to be copied and stapled then placed in the press box and both club houses.

My game notes are probably the most in-depth game notes in the league, I put a lot of effort into making sure they are Major League quality and that goes with the stat packs too. (example here) I want to make them easy to read and not all jumbled up and out of order, which is what you get when just printing from the internet. I copy them and spread them out for copy purposes making sure there is no run off. If I am working on a story or press release, I also am working on the graphic that will go along with it on the web site.

I am also running from both clubhouses when the teams are at the park making sure each staff has what they need and then at the same time getting the lineup, typing up the lineup and printing them up. I also have to write the standings and lineups on the board entering the stadium. All this is being taken care of while I am trying to make myself visible and present on the field so that if any media needs interviews with players I can take care of that for them.

I usually fit lunch in somewhere and most days I pick up a sandwich on the way in to work so I don’t have to leave work because sometimes I just can’t.

When the game is going on my computer might be working harder than me! I use my computer to not only write my game recap while the game is going on, but also to record the game for highlights, cut and edit the highlights during the 1:30 commercial breaks, use the internet to do on the spot research on stats and information for players and check email from the occasional listener that writes in.

When the game is over I have my 15 minute post-game show that includes those highlights I am editing during the game. I also run over the scoreboard and then set the table for tomorrow. I am also putting the finishing touches on my game recap so I can email it out before deadline, which I usually try to set by 10:30, depending on length of game that is, so television stations will have the information for the 11:00 pm newscast.

After the game I am running down to the office running off box scores then take those box scores to both clubhouses and then listen to the coaches if they have scoring issues from the game. After that is all taken care of I can start working again, that is by updating the web site.

The web site is updated with the game story, game picture, game highlights and then if it is a home series I update the front page so the old stories and graphics come down and the new stories for upcoming promotions show up. This way when people go to work in the morning they have a fresh new web site to look at and not old stories. Nothing drives me up the wall more than seeing stories that are dated on the front of the page.

My head usually hits the pillow around 12:30- 1:00 a.m. and then I am back at work and at my desk doing it all over again at 8:30 a.m.

All that does not include little things that pop up during a day or a series like getting pitching rotations for the upcoming series to the opposing teams. Making sure the roster is set at 25 and the proper guys are listed as active or in-active. Writing stories or tid-bit articles for game programs. Making sure guys get credit for the proper stats like hits, stolen bases, earned runs.

So again, the question was do I know how to multi-task? The majority of teams have two people doing work in the media department, I work alone. I think I know how to multi-task.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anchoring TV Sports

So I did my sports anchoring on Sunday and had a blast. I don’t have a copy of the video though, not yet. I hope to be able to add that to the web site soon. Just a photo of me doing the sports and of course I started out with the GreenJackets as my lead.

It was really fun and back in college I did some television work but never pursued it as a career. I thought it was too hard of an industry to crack into. So I went the radio route instead. I guess I didn't realize how hard it is to get any type of broadcasting job because the baseball route is like pulling teeth!

Who knows, maybe I can use this one time sportscast to move into television. All I needed to get into the baseball world of broadcasting was a half inning of play-by-play I did with the River City Rascals back home in 2000.

I was passed up for an opportunity doing softball on television earlier this year because apparently it is was because I had no video of me. The talent coordinator I guess thought I was an ugly guy and not good looking enough for television….I don’t think I am that bad.

I still have four weeks left in the season and then I have all off season to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. I am still young and still have my hair so I think there is some time, not much, but some time to figure it out.

I think the most important thing when getting any job or break in the business is knowing people. That transcends both radio and television along with time and space itself. If you don’t know someone somewhere, chances are you might not get that break.

I knew John Hart over at ABC and he thought about me when this thing came up. I keep telling him he needs to come on and do some baseball with me. See how the other half lives.

Thanks John and everyone over at ABC, it was fun and a real blast.

One thing I will say there is a lot of work that goes into getting it all ready. I did not have to do any of that though, I just sat down and read. Made it even easier for me. It is pretty tough though making sure what you are saying is matching up with the highlights. Looking at one television for the highlights while trying to keep pace with the script.

Good job to everyone that works in television, you make it all look easy.

Check back in a few weeks and maybe I can get a copy of it online for you all to see.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm Nick Barrale?

So John Hart at Channel 6 here is Augusta asked me if I wanted to fill in on Sunday, August 17 to do the sports. Apparently as they look for a new weekend sports anchor they are having local celebrities come in to do the sports.

First thing I thought of was, “am I local celebrity?” In any event, I jumped at the opportunity to get in front of a camera and do some television work. Plus it is good exposure for the team and the GreenJackets are in the middle of a playoff race. Maybe get some good press and a few more people in the seats.

I have been working in radio ever since I graduated college doing sports updates and baseball play-by-play. The last time I did television work that involves sports anchoring I was in college when my friends and I began a little show called SportScope. All of us wanted to work on television and Lindenwood did not offer any type of sports television at all. So we made our own show and it was pretty successful.

I have done a number of on camera interviews since I have been down here in Augusta and while I worked in Wilmington, DE with the Red Sox affiliate in 2006, so it's not like this is the first time since college I have been on camera.

I am thinking of doing the sports while wearing my headset that I use to broadcast baseball, just so I am totally not out of my element!

So tune in on August 17 to Channel 6 in Augusta for the 11:00 p.m. newscast. Channel 6 is the ABC affiliate here in town.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Here Comes the King

One of the great joys of going to Busch Stadium when growing up in St. Louis. Too many ballparks these days have loud music with the music thumping. Bring back the organists!! God Bless Ernie Hays.

I loved going to Busch growing up and seeing all the red and hearing the organist play. This song was always played during the seventh inning stretch and it is a St. Louis tradition. It is called "Here Comes the King" because the Budweiser Clydesdale's use to come out to the song.

Now the Clydesdale's only come out for special occasions...who knows, they might not come out anymore now that Budweiser is sold. That is a topic for another day though.

I have been to just one ballpark in my four years of broadcasting Minor League Baseball that has the sounds of an organist and that is Rome, GA and the Rome Braves. They actually play this song in the seventh inning just like they do at Busch and it brings me back home every time I hear it.

Too many parks have gotten to turning the volume up and blowing people out of their seats. I guess I am just too old, or showing my age in my appreciation for the simpler times.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Brett Favre Night

So the regular season is winding down and the GreenJackets once again are one of the top teams in all of Minor League Baseball. As of today (Aug 4) Augusta has the third best winning percentage among all full season Minor League teams.

Tonight is Brett Favre night at the park and one of the reasons why I have so much fun in Minor League baseball. This promotion has gained national attention. It basically was the brain child of our GM Nick Brown and I wrote the press release for it and sent it to everyone I could. Luckly I got to know some people (darren rovell) in high places that helped get this release blown up and the national attention it deserved.

As I sit here and look at people in Brett Favre jersey's, cheese heads in the stands, and $1 brats and PBR beer being offered today, I can't help but to laugh at some of the crazy promotions that happen in Minor League baseball.
One Brett Favre Jersey....$90

One Cheese Head.....$15

Catching a GreenJackets baseball game when they retire Brett Favre's number and hand out flip-flops....priceless.

There are some things money can't buy....for everything else there is Minor League Baseball.