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The Competitor Group’s John Bradley: Showcasing And Serving A Deeply Engaged Audience – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With John Bradley, Senior Vice President of Media…

November 14, 2016

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“I think there’s that big emotional component that lends itself to some really dramatic photography, which just works better in print. And then there’s also a tremendous historical component. Anybody who is a cyclist can tell you who was winning the Tour de France in 1972 and they can talk about some of the famous climbs, so you can always talk about these historical stories and those just work better in print. You can sort of sit back and absorb the history and look at the old photos. So, the print component is still vital and if you look at any of our competitors, that’s what’s happened with their print products as well. There is always some sort of a historical story or a big photo issue and we’re starting to leverage print for that.” John Bradley…

“The doom and gloom that everyone talks about in print really ignores the emotional attachment that we know is there. We know because of the visceral reaction that people have when they hear a story is only going to be online instead of in print. So, we’re still trying to leverage that value as much as we can, while being realistic of the fact that we’re not a print entity; we’re not a digital entity; we’re not a video entity; we’re a storytelling platform and we tell those stories in the best way we can.” John Bradley…

Competitor Group is a company that celebrates the active lifestyle and serves its audience through events, print, digital, mobile and social media platforms. The company has four sports magazines that bring endurance sports fans the epitome of adventure and storytelling: Triathlete, Competitor, Women’s Running and the soon-to-be, 45-year-old VeloNews. The man in charge of those brands is longtime media veteran John Bradley.

John has good bloodlines, coming from Wired and Outside magazines, having been senior editor at both, and he not only brings experience to the table – 25 years of it – but he also brings a deep-seated passion for endurance sports, being an avid cyclist himself.

I spoke with John recently and we talked about VeloNews and the other brands under his watchful and keen eye. John is a firm believer in the art of print and that it still holds its own place in the marketplace, but he also has his finger on the pulse of the always-palpitating world of digital and knows that while they are both vital to magazine media, the two platforms are very different and offer different things to their readers, so they must be handled in different ways.

A good and spot-on perspective from a man who believes in giving his readers much more than just the winner’s name when they cover a race; he believes in weaving an experience. So, without further ado, the Mr. Magazine™ interview with John Bradley, Senior Vice President of Media, Competitive Group.

But first the sound-bites:

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On whether he believes that the Competitor Group has been one of the hidden gems of the industry: One of the hidden gems? Yes, I would say that’s a fair statement. I think having this collection of titles, all built around endurance sports and that lifestyle, is a pretty great thing, because certainly, some people might define themselves as a football fan or a basketball fan, but if you’re a runner or a cyclist or a triathlete, participating in those sports; it takes over your life. You have to spend so much of your time training and you spend your available money on it, on equipment and traveling to races for it, that it really does become your identity in a way that I don’t think happens in other sports, especially spectator sports.


On a brief description of VeloNews, a magazine that’s been publishing for almost 45 years:
For VeloNews, it’s interesting. The word “news” in the title is not by accident. It started as a news publication. In 1972 if you wanted to know who won a big bike race in Europe, quite often you had to wait two or three months and hopefully you could see a photo somewhere. Even for the editors of VeloNews, they would have correspondents over in Europe who would send in a batch of photos by mail, and they would open up the photos two weeks later to see who won the race. So, it started as a way to help American race fans find out what was going on in the sport. And also even locally, even races in America, there was no one really collecting the results and talking about this sport as a spectator sport; it was a very fringe thing of people riding bikes.

On whether he feels his role as editor in chief today is more of a curator than a creator:
We still create; I curate the content that’s coming in from our staff and our freelancers, but our job is a little bit more challenging than it was 20 years ago in that the news happened. We didn’t have to go out and find stories; we just knew that if you showed up at this time and that place on a certain day, there would be a race and you would write up the story and that’s that. And it was the same if you covered NFL; you went to the game and you wrote a story, you maybe grabbed quotes from a couple of players and did a couple of smaller stories and that was it. And that’s not enough anymore; you really have to do a whole lot of context and explanation.

On whether he feels this is his dream job or another milestone in his journalistic journey: This is a pretty remarkable marriage of personal and professional. There has never been a time in my life where I wasn’t reading about what’s happening in cycling anyway. So to have that be my full-time job is pretty special. Sometimes I’m still at work, especially overseeing the whole media division, and navigating all of the challenges of the media space can still be a tricky thing, but the subject matter and the marriage of the personal and professional has been pretty fantastic.

On the stumbling blocks he’s had to face:
Enthusiast media is uniquely challenging. The running titles have bigger audiences, they can play a little bit in the non-endemic space as far as advertising, but for cycling and triathlon; these are very narrow worlds. The audiences are not big, they’re engaged, but they’re not so big that we can easily go out and sell advertising to Budweiser or United Airlines. They want to advertise on NBC or The New York Times, so we’re completely reliant on our narrow verticals. If the bicycle industry is down one year, even if the economy is doing well, but the bike industry happens to be down because of whatever trends in consumer buying habits, then we will feel that.

On what role he thinks print will continue to play in this digital age:
That’s an interesting question and we’re constantly grappling with that. I think for service journalism, which a lot of what we do in print right now ends up being more service oriented; how to train; how to travel for these sports; the buying guides, those sorts of things. I think print still works very well for that, and I think when you’re doing that service journalism it’s how to live that lifestyle. And it goes back to what I said earlier about the fact that we have these deeply engaged audiences built around these lifestyles, and print does really well showcasing how to live that lifestyle. It’s the content that you want to save.
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On whether he feels that if there were no print component to the brand, sports enthusiast fans might feel as though they were missing something:
In running, I don’t know as much, because of the three sports that we cover in endurance sports, cycling is the only one that’s really a big spectator sport. You are covering the news around races; there are a lot more ways to come at the content, because you have this huge spectator element. Running and triathlon, especially running, are largely participatory. People don’t read about other people running, they read about how to run. So, I think print is still important there; it’s engaging, but I don’t think it’s as vital as it is in the cycling space, where cycling has this very deep history and emotional connection.

On the most important thing he’s accomplished since coming to the Competitor Group:
The first thing we’ve accomplished since I’ve been here is the shift in content focus. What I said earlier about where before, who won the race was the end of our coverage and now that’s just the beginning. That I think has been the biggest shift, going into this sort of 360 degree contextual approach to covering our sport has been the most important change.

On anything else he’d like to add:
It’s interesting thinking about the difference between print and digital from our advertiser’s perspective and the brand’s perspective; the PR agency’s perspective. Quite often if we have a story that’s print only, the writer will be really disappointed because they know that the story is going to reach more people if it goes online. But when we have PR companies that know we’re going to be reviewing a product, they always ask if it’s going to be in the magazine. While all the news is about how print is dying, and we know the struggles in print and that everyone’s circulation is down, there is still an inherent value in print that we all know is there.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: Before 8:00 p.m., you’re going to catch me playing with my son; I have a two-and-a-half-year-old son, so before he goes to bed it’s all about him, although, he’s already been in his first bike race. (Laughs) So, quite often you’ll see me at the park teaching him how to ride his bike. After 8:00 p.m. I’m usually either reading, and now that’s it’s dark earlier, I’m usually riding a bike on a stationary trainer. When it’s still light outside I’m going for a ride. And then reading and writing; I’m working on a book right now. My evening free time is still generally either consuming content or creating content.

On what keeps him up at night: There has always been an attitude that because these spaces are small and that people will just read about cycling because it’s cycling; it hasn’t always been treated as a modern media entity. But I think that whether you’re reading about the 2016 Presidential Election or a small bike race that nobody has ever heard of, if those readers are coming to you they deserve a modern media experience. They deserve good writing and good video and some smart thinking about things. And they deserve evolving platforms; evolving ways to engage. So, what keeps me up at night is trying to do that across all of these titles, while working within the inherent limitations of being in a small vertical.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with John Bradley, Senior Vice President of Media, Competitive Group.

Samir Husni: Do you believe that the Competitor Group has been one of the hidden gems of the industry when it comes to your competitive field?

fc_vnapr_John Bradley: One of the hidden gems? Yes, I would say that’s a fair statement. I think having this collection of titles, all built around endurance sports and that lifestyle, is a pretty great thing, because certainly, some people might define themselves as a football fan or a basketball fan, but if you’re a runner or a cyclist or a triathlete, participating in those sports; it takes over your life. You have to spend so much of your time training and you spend your available money on it, on equipment and traveling to races for it, that it really does become your identity in a way that I don’t think happens in other sports, especially spectator sports.

So, as a result of that you get this incredibly engaged community, because the magazine becomes almost a newsletter for the club. I tell people that I’m a cyclist because it’s part of my identity. You have people engaging on a level that they don’t in a lot of other sports, and I know that having come from Wired and Outside magazines, and seeing the level of passion among the reader’s letters and comments on Facebook and on our stories. You see a level of passion that I haven’t seen other places.

So to have one company owning several different titles in all of these sports areas is pretty special. The audiences are huge by The New York Times numbers, but for our spaces the numbers are big. But then when you see the level of engagement, it’s pretty special.

Samir Husni: You’re editor in chief of VeloNews, which started the entire company in 1972, and now you’re the editorial director of all of the titles. As VeloNews prepares to celebrate 45 years of existence; how do you describe the different titles to someone who isn’t familiar with the company, from VeloNews to Women’s Running to Triathlete to Competitor? Can you give me a brief introduction to a magazine that’s been publishing for 44 years?

John Bradley: For VeloNews, it’s interesting. The word “news” in the title is not by accident. It started as a news publication. In 1972 if you wanted to know who won a big bike race in Europe, quite often you had to wait two or three months and hopefully you could see a photo somewhere. Even for the editors of VeloNews, they would have correspondents over in Europe who would send in a batch of photos by mail, and they would open up the photos two weeks later to see who won the race. So, it started as a way to help American race fans find out what was going on in the sport. And also even locally, even races in America, there was no one really collecting the results and talking about this sport as a spectator sport; it was a very fringe thing of people riding bikes.

It was the first platform in America for bike racing fans. There were other cycling publications about cycling as a hobby, but for cycling as a sport there was nobody in the United States doing that. So that was the start.

And the title has evolved as things have changed. Obviously now, the race news happens on Twitter, but there is a whole culture around being a fan and a participant of the sport, so the content has evolved with that. We still talk about the races, but 20 years ago talking about the race was the end of the coverage, and now that’s just the beginning of the coverage. There is so much that goes on afterwards, talking about the context, and not just who won the race, but why they won the race and why that race even happened and is the race going to happen next year, are the promoters losing money; so we’re going a lot deeper into the sport than we ever have before, which is just the reality of sports news coverage in general today, I think. ESPN is dealing with the same changes.

Samir Husni: Do you feel that your role as editor in chief today is more of a curator than a creator?

John Bradley: We still create; I curate the content that’s coming in from our staff and our freelancers, but our job is a little bit more challenging than it was 20 years ago in that the news happened. We didn’t have to go out and find stories; we just knew that if you showed up at this time and that place on a certain day, there would be a race and you would write up the story and that’s that. And it was the same if you covered NFL; you went to the game and you wrote a story, you maybe grabbed quotes from a couple of players and did a couple of smaller stories and that was it. And that’s not enough anymore; you really have to do a whole lot of context and explanation.

If you pick up a copy of Sport’s Illustrated, they’re not talking about who won the Super Bowl; they’re talking about the stadium planning and what the NFL Commission is planning for next year; and all of this context and backstory that gives you a much richer experience. They start talking about the tactics and all of the things around the sport that nobody ever talked about before. You have to find new ways in, because obviously, the readers know what happened, who won the game or who won the race on Twitter, so we have to provide a whole lot more.

So, no, I would say that I’m more of a creator than ever before because we’re not only creating the stories, we’re creating the opportunities to tell those stories. Instead of sending one person to a race to find out who won, we’re sending four people to a race and they’re finding different angles and context that we can provide that we never had to worry about before. I would say the creation job is even more important now than it was before.

Samir Husni: You’ve just returned from Japan, and you’ve worked in that country before. You’ve worked at Wired and Outside magazines; do you feel at home now? Is this your dream job or is this another milestone in your journalistic journey?

John Bradley: That’s an interesting question. All of those jobs; Outside and Wired and this one now, they’re all similar in that you look at the world through one lens. If you’re at Outside magazine, it all has to come back to that sort of adventure component and embracing nature and challenging yourself; and adventure sports, camping and mountain biking, just whatever the case may be.

At Wired, you had to look at the whole world through a lens of technology. You can’t just do a story; you had to do a story that came back to science and technology. How do we put the Wired spin on this?

So being at VeloNews or overseeing triathletes and running titles, the lens is narrower than it’s ever been before, but that’s the lens that I view my personal life through anyway. When I was at Wired and Outside, I was still always a cyclist. Quite often I would actually leave work from Wired and go up to the Golden Gate Bridge for a ride before I went home. So, that’s always what I’ve done in my free time.

And so this is a pretty remarkable marriage of personal and professional. There has never been a time in my life where I wasn’t reading about what’s happening in cycling anyway. So to have that be my full-time job is pretty special. Sometimes I’m still at work, especially overseeing the whole media division, and navigating all of the challenges of the media space can still be a tricky thing, but the subject matter and the marriage of the personal and professional has been pretty fantastic.

Samir Husni: What’s been some of the stumbling blocks that you’ve had to face and how did you overcome them?

John Bradley: Enthusiast media is uniquely challenging. The running titles have bigger audiences, they can play a little bit in the non-endemic space as far as advertising, but for cycling and triathlon; these are very narrow worlds. The audiences are not big, they’re engaged, but they’re not so big that we can easily go out and sell advertising to Budweiser or United Airlines. They want to advertise on NBC or The New York Times, so we’re completely reliant on our narrow verticals. If the bicycle industry is down one year, even if the economy is doing well, but the bike industry happens to be down because of whatever trends in consumer buying habits, then we will feel that.

So, when I was at Wired or Outside, maybe the watch industry is down one year, but that’s OK because we can still go sell ads to airlines and liquor and clothing, or whatever else the case may be. In enthusiast media you don’t have those release valves; you are very reliant on one, narrow slice of advertisers. And that can be challenging.

Also, in enthusiast media, we want to pay our salaries and be a profitable company, and with a lot of enthusiast media, you’ll be competing against people who have started a blog just because they love doing it. They’ll lose money or just break even on it, but they love having it there because, as I said, in these spaces people define themselves by loving these sports. So, you end up as a business competing against websites that aren’t really a business, they don’t have to worry about profit. And that’s also challenging.

It’s challenging when they can sell ads really, really inexpensively because they’re not worrying about actually making any money and we want to stay in business. The New York Times is not competing against news enthusiasts who are working for free. But in these spaces you do end up quite often competing against people who’re working for free. So, that’s another challenge for us. We overcome that, but those are things that you don’t find in broader media.

How we’re overcoming those; we do have more resources than some of the enthusiast publishers. We can get to the races that they can’t; we can get access to the riders in ways that perhaps they can’t, and so going back to what I said about the way that we provide context and became a whole lot smarter about how we cover the sport, that’s stuff that they can’t match. They can write about who won a race and perhaps sometimes they can get a rider on the phone and do an interview, but we can talk to the heads of the sport; we can get the riders on the phone all of the time; and we can come at the sport from a lot of different angles.

And then we have a very experienced staff. Most of our staff has graduate degrees of one kind or another; one is from Columbia Journalism School. So, we know how to think about storytelling; we’re starting to branch into video and podcasting and all of these other formats.

While it’s sometimes challenging to have the profit pressures of being a business, we are part of a bigger company. We have a bit of a corporate umbrella over us, and so maybe if one year the cycling industry is down, the running industry is up and so things kind of even out, whereas if you were out there just doing something about cycling, you don’t have the almost corporate socialism keeping things going. So, there are advantages and disadvantages to being part of a bigger company. But I think we’re getting a lot smarter about leveraging those advantages and getting smarter about how we differentiate ourselves by the coverage that we do.

Samir Husni: We can see the future heading into more niche titles; what role do you think print will continue to play in this digital age?

John Bradley: That’s an interesting question and we’re constantly grappling with that. I think for service journalism, which a lot of what we do in print right now ends up being more service oriented; how to train; how to travel for these sports; the buying guides, those sorts of things. I think print still works very well for that, and I think when you’re doing that service journalism it’s how to live that lifestyle. And it goes back to what I said earlier about the fact that we have these deeply engaged audiences built around these lifestyles, and print does really well showcasing how to live that lifestyle. It’s the content that you want to save.

For the most part, when you’re doing news stories or news analysis or the context around the sport, those aren’t the sort of stories that people want to save. They’re fine online and people read those for 24 or 48 hours and they start disappearing into the ether. If we use print for those things that people want to save, and also of course, for the big, glossy engaging photos that remind people of the passion of the sport; print still works for that. So, I think if you approach print as the newsletter for the people who follow these sports, it works really well. And then you use digital as the news and context component for that.

But I’m not going to lie; print is very much a challenge. It goes back to having these very narrow verticals. Your audiences are smaller and so you don’t have the economies of scale around printing and distribution and newsstand. Newsstand is very challenging; there aren’t that many people who buy triathlon and cycling magazines in the United States, and so newsstand is not super-effective a lot of the time, because how many people passing through bookstore happen to be passionate cycling fans? There’s not a lot. And as you know, being on the newsstand gets more and more expensive every year.

So, that’s tricky for us. We’ve become very reliant on subscribers and on trying to reach those subscribers through digital promotions with ways to remind them that this magazine is here and to invite them to come and subscribe. We’re trying to enter some subscription partnerships with different organizations and doing some of that.

We tend to be more effective with our verticals selling into specialty retail stores, selling into running shops and bike shops, but brick and mortar retail has their own challenges and they don’t always like to operate as a newsstand, dealing with the monthly returns and all of that. So, getting print to the readers now is much more challenging than it was even two or three years ago. It’s tricky.

And then because we are smaller and we have smaller staffs and print takes a lot of time and sometimes we look at the traction that we can get with a story online versus getting it into print and the math becomes very difficult. At VeloNews we compete against print-only entities and we compete against digital-only entities, so we’re fighting this twofold war. And knowing sometimes that people are running with a story online that we can’t run with because we have to get a print issue out of the door, can be kind of a challenge, but our brand is tied up in that print product that has been around for 45 years and that’s still our identity and our point of pride. So we have to keep doing it.

But it’s a challenge; I’m not going to lie. Justifying the print gets trickier every year. We’ve really had to evolve it. When I came here a year and a half ago, the print was still largely talking about who won the race and we’ve really moved away from that rapidly and gone to more of that contextualization that I was talking about earlier. And we’re doing that across all of our titles and really doing more of the lifestyle and service component that makes the magazine feel like something you want to save and maybe rip a page out and put it up on your cubicle wall to remind you why you love this sport. We’re trying to find new ways to separate those.

At this point, none of our magazines are just a print version of the website. They’re something else entirely. They have the same name, but they are completely different in the sort of content they do and how they approach those stories. But that’s how we’re trying to play that game. But as soon as we sort of figure something out, ad rates go up or it’s something else. So, it’s a constant adjustment.

Samir Husni: For someone like you who is a cyclist, unlike me, who is an armchair sports person, do you feel that if there were no print titles for the enduring sports fan, people who are actually engaged in doing all of these sports; do you feel that just covering it virtually wouldn’t be enough for them? That they might feel they were missing something?

John Bradley: In running, I don’t know as much, because of the three sports that we cover in endurance sports, cycling is the only one that’s really a big spectator sport. You are covering the news around races; there are a lot more ways to come at the content, because you have this huge spectator element.

Running and triathlon, especially running, are largely participatory. People don’t read about other people running, they read about how to run. So, I think print is still important there; it’s engaging, but I don’t think it’s as vital as it is in the cycling space, where cycling has this very deep history and emotional connection. Going out for a six hour ride on the weekend is a big commitment. You’re missing time with friends and family and other hobbies. You’re going up this mountain for fun and it’s so hard and it takes such a commitment. It’s unlike any other sport that I’ve ever been a part of.

So, I think there’s that big emotional component that lends itself to some really dramatic photography, which just works better in print. And then there’s also a tremendous historical component. Anybody who is a cyclist can tell you who was winning the Tour de France in 1972 and they can talk about some of the famous climbs, so you can always talk about these historical stories and those just work better in print. You can sort of sit back and absorb the history and look at the old photos. So, the print component is still vital and if you look at any of our competitors, that’s what’s happened with their print products as well. There is always some sort of a historical story or a big photo issue and we’re starting to leverage print for that. I’m not sure it works quite the same way in the triathlon and running spaces, especially not if you’re covering baseball or soccer or any of the traditional ball sports.

Samir Husni: What do you feel is the most important thing you’ve accomplished since you’ve been here?

John Bradley: The first thing we’ve accomplished since I’ve been here is the shift in content focus. What I said earlier about where before, who won the race was the end of our coverage and now that’s just the beginning. That I think has been the biggest shift, going into this sort of 360 degree contextual approach to covering our sport has been the most important change.

We also, five or six years ago, changed the name of the magazine to Velo; the website stayed VeloNews and the magazine became Velo. But there was no shift in the actual content, there was just a change in the name and it really created this sort of disconnect. And it also disconnected with the history because we had been VeloNews since 1972 and everybody who runs the whole cycling industry in the United States grew up with VeloNews, so it created a sort of weird disconnect.

When I came into this job, one of my demands was that we were going to go back to the VeloNews name, and we’ve done that, and I think that was important to acknowledge our history, because again, as I was saying, history is so important for cycling fans. So, we’ve acknowledged our history and our place, and honestly VeloNews probably isn’t the best name if you were launching this publication today, but that’s always been our name and that’s our name now. And we’re embracing that.

But while we went back to the history with our name, we have completely modernized the content in print and online. We’re not only moving into a whole lot more of the contextual blog-type content, but also moving into video and podcasting, and all of the other ways we can come at these stories.

And while I’ve always worked in print, I’ve also always worked online. I started working in media in 1994 and we had print and web then. And in fact, VeloNews.com launched in 1993, so we’re coming up on our 25th anniversary of a website as well. I didn’t enter media because I loved print or I loved digital; I entered it because I love telling stories. So, I think the biggest change is that we have not really wedded ourselves to a platform or format; we’ve wedded ourselves to trying to find the best way to tell any given story and make it the most engaging for our readers whoever they might be.

So, that would be the biggest change; this publication was always run by cycling enthusiasts, which is wonderful, but they weren’t necessarily always legacy media veterans, and so now while we are still 100 percent created by passionate cyclists, we’re also approaching it as a modern media entity, which is that you have to get those stories out there in the best way you possibly can and sometimes that’s a 5,000 word print feature; sometimes it’s a 2-minute web video and everything in between.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

John Bradley: It’s interesting thinking about the difference between print and digital from our advertiser’s perspective and the brand’s perspective; the PR agency’s perspective. Quite often if we have a story that’s print only, the writer will be really disappointed because they know that the story is going to reach more people if it goes online.

But when we have PR companies that know we’re going to be reviewing a product, they always ask if it’s going to be in the magazine. While all the news is about how print is dying, and we know the struggles in print and that everyone’s circulation is down, there is still an inherent value in print that we all know is there. These brands that know we’re writing about their new bike or their new helmet, or whatever the case may be; new running shoes, they ask if it’s going to be in the magazine. So, we know the value is there and the disconnect in the circulation and the advertising front between the value that we know is in print and the value that we get out of print is frustrating. That’s something that we’re trying to navigate, but we love the print product. We love the digital as well; we love telling our stories.

The doom and gloom that everyone talks about in print really ignores the emotional attachment that we know is there. We know because of the visceral reaction that people have when they hear a story is only going to be online instead of in print. So, we’re still trying to leverage that value as much as we can, while being realistic of the fact that we’re not a print entity; we’re not a digital entity; we’re not a video entity; we’re a storytelling platform and we tell those stories in the best way we can.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing; reading a magazine; reading your iPad; riding your bike; or something else?

John Bradley: Before 8:00 p.m., you’re going to catch me playing with my son; I have a two-and-a-half-year-old son, so before he goes to bed it’s all about him, although, he’s already been in his first bike race. (Laughs) So, quite often you’ll see me at the park teaching him how to ride his bike. After 8:00 p.m. I’m usually either reading, and now that’s it’s dark earlier, I’m usually riding a bike on a stationary trainer. When it’s still light outside I’m going for a ride. And then reading and writing; I’m working on a book right now. My evening free time is still generally either consuming content or creating content.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

John Bradley: When I came into the role running this media division, the Competitive Group was created eight years ago and Competitor Group is largely an events company, and I think they saw media as something that was sort of self-supporting and that would just be there. And they’ve realized that isn’t the case, so there was maybe a few years of the division not getting the attention and direction that it needed to.

They were running along fine, but they weren’t changing; they weren’t responding to the changing media landscape. And so we’ve fallen a bit behind in some that, so what keeps me awake right now is trying to find ways to, not just follow, but start leading in media. This is a time where nobody’s budgets are growing, so finding a way to grow on our existing budgets is a goal.

There has always been an attitude that because these spaces are small and that people will just read about cycling because it’s cycling; it hasn’t always been treated as a modern media entity. But I think that whether you’re reading about the 2016 Presidential Election or a small bike race that nobody has ever heard of, if those readers are coming to you they deserve a modern media experience. They deserve good writing and good video and some smart thinking about things. And they deserve evolving platforms; evolving ways to engage.

So, what keeps me up at night is trying to do that across all of these titles, while working within the inherent limitations of being in a small vertical. It’s a big challenge and does often wake me up at 3:00 a.m., but it’s also a really interesting one. When I came in here I was just getting to leave my fingerprint on VeloNews and now I get to leave it across four brands that have all existed for a really long time. So, that’s a pretty unique experience.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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