The loudest voice of the Royals is driving up I-35, and if there is a radar gun ahead, Rex Hudler is going to have a problem. It is 8:42 on a recent morning and he’s running a bit late, but he’d probably be speeding anyway. The Royals broadcaster doesn’t do slow. Never has.
The alarm went off at 6 this morning. His wife, like most humans, likes to lie in bed for a bit. Hit the snooze button. Hudler’s feet hit the floor within seconds. He is like a red-headed 54-year-old windup toy, only you never know what’s about to come out of his mouth, and one pull of the string lasts all day.
He is in the middle of, like, the fourth of a hundred stories in a day that started at 6 and won’t end until around 11 that night, after he broadcasts the 126th of 162 games in what is shaping up to be a historic Royals season.
There was the time he got promoted from Class A by writing George Steinbrenner a letter. The time he took out a teammate with a slide during a spring training B-game at 9 in the morning. The time he bought two engagement rings just to make sure she said yes.
All the times he’s talked to God, the big man always calling him Hud, and the time he got fired by the Angels, then hired by the Royals, and mostly hated by his new city. That was hard. There was also the time he found out his first son had Down syndrome. That was harder.
But at the moment, he is talking about baseball, so he is smiling and taking his sunglasses off to look you in the eye even as he speeds down the highway and steers with his leg.
“The feeling I get coming to the ballpark now is the same as when I played,” Hudler says. “I know who’s pitching that night, and I’m thinking about that (expletive). He’s the guy I’m going to make a living off of. He’s the man who’s going to pay my family, and my future. That’s how serious it is. I’d stand in the batters box, ‘My family against yours, (expletive). Let’s go.’”
By the time the day is over, Hud — even his wife, Jennifer, calls him that — will have laughed and cried and kissed each of his three sons.
He will have talked about experimenting with drugs, of starting six straight seasons with the same minor-league team, and of asking to play one last game before retiring at the age of 37 — a game in which he got hit in the neck with a pitch, then lost the game by whiffing a routine grounder at second base.
For three hours every night, he is the goofball announcer some call Uncle Hud. Every day, Royals fans come up to him and say they never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. And every day, he tells them, “That makes two of us.”
Once, his tongue got tied and he ended up calling a backup Royals outfielder “Paulo Homo.” Another time, he called the moon a planet. He said the Astros use the metric system. He laughs these things off, even when Jennifer playfully calls him an idiot, and (not as playfully) begs him to stay away from big words on the air.
The stories come out in real life the same as they do during his broadcasts: fast, loud, occasionally mangled, often self-deprecating and usually out of nowhere. The difference is they are about a complicated life, not a simple game, and he doesn’t have to watch his language.
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Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
FOX Doubles Ad Price For Premiere US World Cup Matches
FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of USA/England.
The 2022 World Cup is underway and the opener received a gigantic ratings increase for FOX Sports. Now, according to a report from Front Office Sports, the network has doubled its ad price for the USA match versus England.
USA/England will air in a lucrative window, at 2:00 PM ET on Black Friday, and FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of the match. That price, according to Front Office Sports reporters Michael McCarthy and Doug Greenberg, is double what the network had asked for from advertisers for other matches.
While the event opener saw a sharp increase, the first match featuring the United States saw a decline from previous World Cup openers for the country. 11.71 million watched the match in the US between FOX Sports and Telemundo. In 2014, 11.1 million watched on ESPN and in 2010 13 million watched the first US match on ABC.
Analysists have predicted FOX Sports could garner nearly $125 million in ad revenue for the duration of the tournament.
Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz Announcing World Cup, NFL Thanksgiving Games For 18 Straight Hours Thursday
With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.
With the World Cup happening at an unprecedented time, there were bound to be scheduling conflicts. The conflicts for Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz, however, might be the real unprecedented nature of the event being played in November.
Gurwitz works on Telemundo’s coverage of the World Cup while calling matches as the secondary play-by-play announcer. Beginning at 11:00 AM in Doha, Gurwitz will work the network’s coverage of the event.
But as the soccer day turns to tonight, Gurwitz will call Telemundo’s broadcast of the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings game from Qatar. With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.
He will also do the feat again on Sunday, as he’ll broadcast World Cup matches for the network during the day and then announce the Packers and Eagles game for Sunday Night Football.
Kevin Burkhardt: ‘Honor To Be In People’s Homes’ During Thanksgiving Broadcast
“There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool.”
On Thanksgiving, Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen will call their first Thanksgiving Day game for FOX when the New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET). It’s been a memorable year for Burkhardt and Olsen in their first year as the A broadcast team for FOX that will end in the duo calling the Super Bowl in February.
Burkhardt was a guest on The Season with Peter Schrager podcast this week and talked about the honor of getting the chance to be on the call for a Thanksgiving Day game.
“The whole job is big and we are doing big games every week. There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool. One of them was Dallas-Green Bay, which turned out to be epic a couple of weeks ago.
“The playoffs and the Super Bowl will be great, but Thanksgiving Day. Growing up in a football family, it was kind of eating around both games. Catch the early game, halftime, go throw the football in the street, eat the meal between games, then the Cowboys game comes on, you watch that. Maybe halftime you watch or maybe you throw the football again. Watch the rest of the game, you have dessert after the game. That was the day.
“It is an honor because you are in a lot of people’s homes every week. I feel like you really are in people’s homes…. You are kind of like hugging everybody. I think it’s beyond awesome, I really do.”
Burkhardt mentioned to Schrager that he and Olsen knew they had big shoes to fill after taking over for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (both now at ESPN) and it felt like walking in to a new job, but the A crew at FOX helped them and he liked that he and Olsen got to do it together.
“It’s been awesome. It really has. When you go into a situation like this, Joe and Troy were there for 2 decades, that’s a long time. People have long-standing relationships. Even though I’ve been at FOX for 9 years and Greg was there last year, we are the new guys essentially.
“You walk in, you don’t know how they are going to react to you, what they are going to think of you, if they think you are any good and all that stuff. From Day 1, it was like welcome to the family, we love you. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s been awesome. It felt like we’ve just fit right in. I think there’s been some cool symmetry, the fact that Greg and I got to do it together because we have such a bond.
“The fact that we got to jump in together I think has kind of been fun and helped us both because he knows me really well and I know him really well. Then, it was just getting everyone else to know us and vice versa.”
The one thing that Burkhardt did have to adjust to was a different style of show and that each production team has different viewpoint and creativity.
“The crew I’ve been on my whole life with Pete Macheska and Artie Kempner, they do a different show than Z (Richie Zyontz) and Russo (Rich Russo) do it. It’s not good, bad, or indifferent. Everyone has different viewpoints and creativity. I think it was just getting used to each other in terms of that, but it’s felt like I’ve worked with them for 25 years. It’s felt seamless. It’s felt fun.”
Even though Burkhardt is now the lead NFL play-by-play voice for FOX, that doesn’t mean he is going to change how he does a game.
“I’m not going to change my style or who I am. I’m not saying I’m not open to critiques and wanting to get better and to get coached. The basis of what I do and how I do it, I’m not going to change that now because I’m on the A crew. They liked me enough to put me here, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe tweaks here and there, but if I radically changed now, I’d be a moron.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.