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Hard Work Pays Off For Conway

Jason Barrett

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The key to Curtis Conway’s rise in the broadcasting business is that he never assumed he knew everything.

Of course Conway knew the sport of football, having played it since he was 7 years old and then at the highest levels, at USC and in the NFL. He also knew he had a lot to learn about calling a game, or providing studio analysis, or even the parts of the sport in which he never was involved as a high school quarterback and college and pro receiver.

So Conway committed himself to learning, leaning on broadcast veterans and former teammates to further his education. He enters the 2015 football season with two plum gigs: studio analyst for Pac-12 Networks and radio analyst for the San Diego Chargers. He earned those jobs through hard work.

“Too often former athletes think because they played, or because they’re famous, listeners or viewers are interested in what they have to say,” said Matt “Money” Smith, who did games with Conway for Compass Media Networks. “Then they open their mouth, have nothing to offer and never think twice about it.

“From the first game we called together (USC vs. San Jose State in 2009), he was always looking to get better, to be better, knowing it wasn’t going to happen overnight. Years later, he’s still asking those same questions, and that’s why he continues to build an impressive résumé in his post-playing career.”

After his final NFL season in 2004, Conway got involved in real estate and other business ventures. He started doing part-time radio and TV work, and he discovered he liked it.

Conway initially resisted the idea of getting back into football because he wanted to show kids in his native Los Angeles that the sport isn’t the only way out. But the work drew him back in, and he set about becoming good at it. Conway sought advice from Charles Davis, James Brown and other pros.

“These are guys who gave me their number and told me to reach out anytime I wanted to,” Conway said while watching a recent USC practice. “They would sit there on the phone with me and break stuff down. The confidence came from those guys.”

Conway considers Davis his biggest mentor. Conway first approached Davis at a game, and they later worked together on NFL Network’s “Path to the Draft.” One day Conway told Davis and fellow NFLN analyst Daniel Jeremiah how much he admired their work. Davis stopped him mid-sentence. The compliments no longer were necessary; Conway had arrived.

Davis recalled the conversation in a phone call Monday.

“Dude, we’re done with that,” Davis remembered saying. “You’re out here for a reason. You’re a full partner.

“If it were a law firm, you’re no longer an associate, you’re fully invested with us.”

That was the moment Conway truly knew he could succeed in the business.

“Hearing praise from a guy like Charles Davis – oh my God,” Conway said. “It’s just like football. It’s just like when I got to the (Chicago) Bears, and Richard Dent and Steve McMichael basically gave me their stamp of approval … 12 weeks into the season.”

Although he is an established analyst now, Conway isn’t finished seeking advice and asking questions. He still quizzes former college teammate and current NFLN colleague Willie McGinest about defensive line play – and new Chargers colleague Nick Hardwick about the offensive line. Conway refuses to rely on his fame and past on-the-field accomplishments.

“Those people don’t last,” Davis said. “What Curtis did was build a base and foundation that would last. I admire him for that. He’s willing to put in the time.”

To read the rest of the article visit the OC Register where it was originally published

Sports TV News

NHL All-Star Game Ratings See 31% Increase

The event on ABC saw an average of 1.5 million viewers over the weekend, with the game peaking at 1.9 million viewers.

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After a less-than-stellar report on the television ratings front for the first half of the NHL season, ESPN saw encouraging news from the 2023 NHL All-Star Game ratings.

The event on ABC saw an average of 1.5 million viewers over the weekend, with the game peaking at 1.9 million viewers.

That number is a 31% increase over the 2022 edition of the event, ESPN reported. In the coveted 18-49 demographic, the festivities were up 52% compared to a season ago.

On Friday evening, the NHL All-Star Skills event was the top-rated cable program in the 18-49 demo, with an average of just over 1 million viewers.

However, last year’s events — bot the NHL All-Star Skills and NHL All-Star Game — were faced by competition from the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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Candace Parker, Draymond Green Joining NBA All-Star Game Broadcast

The 36-year-old Parker will make history as the first woman to work as an analyst for the event.

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WNBA superstar Candace Parker and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green will join the NBA All-Star Game broadcast crew later this month.

Parker will team with play-by-play man Brian Anderson and Reggie Miller for the broadcast on TNT. Dennis Scott will work as the sideline reporter for the broadcast.

The 36-year-old Parker will make history as the first woman to work as an analyst for the event. Parker currently serves as a game and studio analyst for the NBA on TNT but will be announcing her first NBA All-Star Game.

The event is also the first for Anderson, who joins an illustrious group of play-by-players like Bob Costas, Marv Albert, and Kevin Harlan as voices of the NBA All-Star Game.

Green will be joined by the Inside the NBA studio crew — Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal, and Charles Barkley — for the alternate broadcast on TBS.

A four-time All-Star in his own right, Green is a contributor to TNT throughout the NBA season.

The 2023 NBA All-Star Game takes place on Sunday, February 19th in Salt Lake City.

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Sports TV News

Kevin Harvick Only Spoke to FOX About Broadcasting Opportunities

“They’re very similar to the things I like to do — being a little bit edgy and doing things their own way.”

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NASCAR legend Kevin Harvick is joining the NASCAR on FOX booth for the 2024 season. The former series champion said the network was the only one he discussed broadcasting opportunities with.

Harvick told Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern that FOX was the only outlet he would have considered joining, claiming “they’re very similar to the things I like to do — being a little bit edgy and doing things their own way.”

The 60-race winner will join longtime play-by-play announcer Mike Joy and former teammate Clint Bowyer in the NASCAR on FOX booth after completing his final season of competition in 2023.

Harvick added he is looking forward to getting to know more people behind the scenes at the network.

“One of the most intriguing things to me is being more involved in the whole process and getting to know the production people and producers.”

FOX had been seeking a replacement for another NASCAR legend — Jeff Gordon — after he departed the booth to join Hendrick Motorsports as its Vice Chairman after the 2021 season. Meanwhile, the NASCAR on NBC analysts roles are currently held by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton, both somewhat recently retired drivers in their own right.

The addition of Harvick to its broadcast team could be considered a signal that FOX Sports is serious about continuing a relationship with NASCAR. The motorsports entity is reportedly planning to take its television rights to the open market as its contracts with FOX Sports and NBC Sports end after the 2024 season.

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