Ryan Harris Committed To His Craft & His Goal
“I really do not have an expectation on the outcome. I will tell you though that everywhere I go I will be the best prepared.”
Is Ryan Harris a dumb ex-jock? Absolutely not. Is Ryan Harris a busy man that’s balancing a successful career? As Jules in Pulp Fiction once said — correctamundo. Harris has some serious brain power, which helps explain his busy schedule. He is a color analyst for Notre Dame football broadcasts and a midday host in Denver on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5. He does some postgame work for CBS and has been a sideline reporter two Monday Night Football games this year. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that he does speaking engagements, emcees events, and has a best-selling book out as well.
Just a few other minor details to mention — Harris is a Notre Dame graduate, NFL veteran of 10 years, and a Super Bowl 50 champion. I’m on pace to get carpal tunnel listing off all of this stuff.
You might think someone with this much success could be difficult to get along with due to a massive ego. That simply isn’t the case with Harris. He’s a very nice guy that is more interested in improving instead of reminding people how accomplished he already is.
I love how Harris can go from insightful thoughts like surrendering the outcome, and quickly transition to a stance on f-bombs and keeping football fun. It’s so important to be versatile in life to better connect with a vast range of people. Shocker alert — this is another skill that the former offensive tackle possesses. I truly had a good time chatting with him. I’m confident you will have a good time reading this as well. Enjoy. And Go Irish!
Brian Noe: What has been the most valuable thing you’ve applied from playing sports to broadcasting about sports?
Ryan Harris: That’s a great question. I would say the ability to study. Even players in the NFL, it’s so hard to study and to know what to study. For me to be able to continue to study with my experience, that’s something that really has helped me in broadcasting because you never know what you’re going to use and when you’re going to use it. For me it’s fun to continue my pursuit of knowledge through learning the stories of the many players, coaches, and teams that I’ve covered.
BN: Who did you learn the most from in your playing career that you can apply to broadcasting now?
RH: I had some great coaches, man — Gary Kubiak, Mike Tomlin. Gary Kubiak was so thorough and so honest with his players. Same thing with Mike Tomlin. Mike Tomlin starts his meetings every morning with the Pittsburgh Steelers the same way. The first rule of getting better is showing up. Second rule — listening is a skill. It’s your job to learn how you listen and our job as coaches to give you information that matters.
Learning from those two coaches, my preparedness is on me. I can’t be upset in a game with a coach if I see a blitz that we covered on 3rd & 7 and I don’t pick it up. Well, they covered it. That’s something that I have to take pride in beforehand. Learning from Gary Kubiak and Mike Tomlin helped me in that respect. In the career, no question Aaron Taylor has been a huge mentor for me as well as Gerry Matalon and Howard Deneroff. Just listening to people when I actually get the chance to be around them and reading about some of the broadcasters that I think are great. Reading about Collinsworth and how he approaches a broadcast, how he prepares and studies film. Those things have been really helpful.
BN: What was your welcome-to-the-NFL moment where you realized you were on a different stage?
RH: My rookie year I was walking from the locker room in the Broncos facility to the training room. I was walking through and John Lynch — somebody I had looked up to for a long time — said hey, Ryan. He just kind of walked past me. I was like oh my God. That is John Lynch and he knows my name.
Playing against Tamba Hali was the first time I played a chess player. Tamba Hali, DeMarcus Ware, Khalil Mack, Von Miller, all those guys are chess players. They’re going to do their due diligence on you and they’ll know within two to four snaps whether you’ve been studying film on them. If you’re trying something different, those kind of guys will wait the whole game to pull out their best pass-rush move.
Tamba Hali stood up and just clubbed me with an inside club move one time. Right as I was falling to the ground, I was like oh, he was watching film on me and waiting for me to do that. Then I hit the ground. That was like a whoa, these guys are different than in college. You realize as soon as you’re on the ground that it’s not about getting hit to the ground. That’s going to happen to everybody. But the fact is were you there to get knocked over? I’ve been ran over and sat on a couple times. It doesn’t feel good. But the look on your opponent’s face when you get up from getting knocked down is priceless. That’s the moment that I love anytime I got knocked down and anytime I will get knocked down in the future.
BN: What was your welcome-to-broadcasting moment when you realized you were on a stage that you weren’t accustomed to?
RH: (Laughs) Yeah, it was an adjustment to be near football and around football and not be able to swear. Learning how to comment on a play, or an execution, or a tackle, that was hard to not use some of the language that I grew up using in football.
BN: That’s funny, man. Did you do a decent amount of cussing on the football field?
RH: Yeah, it’s just a different culture on the field of play, especially in the NFL. One time I remember my first year playing against Joey Porter. He went after a receiver on our team and said “I’ll skin your tattoos off you in front of your children.” I was like whoa, what’s happening here? It’s just a different environment.
Even in college to grow up around great and tough coaching, to then be broadcasting and remembering that this may be a parent, or father, or friends in a car with kids. Being so close to the game and having to kind of censor myself was definitely like I’m in broadcasting now. This is a different thing.
BN: If there was a game or a show that you could cuss on, what’s something you might say?
RH: A lot of “what the f***”, or “what the f*** was that?”. Colorful language — the f-word is prominent in football. One of the things I learned outside of football is that swearing really puts people on edge. It can really affect people whereas in the NFL that’s part of the language, especially on the field.
I learned that lesson and I’m so grateful that I know what it’s like on the field. I know what that sounds like. I know what it’s like to be challenged man to man physically as well as mentally and emotionally. I know how to battle through that and that’s a large part of the reason why I wrote my book to encourage others to choose their mindset and overcome their obstacles.
BN: How would you summarize your book Mindset for Mastery?
RH: Winning the Super Bowl, everything you believe about yourself comes true for other people. I want people to have that moment in their life. The moment we won the Super Bowl and the clock struck zero, I wasn’t complaining about sacrificing Saturday mornings after high school graduation to go train. I wasn’t complaining about the yoga classes and the strength training and learning how to breathe again with MMA fighters to be a part of the hurry-up offense that we ran with Peyton. All your sacrifice is worth it.
When you choose your mindset, you will overcome not only obstacles, but people who may be obstacles in your life, people who may not be encouraging. There are 1,600 players in the NFL this year. Only 53 will call themselves champions and it will be because they’ve committed not only to the craft and the individual details, but to their teammates and to their goal. When you do that, it’s an amazing feeling. There aren’t enough voices to encourage us to go after those dreams in those moments. So many times we fail and we think that’s it, or so many times we want to do something knowing that it’s going to pan out. We don’t get to know those answers, but you do get to choose your mindset each and every day.
BN: What are the biggest hurdles you’ve had to clear in your career?
RH: The first game I started was a Monday night in Oakland. I remember waking up that morning thinking run, give back the money. You’re going to embarrass yourself. You’re going to give up six sacks on Jay Cutler on Monday Night Football. Everyone’s going to know you’re a fraud. So I had to battle tremendous self-doubt. I really had to learn how to perform with my fear. Recognize my fear, recognize that certain thoughts aren’t real, and also learn how to recognize distractions.
BN: Do you think you have to experience some level of success to have true confidence and get rid of self-doubt?
RH: Absolutely not. You do not need any past experience of success to succeed. You do need a willingness to try new things, a willingness to learn, and a willingness to work. There are over 200 diamonds in my Super Bowl 50 ring. None of them were laying on the ground ready to be picked up. You’ve got to dig for your diamonds. Past success or past failure does not matter when you’ve made up your mind that you’re going to accomplish something and you’re willing to do what is necessary to overcome and work through.
BN: Have you ever had experiences with teammates — broadcasting or football — that didn’t have a positive mindset and didn’t accomplish what they were capable of?
RH: Oh, all the time. All the time. That was a big adjustment for me in my early years in the NFL. Sometimes on teams I was on, guys didn’t care about winning. They cared about getting their numbers, getting their contract, and making it look good enough for them to be back next year.
One of the things I learned playing with Peyton is, Peyton Manning prepares and it looks extremely different than anyone else. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care what it looks like. He doesn’t care what problems people have with the way he prepares. That was a great lesson for me. Champions look different. We sound different. Because of that, you’re going to be different. Until I was around some champions, I really didn’t notice that.
Even in the NFL, not everybody wants be a champion. You really have got to work hard to believe in yourself and your mission because you’ll be around a lot of people in the NFL with a lot of money that may not want to be successful.
BN: What’s your proudest achievement as a football player?
RH: Oh, man. Going to my teammate Lonie Paxton’s charity event because that’s where I met my wife. (Laughs) Outside of that, the night before the Super Bowl I told myself I am a champion. I can go out tomorrow and play my tail off. I will. I envisioned raising the trophy. For some reason when I sat there, closed my eyes and visualized it, I could only see the trophy from the bottom up. Well, fast forward 24 hours later and here’s Peyton Manning handing me the Lombardi Trophy from the stage. I’m touching the Lombardi Trophy for the first time out of Peyton Manning’s hands from the bottom up. After my moment with it, I got to hand it to DeMarcus Ware. That was a moment that I will remember forever.
BN: What would you say is your proudest moment as a broadcaster?
RH: Just doing the Notre Dame games. I really love doing the Notre Dame football broadcasts. I did sidelines for the Monday night Seattle-Minnesota game. Seeing my coaches who were with me in Denver who are now with the Vikings, just giving them big hugs and laughing and joking and poking fun at them and just being on the field at CenturyLink in Seattle — knowing that I’m on the same broadcast with Kevin Harlan and Kurt Warner — that I got to see old buddies of mine. That was a moment as well.
BN: With your religious background being a devout Muslim, have you encountered any backlash as a player or broadcaster from people that don’t understand or disagree with your beliefs?
RH: Never. That’s the thing that gives me great hope. I never had teammates treat me differently or negatively because I was a Muslim. If anything I had great conversations with teammates. Because I’m Muslim it has taught me that no matter what our religion is or where we come from, when we put our minds together to allow our differences to exist and not divide that we can accomplish some great things.
When we won the Super Bowl we had Christians, Muslims, non-believers, and it really doesn’t matter. But also I recognize that I’m rare. A lot of people don’t leave where they’re from. A lot of people don’t place themselves in uncomfortable situations to become great. But I had a lot of fun with my teammates talking about Islam and learning about their situations. I always told teammates to ask me anything. There are no stupid questions because I’d rather have them ask than not know. I had teammates ask me where do Muslims shop? I’m like “well, have you been to the mall?”. I’ve had people ask what do Muslims laugh at? I’m like “well, have you seen the new Kevin Hart movie?”. You know? 65 percent of Americans do not know a Muslim and I recognize that.
BN: What would you most like to experience or accomplish personally and professionally?
RH: I want to see my children get married. I want to dance with my daughter at her wedding. I want to see my sons get married. I want to vacation, buy a retirement condo or something in Florida with my wife. Professionally, I’d love to call a Notre Dame football National Championship Game. I’d love to call the Super Bowl someday. Professionally, there are a lot of options.
One of the things that has really helped me and brought me great peace, not just as a broadcaster but as a player, is that I surrender the outcome. I really do not have an expectation on the outcome. I will tell you though that everywhere I go I will be the best prepared. I will bring seriousness and professionalism to every job that I go to and I will also bring fun. Fun is what helped us win a championship. Football is fun. As long as I’m broadcasting, I will make sure that the fun gets through the broadcast as well.
BN: That’s really interesting — surrender the outcome. I’ll never forget, Steve Fisher was the coach of the Fab Five at Michigan, and he described their Final Four failures like a feather that was floating through the air. He said Michigan was trying so hard to grab the feather that it caused it to fly away instead of letting it fall into their hand. A mindset where you prepare and battle to do a great job, but don’t worry about the result, how important is that to being successful?
RH: Huge. I wrote a book on that mindset. Because here’s the thing that people don’t tell you, you’re going to need the process that is going to help you succeed after you succeed. You know what nobody talked to us about? How to handle ourselves after you win a Super Bowl. I was talking to a coach of mine and I was like it was awesome. He’s like yeah and a lot of people have one championship. Why not go for two? It was just a moment of like yeah there is this whole other side of it.
When you focus on the process, that’s how when I left football, okay I’m going to become a broadcaster. Well, what’s my process of being great? I study. I prepare. I practice out loud. These are all things I did when I was a player. That process will be key because whatever your goal, you will accomplish it. Brian, you’ve accomplished your first goal. If you didn’t have work ethic instilled in you and a mindset that created that process, you’d be stuck.
If I just wanted to win the Super Bowl, how would I be as a father, as a husband, as a friend, as a broadcaster? I would be unprepared. When you win the Super Bowl, you learn it’s not about winning the Super Bowl. It’s about every week you had laughs on the bus and practices and games. It’s about the whole thing. When you focus on the outcome, you often miss the details that are the most enjoyable.
Brian Noe is a columnist for BSM and an on-air host heard nationwide on FOX Sports Radio’s Countdown To Kickoff. Previous roles include stops in Portland, OR, Albany, NY and Fresno, CA. You can follow him on Twitter @TheNoeShow or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood
“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”
The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.
It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Crypto.com Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.
During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.
“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”
The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.
“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”
Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.
“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”
Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.
Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.
“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”
When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.
“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”
Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.
“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”
Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.
Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.
“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”
No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.
At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.
“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”
According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.
Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.
Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.
“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”
As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.
“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”
Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.
Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.
“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”
The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).
Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at bsmsummit.com.
“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he interns in video production with the New York Islanders and formerly worked as production manager for the team’s radio broadcasts. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin
Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.
When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee.
The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.
Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.
At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.
McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.
McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.
The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.
There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored.
It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.
It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.
Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.
And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.
If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.
Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.
If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable.
It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.
Jessie Karangu is a columnist for BSM and graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland but comes from Kenyan roots. Jessie has had a passion for sports media and the world of television since he was a child. His career has included stints with USA Today, Tegna, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sightline Media. He can be found on Twitter @JMKTVShow.
5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit
“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”
Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain.
Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:
- INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.
- GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
- LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either.
- SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email.
- WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food.
Jeff Caves is a sales columnist for BSM working in radio, digital, hyper-local magazine, and sports sponsorship sales in DFW. He is credited with helping launch, build, and develop SPORTS RADIO The Ticket in Boise, Idaho, into the market’s top sports radio station. During his 26 year stay at KTIK, Caves hosted drive time, programmed the station, and excelled as a top seller. You can reach him by email at email@example.com or find him on Twitter @jeffcaves.