Hot takes beware!
That’s because the Twitter account Freezing Cold Takes is always on the prowl to poke fun at the most notable sports journalists in the industry. What started as an innocent and good-hearted way to troll on social media has grown the page to over 402,000 followers and has become a must-follow for any sports fan.
There was never any bad intentions when the account began in November of 2015, and that still holds true today, even though Fred Segal, the brand’s creator, knows a lot of people in the sports media dislike what the page is all about. But that’s ok with him. At the end of the day, managing a page that calls out journalists for being wrong doesn’t even come close to what his most important job is, which is being a dad and dedicating the majority of his time to the day-to-day aspects of parenthood.
“I’m with them 24 hours a day,” Segal said. “As I started to do social media a lot more, I learned a lot about different social media accounts with other companies. I help out other companies with their accounts. They’re businesses, things like that. I’m basically doing a hodgepodge of different things. Before I did this, I was an attorney for eight years, But now I’m a full-time dad.”
The account has grown so much and taken on a life of its own, that Segal is never in short supply of content. That’s because his followers do a lot of the leg work, by constantly tagging him in tweets from notable people that have made a cold take. In the past week, Freezing Cold Takes was even mentioned by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey. It’s become normal for big names in sports to help contribute to the account. That’s something Segal never envisioned when he started the account.
As much fun as the account is, which is what it’s intended to be, some journalists don’t find it very entertaining to have their work or takes mentioned on a page where bad takes are opposed. Instead of being a badge of honor, some journalists view it as a cheap and senseless way to poke fun. It’s a tad ridiculous to have that feeling towards the page, however, not everyone is able to find the humor that Segal had when he began Freezing Cold Takes.
For now, not much is going to change with the Twitter page. Cold takes will continue to be exposed and the account will see it’s number of followers rise to over 403,000 in the near future. But Segal doesn’t want to try and grow things too much. To him, that would take away from what makes the account so fun and unique. What does that strategy actually mean? Segal answered that and more during the Q&A.
Tyler McComas: So where did the idea of Old Takes Exposed come from?
Fred Segal: I used to be an avid Twitter user to get all my sports news. When I did this I used to see all the journalists pat themselves on the back when they got something right. I also remember a lot of their tweets and articles turned out to be wrong. I thought about just making an account that trolls journalists and posting when they got something wrong. I didn’t expect it to be what it is, my intention was just to troll them for fun.
I started in November 2015 and it took off pretty quickly. A couple of local video people got a hold of it and it turned into all these people tagging the account. Pretty soon it started to become more of a real-time thing. So if something happened in the news like a coach getting fired, I was working as a lawyer at the time, so I got really good at searches. A lot of the search codes are the same as the legal websites that lawyers use, when a coach got fired, I could look at the date that he was hired and see all the people that were praising him at the time. That type of stuff happened, then Sports Illustrated wrote an article about me. At that point, things blew up to around 5-digit followers. I was around 2,500 at the time and then it blew up to around 15,000 within the next couple of days. From there it really started to get noticed by everybody and started to become well-known. I just kept doing it as a hobby.
TM: How often do you even have to search for content? Is the audience doing most of the work?
FS: It happens a lot. It’s probably 75 percent the content now. I won’t miss it, because if it’s somebody really prominent I’ll get tagged several times right after the tweet is posted. Or if someone tweets out someone’s going to win and they end up losing, I’ll get tagged about 1000 times. But it’s also very annoying to the person who tweeted it. It’s probably why they hate the feed, well, a lot of people don’t like it, and it’s because, anytime they post anything even remotely interesting related to sports that looks predictive, I’ll get tagged 30 times. So there are some people that really hate that. 80% of the stuff I get tagged in, I won’t even post. Some of the stuff doesn’t even apply as a cold take. You really have to wade through all that stuff.
TM: So do you feel like the people getting retweeted view it more as annoying or a badge of honor?
FS: A lot of journalists and TV personalities don’t like it. Being tagged all the time is probably the most annoying thing to them. In terms of getting retweeted, it’s changed over the past few years, it’s more of a badge of honor type thing. I don’t think people get as upset about it as they used to. I think as Twitter has evolved and as the account has evolved, I think people have realized that complaining about people who post when they’re wrong, makes them look really bad. I think people are realizing if they just make fun of themselves, they look a lot better.
There’s a faction of journalists who feel they do really important work and are putting themselves out there, writing articles that are useful to the media and the public to understand what’s going on. And then there’s people like me, who just post old takes. It’s just a personality with some people, they’ll never reconcile with it being fun. They’re very serious about their work. That’s what I get with some people and they call me useless (laughs).
TM: Who do you feel like your audience has the most fun picking on?
FS: Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, Doug Gottlieb, those guys are always getting tagged almost instantaneously after every post. They have a big following and they’re very high-profile in the sports media industry. Also, they tend to put themselves out there.
This is especially true for Colin Cowherd, because anything he says that is remotely provocative or predictive, a clip of it gets posted on the Fox Sports social media page. He may have 4 or 5 a day, so he’s going to get tagged a lot more, as opposed to a local radio host who says the same thing as Cowherd, but doesn’t have the same type of social media bandwidth.
TM: What’s the future for Freezing Cold Takes?
FS: It’s a niche and I’m not sure how much more it can expand, without ruining it. I think a lot of people have a lot of different ideas on what we can do with it, but I think that it might not be necessarily good to continue to expand, because if you continue to do more, it kind of ruins it. Personally, I’m happy where I’m at and parlayed this into a lot of different kinds of things. As long as I can continue that, I’m just going to continue to do Freezing Cold Takes as it is. I really don’t want to mess with things too much.
TM: Have you ever met any of the sports media personalities you continually retweet? If so, was that awkward?
FS: No, I’ve really never met any of them in person. I don’t really go anywhere. I’m with my family in south Florida and I’m not a part of the media. I also think not being in the media is why the account really works. I don’t know a lot of people in the media. I have relationships with a few, but not very many. With that being the case, it doesn’t affect my relationship with anybody. I’m just a regular guy with a family.
Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing
…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.
In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.
“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.
“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”
Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.
The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?
That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.
You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.
“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”
Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.
Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”
Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”
Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”
Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”
It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.
WORTH EVERY PENNY
I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.
My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.
My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.
After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.
Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.
Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”
My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.
My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.
Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.
And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.
Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio
I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.
A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours.
But is that why you sell sports radio?
In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.
A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family.
Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.
I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.
I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.
Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important.
So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.
Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table
Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.