John Michael Vincent, better known as JMV, has developed quite the following as a sports radio host in Indianapolis. As I see it, there are three main reasons for his success; talent, connections, and time. The first part is obvious; the guy has the chops. JMV is skilled and gets radio. As far as connections, I don’t mean that he knows big wigs in high places; I’m talking about connecting with his audience. The Fan’s afternoon guy isn’t hiding in the dressing room before he performs. He’s practically in the parking lot doing keg stands with his listeners before he hits the stage. He’s one of them.
Time is also important. JMV, who’s actual name is John Michael Gliva, simply has time for people. If you bump into someone who is short with you, I doubt you’ll walk away feeling valued. JMV has a welcoming charm and makes you feel like he has all day for you if needed. That type of vibe can’t be forced or faked. It’s just who JMV is. A lot of hosts enjoy speaking to people through a microphone. Many aren’t as eager to speak in person. JMV enjoys doing both a great deal.
Owensburg, Indiana — a town of only 300 people — is where JMV is originally from. He told me that listening to the few radio stations they had when he was young made a connection with him and that he always wants to make a connection with people because of that. It shows. JMV talks about the origin of his nickname and a unique future goal. He also tells great stories about royally ticking off Adam Schefter, being blackballed from ESPN, and hilariously missing out on a big scoop. Enjoy!
Brian Noe: How did the nickname JMV come about?
John Michael Vincent: I was on with a guy named Mark Patrick who actually for a long period of time did both FOX Sports Radio in the morning nationally and MLB Network nationally. He was big time in this market doing local TV. I started with two other guys and then I think within six months I was their producer at Sports Radio 1260 WNDE back in 2000. I was going by John Michael, which is my first and middle name. Mark tagged me with John Michael Vincent. My role on the show was to play the illegitimate son of the former, now deceased actor Jan-Michael Vincent. In the mid-‘70s Jan-Michael Vincent was huge as an actor and then he resurfaced in the ‘80s on the show Airwolf. That was my name, John Michael Vincent. Then it ultimately got shortened to JMV. A lot of people bristle in radio — I want to go by my own name blah, blah, blah — but when you’re with a guy like Mark, you just kind of take it. I have to give him credit, man, because we rode that out and now JMV is my name. That’s how it all started. I was the illegitimate son as his producer of the actor Jan-Michael Vincent.
BN: What’s the most important asset for a host to have in Indianapolis?
JMV: Ultimately it’s relatability. Especially in Indianapolis — I’m assuming you get this all over the map, probably even in the larger markets like New York, Boston, Philly — around here it is relatability. It’s like I walk among the folks. I’m one of them. I’ve never wanted to do national radio probably because I understand my limitations. But also because around here it’s important to folks. If we didn’t communicate with them, if we didn’t have our shows here, nobody else would really give a crap about them around here. When Andrew Luck quits on the team they do, but for the most part no one really cares about the Colts. And we do. That’s why love local radio is so important.
I always try to explain to folks who wanted me to be more like hey, listen to these national shows, and listen to this great tease, and listen to what they do, and I say bullshit. Because people around here, I’ve got to talk with them. I’ve got to have them on. I’m out with them. I can’t disappear behind the curtain like you do nationally. Then you just kind of restart your three hours the next day.
I see these people out and I embrace when they go hey, what you said about Frank Reich was accurate or inaccurate, and what you said about Chris Ballard I don’t really believe, or I’m with you on that. You can’t disappear behind a curtain on a daily basis as you do nationally. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for that. I guess that’s just because I love where I am and I love what I do. I think that’s what people around here really do embrace overall; it’s just you being yourself and this kind of is me. I don’t change to go on the radio. It’s just me all the time. I think people especially around here embrace that.
BN: I think sometimes for younger broadcasters, it takes a bit to just be yourself. You feel like you’re on stage or need to be a souped-up version, then you realize, I just need to be me. Were you always yourself, or did there come a time where you’re like man, I need to stop being a version of what I think people want and just be me?
JMV: Yeah, you know what, it’s funny. This is what I found out; it’s nothing about anybody else that hosts a show, but I think listening to other shows and their content is detrimental to you and yours. Especially when I come on around three o’clock, and before me you’ve got two local shows on our station, or you can listen to a lot of stuff nationally, Brian. I think what it does is it will interfere in your dome with your content and your thought. It enters into your psyche and because you might be talking, it may be something that you say. I don’t want to use or plagiarize anybody else’s take. I want everything to be as completely original in thought from my head as possible. I’ve always tried to do it that way.
Back in the day I would sit there and prepare for the show and Jim Rome would be on in the background. I’m not suggesting I wanted to sound like Jim Rome but inevitably your takes kind of have a bit of a Jim Rome feel and you don’t want that, man. I realized it was okay to F up. I realized that it’s okay because people go oh yeah, well that’s JMV, he F’s up all the time. Hashtag JMV SUX. He sucks. I guess that’s part of the overall radio acceptance that you strive for. I think they’re accepting me as I am and that I’m going to be flawed.
I try to go in when I start at three o’clock as fresh as possible without listening to all this other stuff, or listening to the ESPN guys in the morning on TV stirring stuff up with hot takes. I don’t want to be hot-take guy. I want to be me. I want to be me with my own content. This is what I think or this is what I’ve heard. It takes a little bit of time to realize that it’s not somebody else that people want; it’s you that people want. It’s your take that people want. Like it or loathe it, that’s what they’re looking for when they tune in. I’ve always tried to give that.
When you’re early in your career, you’re searching for what makes you confident. You see these guys that are benefiting, that are good, and are loved on the radio especially because of what they’re doing with their content. Thus, you feel that maybe you should add a little bit of a twist of your own to that, but it’s really unnecessary because people are looking for you; your content, your originality, you as a person. There are so many different outlets and avenues that you can soak up stuff and then ultimately end up parroting some of this content on the air and that’s not at all what I ever wanted to do. It takes a little bit of time to realize that.
BN: How did the whole JMV SUX phenomenon come about?
JMV: It’s kind of funny. It just started with social media; hashtag JMV SUX. I had a golf outing last Monday; the JMV SUX But His Larceny Bourbon Golf Outing Doesn’t. Probably it started like this; a lot of people telling me I suck. Once I embraced that I suck, and people tell me that, it almost diffuses them. Like if people out there, Brian, really think I suck, and they go you know what JMV, you’re take about the Colts, it sucks and so do you. Oh yeah, really? Well they make shirts with JMV SUX on the shirt. Come up with something new. It kind of diffuses that a little bit. I can’t lie. It’s fun to play with it. I don’t mind. I’ve never really minded it.
It’s funny; you think you’re not affected by what people say or what people tweet, but it’s impossible in the early stages of your career. Especially with the revolution of social media and the way that it was over the course of my career, it’s impossible not to feel chafed or be thin-skinned at times.
This has helped to relieve a lot of that pressure. It’s helped not to care what people say. In the process it’s something that people have embraced. I’ve got a closet full of JMV SUX t-shirts. The first one that was ever made was a Run DMC Raising Hell type of album cover that said JMV SUX instead. It kind of took off from there. It started with me diffusing anger and crap that was said to me and then just kind of rolled into something that people liked so I just went with it myself.
BN: Is there anything that you haven’t done in your career that you would still like to do?
JMV: I would. Yes, I’m glad you brought that up. I would love to do a show on Sirius to where you can — I don’t mean cuss, I don’t need to cuss or anything — but kind of broaden it just a little bit. I would also love to do a music show on Sirius. I think that would be great.
When COVID first started, I started a live call-in music show on our sister station B105.7 that I do every Saturday night. It’s called the JMV Takeover. Literally, I do this every Saturday night live from six until midnight. I have zero playlist. They just turn it over to me to play either what I want or whatever the callers want to hear. That kind of scratches the itch that I had because I love music radio a great deal. I thought it was fun. Any interaction at all with fans and listeners is always pretty cool.
I would love to bring back nationwide, more of what I discovered on Saturday around here being able to utilize the live listener and the caller and putting that together. Even though I know that’s not how that works on SiriusXM on any of their music formats. But to me I think it would be fun to do. With my knowledge of the ‘80s and ‘90s, I could do that. So maybe SiriusXM for sports, SiriusXM for music, maybe sometime how about a SiriusXM sports and music mixture too. I just don’t know if any of that crap would ever work to be honest with you.
I really have done all that I ever wanted to do, man. People always say, well you know what, you’re not good enough to be national, which I’m sure is the case. But legitimately this was my goal. Coming from the town where I came from there is not a lot of opportunity to ever be able to reach a goal like this so I always look back on that and feel good about it certainly. I made a lot of friends. I love going out and hanging out with people. I love doing live remotes. I do about two or three of those a week. I love trying to produce live, local radio and keep that alive because I think in a lot of ways we see that across the radio landscape disappearing.
BN: Why were you blackballed from ESPN on radio row because of a mistake you made with Adam Schefter?
JMV: Well, it’s twofold. When Schefter was back on the NFL Network, they would reach out to WNDE and he would come on. He wasn’t the best interview. Maybe it was because I wasn’t the best interviewer when I first started. I don’t know. But we never really liked one another except they always kept pushing him.
I was at the combine when it was still at Lucas Oil Stadium. The whole radio row was set up inside the concourse. It was in February, cold, late, about six o’clock, and I was kind of sick. I had a promotions guy come over and go hey, Adam Schefter’s over there, you want me to go ask him to come on? I go man, I just don’t feel like dealing with this right now. Nah, he’s always giving me short answers and I just didn’t think it was going to be worth the time or the effort. I said don’t worry about it. I go to the can. I walk out of the bathroom and Schefter is sitting in the seat right across from where I’m sitting. I went ahh, dang it. So I come over there and I go okay, it’s all good.
As I was asking questions, he just answered in really short form; like five words or less. Then it got even lower than that and I could tell the dude didn’t want to be here. The fact that he didn’t want to be here, and I didn’t want him there, resonated to me at the moment. So I said I’m going to make him sit here as long as possible. I started asking some of the most ridiculous questions ever to kind of be a jerk. It was wrong of me, but I was sick and I was pissy and that was my reaction. I think literally at the end of the conversation I asked him his favorite color. That’s how bad it got. It absolutely devolved into that. He didn’t like that and that’s fine.
I think afterwards Jim Irsay had tweeted something and then Schefter had sent a barb back to him, retweeted it. I sent out a tweet that said hey, you’re great at what you do, but this is yet another reason why a lot of people think you’re a smarmy ass or something like that. I shouldn’t have done it. I regretted it. He got pissed; went up the chain at ESPN and they got pissed. They called my bosses. They got pissed.
So fast forward to the Super Bowl when it was here. I’m on radio row and all of these ESPN guys are telling my producer who’s now the voice of the Colts, Matt Taylor, that they weren’t allowed to come on with me because I was a dick to Schefter. [Laughs] So I got blackballed. Nobody from ESPN during the Super Bowl week came on with me.
To close the story out, a friend of mine here works for the FOX affiliate. This was another combine. He had to take Adam from downtown to the FOX studios. I guess the entire way — this was like two years later — ripped me nonstop. Talked about how big of a jerk I was and how I was the worst interviewer ever. They really like him around here? He’s awful. Stuff like that. He ripped me for 30 minutes, I mean a new ass, which I absolutely deserved. He didn’t realize this guy was a really good friend of mine. [Laughs]
There was a long time I never talked about it, but I think we’re pretty much down the road now to where I can bring it up. It’s one of the best stories ever because it was two years later and I would have thought that guy wouldn’t have given a damn about anything I would have said. But clearly he did. I will stand by the fact that the guy in an interview situation was a jerk to me and that’s fine. But that was a moment of truth for me in social media going hey, you got to handle this better than that. It was all me. You’ve got to take the blame and move on a little bit, so I owned it.
BN: What’s the story with you not breaking the news that the Colts would be featured on Hard Knocks?
JMV: Yeah, social media is overwhelming for me. I’m getting messages in 19 different directions. Sometimes I go man, I’m not looking at that. I’ve got two different Facebook pages and Twitter, I’m doing YouTube Live and all this. I missed it. A friend of mine, he’s a good friend named Sean Patrick Turley, had sent me a message on Facebook back in early September and said hey, I’ve got a cameraman friend of mine that says Hard Knocks is coming to the Colts in midseason. I didn’t even see it. Then when the news broke, I was surprised. Sean sent a tweet like hey numbnuts, I told you this two weeks ago. I go where? I don’t see it. Then I looked through and of course it was devoured by other messages that I had not opened and there it was right there. So yeah, it was my breaking story and I completely screwed the pooch on it right there.
I love the write-up that you guys had. I mean really it does fit the persona because if somebody is going to miss a massive scoop like that, it’s going to be my dumbass. Seriously. Much like the Schefter thing, I own it. I take the blame and I move on from it. I retweeted that every time. I loved the headline. We got a big laugh out of it around here too. I don’t know if my bosses laughed or not, but whatever. It was funny and it was absolutely me. It could not be more me than that was right there.
This whole thing is kind of me. There’s no faking. I couldn’t fake this level of hillbillish ineptitude. Instead of faking it, I just kind of roll with it. You play with the team that you have. You use the tools that you have and if you only have one or two tools, you use those. That’s essentially been the focus of my career to this point right now; using my lack of tools.
Beyond The Mask: Henrik Lundqvist Embraced 2nd Career in Sports Media
“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal.”
Plucking the strings of an acoustic guitar, Henrik Lundqvist found himself beneath the bright lights once again, poised to put on a worthy performance. Just as he aimed to stop pucks from going in the net as the star goaltender of the New York Rangers for 15 seasons, Lundqvist sought to captivate viewers as half of a musical duo featuring former NHL forward Paul Bissonnette.
Their performance of “Good Riddance” by Green Day was in tribute to Rick Tocchet, a former NHL on TNT studio analyst who recently departed the network to serve as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
Lundqvist serves as a studio analyst for TNT’s coverage of the NHL, breaking down players and teams throughout the broadcast and bringing his own unique style to the set. His pursuit of a post-playing career in sports media was no guarantee from the moment he retired in August 2021; in fact, he never intended to stop playing the game and competing for a Stanley Cup championship at that time.
During the 2019-20 season, Lundqvist had lost playing time to young goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, and by the year’s end, his deal was bought out by the team. In an effort to continue playing, Lundqvist signed a contract with the Washington Capitals – marking the first time in his NHL career that he would not step between the pipes for the Rangers.
Lundqvist never played a game for the team though, as it was discovered in a medical exam that he would need open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve while also having an aortic root and ascending aortic replacement. Less than two months after the successful five-hour operation, he was back on the ice rehabbing and attempting to make a full recovery – but a few months in, he began to feel unexpected chest pain. Following a medical checkup, Lundqvist was told he had inflammation around his heart. It was a significant setback that required him to step off the ice, take off his goaltender equipment and rest for several months.
After discussions with his family and friends, Lundqvist determined that the risk of taking the ice outweighed the rewards and officially stepped away from the game. Rather than conjuring hypothetical scenarios wherein he did not experience the misfortune and played for the Capitals, Lundqvist looked to the future amid the ongoing global pandemic and thought about how he could best enjoy his retirement.
“I was just mentally in a very good place,” Lundqvist said. “I didn’t have a choice; I guess that makes it easier sometimes when the decision is made because you can’t go back-and-forth – ‘Should I?’ ‘Should I not?’ Yeah, I wanted to play but it was just not meant to be for me.”
Before any definitive resolution on his future endeavors was made though, the Rangers announced that the team would retire Lundqvist’s No. 30 in a pregame ceremony during the 2021-22 season, making him just the 11th player bestowed that honor in franchise history. As a five-time NHL All-Star selection, 2011 Vezina Trophy winner, and holder of numerous franchise records, Lundqvist had the accolades to merit this profound distinction.
Moreover, he was an important component in growing the game of hockey and contributing to the greater community, serving as the official spokesperson for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and founder of the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation. He also was a two-time recipient of the organization’s prestigious Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, honoring the player “who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
Throughout the night, attendees regaled Lundqvist with chants of “Hen-rik!” and were treated to flashbacks of some of his memorable career moments. The night was of monumental importance for Lundqvist, during which he expressed his gratitude to the Rangers’ organization, former teammates and fans. Then, Lundqvist — referred to as “The King” — promptly took his place among team legends beneath the concave ceiling of “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
“When I look back at my career, I know, to me, it was all about preparation; how I practiced and how I prepared for each game at practice,” Lundqvist said. “There’s no regrets, and I hope people, when they think about how I played, [know] that it was 100% heart and commitment to the game.”
Before this ceremony though, Lundqvist and Rangers owner James Dolan had held several meetings with one another. The purpose of these conversations was to determine the best way for Lundqvist to remain involved with the team, its fans, and the community. In the end, he was named as a lead studio analyst on MSG Networks’ broadcasts of New York Rangers hockey before the start of the 2021-22 season: the start of his foray in sports media.
This past summer, Lundqvist negotiated a new deal with Madison Square Garden Sports and Madison Square Garden Entertainment in which he maintained his in-studio responsibilities while increasing involvement in other areas of its sports and entertainment ventures. In this new role, Lundqvist supports the business operations for both companies, assisting in digital content development, alumni relations, and partner and sponsor activities.
When Lundqvist is not in the studio or the office, he can often be found at Madison Square Garden taking in New York Rangers hockey, New York Knicks basketball, or one of the arena’s renowned musical performances. Usually, when he is in attendance, he is shown on the arena’s center-hung video board as an “NYC Celebrity” and receives a thunderous ovation from the crowd.
“The network is just part of it, but it feels great to come there,” Lundqvist said of Madison Square Garden. “Every time I go there – to see the people that I’ve known for so long – but also I love that place; I love The Garden. I think the energy [and] the variety of things that happen there is something I really appreciate. It feels really good to be a part of that.”
Sitting alongside former teammate and studio analyst Steve Valiqutte and sportscaster John Giannone, Lundqvist appears in the MSG Networks studios, located across the street from the arena, for select New York Rangers games. From the onset, he brought his allure and expertise to the set and appealed to viewers – so much so that national networks quickly began to take notice.
“I enjoy watching hockey [and] talking hockey, but the main thing to me is the team; the people that you work with,” Lundqvist said. “The guys on the panel [and the] crew behind. I really enjoy that part of it and having a lot of fun off-camera.”
One month later, Lundqvist was on his first national broadcast for the NHL on TNT where he and Bissonnette famously performed a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica that went viral on social media. It had been known that Lundqvist was a musician, famously performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in his Rangers uniform to celebrate the end of the 2012-13 NHL lockout.
In fact, during his retirement ceremony, the Rangers gifted him with a custom-made guitar painted by David Gunnarsson, the same artist who used to paint Lundqvist’s goalie masks.
Aside from occasional music performances, Lundqvist brings an esoteric base of knowledge to the NHL on TNT panel as its only goaltender. Whether it be through player breakdowns, interviews, or dialogue with other analysts, Lundqvist has a perspective to which few professional hockey players can relate. There are various goaltenders among local studio panels surrounding live hockey game broadcasts, and Lundqvist is in a unique situation with MSG Networks in that he and Valiquette are both former goaltenders. Yet on Turner Sports’ national coverage, he is the only voice speaking to this different part of the game.
“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal,” Lundqvist explained. “Yes, you need to stop the puck, but a huge part of being a goalie is analyzing what’s going on. We can never really dictate the play so you need to analyze what’s happening right in front of you.”
In broadcasting at both the local and national level, Lundqvist is cognizant of the differences in each network’s studio programs. Lundqvist says appearing on the MSG Networks studio panel is more about being direct with the viewer, whereas the NHL on TNT views its panel as being conversational in nature. With Turner Sports, Lundqvist also asks his colleagues about the different teams around the league since he is most familiar with the Rangers both as a former player and studio analyst.
“I’m closer to the Rangers; I see more of what’s going on,” Lundqvist stated. “When you work [national] games, maybe you focus in on teams on the West Coast or [part] of the league you don’t see as often. You try to talk to the other guys on the panel and the crew and figure out things that are interesting about those teams.”
Hockey is a team sport, and Lundqvist felt grateful to play with his teammates and face his competitors over the years. Now as an analyst though, it is his job to analyze their games and critique them when necessary; however, he does not try to be excessively critical.
Lundqvist knows the trials and tribulations associated with the sport and can relate to scenarios many players face on a nightly basis. Therefore, he thinks about his own experience before giving an opinion, especially a critique, instantiating it with comprehensible, recondite knowledge and/or by recounting a similar situation.
“I’d much rather give them positive feedback obviously because I know it is a tough game,” Lundqvist said, “and sometimes it might look like an easy mistake, but if you can give the viewer a better explanation of why he did that, they might have a different view of that mistake.”
Now metaphorically being beyond the goalie mask, Lundqvist’s vision of the game has evidently shifted. He discerns just how intense the schedule is and the rapid pace of the game, axioms he was aware of while playing but inherently avoided thinking about. He has implemented his refined viewpoint of the game accordingly into his analysis, simultaneously utilizing the mindset and savvy he cultivated on the ice. It is, quite simply, a balancing act.
“I think people can be pretty quick to jump on guys and critique them,” Lundqvist said. “That’s where maybe you take an extra look and try to understand why it happened and give those reasons. I think that’s where it helps if you played the game [for] a long time and just love the game [because] you have a pretty good understanding of why guys react a certain way.”
The challenge tacitly embedded in the jobs of most studio analysts – Lundqvist’s included – is in presenting the information to the audience in a manner through which it learns without being confused. It is a delicate craft that takes time and genuine understanding to master, especially related to promulgating hockey analytics as Valiquette does on MSG Networks and within his company, Clear Sight Analytics.
“There’s a lot of educated viewers out there, but there’s also a lot of people that maybe don’t watch as much hockey,” Lundqvist said, “so you want to find that middle ground where you kind of educate both sides.”
By broadcasting both locally and nationally in addition to working in a specially-designed business operations role, Lundqvist is staying around the rink in his retirement while facilitating the growth of hockey. Despite the profusion of young talent, dynamic action and jaw-dropping plays, viewership of the sport on ESPN and TNT’s linear channels has dropped 22% from last season, according to a report by Sports Business Journal.
For Lundqvist though, he does not feel much has changed from playing regarding his responsibility to advance the reach and appeal of the sport. He played professionally for 20 years, beginning his career in his home country of Sweden, primarily in the Swedish Elite League (SEL). In the 2004-05 season, his final campaign before arriving in New York City, Lundqvist had won the award for most valuable player. Furthermore, he was recognized as the best goalie and best player, leading Frölunda HC to its second Elitserien championship in three seasons.
His NHL debut came five years after he was selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers but unlike many rookies over the years, he came polished and prepared to embrace the lights of Broadway. Following an injury to starting goaltender Kevin Weekes, Lundqvist was inserted into the starting lineup and, from that moment on, virtually never came out.
By the end of his first year, he had been named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was a Vezina Trophy finalist for best goaltender. Additionally, he remains the only goaltender to begin his NHL career with seven consecutive 30-plus win seasons.
“I think the league is doing a great job of growing the game,” Lundqvist said. “In the end, it comes down to the product and right now, it’s a great product. I feel really good about, the best way I can, to promote the game [by] talking about it, but… it feels like I’ve been doing that for 20 years.”
One means through which Lundqvist attempts to grow the game is within the studio demos he performs with the NHL on TNT, displaying different facets of the game in a technical manner. The show also embraces the characteristics of their analysts and implements them in lighthearted segments, such as zamboni races, putting competitions, Swedish lessons and, of course, musical performances.
“I’m huge on mindset and the pressure,” Lundqvist said. “I love to talk about that type of stuff and give the viewer a better understanding of what goes through their heads. In terms of personality, I don’t know if I can say [that] I’m a serious guy because I love to have fun and laugh and do fun things.”
Lundqvist thoroughly enjoys what he is doing both locally and nationally, and he ensures he surrounds himself with people he wants to be around. There are plenty of other broadcast opportunities for former hockey players, such as moving into the booth as a color commentator or between the benches as a rinkside reporter. At this moment though, he is more focused on being immersed in his current roles, performing them to the best of his ability while ensuring he allocates time to spend with friends and family.
“I see myself more as an analyst in the studio more than traveling around and being in the rink,” he said. “I think that’s another thing with the schedule; it works really well with my schedule to have one or two commitments with the networks, but then I have other things going on in my life that I commit to.”
Plenty of comparisons can be drawn between playing professional hockey and covering the sport from the studio in terms of preparation and synergy. Yet the end result is not as clearly defined since “winning” in television is quantifiably defined as generating ratings and revenue. Undoubtedly, Lundqvist is focused on doing what he can to bolster hockey’s popularity; however, he also wants to enjoy this new phase of his career being around the game he loves.
“In sports, you win or you lose,” Lundqvist explained. “With TV, you want to be yourself [and] you want to get your point out – but at the same time, if you do it at the same time you’re having a good time, I feel like that’s good TV.”
Once their careers conclude, many athletes think about pursuing a post-playing career and oftentimes end up taking on a role in sports broadcasting. On MSG Networks alone, there are plenty of former players who take part in studio coverage on live game broadcasts, such as Martin Biron of the Buffalo Sabres, Bryce Salvador of the New Jersey Devils, and Matt Martin of the New York Islanders. At the national level, Turner Sports employs Paul Bissonnette, Anson Carter, and Wayne Gretzky for its studio broadcasts, while ESPN’s top studio crew includes Mark Messier and Chris Chelios.
All of these former professional hockey players had an obligation to regularly speak with media members, answering questions about games and the season at large. Lundqvist maintained a professional relationship with journalists and beat reporters, and he most enjoyed taking questions when the team was doing well. Regardless of what the end result of a game was though, he had a responsibility to divulge his thoughts and, in turn, be subject to criticism and/or negative feedback.
His stellar career and persona all came from emanating a passion for the game – and it continues to manifest itself beyond the television screen. Listening to those passionate about the game discuss it usually engenders euphony and lucidity to viewers, analogous to the sound of the puck hitting the pads or entering the glove. It is a timbre Lundqvist created 27,076 times throughout his NHL career (regular season and playoffs) in preventing goals, and one he now aims to explain en masse.
“The reason why I kept going to the rink and put all the hours in was because I really enjoyed it,” Lundqvist said. “If you decide to go into media or whatever it might be, I think the bottom line is [that] you have to enjoy it and make sure you have good people around you.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he serves as the production manager for the New York Islanders Radio Network and lead sports producer at NY2C. He has also worked on live game broadcasts for the Long Island Nets and New York Riptide. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks and wrote for The Long Island Herald. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Should the NBA Nationalize Local TV Rights Like MLS?
The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.
Diamond Sports has been anything but a diamond in the sports world. As subscribers leave cable and satellite for streaming services, companies are dropping RSNs nationwide because they are too expensive to carry. This has caused an impending bankruptcy for the company, which owns the local rights to dozens of sports teams nationwide. It is also putting the NBA, NHL, and MLB at major financial risk.
In the short term, it is known that teams will still broadcast on their RSNs even if they aren’t getting the paychecks they were promised in previous rights deals. This will affect teams’ ability to pay players and could even create an unfair advantage among the haves of the sports world like the Yankees and Lakers and the have-nots. The NFL doesn’t face the same problems that the other leagues are facing because its rights have been nationalized.
With the NFL’s continued television dominance, college conferences also bundling up games together for more money, and the MLS guaranteeing themselves television revenue after packaging local and national rights together, could we see the other leagues follow suit? It is an option that is much easier said than done but it seems like we are moving closer to it becoming reality.
The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.
The biggest problem the NBA and other leagues would face are that the local rights to all of its teams don’t expire at the same time. If the league were to sign a deal that included giving all local rights to a streamer, the amount which the league was getting paid would be very unique year after year. It would be crazy for a streamer to pay a huge chunk of money to the NBA all at once if the number of teams they have local rights to changes every year.
It would also be insane to pay an astronomical amount if the streamer is only getting the local rights to small-market teams like the Cavs and the Pistons. A major market team like the Lakers doesn’t renew their local rights until 2032. We’re still in 2023. How does that affect the league’s operating costs?
The NBA would also have to figure out whether teams whose rights don’t expire yet deserve to be included in the pot of money garnered from selling local rights to a streamer. Whether they are or they aren’t, does it put each team at different competitive advantages and/or disadvantages when trying to acquire free agents or front-office personnel?
One of the most interesting puzzles to figure out is what influence a league owner like Washington’s Ted Leonsis has in this potential measure when all is said and done. Leonsis just acquired complete control of the regional sports network — currently named NBC Sports Washington — that broadcasts Wizards and Capitals games for millions of dollars, although the exact amount remains undisclosed.
What does Leonsis do with his network if his team’s games can no longer air there? Can his team opt out of participating in a potential league offering? Or if the games continue to air on his network but are simulcasted locally on the streamer that wins local rights on a national scale, does the streamer have the ability to pay less money for rights?
If so, does that make the deal as lucrative for the NBA? And what does that mean for retransmission fees that cable companies like Comcast pay to Leonsis and other RSNs they’re still carrying?
The league will face a similar problem with the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks and other franchises that either wholly own or partially own a part of the RSNs where they broadcast their games.
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions which is why they are written here in this column. Unfortunately for the leagues, they don’t have the answers either. But if the NBA figures out a way to nationalize their product even more and make streaming games more appealing by ending local blackouts, it’ll benefit the game more than it hurts the game.
NBA, NHL, and MLB games are still some of the highest-rated programs locally in many markets when you look at how they rate vs. other cable and broadcast offerings. But at this point, the ability to charge everyone for a program that only ten percent of subscribers are watching is a losing business proponent.
The leagues should start from scratch and sell a mass package of games for maximum profit. It gives fans a more centralized location to watch their favorite teams and puts the leagues on a much more steady path than where they could be headed sooner rather than later.
Diamond in the rough to sparkling jewel of light? Only time will tell.
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.
Do You Have Affirmations Of Gratitude?
“We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right?”
Having gratitude for your life is all the rage. If you, like me, have trouble starting your day with positive affirmations and maintaining a positive outlook about your job, read on!
We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right? Here is another version. Try a few affirmations of gratitude instead.
“I HAVE A JOB.”
With interest rates rising, inflation increasing, and spending down; corporations are laying people off. PayPal laid off 7% of its entire workforce. Amazon let 18,000 go. Alphabet (Google) said goodbye to 12,000 jobs. Radio sales managers need to hire people like you – experienced sellers with a track record of bringing home the bacon.
“I AM A PROBLEM SOLVER.”
You solve a problem for your company when it comes to revenue. You know people, and you sell advertising better than anything they can come up with…so far.
Yes, they are trying to replace you, but Zoom Info reports iHeart’s self-serve spot buying service, AdBuilder, is doing under 5 million in business. You have time to solidify your value. Be happy you are the rainmaker.
“I WORK IN THE PEOPLE BUSINESS.”
Sports talk radio is the ultimate companion to millions of listeners. They aren’t robots, and your stations improve their lives by talking about what they care about 24/7. Celebrate selling access to callers, Twitter followers and FANS who go to games. You also get to work with local celebrities that everybody knows but you know best. We all need a connection to other people and want to be seen and heard.
“I GET TO CHANGE HOW I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF.”
In this job, you determine your value, feelings about your work, and who you work with. You get to set a strategy and talk to the businesspeople you want to help and do business with. It’s like running your own business with a tremendous support staff. Try to do it independently, and you will appreciate accounting, traffic, production, and sales assistance. Those wins produce deposits in your bank account.
“I HAVE COMPETITION!”
That format competitor across the street does things differently and sometimes better than you or tries to imitate you and looks terrible. They motivate you to beat them to a new account or put a moat around your best clients so they can’t be touched. They keep you sharp and willing to try new things. Good competition schemes to take money from your station, and your management needs you to protect them. And they also provide a place for you to work one day. The FTC wants to eliminate non-competes so you can walk across the street this year.
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.