Before NBC got the rights to Sunday Night Football in 2006, people would run to their televisions to watch Chris Berman and Tom Jackson on NFL Primetime on ESPN every Sunday night. Before RedZone and even before NFL Sunday Ticket (1994), that show was the only way fans could see highlights of games they couldn’t watch during the day.
Berman was a guest on Monday’s Pardon My Take. During the conversation, he said sportscasters are making a mistake when showing highlights. While Berman understands people know the score before they watch the highlights, he believes that the play should be read as if it were happening live:
“This is where they make a mistake now. Everyone assumes you hear about a play and you call it on your phone for one second. Even at the end of the day when you know everything, here’s the whole meal for Week 12, for example,” said Berman.
“Give me the meal and those doing the highlights. People should not assume that everyone watching has seen the game or the highlights. You owe it to the viewer to do them like they are live. Give it to you like it’s happening live, even if it is the game that you have seen. Result of the game is okay, but not the play.”
In addition to hosting NFL Primetime (now on ESPN+), Berman is well-known for the nicknames he gave to numerous athletes. When he was doing baseball highlights in the early years of ESPN, he used them to hide that people couldn’t see video yet still made reading the score exciting:
“You try to embellish a little bit because it’s every night and not all of them were video,” Berman said. “A lot of them were Kansas City 5, Seattle 3 for 30 seconds. Don’t make jokes and take information away, but if I’m going to say Frank ‘Tanana Daiquiri’ struck out 13, it cost me half a second.”
However, there was a time in the mid-1980s where the nicknames went away. While they eventually came back in April 1986, it’s hard to imagine Berman reading a highlight without any of those signature nicknames:
“We had a new executive producer (early September 1985) say you can’t use them anymore. I’ve been doing them for five years, everyone likes them. He had no real reason. There’s three weeks left in the season. First of all, if he’s any smart, you do it in November; maybe no one noticed and then you don’t come back… I cut out all the nicknames.”
While Berman has been seen as one of the faces of ESPN, that does not mean that other networks didn’t try to pursue him. He told Pardon My Take that NBC tried to pursue him in 1989. While ESPN was unable to match the high-money offer NBC had, they got close enough for Berman to stay:
“I said, Steve Bornstein, don’t fault me for this, but in the end, I said you don’t have to match this, you got to get within a 9-iron,” he said. “They did and that was the best decision I ever made.
“We got the NFL in 1987. If I went there, I would be waiting to be the NFL guy behind Bob Costas. I’m doing that and I’m doing it for an audience everyday.”
It’s hard to imagine what the sports media landscape would have looked like then or even today if Berman had left ESPN for NBC, since he is one of the people associated with the worldwide leader.
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Bomani Jones: I’m Better At Talking About Political, Social Issues Than Most In Sports Media
“I personally am better at talking about those things than most people who work in this industry. Like I feel like I can say that fairly and then it not really be an arrogant thing.”
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James found himself in a few headlines last week when he questioned reporters for not asking him about the recent Washington Post story and photo surrounding Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and ESPN commentator Bomani Jones took the opportunity to discuss the revelation.
Jones was pictured as a 14 year old among a crowd during an early stage of integration of public schools in Arkansas during the civil rights movement.
LeBron pointed out that he would field questions when there’s a controversy surrounding a Black person and spoke about the situation with former Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving, but he found it curious that no one had asked his opinion on the Jerry Jones story. LeBron had long considered himself a Cowboys fan, but in recent years he’s stopped supporting the team over Jones’ mandate that Dallas players stand for the National Anthem.
On his ESPN podcast The Right Time, host Bomani Jones talked about LeBron and circled it around to how he and other ESPN personalities caught a ton of flack for speaking about political or societal issues that often don’t fall within the confines of sports.
Jones said that being able to talk about political and societal issues comes easier to him than it does to most members of the sports media.
“I personally am better at talking about those things than most people who work in this industry,” Jones said. “Like I feel like I can say that fairly and then it not really be an arrogant thing.”
Jones said it comes down to the fact that there’s a bias at play. Are people going to take offense to what you’re saying because they disagree, or are they going to like what you’re going to say because they agree?
“They’re reinforcing the fact that you’re reinforcing what it is that you want to hear,” Jones said. “But the truth is that most people are not qualified to talk about these things before the world, because talking about these things before the world is very, very difficult.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
John Jastremski Fires Back After Craig Carton Criticism
“I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”
Earlier this week, WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton said John Jastremski — a former WFAN host now hosting a podcast for The Ringer — “shunned” his radio career advice.
During his New York New York podcast Thursday, Jastremski strongly condemned Carton’s remarks.
“I don’t like going here with this stuff, ’cause I know this plays right into what this guy likes to do,” Jastremski said. “This is his M.O. This is what he’s done his entire career. It’s what he’s done for his entire career and he’s had success doing it. He lives for this stuff. But it really set me off. It set me off because I gotta see it on Barrett Sports Media while I’m on vacation. Like I wanna be bothered with this shit, number one. Number two, it’s just tone-deaf, insulting, and flat-out rude every which way.
“Number one: going after people who work at McDonald’s? Who the hell are you to do that? Number two: You’re insulting a multi-billion dollar company where I work. I have a great job, a great platform, a great producer. I have two great jobs, I might add. And you’re insulting both of them. By the way, you’re on that network. Five days a week. And you’re insulting that network. How stupid are you? Taking shots at people of the network you’re on, I’m on. And I could tell you, it pays well. I do ok.
“As for career advice? Guess what? I listen to legends. Bill Simmons, you ever hear of him? Worth a lot more than you. Mike Francesa? My boy Adam Schein? I listen to those guys. I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”
Calling Carton a crook harkens back to the WFAN afternoon host’s stint in federal prison for participating in a ponzi scheme that scammed investors out of $5.6 million that he in turn used to pay off gambling debts. Carton was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison before serving just over a year in prison before being released in 2020.
The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Moving To New Studio
The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021.
The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021. It has remained the home for the show since Le Batard and John Skipper formed Meadowlark Media.
After a $50 million distribution deal with DraftKings was secured, the Meadowlark podcast network has grown in both reach and talent, allowing for an expanded studio space.
No immediate details were given on where the new studio space would be located.