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TNT’s Eddie Olczyk: Fans Appreciate People Making Fun of Themselves

“All we have to do is turn on the evening news and realize what we are doing is entertainment and not take it too seriously.”

Ricky Keeler

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For 15 years, Eddie Olczyk was in the lead booth for the NHL on NBC with Doc Emrick. While Emrick is now retired and Olczyk is the lead analyst on TNT, that does not mean the lessons Olczyk learned from Emrick don’t still stick with him.

On the latest episode of The Block Party with Seth Kushner podcast, Olczyk mentioned one piece of advice Emrick gave him, saying it is OK to make fun of yourself when a mistake happens.

“Doc Emrick said to me a couple of times. Once you say it, it’s off to Mars, so you are never really getting it back,” Olczyk recalled. “If you make a mistake, it’s okay to own up to it. I think people appreciate humility, they appreciate honesty, and they appreciate people making fun of themselves. If I call a wrong penalty or a wrong goal, you own up to it. That’s kind of the mindset I always have.

“I miss him [Emrick] everyday. Hockey misses him for sure. He is at peace. He’s happy that baseball is back… I think that relationship with Doc, even more so out of the booth, is what I miss the most. He was great for me, for my family, and for my career.”

Whenever any aspiring broadcasters ask Olczyk for advice, he mentions something every good broadcaster should have.

“Humility is a great quality to have,” Olczyk said. “If you make a mistake on live TV or live radio, it’s okay to make fun of yourself and bring light to it. There’s no sense of hiding or running away from it.”

Since joining TNT, Olczyk hasn’t felt that big of a difference compared to NBC. Once he enters the arena, his main focus is to have fun, entertain the viewing audience, and help take their mind off what’s going on in the real world:

“When we are in the building, it’s just like anyone else that does their job,” said Olczyk. “You just get in the zone and you do your thing. However it is coming across on whatever network you are on, you are going to try to do the best you can and try to be the best analyst in hockey every night. Most importantly, have fun and entertain.”

“We all know what’s going on in the real world. All we have to do is turn on the evening news and realize what we are doing is entertainment and not take it too seriously,” he continued. “We want to be the best at what we do, but in the big picture, it is a very small part of the big world… We want to help people get away from the real world for a little while.

“My focus is to entertain, tell them something that they maybe didn’t realize, and when they turned off the game, hopefully they were entertained for a couple of hours.”

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Sports TV News

Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Jordan Bondurant

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jordan Bondurant

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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