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Bonta Hill Never Thought He’d Be Hosting Mornings on 95.7 the Game

“If I’m not good enough to make it here, then what the hell am I doing this for? I’m going to make it here.’”

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Bonta Hill grew up a fan of San Francisco’s sports teams – albeit before the dominance of the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants – and was always willing to talk about the teams at the drop of a hat. Reading about sports from the local newspapers was representative of an escape for Hill, as he grew up in an unstable home and in a high crime area. At the age of 10, he was placed into foster care and struggled to balance maintaining financial stability with his academic performance.

Nearly 15 years later, Hill was working as a supervisor at United Parcel Service (UPS), but was let go by the company for what he referred to as minor errors. Shortly thereafter, he began working at a local Peet’s Coffee to pay his bills, but continued to watch sports from afar. Recognizing his love and passion for the local teams, a friend of his suggested he try to go back to school to pursue a career in sports journalism.

“I went back to school at the age of 26, walked into the journalism department and asked the department chair at the time, Juan Gonzales, ‘Hey man, I like to write; I’d like to try to be a sports writer,’” Hill recollected. “I did a story for him. A few months later, I won this award at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, and he offered me the sports editor position the next semester.”

From his early days at the City College of San Francisco writing and editing sports stories for The Guardian, Hill possessed a determination to try to differentiate himself from his competition by taking advantage of any opportunities that would help him diversify and/or sharpen his skills, along with networking with those across sports and media.

He transferred to San Francisco State University in 2011 to obtain his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and continued his public address announcing duties at the City College of San Francisco. Furthermore, he continued his writing by starting as a correspondent for the San Francisco Examiner in February 2011, covering sports on deadline at the college and professional level. Once he completed his stint as a public address announcer in early 2013, he worked simultaneously in a similar writing role with the San Francisco Chronicle, trying to continue to garner as much experience as possible in media.

While Hill thought he was going to be a writer from the time he entered school, making the move to San Francisco State University gave him his first exposure to working in sports talk radio – and he found to prefer the medium because of his nascent ability to discuss sports. In May 2013, Hill began working as an intern for SportsPhone 680 at KNBR where he operated radio consoles, wrote broadcast copy and screened phone calls from listeners. Aside from refining his interpersonal communication skills, he also grasped another valuable lesson applicable to all areas of sports media and something that would prove to be valuable years later.

“I learned what not to do in sports – and that’s burn bridges,” said Hill. “I thought that was very, very important. I saw a lot of people burn bridges; I saw a lot of people quit. There was a lot of turnover obviously. Some people were unhappy with the money they were making [or] the role they had. I just learned not to burn bridges, and learned to be patient [as well].”

Hill was hired in a full-time role after completing his internship, continuing to work behind the scenes; however, he ultimately knew that his place was behind the microphone in the main studio. To achieve this goal and prove himself in one of the top markets in the United States though, he needed to mature his “raw” talent and prove himself in other areas. He always knew that he would succeed in his hometown if he remained focused on his ultimate goal, which is why he was offended when he was told that he would need to follow an industry archetype by a colleague.

During graveyard shifts in which Hill would engineer San Francisco Giants games, Hill envisioned himself talking sports to an audience on the air despite the station having its lineup set. One morning at the end of a shift, he spoke to a former producer for NBC Sports Bay Area, and suggested that it was almost his time to receive a chance to be on the airwaves.

“He said, ‘Bro, you really think you’re going to be able to get a job in this market? You’re going to have to go to Bakersfield; you’re going to have to go to Eureka.’ And I went off on him,” recalled Hill, “and I said, ‘I’m good enough to run with the big dogs. If I’m not good enough to make it here, then what the hell am I doing this for? I’m going to make it here.’”

Confident in his knowledge of the Bay Area’s sports teams while procuring a naïve yet calculated hubris, Hill began working with radio host and baseball historian Marty Lurie, who would host Weekends in the Park and Giants Post-Game Talk at the station. As Lurie began to see Hill’s potential as a radio host, he gradually gave him the opportunity to appear on-air during his shows and interact with callers.

“Marty would make me stay after my shift where I was making no money to take calls with him and do a show with him,” Hill remembered. “When I didn’t have work on the weekend, he was like, ‘Hey, come down to do a show with me. Let’s go.’”

Hill continued to hone his craft working with Lurie and the belief that he would be able to build a sustainable career in the Bay Area was becoming more lucid and less improbable in scope. Nonetheless, there are never any guarantees in media, and Hill knew that the feasibility of him succeeding in a market with fixated lineups was still quite implausible. He never stopped having confidence in himself and his abilities throughout this time though, resolute in his commitment to realize his ultimate aspiration.

“I didn’t know if something was going to open up – I had no idea what was going on – but I had the self-confidence that one day I would do it even though it wasn’t realistic in this market with the lineups being so set,” said Hill. “I had the belief, although it may have been delusional, [that] I would one day be on the air in the Bay Area.”

By the time 2016 came around, Hill’s profile had gained prestige in the industry and word of his talent was circulating among industry professionals. One day, legendary radio host and play-by-play announcer Greg Papa was listening to the Giants postgame show, and contacted Lurie to tell him that he liked Hill’s voice and to contact him. In short order, Hill met Papa one night in the press box at Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, and quickly grasped that he wanted him to join his show on KNBR’s competitor: 95.7 The Game.

“I had never met Papa; I just knew about him doing Raiders games [and] obviously doing Niners games,” said Hill. “He’s a legend – just untouchable. You don’t even think about working [with him] when you’re growing up in the business.”

Following his conversation with Greg Papa, then-program director Don Kollins hired Hill to join Papa on his midday show, replacing previous show co-host John Lund who had been hired by KNBR. It was surreal to Hill, who just months earlier was engineering shows and working overnight shifts, along with doing shows for no pay on the weekends to gain experience. Now a broadcast entity in one of the largest broadcast markets in the country had taken a chance on him at the request of one of their hosts, which put immense pressure on Hill to flourish.

“A lot of people thought I was going to shrink,” said Hill, “and some of that kind of spurred me to keep me motivated because a lot of people didn’t think that I would last.”

Papa’s midday show did not implement any callers into the programming, deviating from a more congenial, interactive style of radio he had experienced with Lurie at KNBR. Moreover, it was essential that Hill worked to establish a working chemistry between him and Papa and try to make the most of what he considers to be a lucky break.

“I did a bunch of studying because I knew Papa was going to be watching everything,” said Hill. “I watched everything anyway, but you had to watch it a bit differently knowing that you’re working with a guy like Greg Papa.”

Throughout each show, Papa and Hill would analyze the action of the previous day and talk about the upcoming games set to take place. As they approached three years on the air together though, Papa abruptly left the station to take the radio play-by-play job with the San Francisco 49ers. It was a move that surprised many, including Hill, and left his future with the station in jeopardy if not for station program director Matt Nahigan.

“Matt’s been everything, and I think he helped save the station at 95.7 The Game when we were kind of going through some low moments – and here we are now still ticking,” said Hill. “He’s given me an opportunity – he could have let me go after Papa left.”

An aspect of what makes Nahigan the “best boss” Hill has had in the radio industry is his perpetual ambition to generate favorable ratings and revenue for the station and those involved. Superior performance comes with establishing good habits in a productive work environment, and Nahigan does that by meeting with his employees on a weekly basis to discuss their strengths and shortcomings.

“Sometimes we need to be coached; we all fall into bad habits,” said Hill. “I don’t care how old you are or how long you’ve been in the game. There’s always somebody to be there to have constructive criticism, and Matt Nahigan [has] provided that.”

Nahigan moved Hill to work with Matt Steinmetz and Daryle Johnson to form a new midday show called Bonta, Steiny & Guru. While there was undoubtedly an adjustment period for Hill to familiarize himself with his colleagues and the show’s audience, he felt comfortable in the direction and format of the show. Being able to take calls from listeners again was something always indicative of sports radio to him that had been missing for the time he had worked with Papa, and he was elated to once again foster that unique connection.

“I loved working with Greg Papa, but I did miss taking phone calls from the audience because that’s sports talk radio – hearing from crazy fans,” Hill stated. “They’re going to say some wild things; they’re going to say some great things. That’s sports talk radio.”

To Hill, the style of conversation between him and his co-hosts was more laid back and easygoing, but the show quickly culminated nearly a year after its launch when Joe Fortenbaugh left the station to pursue a new opportunity with ESPN in Las Vegas. As a result, the station revamped its lineup to appeal to the listening audience and to compete with KNBR, especially in the mornings with the longstanding duo Murph & Mac.

Once the opportunity came up, Hill wanted to host in the morning daypart, and Nahigan gave him the opportunity to do so with Joe Shasky and Kate Scott (who departed the show after the first year) on their new program The Morning Roast with Bonta & Shasky. For nearly the last two years, the two Bay Area natives have talked sports each morning on 95.7 The Game, having the first chance to react to the prior night’s action on the air.

“Morning shows set the tone for the station every single day,” remarked Hill. “That’s something that I think we both take pride in. You can be a little lighter – people want to laugh in the morning. They don’t want to get hit with all the X’s and O’s…. You can do a little bit of that, but you have to remind yourself that people are just waking up.”

Hill enjoys being able to determine the direction of the show with his co-host, a sense of ownership that he had never felt during his radio career up until that point. While he does not seek to be domineering in his authority, having a share of the final say on key facets of the show has augmented his impetus to produce the most entertaining show possible. This year, the show has seen success in its ratings, becoming the first morning program to win the winter book in the history of the station, along with topping KNBR’s Murph & Mac in the month of May.

“It’s been a lot of fun and for the first time to be honest with you, I feel like it’s my show,” said Hill. “….I didn’t think I’d do morning drive; I didn’t think I was capable of waking up every single day [to get] to the studio, and it’s been a grind at times. It’s been a great adjustment. Yes, it’s different – but it’s been a lot of fun and it’s been life-changing.”

Not all radio personalities decide to try to find a role on television, no less perform it at the same time. Yet there is a growing number of personalities seeking to establish themselves on multiple platforms, and Hill, with his ambition and determination to succeed, sought after an opportunity – one that ironically involved his former co-host Greg Papa.

Aside from working at KNBR as the 49ers’ radio play-by-play announcer and co-host of a midday show with John Lund, Papa had also been working on television with NBC Sports Bay Area to host Warriors Pre/Postgame Live for the last several years. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the network decided to change up the talent by moving Papa back to Giants Pre/Postgame Live, a show he had previously hosted from 2010 to 2016. Subsequently, Hill was named as the new host of Warriors Pre/Postgame Live, his first television role. Being seen has only enhanced the standing of his radio show, and it is a multi-platform presence he seeks to maintain as the years go on.

“Now that I’m on TV and they see me at night [and] they wake up with me in the morning, it’s been huge for our station; I think it’s been huge for our show; and I think it’s been huge for NBC as well kind of cross-promoting,” said Hill. “….I had to do multiple things. I get antsy if I’m just doing one thing and I get bored and what-not.”

In this role, Hill’s notoriety among sports fans in the Bay Area has elevated, and his profile among media personalities is trending in the same direction. From covering a championship team this season on multiple platforms, he has learned to balance coverage of the franchise with other sports, such as football and baseball.

“The priority was simple – Warriors in the playoffs; four championships in eight years,” Hill reflected. “The Giants will get a mention, but we’re not the flagship for them, [and] the A’s have just been an afterthought in this market. It’s unfortunate. We carried the A’s, we tried to talk about them, but there’s a business side to everything.”

His presence around the team and in the arena is something that some sports radio hosts neglect because they are either unable or unwilling to be present at sporting events. Being seen has helped move his career in the right direction, and as a result, he always seeks to make time to interact with players, team personnel and fans of the show – whether that be in-person or by another means of dissemination.

“I’ve definitely entered a different stratosphere in my career, a stratosphere that I never thought was possible,” said Hill. “I kind of keep that same perspective though that at the end of the day, I’m still the same dude as when I first picked up a pen and wrote for the City College of San Francisco as I am today, and I try to keep that same perspective on my life and this career. It could be over tomorrow, so treat people with respect and just be gracious.”

Hill’s media career has risen expeditiously since his early days working to be a team beat reporter thanks to his adaptability to try new things and yearning to succeed. Simply by remaining a fan in the sense that he continues to interact with his audience and attend sporting events as a radio host, Hill has established himself as a bonafide professional with the conviction to constantly improve and attain unrealized heights in the industry. After all, the reason he went back to school in the first place was to attempt to earn a college degree, but doing so ultimately gave him much more than that, stimulating his journey to work in sports media. Anything else for him is, as he puts it, “icing on the cake.”

“It’s an overused cliché, but we really work a kid’s job,” said Hill. “This is the toy department of life. If I wasn’t working in sports, I’d be watching it anyway.”

BSM Writers

Sports Talkers Podcast – Carl Dukes

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Carl Dukes went from DJing clubs to holding every job there is in a radio building. Now he is dominating 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. Check out his conversation with Stephen Strom.

iTunes: https://buff.ly/3xYq3Oe 

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3JVYgDp   

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3JWPFQS 

Google: https://buff.ly/3w9RBzX 

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3psPDGZ  

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Terry Ford Couldn’t Say No To 107.5 The Game

“In Columbia, South Carolina Gamecock fans are in 150 percent. These people love football. The Atlanta experience, the taste of it in Lexington really gave me a good foundation for what we have here in Columbia.”

Tyler McComas

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If he had to put a number on the big decision he made last year it would be 150 percent. Sure, leaving Lexington, KY and 96.1 WZNN didn’t happen without long thoughts and consideration for Terry Ford, but the opportunity to work for one of the most respected names in the business was too much to pass up. 

In late November of 2021, Ford was named the new program director and host at 107.5 The Game in Columbia, SC. The opportunity originally came about during a conversation between Ford and Jason Barrett. Ford had always wanted to work with Bruce Gilbert. Barrett knew this, so when the position under the Cumulus umbrella opened, he urged Ford to consider the position.

“I’ve always wanted to work for Bruce,” Ford said. “Jason told me there was an opportunity to work with Bruce and I talked to the market manager Tammy O’Dell. She was fantastic. Everything was just too good. It was 150 percent the right decision. This has been nothing but a phenomenal experience.”

Columbia is the exact market you think it is. Situated in a college town, which breeds incredible passion for Gamecock athletics. South Carolina has had success in basketball and baseball, but to its core, it’s like most other SEC markets in that college football rules the day. To an outsider, that can sometimes be a challenge to immediately grasp and understand. But Ford is no outsider when it comes to the SEC. His previous stop was in Lexington and he even did a stint in Atlanta at 790 The Zone. He knows the landscape of the SEC.

“When I was at 790 The Zone, I’ll never forget the PD Bob Richards was like, ok, you have to understand, we might have pro sports here but the Georgia Bulldogs are gigantic,” Ford said. “This is SEC country. I kinda learned then and there that if Georgia was sniffing around some 9th grader that runs a 4.2 40-yard dash, that’s a story. When you’re in SEC country, everything is a story that matters to the local program. Atlanta gave me my first taste of the passion of the SEC football fan. Lexington was different because it’s a basketball school. And in Columbia, South Carolina Gamecock fans are in 150 percent. These people love football. The Atlanta experience, the taste of it in Lexington really gave me a good foundation for what we have here in Columbia.”

But there was much more to his new gig than just understanding how much passion there is in Columbia for Gamecock football. His biggest challenge was going to be to earn the respect and trust of his on-air staff as their new PD, as well as blend into the three-man show he was going to be a part of. So how did he do that?

“It’s kind of a tightrope,” Ford said. “You’re the PD, but you’re also in the octagon with them. I really think talking with hosts in ‘hosts talk’ is the best way to connect with them when you go to another market. We hosts are different. When you can sit and talk like hosts together I think it builds a connection. I think all hosts, when you get a new PD, you’re like, ok, what the hell have you done? You’re going to be in charge of me as a host, have you hosted? I think that’s natural for a host, whether it’s outward or internal. I’ve done the same thing.”

Ford has more than 20 years of experience in sports radio. That will garner him some respect in the building, but not as much as his continued eagerness to learn from others. That could very well be one of the best traits for any PD, no matter their age or experience. If you’re always eager to learn, you’ll undoubtedly be better. Ford is just that. He wants to learn from as many people as possible. 

“I’ve always wanted to learn from guys like Scott Masteller or Bruce Gilbert or Jason Barrett,” Ford said. “People who have done this successfully at a high level. And learning from guys who’ve done it in different size markets. You can’t take things from Philadelphia and apply them to Oklahoma City. It’s a different level. I wanted to learn how different guys in different markets program their brands. I wanted to learn all aspects of the business.”

Ford’s eagerness to learn isn’t where his characteristics of being a good PD ends. In the eyes of a host, it can be appreciated that the PD in the building has also seen things from their side. Ford has done exactly that. In a closed-door meeting, he’s now the one delivering the news, good or bad, to a host. But it wasn’t long ago when he was the one sitting on the opposite side of the desk. 

“I never want to forget when I went into programming, what it’s like to sit on the other side of the desk in that other chair,” Ford said. “Because it can suck. I’ve sat in that chair and gotten good news and I’ve sat in that chair and got some crappy news. I just never want to forget what it’s like to be the guy sitting there getting news. I want to take all those experiences and all that knowledge and you come in and deal with a Heath Cline, or a Jay Phillips, or Bill Gunter, or a Pearson Fowler, who’s under 30, or Patrick Perret, who’s under 30. I want to be able to relate to them and talk to them in their host language, where they say, ok, this dude speaks the language. He gets where I’m coming from. It’s just about finding a way to relate to everyone.”

To be completely transparent, the phone call I had with Ford only lasted 20 minutes. But even in that short time, I found myself saying, wow, this is a PD I would love to work for. He’s intelligent and passionate about the business, he’s incredibly skilled and genuinely cares about relating to his hosts, but he’s also really funny. Each question he answered was well-thought-out and insightful, but it wasn’t said without a short joke until he broke out with a serious answer. He’s a guy that knows what he’s doing but isn’t the dreadful guy that sucks the life out of the building. Columbia seems lucky to have him. 

“Sometimes you get good fortune from the radio gods and other times you feel like you can’t get any luck they’re taking a dump on you,” Ford said. “They smiled on me through circumstance and with the help of a guy like Jason Barrett I ended up with a good opportunity in Columbia. It was too good to turn down. It was one of the moments where, if I turn this down, I’m a dope. I’ve been a dope in my life and this time I decided not to be one.”

I’ve always been interested in the daily life of someone who’s both a host and a PD. I don’t envy it because you have to perfectly delegate your time to fulfill both duties. So how does Ford go about it?

“Massive chaos at high speed while blindfolded,” joked Ford. “I get up around 6:30 in the morning and away from the office, I try to put in a couple hours of prep. That way people aren’t asking me about stuff and I’m not doing PD things. All I’m doing is trying to prep like a host. I try to give myself a couple hours of that before I come into the office. I’ll be honest, prepping as a PD and prepping as a host, good luck. I tell the guys here, I’m probably about 75 percent of a host right now, in terms of effectiveness. I just can’t prep like I want to. I’m a prepping dork. I jump down all sorts of rabbit holes and I’m deep-diving into stuff. As a PD you don’t have that time to dive.”

Ford started his radio career outside of sports talk. But he was always captivated by the business and spent many nights debating sports with his friends. It was a passion, even though he wasn’t yet hosting a show. 

“I always was captivated by sports talk, but when I was growing up it was a certain way,” Ford said. “It really wasn’t the way that I wanted to do it. I said, man, if it ever becomes where you can be opinionated, compelling but you can also have some fun, I’m all in. I always had an eyeball on sports while doing music radio. Around 2000, I said, I love sports, talking sports, you know what, screw it, I’m going to start looking for sports talk openings.”

So he did, but while searching for openings, Ford had to refine his craft, while also building a demo. He did it in a way that perfectly sums up who he is as both a talent and a person. He made it fun 

“I was doing rock radio at the time, and you talk to dudes, and what I would do is start sports conversations with them and record it. I would save those and put a riff in front of it like a monologue and I would take these calls and I built a demo by talking to drunk guys at a rock station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I got the gig off of that for Sporting News magazine in Seattle.”

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Anatomy of a Broadcaster: Kevin Burkhardt

He is always upbeat, but never over the top. No screaming, but his energy remains consistent and smooth throughout a broadcast.

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Anatomy of a Broadcaster, Kevin Burkhardt

It wasn’t all that long ago, that Kevin Burkhardt was selling cars in New Jersey. Now that’s all in his rearview mirror and Burkhardt is getting ready to enter his first season as the main play-by-play voice of the NFL on Fox. You could say he could be the definition of ‘perseverance’, doing whatever it took to chase a dream. That focus has certainly paid off nicely for Burkhardt. The leap he made in two decades time is amazing and not often duplicated. 

Growing up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Burkhardt, would do play-by-play for his Nintendo games back in his Junior High days. He loved Gary Cohen and tried to emulate him as best he could. Strangely enough, he would end up working with Cohen on Mets broadcasts on SNY. 

A 1997 graduate of William Paterson University, Burkhardt earned a degree in broadcasting. He took that degree to radio station WGHT in Northern New Jersey, spending eight years working for the station. It was a 1,000-watt, daytime only AM station. Burkhardt delivered local news and called high school football. While at WGHT he also worked at Jukebox Radio, broadcasting New Jersey Jackals minor league games for WJUX. To make ends meet while doing freelance work, Burkhardt began working as a sales associate at Pine Belt Chevrolet in Eatontown, New Jersey. Over the next six-plus years Burkhardt could not find a larger station willing to take a chance on him. 

He recalled the frustrated feeling he had back then, when he spoke with Sports Illustrated in 2013. . “I thought I was good enough to make it [in broadcasting], but after so many years of busting my tail, I was making $18,000 a year and working all kinds of odd hours,” says Burkhardt. “It just wasn’t happening for me.”

Finally, Burkhardt got a part-time job working at WCBS-AM in New York, which in turn put him on the radar of the all sports station, WFAN. He began to work there part-time, then eventually became the station’s full-time New York Jets reporter. He got the break he needed. 

ROAD TO FOX

After his stint at WFAN, Burkhardt joined the Mets broadcast team starting the 2007 season for SNY. He appeared on shows such as Mets Hot Stove, Mets Pregame Live, Mets Postgame Live and Mets Year in Review. His main duties though were as the field reporter during Mets telecasts. He would also call select games during both Spring Training and the regular season. 

Also, while employed at SNY, he called Dallas Cowboys games on Compass Media Networks from 2011 until 2013. That’s when he left for Fox. But, sandwiched in between was an opportunity to be seen by Fox execs. He called a Mets/Braves game with SI’s Tom Verducci on their network. The Fox brass liked what they saw. 

According to that 2013 SI article, Burkhardt’s agent initially had discussions with the network about his client calling college football this season but those talks morphed into an NFL opportunity. “When my agent called me with that, I was floored,” Burkhardt says. “I’m sure you hear people say ‘this is my dream job’ all the time, but I literally dropped to one knee on the floor. I could not believe what he was saying on the other end.”

He started with the #4 broadcast team and of course has worked his way up from there. Now, some 9 years later he’s on the top crew. After Joe Buck left for ESPN earlier this year, Burkhardt was promoted to the #1 broadcast team for the NFL on Fox, alongside Greg Olsen. 

Football isn’t the only thing Burkhardt has exceled in at the network. He is the lead studio host for Major League Baseball coverage on Fox and FS1 during the regular season, for the MLB All-Star Game and throughout the entire MLB Postseason.

GOOD CHOICE

When Buck left for ESPN, in my opinion Burkhardt was the obvious choice to replace him. Buck leaves some big shoes to fill, but Burkhardt has the ability to make this work. It’s never easy to replace a well-known commodity like Buck, but Burkhardt himself has been featured prominently on the network. As mentioned, his other high-profile assignments have made him visible and appreciated by viewers. 

If social media is a good judge, I almost got that out without a chuckle, the choice was a good one. Even the outgoing play-by-play man was on board with the decision. 

Burkhardt will do a great job and will become a fixture on Sunday afternoons. 

WHY IS HE SO GOOD?

Maybe we’re finding out that he was a great car salesman through his work on television. I mean there’s a friendliness and something reassuring about the way he calls a game. It’s positive, almost downright cheerful in his delivery. You know what you’re going to get from a Burkhardt broadcast. He is always upbeat, but never over the top. No screaming, but his energy remains consistent and smooth throughout a broadcast. I really enjoy watching everything he does.

While the style may be more lighthearted in nature, the information and description are right on the mark. The presentation seems much more relaxed than some announcers that can be a little ‘in your face’ at times. I say relaxed as a compliment, because as much as you want, a broadcaster can’t be ‘hyped up’ all the time. That would be disconcerting to say the least to the viewer.  

The fact that he has such a diverse background in the business really helps. Having done radio, he can understand the importance of brevity. That comes in handy when calling a game on television, especially when you want your analyst to feel free to make points. The reporting and studio hosting on his resume allow him to be very conversational and at ease. Those assignments also tune up your listening skills, which helps when calling action and working with your analyst.  It didn’t hurt either that he had so much experience on the big stage of New York. 

I know I’ve said this a million times, but he genuinely sounds like he’s having the time of his life every time he works a game or hosts a show. Considering where he came from, I’m not surprised. 

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2019, he called select games for FOX Sports Sun, the television home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since getting his break, Burkhardt has appeared as the celebrity endorser of Pine Belt Chevrolet, his former employer, in Eatontown, N.J.

In 2019, Burkhardt and his wife established the Kevin and Rachel Burkhardt Scholarship at William Paterson University in New Jersey, their alma mater, for a fulltime student majoring in Communications and preparing for a career in broadcast journalism.

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