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Mia O’Brien is Raising The Bar at 1010 XL

“I firmly believe if anyone wants to get into the media business, you have to know how to tell stories and you have to know how to work the gear,” said O’Brien. “You learn how to do that in local news. They throw you into the deep end nine times out of 10, and I was definitely prepared for my next step in my career and beyond.”

Derek Futterman



Mia O'Brien

It all started during one summer at broadcasting camp. Indeed, that is where Mia O’Brien’s foray into sports media began, drawing inspiration from lead instructors and decorated New York sports broadcasters Ian Eagle and Bruce Beck early into her high school days.

While many aspiring media professionals attend seminars and participate in other modes of instruction before college, few get to learn in the number one media market in the country, let alone from two of its most prominent air talents. As a native of Freehold, New Jersey, O’Brien took advantage of every opportunity to familiarize herself with professional teams, most notably the New York Yankees, and find her own unique style to differentiate herself from her competition.

“I attended that camp every summer for the next three summers, building my way through the advanced and elite versions of the [program], and then I was a counselor for two summers at the camp,” said O’Brien. “….The camp has evolved over the years, but it was the most critical step for me into getting into the field and also having a blueprint of sorts of how I would attack this career.”

Energized by her innate will and determination, along with the experiences she had had in her first summer at the broadcasting camp, O’Brien began doing freelance media work as a high school student. Whether it was serving as a summer camp videographer, a broadcast and digital media intern with the New Jersey Jackals, or as a social media and communications intern for her local assemblywoman, O’Brien always remained open to any opportunities that would help her advance her career. From participating in the broadcasting camp, she also worked as a student reporter for MSG Networks on its MSG Varsity channel during her junior and senior years of high school, an anomaly in and of itself – no less in “The Big Apple.”

O’Brien began studying at Ithaca College in 2011 as a Park Scholar, and immediately began partaking in various extracurricular activities, including Ithaca College Television, WICB Radio and the Student Government Association. By her junior year, she was named the sideline reporter for the Ithaca College Bombers football team and hosted The Gridiron Report, a football magazine television show – doing it all as the only woman on-air at the entire school. One year later, she was voted as senior class president. During her free time, she volunteered as a coach at the Ithaca Youth Bureau and helped at a local school, all while maintaining a high grade-point average and freelancing as both a sports reporter for WENY-TV and college football columnist for AOL Sports.

While many of her college experiences were linked to media as a whole, some of them may not have had an obvious correlation to what was her career trajectory; however, all of her activities ultimately served as means to an end. An example of such – aside from her role in the media industry, O’Brien recently completed her first semester adjunct teaching at the University of North Florida within its leadership department.

“When you’re in college, when you’re early in your career, do everything,” said O’Brien. “You never know what random skill or random club you’re a part of then leads to a job down the line.”

Ithaca College is one of a handful of schools known for its communications program and success in placing graduates in favorable positions to land jobs thanks to its vast alumni network and state-of-the-art facilities. Yet one does not need to go to schools known for communications, according to O’Brien, so long as wherever they go not only has the necessary equipment and facilities – but also opportunities. At some larger and prominent communications schools, those can be especially tough to come by.

“You need to make sure at your school there are games you can call – whether that is live-streamed on the internet, radio broadcasts, TV, it doesn’t matter,” O’Brien emphasized. “[You need] the opportunity to get reps calling games or get reps reporting on games and turning packages.”

Upon her graduation from Ithaca College, O’Brien relocated to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to take her first full-time television job as a multimedia journalist and sports anchor at KGAN/KFXA, the locale’s CBS and FOX affiliates, respectively. While it may seem like a smaller market from the outside, Cedar Rapids is within driving distance of several sports hubs, including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee, and has several NCAA Division I programs including the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University.

“To get to cover three major D-1 programs at 22 years old in the heart of Big 10 country is a rare, rare opportunity,” said O’Brien. “It’s obviously changed a little bit now with the evolving nature of local news. At the time, it was not easy to jump right there.”

O’Brien made a sacrifice going from Ithaca to Cedar Rapids in an effort to galvanize her career, and was the only woman reporting on sports in the state for quite some time. Even though it is not a major market in terms of size, the daily grind was enough to allow her to garner and refine the skills necessary to continue to move upwards in sports media. She would not have had it any other way though, and remains grateful for what it taught her to this day working in a different region of the country.

“I firmly believe if anyone wants to get into the media business, you have to know how to tell stories and you have to know how to work the gear,” said O’Brien. “You learn how to do that in local news. They throw you into the deep end nine times out of 10, and I was definitely prepared for my next step in my career and beyond.”

O’Brien’s reputation as an on-air talent from her early days in the industry was as someone who possessed great creativity, candor and congeniality; however, the first of those three “C’s” was suppressed during her time in Cedar Rapids. Upper management’s philosophy of local news and its purpose did not align with O’Brien’s long-term goals; therefore, she left Iowa after three years and moved to Jacksonville to take a job with First Coast News. Then, everything changed.

“It was [because of] the ownership group at First Coast News that I was truly able to embrace the creative person that I was at Ithaca [and] that I wanted to be in the field,” O’Brien stated. “….I can’t thank them enough for that opportunity to really tap back into that side of my brain and also giving me the opportunity to really attack any and every project I wanted to…. Whatever it was, they said ‘Here’s the trampoline – go jump on it.’”

For over two-and-a-half years on local news television in Jacksonville, O’Brien reported on the Jacksonville Jaguars and Florida Gators, along with other local high school and college sports teams.

She decided to make the move to work in radio on a full-time basis this past March. While the move may have seemed confusing to those on the outside, following a similar path to other women in the industry, including Vanessa Richardson of ESPN 97.5 Houston, made it less daunting for O’Brien.

After working as a co-host for the all-women sports show Helmets & Heels on 1010 XL/92.5 FM Jax Sports Radio for just over six months, O’Brien accepted her first Monday-to-Friday job at the station. In her new role, O’Brien has teamed up with Joe Cowart, Leon Searcy and Matt Hayes on XL Primetime, a midday trio that had fostered a working chemistry to create an entertaining and informative radio program. The co-hosts, along with show producer J.J. LaSelva, were welcoming and offered their assistance to O’Brien to help her assimilate into the show, and it was assistance that she certainly valued. Yet she knew through her previous experiences in media that chemistry is not fostered instantaneously and cannot usually be expedited. Thus, she studied the rhythm of the show and eventually found points where she could contribute.

“Getting used to the workflow; getting used to ‘Okay, this is where I step in [and] this is where I step out and I let everybody else talk.’ I knew it wasn’t going to be an overnight fix,” said O’Brien. “It’s still not completely 100% perfect and it never will be, but it definitely took a little bit of time.”

In terms of professional sports, Jacksonville, Fla. revolves around its NFL team, and the city also has franchises in the East Coast Hockey League and Indoor Arena League. Additionally, it is home to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, and the PGA Tour’s PLAYERS Championship often takes place just outside of the city. Being able to talk about the local teams, along with national sports news, has been a welcome change for O’Brien, who had grown accustomed to stringent time limits on her reporting in local news.

“We can talk NBA; we can talk other sports on radio because we have three hours a day to fill,” O’Brien said. “That’s been really fun because in local television, we don’t necessarily have that because… you’re only getting a minute-thirty for a story [and] three minutes for your sportscast so you’re really hyper local-focused. In radio, we can talk about whatever we’re feeling; whatever the news of the day is, and that has been really exciting because I do have a lot of interests.”

Even so, much of the listening audience in Jacksonville craves content related to the Jaguars, whether it be during the season or the offseason. O’Brien does more than just co-host the station’s midday sports radio show, but also manages its multimedia content, meaning she must have even more of an awareness of what resonates with the audience and the alacrity to deliver it to them.

“You have to pick and choose how you are strategic in what you put out there in terms of the content,” said O’Brien. “It’s been a learning process; it has been a learning curve… but it’s exciting and the hope is obviously down the line we’ll have an even better idea of what our audience wants.”

One of the ways in which 1010 XL/92.5 FM Jax Sports Radio has penetrated into the digital age of radio is by making sure all of its shows are supported with video, to ensure fans have multiple means of consumption and engagement. The 1980 hit single Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles has been proven wrong, according to O’Brien, for video is now enhancing the brand of the radio star and the content and ratings of their radio station.

“By streaming, not only do you tap into more potential consumers, but for us on the digital/multimedia side, it’s so much easier for me to press inpoint, outpoint [and] crop that clip if there’s a great moment from a show and then stick it on Instagram… TikTok… or Twitter,” said O’Brien. “It promotes our posts [and] gives the consumers an idea of who [the hosts] are and what they look like.”

One of O’Brien’s ongoing projects is working on the documentary series The Book of Bo, a look into the career of former Jacksonville Jaguars’ tackle Tony Boselli. The series will be released in various chapters, and will be made available in video form on Facebook and YouTube for fans to watch. Additionally, O’Brien has been appearing across station programming to play clips from each upcoming episode to create buzz and promote the series as a whole.

“I think it’s really cool that the station has supported initiatives like that, and moreover my general manager Steve Griffin has been amazing in terms of whatever I need, they go get for me,” said O’Brien. “They are ready to tap into the future and step into what multimedia sports coverage is going to be 10-20 years down the line, and I don’t think a lot of terrestrial radio stations could say that.”

Terrestrial radio as a means of transmission and paradigm on which to base content is not being eliminated; rather, it is simply being modified to be part of a multi-platform approach to creation and subsequent dissemination. Through this modern approach, stations like 1010 XL/92.5 Jax Sports Radio are able to remain at the forefront of innovation and find new ways to expand their body of consumers.

“I think what’s really cool is that the terrestrial radio station is obviously the backbone to everything we do; that’s what gives us the ability to take risks like what we’re doing with this project and so many others,” O’Brien explained. “But at the same time, you can still utilize it; it’s not like it’s going away. We are keeping terrestrial radio – that’s not going anywhere – it’s how we generate so much of our content. We can use the multimedia channels to also generate content that we can then put on terrestrial radio as well.”

Throughout this story, a theme you may have noticed is how O’Brien was consistently one of, if not the only woman working in sports media from the time she attended broadcasting camp. Although she has occasionally worked with other women in the industry, including ESPN’s Emily Kaplan who just served as the network’s lead hockey reporter during the Stanley Cup Finals, she never saw her situation as unique. Rather, she accepted it as an aspect of the intrinsic meritocracy of sports media and was thankful for her other colleagues for viewing her as another member of the team.

As the conversation around diversity has been amplified though, it has shifted her perspective and opened her eyes to the disparities that regrettably exist in sports media. O’Brien hopes to serve as an inspiration to girls looking to work in sports media, and is always willing to extend a helping hand to those who need it.

“That’s something I think I would have done anyway, but I think a lot of the conversations around women in sports and encouraging women to reach out to each other and to have this bond and commiserate about some of the nuances that go on in the industry – I think that has encouraged me not to just dismiss it as: ‘Well, I’m just one of the guys.’”

O’Brien is currently the only woman on the Jaguars’ beat on a day-to-day basis, continuing to prove women can work in all facets of the industry. There are obvious implications of the imbalance ingrained within parts of the industry, yet by taking action, people – whether they are directly affected or not – can right these wrongs to foster an environment of inclusivity and equity. Nonetheless, O’Brien and other women working in sports say they are selective in terms of what complaints they choose to publicly voice.

“The more flexible and adaptable you can be and the more you can laugh and just move past and kind of pick and choose your battles, the better off you’re going to be,” O’Brien said, “and also knowing there’s other women out there going through similar situations.”

It is evident that O’Brien enjoys the spontaneous nature of her career, being able to work on multiple projects varying in size and scope to bring content to sports fans inside and outside of Jacksonville. Much like Samantha Ponder, the former host of College GameDay on ESPN, O’Brien values versatility in media, and likes being able to do multiple things such as sideline reporting, hosting and audiovisual post-production work. As long as she continues to find new ways to differentiate herself in today’s media landscape by utilizing and enhancing the repertoire of skills she has been cultivating since broadcasting camp, O’Brien will “Catch ya later,” on whatever platform you choose.

“I knew very early on that sitting at a desk wasn’t going to be my M.O., and it still isn’t,” said O’Brien. “I also enjoy changing it up – whether that’s working on a video project one day; working on a podcast project the next day; meeting with clients a third day. I feel very lucky that this is a very big step forward towards that ultimate career goal of being a Swiss-army knife. Not that I wasn’t before, but I especially am now.”

BSM Writers

Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood

“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Derek Futterman




The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.

It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.

During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.

“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.

“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”

Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.

“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”

Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.

Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.

“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”

When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.

“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”

Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.

“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”

Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.

Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.

“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”

No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.

At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.

“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.

“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”

As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.

“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.

Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.

“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at

“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”

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BSM Writers

Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

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When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee. 

The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.

McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.

McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.

The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.

There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored. 

It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.

It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.

Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.

And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.

If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.  

Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.

If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable. 

It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.

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BSM Writers

5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit

“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”

Jeff Caves




Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain. 

Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:

  1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.  
  2. GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
  3. LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either. 
  4. SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email. 
  5. WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food. 

You’re welcome. 

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