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Through Several Changes, Dan Bernstein Remains Chicago Radio Royalty

“I think there are artistic merits about whether or not a show is good. that is different [from] whether or not a show is making money.”

Derek Futterman

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From the moment Dan Bernstein arrived at Duke University in the fall of 1987, his intent was to become a lawyer. By the spring of 1987, he recognized that his goal had changed, aligning with his nascent love for sports and media. Hardly negligent in exploring opportunities on campus, Bernstein inquired about joining Cable 13, which was the first student-run and student-owned college television station in the United States. Once he was added to the talent roster, he formed a group of friends and was eager to have opportunities to cover events on and around campus as a journalist.

With its robust basketball program, Duke University attracted the attention of more than just college media outlets though, as there were, and remain, plenty of local and national writers and broadcasters on-site to cover Blue Devils basketball, lead at the time by its famed head coach Mike Krzyzewski (“Coach K”). Bernstein was quickly enamored with sports media and decided to dismiss his case of becoming a lawyer to build a career in it, preferably as a play-by-play announcer.

When he was young, Bernstein grew up as a sports fan and was familiar with sports broadcasting. However, sports talk radio as a format had not yet evolved into what it is today.

As a result, he never seriously considered it as a viable career profession, instead intending to study law. Yet once Bernstein discovered play-by-play, he began investing his time into improving his craft as an announcer and served in that role for both the basketball and football team during his time at the school.

Moreover, he had his first chance to participate in studio coverage as the Duke University Sports Center host, filling in for then-host and Duke basketball player Billy King (who would go on to be an NBA assistant coach and general manager). Working alongside the show’s producer, Bernstein honed his skills by contributing to the broadcast wherever he could in roles varying from voicing highlights to booking interviews.

“We had so much fun and so much access – starting to get press passes for the first time and being in and around professionals doing it – that it made me think about pursuing it more and pursuing some internships in the ensuing years and building out my work in the summers,” Bernstein said. “….[I] eventually [decided] that I would give it a shot when all was said and done with college because it seemed a hell of a lot more fun than being a lawyer.”

Throughout his time as an undergraduate student majoring in English, Bernstein looked for external opportunities to enhance his involvement with the on-campus television station and eventual foray into sports media. The first of those roles was public address announcing for the Madison Muskies, the then-Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, giving him access to the press box and the ability to make observations about working in professional sports.

The next summer though, Bernstein shifted his focus when he accepted an internship at WBBM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chicago: his first time working in a major market.

Working in news media rather than sports media differs in the subject matter being covered. However, many of the roles within that sector of the industry are quite analogous to those in the other. While he ultimately ended up in sports media, Bernstein always tried to stay informed on what was going on in the world and still does to this day, possessing a cognizance of its profound importance.

Having experience in both news and sports makes him a well-rounded and versatile broadcaster who, when the moment calls for it, is able to seamlessly make the transition from talking about sports to delivering and analyzing breaking news.

“There’s no such thing as sports writing; there’s no such thing as sports broadcasting,” Bernstein said. “There’s writing [and] there is broadcasting. The same skills one would use to cover a local school board meeting and ask questions to the people involved [are] the same skills one would use to have opinions or do analysis of government for the very same skills…. The idea of coverage in media and all of what we do – anybody who is good at it should be able to cover any aspect of it no matter what it is.”

Bernstein occasionally makes guest appearances on national news networks such as CNN and MSNBC to offer his opinion on topics unrelated to sports. Although he has not worked in news media since his internship with WBBM-TV, the experience it provided him was invaluable in shaping him into a multi-faceted broadcaster and commentator.

“In polarized times, the danger of segmenting the audience is always present,” expressed Bernstein, “but I still think that smart people can have discussions where larger contexts are understood if not necessarily addressed directly.”

Over his remaining years in school, Bernstein landed a sports internship at WTVD-TV, an ABC affiliate in Durham, N.C. where he had the opportunity to work behind the scenes for much of its sports coverage, such as broadcast-style writing, gathering and editing highlights and sometimes being able to conduct interviews. The station covered various college sports in the area, along with the Durham Bulls.

Prior to interning with WTVD-TV, Bernstein had taken it upon himself to find a way to get experience in a broadcast booth, whether that be as a play-by-play announcer or color commentator. Working alongside Craig Wallin, the radio voice of the then-Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox known as the South Bend White Sox, Bernstein was able to go behind the microphone and be on the radio call.

As an aspiring broadcaster, he looked up to former Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully and used him as inspiration to attempt to develop an on-air style, but doing that was more difficult than he originally surmised.

Once he was able to establish a distinctive style and continued to get more opportunities to practice calling games, Bernstein worked with multiple sports franchises over the ensuing years. His initial play-by-play career began as a baseball broadcaster for both minor league affiliates of the Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs.

Additionally, he served as the play-by-play voice of the Raleigh Bullfrogs of the Global Basketball Association, along with the Rockford Lightning in the Continental Basketball Association. These experiences calling different sports allowed Bernstein to get a broader view of play-by-play announcing and enhanced his ability to be a storyteller, especially within the parameters of aural mediums such as radio. Later in his career, he served as the voice of DePaul Blue Demons men’s basketball and the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League.

“Play-by-play is the ultimate form of journalism in that you are describing what you see as you see it and then providing context,” Bernstein said. “It depends if you are working with a partner or working with a two-person booth if the job is different. There is an immediacy to an encapsulated event that is different [from] showing up and talking about anything and everything.”

In 1995, Bernstein joined WSCR (“670 The Score”) as a reporter and anchor, but he had noticed the station long before that when it first launched on the 820 AM signal. At the time, Bernstein was working in nearby Rockford, Ill. and recognized the launch of a radio station broadcasting in the sports talk format akin to WFAN in New York – both of which were owned by the Infinity Broadcasting Corporation.

Once he joined the station, he was immediately thrust into action covering the Chicago Bulls’ three consecutive league championships from 1996 to 1998, the second time the franchise achieved this feat in the decade. Today, he still writes about sports as 670 The Score’s senior columnist

“I just thought ‘Wow, how cool is this? They talk [about] Chicago sports all day, every day,’ and it was just kind of a novelty,” Bernstein said. “Falling in there to that reporters’ opportunity having a foot in the door and being able to move back to my hometown – I would like to say that there was some grand plan to want to be a sports talk host but I never really had the opportunity to want to do it until I was doing it.”

Four years after joining 670 The Score, Bernstein became a full-time on-air host and was paired with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Terry Boers on the eponymous radio program Boers and Bernstein. The show was centered around various recurring segments, some of which involved callers, and the frequent disagreements the hosts would have both internally and externally.

Additionally, the hosts did impersonations of figures in Chicago sports, including broadcasters Steve Stone and Len Kasper.

The show lasted for nearly 17 years before Boers’ departure from the station and was the longest-running sports talk radio show in the city of Chicago, achieving success in the ratings over the years across multiple dayparts. Both hosts closely followed Chicago sports teams and came to the studio each day with topics they believed would be entertaining and engaging for the listening audience to hear about.

“I think if anything we tried to balance the inherent absurdity of sports talk with, at times, the seriousness of sports talk on its merits,” Bernstein said. “It’s something that I think our partnership was forged in a way that we both felt strongly on where that line was and when it was time to be serious and when it was time to be ridiculous, understanding the very nature of the enterprise could in and of itself be ridiculous.”

Bernstein was aware of his role as a host to focus on the on-air content and what would keep people coming back to listen to the show again as regular consumers. His hosting style, as he puts it, is something he is not able to accurately delineate; instead, he simply speaks when the on-air light turns red and stops when it turns off.

Instead, it is ultimately the role of producers and programmers to closely follow the ratings to ensure the profitability of the show and the listeners to define his hosting style.

“I think there are artistic merits about whether or not a show is good. that is different [from] whether or not a show is making money,” Bernstein explained. “Ultimately our success or failure, especially at a publicly-traded company, is going to be judged by that. Whether or not I think a show was entertaining or good or funny or important or clever will often be entirely independent of any of the objective metrics that would measure it.”

Authenticity is an essential trait for radio broadcasters to have in today’s era and it is something Bernstein unequivocally demonstrates as a sports talk radio show host. Part of that comes in his preparation for shows, nearly all of which are done without writing down notes or key points beforehand, and reacting in the moment to dialogue being had or relevant and topical events.

“The only notes I’ve ever started a show with would be a general one-word or two-word phrase for a segment just so I know what to tease going into the segment,” Bernstein revealed. “Everything else just comes right out.”

Mitch Rosen has been a consistent presence, colleague and friend of Bernstein’s who was central in making programming decisions as program director of 670 The Score. Rosen remains with the station as its PD but has since added director of operations duties for the BetQL Network.

Having known each other for an extended period of time, there are several factors that remain critical in Rosen and Bernstein maintaining a productive and professional relationship.

“Communication – I think on a friendship level – and on a professional level of being able to speak frankly and being able to be aware of everything that’s going on and never having too much of an ego, being able to take criticism and always knowing that our dialogue can go in both directions,” Bernstein said. “That’s not just for me, I think that’s for all the hosts. I can’t individually speak for everybody, but I know that his style is one that is very talent-friendly and is aware of some of the unique idiosyncrasies that the people who do what we do can tend to have.”

Boers’ departure from 670 The Score in late 2016 resulted in Bernstein having to pair with a new co-host for the first time during his tenure at the station. Jason Goff, who was the longtime producer of Boers and Bernstein, took over as the co-host of the program, resulting in a change in the dynamic of the show. After all, the goal of the new program was not to replicate Boers and Bernstein; rather it was to craft its own sound and type of coaction that would generate informative and entertaining sports talk radio.

“Every show has its own feel [and] its own characteristic, and I don’t think any partnership should ever try to chase what any other show did – especially because all of these creative endeavors are so specific to a time and a place,” Bernstein said. “You couldn’t do the Boers and Bernstein show now; it would be canceled after the first segment. Any individual show that we did would be a scandal because the rules are different now.”

In November 2017, 670 The Score – which was under ownership by CBS Radio – along with several other stations under that umbrella were purchased by Entercom (renamed “Audacy”) in a merger deal worth approximately $1.7 billion. Experienced radio executive Jimmy de Castro was subsequently announced as the new market manager and senior vice president of Entercom Chicago, meaning that he would oversee the company’s seven Chicago-based radio stations.

De Castro sought to consolidate operations by making more efficient use of office space and the advertising workforce, along with revamping programming on 670 The Score to ensure it would continue to both innovate and sustain its success. Part of that decision involved overhauling Bernstein’s program by terminating Goff and having Bernstein briefly host shows solo until Goff’s replacement was found.

Connor McKnight, a sports broadcaster who also received his undergraduate degree majoring in English, albeit at the University of Wisconsin, was chosen to be Bernstein’s new co-host, officially forming Bernstein and McKnight. McKnight had a previous stint working at 670 The Score after he won a talent search competition but left to work with WLS-AM as the host of Chicago White Sox pregame and postgame coverage. The duo worked together for just over two years before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in layoffs of several Entercom employees including McKnight.

During the nine months in which Bernstein was without a co-host, the world grappled with the reality of a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic and did everything possible to try to quickly cease its spread. Sports leagues initially came to a halt as basketball and hockey were on the cusp of their playoffs and baseball was nearly set to break spring training and begin the season. For nearly a month beginning in mid-April 2020, Michael Jordan reemerged into the spotlight with the premiere of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “The Last Dance.” During the summer months, many sports leagues finally returned to finish their respective seasons in bubble formats without fans in attendance.

Sports talk radio had changed as well, superficially in terms of topic selection but also regarding how it would reach listeners, many of whom were not traveling nearly as much as before. As the industry innovated and redoubled its efforts to prioritize the evolution of digital platforms, 670 The Score announced the addition of Leila Rahimi, the first time the station named a woman as a weekday daytime host.

Rahimi, who joined the station in January 2021 after being laid off by NBC Sports Chicago, worked with Bernstein on the Bernstein and Rahimi show. Rahimi was known on the program due to her previous weekly appearances on Wednesdays and the new duo experienced success in the ratings, achieving a 5.9 share among the men aged 25-54 listener demographic in the Nielsen summer 2021 ratings book.

Despite the success, though, she always had a desire to return to working in television. In April 2022, Rahimi broke another boundary by becoming the lead sports anchor on NBC5 Chicago, the first time a woman would hold that role. While she no longer hosts on the station full-time, she does make weekly appearances on the new Bernstein and Holmes show for “Leila Wednesdays.”

“Her contribution to the show remains very, very strong and her importance to the brand of the Bernstein and Holmes show is still tremendously important,” Bernstein expressed. “….I want what is absolutely best for her and it turns out that we were able to have our cake and eat it too to be able to continue doing a dynamic radio show with her involved in it.”

Over their careers, both Dan Bernstein and Laurence Holmes have experienced sustained levels of success as sports talk radio hosts. His fourth partner in seven years since the departure of Boers, Holmes was hosting nighttime shows solo on 670 The Score before being added to middays, initially a source of stress for him.

Since they began working together in June, the show has been well-received by listeners, being voted as the best daytime sports radio show in a recent survey by The Athletic. The fit has been “natural from the very start,” according to Bernstein, who described the dynamic of two hosts with vast experience hosting programs solo akin to the sport he covered on the hardwood early in his reporting days

“It’s the equivalent of having a backcourt with two guards who can play on-the-ball or off-the-ball and are equally comfortable understanding when someone else is better off with the ball or when you’re better off with the ball and initiating the offense,” he said. “I’ve worked with Laurence for years in so many different capacities and we have such a long and shared history that it has come naturally in a way that doesn’t surprise me at all.”

Being able to gauge the interest level regarding certain topics among Chicago sports fans has changed in the sense that there is more synergy between people taking place on social media platforms. Even though social media was not yet developed when Bernstein began hosting in 1999, he has been able to adapt and use the platform to his advantage; in fact, he was voted in the aforementioned survey by The Athletic as the top sports-related Twitter user to follow regarding Chicago sports. Not everything on one’s social media feed, though, should be solely related to sports as it fails to put larger events into context.

“Follow accounts that are funny, informative and interesting,” Bernstein suggested, “and I think importantly – and I think this has been a significant thread to all the shows that we’ve done – where we may not be talking about the world outside of sports [but] it is critical to be aware of everything else that matters so much more. Without a larger context regarding everything that’s happening in the world, the sports become elevated to a level of significance it doesn’t really deserve.”

For aspiring broadcasters looking to work within sports media, Bernstein reminds them not to limit their options to just that; instead, it is better to be versatile and have the ability to work in different areas of media altogether. From the moment you begin in the industry at any level though, it is essential one holds themself to a standard by recognizing their own ability and areas in which they can make improvements by emulating strong broadcasters and frequently critiquing oneself. Aside from the craft though, there is a piece of advice Bernstein gives to those beginning in an industry where it can be difficult to build and maintain a steady career.

“Take care of your parents, especially in the early stages of this business,” he said. “Without supportive, loving parents – and sometimes without supportive, loving parents with enough disposable income to get you through some of the lean times – you’re already at a major disadvantage. The best thing you can have are people who are helping you and rooting for you as well.”

BSM Writers

Colorado Hiring Deion Sanders Will Be Constant Gift for College Football Media

“If Coach Prime achieves the same sort of success that he did with the Tigers, he will be far more than a curiosity. Sanders will be a disruptor.”

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Deion Sanders quickly made it clear why the University of Colorado chose him to be its next head football coach.

Coming off a weekend in which the four College Football Playoff teams were announced and all of the other bowl-eligible teams accepted their invitations, Colorado — which went 1-11 this past season — made news for hiring Sanders, the former NFL star who was phenomenally successful at Jackson State.

The media that covers college football and sports as a whole should be thrilled that the Buffaloes program decided to take a big leap for attention and notoriety. Sanders is a bold, risky hire. But he’s also been successful in virtually every venture he’s taken. “Primetime” had a Hall of Fame NFL career and also played Major League Baseball. And he’s a master at drawing attention to himself.

During his first meeting with his new team, Sanders made sure to mention that he has Louis Vuitton luggage to make the point that some of his Jackson State players are coming with him to Boulder — including his son, quarterback Shadeur Sanders. Nick Saban and Kirby Smart probably don’t cite luxury fashion when explaining to their players that they’ll have to compete for starting positions.

Coach Prime will not be boring to cover. (That self-appointed “Coach Prime” title, which was on his name plate at his introductory press conference, is a big clue there.) He never has been. This is a man who said during the 1989 NFL Draft, after being selected No. 5 overall by the Atlanta Falcons, that if the Detroit Lions had selected him at No. 3, he “would’ve asked for so much money, they’d have had to put me on layaway.”

Even if he doesn’t win as much as Colorado hopes, Sanders will pursue top talent — players who want to perform on a larger stage than the FCS-level Jackson State allows — and impact athletes will be attracted to him. He got the No. 1 recruit in the nation, cornerback and wide receiver Travis Hunter, to play for him. (Hunter is following his coach to Boulder.) Now that Sanders is at an FBS school in a Power 5 conference, more stars will surely come.

But if Coach Prime achieves the same sort of success that he did with the Tigers — going 27-5 in three seasons, including a 12-0 campaign in 2022 — he will be far more than a curiosity. Sanders will be a disruptor. And he’ll get the attention that such figures typically draw from media and fans. According to the Denver Post‘s Sean Keeler, at least 400 people attended what felt more like a celebration than a press conference.

Coach Prime wasn’t going to just win the press conference, which is what any school and fanbase want when a new coach is introduced.

If Colorado wanted someone to sit at a podium, and give platitudes like “We want to win the Pac-12 and get to the College Football Playoff,” “We’re going to build a program with young men you’ll be proud of,” or “It’s time to restore Colorado to the football glory we remember,” Sanders isn’t the guy for that.

“Do I look like a man that worries about anything? Did you see the way I walked in here? Did you see the swagger that was with me?” Sanders said during his introductory presser. “Worry? Baby, I am too blessed to be stressed. I have never been one for peer pressure. I put pressure on peers. I never wanted to worry, I make people worry. I don’t get down like that. I am too darn confident. That is my natural odor.”

To no surprise, Sanders announced his presence in Boulder with authority. He had cameras following him as he met with Colorado players for the first time. How many other coaches would have recorded what many would see as a private moment for posterity and post it online?

Sanders caused a stir by putting his players on notice. He warned them he was coming, telling them they’ll be pushed so hard they might quit. He told them to enter the transfer portal and go someplace else if they don’t like what he and his staff are going to do.

That candor, that brutal honesty surprised many fans and media when they saw it Monday morning. For some, that message might have felt too familiar. How many in media — or many other industries — have worried about their job status when a new boss takes over? What may have seemed secure days earlier is now uncertain.

But how do we know other coaches haven’t said something similar when taking over at a new job and addressing their team? We just hadn’t seen it before. But Sanders has been in the media. He knows social media. He understands controlling his own message and telling his story.

Sanders also knows what kind of value he brings to any venture he takes on. How many people would have left an NFL Network gig for Barstool Sports? But Sanders went to where his star would shine, where he was the main show, where he could be Deion Sanders. Maybe he’ll have to turn that down just a bit at Colorado. But athletic director Rick George knows who he hired.

Colorado could have made a safer choice, including previous head coaches Tom Herman, Bronco Mendenhall, or Gary Patterson. A top assistant from one of this year’s Playoff contenders — such as Georgia’s Todd Monken, USC’s Alex Grinch, Alabama’s Bill O’Brien, or Michigan’s Sherrone Moore — could also have been an option.

But what fun would that have been? What kind of tremor would Colorado have created in the college football news cycle? How much attention would a more conventional hire have received? Yes, Sanders has to recruit and win. However, if the objective was to make Colorado football a talking point again, that’s been accomplished.

There could be some friction too. Sanders has already been criticized for being a champion of HBCUs, only to bolt for a mainstream Power 5 program when the opportunity opened. (To be fair, other columnists have defended the move.)

At Jackson State, Sanders tried to control local media when he didn’t like how reporters were addressing him or covering a story. Last year during Southwestern Athletic Conference Media Day, he balked at a Clarion-Ledger reporter addressing him as “Deion,” not “Coach,” insisting that Nick Saban would’ve been shown that respect. Earlier this season, Sanders admonished a school broadcaster (and assistant athletic director) for speaking to him more formally on camera than he did off-camera.

Will that fly among Boulder and Denver media, or the national college football press? It’s difficult to imagine. Maybe Sanders will ease back on his efforts to control reporters within a larger university environment, metropolitan area, and media market. But we’re also talking about Deion Sanders here. He doesn’t bend to outside forces. He makes them bend to him.

Sanders’ stint in Boulder — whether it lasts the five years of his contract and beyond, or less than that — will not be dull. There could be no better gift for the media covering Colorado football. Or college football, a sport already full of bold personalities, eccentric to unhinged fanbases, and outsized expectations. Coach Prime will fit right in.

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BSM Writers

The Media Is Finally Strong Enough To Take On The Rose Bowl

“The whole Rose Bowl organization is stuck in a black and white TV world. The future playoff is Marty McFly stepping out of a Delorean and the Rose Bowl is the Enchantment Under the Seas Dance.”

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I am a sucker for packaging. Take me to a grocery store and show me a uniquely packaged sauce or condiment or waffle syrup and I’ll give it a try just based on bottle size or design. The one packaging ploy that has vexed me is the “biggie size” at the local drive through. I’m always interested in the largest drink possible but don’t necessarily want a grain silo full of fries passed through my window. The College Football Playoff is going “biggie sized” in 2024 and I’ll take all of that I can get.

The College Football Playoff Committee made official last week what had long been speculated, that the four-team playoff field would increase to 12 teams starting with the 2024 season. This was an inevitable move for money and access reasons. The power conferences and Notre Dame stand to gain significantly in TV revenue and the “non-power” conferences finally get the consistent access they have long craved.

What may have finally pushed the new playoff over the finish line was the end of an ultimate game of chicken between college football powers and the Rose Bowl.

There is a scene from the movie The Hunt for Red October when the rogue Russian nuclear submarine is trying to avoid a torpedo from another Russian submarine. The American captain, aptly played by Scott Glenn, tells Jack Ryan; “The hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to flinch.”

The Rose Bowl finally flinched.

The only thing that delayed an earlier move to this new world was the insistence of the Rose Bowl Game to cling to the bygone era of the antiquated bowl system. Only in college football could an organization that runs a parade hold such outsized influence but, until recently, the Big Ten and PAC 12 gladly enabled their addiction to a specific television time slot.

Dan Wetzel is a Yahoo! Sports National Columnist, he also wrote the book Death to the BCS which laid out a very early argument for dumping the bowl system for a Playoff.

“The single hardest thing to explain to people is that the Rose Bowl and its obsession of having the sunset in the third quarter of its game was a serious impediment to a billion dollar playoff,” Wetzel wrote. 

Wetzel makes the point that simply moving the game up one hour would’ve helped the playoff TV schedule immensely, “They were adamant that they get to have an exclusive window on New Year’s Day, the best time of all, not only would they not give that up but they wouldn’t even move it an hour earlier (to help Playoff television scheduling) because then the sun would set at halftime.  It was so absurd but for a lot of years they got so much protection.”

We may never know what it was that finally forced the Rose Bowl to play ball with the rest of the college football world. There are many possibilities, not the least of which was the presence of SoFi Stadium just down the road. The College Football Playoff committee could have always taken the bold step of scheduling games at SoFi, in the Los Angeles market, opposite the Rose Bowl TV window to try to squeeze them out.

It is also possible the Rose Bowl scanned the landscape and realized that, if a 12-team playoff already existed, their 2023 game would’ve been Washington (10-2) versus Purdue (8-5). That shock of reality came with the understanding Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Utah and USC would enthusiastically choose a 12 team playoff bid over a Rose Bowl invite. That was the future the Rose Bowl faced with the departure of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten and the 12 team playoff gobbling up the top remaining PAC 12 teams.

I have proposed that theory to many people in the college football world and have received some version of this response from many of them: “They really wouldn’t care who is playing as long as they can still have their parade.”

That is one of the issues at play here; in many ways, the whole Rose Bowl organization is stuck in a black and white TV world. The future playoff is Marty McFly stepping out of a Delorean and the Rose Bowl is the Enchantment Under the Seas Dance.

One other possibility is that the television executives of the major networks, primarily FOX, may have put the pressure on the Big Ten and Pac 12 to have a little less interest in keeping college football stuck in the late 1970’s. It makes sense, FOX has nothing to gain by the Rose Bowl keeping influence. Fox may have everything to gain by getting a media rights cut of the future playoff. Many believe FOX was a driving force behind USC and UCLA bolting to the Big Ten. If that much is true, pressing for less Rose Bowl influence is child’s play.

No matter what was the catalyst to the expanded playoff, it worked and the fans benefited. College football is moving into a brave new world all because the college football powers finally stood up to the old man yelling at the clouds.

Turns out, it was all a game of chicken. And the Rose Bowl flinched.

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BSM Writers

Andrew Perloff Learned From The Master of Sports Radio on Television

“I think I’m really lucky because I went from a really fun and supportive place in the Dan Patrick Show and have now transitioned into what I would also call a very fun and supportive place at CBS Sports Radio/Audacy.”

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It’s a fact of life that not everybody loves their job. To have a job that you love and have fun at is pretty special. For Andrew Perloff, life is good.

“I’m just watching so much sports during the week,” said Perloff. “I don’t come up for air watching sports and I love that.  And the fact that we get paid to sit on the couch for 72 hours…oh my God…it really is the best job in the world.”

That job is being the co-host of Maggie & Perloff weekdays from 3pm to 6pm eastern time on CBS Sports Radio and simulcast on CBS Sports Network. Perloff was an on-air personality on The Dan Patrick Show beginning in 2009 before making the switch to CBS Sports Radio for the new show with Maggie Gray that launched this past January.

And so far, the move has worked out.

“I’m really happy,” said Perloff. “I think I’m really lucky because I went from a really fun and supportive place in the Dan Patrick Show and have now transitioned into what I would also call a very fun and supportive place at CBS Sports Radio/Audacy. I miss the DP Show but I love my new co-workers. (Vice President of Programming) Spike Eskin and (New York Market President) Chris Oliviero have been great. We get a lot of support and a lot of help from those guys and they’ve made the transition so much easier.”

When a new radio program begins, chemistry between the hosts is vital to the success of the growth and success of the show. In the case of Maggie & Perloff, they had an existing friendship from their time working together at Sports Illustrated. 

And that relationship is certainly evident to the listeners.

“I’m having a great time with Maggie,” said Perloff who was an editor and contributing writer at Sports Illustrated and SI.com. “We knew each other pretty well at Sports Illustrated. We’ve been friends for a while now. I have gotten to know her a lot better through the show. It took a couple of months to really find our rhythm and get the show to where we wanted to get it.”

There has been a fun and evolving dynamic to the on and off-air chemistry between the hosts.  Perloff is from Philadelphia and a die-hard Eagles fan while Gray is a fan of the Buffalo Bills.  The Eagles have the best record in the NFC at 11-1 while the Bills are among the best teams in the AFC at 9-3.

Perloff has come to understand just how much Gray loves the Bills and there is a chance that their two teams could meet come February 12th in Arizona for Super Bowl LVII.

“She’s a very passionate Buffalo Bills fan,” said Perloff.  “I always knew that, but to actually sit there on a daily basis and see her sweat out every detail about the Buffalo Bills has been a lot of fun.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’re on a collision course for the Super Bowl and we’re already trying to figure out a Super Bowl bet.”

The easy wager to set up would involve food.

If the Bills win, Perloff would have to give Gray some Philly cheesesteaks.

If the Eagles win, Gray would have to furnish Perloff with some Buffalo Wings.

But it appears as if management wants there to be more at stake for the potential bet.

“Our boss wants us to do something more severe,” said Perloff. “The truth is I’m an Eagles fan so I’ve already won my Super Bowl. Maggie, on the other hand, has no idea what that feels like. I almost feel sorry for her because it’s tough being a Bills fan.

“We have a pretty big rivalry with our team because she’s a Mets fan and I’m a Phillies fan. We get along great expect for those areas.”

The Maggie & Perloff chemistry extends throughout the show and that includes producer Michael Samtur who has his own rooting interests.

Samtur is a fan of the New York Jets who are having a better-than-expected season.

“When the Jets win, I don’t want to see Mike on Monday mornings because he’s smiling so much,” said Perloff. “He’s an unbelievably cynical Jets fan…it’s hysterically funny.

“Mike is doing a great job. It’s really an all-hands-on deck show. I think we all sort of kind of wear each other’s hats at certain times.”

An added element to the show is that it is also simulcast on CBS Sports Network. If there’s one thing that Perloff learned from working with Dan Patrick — who also has a simulcast on television — is that the program is a radio show that just happens to have cameras in the studio. At the end of the day, it’s a radio show on television and not a television show on the radio.

“That’s also my philosophy,” said Perloff. “From a logistical standpoint, to do a good radio show you can’t really focus on the TV side of it. For us, the foundation of the base is to really focus on the radio show and the TV and video comes naturally after that.”

Perloff’s resume also includes writing and co-writing an assortment of magazine stories, books, and television shows while also hosting his own weekend show on NBC Sports Radio from 2016 to 2019. But it was working on The Dan Patrick Show where he learned an important aspect of being a talk show host that he continues to live by at CBS Sports Radio.

What he learned was that you just have to be yourself.

“Dan always wanted us to be authentic in the sense that don’t try to be someone you’re not,” said Perloff. “Don’t try to come up with hot takes just for the sake of hot takes. When you listen to Dan Patrick on the radio, you’re really hearing Dan. He’s not a radically different person off air.”

This is a huge time of the year for sports radio. 

The NFL’s regular season is winding down and college football is heading towards bowl season and the College Football Playoff. Throw in the NBA, college basketball, NHL, and the World Cup and there’s so much going on in the sports world to talk about. 

Perloff can’t get enough of it.

“I love it so much,” said Perloff. “College football is just huge right now. When we bring up a college football story, the phone lines just light up which I think is a reflection of the growing interest in that sport. This is the best time of the year. It’s incredible.”

As Maggie & Perloff head towards their first anniversary on the air, there are goals and expectations heading into 2023. The show has grown tremendously over the course of the first year and while that may have occurred faster than expected, the hope is that the trend continues.

“I’ve been a little surprised by how fast the audience has grown and our connection with the audience,” said Perloff. “One of the great things about The Dan Patrick Show was the community feel with the show and all of the listeners. That’s definitely growing with us and I’d like to see that really take off next year. It makes it so much more fun when you’re doing the show and everybody is along for the ride.”

It’s been a great ride so far and it should be interesting to see what happens if that ride includes an Andrew Perloff vs Maggie Gray Super Bowl matchup in February. It’s not even because the breakdown of Eagles vs Bills would be fascinating but the audience wants more.

That Super Bowl bet would certainly be intriguing.   

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