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Bob Wischusen Wasn’t Sure the NHL on ESPN Would Ever Be A Possibility For Him

“That was one of the happiest days I’ve had. I immediately went right into my boss’s office and said I want to be involved in this.”

Ricky Keeler

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Bob Wischusen

One of the busiest sports play-by-play announcers all year-round has to be Bob Wischusen for ESPN. Whether it is calling the New York Jets, or a hockey, college football, or college basketball game for ESPN, Wischusen is on your radio or TV all-year round. He also understands that no one wants to hear how busy his schedule is once they turn on a game he is calling.

Wischusen was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and he told Schein that with the crazy schedule he has, the key is having a short-term memory and understanding no one wants to hear him complain about what he does for a living.

“You obviously have to kind of have the ability to wipe your short-term memory and move on to the next game. You have to obviously delegate your time somewhat effectively as well to make sure you are not chasing the next game, but you are out ahead of it.

“If I’m someone that wants to listen to the Jets game, I’m going to turn the game on and listen to the game. If I happen to be calling a hockey game between your favorite team and someone else, you don’t care what bowl game I called two days ago or how I got there and how little sleep I had, you just want to watch the game. I get it. No one wants to hear you or me complain about our jobs.”

When it was known that the NHL TV rights were going to go back to ESPN, Wischusen knew he wanted to get involved even though he hadn’t called a hockey game since he was a substitute play-by-play voice of the New York Rangers for MSG Network. He appreciated that ESPN took a chance and gave him an opportunity to call NHL games for the network.

“It was not something I really dared to dream was possible. My first play-by-play experience at the pro level was actually with the Rangers. I left WFAN and went over to MSG when I was still the pre and postgame host for the Jets and hadn’t been elevated to the play-by-play role yet. I was given the opportunity to be the substitute , pinch-hitting play-by-play guy for MSG and the majority of that was Rangers and a lot of it was radio. I loved it.

“That was one of the happiest days I’ve had. I immediately went right into my boss’s office and said I want to be involved in this. Luckily enough, they kind of took a little bit of a leap of faith and let me do it because I had not called hockey for certainly more than 10 years, maybe less than 15. It had been a long time. They had the belief I can do it and put me on it without really ever having heard me do it. I will be forever grateful for them for having that faith in me to give me that chance to do it again because it is great.”

While Wischusen used to be a sports talk radio host in the early stages of his career and he told Schein he does miss that aspect of what he does, he mentioned how he enjoys being part of the event when he does play-by-play rather than waiting for the event to be over when he was at WFAN in New York or WQAM-AM in Miami.

“Yes, because I think that what is in my DNA, you’re passionate about sports for whatever reason. I know I am. I don’t know why when I was 8, or 9, or 10 years I would watch these games on TV and I would emotionally get wrapped up in them…None of us can specifically say why. Because in my nature of irrationally caring about sports and sports events, you always want to scratch that itch and get your opinion out there and debate as well.

“If you were to ask me when I was 21, 22 years old, what would you like to do for the rest of your life? At the time, I would have said I want to be like Mike and the Mad Dog. You want to host afternoon drive and watch all the games and yell and scream at people about them the next day. What can be more fun than that?

“It did tilt more towards play-by-play because in my world, I started to understand it’s a lot of fun to be at the event. It’s great to be on before and after the event and to be waiting for the event to be over so that you can then vent about it, but nothing beats being at the event for me because I think part of that DNA I’m talking about is you love the games, you love the crowd, you love the drama, you love the strategy, all of that lends itself towards wanting to be there and in a very small way, being part of it.” 

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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