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Noah Eagle Brings a Hardcore Attitude Everywhere

“It wasn’t necessarily the glitz and glamor. It was the relationships; it was the preparation; it was the craft.”

Derek Futterman




If you have ever been on a job interview, the thought of having to field questions from a hiring manager or executive can be intimidating – especially if it is in your first search for a job, internship or some professional occupation. At the end of his interview for a broadcast position with the Los Angeles Clippers, Noah Eagle was given the opportunity to ask questions in return. He asked what qualities the team was looking for in a broadcaster. His interviewer looked him dead-on in the eyes and replied, “Someone who’s hardcore.”

His interviewer happened to be former Microsoft CEO, business mogul, and Clippers Owner and Chairman Steve Ballmer. Eagle had taken a business trip across the country to partake in this interview as one of the finalists to join the Clippers’ broadcast team out of college.

Eagle, 25, had prepared for this moment from the time he was young growing up around his father: sportscaster Ian Eagle. Whether it was through osmosis or inquisitiveness, Noah became infatuated with sports media at the age of 13 and knew he would find a way to work in the field. On top of that, he knew he had limited athletic ability and yearned to find a way to remain involved in the world of sports.

“I saw him every morning wake up and be excited to go to work; to be excited to do the prep; to be excited to interact with people,” Eagle said of his father. “That’s what drew me to it. It wasn’t necessarily the glitz and glamor. It was the relationships; it was the preparation; it was the craft.”

Eagle was ambitious and adopted a growth mindset, looking to parlay his early experience accompanying his father at games and knowledge regarding how to conduct himself in a professional environment to move ahead in the industry.

On top of that, he began to study his father and other broadcasters to try and determine what made them stand out from others. He would then identify unique parts of their styles and incorporate them into his own. Moreover, he asked his father to provide his opinion on certain aspects of his findings, accessibility to a professional that helped him immensely in his development.

“I was fortunate with him that then I had somebody to bounce that off to now share my findings with and say, ‘Is this how you see it? How do you think that this could work?,’ and he’s always there,” Eagle said of his father. “I know that’s not just for me. He’s that way with a lot of people; a lot of young broadcasters [and] he’s very gracious with his time. I was very fortunate for so many reasons and him being probably the number one reason on that list.”

As a high school student, Eagle recognized his abilities as a public speaker and sought to develop them by serving on the school’s student council and writing the sports column in its newspaper. Yet Eagle did not genuinely immerse himself in sports media until he reached college, but the process of selecting Syracuse University, a place where both of his parents matriculated, was not a foregone conclusion from the start of his college search.

After his first visit to Syracuse, on a day where it was 75 degrees Fahrenheit, he did not believe he could go there simply because it did not feel right to him. His parents were determined in helping him find a place where he would be comfortable and that had a robust sports media program; therefore, they traveled to several schools throughout the country including UCLA, Indiana, and Miami.

Yet Syracuse was always in the back of his mind as a potential landing spot and he gave the school a second chance by visiting before the start of his senior year of high school. During that visit though, his mother gave him an experience deviating from the standard recruitment proceedings during which she took him on a personalized tour of the school from her perspective as a former student.

“About 15 minutes into our drive home… she said, ‘Well, what do you think this time?,’” Eagle remembered. “I said I would apply early decision. It was just that extra viewing of some of the other spots…. [and] that feeling [that] you know it’s the right spot for you.”

From the moment he began at Syracuse University, Eagle’s goal was to join the campus radio station, WAER-FM, as soon as he possibly could. He arrived early to the information session, adding his name on a list with an indefatigable mindset of doing whatever it would take to quickly establish himself and gain experience. Syracuse University is well-known for its alumni network in sports media, attracting many students to its campus each year. As a result, it is a competitive environment in which students gain real-world experience and are required to go the extra mile to earn air time.

“I think the competitive nature pushes you to be the best version of yourself every day just because you know the man or woman next to you is doing the same thing,” Eagle said. “It is also very supportive. Everybody, at least in my experience, is supportive and wants to see everybody succeed. That’s a healthy competition; a healthy drive to be the best.”

Part of joining WAER-FM was having to wake up at the crack of dawn once per week to go to the station to record a sportscast that would not hit the airwaves. He knew from his father, who initially decided not to join the station because of it, that it was a necessary inconvenience to embrace and make the most of.

From there, he called Syracuse Orangemen basketball, football and lacrosse games on the station and became involved with other student media outlets such as CitrusTV and Z89 (WJPZ-FM). Eagle not only sought to develop his skills in sports broadcasting, but also in performing other types of roles in media – including anchoring news coverage and in-arena hosting for events ranging from new student welcomes to midnight madness.

“Every sport; every category; anything else in-between – I just said, ‘Give it to me. I’ll try the challenge. I’ll see if I can make it work,’” Eagle said. “That was the best thing I did because it allowed me to learn what I really like; what I really don’t like; what I want to do long term and then I went from there.”

During his early days at Syracuse University though, Eagle decided not to use his last name, introducing himself to colleagues and friends simply as ‘Noah.’ Once his father heard this, he had a conversation with his son that changed his perspective, saying he had nothing to be ashamed of and that he should embrace his roots. On top of that, it was and remains best practice to divulge your surname in professional environments.

“I should be very proud not just of him but of my mom and my sister and where I come from and the people [who] came before us and the generation before us,” Eagle said. “I shouldn’t run away from that.  He’s well known as a really good person, first and foremost, and that’s what I care about more than anything else. I am proud to be attached to that and I am proud to continue that legacy the best I can.”

In his junior year, Eagle had the opportunity to host his own radio show on SiriusXM’s ESPNU and ACC channels. Moreover, he covered events for NBA Entertainment, such as the NBA Summer League, NBA Draft Lottery, and the G-League Winter Showcase – and worked at the U.S. Open for the Tennis Channel. Gaining this professional experience helped further enhance his portfolio and made him a multi-faceted, skilled broadcaster on the marketplace – although he did not remain there very long if at all.

Eagle became just the second Syracuse University graduate to start broadcasting in the NBA immediately after his graduation (Greg Papa joined the Indiana Pacers’ broadcast team out of college in 1984). Just how this all came together was a combination of extraordinary talent and timing, the latter which was simply out of his control.

As an undergraduate senior, Eagle was told to send his résumé and demo reel to Olivia Stomski, the director of the Newhouse Sports Media Center at Syracuse University. He was not aware that the opening was to broadcast games for the Clippers, but nonetheless provided the materials requested from him. 

Approximately a month-and-a-half later, Eagle received a call from a Los Angeles area code on his cell phone. After some initial hesitation regarding answering the call, he decided to accept and heard Nick Davis, vice president of production for FOX Sports West and Prime Ticket, on the other end. He told him that the network was looking to compile a new broadcast team for the Clippers and that they were interested in flying him in to Los Angeles to audition for the television play-by-play job.

Following calling a pre-recorded Clippers game against the Boston Celtics, he flew back to Syracuse, unclear of how he had done – but if anything, had just gained invaluable real-world experience in landing a job. It turns out he did well enough to make it to the next round of interviews, which would be with team owner Steve Ballmer, and possessed the same mindset that even if he did not land the job, he at least was becoming familiar with the process of a job search.

“I went in with this mentality and I think it helped me because the nerves were just gone,” Eagle said. “I didn’t have any nerves. I walked in there and just said, ‘I’m going to be me and whatever happens happens.’ I got very fortunate in that point just because whatever I did worked. Once I realized that whatever I did worked, I just kept doing it.”

Once he concluded his interview with Ballmer, Eagle remembered calling his parents and saying that he was unsure if he would land the job, but at least he was completely honest rather than telling the team owner what he wanted to hear. Speaking with candor and probity kept Eagle grounded, refusing to abandon his moral principles throughout the process of trying to land a coveted role in the country’s second-largest media marketplace.

“Steve is probably the smartest guy in every room that he’s in, but you would never know it,” Eagle said. “He’s very normal [and] just down-to-earth. He wants knowledge; he’s naturally curious [and] genuine. He was asking me questions and actually wanted to know the answers, [such as,] ‘What do you think of the future of broadcasting? Where do you think this is going? Do you take classes on this? How do you feel about this?’”

In addition to his work with the Clippers Noah Eagle has served as the preseason voice of the Los Angeles Chargers Photo provided by Eagle

In the end, the organization decided to move radio play-by-play announcer Brian Sieman to the television broadcast, replacing Ralph Lawler. That created an opening on the radio side, distributed to multiple broadcast outlets on terrestrial and digital platforms, and one the organization decided Noah Eagle was best suited to fill. As soon as he received the formal job offer, Eagle emphatically accepted and prepared to make the move across the country to the “City of Angels.”

As is in the case in most new jobs, there is a lot to quickly grasp and learn to effectively perform your role. Having his father as a resource was especially helpful in determining how to best prepare, conduct himself and adjust to his new lifestyle. Whenever he did not know what to do, he fell back on Ballmer’s answer of being “hardcore,” and that state of being uncomfortable began from the onset – as Eagle was hired to do the games solo.

“It’s not just by yourself for a game or two; it’s 82 games plus preseason plus playoffs,” Eagle said. “That part was the most daunting where I looked at it and it’s like, ‘How am I going to fill an entire game alone?’ Now I look at it and laugh that I was even ever questioning it because it’s just become second nature.”

Keeping an audience interested and focused on the game throughout the duration of a radio broadcast can be difficult with the amount of external distractions and sources of entertainment available to consumers today.

For Eagle, broadcasting in a city with regular congestion and standstill traffic jams certainly works to his benefit. However, sports are far from the only format on terrestrial and satellite radio – plus there are audiobooks, podcasts and other forms of aural entertainment with which to compete. As a result, Eagle does his best to make the broadcast sound as if there are multiple voices behind the microphone telling the story of the game, almost maintaining different characters.

“Most people that talk to [themselves] get labeled as insane; I get paid to do it,” Eagle remarked. “It’s a pretty good gig [and] I’m lucky [that] I’ve got good people around me. I’ve got a lot of help from engineers and our host Adam Auslund does great work.”

When Eagle was broadcasting within the auspices of a college radio station, the broadcasters were often relegated to locations with vantage points that were not always the easiest to work with. A part of Eagle’s development, therefore, was to find other ways to see the game and depict what was going on to the audience.

Although the vantage points for NBA broadcasts are usually better than those at the college level, they do not all have an unimpeded view of the game. Oddly enough, it gives Eagle somewhat of an advantage over more seasoned broadcasters placed in a similar situation – as he is not too far removed from participating in college broadcasts.

“[In] my first year, I was still so conditioned in that it was like second nature,” Eagle said. “Now I’ve only gotten better with it because I know…. you have to rely on all those tricks that you had learned for yourself over the years.”

Attempting to humanize the game on the court is part of how Eagle has contributed to the rapid and sustained growth of the game of basketball, helping the sport dominate the conversation whether or not games are on the slate. He has also helped foster lifelong connections between the players and the fans both as a radio broadcaster and host of several events for the team.

“Basketball has been a passion of mine since I was a kid,” Eagle said. “Being around the NBA and my dad from a very young age helped spark that love for the game. I played it as long as I could through high school and I was around it as much as I could be.”

Social media permits the real-time transmission of the game through highlights, which generally get posted right away. It is the broadcasters, though, who provide the soundtrack to the moments on the screen mixed with the mellifluous tones of a zealous crowd. Eagle remembers the excitement of his first regular season broadcast with the Clippers in a matchup against the rival Los Angeles Lakers; in fact, he took his headset off to look around and take in the atmosphere at Arena, simultaneously adjusting to his new home court.

“The one good thing… of me starting when I was so young is they’re used to that in L.A. They’ve had a lot of people do that,” Eagle said. “….I think people were just looking forward to what my career was going to turn into – whether that was staying in one spot or doing all these other things. I think people just were there to root [for my] success.”

Now in his fourth season with the team, Eagle has had the chance to call various memorable moments both in the regular season and in the playoffs. With a robust roster including superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, along with a new arena in the Intuit Dome projected to be just a couple of years away from opening, Eagle will provide the dialogue and effectively write the words to all of the action surrounding the team.

It is crucial, though, that Eagle dictates the action rather than letting the action dictate him. Sure, Eagle cannot impact what happens on the court in real time – but what he can do is stay on top of each play, give the location of the ball and try to anticipate what may happen in advance to be ready to make an appropriate call. All of that occurs while being ready to adjust to unforeseen action at a moment’s notice and being authentic in his love of the game and the craft.

“You can sense when someone has control of the action or control or command of the broadcast,” Eagle said. “That’s crucial and it comes with just more and more reps. It comes with practicing and doing it and having a better understanding of, ‘Oh, I need to push it here. I need to pull it back here.’”

Those traits of a play-by-play announcer carry over to announcing gigs outside of the Clippers, although the preparation process differs by sport. Eagle closely follows the Clippers throughout the regular season, making it easier to stay informed about the latest going on with the team down to the minute details.

Conversely when he is broadcasting NFL on FOX games, Los Angeles Chargers preseason games, or college football matchups on FS1, he has to learn the players on the roster, read about the current events of the team, watch press conferences and speak to the coaches to get a broad picture of the team itself.

“I was around the Syracuse football team all the time,” Eagle said. “I knew those guys inside and out; I knew about those guys inside and out. Now you’re preparing for two teams altogether and you’ve got 100 kids essentially on a football roster in college. It’s a lot; there’s a lot more work and just a lot more to learn.”

NFL football, according to Eagle, is the sport most optimal for television broadcasts because of its regular cadence established from the opening kickoff. On the other hand, college football teams often play a hurry-up offense, requiring broadcasters to be set for a play to commence at any moment.

It is something Eagle will have to adjust to, as he is reportedly set to become the primary play-by-play announcer for Big Ten football on NBC, according to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, in which he will work with analyst Todd Blackledge. While Eagle declined comment regarding this news, he did elaborate on the nature of a typical college football broadcast.

“I worked with Mark Helfrich this year and when he was at Oregon…. They were getting right back to the line,” he said. “They were going to just keep going; they were as conditioned as they possibly could be, and they were going to score on you and they were going to go for two [points] and that was that. It can be really, really exciting but you have to be ready.”

Noah Eagle has called each of the NFL broadcasts that have aired on Nickelodeon Photo provided by Eagle

Aside from standard football broadcasts, Eagle has been the voice of the NFL on Nickelodeon alternate broadcasts produced by CBS Sports. He recently broadcast the Christmas Day matchup between the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. – and he was joined in the booth by Nate Burleson and various Nickelodeon sitcom stars.

By following the shrewd advice of Syracuse alumnus and sportscaster Marty Glickman regarding considering the audience, he prepares for this alternate broadcast and others like it by thinking about what a typical viewer may want to hear.

“I just think you can now create a different audience,” Eagle said. “Isn’t that we want at the end of the day for sports or any of the stuff that we cover? We want as large or as vast of an audience as possible. If that can create this at all, it’s all good. It’s fun; you just have to approach it [in] the right way.”

Broadcasting sports is considered a “dream job” for many sports fans; yet if you are afforded an opportunity to do that on a regular basis, the law of diminishing marginal utility may start to take effect. Keeping Eagle motivated, outside of loving sports, is finding ways to improve.

“My goal, and it remains the same from when I first got the job [to] today and all the way through the rest of my career, is ‘Can the next broadcast be better than the previous one?,’” Eagle shared. “As long as I’m doing that whether it be with the Clippers or other jobs that I have right now, then that’s all I care about.”

Being a well-rounded person with interests outside of sports and media help Eagle on these broadcasts as well, and it is sagacious advice for young broadcasters. While he had the chance to see broadcasting from a different perspective as the son of an accomplished sportscaster, Noah Eagle enjoys his work and is excited to embark on his career.

At the same time, he treats everyone with dignity and respect, modeling after his father and displaying professionalism in whatever job he may be working.

“If you’re going to do this, do this for the love of it,” Eagle expressed. “Don’t do this for the prestige or whatever else comes with it. Do it because you thoroughly enjoy it because that’s the only way you’re going to reach that height that you eventually want to…. If you’re excited about it and you’re ready to have fun with it, then a lot will take care of itself.”

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Ian Rapoport Is Competing Against Everyone

“When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive.”

Derek Futterman




The 2023 NFL Draft was a weekend filled with speculation, intrigue and musing among football fans and experts alike. After two quarterbacks were selected with the first two picks – Bryce Young by the Carolina Panthers; and C.J. Stroud by the Houston Texans – Ian Rapoport had the inclination that something was about to break at the event in Kansas City.

The third pick of the night was held by the Arizona Cardinals, but through previous intel, Rapoport knew there was a chance the team would trade it. His phone then lit up with a text message from a source that simply read, “Texans trading.” Receiving a message of this magnitude takes years of networking, credibility and immense trust from the people you cover. Rapoport has worked hard to attain all of them. 

He replied by asking, “Did the Texans trade up to three?,” as the team was not set to pick again until No. 12 overall. Once he got confirmation of the scenario, he began to visibly shake in excitement and captured the attention of the NFL Network team.

“I sit there with a camera in front of me that’s not always on air – this is during the Draft – and the producer gets in my ear and he goes, ‘Can you go on air with whatever you have?,’ and I just say, ‘Yes.’” Rapoport recalled. “And then I hear Rich Eisen go, ‘Ian, you have news,’ and I was able to break that the Texans have traded up to three to go get Will Anderson.”

This is the craft through which Rapoport has cultivated a successful journalism career, ultimately distinguishing him as NFL Network’s goto insider. He hardly ever separates himself from the job, equipped with an unparalleled work ethic to ensure he can communicate messages accurately and in a timely manner. While some people may argue that he is in direct competition with others in his position, such as Adam Schefter of ESPN, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports, the reality of the situation is that it is Rapoport vs. the world.

“It’s such a small world now and everyone is interconnected – and with Twitter, literally anyone could break a story and have it go viral,” Rapoport said. “Obviously, you want everything first, but really you’re competing against everyone that exists because anyone could get the story at any moment.”

Work-life balance in such a role is usually quite insurmountable in today’s dynamic, interminable breaking news environment. Rapoport strives to find some level of normalcy in his life by playing golf and attending his sons’ sporting events. In the end though, he knows the world of football never sleeps, and it is up to him to remain in the know at all hours of the day, essentially always on standby to break the next big story.

“I do not turn my phone off because that’s actually way more stressful,” Rapoport said. “At least now when my phone’s on and near me, if something crazy happens, I can react rather than having a fake relaxation moment and then being caught off guard with something.”

Rapoport recognized that journalism was the field for him almost immediately after stepping onto the Columbia University campus. He worked his way up at The Dial to ultimately become its associate sports editor. In the summer preceding his senior year, he landed a coveted internship with ESPN where he gained invaluable experience in the world of television production. 

By the time he graduated, Rapoport envisioned himself becoming a nationally acclaimed sportswriter, but he knew it was going to require he start small. Three hundred eleven job applications and two interviews later, he landed a part-time role with The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y. covering high school sports. It gave him a start in the highly-competitive business – and kept him close to home while trying many new things.

Two years later, he found himself moving from the bright lights of New York City to the quaint town of Starkville, Mississippi for a notable opportunity. He had landed a job covering the Mississippi State Bulldogs for The Clarion-Ledger in the nearby capital city of Jackson and was under the direction of sports editor Rusty Hampton.

“I knew how to write, but I really didn’t know how to report,” Rapoport said. “He was probably the best [at] showing me, ‘This is all about reporting. It’s all about telling people something they don’t know rather than how well you can pen a sentence.’ To be really valuable to society or your newspaper, you really need to inform rather than entertain. I think he was probably the first and best person to teach me that.”

After spending two years in Mississippi, Rapoport became a beat reporter for The Birmingham News tasked with following the Alabama Crimson Tide. Just months into his new role, the program made a coaching change and hired Nick Saban, who has since led the program to six national titles. 

Rapoport learned the thoroughness necessary to cover the Southeastern Conference as he rapidly watched the program become a perennial contender. In turn, he became an eminent college football reporter and his work began to be consumed nationally.

Simultaneously, Bill Belichick, another accomplished football head coach in his own right, was in the process of trying to lead the New England Patriots back to championship glory. Known to be stoic and restrained in his press conferences, reporters asking him questions knew extrapolating answers was not the easiest of tasks. 

When Rapoport saw a job opening to cover the team with the Boston Herald that required NFL experience, he knew that he was not qualified verbatim per se. Yet he figured the experience he had in covering Saban and Alabama would serve him well in the role, and articulated such in a protracted email to the newspaper’s editors. His strategy worked, proving why Rapoport is considered one of the industry’s best communicators at the micro and macro levels.

“You don’t see a lot of sources within the Patriots or sources within Alabama – there’s not a lot of that,” Rapoport said. “So I learned to report despite that and kind of work the edges and get the information I needed, despite head coaches who weren’t always the most forthcoming with information.”

NFL Network oftentimes has local beat reporters on the air to interact with studio talent and give their perspectives about teams, and it was something Rapoport did while at the Boston Herald. He had no television experience outside of other appearances he made on Comcast New England and certainly no intention to pursue the medium as a career. 

In Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants overcame the New England Patriots, who were undefeated for the year entering the game. Rapoport was on hand for the proceedings, and shortly afterwards was called into a meeting with NFL Network executives. 

He didn’t know he was interviewing for a job until he asked just why he had been summoned. He expressed his lack of television experience to the executives, who said the network would teach him everything he needed to know. 

Once the meeting concluded, Rapoport called his wife, who he had met while living in Starkville, Mississippi, and told her what had just happened. She tempered his expectations, warning him not to get his hopes up as he remained optimistic. One month later, Rapoport received a job offer and found himself moving once again – this time to the Lone Star State.

“I hired an agent and moved to Dallas and basically spent the next year reporting on the Cowboys and some other things being very, very bad at TV, but learning and eventually figuring it out,” Rapoport said. “At the time, this guy, Eric Weinberger, who was our boss, kind of mentioned to me the possibility of transitioning [me] from reporter to insider.”

Rapoport acknowledged that he did not have the contacts necessary to effectively work as a league insider for a national outlet, but through his years of experience, he knew how to network and he was ready and willing to take the challenge. 

Once he began the new position, Rapoport, along with reporter Michael Silver, was on the road for Thursday Night Football and contributed to its pregame and halftime coverage. While his television skills improved, Rapoport was hard at work bolstering his contacts and took somewhat of a geographical approach. 

Every time he arrived in a new city, he would contact anyone and everyone he could conjure up, including general managers, scouts and head coaches. If he could not schedule a meeting time with them, he would introduce himself by roaming the sidelines at practices and before games. He engaged in a similar practice before the NFL Draft Combine, training camps and the Super Bowl along with other premier events, always staying focused on the task at hand.

“It probably took me five or six years to get a baseline of sources where if something happened, I had someone to call,” Rapoport said. “And then it took me a couple more years to get to the point where I would know before a lot of people when something was about to happen. It’s all a multi-step process, and just [the] layering and layering and layering of sources is really the sort of engine that drives this thing.”

Ian Rapoport always attempts to triangulate his sources to verify information before he releases it publicly. There is no guarantee sources are always truthful or acting in a professional manner. Therefore, it is incumbent on a journalist to ensure the validity of content before publishing it themselves. 

“If you’re only right some of the time, then none of it is really worth it,” Rapoport expressed, “because then you say something and they’re like, ‘Well, wow, that’s a big story if this is true.’ The whole point of doing this is when I pop up on TV or when people see my Twitter alerts or whatever, they have to know that it’s true – they have to know.”

One day, Rapoport was having a conversation with a source and discovered through their conversation that Rob Gronkowski had informed the New England Patriots that he would return to the game of football under the stipulation he be traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reunite with quarterback Tom Brady. There had been much speculation pertaining to Gronkowski’s future after he had worked as an NFL analyst with FOX Sports, and now Rapoport realized he had a monumental scoop – that is, if it was true. Within six minutes, Rapoport verified the story with three sources, contacted his editor and reported to the world Gronkowski’s intentions. The story was picked up virtually everywhere.

“I just think about the job all the time, and I make little lists for myself of things that I need to track down, and I just make a lot of phone calls for it,” Rapoport said. “When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive. It ends up just a brain full of football thoughts, and then I spend the rest of the time trying to figure out what I can learn from it.”

Working for a league-owned entity can sometimes epitomize an inherent conflict of interest. For Rapoport however, he has found working at NFL Network to be hassle-free. He knows, however, the nature of his job means he will not be universally liked.

“Whatever you do, you’re going to report and the people you report on are going to be happy or upset or neutral – or whatever it is,” Rapoport said. “I’m never going to criticize a referee, for instance, because that’s a nuanced thing and people might say, ‘NFL criticizes referees.’ I’m never going to do that, but I wouldn’t do that anyway.”

Rapoport continues to appear on a variety of external media outlets, perhaps most notably The Pat McAfee Show, which recently concluded its “Up to Something Season.” The grand conclusion of the proceedings was McAfee announcing he would be bringing his show to ESPN’s linear and digital platforms starting in the fall. 

While McAfee is retaining creative control and has expressed on multiple occasions that his show will not be changing, many have wondered whether insiders employed by other networks will be able to continue making appearances. It is an answer Rapoport himself does not know, nor has he asked about.

“When the news broke, my phone blew up with all sorts of people saying all sorts of different things,” Rapoport said. “I have no idea. I really don’t.”

Even so, Rapoport is elated for McAfee and his team taking the next step in their show’s journey and is genuinely glad to see them succeed. He does not think McAfee’s goal was to reshape sports media, but rather to cultivate a distinctive sports talk program built for fans and today’s generation of consumers.

“You get to know someone and you think they’re a good person and you respect the way they work. Some people have success and some people have a little success and some people don’t. It’s really rare to see someone who has every bit of success that’s essentially possible and deserves every bit of it, and that’s kind of how I thought about Pat. It’s really cool, honestly. He’s built it himself.”

It was on McAfee’s show where another prominent football insider – Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports – said it would be a matter of “when,” not “if” the NFL would have games seven days per week. While devoted football fans like Rapoport are open to such a proposition, he is not sure the league would ever go that far. 

“I don’t even know that it would affect my schedule that much,” he said. “It sort of doesn’t matter. I’ll report all year round anyway.”

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Face-to-Face Sales Meetings Have Never Been More Valuable

“With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F.”

Jeff Caves




When did you last attend a face-to-face (F2F) in-person sales call? Let’s imagine for a second.

In New York, Sarah, a determined sports radio salesperson, got tired of chasing a major client for months. Despite her calls, emails, and text, she couldn’t break through to get a meeting. 

Throwing caution to the wind, Sarah decided to go for it. She loaded her deck and took her burning desire via airplane to Florida to make the pitch. She showed up unannounced at the client’s office and startled the decision-maker. She was given the meeting and won over the client, getting a substantial annual contract and a movie deal in Hollywood. 

We have all seen that storyline. F2F meetings used to be the obvious choice over a phone call, and most buyers were open to that idea. We even conducted market trips to meet our buyers in person and create better relationships. 

With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F. Lots of us work and listen from home. 

Gartner Research points out that live, in person selling is superior to virtual selling in financial services or, as I think, in radio sales. Now, prospecting new clients F2F is much more difficult. You have never met them, you don’t know who you are looking for, and gatekeepers and remote decision-makers make walk-ins more challenging. 

How about getting out and seeing your current or former clients F2F? 65% of outside account executives attain quota, 10% more often than inside reps. Here are some simple strategies to get outside and F2F:


Turn the sales faucet on ‘drip’ and contact your current clients with whatever works: phone calls, emails, or texts. Tell them you are checking in to see if anything has changed, give them a local business lead, or share your latest insight on their favorite team. When doing so, tell them you want to meet F2F and go deep into the next quarter’s ad plan or a new idea to get them back on the air. They may start looking forward to your communication. 


Schedule an annual review ahead of their busiest time of year to review the upcoming messaging in ads. Go over what worked or didn’t last year. Share a success story of a similar advertiser in another market or show them a new opportunity that fits. 

Be upfront that with F2F, we can get more specific, work with better feedback, and partner on hitting their goals. Be the person who looks ahead and helps keep your client focused.


Organize workshops for your current clients. Teach that about streaming, OTT, or Google ads. Get your digital person involved. Let them know you are bringing in other local businesspeople they may want to know or network with and meet F2F! A Mortgage broker may want to meet a realtor who wants to meet a wealthy local businessperson interested in meeting the local head coach. Stand out as a leader in the industry and watch clients brag about working with you. 


Attend trade shows where your current clients will be. This will show you are serious about their business and want to stay current so you can learn and earn. Set up a meeting over coffee or a drink. Share what you learned. 


Client Appreciation Events held at your town’s most meaningful events or places. Do whatever it takes to get hospitality tents at big games and concert suites to show appreciation and bond with your current clients. Host a luncheon at the hottest new local restaurant. Focus on providing an atmosphere or experience everyone wants, but not many can attend. Be the exclusive person in town.


Leverage your existing client relationships to seek referrals. Do it in person. Tell them you want to see them and ask for help and advice. Ask for introductions to potential new clients they know, and you will be surprised how much they like working with you. 


Bring your Digital manager to them and do a free review of their SEO, PPC, whatever. Working off your client’s pc and bringing them an expert at no charge or obligation is much easier. Watch your partnership grow by providing so much expertise at no extra expense. 

Don’t forget the value of F2F meetings. It’s a great way to build trust, connect, and unlock new opportunities. We are in a people business doing business with tons of local directs who still make most of their money serving retail customers F2F. Let’s get out and sell! 

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All Jason Timpf Needed Was A Moment of Clarity

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this.”

Tyler McComas




There was once a time when Jason Timpf always included Colin Cowherd in his commute to work. As he made his morning drive to a sales job at Verizon, The Herd was appointment listening each morning for Timpf. The ex-college basketball player would marvel at Cowherd’s ability to make relatable references and break down all of the same basketball games he would watch the night before. 

One of the unique things Timpf can remember from listening to The Herd during that time was Cowherd saying if FOX ever put someone in front of him, he could tell in five seconds if that individual had the skills to be a host. It was far from a hot take on the Lakers, but still a distinct moment that stuck with Timpf for many years. Little did he know at the time but Cowherd would soon give a five-second evaluation of Timpf’s career.

Jason Timpf was a late-bloomer in basketball. He played college hoops at an NAIA school in Utah, but not until his third year, after being a regular student the first two. After graduating, he pursued a basketball career overseas in India. However, after the league folded, he left the game for a normal job in the States.

There was a real desire for Timpf to get into the sports media business, but he was having difficulties finding the right fit. He wanted advice on the best way to start, but the tips he received just didn’t feel like the right initial path.

“I’d hear, hey, go bang on a radio station’s door and ask if you can work the soundboard,” said Timpf. “Or, try to go to a journalism school. Another big one that everyone was doing was the SB Nation blogs and FanSided blogs. I briefly tried to do that a little bit. But none of it was materializing the way that I had hoped.”

But then the lightbulb went off for Timpf and it happened during the middle of a podcast interview. In October of 2020, Jason Maples of Blue Wire reached out to Timpf to talk hoops on his podcast. It was in the middle of that interview when it all made sense. It felt exactly like the camaraderie he enjoyed with his old teammates and friends talking basketball. It was relaxed, fun and what he used to do for enjoyment. The perfect fit had just found Timpf organically. 

“It was, ‘this is it,’” said Timpf. “‘This is how I want to do it.’ It was like a moment of clarity. Like, this is the way I want to talk about the game. Fortunately, I was working in real estate at the time, so I was super flexible, so I literally was just trying to fake it until I made it.”

While Timpf was grinding away on his new platform choice, he was constantly putting out his content on social media. For a handful of years, he had used Twitter as an outlet for basketball talk – not because he was trying to build his brand, but because it was his preferred method of sharing his takes during and after basketball games. 

“My wife actually played basketball in college but she, like a lot of people, got out of it and was like, ‘actually I’m so sick of basketball, since it’s all I did growing up, that I’d rather not talk about it,’” laughed Timpf. 

As Timpf had built up years of basketball takes on Twitter, he also built up followers. Not a crazy amount, but enough to have regular interactions with several basketball fans. He had no idea at the time, though he remembers occasionally interacting with him, but one of his followers in the beginning was Logan Swaim, who just happens to be Head of Content at The Volume.

Being such a huge fan of Cowherd, Timpf was absolutely familiar with The Volume, a company started by the FOX Sports Radio host. In fact, during his first plunge into podcasts, he quickly took note of how much success The Volume was having with instant reaction and video content. He wanted to emulate what they were doing and would host a Twitter Space after each Lakers game.

Swaim kept up with Timpf’s journey and continued to be impressed with what he saw. He was so impressed, in fact, that a video eventually made it in front of Cowherd’s eyes. It was the moment Timpf had always heard about while driving to his job at Verizon. Cowherd was about to make a declaration on Timpf’s abilities. 

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this,” Timpf said. “That was a huge boost of confidence for me, because it meant somebody I deeply respected believed I could work in this business.”

Timpf made his dream come true. He was offered a job by The Volume hosting Hoops Tonight. As much of a dream as it was when he was initially hired, the experience since has been nothing but ideal for Timpf. He gets to cover his favorite sport the way he wants to cover it. 

“When I first started and Logan and I were structuring out the show, he kinda viewed it as my show would be the slower, more methodical pace, where I work through my thought process of a game. And also that I’d be a guest on other Volume shows for more conversational podcasts. I really wanted to break down pick and roll coverage. It’s just going to take me a while, so trying to do that in a debate show format or conversational format can get hard. It’s a place where I can let more of my crazy depth out. And I can also have a side format where it’s more conversational.”

Timpf has learned prep for podcasts is one of the biggest elements to being successful. As Hoops Tonight continues to draw impressive numbers over audio and YouTube, he’s figured out the best method to prepare for a long-form podcast where he’s hosting solo. 

“I digest the game from the simple concept of how the game was won,” said Timpf. “Where was it won? There’s 100-something possessions in this game, there’s seven different storylines and several runs and sequences and sways in momentum, but what’s the one? Usually I’ll target that first in the opening segment of the show.

“While I’m watching the game I’ll take ancillary notes. About five minutes before I record, I sift through everything I’ve written down and limit it down to the things I think are most important. But generally the flow of the show is how the game was won.”

The whole experience has been gratifying and a full-circle moment in many ways for Timpf. Not only has it been vindicating to do things his way and see it become a success, but he’s gotten to do it with someone who he considers an idol.

Sure, Timpf always envisioned growing up he would be talking to Cowherd as a pro athlete, but talking to him as a colleague is certainly the next best thing. So when he got the call to talk with Cowherd during last year’s West Conference Finals, he didn’t hesitate.

“I was so incredibly nervous, as you could imagine,” laughed Timpf. “But I immediately remember him making me feel comfortable and confident. It immediately calmed me down.

“This is probably my favorite part of the entire experience, I think a lot of people think that these networks try to shove people in certain directions and The Volume has given me such freedom to cover the game exactly the way I want to and nobody is telling me to say crazy stuff. Nobody is pushing me in certain directions, it’s like total creative freedom. The way that Logan and Colin have been letting me do me, so to speak, has been so cool. To see my version of what I want it to look like makes me feel vindicated for talking about it the way I want to.”

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