Sometimes, it’s difficult to focus on the present rather than the past. Some people reminisce about yesteryear too much. It might be easy to think about a previous partner rather than focus on your current relationship. I wonder how many times Tom Brady randomly thought about his former New England Patriots team and Bill Belichick during his first year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He might have outstanding avocado mind control, but the point is that it’s easy to look back instead of looking forward.
This isn’t the case for Jessamyn McIntyre. The new assistant program director at KJR in Seattle isn’t thinking about her previous employer, she’s looking ahead. Although Jessamyn worked in the Pacific Northwest for an upstart ESPN Radio affiliate back in 2009, she isn’t hung up on her current Seattle crosstown rival. Her focus is on KJR, the here and now, and the station’s future. Jessamyn also talks about not having a list, growing up on the East Coast and what’s most important to her. Enjoy!
Brian Noe: What’s the backstory of your first name? Is there one?
Jessamyn McIntyre: It’s not really all that crazy. My mom read an author in college named Jessamyn West. She just liked the name and kept it in her head until she had a baby. It’s funny, she’s like “I don’t know her. She was fine to read, but I just liked the name.”
BN: I like it. How are things going for you right now as the new APD at KJR?
JM: I’m only in my third week, and two of them have had holidays so far. I’m really not too far along in my onboarding there, except that getting back into sports talk radio just shows me how much I love it. I wasn’t sure if that was definitely going to be the rest of my life, and all of a sudden, I’m back doing exactly what I love doing every day and connecting with listeners. It’s something that I didn’t realize how much I missed, and it’s amazing.
I love producing. I love working with the people who are in that business. Now all of a sudden, I’m working with some people who were interns for me back when I was at my previous station. I’m like, wow, look at how far you’ve come. This is amazing. I’m so excited for you. There’s a lot of familiar faces around. I’ve been out here for almost 14 years now. Having been in the sports business for the majority of that time, I am just really glad to be back in it.
BN: Even though it’s very early on for you, what’s a typical day like for you from when you arrive in the morning, to when you go home?
JM: Well, obviously I’m paying attention to everything that’s going on. I like to look for highlights. I like to look for good sound. I like to look for good stories and I like to create good stories. My first week was learning the lay of the land and a new space. Now, I’m up and running and producing and a part of our midday show from 1-3 with Ian Furness. We’re coming up with new angles to talk about things.
There’s a lot of retread in the business and what I try to do is think of how not to re-say the same thing over and over and not let a conversation get stale. I’m always looking for new voices to add to the station who can contribute to that. Looking at how we can be a little more interconnected between our shows as well, and just bringing everyone together. That was my favorite part of my previous role in sports talk was bringing everyone in the building together. That’s something that is still early for me, but I feel like I’m developing good relationships so far.
BN: Where did you live before moving to Seattle?
JM: I grew up in New York. I went to Springfield College to study sports journalism. I double majored in English as well. I played volleyball, which is one of the bigger reasons that I went there because I could start. [Laughs] Then shortly after graduating I got hired at ESPN in Bristol. That’s where I started my career. I got hired at ESPN Radio.
I was more of a writer in college. But I really liked the people in radio, and I really liked the medium for connecting and distributing information because you can be so much faster. You don’t need B-roll. You don’t need pictures. You don’t need any of that. You can just go with news and the voices that you have there. Going all the way back to learning at the age of 23, to now realizing that radio really is something special.
BN: What was it like for you to come from the East Coast to Seattle? And not just radio, how different was the vibe and just fitting in there for you?
JM: Well, the East Coast — and I’m sure you know this — is a little bit harsher of a sports media environment. It was a lot more relaxed here. I’m a little bit of a tenacious person, so learning how to relate to people having come from the opposite coasts — and by the way, I moved out here sight unseen — so I didn’t know anything about it. I just knew good market, good teams that I kind of watched from afar, but don’t know as much about immersing myself in the sports environment here was really wonderful. People are more interested in a conversation rather than ragging on teams and talking down about everything. Not everyone on the East Coast does that, but you just hear more of a negative tone. I think it was a smoother transition that you can make going East to West than what I would imagine West to East would be.
BN: Yeah, definitely. What have you been able to either learn the most or figure out that has made the biggest difference when you are producing a show?
JM: I would say that relationships matter quite a bit. I’ve always been a relationship person, but the relationships that you build can truly have an impact on the product that you’re putting out. It’s important to remember that, and that no relationship is worth ruining just because you want to have a hot take one day. Just being understanding, but it’s okay to have an opinion that someone might not like.
Those are things that through the years I have learned that, okay, the first time I made someone mad because of something that one of my hosts said, I felt really awful about it. Then you realize, okay, well, that’s okay as long as you were fair. It’s all right. But now it’s easier to brush off even though I still feel bad sometimes. I think that when you’re working in any environment in any medium, the relationships you have with the people that you work with are at the top of the list. That’s how you build a successful environment and a cohesive environment and that will never change throughout the rest of my career.
BN: What have you been able to take from doing national stuff, that you now apply to a local scene?
JM: That’s actually an interesting question. When I was in a national environment, it was national headlines, right? It didn’t matter what the market was. The transition going local, it was a bit of a challenge for me to be honest because I’m still so in tune with looking at the biggest story of the day, which I viewed as the national story of the day. Then I realized that the people in your market, which has been Seattle for me for this long, they don’t care that much about the national story. They care about the big ones, for sure, but they want to know about their teams.
It’s not so much what translates from national to local, it’s more what the headlines are for this specific city. This was the first time I had worked at any local market. I think that made me more in tune to listening to people, whether you’re sitting at a restaurant or at a party and listening to what they care about, and then really getting in touch with your listeners. That is an immersive experience that you have to take seriously. Like I said, I’m a tenacious person, and I’m like, well, yeah, but LeBron is going to Miami. But that might not be the headline for the people who are actually listening to us.
BN: Is there anything else that you’ve done over the years to fully understand what the listeners in your area value?
JM: Well, you can dig into the ratings any day. You can look at your quarter hours, and you can see what people actually tune into. But I think the biggest thing is connecting with the people who are in the media, who have been here already. I talked to the writers at the time; Seahawks, Mariners were the biggest thing. This was back in 2009 when I came out here, and kind of picking their brains about it.
But then also, really listening to listeners. Whether it be through their communication through social media, and that can always be taken with a grain of salt, but also, when you’re just out and about and you’re listening to people and hearing what they say. You go to a local establishment, what games are on TV? It’s not easy, and it takes a long time. But through communication, through calls, and then you always go back to the ratings. What were people really interested in hearing this day? Previously, ESPN was the big four letters that you would always tune into, but who do you want to hear talk about the stories that you care about?
That’s really what I care about, is what people want to hear. Tapping into that is not that easy because there’s so many mediums that you could pay attention to, and you can’t focus on one tweet, one text, one email, you have to really see what the majority of people care about. But also not forget about that one person that might care about this one high school championship game that’s going on. I really like that KJR focuses on not just one team, they focus on everything that’s going on in the state in the sports world.
BN: What’s the biggest battle you’ve had to fight in your career?
JM: I think that honestly, the pandemic presented the biggest challenge without sports going on. We’ve got to be on air every single day. What do you talk about? What I did not like to bring up were things that were controversial related to the pandemic. People do not tune in to us for that, there’s plenty of other stations that they could listen to if that’s what they wanted. I don’t mean to always call sports an escape. I don’t believe that that’s what they technically are at all times, but sometimes they are. Especially when it got scary, when sports shut down, that was frightening for a lot of people.
It was a challenge for me to come up — I was the producer at the time — come up with things that we could talk about, while we had nothing to talk about. That was the biggest one. It was a personal struggle with me to put my hosts in the best position that they could be in. That was definitely my biggest challenge during that time. I came up with creative ways to at least let us have fun and hopefully our audience did too.
BN: You started at a competing station. Being in that same market, does that have any impact on how you view the entire market now?
JM: No, I have dear friends. I mean, at this point, having been in this market for this long, it doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a talk show host on my station, a talk show host on another station, if you’re a television host, I pretty much know everyone and you’re going to have a hard time getting me not to make you my friend. I think we are all working for the same thing. I am more focused on what we do where I am, than I am on anything else anyone else is doing.
When I came out here, I was very competitive. But instead it shifted for me to focus on my team and what we’re doing. And that’s really what I care about. I’ll never say a bad thing about the people that you might consider competition. I just think that we’re all trying to do the same thing and entertain people with talking about sports.
BN: You covered Mike Leach at Washington State. What are your thoughts about him passing away recently?
JM: Well, I was heartbroken. I was very close to him. I had talked to him throughout the football season. We texted quite frequently. I think that people who were close to him and the entire sports world lost someone very special.
BN: Yeah, absolutely. As an APD, is there a particular area of the radio operation that you focus on the most, or that you would like to focus on more going forward?
JM: I think that we need to be more cohesive between shows. That’s not saying that it doesn’t exist already. I just think that we can completely work as a whole team together. We have a lot of remote shows. Shows are all over the place all the time. Not everyone’s in the building at the same time and things like that. That’s one focus. I want us all to be a team. I think the team that we have is so strong, and we all do work for each other right now. But being new in the building, I want to be the glue between everyone during all of that. I’m taking that all upon myself because they’re all doing such a great job of it already. I would just like to be the connection point that I don’t know is always there, but it’s a great thing when we’re on site doing things. That’s just a first look.
I will say that everyone there is so kind, and always treats each other with respect, so it’s not a problem. I just want to make sure that we’re all touching points at all times. That’s difficult when you have a morning show that starts at six and an afternoon drive show that starts at three. As an APD, I try to be there in the building to touch points with every show throughout the day, so that I’m at least there seeing all four shows. I would also like to make a point to be present for our newest partner, which happened last year before I was there, but the Seattle Kraken, who are having a fantastic season right now. That is something that I need to focus on as well because they are brand new, and I haven’t worked with them that closely before. That is another thing that I’m going to work on.
BN: It sounds like such a simple thing, just crossing over or acknowledging other shows. What do you think helps put hosts in the habit of doing that?
JM: Honestly, I think producers are the biggest part of that. I think they do such a good job. Let’s think about something that the morning show did. Well, that was a great thing that they did, let’s talk about it in the next show. And, hey, we have this great audio from a guest we had, or let’s say breaking news happens in the middle of a show where the producer is running the board. The hosts are focused on what they’re talking about. Someone else can come in and let them know, hey, just making sure you saw this.
Like you said, it does sound so simple. But having each other all rushing towards this one thing that is a big thing that happened or multiple things that happened. I’ve done simple things like starting to communicate more via email, hey, this is what happened on our show. Here’s some great audio if you want to use it. It’s just the little, simple things that can go a long way. It really is all about communication. It’s not like I’m seeing a lack of that at all. I just want to make sure that I’m infusing myself in it.
BN: What’s important to you? When your workday is done, what gives you a sense of, hey, today was a good day, I did a good job, I provided some value. What is it that gives you that feeling?
JM: For me, I want to see everyone walk out of that place feeling like they did a good job today. That makes me feel like I did a good job. If I see everyone’s happy with their show, this was great, and I try to communicate what I heard that was great on their shows as well. When I see people walk out of that place like, yeah, that was a great show. That’s what I want to see every single day. That’s honestly more of what my focus is, it’s making sure that everyone feels that way when they walk out.
BN: As far as your future goes, what’s something that would personally make you happy, or something that you want to check off your list if there is such a thing?
JM: You know what, I don’t have that kind of list. I always wanted to be a sideline reporter and 11 years later, I’m still sideline reporting for Washington State. I have done that and I absolutely love it. I never had management goals before. I get goals when I get into a place. That’s when I make them, but I’m not a five-year-plan person. I would be really thrilled to watch this place flourish even more than it has after I got there. I want to see people who are happy to work there. As far as I know and can see, everyone really is. I want to help them reach their goals, and that would make me satisfied.
Beyond The Mask: Henrik Lundqvist Embraced 2nd Career in Sports Media
“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal.”
Plucking the strings of an acoustic guitar, Henrik Lundqvist found himself beneath the bright lights once again, poised to put on a worthy performance. Just as he aimed to stop pucks from going in the net as the star goaltender of the New York Rangers for 15 seasons, Lundqvist sought to captivate viewers as half of a musical duo featuring former NHL forward Paul Bissonnette.
Their performance of “Good Riddance” by Green Day was in tribute to Rick Tocchet, a former NHL on TNT studio analyst who recently departed the network to serve as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
Lundqvist serves as a studio analyst for TNT’s coverage of the NHL, breaking down players and teams throughout the broadcast and bringing his own unique style to the set. His pursuit of a post-playing career in sports media was no guarantee from the moment he retired in August 2021; in fact, he never intended to stop playing the game and competing for a Stanley Cup championship at that time.
During the 2019-20 season, Lundqvist had lost playing time to young goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, and by the year’s end, his deal was bought out by the team. In an effort to continue playing, Lundqvist signed a contract with the Washington Capitals – marking the first time in his NHL career that he would not step between the pipes for the Rangers.
Lundqvist never played a game for the team though, as it was discovered in a medical exam that he would need open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve while also having an aortic root and ascending aortic replacement. Less than two months after the successful five-hour operation, he was back on the ice rehabbing and attempting to make a full recovery – but a few months in, he began to feel unexpected chest pain. Following a medical checkup, Lundqvist was told he had inflammation around his heart. It was a significant setback that required him to step off the ice, take off his goaltender equipment and rest for several months.
After discussions with his family and friends, Lundqvist determined that the risk of taking the ice outweighed the rewards and officially stepped away from the game. Rather than conjuring hypothetical scenarios wherein he did not experience the misfortune and played for the Capitals, Lundqvist looked to the future amid the ongoing global pandemic and thought about how he could best enjoy his retirement.
“I was just mentally in a very good place,” Lundqvist said. “I didn’t have a choice; I guess that makes it easier sometimes when the decision is made because you can’t go back-and-forth – ‘Should I?’ ‘Should I not?’ Yeah, I wanted to play but it was just not meant to be for me.”
Before any definitive resolution on his future endeavors was made though, the Rangers announced that the team would retire Lundqvist’s No. 30 in a pregame ceremony during the 2021-22 season, making him just the 11th player bestowed that honor in franchise history. As a five-time NHL All-Star selection, 2011 Vezina Trophy winner, and holder of numerous franchise records, Lundqvist had the accolades to merit this profound distinction.
Moreover, he was an important component in growing the game of hockey and contributing to the greater community, serving as the official spokesperson for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and founder of the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation. He also was a two-time recipient of the organization’s prestigious Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, honoring the player “who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
Throughout the night, attendees regaled Lundqvist with chants of “Hen-rik!” and were treated to flashbacks of some of his memorable career moments. The night was of monumental importance for Lundqvist, during which he expressed his gratitude to the Rangers’ organization, former teammates and fans. Then, Lundqvist — referred to as “The King” — promptly took his place among team legends beneath the concave ceiling of “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
“When I look back at my career, I know, to me, it was all about preparation; how I practiced and how I prepared for each game at practice,” Lundqvist said. “There’s no regrets, and I hope people, when they think about how I played, [know] that it was 100% heart and commitment to the game.”
Before this ceremony though, Lundqvist and Rangers owner James Dolan had held several meetings with one another. The purpose of these conversations was to determine the best way for Lundqvist to remain involved with the team, its fans, and the community. In the end, he was named as a lead studio analyst on MSG Networks’ broadcasts of New York Rangers hockey before the start of the 2021-22 season: the start of his foray in sports media.
This past summer, Lundqvist negotiated a new deal with Madison Square Garden Sports and Madison Square Garden Entertainment in which he maintained his in-studio responsibilities while increasing involvement in other areas of its sports and entertainment ventures. In this new role, Lundqvist supports the business operations for both companies, assisting in digital content development, alumni relations, and partner and sponsor activities.
When Lundqvist is not in the studio or the office, he can often be found at Madison Square Garden taking in New York Rangers hockey, New York Knicks basketball, or one of the arena’s renowned musical performances. Usually, when he is in attendance, he is shown on the arena’s center-hung video board as an “NYC Celebrity” and receives a thunderous ovation from the crowd.
“The network is just part of it, but it feels great to come there,” Lundqvist said of Madison Square Garden. “Every time I go there – to see the people that I’ve known for so long – but also I love that place; I love The Garden. I think the energy [and] the variety of things that happen there is something I really appreciate. It feels really good to be a part of that.”
Sitting alongside former teammate and studio analyst Steve Valiqutte and sportscaster John Giannone, Lundqvist appears in the MSG Networks studios, located across the street from the arena, for select New York Rangers games. From the onset, he brought his allure and expertise to the set and appealed to viewers – so much so that national networks quickly began to take notice.
“I enjoy watching hockey [and] talking hockey, but the main thing to me is the team; the people that you work with,” Lundqvist said. “The guys on the panel [and the] crew behind. I really enjoy that part of it and having a lot of fun off-camera.”
One month later, Lundqvist was on his first national broadcast for the NHL on TNT where he and Bissonnette famously performed a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica that went viral on social media. It had been known that Lundqvist was a musician, famously performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in his Rangers uniform to celebrate the end of the 2012-13 NHL lockout.
In fact, during his retirement ceremony, the Rangers gifted him with a custom-made guitar painted by David Gunnarsson, the same artist who used to paint Lundqvist’s goalie masks.
Aside from occasional music performances, Lundqvist brings an esoteric base of knowledge to the NHL on TNT panel as its only goaltender. Whether it be through player breakdowns, interviews, or dialogue with other analysts, Lundqvist has a perspective to which few professional hockey players can relate. There are various goaltenders among local studio panels surrounding live hockey game broadcasts, and Lundqvist is in a unique situation with MSG Networks in that he and Valiquette are both former goaltenders. Yet on Turner Sports’ national coverage, he is the only voice speaking to this different part of the game.
“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal,” Lundqvist explained. “Yes, you need to stop the puck, but a huge part of being a goalie is analyzing what’s going on. We can never really dictate the play so you need to analyze what’s happening right in front of you.”
In broadcasting at both the local and national level, Lundqvist is cognizant of the differences in each network’s studio programs. Lundqvist says appearing on the MSG Networks studio panel is more about being direct with the viewer, whereas the NHL on TNT views its panel as being conversational in nature. With Turner Sports, Lundqvist also asks his colleagues about the different teams around the league since he is most familiar with the Rangers both as a former player and studio analyst.
“I’m closer to the Rangers; I see more of what’s going on,” Lundqvist stated. “When you work [national] games, maybe you focus in on teams on the West Coast or [part] of the league you don’t see as often. You try to talk to the other guys on the panel and the crew and figure out things that are interesting about those teams.”
Hockey is a team sport, and Lundqvist felt grateful to play with his teammates and face his competitors over the years. Now as an analyst though, it is his job to analyze their games and critique them when necessary; however, he does not try to be excessively critical.
Lundqvist knows the trials and tribulations associated with the sport and can relate to scenarios many players face on a nightly basis. Therefore, he thinks about his own experience before giving an opinion, especially a critique, instantiating it with comprehensible, recondite knowledge and/or by recounting a similar situation.
“I’d much rather give them positive feedback obviously because I know it is a tough game,” Lundqvist said, “and sometimes it might look like an easy mistake, but if you can give the viewer a better explanation of why he did that, they might have a different view of that mistake.”
Now metaphorically being beyond the goalie mask, Lundqvist’s vision of the game has evidently shifted. He discerns just how intense the schedule is and the rapid pace of the game, axioms he was aware of while playing but inherently avoided thinking about. He has implemented his refined viewpoint of the game accordingly into his analysis, simultaneously utilizing the mindset and savvy he cultivated on the ice. It is, quite simply, a balancing act.
“I think people can be pretty quick to jump on guys and critique them,” Lundqvist said. “That’s where maybe you take an extra look and try to understand why it happened and give those reasons. I think that’s where it helps if you played the game [for] a long time and just love the game [because] you have a pretty good understanding of why guys react a certain way.”
The challenge tacitly embedded in the jobs of most studio analysts – Lundqvist’s included – is in presenting the information to the audience in a manner through which it learns without being confused. It is a delicate craft that takes time and genuine understanding to master, especially related to promulgating hockey analytics as Valiquette does on MSG Networks and within his company, Clear Sight Analytics.
“There’s a lot of educated viewers out there, but there’s also a lot of people that maybe don’t watch as much hockey,” Lundqvist said, “so you want to find that middle ground where you kind of educate both sides.”
By broadcasting both locally and nationally in addition to working in a specially-designed business operations role, Lundqvist is staying around the rink in his retirement while facilitating the growth of hockey. Despite the profusion of young talent, dynamic action and jaw-dropping plays, viewership of the sport on ESPN and TNT’s linear channels has dropped 22% from last season, according to a report by Sports Business Journal.
For Lundqvist though, he does not feel much has changed from playing regarding his responsibility to advance the reach and appeal of the sport. He played professionally for 20 years, beginning his career in his home country of Sweden, primarily in the Swedish Elite League (SEL). In the 2004-05 season, his final campaign before arriving in New York City, Lundqvist had won the award for most valuable player. Furthermore, he was recognized as the best goalie and best player, leading Frölunda HC to its second Elitserien championship in three seasons.
His NHL debut came five years after he was selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers but unlike many rookies over the years, he came polished and prepared to embrace the lights of Broadway. Following an injury to starting goaltender Kevin Weekes, Lundqvist was inserted into the starting lineup and, from that moment on, virtually never came out.
By the end of his first year, he had been named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was a Vezina Trophy finalist for best goaltender. Additionally, he remains the only goaltender to begin his NHL career with seven consecutive 30-plus win seasons.
“I think the league is doing a great job of growing the game,” Lundqvist said. “In the end, it comes down to the product and right now, it’s a great product. I feel really good about, the best way I can, to promote the game [by] talking about it, but… it feels like I’ve been doing that for 20 years.”
One means through which Lundqvist attempts to grow the game is within the studio demos he performs with the NHL on TNT, displaying different facets of the game in a technical manner. The show also embraces the characteristics of their analysts and implements them in lighthearted segments, such as zamboni races, putting competitions, Swedish lessons and, of course, musical performances.
“I’m huge on mindset and the pressure,” Lundqvist said. “I love to talk about that type of stuff and give the viewer a better understanding of what goes through their heads. In terms of personality, I don’t know if I can say [that] I’m a serious guy because I love to have fun and laugh and do fun things.”
Lundqvist thoroughly enjoys what he is doing both locally and nationally, and he ensures he surrounds himself with people he wants to be around. There are plenty of other broadcast opportunities for former hockey players, such as moving into the booth as a color commentator or between the benches as a rinkside reporter. At this moment though, he is more focused on being immersed in his current roles, performing them to the best of his ability while ensuring he allocates time to spend with friends and family.
“I see myself more as an analyst in the studio more than traveling around and being in the rink,” he said. “I think that’s another thing with the schedule; it works really well with my schedule to have one or two commitments with the networks, but then I have other things going on in my life that I commit to.”
Plenty of comparisons can be drawn between playing professional hockey and covering the sport from the studio in terms of preparation and synergy. Yet the end result is not as clearly defined since “winning” in television is quantifiably defined as generating ratings and revenue. Undoubtedly, Lundqvist is focused on doing what he can to bolster hockey’s popularity; however, he also wants to enjoy this new phase of his career being around the game he loves.
“In sports, you win or you lose,” Lundqvist explained. “With TV, you want to be yourself [and] you want to get your point out – but at the same time, if you do it at the same time you’re having a good time, I feel like that’s good TV.”
Once their careers conclude, many athletes think about pursuing a post-playing career and oftentimes end up taking on a role in sports broadcasting. On MSG Networks alone, there are plenty of former players who take part in studio coverage on live game broadcasts, such as Martin Biron of the Buffalo Sabres, Bryce Salvador of the New Jersey Devils, and Matt Martin of the New York Islanders. At the national level, Turner Sports employs Paul Bissonnette, Anson Carter, and Wayne Gretzky for its studio broadcasts, while ESPN’s top studio crew includes Mark Messier and Chris Chelios.
All of these former professional hockey players had an obligation to regularly speak with media members, answering questions about games and the season at large. Lundqvist maintained a professional relationship with journalists and beat reporters, and he most enjoyed taking questions when the team was doing well. Regardless of what the end result of a game was though, he had a responsibility to divulge his thoughts and, in turn, be subject to criticism and/or negative feedback.
His stellar career and persona all came from emanating a passion for the game – and it continues to manifest itself beyond the television screen. Listening to those passionate about the game discuss it usually engenders euphony and lucidity to viewers, analogous to the sound of the puck hitting the pads or entering the glove. It is a timbre Lundqvist created 27,076 times throughout his NHL career (regular season and playoffs) in preventing goals, and one he now aims to explain en masse.
“The reason why I kept going to the rink and put all the hours in was because I really enjoyed it,” Lundqvist said. “If you decide to go into media or whatever it might be, I think the bottom line is [that] you have to enjoy it and make sure you have good people around you.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he serves as the production manager for the New York Islanders Radio Network and lead sports producer at NY2C. He has also worked on live game broadcasts for the Long Island Nets and New York Riptide. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks and wrote for The Long Island Herald. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Should the NBA Nationalize Local TV Rights Like MLS?
The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.
Diamond Sports has been anything but a diamond in the sports world. As subscribers leave cable and satellite for streaming services, companies are dropping RSNs nationwide because they are too expensive to carry. This has caused an impending bankruptcy for the company, which owns the local rights to dozens of sports teams nationwide. It is also putting the NBA, NHL, and MLB at major financial risk.
In the short term, it is known that teams will still broadcast on their RSNs even if they aren’t getting the paychecks they were promised in previous rights deals. This will affect teams’ ability to pay players and could even create an unfair advantage among the haves of the sports world like the Yankees and Lakers and the have-nots. The NFL doesn’t face the same problems that the other leagues are facing because its rights have been nationalized.
With the NFL’s continued television dominance, college conferences also bundling up games together for more money, and the MLS guaranteeing themselves television revenue after packaging local and national rights together, could we see the other leagues follow suit? It is an option that is much easier said than done but it seems like we are moving closer to it becoming reality.
The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.
The biggest problem the NBA and other leagues would face are that the local rights to all of its teams don’t expire at the same time. If the league were to sign a deal that included giving all local rights to a streamer, the amount which the league was getting paid would be very unique year after year. It would be crazy for a streamer to pay a huge chunk of money to the NBA all at once if the number of teams they have local rights to changes every year.
It would also be insane to pay an astronomical amount if the streamer is only getting the local rights to small-market teams like the Cavs and the Pistons. A major market team like the Lakers doesn’t renew their local rights until 2032. We’re still in 2023. How does that affect the league’s operating costs?
The NBA would also have to figure out whether teams whose rights don’t expire yet deserve to be included in the pot of money garnered from selling local rights to a streamer. Whether they are or they aren’t, does it put each team at different competitive advantages and/or disadvantages when trying to acquire free agents or front-office personnel?
One of the most interesting puzzles to figure out is what influence a league owner like Washington’s Ted Leonsis has in this potential measure when all is said and done. Leonsis just acquired complete control of the regional sports network — currently named NBC Sports Washington — that broadcasts Wizards and Capitals games for millions of dollars, although the exact amount remains undisclosed.
What does Leonsis do with his network if his team’s games can no longer air there? Can his team opt out of participating in a potential league offering? Or if the games continue to air on his network but are simulcasted locally on the streamer that wins local rights on a national scale, does the streamer have the ability to pay less money for rights?
If so, does that make the deal as lucrative for the NBA? And what does that mean for retransmission fees that cable companies like Comcast pay to Leonsis and other RSNs they’re still carrying?
The league will face a similar problem with the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks and other franchises that either wholly own or partially own a part of the RSNs where they broadcast their games.
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions which is why they are written here in this column. Unfortunately for the leagues, they don’t have the answers either. But if the NBA figures out a way to nationalize their product even more and make streaming games more appealing by ending local blackouts, it’ll benefit the game more than it hurts the game.
NBA, NHL, and MLB games are still some of the highest-rated programs locally in many markets when you look at how they rate vs. other cable and broadcast offerings. But at this point, the ability to charge everyone for a program that only ten percent of subscribers are watching is a losing business proponent.
The leagues should start from scratch and sell a mass package of games for maximum profit. It gives fans a more centralized location to watch their favorite teams and puts the leagues on a much more steady path than where they could be headed sooner rather than later.
Diamond in the rough to sparkling jewel of light? Only time will tell.
Jessie Karangu is a columnist for BSM and graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland but comes from Kenyan roots. Jessie has had a passion for sports media and the world of television since he was a child. His career has included stints with USA Today, Tegna, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sightline Media. He can be found on Twitter @JMKTVShow.
Do You Have Affirmations Of Gratitude?
“We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right?”
Having gratitude for your life is all the rage. If you, like me, have trouble starting your day with positive affirmations and maintaining a positive outlook about your job, read on!
We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right? Here is another version. Try a few affirmations of gratitude instead.
“I HAVE A JOB.”
With interest rates rising, inflation increasing, and spending down; corporations are laying people off. PayPal laid off 7% of its entire workforce. Amazon let 18,000 go. Alphabet (Google) said goodbye to 12,000 jobs. Radio sales managers need to hire people like you – experienced sellers with a track record of bringing home the bacon.
“I AM A PROBLEM SOLVER.”
You solve a problem for your company when it comes to revenue. You know people, and you sell advertising better than anything they can come up with…so far.
Yes, they are trying to replace you, but Zoom Info reports iHeart’s self-serve spot buying service, AdBuilder, is doing under 5 million in business. You have time to solidify your value. Be happy you are the rainmaker.
“I WORK IN THE PEOPLE BUSINESS.”
Sports talk radio is the ultimate companion to millions of listeners. They aren’t robots, and your stations improve their lives by talking about what they care about 24/7. Celebrate selling access to callers, Twitter followers and FANS who go to games. You also get to work with local celebrities that everybody knows but you know best. We all need a connection to other people and want to be seen and heard.
“I GET TO CHANGE HOW I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF.”
In this job, you determine your value, feelings about your work, and who you work with. You get to set a strategy and talk to the businesspeople you want to help and do business with. It’s like running your own business with a tremendous support staff. Try to do it independently, and you will appreciate accounting, traffic, production, and sales assistance. Those wins produce deposits in your bank account.
“I HAVE COMPETITION!”
That format competitor across the street does things differently and sometimes better than you or tries to imitate you and looks terrible. They motivate you to beat them to a new account or put a moat around your best clients so they can’t be touched. They keep you sharp and willing to try new things. Good competition schemes to take money from your station, and your management needs you to protect them. And they also provide a place for you to work one day. The FTC wants to eliminate non-competes so you can walk across the street this year.
Jeff Caves is a sales columnist for BSM working in radio, digital, hyper-local magazine, and sports sponsorship sales in DFW. He is credited with helping launch, build, and develop SPORTS RADIO The Ticket in Boise, Idaho, into the market’s top sports radio station. During his 26 year stay at KTIK, Caves hosted drive time, programmed the station, and excelled as a top seller. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter @jeffcaves.