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The Goal Is Still in Focus For Andrés Cantor

“I understand that I am very, very lucky and blessed to have a job in something that I love to do. Not many people have that luxury.”

Derek Futterman




Every four years, FIFA holds its World Cup tournament. Last year’s men’s tournament was held in Qatar and received high levels of viewership and engagement across the board, with the final game alone reaching 1.5 billion viewers worldwide. Andrés Cantor is tasked with bringing a large faction of those viewers a preponderance of the action throughout the tournament, something he has been doing since the early 90s.

With each game he announces, Cantor ensures he is providing his audience with an effusive, dynamic show of knowledge and passion, encapsulating the adrenaline of the showcase event and communicating it en masse.

“It’s 64 Super Bowls rolled into one month,” Cantor said. “If we get hyped here once a year with one Super Bowl, just imagine 64 of them in 28-29 days. That is the magic and the beauty of the World Cup; it has a worldwide appeal in every corner of the globe.”

Throughout his years working in sports media, Cantor has narrated and witnessed an interminable number of seminal moments in the history of the sport. Equipped with bilingual versatility and a goal call that penetrates cultural boundaries, he immerses himself and his audience in each match and looks forward to watching the next generation of illustrious soccer players take center stage. Calling the sport, however, was not Cantor’s modus operandi from the time he was young; instead, he wanted to be on the field playing the game imbued in every fiber of his being from a young age.

“I always say that most, if not all, sports reporters; anchors, etc. are frustrated athletes in their own sport that they cover,” Cantor expressed. “I would have given my life to play one minute of professional soccer somewhere. Since I couldn’t, I decided to do the next best thing, which is [to] call the games that I would have loved to play.”

To Cantor, working as a journalist was the means through which he would be able to be involved with professional soccer, and it was a career choice made difficult by assimilating to a new culture. Cantor grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and moved to the United States when he was a teenager and experienced various challenges in enduring a cultural shift. The culture he was used to involved going to watch his favorite soccer team (Boca Juniors) play on the weekends and then taking the field himself on weekends from dusk until dawn.

Although soccer is the No. 1 sport in terms of popularity around the world, it is not so in the United States; after all, the technical name of the sport is “fútbol” but it is referred to as “soccer” to prevent confusion with American football. The word itself is somewhat homonymic in that sense, as the only aspect of American football that involves one’s foot is in kicking field goals, points after touchdowns (PATs), punting, or kickoffs.

Additionally, Cantor faced the arduous task of learning a new language, something that was accentuated when he was determining how to go about calling games in English. He grew up the son of two parents – his mother, Alicia, a psychologist of Romanian descent; his father, David, a gastroenterologist of Argentinian descent; and his father’s parents fled Poland during the country’s occupation by the Nazis.

His parents made the decision to leave Argentina after growing frustrated with the government before the eventual coup d’état in 1976. The family found its way to San Marino, Calif., where his father worked at Huntington Memorial Hospital and his mother established her own psychology practice. Experiencing aspects of multiple cultures, in essence, was routine for Cantor; however, the change in lifestyle made him feel very much displaced early on. Through hard work and perseverance though, he was able to face this adversity and triumph, eventually becoming fully bilingual and adopting a sense of belonging.

“I was pretty miserable the first couple of years – first and foremost because I didn’t speak the language and I was coming from a totally different culture,” Cantor said. “….I went to school and it was fairly tough, but then over the years obviously once I started learning the language and being more used to the culture – like pretty much most immigrants, I became pretty acculturated and now I can probably say that I feel as much an American as I do an Argentinian.”

After graduating from San Marino High School, Cantor remained in the area by matriculating at the University of Southern California where he studied journalism. Although he was learning about the industry and receiving chances to hone his craft in the classroom, Cantor worked professionally as a correspondent for Editorial Atlántida, an influential magazine publisher in Argentina. El Grafíco, a prominent Argentinian sports magazine. Based out of Los Angeles, he wrote sports stories for the publication, along with covering boxing matches in Las Vegas, Nev.

Some of his assignments included following Diego Maradona, widely regarded as the world’s top soccer player at the time, and attending the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cup tournaments in Spain and Mexico, respectively – the latter of which Maradona led Argentina to a championship. Through it all, he worked hand in hand with editor, and eventual magazine director, Ernesto Cherquis Bialo, who started at the outlet himself as an intern in 1963. Cantor also covered select events alongside him, including the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles, Calif., all while gaining exposure, credibility, and unparalleled industry wherewithal.

Another part of his correspondent role was covering entertainment for the magazine Gente, affording him experience in an area where he did not have as much experience. In fact, he had the chance to interview economist Milton Friedman, actor Laurence Tureaud — better known as “Mr. T” — and author Ray Bradbury. Cantor was frequently on the road to report on and cover pertinent events, growing accustomed to eloquent storytelling through the written word.

“I was very, very fortunate that while I was being taught how to become a journalist, I was on the road doing all of this,” he said. “I guess that was a double whammy for my career – going to school and, at the same time, practicing exactly what they were teaching me.”

The repeated cycle of instruction and implementation set Cantor apart from other prospective journalists, giving him an inherent advantage upon his graduation. While his work was not primarily focused on soccer, he maintained his alacrity for the sport throughout his time in college and consumed games on the radio. From the time he was young, the commentator whom he most frequently listened to was José Maria Muñoz; in fact, Cantor recalls that Muñoz, at one point, had a 90% share of the radio audience in Argentina. Listening to him call the games inspired Cantor to work to find his voice and develop a style to call his own, amalgamating tradition and innovation.

“It was a very different style of doing play-by-play back in the day,” Cantor said of Muñoz. “My friends [and I] would go out and play soccer and we would repeat phrases that he used in his radio broadcasts.”

Combined with his experience as a writer, Cantor utilized his passion and knowledge of soccer to land an audition with Univision in 1987. At that point, he had never entered a television studio and knew he was taking a risk shifting his career at 23 years old; nonetheless, it was a chance to focus on soccer on a full time basis. Cantor was expeditiously hired in the first quarter of that year and covered myriad events leading up to his first FIFA World Cup on television in 1990, including the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The early repetitions allowed him to gain a foothold as a play-by-play announcer and communicate with a large viewing audience.

“I guess I had already found my voice as a play-by-play announcer and just kept on growing professionally year by year,” Cantor said. “There’s not, obviously, one broadcast where 30+ years later, you don’t get goosebumps when you’re at a big event. Now, it’s obviously a little bit easier than it was way back in the day.”

In his early days of calling the FIFA World Cup, Cantor quickly rose to prominence when his elongated goal call caught the attention of sports fans and media consumers around the United States. Following the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Cantor was invited to appear on a variety of talk shows, including The Late Show with David Letterman and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. This all took place during a time before social media; therefore, becoming “viral,” as it is oft-referred, was ostensibly harder to achieve.

Cantor was the only play-by-play announcer for Univision, meaning he was calling all of the tournament’s matches from mid-June to mid-July, and it is a remarkable feat of which he remains unsure as to just how he pulled off.

“I literally was exhausted, and I had five or six different outlets at our studios that came to interview me because of the success of the World Cup broadcasts we were having,” Cantor elucidated. “We put Univision on the map, literally. We were blowing away our competition, which I believe was ABC, and everybody was talking about Univision’s coverage and everyone was talking about my style.”

The style Cantor exudes on each broadcast renders him unique among the paradigmatic role play-by-play announcers execute. While he is usually paired with an analyst when calling soccer games, Cantor interprets the game and expresses his opinions, challenging his partner to expand his viewpoints and broaden the scope of what is being discussed.

“I’m very passionate about every single game that I do,” Cantor said. “I cannot make them better if they’re not good games, but I try to have people on the edge of their seats while they’re watching the television.”

When he was working with Univision, Cantor was calling games in Spanish, and it remains the primary language in which he commentates. Whereas he is able to express his thoughts both in Spanish and English, Cantor was brought on by NBC Sports to broadcast soccer games at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in English – an effort by the network to capture the exaltation he brought to the broadcasts of the FIFA World Cup.

Initially, Cantor was processing his thoughts about the game in Spanish and translating them in real-time to be spoken in English, a burdensome task wherefore following the game became less facile. Because of this, he started thinking about the game in English, omitting the translation, and settled in.

“When you do play-by-play in Spanish, your mind is going so fast because I need to be seeing the action [while] anticipating the next play [and] where the ball is going to go,” Cantor said. “I can’t be caught off guard, so I have to have a 360-degree [view] of what is going on.”

During that same year, Cantor left Univision to work with Telemundo, a network owned by Sony and Liberty Media. It should be noted that the network was subsequently purchased by NBC (before the merger that created “NBCUniversal”) in October 2001, and is currently part of NBC Sports’ Telemundo Deportes headquartered in Miami.

The transition was made easier because of the fact that Univision had moved on from many of its prominent on-air talent, and Cantor was essentially the last of them to make the move to Telemundo. He was offered the chance to remain at Univision, but made a prudential decision in transitioning, albeit taking a risk in joining an entity that did not have rights to the FIFA World Cup. While Telemundo did not broadcast the tournament until 2018, Cantor continued calling the games on Fútbol de Primera, a radio network created by Cantor and Alejandro Gutman in 1989.

The radio network offers a wide variety of programming pertaining to soccer and has broadcast a countless number of worldwide soccer events in addition to the World Cup, such as Serie A, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and games for the Mexican national football team. Its programming, which includes Cantor’s daily show titled Fútbol de Primera, is disseminated to over 100 radio stations across the United States, and Cantor also contributes to the business operations of the entity. Calling games on the radio catalyzed a change in the way Cantor commentates in terms of being able to carry out his role.

“Radio takes an even bigger physical toll on [me] because you have to go into sixth gear,” Cantor said. “On television, I’m in fifth gear – the only reason I’m in fifth gear, not in sixth, is because I have to describe things that I assume people are not watching on radio. It’s lots of fun, but it’s very, very demanding as well.”

As Cantor views the landscape of sports talk radio, he has discerned a notable change in that there is less of an emphasis placed on providing up-to-the-minute scores and news. Cantor’s show initially started as a half-hour informational program broadcast on Sundays to circulate information to listeners.

Today, the audience can effectively discover information through digital platforms; therefore, the focus of the show needed to be shifted to bring people what they could not get anywhere else. As a result, the shows revolve around discussion and verbalization of opinion, distributed across multiple audiovisual outlets through the implementation of effective cross-platform integration.

“It’s funny [and] it’s light,” Cantor said. “We try to be up to speed with the way people are consuming everything nowadays media-wise. We have definitely adapted throughout the years.”

Last year, Argentina won its first World Cup championship since 1986 – and it was an especially fulfilling moment for Cantor who grew up in the country cheering on the team. In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil, Argentina lost to Germany in the final game, a particularly difficult moment for those in the country.

Cantor did not believe the team was built to win the tournament in 2018, likening the country’s performance to a “disaster,” but this time around, he felt differently. When the team dropped the opening match to Saudi Arabia, he began to have second thoughts about being enamored with the team and was behind the microphone for a pivotal matchup against Mexico that kept the team’s championship hopes alive.

After defeating Croatia to advance to battle France in the championship game, Cantor was trying to keep his composure and provide his audience with an objective call while observing a moment he had been waiting for; that is, until France tied the contest late in overtime, leading to a penalty shootout. Everything was on the line in Lionel Messi’s final World Cup, and his teammate Gonzalo Montiel buried the goal to secure the victory, leading to jubilation and an impassioned moment for Cantor.

“I came through because I always owe my audience my best call, and that was probably as good as it gets even though I was dying inside,” Cantor said. “This time, I was very happy inside and outside as well. It was 36 years in the making for that magic moment…. You couldn’t write a better script for that World Cup to end the way it ended.”

Cantor will be commentating the FIFA Women’s World Cup, marking the first time in Hispanic television history where all games will be televised on Telemundo and its sister network, Universo, along with NBC’s OTT streaming service, Peacock. The tournament, which will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand, will feature 32 countries as the United States aims to win its third consecutive title.

As women’s sports continue to grow in prestige and viewership around the world, Cantor eagerly anticipates promulgating the stars of the game and doing what he can to catalyze the growth of the sport. The quadrennial action commences on Thursday, July 20, and finishes on Sunday, Aug. 20.

“[It] should be very interesting to see how far the rest of the world has progressed in women’s soccer,” Cantor said. “It is going to be the first time that the World Cup is hosted by two different countries, at least at the women’s level, which is going to be very interesting. We will pay attention to the Latin American teams and Spain – the Spanish-speaking teams that will participate – and obviously Brazil as well to see how far they can get.”

Whether it is being bilingual or being able to perform an assortment of roles at a high level, versatility is a fundamental quality to garner in sports media. Despite being an established veteran in the industry, Cantor looks to learn how to apply new technologies to his work and remain at the forefront of innovation. He advises aspiring professionals with the “goooaaalll” of fostering careers in the ever-competitive niche of sports media to be proactive and find methods to apply what they have learned.

It is essential to have the knowledge and a willingness to learn and improve one’s craft to succeed in the business, and while much of that can be taught, passion is somewhat enigmatic and comes from within. Ultimately, it makes a big difference, and Cantor is grateful to fulfill his through broadcasting.

“I understand that I am very, very lucky and blessed to have a job in something that I love to do,” Cantor said. “Not many people have that luxury; many people just have jobs because they need to have a paycheck at the end of the week and they do something that they don’t like to do.”

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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 – C.J. Stroud by the Jacksonville Jaguars; and Bryce Young 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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BSM Writers

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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