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Brown Finds Voice In Broadcasting

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Former Colorado linebacker Chad Brown never has been one to shy away from an opportunity, but he has been known to shy away from talking about them.

Brown used to have a stuttering problem. It was something he dealt with as a shy kid growing up in California and throughout his career in football with the Buffs and 14 years in the NFL. Brown was once a beehive of nerves before any public speaking encounter, which almost seems impossible now because of the volume of work he does in broadcasting and advertising.

“I just think my thoughts tended to come faster than my mouth could get them out,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t say I had a severe stuttering problem, but I certainly stammered and stuttered a lot when I was trying to speak or even when I got excited.”

Brown is all over the airwaves these days on radio and television, and especially this week with the Super Bowl coming Sunday. He is in Arizona doing segments related to the big game on CNN. He also is taping segments for NFL Films and is doing radio interviews about the game sponsored by Solid Gold, a company that provides food and training for Wounded Warriors service dogs.

He is asked for analysis about everything from football air pressure to the strengths and weaknesses of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Brown played for both franchises in this year’s Super Bowl and was a teammate of Brady’s for two seasons. He also played in the Super Bowl for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And when he’s not dissecting the game, he’s selling game-day food in commercials for Juicy Burgers & Dogs.

“This whole journey I’ve been on has been very interesting and revealing on a lot of different levels,” Brown said. “I’m happy I kind of took the opportunity and ran with it.”

Brown’s first opportunity to step into the world of broadcasting came three years ago when fellow former Buffs linebacker Alfred Williams asked him to fill in for his regular co-host on their afternoon sports talk show on FM 104.3. Brown agreed and came away three shows later with a new confidence in himself.

Brown used to own Pro Exotics, a business he founded that was based in Littleton. He sold reptiles and other exotic animals from his store before a fire in late 2011 cost him the business. His love for animals remains strong but he no longer sells them. Instead, he runs Ship Your Reptiles and Ship Your Aquatics, businesses that help pet owners and hobbyists to safely, efficiently and cost-effectively ship animals around the nation.

But he seems to have found a new passion in what he calls trying to become a better communicator. He hasn’t decided yet if he wants to try to make a second career out of broadcasting or if he wants to be a coach. He will serve an NFL franchise to be determined this summer as a coaching intern and go from there.

“I’ve always had a philosophy in life that you’re always practicing for something,” Brown said. “Some of us practice something and it’s bad stuff and you’re kind of setting yourself up for something bad, and in this case, I’m practicing this with no idea where it’s going to take me, but I think it’s going to be a good thing.”

Starting at the ground level is also something Brown has never been afraid to do. Some 44-year-old former NFL stars would be reluctant to serve as interns on a coaching staff or attend the NFL’s Broadcast Media Bootcamp.

Brown dived in to that experience and he says it helped him realize he needed to slow down his thoughts and his words.

He has worked as a part of the CU game-day broadcast team for KOA radio (850 AM) the past three years, first as a sideline reporter and then as a color analyst for half of last season when longtime CU play-by-play man and color analyst Larry Zimmer suffered a fall and was sidelined.

Mark Johnson, KOA’s play-by-play man for the past decade for both CU football and basketball, said he can count on Brown to always be prepared.

“You can’t always say that about a former athlete, that they necessarily are able to turn their football knowledge that they know instinctively from playing into something that is digestible for a listener,” Johnson said. “So he is very good at that. And the steps he has taken and really grown in the last couple of years is on the broadcasting end of things. That’s not something you can just learn overnight. It takes time and he has made great strides in that regard in terms of knowing when to speak during a game, how to concisely make a point or convey that knowledge to the audience. He has made some great broadcasting improvement the last couple of years.”

Brown, who played on the Buffs’ 1990 national championship team, said he never feels more comfortable than when he is doing CU games because he knows many in the audience recognize him as a former Buff and want him to do well. He said learning to relax and studying the nuances of television broadcasting has been a big area of growth.

He is able to joke about some of it now.

“The first year I was just trying to stop myself from physically sweating every time I came on camera,” Brown said. “I mean, the Albert Brooks scene from ‘Broadcast News.’ That’s a real thing. That’s a real physical reaction that you literally have no control over. A lot of time I was so happy I had a suit on ’cause the suit would cover up the fact that my dress shirt underneath was completely stuck to my body from all the sweat.”

Brown said at some point during his football career he played every linebacker position possible. He said that wealth of experience made him more valuable to his team. It’s no different in broadcasting. His experiences as a sideline reporter, color analyst, guest commentator or panel member have helped make him more well-rounded.

He only recently began to feel like he has conquered the stuttering.

“I’m not immune from it,” he said. “It still comes up from time to time, but I’ve got control of it. It’s in my mind, if I think about it, I can control it. I am and it is still very much a work in progress.”

Credit to Times-Call who originally published this article

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Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’

“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”

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This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams

This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host. 

“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.” 

As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week: 

“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.” 

Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though. 

“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”

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Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”

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Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”

Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.

Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.

“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”

After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.

RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.

“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.

Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.

There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.

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Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”

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Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.

Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.

“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”

La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”

Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.

While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.

“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”

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