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Tyler’s Take: The Sports Spectrum Podcast

Tyler McComas

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Title: Sports Spectrum by Jason Romano Episode 70

Date: January 10, 2018

Length: 48 minutes and 18 seconds

Extra: You can subscribe on iTunes and follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonRomano. His new book Live to Forgive went on sale this week and can be purchased on Amazon.

Analysis:

I’ve listened to podcasts that made me laugh, made me think and even challenged my knowledge on something I believed I knew well. But I’ve never listened to a podcast that moved my faith. One that made me reevaluate my life and the current choices I’m making. That takes a powerful message to do that to an individual, but Sports Spectrum Podcast hosted by former ESPN Senior Producer Jason Romano did all of those things to me.

Mixing faith and sports is tough in this day and age. Unless it’s politically correct or the popular opinion accepted by the masses, people often look down upon the message you’re trying to spread or promote. That’s why I admire Romano so much. Yes, it turned out to be the most impactful podcast I’ve listened to, but it takes courage to put yourself on a platform and truly speak about the things you believe in, whether it’s accepted by everyone or not.

With that being said, it’d be easy to write a nice review on Sports Spectrum because our ideals on religion match up. But that’s not what the reader deserves. And to be honest, with the integrity and track record that Romano has, I doubt that’s what he’d want either. So, as I normally do, I began by listening to the most recent episode. It just so happened, that the latest one featured an interview with former Green Bay Packer star and Alabama head coach Bill Curry.

Maybe you’re thinking the entire episode is a sermon that’s given by Romano and Curry with sports references mixed in. That’s not the case. Instead, you’ll find a whole lot of great story telling from Curry and his journey with Christ through his playing days, coaching career and life after football. The stories I heard about Bobby Dodd, Vince Lomardi and Bart Starr were absolute gold. Those are three iconic names in football and Curry gave me riveting stories on each one. That’s priceless in a podcast. If nothing else, give this podcast a listen at the 15-minute mark to listen to Curry’s story on how his career with the Packers was almost over before it began. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Where I became truly moved, is the 34:45 mark when Curry shared a story about former Alabama offensive lineman Joe King. The story in itself was powerful, but it was set up by a great question from Romano. “Tell a story where adversity came your way and faith in Christ helped you through it.” Sounds like a simple enough question, right? Though it may seem that way, it’s the questions like these that usually get the best responses. And once Romano asked Curry this question, he sat back and listened.

That’s another thing I appreciated. Yes, it’s Romano’s podcast and his name is on it, but he lets the guest be the star. He doesn’t feel the need to interject with his thoughts and opinions. He has well thought out questions and lets the answer play out. That’s a pro being a pro.

I couldn’t tell if both Romano and Curry were in the same location during this interview, but it sure sounded like it and that makes a world of difference. It shouldn’t be surprising that a former ESPN Senior Producer had made sure his podcast has good production quality, but you really can feel the difference between an interview over the phone compared to one that’s done face to face. I appreciate the podcaster who takes the extra step to improve the production quality of their podcast. It shows me they care about their product and the way it comes thru the speakers.

Final Thoughts

Curry was an unbelievable interview. His memory and recollection of so many events is truly remarkable for someone at the age of 75. The mix of sports and faith works incredibly well for this podcast and makes it a huge hit with me. Podcasters can learn a lot from Romano by listening to Sports Spectrum and realizing this simple message: Don’t fake it. Be who you truly are and own it. Do the very best you possibly can and success will follow.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to listen to as many episodes as I want to. But the guest list is very strong with names like Darryl Strawberry (must listen), David Johnson and Chris Broussard appearing previously. Romano has clearly used his past experiences at ESPN to help create and execute a podcast which is rich in content and presentation.

Lastly, I want to get one final point across again. I’m not giving this podcast rave reviews simply on the premise that it’s built on. Sports Spectrum gives the sports fan what they want with a powerful message mixed in. It’s riveting, it’s genuine and a must-listen. Oh, and it has a really cool logo.

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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