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Tyler’s Take: Sports? with Katie Nolan

Tyler McComas

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Name: Sports? with Katie Nolan

Date: February 7th, 2018

Title: Super Bowl Recap

Length: 41 minutes and 42 seconds

Extra: You can subscribe on iTunes or the ESPN app

Analysis:

When it comes to a sports podcast, there’s nothing I love more than when a host shows true emotion towards their favorite team. Someone who’s not afraid of being labeled a homer and represents the thoughts and feelings of the common fan. As soon as I heard Sports? with Katie Nolan, I knew I had stumbled on to just that.

Alongside her producer Ashley Braband, Nolan proves that true passion can’t be faked or scripted. It’s all about being genuine, and as soon as I tuned it to listen to this episode, I heard it. As the episode wore on, I discovered I was listening to the best Super Bowl recap podcast I’d heard in the week following the game. Yes, the passion and energy from Nolan and Braband were contributing factors, but there was another reason why this podcast stood out above the rest – originality.

All hosts are constantly searching for ways to be original. That’s especially necessary heading into a week such as the Super Bowl. The goal, is to find an angle that nobody else is taking, make it yours and own it. Nolan and Braband understood that well and developed the most original content idea I heard coming out of Minneapolis. Though the two weren’t credentialed, they attended the game together. Nolan, a huge Patriots fan, was decked out in team gear, while Braband, a huge Eagles fan, was sporting her green Eagles apparel. They decided to attend the game and act the way that any two individuals would who were rooting for opposite teams at the Super Bowl: get hammered drunk and record each other as much as possible.

Instead of doing what many other podcasts and radio stations do, which is to offer game recaps and analyze the 3-4 key angles from the game, Nolan and Braband put their own spin on it. They injected the audio they collected of each other during the game’s biggest moments. For example, when the conversation found its way to Zach Ertz’s touchdown that was under review in the fourth quarter, Nolan came in with the audio to show how she and Braband were feeling, along with the reaction from the U.S. Bank Stadium crowd. Several other audio clips were used too, including Nolan playing the audio of her and Braband sharing a special moment together after the Eagles captured their first Super Bowl. It was a great way to take listeners thru an emotional journey during the NFL’s biggest game. Huge props to Nolan and Braband on taking advantage of the situation to produce something unique.

One important component of the podcast which can’t be understated is that Nolan and Braband have really good chemistry. That’s important. What’s most enjoyable about this podcast is that Nolan loves and knows how to push her partner’s buttons. She seems to thrive on being an antagonist and it comes across as very comical. Both Katie and Ashley know their roles and it works as a great partnership.

Final Thoughts:

I love Nolan’s personality. She’s funny, knows how to carry a podcast and doesn’t hold anything back. Even when it came to something as simple as an ad read for Seat Geek, she crushed it by giving the read as a depressed Patriots fan that just attended the funeral. Sponsors love when you can inject personality into a read and she made the most uneventful part of a podcast into a laugh for the listeners. That’s true talent.

The attitude on this podcast of not taking sports too seriously works great for this duo. Nolan and Braband’s unique spin on things makes for a great change of pace sports podcast that any fan can relate to. Though Nolan’s name may be on the title of the podcast, she’s like any head coach who needs a great coordinator. She has one with Braband, who brings a ton to the podcast. Though they have some traits in common, the two are just different enough. You can tell they enjoy working together and take a lot of pride in this show.

As I stated earlier, this was the most entertaining recap I’ve heard of Super Bowl 52, and it came from a duo that didn’t have the access that a number of other media members covering the game did. Let that be a lesson for podcasters. Yes, availability is great, but it’s originality that sets you apart. This was the first podcast I’ve ever heard where a host cries, is over ridden with joy, makes me laugh and makes each other laugh. That’s real emotion. I give very high marks to Sports? with Katie Nolan. This podcast has earned a new fan.

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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