With a new NFL season just around the corner, Barrett Sports Media decided to take on a big project. We reached out to hosts, PDs, and reporters in every NFL city in the country. The question we wanted answered was simple: Who on your team’s roster has the brightest future in the sports media?
We spent the better part of a month sending emails and texts asking folks to participate. Some gave us an answer right away. Some required a little poking and prodding. Some didn’t respond at all. What are you going to do, right? It’s a busy time of year for all of us in sports radio.
In the end, here’s what we have. We will reveal a new batch of answers everyday from now until Friday.
Vince Marotta – Arizona Sports 98.7
The Arizona Cardinals’ roster is full of personality.
Perennial Pro Bowlers Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald are about as media-friendly as megastars can be.
Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen is one of the league’s “different” thinkers and definitely possesses an E.F. Hutton quality – when he talks, people listen (forgive the dated commercial reference.)
Offensive linemen D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh and Evan Boehm, along with tight end Jermaine Gresham are some of the easiest people to interview because of their willingness to tackle whatever subject pops up.
But my choice for the current Cardinal who would make the best future broadcaster is safety Tre Boston.
Boston was a communications studies major at North Carolina and on his profile page on GoHeels.com, he says his career goal is to host his own reality television show.
He’s outspoken. Heck, he called the Cardinals’ original offer ‘very disrespectful’ on Sirius/XM NFL Radio before ultimately signing with Arizona just before training camp.
“I did a lot of work with NFL Network last year,” Boston told our radio show (Bickley & Marotta) in July. “Every other Tuesday I was there being an analyst for them. Being able to do that, I think that set me up for a future in media”
And Boston says he enjoys radio, but envisions himself as a studio analyst.
“I want them to see my passion behind what I’m doing. I definitely see that as part of my future after I’m done playing in ten years – maybe 20,” he said.
I can definitely see it too.
Kyle Bailey – WFNZ
The obvious choice here in Charlotte is TE Greg Olsen. Olsen flirted with ESPN’s Monday Night Football job during the offseason, and many fans were anxious about possibly losing Cam Newton’s most reliable target to broadcasting. In fact, some thought Greg was being a distraction and preferred he take the job as opposed to waffling about his future and costing the Panthers an opportunity to select his replacement in the draft. But ESPN ultimately went with Jason Witten, and the Panthers came to agreement with Olsen on a 2-year extension.
If you’ll recall, Olsen also got some valuable network reps last year with FOX while sidelined with a foot injury. It was an appearance that also carried some controversy. The network assigned him a Vikings game just a few weeks before he returned to the lineup against… the Vikings. Naturally, Minnesota was a bit displeased with Olsen’s presence and restricted his media access, which was expected given the paranoid nature of coaches and GMs in the NFL. Greg absolutely has a future in broadcasting, it’s just a matter of when he retires and which network snatches him up.
Ken Carman – 92.3 the Fan
Now that Joe Thomas has retired, this question has become a crap shoot since the team is so young, and the players aren’t yet confident in what to answer, and the answers they give like you would find in a veteran.
As of right now, I would have to say that Myles Garrett has the brightest future in sports media, but that’s if he wants it. He’s a good story teller and a student of history. Mix those with his name, and what we believe will be a strong career, he may have a job waiting on him post career. But, his future after the game may be more fulfilling to him in some other area of study.
Another one to keep an eye on is Drew Stanton. Quarterbacks can be good teachers, and can describe the “why” in a way that brings people with them, instead of talking above them.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Carrington Harrison – 610 Sports Radio
The Chiefs drafted a wide receiver out of Georgia in 2015 named Chris Conley. He seems like a natural candidate to make a transition into media but I’m not entirely sure he will be someone that “sticks to sports.” He’s already shown an interest in filmmaking and is a movie aficionado. He made a college Star Wars fan movie while at Georgia.
I could see him making more of a pop culture, E! Network type move or do something behind the scenes. He’s someone I could also see doing in front the camera work. He isn’t shy and would have the personality. I wouldn’t be surprised to him doing some guest work as a player. I think the transition is in micro content. He could be someone that could do short movie reviews and offers up commentary on a subject. I think if he wanted to, it would be a smooth transition.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table
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.