One of the great sports radio brands in this country is 950 KJR in Seattle. The station could be nicknamed KRM due to Rich Moore working there full-time for nearly 25 years. Rich has one of the most unique career paths in this industry — he hasn’t worked in 17 different cities like many other people have. Some view it either as a gift or a curse. Rich sees it in a positive light.
It makes sense that he views his career path favorably because Rich is a big believer in positivity. He believes that positivity is a winning formula for his on-air talent. I wouldn’t put it past Rich to stress a spin-off message from a Dave Chappelle Show skit — when keepin’ it real goes right.
Rich’s intelligence is very easy to detect. He’s a smart dude for sure. His thoughts on programmers being scared to work on their weaknesses is something that also applies to many other employees. A handful of other insightful thoughts — like the qualities he loves most in a good sports talk host — are well worth your time reading. Enjoy.
Brian Noe: Where and when was your first gig in the sports radio business?
Rich Moore: I’m still in it. I’m a rarity in this business because I always had a passion for sports and radio. When I had that passion, the format hadn’t really come to life yet. Then when it started to come to life, I was young enough where I didn’t really pay attention to it, but I tried to get on the radio and do all of the radio broadcast schools et cetera.
My other passion — just sports in general — kind of led me to an opportunity when I was in college to work for a promotional company that basically did all of the promotions for the Sonics. I got hired and then the following year, one of those people from that company got hired by the Sonics — it was the daughter of Ackerley — to implement everything we did out-house, in-house. She brought me on board to do it.
I worked for the Sonics in the marketing department. Back then Ackerley owned KJR Sports Radio. I just started gravitating upstairs to the radio side and pretty much have done everything in the building for the radio station. I’m fortunate to have grown my career in Seattle in radio, but never have left my baby since day one, which has been 950 KJR. I’ve built and maintained and rebuilt that station almost since day one. I became full-time with that radio station in basically January of ‘94.
Noe: When you go that far back with the Sonics, what were your personal feelings when they moved?
Rich: If you’re ever fortunate to work for a team, it’s not just a job. If the team wins, obviously it’s a different environment. If the team loses, it’s a different environment. But you do feel like you’re a part of the team no matter what level you’re in. It wasn’t like being a fan even though I was of the Sonics. For me, I felt like I was part of that team in some shape or form. When I worked for them, that was the NBA Finals versus Jordan.
It probably affected me more than a fan. It’s been a bummer. It’s been a big part of my career not only because I worked for them, but we were the home of the Sonics on the radio side for many years — Kevin Calabro et cetera — and a big part of building the 950 KJR brand was based and built around the Sonics and their success. It’s affected me in numerous ways.
Noe: What do you think it would mean for what you do in the Pacific Northwest if Seattle is able to get an NBA team there again one day?
Rich: I’m one of those people that thinks it will never be like it was. I don’t have experience like in Cleveland or anything like that with a team coming and going, but it’ll never be like it was. There’s a giant hole and it needs to be filled. I think fans need to be validated with that and I think it will start a new era with a little bit of passion from the old era. Bottom line is we need an NBA team back in this town.
What’s interesting is I think the way that passion is and how long it extends. The NBA product isn’t necessarily the big great radio product anymore, right? It’s at night. Most of the games are on TV. But if the NBA came back I think the storyline would make it a pretty interesting experience for sure.
Noe: Without you having to move around very much — that’s very rare in the business — are you just thankful that you’ve never had to do that, or is there a small portion of you that says it might have been nice to experience a different part of the country for a little bit?
Rich: I feel like I’m wired in the sense where I always need to be challenged. I’ve just been really, really fortunate where I work, where I constantly had that next challenge, that next opportunity. Now I’m overseeing radio stations outside the format. I’ve been fortunate that way as far as my own career path.
Some people are adamant that you need to go places. Some people are saying you’re fortunate and there’s some value to completely being embedded and knowing your market for that long of time. I see both sides. Like I said, I’ve constantly been around new leadership or a new support staff where I’ve always seem to be able to pick up something or learn something from the next guy. The learning curve has been constant. My opportunities have been constant and my challenges have been constant.
I think at times I know there’s some advantages where if I had been in other markets I’d be better at what I do. But I also know I’m good at what I do because of how long I’ve been in the market and how well I know the market. The pressure or the stress or the goal of mine because of that is I’m a strong, strong believer of building up a network — sharing ideas and studying things from afar — and putting an ear to things. You should anyways, but that’s a big part of what I do, and I make sure I do it.
Noe: What have you learned, especially at the beginning when you were just growing into your role, where you look back now and you’re like, “Wow, I really should have known that beforehand”?
Rich: That’s a great question. I don’t know if I have the answer because it’s always in hindsight. I do think we always talk about you’ve got to evolve and you’ve got to adapt. From the days I got in the business we were cutting reel-to-reel tape and now we’re talking about podcasts. There’s such a long path in between there.
I do think there’s an advantage of evolving to when you’ve been an embedment in a market with a certain brand for so long. You know the people that you’re talking to, the people you have, in addition to the things you’ve got to evolve to. I think it makes it easier to do that to some extent. It’s such a big important part of our business is forming relationships with listeners and building up a brand that you’re affecting their listening habits everyday. Especially in the sports format because the pond we fish in of the men demo — we’re already fishing in a smaller pond. Having those P1’s and that loyal connection — having a better understanding of them and building that brand with them — I think it helps.
The thing I learned that I wish I would have known — this whole business is about people — so I think there’s things you learn by different talent and different people that you can apply to the next. You always go, “Man, if I would have known this when I was dealing with that morning show the first time around, I know I would have done things differently within a better place. I guess that would be the answer.
Noe: When you talk about evolving and adapting, if you apply that to sports radio it seems like we evolved and adapted toward topics that dipped into politics. Now it feels like we’re moving away from that because it might be a tune-out. Would you agree with that?
Rich: I totally would agree with that. The great thing about our business is that we’re so spontaneous. We can do things — if it works, we can pile it on quick. If it doesn’t work, we can pull it off and go in a different direction and half the people don’t even know. When it comes to the topic of politics and the level that it’s consumed us in the country. Debating how we do it. Do we do it? Do we not? Is it regional? Is it the market you’re in?
We all saw what NPR did and how many people that didn’t even consume spoken word were finding it and what it was doing to our ratings. Then we’re seeing what it’s doing to everyone’s lives from the headline stuff that you have to react to. We’re always late to decide what we’re going to do. It almost feels like once everyone figured out what we need to do, well now it’s trending back the other way.
I was just getting to a point where — just talking about the everyday topics that everybody is as it comes out as a personality — I was just getting open to. Lately I’ve started to see some research that early on it was saying it was trending that way. Now I’m seeing research it’s like, no, now it’s time to run from it again. I just think it was a tight window there. I do think it came, but I also think it’s going again.
Noe: How would you say the Pacific Northwest is different than other areas in the country when it comes to sports radio?
Rich: Well specifically with Seattle, we just don’t have a depth of history of teams and their success. Our baseball team and our NFL team are some of the newer teams in theory. We just don’t have the depth in history.
This market likes winners, good stories, and players they can relate to. They don’t care who. If the teams aren’t winning, or if the story is not there, there’s too many other things to go do. It’s a fast-paced city for the West Coast. We don’t have that deep-rooted loyalty because of the history of success or multiple teams.
Not having a major winter sport of NBA or hockey right now in the market, there’s nothing that’s luring people in there for a while. It allows people to check out. I told my staff in 2005 — I still remember to this day — we had a staff meeting before we were going to the Super Bowl to play the Steelers. I had done all this research. We were moving the whole station back to Detroit. Back then we were the only sports station in town. I said, “We’re going to own it. Here’s what we are doing.” We built this whole thing out and I said, “Hey, if we win this thing, it’s going to change the sports market and we’ve got to be prepared.”
We didn’t win. A lot of people think we got screwed, but it did affect us anyways. We raised our cume about 40 percent. We maintained that — I think it dipped down to 30 almost a year later. It did have an effect on it. That was the first sign of a popular sport that we had success in. It started to change how we could talk about failures or teams on the air.
This town, if you talk about firing coaches and trading players, it doesn’t go a long way like it might on the East Coast because the town wants to hear the positive things. Getting to that Super Bowl started to change that and by all means when the Seahawks finally won one, it elevated it to another level.
I think the struggling teams like the Mariners in town could probably attest to it because I think fans became more critical of them. This market, that’s where it comes from. A fan’s support and their passion, it’s increasing, but again with not having one or two more pro teams in the market, we need those to continue to put the depth of passion of sports fans in this market.
I think the other factor is — and I guess you could criticize me for not being in other markets at this point – but our part of the country — we’re similar to San Francisco. We’re fast growing, high tech, high intellect. It’s one of those expensive markets to live in and it’s really hard to capture and engage the audience.
If you look how we index in certain things, we might be the number two station in the market overall with total household income. Where you go to a sports talk station in the South and the Midwest, that may not be the case. They’ve got a little bit different passion of fans that are more willing to carry a PPM or to participate in contests. Out here we get those fans, but it feels like in that sense a little bit harder. It’s a little bit more compressed in the game of getting those listeners.
Noe: It seems like an L.A. vibe where you’ve got to be relevant for them to care. If you have teams that are underperforming, how do you instruct your on-air staff to connect with the audience if they have all these other options?
Rich: Fortunately or unfortunately, we’re not a radio station that’s built off play-by-play. We never were. We had the Sonics, that kind of got us going, but we’ve been built around personalities since day one. We’re live and local from 6a to 7p and we don’t have a major pro play-by-play partner. That’s kind of rare. Our philosophy is we want to be where the fans come and where the fans react.
We try to be as real as we can. We don’t want to talk down to our teams or our fans. We don’t want to be cynical to a point where it’s a turn off. We just really put an emphasis to try to get the vibe of the fans of how they’re reacting and how they’re thinking. It’s a complete turn off if the Mariners are struggling and it’s the middle of the summer and they’re not in it, because we’re so built around personalities, we really do push and strive of being as entertaining as we can in the lifestyle ways.
It’s not full overboard like guy talk, but we try to be as real and as connected to our audience as we possibly can and as entertaining as we can. If the Mariners are in a pennant race, they’re going to turn us on in the morning. If they’re not, they’re going to turn us on in the morning because we’re going to make them laugh, or we are going to make them feel good on the way to work. That’s kind of that tightrope that we walk. The access to the x’s and o’s. That’s gone. It’s all about personalities at that point.
Noe: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Rich: That’s funny because I think that question for me, my answers probably evolve like every four or five years. I still get a kick out of the sports bit, brainstorm idea. Something that’s topical, that’s engaging, that comes to life and you put it together. Then people are talking about it and then you become known for it. I think that’s just so cool.
The other part is, the part of our business nowadays is really putting pressure on us to add knowledgeable people. I’m fortunate to have a Mike Holmgren, a Cliff Avril, a Hugh Millen. Guys who have been executives, coaches, GM’s or Super Bowl champions on our staff. Then putting them all together and just get out of the way and let them talk. We always want to eavesdrop on that conversation in the bar. I think sometimes you get some pretty special stuff in that regard.
And then I’m a fan of play-by-play. Having play-by-play — we’ve had the Huskies, we’ve had the Sonics — so being part of magical broadcasts and putting them all together is fun because people are so emotionally involved. Overall I think you always want to be known for the one thing or things and to have listeners come up and be able to say, “Hey, I remember when, and that was so cool. That was awesome when you did that.” It’s pretty cool when you know you’re impacting people’s lives in that way.
Noe: You mentioned overseeing other formats — is there anything from a non-sports radio format that you’ve applied to sports radio?
Rich: Absolutely. I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to be Vice President of Programming about two and a half years ago. With that, I now oversee eight stations in our building — 3 FM’s, 3 AM’s — and then I’ve got my hands in some other things. Building a brand is so tricky. I’m just a big believer in this business that programmers just like to really gravitate to things that they do well. Partly because how fast we move and how fast things happen and what we have to get on the air. We have all kinds of report cards. We’ve got Nielsen and we’ve got listeners. Programmers are always scared to work on their weaknesses or things that make them uncomfortable. To me that’s becoming the secret sauce that makes radio stations better.
When you oversee other radio stations and how they build their brands, it’s easy to pick things out that you missed or you see that you need to add that might be out of your realm. It’s being able to reflect. You can’t reflect as easy when you’re only focusing on one station, but you get that opportunity overseeing the others. The other part is when you oversee that many radio stations, there’s so much more feedback. There’s so much more research. There’s so much more data that you just kind of say, “Oh, this could apply to me. I could steal that. Oh, this makes sense. Ahh, now I see a common theme here.” From a strategic standpoint for sure it’s been a huge advantage.
Noe: If you were building the ideal sports radio host what quality would you include that typically seems to be lacking with hosts?
Rich: I don’t know if there’s one thing. I really stress being real. There’s a lot of times people try to become a character. There’s a lot of times people want to be perceived one way. I just think day in and day out for someone to get a relationship with you on the air you’ve got to be as real as possible.
You’ve got to be self-deprecating. You’ve got to have high energy and how you present yourself. You can’t talk down to people. You’ve got to have some knowledge. You’ve got to entertain. You’ve got to have fun. I would say more and more and more and more, cynical scares me now. Cynical is negative. Negative is a bad tone and that formula doesn’t work anymore. I think there was a point where it did, but it just doesn’t. I like quick wit. I like storytelling. And I like real.
Noe: It’s funny to ask you about your goals or where you see yourself — you’ve been at the same place the whole time, man. (laughs) Where do you see yourself or where would you like to see yourself over the next 10 years?
Rich: No, it’s a great question. I’ve always been the guy that says, “I need the next thing, I need the next thing. That’s the next thing? I’m going to go get it.” I’m at a point where I have my hands in so many things I might still be molding that clay a little bit. But I’m so lucky, right? I still get to get my hands on a cool brand everyday and be a programmer, but on the other side I get to be behind the curtain and manage more of the bigger picture and the business side of things.
It’s like every programmer, if they leave being a program director and they come back, they always say, “Man, this is what I miss. I miss the day to day.” I’m fortunate to be doing both, but I’m also liking the aspect of overseeing multi formats of business operation and to that level as well. I could take more responsibility on from a management standpoint of the business side like that. I could also see myself putting more of a hyper focus on some key part of our business that’s about evolution or the next future of what our industry is going to be.
Colorado Hiring Deion Sanders Will Be Constant Gift for College Football Media
“If Coach Prime achieves the same sort of success that he did with the Tigers, he will be far more than a curiosity. Sanders will be a disruptor.”
Deion Sanders quickly made it clear why the University of Colorado chose him to be its next head football coach.
Coming off a weekend in which the four College Football Playoff teams were announced and all of the other bowl-eligible teams accepted their invitations, Colorado — which went 1-11 this past season — made news for hiring Sanders, the former NFL star who was phenomenally successful at Jackson State.
The media that covers college football and sports as a whole should be thrilled that the Buffaloes program decided to take a big leap for attention and notoriety. Sanders is a bold, risky hire. But he’s also been successful in virtually every venture he’s taken. “Primetime” had a Hall of Fame NFL career and also played Major League Baseball. And he’s a master at drawing attention to himself.
During his first meeting with his new team, Sanders made sure to mention that he has Louis Vuitton luggage to make the point that some of his Jackson State players are coming with him to Boulder — including his son, quarterback Shadeur Sanders. Nick Saban and Kirby Smart probably don’t cite luxury fashion when explaining to their players that they’ll have to compete for starting positions.
Coach Prime will not be boring to cover. (That self-appointed “Coach Prime” title, which was on his name plate at his introductory press conference, is a big clue there.) He never has been. This is a man who said during the 1989 NFL Draft, after being selected No. 5 overall by the Atlanta Falcons, that if the Detroit Lions had selected him at No. 3, he “would’ve asked for so much money, they’d have had to put me on layaway.”
Even if he doesn’t win as much as Colorado hopes, Sanders will pursue top talent — players who want to perform on a larger stage than the FCS-level Jackson State allows — and impact athletes will be attracted to him. He got the No. 1 recruit in the nation, cornerback and wide receiver Travis Hunter, to play for him. (Hunter is following his coach to Boulder.) Now that Sanders is at an FBS school in a Power 5 conference, more stars will surely come.
But if Coach Prime achieves the same sort of success that he did with the Tigers — going 27-5 in three seasons, including a 12-0 campaign in 2022 — he will be far more than a curiosity. Sanders will be a disruptor. And he’ll get the attention that such figures typically draw from media and fans. According to the Denver Post‘s Sean Keeler, at least 400 people attended what felt more like a celebration than a press conference.
Coach Prime wasn’t going to just win the press conference, which is what any school and fanbase want when a new coach is introduced.
If Colorado wanted someone to sit at a podium, and give platitudes like “We want to win the Pac-12 and get to the College Football Playoff,” “We’re going to build a program with young men you’ll be proud of,” or “It’s time to restore Colorado to the football glory we remember,” Sanders isn’t the guy for that.
“Do I look like a man that worries about anything? Did you see the way I walked in here? Did you see the swagger that was with me?” Sanders said during his introductory presser. “Worry? Baby, I am too blessed to be stressed. I have never been one for peer pressure. I put pressure on peers. I never wanted to worry, I make people worry. I don’t get down like that. I am too darn confident. That is my natural odor.”
To no surprise, Sanders announced his presence in Boulder with authority. He had cameras following him as he met with Colorado players for the first time. How many other coaches would have recorded what many would see as a private moment for posterity and post it online?
Sanders caused a stir by putting his players on notice. He warned them he was coming, telling them they’ll be pushed so hard they might quit. He told them to enter the transfer portal and go someplace else if they don’t like what he and his staff are going to do.
That candor, that brutal honesty surprised many fans and media when they saw it Monday morning. For some, that message might have felt too familiar. How many in media — or many other industries — have worried about their job status when a new boss takes over? What may have seemed secure days earlier is now uncertain.
But how do we know other coaches haven’t said something similar when taking over at a new job and addressing their team? We just hadn’t seen it before. But Sanders has been in the media. He knows social media. He understands controlling his own message and telling his story.
Sanders also knows what kind of value he brings to any venture he takes on. How many people would have left an NFL Network gig for Barstool Sports? But Sanders went to where his star would shine, where he was the main show, where he could be Deion Sanders. Maybe he’ll have to turn that down just a bit at Colorado. But athletic director Rick George knows who he hired.
Colorado could have made a safer choice, including previous head coaches Tom Herman, Bronco Mendenhall, or Gary Patterson. A top assistant from one of this year’s Playoff contenders — such as Georgia’s Todd Monken, USC’s Alex Grinch, Alabama’s Bill O’Brien, or Michigan’s Sherrone Moore — could also have been an option.
But what fun would that have been? What kind of tremor would Colorado have created in the college football news cycle? How much attention would a more conventional hire have received? Yes, Sanders has to recruit and win. However, if the objective was to make Colorado football a talking point again, that’s been accomplished.
There could be some friction too. Sanders has already been criticized for being a champion of HBCUs, only to bolt for a mainstream Power 5 program when the opportunity opened. (To be fair, other columnists have defended the move.)
At Jackson State, Sanders tried to control local media when he didn’t like how reporters were addressing him or covering a story. Last year during Southwestern Athletic Conference Media Day, he balked at a Clarion-Ledger reporter addressing him as “Deion,” not “Coach,” insisting that Nick Saban would’ve been shown that respect. Earlier this season, Sanders admonished a school broadcaster (and assistant athletic director) for speaking to him more formally on camera than he did off-camera.
Will that fly among Boulder and Denver media, or the national college football press? It’s difficult to imagine. Maybe Sanders will ease back on his efforts to control reporters within a larger university environment, metropolitan area, and media market. But we’re also talking about Deion Sanders here. He doesn’t bend to outside forces. He makes them bend to him.
Sanders’ stint in Boulder — whether it lasts the five years of his contract and beyond, or less than that — will not be dull. There could be no better gift for the media covering Colorado football. Or college football, a sport already full of bold personalities, eccentric to unhinged fanbases, and outsized expectations. Coach Prime will fit right in.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
The Media Is Finally Strong Enough To Take On The Rose Bowl
“The whole Rose Bowl organization is stuck in a black and white TV world. The future playoff is Marty McFly stepping out of a Delorean and the Rose Bowl is the Enchantment Under the Seas Dance.”
I am a sucker for packaging. Take me to a grocery store and show me a uniquely packaged sauce or condiment or waffle syrup and I’ll give it a try just based on bottle size or design. The one packaging ploy that has vexed me is the “biggie size” at the local drive through. I’m always interested in the largest drink possible but don’t necessarily want a grain silo full of fries passed through my window. The College Football Playoff is going “biggie sized” in 2024 and I’ll take all of that I can get.
The College Football Playoff Committee made official last week what had long been speculated, that the four-team playoff field would increase to 12 teams starting with the 2024 season. This was an inevitable move for money and access reasons. The power conferences and Notre Dame stand to gain significantly in TV revenue and the “non-power” conferences finally get the consistent access they have long craved.
What may have finally pushed the new playoff over the finish line was the end of an ultimate game of chicken between college football powers and the Rose Bowl.
There is a scene from the movie The Hunt for Red October when the rogue Russian nuclear submarine is trying to avoid a torpedo from another Russian submarine. The American captain, aptly played by Scott Glenn, tells Jack Ryan; “The hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to flinch.”
The Rose Bowl finally flinched.
The only thing that delayed an earlier move to this new world was the insistence of the Rose Bowl Game to cling to the bygone era of the antiquated bowl system. Only in college football could an organization that runs a parade hold such outsized influence but, until recently, the Big Ten and PAC 12 gladly enabled their addiction to a specific television time slot.
Dan Wetzel is a Yahoo! Sports National Columnist, he also wrote the book Death to the BCS which laid out a very early argument for dumping the bowl system for a Playoff.
“The single hardest thing to explain to people is that the Rose Bowl and its obsession of having the sunset in the third quarter of its game was a serious impediment to a billion dollar playoff,” Wetzel wrote.
Wetzel makes the point that simply moving the game up one hour would’ve helped the playoff TV schedule immensely, “They were adamant that they get to have an exclusive window on New Year’s Day, the best time of all, not only would they not give that up but they wouldn’t even move it an hour earlier (to help Playoff television scheduling) because then the sun would set at halftime. It was so absurd but for a lot of years they got so much protection.”
We may never know what it was that finally forced the Rose Bowl to play ball with the rest of the college football world. There are many possibilities, not the least of which was the presence of SoFi Stadium just down the road. The College Football Playoff committee could have always taken the bold step of scheduling games at SoFi, in the Los Angeles market, opposite the Rose Bowl TV window to try to squeeze them out.
It is also possible the Rose Bowl scanned the landscape and realized that, if a 12-team playoff already existed, their 2023 game would’ve been Washington (10-2) versus Purdue (8-5). That shock of reality came with the understanding Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Utah and USC would enthusiastically choose a 12 team playoff bid over a Rose Bowl invite. That was the future the Rose Bowl faced with the departure of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten and the 12 team playoff gobbling up the top remaining PAC 12 teams.
I have proposed that theory to many people in the college football world and have received some version of this response from many of them: “They really wouldn’t care who is playing as long as they can still have their parade.”
That is one of the issues at play here; in many ways, the whole Rose Bowl organization is stuck in a black and white TV world. The future playoff is Marty McFly stepping out of a Delorean and the Rose Bowl is the Enchantment Under the Seas Dance.
One other possibility is that the television executives of the major networks, primarily FOX, may have put the pressure on the Big Ten and Pac 12 to have a little less interest in keeping college football stuck in the late 1970’s. It makes sense, FOX has nothing to gain by the Rose Bowl keeping influence. Fox may have everything to gain by getting a media rights cut of the future playoff. Many believe FOX was a driving force behind USC and UCLA bolting to the Big Ten. If that much is true, pressing for less Rose Bowl influence is child’s play.
No matter what was the catalyst to the expanded playoff, it worked and the fans benefited. College football is moving into a brave new world all because the college football powers finally stood up to the old man yelling at the clouds.
Turns out, it was all a game of chicken. And the Rose Bowl flinched.
Ryan Brown is a columnist for Barrett Sports Media, and a co-host of the popular sports audio/video show ‘The Next Round’ formerly known as JOX Roundtable, which previously aired on WJOX in Birmingham. You can find him on Twitter @RyanBrownLive and follow his show @NextRoundLive.
Andrew Perloff Learned From The Master of Sports Radio on Television
“I think I’m really lucky because I went from a really fun and supportive place in the Dan Patrick Show and have now transitioned into what I would also call a very fun and supportive place at CBS Sports Radio/Audacy.”
It’s a fact of life that not everybody loves their job. To have a job that you love and have fun at is pretty special. For Andrew Perloff, life is good.
“I’m just watching so much sports during the week,” said Perloff. “I don’t come up for air watching sports and I love that. And the fact that we get paid to sit on the couch for 72 hours…oh my God…it really is the best job in the world.”
That job is being the co-host of Maggie & Perloff weekdays from 3pm to 6pm eastern time on CBS Sports Radio and simulcast on CBS Sports Network. Perloff was an on-air personality on The Dan Patrick Show beginning in 2009 before making the switch to CBS Sports Radio for the new show with Maggie Gray that launched this past January.
And so far, the move has worked out.
“I’m really happy,” said Perloff. “I think I’m really lucky because I went from a really fun and supportive place in the Dan Patrick Show and have now transitioned into what I would also call a very fun and supportive place at CBS Sports Radio/Audacy. I miss the DP Show but I love my new co-workers. (Vice President of Programming) Spike Eskin and (New York Market President) Chris Oliviero have been great. We get a lot of support and a lot of help from those guys and they’ve made the transition so much easier.”
When a new radio program begins, chemistry between the hosts is vital to the success of the growth and success of the show. In the case of Maggie & Perloff, they had an existing friendship from their time working together at Sports Illustrated.
And that relationship is certainly evident to the listeners.
“I’m having a great time with Maggie,” said Perloff who was an editor and contributing writer at Sports Illustrated and SI.com. “We knew each other pretty well at Sports Illustrated. We’ve been friends for a while now. I have gotten to know her a lot better through the show. It took a couple of months to really find our rhythm and get the show to where we wanted to get it.”
There has been a fun and evolving dynamic to the on and off-air chemistry between the hosts. Perloff is from Philadelphia and a die-hard Eagles fan while Gray is a fan of the Buffalo Bills. The Eagles have the best record in the NFC at 11-1 while the Bills are among the best teams in the AFC at 9-3.
Perloff has come to understand just how much Gray loves the Bills and there is a chance that their two teams could meet come February 12th in Arizona for Super Bowl LVII.
“She’s a very passionate Buffalo Bills fan,” said Perloff. “I always knew that, but to actually sit there on a daily basis and see her sweat out every detail about the Buffalo Bills has been a lot of fun. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’re on a collision course for the Super Bowl and we’re already trying to figure out a Super Bowl bet.”
The easy wager to set up would involve food.
If the Bills win, Perloff would have to give Gray some Philly cheesesteaks.
If the Eagles win, Gray would have to furnish Perloff with some Buffalo Wings.
But it appears as if management wants there to be more at stake for the potential bet.
“Our boss wants us to do something more severe,” said Perloff. “The truth is I’m an Eagles fan so I’ve already won my Super Bowl. Maggie, on the other hand, has no idea what that feels like. I almost feel sorry for her because it’s tough being a Bills fan.
“We have a pretty big rivalry with our team because she’s a Mets fan and I’m a Phillies fan. We get along great expect for those areas.”
The Maggie & Perloff chemistry extends throughout the show and that includes producer Michael Samtur who has his own rooting interests.
Samtur is a fan of the New York Jets who are having a better-than-expected season.
“When the Jets win, I don’t want to see Mike on Monday mornings because he’s smiling so much,” said Perloff. “He’s an unbelievably cynical Jets fan…it’s hysterically funny.
“Mike is doing a great job. It’s really an all-hands-on deck show. I think we all sort of kind of wear each other’s hats at certain times.”
An added element to the show is that it is also simulcast on CBS Sports Network. If there’s one thing that Perloff learned from working with Dan Patrick — who also has a simulcast on television — is that the program is a radio show that just happens to have cameras in the studio. At the end of the day, it’s a radio show on television and not a television show on the radio.
“That’s also my philosophy,” said Perloff. “From a logistical standpoint, to do a good radio show you can’t really focus on the TV side of it. For us, the foundation of the base is to really focus on the radio show and the TV and video comes naturally after that.”
Perloff’s resume also includes writing and co-writing an assortment of magazine stories, books, and television shows while also hosting his own weekend show on NBC Sports Radio from 2016 to 2019. But it was working on The Dan Patrick Show where he learned an important aspect of being a talk show host that he continues to live by at CBS Sports Radio.
What he learned was that you just have to be yourself.
“Dan always wanted us to be authentic in the sense that don’t try to be someone you’re not,” said Perloff. “Don’t try to come up with hot takes just for the sake of hot takes. When you listen to Dan Patrick on the radio, you’re really hearing Dan. He’s not a radically different person off air.”
This is a huge time of the year for sports radio.
The NFL’s regular season is winding down and college football is heading towards bowl season and the College Football Playoff. Throw in the NBA, college basketball, NHL, and the World Cup and there’s so much going on in the sports world to talk about.
Perloff can’t get enough of it.
“I love it so much,” said Perloff. “College football is just huge right now. When we bring up a college football story, the phone lines just light up which I think is a reflection of the growing interest in that sport. This is the best time of the year. It’s incredible.”
As Maggie & Perloff head towards their first anniversary on the air, there are goals and expectations heading into 2023. The show has grown tremendously over the course of the first year and while that may have occurred faster than expected, the hope is that the trend continues.
“I’ve been a little surprised by how fast the audience has grown and our connection with the audience,” said Perloff. “One of the great things about The Dan Patrick Show was the community feel with the show and all of the listeners. That’s definitely growing with us and I’d like to see that really take off next year. It makes it so much more fun when you’re doing the show and everybody is along for the ride.”
It’s been a great ride so far and it should be interesting to see what happens if that ride includes an Andrew Perloff vs Maggie Gray Super Bowl matchup in February. It’s not even because the breakdown of Eagles vs Bills would be fascinating but the audience wants more.
That Super Bowl bet would certainly be intriguing.
Peter Schwartz has been involved in New York sports media for over three decades. Along the way he has worked for notable brands such as WFAN, CBS Sports Radio, WCBS 880, ESPN New York, and FOX News Radio. He has also worked as a play by play announcer for the New Yok Riptide, New York Dragons, New York Hitmen, Varsity Media and the Long Island Sports Network. You can find him on Twitter @SchwartzSports or email him at DragonsRadio@aol.com.