I watched Monday Night Football as the Redskins hosted the Bears. I re-watched the first half to go more in depth on the broadcast and how the broadcasters handled things. National broadcasts are tough, but I thought things went pretty well overall.
I was watching the game in a local bar and the sound/telecast didn’t come on until just around kickoff. The open to the broadcast wasn’t filled with a lot of information or detail on the game, and since I was getting the call right up against game-time there really wasn’t anything to provide me with some “pregame” or other info. Now I realize ESPN does 15 hours of pregame, but some viewers only tune in for the game and they get shafted.
Early in the game with the Bears on offense, the focus of the crew was spot on. Focused on the Bears offense or lack thereof. Booger McFarland talked about the struggles of Mitch Trubisky repeating the Trevon Williams quote from the Packers about making Trubisky beat teams by taking away the other weapons. I think in the Bears first drive they missed an obvious player being used on offense, that was Cordarrelle Patterson. Why are the Bears using him so much early? Does that take pressure off of the QB? McFarland brought up a terrific point referencing a conversation he had with the Bears QB, about his love of throwing out of the pocket and scrambling. McFarland said “when I asked him that question, his eyes lit up”…that’s good stuff.
On the Redskins first drive, Joe Tessitore referred to the Case Keenum quote about playing on borrowed time, then paying it off with the mention of the rookie Dwayne Haskins Jr. Then it plays out with the QB firing a pick six to Clinton Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Tessitore comes up big with the fact that the DB spent some time last year with the Redskins and how Eddie Jackson the Bears DB, convinced him to sign with the Bears to relive their days in Alabama together. That’s great prep work to me, because it’s a story for sure. Great insight too, because I’m sure that many fans (including some that I watched the game with) only remember Clinton-Dix from Green Bay.
The Bears kicking situation has become much more of a talking point than maybe it needs to be at times. But the MNF crew made mention of the injury suffered by rookie place kicker Eddie Piñeiro suffered in the weight room during the week and clarified that was why the punter Patrick O’Donnell was handling the kickoff duties.
Even though it’s kind of an old story already, the way the Bears defense started the game, it was probably worth a mention of the new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. McFarland made a great point that the new guy typically wants to put his own stamp on things, but Pagano realized what he had and mainly wanted to regain players trust and let them play. The crew gets lucky because on the next play Khalil Mack busted through the line with a sack and a forced fumble.
McFarland pointed out that great players want to continue to be great and don’t think about what they did last season.
Odd choice to me by the production crew to again make note of the 2017 first round QB’s. Trubisky was #2 overall, Patrick Mahomes #10 and Deshaun Watson #12. I sort of get it since the Bears offense has scuffled, but Trubisky did help lead the Bears to a division title last season. Didn’t he? McFarland made a brilliant observation after the graphic, by saying “this is not all on Trubisky (this year), some of it is on Matt Nagy who admitted that they tried to do too much.” That’s a great follow up note in my opinion.
It seemed to me like the broadcast focused mainly on the Bears early on, with the struggles on offense, the great things on defense and the kicking situation. Late in the 1st quarter after a near “safety” on Trubisky, the broadcast team mentions that in a 7-0 game, the Redskins defense has done a nice job. The hardest thing to me in a national broadcast like this is to please both sides of the rooting bases. You aren’t going to make everyone happy, but in prep for a game like this, having something good, bad or indifferent to say about each club will go a long way in keeping interest. I know I was always interested as a fan to hear what the national crews felt about my team, something I always looked forward to hearing. More of this is needed so far in this game.
Along those lines Tessitore, after an Adrian Peterson run, starts to talk about “AP’s” place in the record books and how a touchdown last week put him 5th on the all-time TD list. McFarland is having a strong game, he comes out to talk about how Peterson will be running with some anger, especially after being inactive in the Redskins Week 1 loss. He’d go on to say that Peterson has “renewed energy now”. There was good production support of this conversation too, after a Peterson short gain they put up the Most Rushing TD in NFL history graphic to show Peterson is 3 away from as Tessitore put it “Peterson’s idol, Walter Payton”. Tessitore comes up large continuing that thought saying Peterson told him that getting to Payton “motivates me and would mean the world to me”, those inside stories from candid players are gold.
There was an underrated but good perspective note by Tessitore to open up the 2nd quarter, by telling the audience that at this point the Bears have as many defensive touchdowns as they do offensive. Wow.
The Redskins drive hit 3rd down in the red zone and Danny Trevathan sacked Keenum, and McFarland picked something up on the replay showing a nice fake out of an offensive lineman by the Bears linebacker and having a little laugh about it.
Some of the themes of the broadcast are redundant but covered nicely by some anecdotal material. Of Trubisky’s inaccuracy issue, Tessitore points out that the Bears QB is comfortable with who he is and understands the criticism but feels like he has the talent to make things work. Good supporting material for the discussion.
Greg Manusky’s defense has come under fire and for the fans watching in DC, it’s a lightning rod issue. Tessitore points out that many wanted the defensive coordinator fired last year, but Jay Gruden kept him on. In a 7-0 game to this point, it’s a valid discussion because it wasn’t like the Bears offense dominated to the midway point of the second quarter. Soon after the discussion though the Bears go up 14-0 putting the defense of the Redskins in the crosshairs again. Tessitore points out that NFL QBs against the Skins defense in the red zone have converted on all 10 trips.
After the Bears went up 21-0 and Case Keenum threw an interception naturally the discussion turned to Haskins and if things continued to go south would he eventually get into a game this season. Tessitore referenced a conversation with Jay Gruden saying “this is going to be a process, he’s learning how to prepare as a pro right now and that everyone in the organization thinks that right now, sitting him is the best decision.”. McFarland agreed and brought up that Haskins only played one year at Ohio State, so in other words, he has a lot to learn. I’m sure Redskins fans were throwing things at their TV’s as much as Keenum was tossing interceptions.
Nearing the two-minute warning, more gold. Pointing out that Cole Holcomb, the Skins 5th round pick in 2019 from North Carolina was in an “interesting position, playing inside linebacker tonight.” Why? He was Trubisky’s roommate in college. Love that stuff.
More good things happen on the video replay review of the Taylor Gabriel no catch in the endzone. The guys smartly defer to their in booth official, John Parry, who said he believed the call should be reversed and it was. He broke down the play, explaining that even though the ball moved a bit, that is allowable under the rule and he felt there was control and two feet down. He’s fresh off the field and was dead on with all his assessments of that particular play and sounded very comfortable delivering the information. Excellent use of the former referee and a great take by him as well.
Overall, the first half of this game seemed difficult to call. One team was dominating another and there were a ton of flags on the field. I thought McFarland was the star of the show. That’s the way a television broadcast should go, letting the analyst do what he does and inject some good points and offer a little levity. McFarland clearly did his homework and was prepared for every situation on the field. He impressed me with his knowledge of both sides of the football, not just the defense. Tessitore also did a ton of prep and it’s evident throughout the telecast. He is solid and used the information he gathered in the days leading up to the broadcast and interjected information seamlessly throughout that first half. I’d like to hear him be a little less intense. It seems to me like sometimes there isn’t a lot of emotion in his voice, it’s one way to approach things with a personality like McFarland in the booth, but I’d still like to hear more from him. Again he is solid and handling a tough job on a big stage.
Sam Mayes Got A Raw Deal But Tyler Media Made The Right Call
“You are being naive if you think a company should stand behind an employee that has put themselves in this situation.”
I do not envy whoever at Tyler Media had to make a decision about Sam Mayes’s future with the company after audio of a private conversation in 2016 was leaked to the media. Mayes and now-former co-worker Cara Rice made a few racist jokes at the expense of Native Americans.
The recording, according to Mayes, was made without his knowledge and leaked illegally. He says in a recorded statement that he should have been given the opportunity to address the recording on air and make amends.
Maybe that is true, maybe it isn’t. I hate for Sam to lose his job as the result of an illegal recording of a private conversation, but the fact is, that conversation isn’t private anymore. Tyler Media didn’t really have an option here. Sam Mayes had to go.
Someone had an illegal recording of the conversation and created an anonymous email account to send it to people in the Oklahoma City media. I was shown a copy of the email. The author states clearly that their goal is to see Mayes and Rice out of a job. There is nothing fair or just about that person getting exactly what they want. It feels slimy. I can’t say that it feels like it wasn’t the right call though.
We have debated whether or not someone should lose their job over comments made in a private conversation many times before. It happens in every field. It wasn’t long ago at all that we were having this same debate about Jon Gruden. His emails to Bruce Allen and others were sent in private. Is it fair he had to go when they were made public? No matter what horrible things were in there, they were said with the understanding that it would stay between friends.
I am going to say the same thing about Sam Mayes that I did about Gruden when that story first broke. You are being naive if you think a company should stand behind an employee that has put themselves in this situation.
You read that right. The circumstances of how the conversations in these examples came to light are absolutely unfair, but the conversations came to light. How it happened is irrelevant. Any sponsor or boss that stands behind Sam Mayes or Jon Gruden would be endorsing the language they used, either inadvertently or very much on purpose. Try explaining that to a sponsor.
People at Tyler Media may know Sam Mayes’s heart. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy. The fact of the matter is, once the audio became public, their hands were tied. There is no mistaking what was said or who said it.
How can any seller or manager take Mayes to advertisers now? How can they put him in front of the Lucky Star Casino, one of the station’s biggest advertisers? They can ask for an audience to let Sam explain himself and try to make amends. The Cheyenne and Arapahoe Tribes, who own the casino, are under no obligation to forgive or even listen.
Maybe the day will come where Sam Mayes bounces back. I hope it does. I hope he gets the chance to address his comments with members of Oklahoma’s Native American community and listen to what they have to say in response. I do think it sucks that this is how his time at The Franchise comes to an end, but I get it.
If I have to explain to you why not to say dumb, racist shit, then I don’t think we have much to talk about. But, it is worth noting that the recording of Mayes and Rice’s conversation is proof that privacy is always an assumption, not always a fact.
In his audio statement, Mayes admits it is his voice on the recording. He also says that he was uncomfortable with Rice’s comments and he tried to end their conversation. I’ll take him at his word, but I will also point out that before he tried to end the conversation, he joined in on the jokes. Maybe when someone says that Native Americans are “too drunk to organize” it isn’t a great idea to respond. All it leads to is proof of you saying something dumb and racist.
Again, I’ll reiterate that how these comments came to light is unfair, but they did come to light. That is Sam Mayes’s voice on the recording. He is joining in on the jokes about Native Americans being drunks and addicts. At the end of the day, the only thing that was done to him was the audio being released. He fully and willingly committed the firable offense.
What is the response to a client or potential client when they bring that up? All Tyler Media can do is try to recover and move forward. The company cannot do that with Mayes on the payroll.
Stop Prospecting, Start Strategizing!
“You cannot put a price tag on authenticity. It’s very rare and hard to find these days.”
Struggling to get new business appointments? Dreading making prospecting calls? Having trouble writing creative emails that seemingly never get a response?
Generating responses to new business outreach is easier than you think. Just make sure you do your homework first and keep it “Simple Stupid”.
To do that, start with asking yourself these (3) simple questions:
#1: Did I do my home work on the business itself, their competition and those I plan on reaching out to?
#2: If I were on the other end of the phone and/or email with myself would I want to engage in conversation and/or reply to that email?
#3: Am I prepared to make a one call close given the opportunity to?
If the answer to any of these is “No”… do NOT pick up the phone and by all means do NOT hit the send button on that initial outreach email! Doing so will all but ensure you fall flat on your face. On the off chance you do happen to get the decision maker on the phone you won’t make that great first impression that sometimes can be so crucial. First impressions are always important… ALWAYS!
Skipping over these critical steps is a sure-fire way to ensure your email is completely ignored and will not generate the engagement from the prospect you’d hope for. Successful prospecting is all about the front end digging and research. Do your homework first then strategize a plan of attack for your call and/or email. Taking these extra measures on the front end is absolutely “Mission Critical” and will set you up for much more success with your prospecting endeavors.
Now once you’ve answered “Yes” to all of the above, you’re ready to attack with the knowledge and confidence that should set you a part from your competition. It’s all about the Game Plan, and if you don’t have one, you’re destined for failure time and time again. Incorporate these (5) things into your prospecting Game Plan for your next call/email and watch your results dramatically improve:
#1: MAKE IT PERSONAL & CASUAL – Be informal, find out something interesting about them.
#2: MAKE IT SHORT & CONCISE – Be straight forward and to the point, people are busy.
#3: MAKE IT TIMELY & RELEVANT TO THEM AND/OR THEIR BUSINESS – Give them a good Valid Business Reason.
#4: MAKE IT INTERESTING, COMPELLING & INFORMATIVE – Be the expert they’re missing.
#5: MAKE IT FUN – Fun people are easy to do business with and make it less like “work”.
Lastly, and most importantly, Be Yourself! You cannot put a price tag on authenticity. It’s very rare and hard to find these days. When clients do find it trust me, they value it and appreciate it way more than you’ll ever know!
Good Producers Can Teach The World A Lot About Christmas
“A lot has to be accomplished in the lead-up to Christmas. So much of it happens in the background without much recognition.”
Who is Carl Christmas in your house? Who is the one that makes sure everyone that needs to get a card does? Who comes up with the plan for the lights? Who takes the reins on the shopping?
Every home needs one and in my house, that’s me. December (including the last week of November) is my time to shine, baby!
One thing I have tried to impress upon my mom and wife this year is that shipping and supply chain delays are real. So, if you are planning on procrastinating on your online shopping this year (you know, like usual) someone (me) is going to have no presents under the tree.
Veteran producers are used to operate this way. Young producers, listen up. Your job involves the most delicate balance of any in sports radio. You have to help bring your host’s and PD’s visions to life. That means you have to be able to take their direction. But you also have to keep the host on target. That means you cannot be afraid to be forceful and lead when the moment demands it.
There’s no value to being an unrepentant asshole to people, but you do have to hold them accountable. Look at that Christmas shopping example again. If you want to get what you want, you need to keep on task the people you know aren’t paying attention to the potential roadblocks. It isn’t selfish. It is making sure everyone gets the holiday W they are expecting. Sure, you would be disappointed if your gift doesn’t arrive on time, but so will the gift giver.
Being a stickler for the clock or moving a host off of a topic that has no value is the same thing. Of course there is something in it for you, but you are also helping the host do his or her job better. They may get annoyed with you now, but if you save them from an ass-chewing from the bosses or slipping ratings, then they have reaped the benefits.
I guess the unfortunate difference here is that there may be no acknowledgment of what you did or helped them to avoid. Oh well. Every producer has to expect a certain level of thanklessness.
Producers have to take on that Carl Christmas role in dealing with sales too. Remember, just because the producer’s name isn’t on the show doesn’t mean that isn’t every bit his or her show that it is the hosts’.
It’s like decorating your house for the holidays. You may have a certain design in mind. Maybe you have a traditional look you stick to every year. If your spouse or your kid comes home with a giant, inflatable Santa Claus in a military helicopter that they want on the lawn, you have a decision to make. Are you going to say no and suggest an alternative that aligns more with your goal or are you going to let your plan get run over?
Sales has a job to do. It is to make sure their clients’ messages are heard and to make money for the station. Both can be accomplished without sacrificing your show’s quality.
If a seller comes to you and says he wants his client to come in for five minutes and talk about now being the time to book an appointment to have your garage floors redone, you have to speak up. You have an obligation to make sure that the seller knows that even five minutes of that will hurt the show and have listeners diving for the preset buttons on their car stereo. That isn’t good for the station or his client.
Instead, offer to work with the seller and the client to come up with a piece of content that the client can put his name on and a 20-second ad read behind. Will the audience stick around to listen to some dude named Jerry talk about garage floors or will more people listen to you talk about the NFL playoff picture in a creative way and then still be there to hear Jerry’s message about garage floors? The answer seems obvious.
A lot has to be accomplished in the lead-up to Christmas. So much of it happens in the background without much recognition. If the background work wasn’t done though, the problems would be right out on the front lawn for everyone to see.
“Gatekeeper” is a term I really hate. It implies that someone is telling others what they are and are not allowed to enjoy. It is a necessary term though to properly describe what it is that a great producer and a great Carl Christmas do.
We don’t shut people out from being able to enjoy or be a part of what it is we are creating. We set or are handed down expectations and we block anything that can get in the way of achieving them. Sometimes, that is more thankless work than it should be. It is necessary though.
As my home’s self-appointed Carl Christmas and a former producer, let me give my countrymen the thanks others forget. We are the ones that make it possible for everyone else to be mindless. Wear it as a badge of honor. We may not get the kind of recognition we deserve everyday, but when plans go off without a hitch, we are usually the first to be recognized for making it happen.
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