We have heard from the greats and the veterans of the sports broadcasting industry about the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, but what about those who have just begun their career in sports broadcasting? How have they been impacted and more importantly what have they learned from this experience? I had the pleasure of speaking with a few of the talented individuals by scanning the Barrett Sports Media Membership Directory. They have all demonstrated their tenacity and resourcefulness in utilizing the tool and reaching more people in the industry.
The competitive sports media industry has set the bar even higher when it comes to the expectations and requirements of prospective talent. Employers have demonstrated an affinity for the ‘Taysom Hill’ style pick in the process of screening prospective job candidates; a dynamic, impactful, adaptive teammate.
Brady Farkas, Host of the Bleav in Patriots podcast on the Bleav Podcast Network has also decided to meet challenge head on by diversifying his résumé and hosting the University of Vermont’s The Catamount Chronicles; a podcast dedicated to featuring UVM’s best moments in sports history.
Jake Asman, Host of The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio and ESPN 97.5 Houston has certainly exemplified the Taysom Hill energy when faced with the challenges associated with 2020.
Jordon Schultz, Bleav Podcast Network Host & KXL News Anchor in Portland embodies all of the Taysom Hill-marks in his continued commitment to contributing quality content across multiple formats and diversifying his skillset.
I had the opportunity to speak with Brady, Jake and Jordon about their experiences with the sports media world, their careers and takeaways regarding broadcasting during COVID-19; it truly was as inspiring as it was illuminating.
The self-discipline, raw talent and unbridled motivation, while maintaining their focus on continuing to build relationships and develop their skills, truly set the trio apart from the competition. Brady Farkas, Jake Asman and Jordon Schultz are phenomenal reminders of just how bright the future of the sports media world will be.
What have you learned about the sports radio business during the pandemic?
Brady Farkas: I’ve learned how to have more fun as an on-air personality. I wouldn’t say that I was boring beforehand, but I was more regimented and more formulaic in how I hosted a show. And while the clock and the formula will always be important to me, this opened my eyes to more creative features, segments and interviews and I’m grateful for how that has diversified my hosting ability.
As a programmer, I learned more about how important it is to superserve clients and to really make sure you’re taking care of advertisers so that they feel a connection to your brand and have a reason to stay on. I learned more creative ways to tie in your play-by-play rights/national programming into your local line-up when it comes to liners, stabs, etc. It connects the local and national in a really cool way for the listener.
Jake Asman: Well, I think the easy answer is that it’s certainly a lot easier to come up with topics your listeners will care about when there are plenty of games being played and major events happening. However, the challenge of trying to be unique and entertaining every day without a lot of sports to talk about was something that I enjoyed, and I feel that the circumstances made me a much better talk show host.
Jordon Schultz: I’ve learned that the sports radio business is resilient and has staying power in a landscape saturated with different options for entertainment. Despite unsure times for everyone out there, among the job losses there have been new jobs being listed every week.
Also, it’s encouraging to hear so many hosts adapt to talking about other things on the air. So I guess you can say the biz is resilient in that way too. In a world full of change, sports radio is doing a good job of trying to adapt.
How has your belief in the future of the sports radio industry been affected over the past few months?
Brady Farkas: I still believe very strongly about the future of the industry because of the connection we have with our listeners. When you’re on the air for two, three or four hours a day, you develop a relationship with your listeners to where it feels like a family. And while it sounds corny, that family element allowed stations to go on during the pandemic, and it will ultimately carry us out of it.
Jake Asman: I’m a very optimistic person by nature, so I really believe that even though so many colleagues and stations are struggling around the country right now, that things will turn around. It is going to take time but I think if you have a defeatist attitude about the current situation, it is not going to help anyone find solutions to move forward. Although the pandemic feels like it’s been going on for decades, it still is going to hopefully only represent such a small portion of our lives, and we will get out of this and get back to normal.
It certainly helps that it looks like the NFL is going to be able to at least start their season. Football is king and to have the NFL back will provide a huge boost to every station’s revenue and I know my listeners can’t wait for the season.
Jordon Schultz: Despite the ratings drop for games on TV (take the NBA as an example), I think sports radio and sports audio have become more important than ever before. While not everyone can watch every game because of blackouts or viewing prices, everyone can listen to the radio station talking about their team, or their favorite show or podcast for free.
In unsure times, people turn to others that they know and trust. As an industry, we need to make sure that we continue to fill that role. If we’re always doing our best at that, the future of the sports radio industry is bright.
What have you done differently to adapt/ adjust and keep your skills sharp in order to position yourself for future growth and opportunities?
Brady Farkas: It’s been really rewarding over the last several months to hone skills when it comes to digital marketing of yourself and your station brand. From audiograms, to live streaming of your show, to generating highlight clips of your shows, it’s all important in terms of keeping your audience engaged all day long.
Furthermore, I personally have continued to grow my network and guest book/rolodex through podcasting opportunities and learned more about how to use YouTube as a tool for radio and podcasting. It has great features that I wasn’t really aware of previously, like scheduling videos as “premieres” that appear LIVE to your audience, but are actually already taped.
Jake Asman: I was on furlough for six weeks when the pandemic first began. I vowed to use that time to improve in any way that I could as a talk show host. I sought out feedback from industry professionals and people that I respect in the field, I taught myself how to edit clips of my show into unique graphics to post on social media to try and grow my following and give my listeners another way to consume my show. I learned how to stream the radio show on various social media platforms so when the opportunity to come back to Gow Media happened, I was ready.
I also treated every day as if I was still going to be on the air doing a show to stay mentally sharp. I tried to challenge myself with different angles to take on topics and would think about different ideas for unique benchmark segments or various guests I’d like to get on my show.
Now that I am back on the air doing a daily show, I never want to be outworked by anyone. Because of COVID-19, the news cycle as it relates to sports is always changing every day, so I am making sure that I am plugged in and up to date on everything that is happening. I want to make sure that people know when they listen to me that I’m going to give you a show that is well thought out, entertaining, and interesting, even in a pandemic.
Jordon Schultz: I’m in sort of a unique situation in that I’ve been working in news for the past few years instead of my chosen format, sports. So even before the pandemic, I’ve been trying to make sure I have a wide set of skills that can make me an attractive candidate to a wide range of program directors.
But during the shut down, I’ve tried to make sure my Portland Trailblazers Podcast is top notch. It’s a weekly opportunity to grow, and I try to take full advantage of it. Other than that, I’ve tried my best to reach out to some of my contacts in the business just to say hi and ask how they’re doing. It’s a small way of keeping yourself on their mind during these crazy times!
What advice do you have for others trying to remain employed or find employment during this tough stretch of 2020?
Brady Farkas: If you are currently employed and looking to retain employment, I would encourage people to learn how to do everything. Make yourself indispensable and make sure you can run a board, produce a show, book guests, plan a show, execute a show, run the social media, work with the interns, understand all the different web/digital functions that help your brand grow.
Furthermore, if you are looking for work, teach yourself more about the digital space. As the sports radio world looks for younger listeners, getting to them in the digital space they occupy is critical.
Jake Asman: If you are trying to remain employed or find employment, you have to make sure that you have a multitude of skills to increase your value. I’m way more than just a talk show host on SportsMap Radio. I produce my show every day in regards to booking all my own guests, editing the audio and daily clips from the show for social media, and much more.
You have to be able to do a lot more than just turn on a mic and talk. This was true before the pandemic and this is even more true now. I’m lucky because in addition to owning SportsMap Radio, Gow Media also owns ESPN 97.5 locally and the website SportsMap.com. I make sure that I am always available to fill in host locally on 97.5 whenever I’m needed, and I also contribute written articles for SportsMap.com multiple times a week.
I want to be involved in as many roles as possible to prove my value to the company that I work for. I also think it’s great to get to know everybody in the building behind the scenes too. I love talking to our sales team and seeing if there is anything I am able to help them with. Without them, I wouldn’t be lucky enough to have a job right now. Radio is truly a team effort and during a pandemic, it’s all hands on deck.
Jordon Schultz: Make yourself available in any way possible. Apply or offer to work in other formats or departments around the building/industry to help fill the gaps we all have in personnel right now. Use the downtime to start a podcast or YouTube channel if you don’t already have one.
Also, there’s been a lot of virtual networking happening since the pandemic started. Take advantage of any gatherings or virtual calls that you hear about. You might meet some new people and build some relationships that lead to an opportunity. And keep your chin up! I haven’t been able to get a full time sports radio job for almost 8 years leading up to the pandemic.
It’s rough out there, but if you continue to grow and show your value it’ll pay off, even during an unprecedented pandemic
Chrissy Paradis is a BNM columnist and veteran sports radio producer. She’s worked in Las Vegas, Washington DC, Raleigh and Hartford helping personalities such as Rob Dibble, Tim Brando, Steve Cofield, Adam Gold and Joe Ovies. You can contact her on Twitter @ChrissyParadis or by email at Chrissy.Paradis@gmail.com.
I Raise My Microphone to You, Vin Scully
Thank you for your graciousness and for the gift you bestowed upon all of us. I wish you a peaceful rest.
“It’s time for Dodger baseball! Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you, wherever you may be.” That’s how the legendary Vin Scully would greet countless thousands of Dodgers’ fans every time they’d watch or listen to a game. His gift was making every single listener/viewer feel like he was your buddy, the guy sitting next to you at the game or a bar or wherever. Vin made everyone feel special because that’s who he was.
Now, unfortunately it’s time to talk about the passing of an absolute legend. Scully died earlier this week at the age of 94. Scouring Twitter and reading reactions to his death, there’s one theme I noticed. Most everyone that watched him or listened to him, Dodgers fan or not, say it feels like they’re losing a friend. Not that Vin’s career needed any validation, but to me, that’s the mark of a great broadcaster. Being there, through the ups and downs and being a trusted voice that people could rely on if they had a bad day or a great day.
Vin’s passing leaves a void in our industry that will never again be filled. I say that, not just because he was the greatest baseball play-by-play announcer to ever crack a mic, but because he was a tremendous person. He seemingly had time for everyone. Even a green around the gills play-by-play apprentice, me.
In 2004, when I was with the Cubs broadcast team, we made our annual trip to Los Angeles. I had been traveling with the team for a couple of years at that point, but never had the chance to meet Scully. I mentioned this in passing in the booth one afternoon. Pat Hughes, Ron Santo and our producer Matt Boltz started talking about Vin. Hughes said something to the effect of, let’s go visit him after the game. I thought nothing of it. But sure enough, after the postgame show, Pat motioned to me to come with him. I will admit, I was nervous. Out of character for myself, I didn’t know what I was going to say to him. I even had a baseball with me for him to sign. Such a geek.
We made our way through the press dining room at Dodger Stadium and tucked away in one of the back corners was a doorway marked “Private”. Pat and I entered the private dining room for the Dodgers broadcasters and there was Vin and the rest of the crew. Pat was greeted immediately by the guys and proceeded to introduce me to everyone. He saved Vin for last. The ever-gracious Scully stood up from his chair and stuck out his hand. I’ll never forget what he said and in his dulcet tones, I can still hear it. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Andy, I understand you’ve been doing some play-by-play, how’s that going?” Floored, I managed to speak and told him that it was a work in progress, but I was happy for the chance. He told me to keep at it and shook my hand. He then noticed the baseball in my hand, and asked if I wanted him to sign it. The fanboy in me, shook my head and I still have that ball in my collection.
I moved on to San Diego and saw Vin numerous times. I almost literally ‘bumped’ into him before a Dodgers/Padres game at Petco Park. Vin would walk the hallways in the broadcast area to ‘warm up’ before a broadcast. I marveled at this man, who still seemingly had that nervous energy that we all experience before going on the air. He would stroll up and down humming, not loudly, but with enough volume that you could hear him. He told me that was how he exercised his voice in getting ready for a game. It was amazing to see and hear, then get the explanation.
Scully was a decorated man, winning many awards. He was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1982, receiving the Ford C. Frick Award. He was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 and had his microphone retired by the Dodgers.
This great gentleman broadcast baseball for 67 years. Starting in Brooklyn in 1950 and finishing in Los Angeles in 2016. Scully worked for both CBS and NBC during his career and not only covered baseball, but on CBS he called NFL games from 1975-82. In his final telecast for the network, he was on the call for the NFC Championship Game, when Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark in the endzone for ‘the catch’ that put the 49ers into the Super Bowl. He also was on the network’s golf coverage as well as tennis.
At NBC he did baseball and he did it well of course. He called four All-Star Games, four NLCS and three World Series. Scully had some memorable calls in the Fall Classic. Scully provided the call for one of baseball’s most memorable plays when Bill Buckner’s error in the 10th in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series gave the Mets an improbable win over the Red Sox:
“Little roller up along first. Behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it! “
Scully also called Kirk Gibson’s famous homer during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series:
“High fly ball into right field, she i-i-i-is … gone!”
Scully said nothing for over a minute, allowing the pictures to tell the story. Finally, he said:
“In a year that has been so improbable… the impossible has happened!”
Well before those moments, he was part of so many legendary and unforgettable calls with the Dodgers. Upon his retirement Dodgers fans voted on his greatest calls of all time. There are too many to list here, but a couple come to mind immediately.
Scully had a flair for the English language. He would say things in a way that made the listener/viewer feel like they were right there with him. He set a scene unlike any other broadcaster. Take for example the 9th inning of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game in 1965, a 1-0 win over the Cubs at Dodger Stadium.
When Koufax struck out Harvey Kuenn for the game’s final out, this is what Scully said to paint the picture as perfectly as Koufax painted the corners that night:
“You can almost taste the pressure now,” he said as the ninth inning got underway. ” … There are 29,000 people in the ballpark, and a million butterflies.”
“It is 9:46 p.m.,” Scully said. “Two and two to Harvey Kuenn. One strike away. Sandy into his windup, here’s the pitch … swung on and missed, a perfect game!”
There were then 38-40 seconds of nothing but crowd noise.
“On the scoreboard in right field, it is 9:46 p.m. in the city of the angels, Los Angeles, California. And a crowd of 29,139 just sitting in to see the only pitcher in baseball history to hurl four no-hit, no-run games, and he’s done it four straight years. And now he’s capped it; on his fourth no-hitter, he made it a perfect game.”
Brilliant. Simple, yet incredible. The first of the three perfect games Scully called, took place in the 1956 World Series. Don Larsen faced the Dodgers in the Bronx and as the game went into the 9th inning, Scully epically described the tense feeling building at Yankee Stadium.
“Well, all right, let’s all take a deep breath as we go to the most dramatic ninth inning in the history of baseball,” he said.
Scully later described Yankee Stadium “shivering in its concrete foundation” as 64,517 fans hung on every pitch.
When Larsen struck out Dale Mitchell on a called third strike to end the game, Scully said, “Got him! The greatest game ever pitched in baseball history by Don Larsen, a no-hitter, a perfect game in a World Series.”
“When you put it in a World Series, you set the biggest diamond in the biggest ring,” Scully said.
Scully was the gem of the biggest kind. I’ve heard many words used to describe the man upon his passing. Gentleman, kind, warm and friendly are a few. To me, Vin always displayed class. Even as his final game in the booth for the Dodgers came to an end, he eloquently said so long:
“You know, friends, so many people have wished me congratulations on a 67-year career in baseball, and they’ve wished me a wonderful retirement with my family, and now, all I can do is tell you what I wish for you. May God give you, for every storm, a rainbow; for every tear, a smile; for every care, a promise; and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life seems, a faithful friend to share; for every sigh, a sweet song, and an answer for each prayer. You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know, in my heart, I’ve always needed you more than you’ve ever needed me, and I’ll miss our time together more than I can say. But you know what, there will be a new day, and, eventually, a new year, and when the upcoming winter gives way to spring, ooh, rest assured, once again, it will be time for Dodger baseball. So, this is Vin Scully wishing you a pleasant good afternoon, wherever you may be.”
A year after he signed off, the Dodgers advanced to the World Series for the first time in 29 years. Dodgers’ fans started a petition for him to come out of retirement and call the games on Fox. Joe Buck was even on board. Scully declined, preferring instead to lay low. “I honestly don’t feel I belong there and I would not want anyone to think I was eager for a spotlight.” Scully said. He added, “I’ve done enough of them.”
I think any of us, that got to meet him, watch him or listen to him over the years would disagree with that last statement. You could never get enough of the great Vincent Edward Scully. Thankfully his voice lives on through audio recordings and YouTube videos to show the younger generation how it was done. And done so well for so many years. It’s always hard to say goodbye, to someone you feel like you knew, even if you never had the chance to meet him.
Vin, I raise a microphone to you. Thank you for your graciousness and for the gift you bestowed upon all of us. I wish you a peaceful rest. And we all know where you’ll be, in our hearts and fondest memories forever.
Andy Masur is a columnist for BSM and works for WGN Radio as an anchor and play-by-play announcer. He also teaches broadcasting at the Illinois Media School. During his career he has called games for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. He can be found on Twitter @Andy_Masur1 or you can reach him by email at Andy@Andy-Masur.com.
Sports Talkers Podcast – Linda Cohn
Linda Cohn has lived her dream for the last 30 years at ESPN. She tells Stephen Strom about the ups and downs, the moment she thought she was being let go and the advice that calmed her down before going on live TV.
Stephen Strom can be heard hosting ‘The Sports Talkers Podcast’ for Barrett Sports Media. In addition to hosting here, Stephen works as a broadcasting assistant for the Miami Heat and color analyst for Nova Southeastern. Additional career experiences include working for SiriusXM, performing analyst duties for Princeton basketball, and hosting shows for TalkNorth.com. You can find him on Twitter @SStrom_.
Nate Bukaty Didn’t Sell Himself Short
“Don’t sell yourself short,” Bukaty remembered his friend saying to him. “That’s the sentence I remember he kept saying.”
There’s an old Vin Scully video clip I can’t stop watching. It may be the most impressive example of how to do baseball play-by-play I’ve ever seen or listened to. It’s the bottom of the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium as the home team plays the rival Giants. Madison Bumgarner is on the mound for San Francisco and Scully is telling a story in the middle of the inning about how the pitcher and his wife saved a baby jackrabbit from the inside of a dead snake.
The story goes that Bumgarner and his wife ran across a rattlesnake while the two were roping cattle. They were startled, so the three-time World Series champ grabbed an ax and chopped the snake to pieces. That’s how they found the baby jackrabbit. Bumgarner’s wife brought the rabbit back to the apartment and nursed it for the next few days. Eventually, the rabbit was healthy enough to be released back into the wild.
Mind you, Scully is telling this incredible story while calling a baseball game and not missing a beat with the live action. It’s truly a spectacle of broadcasting mastery.
Scully ends the story by saying, “Madison said, just think about how tough that rabbit was. First, it gets eaten by a snake, then the snake gets chopped to pieces, then it gets picked up by people and lives.”
Scully then follows with “so I guess, really, the moral to the whole story about the rabbit and the snake is you have to somehow survive, you have to somehow battle back. A lesson well-taught for all of us.”
When I listen to those final two sentences I can’t help but think of how it relates to Nate Bukaty’s journey into sports media, which is a story I heard just a few hours before the news of Scully’s passing on Tuesday night. Granted, Bukaty’s story has nothing to do with something as intense as taking an ax to a live rattlesnake, or even something as heroic as saving a baby rabbit, but his start in the business can be a comparison to the moral of the story, which was overcoming early adversity and battling back.
Bukaty realized in the front seat of his dad’s car in the sixth grade he wanted to be in sports media for a living. An hour before he made that decision, he would have told you he wanted to play the game professionally, instead of broadcasting it. But after his dad quickly pointed out how difficult it was going to be for him to be a pro athlete with a very to-the-point conversation, Bukaty turned his decision to the guys calling the Kansas City Royals game on the radio. His dad didn’t fight back at that aspiration. The father and son then spent the entire rest of the car ride discussing what it would take to achieve his newfound dream.
The dream persisted through junior high, high school, and even upon the decision to attend The University of Kansas. For over six years, Bukaty never re-considered what he wanted to pursue for his future. He made the decision long ago that he was going to broadcast games. But during one of his first days on campus at KU, his first major roadblock hit.
“I met with the sportscasting professor and he told me I would never make it in the business because my voice was too high,” said Bukaty. “It was my childhood dream since I was in 6th grade and the professor told me the first day on campus I was never going to make it. I was pretty devastated by that for a day.”
This wasn’t a criticism an aspiring broadcaster normally gets. It was something completely out of Bukaty’s control. His voice wasn’t something he could change. Most, probably, would have changed their major as quickly as possible, but Bukaty didn’t. Instead, he remembered a time he overcame adversity by being cut from the high school basketball team his sophomore year, only to be a starter on varsity his senior season. He was ready to overcome adversity again.
“I just went back to him and said, ‘well, I’m going to give this a shot, with your help or without’, “ Bukaty said.
But this isn’t a story where the young kid tells the professor he’s going to do it anyway, and easily finds himself in the future as the voice of a Major League Soccer team and 18-plus year veteran at Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City. No, there’s more adversity to come in this story and it happened less than three years later.
Bukaty was now a junior at KU and the reality of how hard it was going to be to make a career in broadcasting was settling in. He was applying for internships and realized there were all kinds of people working for free. The thought of finding a way to get paid for one was starting to become overwhelming.
His morale was starting to sink as he expressed his frustration over dinner with a friend that also attended KU. Bukaty even told him he may try to attend grad school to become a history professor or even a lawyer.
“I’m just looking at the odds and how hard it is to get a foothold in this business of sports broadcasting, especially since I don’t have any connections or anything,” Bukaty told his friend. “I think I find those other things interesting enough to be happy doing it.”
The next thing that was said is something Bukaty will never forget. You could even argue it set the tone for the rest of his professional career.
“He chewed me out and told me, how dare you give up on your dreams before you even give it a shot,” Bukaty said. “He told me I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t at least give it a shot.”
It was the exact push Bukaty needed to refocus. It was made clear to him he could go back to law school at any time, but his dream was something he needed to chase.
“Don’t sell yourself short,” Bukaty remembered his friend saying to him. “That’s the sentence I remember he kept saying. That really helped me refocus and realize, yeah, this is what I have wanted to do since I was a kid and I shouldn’t give up on it. I’m going to keep going.”
It’s a moment Bukaty hasn’t shared very much over the years. But there’s no denying the incredible impact it had on him. From that moment, he’s never looked back.
The funny thing is the friend that shared incredible wisdom with him that day had no intentions of going to college while he and Bukaty were in high school. The only reason Bukaty convinced him to come to The University of Kansas was because he turned his friend into a huge KU basketball fan. Without the Jayhawks fandom, there’s a great chance that distinct conversation never happens.
But that’s not the end of the incredible interaction that night with Bukaty and his friend.
“That night, he also said, here’s what’s going to happen: You’re going to become a successful sports broadcaster and I’m going to become a sports historian and I’m going to write a book on you someday.”
His prediction was nearly spot on. Amongst many other incredible jobs and titles, Bukaty is the play-by-play voice of Sporting KC and one of the longest-tenured sports talk hosts in Kansas City. His friend is no other than Matt Zeysing, who’s the head curator of the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
There aren’t any current plans for Zeysing to fulfill the entire prediction and write a book on Bukaty’s career, but if he wanted to, he could probably write a best-seller on just the night the two shared inside a bar in Lawrence. Regardless, it was an incredible prediction that had a lasting impact on Bukaty’s career.
And about the professor who told Bukaty his voice was too high to be in the business? It was that same person who got him a radio job in Moberly, MO. Talk about a redemption story.
Bukaty’s career story combines overcoming adversity, living out a dream, and getting outside his comfort zone to realize new passions and talents. Calling Major League Soccer games for Sporting Kansas City is truly a dream come true for him. Play-by-play was always his first love and getting to realize that dream is one that he never takes for granted. Even if that means getting home after a game at 11:30 at night and having to do a morning drive radio show the next day at 6:00 a.m.
“My sleep schedule is a complete nightmare,” laughed Bukaty. “After a game, I cannot go to sleep. Say it’s a Wednesday game and I get home around 11:30, I’ll go for a three-mile run around my neighborhood. That does wonders. I feel three really good hours of sleep is better than four hours of tossing and turning and not turning your brain off.”
Bukaty has always challenged himself to get out of his comfort zone. That’s originally how he started in sports radio at 810 WHB. He listened to sports radio, but it wasn’t something he was immediately drawn to as an opportunity. Bukaty saw it more as a forum where hot takes were consistently lived, which wasn’t his broadcast style.
“I came to talk radio reluctantly,” said Bukaty.
The human drama and the amazing feats of athleticism were things that interested Bukaty far more than a hot take.
“I love the storylines of humans overcoming adversity and achieving hard-fought objectives as teams,” said Bukaty. “I love the emotional connection between the team and their fans. I didn’t love sports because of the hot take.”
That’s what makes Bukaty’s sports radio career so impressive. He’s seen the beginning and the rise of the industry, yet, he’s never changed who he is on the air. Regardless of how the business has changed, he’s never let the style of other broadcasters change the way he wants to do a show.
“What makes it easy for me is that my co-host, Steven St. John, drives the show,” said Bukaty. “And that’s the way it should be because he connects with the sports fans in Kansas City better than any person in sports talk radio and maybe better than any media member in town.”
Bukaty has a career that the young version of himself at KU would only dream about. Who knows, just like he made the decision to broadcast games in the front seat of his dad’s car while listening to a Royals game, maybe he’s helped a kid in Kansas City realize play-by-play is what they want to do. But one thing is for sure, Bukaty isn’t done getting out of his comfort zone to make himself better. That’s why he’s now calling MMA events. And it’s why he could accomplish even greater things in the future.
“I’ve always tried to make it a habit to get outside my comfort zone and say yes to things that seem a little uncomfortable,” said Bukaty. “Every time I’ve ever done that I’m glad because it’s made me grow professionally or as a person.”
Tyler McComas is a columnist for BSM and a sports radio talk show host in Norman, OK where he hosts afternoon drive for SportsTalk 1400. You can find him on Twitter @Tyler_McComas or you can email him at TylerMcComas08@yahoo.com.