Doris Burke Is The Trailblazer This Industry Needs
“There’s going to be a generation of kids who grow up where a woman is calling the NBA Finals.”
As a woman in the world of sports broadcasting I have to say, there are few individuals that are universally respected, admired, and adored as Doris Burke. The calm, confident light that always shines through in every situation, Burke is somehow always right and despite knowing it all, she never comes across as a know-it-all. She shirks the glory herself, which allows her audience to bask in the glow, effortlessly and perfectly balancing her unrivaled work ethic with the power to connect and resonate with even the most impenetrable viewer. The fact is that Doris Burke is unlike any other in sports media industry. A pioneer, a trailblazer, a Hall of Famer and history maker. It is absolutely clear why she was chosen to become the first woman to serve as the analyst on a broadcast of the NBA finals.
The incredible achievement has been truly well deserved from a broadcasting legend remains humble, grateful and honored. She lends advice, help, kindness, or her only free 15 minute window for an impromptu radio interview with the men and women of this industry without hesitation. So, in order to properly celebrate the amazing Doris Burke’s latest milestone, I wanted to share The gratitude from within the sports broadcasting world by sharing the floor with incredible talent from across the board. The resounding message being: today we salute you Doris. You are the real MVP. Thank you!
Perhaps one of the individuals who is most familiar with the energy Doris brings to each broadcast, post game and interview is the man who will be sitting beside her as she makes history in the NBA finals broadcast: Marc Kestecher
“It will be an honor to share the mic with Doris during the Conference Finals and Finals,” he told me. “She’s been a trailblazer in so many aspects of her broadcast career, and this will be no different. Her preparation, her knowledge of the game and her ability to communicate it with our audience will be a big asset to our crew.”
Kestecher highlighted how profound of an impact Burke’s career has made on the league, network, audience and his personal career.
“Doris has earned this assignment. She has spent years perfecting the craft. I’ve worked TV games with her in the past, and we’ve been in the same circles for numerous NBA Finals. I’ve leaned on her for advice many times over those years. It’ll be great to finally work together on radio for the biggest NBA games of the season.”
Sarah Spain, who makes up one half of another coed collaboration alongside Jason Fitz on ESPN Radio’s Spain & Fitz, has been a tenacious supporter of her ESPN colleague—at times, voicing the gratitude and respect she has for Doris Burke on her national evening radio program.
“Ah, I think my first reaction was ‘duh! and then—Actually, I’m surprised she hasn’t done that before.’ At this point, it feels like Doris is in all the spaces and places that the top voices in the sports are at and and rightfully so. So it’s remarkable that there are still opportunities that are ‘the first’ among women. There’s been tremendous growth in recent years, but this is a reminder that even the very best at what they do are still sort of documenting the door of some of the top positions.
“Doris has made it so clear with her work ethic, her talent, her sense of humor, her intelligence, her insight, and her class and professionalism, that she’s deserving of these opportunities. And there are always going to be critics of women’s voices in male dominated spaces, but I think it’s really telling that so rarely do I see people taking shots at Doris for anything other than the most absurd and immature things like, ‘I just don’t like hearing a woman talk’ or ‘I prefer the voice of a man,’ right? Because she’s so talented and prepared and quality at her job. You can’t criticize her for any meaningful reasons, so you’re left with the dumbest and most pointless criticisms and if any at all, and even those criticisms have been getting even more few and far between because she’s established herself as beyond reproach with her work.”
Charlotte Wilder has been a tremendous young talent. Now working with FOX Sports, weaving her opinions and unique sense of humor in with the sports news coverage in her content she has been a tremendous addition to the revamped FOXSports.com.
“Even the day she followed me on Twitter, I sort of freaked out a little bit, she told me. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, if Doris follows me maybe that means I’m, like not such an imposter maybe, you know, actually supposed to be in this role.'”
“Doris, is such a pro and so deeply talented. She just has ‘it’, that thing that you can’t necessarily verbalize what it is, but you just want to watch her. You want to hear what she has to say, of course, because she’s deeply knowledgeable, she knows the game, knows the players and has insight better than, I think, anyone. I think she is THE most talented NBA analyst/commentator/broadcaster.
“Now, there are a lot of other talented people in the same position, but there’s something about Doris, where there’s this confidence when she gets on screen and I just immediately think ‘I trust this person.’ I enjoy watching this person do what they do and execute the craft so flawlessly; to see someone, not just a woman in this industry, but any other person in this industry, who emits that level of competence, which might someday be possible. To see her elevated to what is one of the highest positions in the field, calling the NBA Finals, it is a real testament to her hard work, her talent, and to those who have recognized that, to then put her in that position.”
Lauren Brownlow, a host and reporter for ESPN Radio’s Raleigh/Durham-area affiliate, 99.9 the Fan, has cultivated a significant following on local, regional and national levels, and she explained the role Doris Burke played in finding her voice as her career began to take off.
“I was at a point in my career where I felt very conscious of the fact that I was a woman in this business and I didn’t want people to know that. I very much wanted to just laugh that, ‘Hey, I just want to sort of blend into the background here. I’m not here to disrupt your space. Like, I’m just here to do it as a colleague, right? Don’t be troubled by my female presence in your male space. I’m not going to just act like you guys and be quiet and not dress too feminine and do all of these things.
“I think the moment, it all sort of clicked into place for me, I was realizing, ‘okay, Doris is doing all of these things in the same kind of a way. She’s doing her job extremely well, and yet she’s still facing this kind of like rampant. sexism.’ That was definitely an awakening for me where I said, I’m able to do this, that I can just be me in this space—to be a woman in sports media and have that be okay. I don’t have to blend in and act like my male colleagues. I just had realized that there was nothing that I could do if Doris Burke, who has this immense wealth of knowledge, obviously, played the game, and did her job so well, if she was still facing this kind of sexism. Essentially it was like, there was nothing I was going to be able to do to please people anyway, because of the fact that I was a woman, I was not going to please some people. So it was a good thing in the end for me, because it sort of helped me be more comfortable in my own skin and allowed me feel more comfortable being myself.”
Doris Burke will make history as the first woman to serve as the analyst on a broadcast of the NBA Finals later this month. Sarah Spain says it should be more that just an exciting moment for women in the broadcasting world. This should be viewed as a progress report.
“One cool thing is that every time there is a first for women is after her that it can just be the norm, even if you need to push for it to be the norm and for it to not be a one off. Once you get it out of the way, you can sort of move forward and the more people see women in these positions, the more accustomed they get, the less likely they are to react negatively for no other reason than a lack of comfortability.
“When it started out, and there were two female sports on-air anchors at the same time, nobody even thinks about that anymore; that happens all the time. Female analysts, female color, female play by play—the ceiling keeps getting higher. And one of the issues that we have to address and continue to work with is that the basement remains the same. Those lower level opportunities, the harassment, the lack of respect, the lack of belief that the better woman is there for the right reasons that you could do the work and knows her stuff, you still have to battle all of that to make a name for yourself and achieve the agency and voice to be respected, but the fact that the ceiling keeps getting higher and the opportunities keep growing for women, it makes me super hopeful.”
I asked Spain how Doris Burke is able to turn even her most vocal doubters around. What makes her so good? Why is she the right woman to break through this particular glass ceiling?
“I think her authenticity is huge and the fact that she always feels so calm, controlled and prepared,” Spain answers. “She’s always prepared. She comes with statistics in the background. She has incredible credibility as a Hall of Fame collegiate basketball player as a Hall of Famer herself, and there’s a real sense of a sort of calm and professionalism throughout. You know, she has a good sense of humor—she’s not dry or serious. It just always seems like you trust what she’s saying is right. You trust that it comes from a place of knowledge, as she’s going to take you through a broadcast or through an analysis.”
“There’s going to be a generation of kids who grow up where a woman is calling the NBA Finals,” Charlotte Wilder says matter of factly. “I think the goal is to get to a point where we don’t need an article like this saying that ‘there’s a woman calling this game’ because it is so normal. Maybe we can really get to a point where there are two women calling the game. I think that the more you get people in these positions, and the more women help other women into these roles, which, the people who keep me sane in this industry, the people who I rely on, both personally and professionally are women (and I have the most amazing producer Kristin Scott at Fox Sports, she’s so deeply competent). So in terms of having those people in your circle, and in your corner is great, but then I look at Doris. I can’t really say enough about how good she is, and just that in and of itself, I think, is inspiring.
“You know, you think of legendary people in the booth or calling games and you know the voices but you also know the personalities. They’re very professional but they infuse it into their broadcast. And what I absolutely love about Doris is how funny she can be. She is irreverent, I absolutely lost it when she said, ‘Well, I’m always right, just ask my ex-husband’ and returned to calling a game like that. That to me was like, yeah, that was sort of the thing that I would think I would tweet as a joke, and for her to say that on a broadcast with such confidence, knowing that it was going to just hit was an iconic moment because we’d never heard that before. It was so nonchalant and unapologetic.”
Lauren Brownlow says that she can’t help but be torn over Burke’s moment. She is excited to see a woman sit in the analyst’s seat for the NBA Finals for the first time, but frustrated that it took until 2020 to get here.
“You know, it feels like this should have happened long before now and it has taken too long. I think you feel this way sometimes with almost any accomplishment by a woman in our field or sometimes another field, like it’s like it’s the first woman to do ‘X’ and then you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s so cool’. And then you also think, ‘Wow, how is that the first one? Why are we here it has taken this long’ and especially again, because she is so good at her job like it’s not as if you know, she’s being handed something. She’s more than earned this and so there’s this it’s a double-edged sword where you feel really excited and inspired and glad for Doris because she’s earned this and and then you also feel a sense of frustration wondering; how much better does a woman have to be at her job to get than a man to get an opportunity like this?”
Frustrations about the industry aside, there was an overwhelming sense of respect and admiration that shined through in the women I talked to about Doris Burke. Hers is a path that is brand new, but will serve as a map for so many women that come after her in the broadcast industry.
Spain sums it up best. The most important thing any of us can say to Doris Burke right now is simply “thank you.”
“This is incredibly well-earned and deserved. Also, thank you from all the other women in the industry when there are top-notch incredibly insightful, knowledgeable, professional, badass women like her who are doing their jobs so well, it serves to open up doors for other women. And every woman out there who absolutely crushes it, like Doris has, is paving a path for the ones coming behind and so being able to just say thank you to her for continuing to be so good at her job as to shut up and shout down those who believe that women don’t belong.”
Lauren Brownlow echoes that sentiment.
“I really appreciate how thoughtful she is and every single thing that she shares in her broadcast and in her interviews as well. I think for me, too, she’s somebody that has inspired very much my generation of, you know, female sports media members, and I don’t know a single one of them that doesn’t have respect and reverence for her. I met her at the NSMA Awards this past year, and it was the first time I’d ever had the guts to really introduce myself and frankly, she was introduced to me because I was too nervous to just like, go right up to her and she was very sweet.
“She’s very inspirational just by being who she is. So she doesn’t need to take on any extra burden or anything else because just by being exactly who she is and existing how she is right now, being the analyst that she is and the woman that she is, she has inspired so many of us. There’s so many women that could even thank her enough for helping really to validate a lot of us and that’s not a burden she should have to carry around certainly, to represent every single woman out there. But it is something that has opened doors for people and made the powers that be realize that women can be good at this and know what they’re talking about. And Doris has helped and been instrumental in that, I think in a lot of ways. She’s inspirational and I’m really psyched that this is happening.”
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.
Is There Still a Place for Baseball Talk on National Sports Shows?
“Its struggle has been the same since the beginning of television. There is too much baseball for any regular season baseball game or story to have national significance.”
Last week at the BSM Summit, I hosted a panel focused on air checks. I wish I could say we covered the topic thoroughly, but we got derailed a lot, and you know what? That is okay. It felt like real air checks that I have been on both sides of in my career.
Rob Parker of The Odd Couple on FOX Sports Radio was the talent. He heard thoughts on his show from his boss, Scott Shapiro, and from his former boss, legendary WFAN boss Mark Chernoff.
Baseball was the topic that caused one of our derailments on the panel. If you know Rob, you know he is passionate about Major League Baseball. He cited download numbers that show The Odd Couple’s time-shifted audience responds to baseball talk. To him, that proves there is not just room for it on nationally syndicated shows, but that there is a sizable audience that wants it.
Chernoff disagrees. He says baseball is a regional sport. Sure, there are regions that love it and local sports talk stations will dedicate full hours to discussing their home team’s games and roster. National shows need to cast a wide net though, and baseball doesn’t do that.
Personally, I agree with Chernoff. I told Parker on stage that “I hear baseball talk and I am f***ing gone.” The reason for that, I think, is exactly what Chernoff said. I grew up in Alabama (no baseball team). I live in North Carolina (no baseball team). Where baseball is big, it is huge, but it isn’t big in most of the country.
Now, I will add this. I used to LOVE baseball. It is the sport I played in high school. The Yankees’ logo was on the groom’s cake at my wedding. Then I had kids. Forget 162 games. Even five games didn’t fit into my lifestyle. Maybe somewhere deep down, I still have feelings for the sport, but they are buried by years of neglect and actively shunning the sport.
Its struggle has been the same since the beginning of television. There is too much baseball for any regular season baseball game or story to have national significance.
Me, and millions of sports talk listeners like me, look at baseball like a toddler looks at broccoli. You probably aren’t lying when you tell us how much you love it, but damn it! WE WANT CHICKEN FINGERS!
A new Major League Baseball season starts Thursday and I thought this topic was worth exploring. I asked three nationally syndicated hosts to weigh in. When is baseball right for their show and how do they use those conversations? Here is what they had to say.
FREDDIE COLEMAN (Freddie & Fitzsimmons on ESPN Radio) – “MLB can still be talked nationally IF there’s that one player like Aaron Judge or Shohei Ohtani can attract the casual fan. MLB has definitely become more local because of the absence of that SUPER player and/or villainous team. I wonder if the pace of play will help bring in the younger fans that they need, but the sport NEEDS that defining star that is must-see TV.”
JONAS KNOX (2 Pros & a Cup of Joe on FOX Sports Radio) – “While football is king for me in sports radio, I look at baseball like most other sports. I’m not opposed to talking about it, as long as I have an angle or opinion that I am confident I can deliver in an entertaining manner. A couple of times of any given year, there are stories in baseball that are big picture topics that are obvious national discussions.
“I think it’s my job to never close the door on any topic/discussion (except politics because I don’t know anything about it).
“But also, if I’m going to discuss a localized story in baseball or any other sport for that matter – I better have an entertaining/informed angle on it. Otherwise, I’ve let down the listener and that is unacceptable. If they give you their time, you better not waste it.”
MAGGIE GRAY (Maggie & Perloff on CBS Sports Radio) – “While I was on WFAN there was almost no amount of minutia that was too small when it came to the Mets and Yankees. On Maggie and Perloff, our baseball topics have to be more centered around issues that can be universal. For example, ’Is Shohei Ohtani the face of the sport? Is Ohtani pitching and hitting more impressive than two sport athletes like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders? Do you consider Aaron Judge the single-season homerun king or Barry Bonds?’ Any baseball fan or sports fan can have an opinion about those topics, so we find they get great engagement from our audience.”
Demetri Ravanos is the Assistant Content Director for Barrett Sports Media. He hosts the Chewing Clock and Media Noise podcasts. He occasionally fills in on stations across the Carolinas. Previous stops include WAVH and WZEW in Mobile, AL, WBPT in Birmingham, AL and WBBB, WPTK and WDNC in Raleigh, NC. You can find him on Twitter @DemetriRavanos and reach him by email at DemetriTheGreek@gmail.com.
Who Can Sports Fans Trust Once Twitter Ditches Legacy Verified Blue Checks?
The potential for Twitter chaos after April 1 is looming.
As of April 1, Twitter will finally make a dreaded change that many will view as an April Fools’ prank. Unfortunately, it won’t be a joke to any user who cares about legitimacy and truth.
Last week, Twitter officially announced that verified blue checkmarks will be removed from accounts that have not signed up for a Twitter Blue subscription. Previously, accounts whose identity had been verified were allowed to keep their blue checks when Twitter Blue was implemented.
But shortly after Elon Musk purchased Twitter and became the social media company’s CEO, he stated his intention to use verification as a revenue source. Users would have to pay $8 per month (or $84 annually) for a Twitter Blue subscription and blue checkmark verification. Paying for blue checks immediately set off red flags among users who learned to depend on verified accounts for accredited identities and trusted information.
The entire concept of verification and blue checks was simple and effective. Users and accounts bearing the blue checkmark were legitimate. These people and organizations were who they said they were.
As an example, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has faced criticism for how he framed domestic violence and sexual misconduct involving star NFL players, and deservedly so. But fans and media know Schefter’s tweets are really coming from him because his account is verified.
Furthermore, Twitter took the additional step of clarifying that accounts such as Schefter’s were verified before Twitter Blue was implemented. He didn’t pay eight dollars for that blue checkmark.
The need for verification is never more vital than when fake accounts are created to deceive users. Such accounts will put “Adam Schefter” as their Twitter name, even if their handle is something like “@TuaNeedsHelp.” Or worse, some fake accounts will create a handle with letters that look similar. So “@AdarnSchefter” with an “rn” in place of the “m,” fools some people, especially at a quick glance when people are trying to push news out as fast as possible.
Plenty of baseball fans have been duped over the years by fake accounts using a zero instead of an “o” or a capital “I” instead of a lowercase “l” to resemble Fox Sports and The Athletic reporter Ken Rosenthal. That trick didn’t get me. But when I covered Major League Baseball for Bleacher Report 10 years ago, I did fall for a fake Jim Salisbury account that reported the Philadelphia Phillies traded Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants. Capital “I,” not lowercase “l” in “Salisbury.” Pence was, in fact, traded to the Giants two days later, but that didn’t make my goof any less embarrassing. I should’ve looked for the blue checkmark!
But after April 1, that signifier won’t matter. Legacy blue checkmarks will be removed from accounts that haven’t paid for Twitter Blue. Some accounts that were previously verified might purchase a subscription to maintain that blue check. But those that were deemed legitimate prior to Musk taking over Twitter likely won’t. (There are also rumors that Twitter is considering a feature that would allow Twitter Blue subscribers to hide their blue check and avoid revealing that purchase.)
That could be even more true for media organizations, which are being told to pay $1000 per month for verification. Do you think ESPN, the New York Times, or the Washington Post will pay $12,000 for a blue check?
We’ve already seen the problems that paying for verification can cause. Shortly after Twitter Blue launched, accounts pretending to be legacy verified users could be created. A fake Adam Schefter account tweeted that the Las Vegas Raiders had fired head coach Josh McDaniels. Users who saw the “Adam Schefter” Twitter name went with the news without looking more closely at the “@AdamSchefterNOT” handle. But there was a blue checkmark next to the name this time!
The same thing occurred with a fake LeBron James account tweeting that the NBA superstar had requested a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers. There was a “@KINGJamez” handle, but a “LeBron James” Twitter name with a blue check next to it.
Whether it’s because fans and media have become more discerning or Twitter has done good work cracking down on such fake accounts, there haven’t been many outrageous examples of deliberate deception since last November. But the potential for Twitter chaos after April 1 is looming.
If that seems like an overstatement, it’s a very real possibility that there will be an erosion of trust among Twitter users. Media and fans may have to take a breath before quickly tweeting and retweeting news from accounts that may or may not be credible. False news and phony statements could spread quickly and go viral across social media.
Even worse, Musk has announced that only verified Twitter Blue accounts will be seen in your “For You” timeline as of April 15. (He can’t claim it’s an April Fools’ Day joke on that date.)
Obviously, that carries far more serious real-world implications beyond sports. Forget about a fake Shams Charania account tweeting that Luka Dončić wants to be traded to the Lakers. It’s not difficult to imagine a fake Joe Biden account declaring war on Russia and some people believing it’s true because of the blue checkmark.
We may be nearing the end of Twitter being a reliable news-gathering tool. If the accounts tweeting out news can’t be trusted, where’s the value? Reporters and newsmakers may end up going to other social media platforms to break stories and carry the viability of verification.
When Fox Sports’ website infamously pivoted to video in 2017, Ken Rosenthal posted his MLB reporting on Facebook prior to joining The Athletic. Hello, Instagram. Will someone take their following and reputation to a fledgling platform like Mastodon, Post, Spoutible, or BlueSky, even if it means a lesser outlet?
If and when that happens, Twitter could still be a community but not nearly as much fun. Not when it becomes a matter of trust that breaks up the party.
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.
There’s a Lesson For Us All in Florida Atlantic’s Elite 8 Broadcast Struggle
“It is a ton of faith our industry has been forced to place in a single mode of delivery.”
Ken LaVicka and Kevin Harlan probably don’t have a ton in common. Both of them were announcing an Elite Eight game over the weekend, that is one thing tying them together, but their experiences were wildly different. Harlan is on CBS with a production crew numbering in the dozens making certain all goes smoothly. LaVicka, the voice of the Florida Atlantic Owls, is a production crew himself, making certain those listening in South Florida heard the Owls punch their Final Four ticket. At least, that was LaVicka’s plan.
The Florida Atlantic Owls are going to the Men’s Final Four. Even while typing that sentence, it still seems odd to say. Do you know how many college basketball teams are thinking “how can Florida Atlantic make the Final Four and we can’t?” These are the types of stories that make the NCAA Tournament what it is. There is, literally, no barrier stopping any team from this tournament going on the run of their life and making it all the way.
Everyone listening in South Florida almost missed the moment it all became real for the Owls. With :18.6 to go in Florida Atlantic’s Elite Eight game against Kansas State, the Madison Square Garden Ethernet service to the front row of media seating went completely dark.
It was on that row that Ken LaVicka was painting the picture back to South Florida. Well, he was until the internet died on him.
Nobody does a single show away from their home studio anymore without trying to avoid the nightmare of Ethernet failure. Gone are the days of phone lines and ISDN connections, all the audio and video is now sent back to the studio over the technological miracle that is the internet. It is a ton of faith our industry has been forced to place in a single mode of delivery.
Take that anxiety and multiply it by 1,000 when that Ethernet line is connected to a Comrex unit for the most important moment of your career. LaVicka had the great fortune of a Kansas State timeout to try something, anything, to save the day. In his quick thinking, he spun around and grabbed an ethernet cable from row two which, as it turns out, still had internet access flowing through it’s cables. That cable, though, was the equivalent of an iPhone charging cord; never as long as you need it to be.
One of LaVicka’s co-workers from ESPN West Palm held the Comrex unit close enough to the second row for the cable to make a connection and the day was saved. LaVicka was able to call the last :15 of the Florida Atlantic win and, presumably, get in all the necessary sponsorship mentions.
It was an exciting end to the FAU v. Kansas State game, a great defensive stop by the Owls to seal the victory. LaVicka told the NCAA’s Andy Katz he tried to channel his inner Jim Nantz to relay that excitement. The NCAA Tournament excitement started early this year. In the very first TV window 13 Seed Furman upset 4 Seed Virginia with a late three pointer by JP Pegues, who had been 0-for-15 from beyond the arc leading up to that shot. It is the type of play the NCAA Tournament is built upon.
It was called in the manner Kevin Harlan’s career was built upon. Harlan, alongside Stan Van Gundy and Dan Bonner, called the Virginia turnover leading to the made Furman basket with his trademark excitement before laying out for the crowd reaction. After a few seconds of crowd excitement he asked his analysts, and the world, “Did we just see what I think we saw? Wow!” Vintage Kevin Harlan.
One reason we are so aware of what Harlan said, and that he signaled his analysts to lay out for the crowd reaction, was a CBS Sports tweet with video of Harlan, Van Gundy and Bonner in a split screen over the play. It gave us a rare look at a pro in the middle of his craft. We got to see that Harlan reacts just like he sounds. The video has more than six million views and has been retweeted more than 6,000 times, a lot of people seem to like it.
Kevin Harlan is not in that group. Harlan appeared on Richard Deitsch’s Sports Media podcast after the video went public and said he was embarrassed by it. Harlan added he “begged” CBS not send the tweet out but to no avail. Harlan told Deitsch “I don’t know that I’m glad that they caught our expression, but I’m glad the game was on the air. I think I join a chorus of other announcers who do not like the camera.”
There’s a valuable announcer lesson from Harlan there; the audience is almost always there for the game, not you. Harlan went on to describe the broadcast booth to Deitsch as somewhat of a sacred place. He would prefer to let his words accompany the video of the action to tell the story. Kevin Harlan is as good as they come at his craft, if he thinks that way, there’s probably great value in that line of thought.
We can learn from LaVicka, as well. You work in this business long enough and you come to accept technical difficulties are as much a part of it as anything. They always seem to strike at the worst times, it is just in their nature. Those who can find a way to deal with them without everything melting down are those who can give their audience what they showed up for. Those who lose their mind and spend time complaining about them during the production simply give the audience information they don’t really care about.
The Final Four is an unlikely collection of teams; Miami, San Diego State, Connecticut and Florida Atlantic. You all had that in your brackets, right? Yep, the Florida Atlantic Owls are going to the Final Four and Ken LaVicka will be there for it. Now, if the internet will just hold out.
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.