Orlando Alzugaray is a longtime Miami sports talk host who was on both WQAM and 790 The Ticket. Due to Audacy gutting a lot of shows and talent, he’s gone the digital route by launching the Big O Radio Show. The show has made quite the impact already with nearly two million downloads a month. Orlando’s success is proof that it’s smart for terrestrial hosts to consider the digital space even before being forced to do so. There are no guarantees in radio. If your car could break down at any moment (terrestrial radio), it makes sense to save some cash just in case (digital space).
The Big O Radio Show airs Monday through Friday from 10am-1pm ET. The show is on YouTube and also offered as a podcast on most platforms. Interviews and rants are sliced into different segments so people can pick and choose what they want to listen to.
Orlando’s story is inspirational. He didn’t just take his ball and go home when he was phased out of terrestrial radio, he launched a behemoth. We discuss how this is the most fulfilling time in Orlando’s career, the biggest hurdle he faces, and big plans of going on the road. Enjoy!
Brian Noe: What led to you launching the Big O Radio Show in the digital space?
Orlando Alzugaray: Well basically I ended up losing my job. It was kind of funny because I knew I was losing my job. I knew there were changes coming and they were going to start cutting back. If you’ve noticed, a lot of companies have cut back on their talent and they’ve gone more national. There’s a void now in South Florida where there’s very little local programming left and there isn’t a focus on the local programming.
Then the politics are also involved because since there’s only one station now, well that one station also is tied to the teams. Then they’ve also got to play the politics. There is no real objective coverage.
I figured all right, the world’s going digital. You go home every day, it’s Amazon, it’s YouTube, it’s Spotify, it’s Stitcher. Whether it’s your music, your talk, your TV, everything is on demand. That’s where the world is at. I figured okay, there’s a need for the South Florida sports fan that not only lives in South Florida, but is all over the world to find out about what’s going on with the Canes, what’s going on with the Heat and the Dolphins, and the Marlins, and the Panthers, and Inter Miami and all of that. So that’s what I did. I put together a daily show that highlights all of those things.
We have a one-hour show every week with Ira Winderman who’s been with the Miami Heat since day one. He’s on our show twice a week also doing Heat and NBA reports. We’ve got Omar Kelly, Cameron Wolfe, Alain Poupart and Joe Schad who all cover the Dolphins. I’ve been covering the Dolphins and all the teams in town for 31 years. We give the local listener something that they can really grab ahold of every day that is theirs no matter where they are. They could be in Albuquerque, they could be in Portugal, they could be in Canada, or they could be right here in South Florida.
BN: What are your numbers like in terms of downloads?
OA: The downloads have gone through the roof. We’re up to over 1.8 million a month. We are pacing for 20 million a year and that’s why I told you the South Florida sports fans are all over the world. They’re catching us on YouTube, they’re finding out about the show, then they’re downloading the show, and they’re doing it from all over the world.
The beauty of technology now, it’s made the world so small that if you happen to be in an air base somewhere else in the world and you’re from South Florida, you can tune in to the show live, or you can listen to the podcast, or watch the recording on YouTube. We’re pacing at an incredible rate. We’re doing numbers that are more national than they are local. There’s nothing local here in South Florida that even comes close to these kinds of numbers right now.
The response is there because people can get it on demand whenever they want. They’re getting a lot of content. They’re getting very little commercials and they aren’t getting repetitive content. The listener doesn’t get robbed like they do on local or corporate radio, where they’re telling them to repeat the same things over and over again, sometimes to repeat the same interview from the beginning of the show to the back end of the show because it’s lazy radio. Plus, the listener has to sit there through 25 minutes of commercials. On our show, they don’t have to do that. On our show they’re going to get three hours of different content every single day and that’s why I think they’re chewing it up like Pac-Man right now.
BN: Were you ever surprised and say man, look at these numbers?
OA: I freak out every day. Every day I’m amazed. Today 75,000 and I’m like are you effing kidding me. This is a blessing is what it is. When you’re averaging a million downloads every three weeks, it’s crazy, dude. I never imagined that it would get to this point. Personally, I thought maybe hey man, if we can get to 15, 20,000, you do that over a whole year, that’s a lot of downloads. That’s a great day for anybody. And you start seeing 75, 80, 90; three weeks ago we had 450 from Monday to Friday, we averaged 90,000 a day. I was like I can’t believe it.
I think it’s because there’s a hunger for it. There’s actually a need for it. People want to hear it. We’re doing two million downloads a month practically. In a world of let’s copy Le Batard because there’s a lot of hey, I want to be the next Le Batard and go clowning around and screwing off, we’re back to kind of hardcore sports and it’s exploded. People do want it. There’s a place for everything. It’s growing, man. There’s more room to grow.
BN: What did you do early on to get the word out that you were starting this project?
OA: The beauty is, you put all of our insiders together and myself — I have 96,000 followers — together we’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 700,000 followers. When you’ve got that kind of power on social media, all of a sudden everybody’s retweeting the show and where to go. I’m going to date myself, but it’s like that old shampoo commercial, and we told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on.
That’s also been the beauty of all of this; it’s kind of been all homegrown. We’re trying to do something that we actually connect with the public. We answer their questions. We take their questions. There’s a connection. We read their social media posts. Instead of the corporate world that’s kind of disconnecting from the listener, we’re actually conducting ourselves with the listener. I think they’re noticing that.
BN: Is this the most fulfilling time for you in your broadcasting career?
OA: Yeah, actually it has been to be honest with you because I’m not tied to any corporate entity. I don’t answer to anybody and the only people I can listen to are the fans. They’re the ones that guide us and sometimes they tell us hey, we want to hear more of this or that, and it drives the downloads. I don’t have to have an agenda. The only agenda I have now is to actually feed the people that are like me.
Something you may not know about me, I’m a freak. I’m a born and raised Floridian. I was born in Belle Glade, Florida, which is in the northwest corner of Palm Beach County, raised in Little Havana in Hialeah. I am born and raised for 55 years in South Florida. I love South Florida sports. Anybody that’s known me for 31 years doing radio locally, you know what I’m all about.
Here’s the other thing, radio shows no longer go on the road. We go on the road. We’re going to go to the Senior Bowl. We’re going to go to the combine. We’re going to go to NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. We’re going to go to the draft there in Vegas. We’re going to do all of those things. We’re going to cover the big MMA events and UFC, the boxing events. We’re going to go travel to places that radio stations don’t ever go to anymore. Why? Because we’re not tied down to a big old antenna.
We don’t need a building. We don’t need vans. We don’t need any of that. We don’t have a lot of overhead. What we do want is the content.
We can take off, just me and the producers, and go cover all of the events. We can actually give people what they want and connect with them at the same time and provide for them something that they’re never going to get ever again on local radio because it’s become corporate and it’s not willing to invest individually in each market.
BN: You’ve done a great job of adapting to the current climate. Does it sadden you at the same time to see some stations scaling back and going the cheap route?
OA: Yeah, and you know what they did, right? They did it on FM. For years now they’ve been cutting down on the live DJs. They’ve got DJs that record for 30, 50, 70 stations. Then they just use those cut-ins all throughout the country. They said all right, let’s go cookie cutter. FOX kind of started that because they wanted to highlight all of their national talent, so they bought all the individual stations in different markets so they can create their network. This is the same thing that Audacy is doing now. They’re trying to think national. That’s what they’re catering to. Instead of connecting with each of the individual markets, they’re creating one platform on a national basis.
The sad part is now that there’s less investment in the broadcast business. When I grew up, I grew up with Hank Goldberg, Neil Rogers, Joe Rose. These are the guys that I learned from. These are the guys that I filled in for. I filled in for Hank Goldberg, Ed Kaplan, Neil Rogers. I filled in for all of these type of guys and I learned from them about the business. The sad part is we’re not reinvesting in all of the different markets to create more radio talent.
Radio and newspapers are two of the mediums that have suffered the most, unfortunately. They’ve fallen by the wayside. It’s just sad because there are a lot of young kids that aren’t going to get the opportunity that I got 30 years ago when I was a young guy and they told me hey yeah, we can hire you. We’ll give you an opportunity to be a reporter, a beat guy, those kind of things. Obviously, my career took off from there and I love everything that I’ve done. But yeah, it is sad that there is no longer any more reinvestment in our local communities.
BN: What was the biggest hurdle in your way to get this project to where it is right now?
OA: I think the biggest hurdle is the motivation every day when you have to explain it to people. Some people don’t understand it. Here’s the trick; in my 30-year career, one of the things I also did was I understood the business side of radio. I didn’t just go in to play radio and go cover a team and go break a story. I did all of those things, but I made sure I knew my sponsors. I understood what deals were being cut, what the salespeople were doing, what the station was getting out of it, all of those things. I understood all of that. You’ve got to understand the business side of it too. That’s the important part of all of this. You’ve got to bring both together.
I’ll bring it back full-circle, guys like Joe Rose, Neil Rogers, Hank Goldberg, the people that I learned from, they not only did radio, they did the business of radio. I think that that’s the problem. Everybody wants to play radio. A lot of us can play radio, a lot of us have an opinion, but do you understand the business? The business is what runs you over.
On the digital side, you’ve got to understand the business and then you’ve got to explain it to people. It’s not just a regular commercial, it’s an image. We put borders for our sponsors and we explain that those borders are running for five minutes straight. Then they’re on YouTube for a lifetime because it doesn’t go anywhere. As people are watching it, it’s a perpetual commercial. Those kinds of things. Podcasts have audio commercials inside of it so you’re doing media in a different way. That’s the way it is in digital. You’ve got to go explaining it to the sponsor how your message is getting out because it’s completely different than what they’re used to paying for and used to seeing.
BN: What’s the process been like for you to handle the sales side of your product?
OA: It’s tedious. As I’m getting all of this off the ground, it’s tedious, but it’s important. The same way I told you that it’s important that we connect with our listeners, in the same way it’s important we connect with our sponsors. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve been in studios where there’s a host sitting there and in comes the sales guy that says hey, I sold this account for you. It’s this, this and this. Here’s the script.
The host never met the sponsor, never checked out the product, really doesn’t know the product if it’s any good or not, but is willing to put their name on it. Then just reads the same script word by word every single day. I don’t do that.
I get to know the sponsor. If I like the product, then I do the product. If I don’t like the product, I don’t do the product. I don’t do commercial spots. I do bullet points and I tell you a story. I tell you why I use the product and I do it differently every single day. That’s the difference between someone that actually gives a crap, or the corporate world that doesn’t care and does everything in a cookie-cutter sense. That’s what we’re eliminating. That’s what I’ve never done on my show.
By the way, that did not help me in my business. I’ve had that. The salesperson comes in and says hey, I sold you this. I go you sold me what? Did I go on the sales call? Did I meet the person? Did I test the product out? No, well then I’m not representing it. Then I have to deal with the general sales manager because all they care about is the commission. That’s the difference, man. I’m kind of tired of all of that and I’m so glad I’m away from that.
I’d rather just be myself where I can connect with human beings. That’s kind of been my success for 30 years whether I’m talking to a scout, a general manager, a fan or a sponsor, that’s always been me. While I’m modern enough to adjust to the digital world and social media and crypto and everything else, I’m still old school that I’d rather connect with people face-to-face.
BN: What is it about your show that gives you the biggest rush?
OA: Think about this, man, two years ago on the first day I got 500 downloads. It was 117,000 on Tuesday. Two years later, with the six months in between that I did not do one podcast show — we didn’t do anything from January 1 of 2021 until June 13 — from June 14 until today, we have eight million downloads. That’s what gets me going.
Then when I tell them on YouTube, tell me where you’re checking us out from, and they’re in New Zealand, and in Portugal, and in Canada, and Mexico, and California, and New York, and Atlanta. They’re all over the world. It is amazing when they’re checking in from Malaysia and everywhere else. It is the coolest thing that we can make the world this small on the internet and YouTube and all of that. The coolest thing is how many people we’ve reached already.
BN: What do you want the future to be for the show?
OA: I’d like to grow it as much as possible where we can provide all the coverage for South Florida sports. If the Marlins start spending, then not only do we cover the Marlins, but we’ll go to the owners’ meetings. I want to be the full service local sports talk show for South Florida. We’ve already got the best insiders in town. People already know to come and listen to all these guys and myself for the last 30 years. Now we just want to finish everything off since we started this monster and add all the elements.
Whether it’s the NBA draft, the NBA Summer League, or covering the Heat in the playoffs; if they get to the Finals, we want to be the show that’s going back and forth from the Finals cities, home and away, and giving the local fans the coverage they don’t get anymore from anybody else. What I grew up with, I want the same thing except maybe taking it to just a little bit higher level than what we’ve had in the past. That’s what I want to get back.
Look, I don’t have the power or the money. I have the wherewithal, I can figure it out. I can put a whole station together, but I don’t have the money to do that. I would love to put an entire station together and give South Florida fans the real coverage 24/7, but I can’t do that. So for now, let’s create the show that can really kick ass and cover all of the top stories going on in South Florida sports and give the South Florida fan the coverage they want.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.