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Nate Burleson Prepared For a Career in Media Even As An NFL Player

“That’s who I am… He can touch the guys from yesteryear and he can reach and touch the guys that are playing today. Once I figured out my voice, it just seemed like doors started opening.”

Ricky Keeler

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Before former wide receiver Nate Burleson retired from the NFL, he was preparing for a career in media during his playing days and it has helped lead him to high-profile positions on NFL Network, The NFL Today on CBS, and now on CBS Mornings.

On The Big Suey on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Burleson talked about his journey to get to where he is today in the broadcast industry and while he wouldn’t be on-camera sometimes at the NFL Network during his playing career, he was taking in everything that he could.

“Even when I was playing, I was working in the media space,” Burleson explained. “Whether it was with the local teams (local radio), the team network. Every offseason, I would fly to California, go over to Culver City, and I would do the NFL Network. If you are playing, they aren’t paying. It wasn’t like I was making money. Sometimes, I wasn’t even on TV. I was just sitting back, rubbing shoulders, looking at what was going on behind the scenes.

“From the moment I entered the league (2003), that was the moment I did something in the media space every single year, whether it was with my team, NFL Network, or local news. Once I figured out how long my career was going to last and it was nearing the end, I did the broadcast boot camp that the NFL offered. I was a little bit of a “standout” and I don’t say that to pat myself on the back. We had all these applicants (over 1,000 submitted), 30+ guys were there. They were like, ‘Hey, you are a standout; you can be really good at this.’”

While the people at the broadcast boot camp saw Burleson as a standout, he had moments where he felt like a rookie as well. He had to learn the art of being on television and to try not to be like some of the former players at NFL Network that he grew up watching.

“The reason I bring that up is because when they were calling me a standout, I realized I didn’t know squat about being on TV, like the actual craft,” Burleson said. “Everything from the smallest of details like placement of your hands, body language, eye contact, being concise with your words, in and out of conversations, being a host vs. analyst. As they were complimenting me, I felt like a rookie in this entirely new space. It just made me want to work harder.

“When you go to the NFL Network after an 11-year career, I don’t look in the mirror and see a guy that shouldn’t get praised, but I am very self-aware of who I am when I am standing in the room with absolute legends. You walk into NFL Network and it’s Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Willie McGinest. All of these dudes that I have looked up to at one point. I thought let me sprinkle in a little bit of them in what I do on TV… Then, I figured out who I am.”

Once Burleson found out who he was as an analyst, he realized he could be that person who could connect the players from the past and the players today and that’s when everything started opening for him:

“I’m this young kid who was raised in humble beginnings from Seattle, a blend between a jock and a nerd. I love cartoons, I love writing poetry, I love hip-hop, I love watching movies, I’m a man of the people. I love black culture. I walk it, I talk it, I live it, I breathe it,” said Burleson.

“That’s who I am. Be that guy on TV because that guy resonates and that guy has a grasp of what’s going on in the league. He can touch the guys from yesteryear and he can reach and touch the guys that are playing today. Once I figured out my voice, it just seemed like doors started opening.”

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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