In life, things happen for a reason.
As another saying goes, timing is everything.
And for Marc Malusis, both of those sayings certainly apply when you think about what he’s gone through over the last five or six months.
It was back in December when WFAN Radio in New York announced a new lineup that would start right after New Year’s. Malusis was co-hosting Moose and Maggie middays on the station with Maggie Gray, but he was informed that the show would not be part of the new schedule. Gray transitioned to a full-time hosting gig on CBS Sports Radio while Tiki and Tierney became the new midday show on WFAN.
Malusis wondered where his next opportunity would be.
“When the decision was made, yeah you think to yourself alright what’s next?” said Malusis. “For sure there’s a little bit of a mourning process.”
That mourning process didn’t last very long as Malusis was named in February to be the new lead sports anchor at WPIX Channel 11 in New York. In addition to his anchor duties, Malusis has also hosted a Sunday night show called New York Sports Nation along with Yankees Nation and a basketball show during the NBA season.
He’s also doing an opinion piece called “Moose on the Loose” every weeknight during the 6:30 news show.
“It’s been great,” said Malusis. “It’s been unbelievable. They’re expanding and doing a lot more sports. It’s been an absolute blast.”
Malusis, who continues to have a presence at WFAN doing weekend shows and will also continue in his role as pregame, halftime and post-game host for Rutgers University football radio broadcasts, has been able to make a seamless transition from full-time radio host to full-time television personality.
It’s certainly a different type of sportscasting that he’s used to, but 14 years of experience working for regional sports network SNY in New York, including fill-in anchor opportunities, certainly helped him for this opportunity.
“Moose” has gone from the land of long-form discussions of sports to a whole new world on television.
“It’s completely different,” said Malusis. “Going from doing radio, where you have so much time to kind of pontificate and talk and hammer home your point and now you don’t so you have to be a lot more condensed. I’m having a blast. I’m in New York. I’m on TV five days a week. I’m still talking about New York sports. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience so far.”
How Malusis landed at WPIX is proof of how important networking is, especially in broadcasting.
A number of years ago, Malusis was doing some digital television work for CBS Local where he worked for Todd Ehrlich, now the Sports Director at WPIX. Over the years, Malusis stayed in touch with him and with the combination of departing WFAN on a full-time basis and WPIX looking for a new full-time lead sports anchor, Ehrlich reached out to him.
“He was looking for someone who had a New York name, that had established a rapport with the New York sports fan, and had built a pretty good following in the city,” said Malusis. “He connected the dots and said I’d love for you to apply for this job.”
And, as the line from Seinfeld goes, yada, yada, yada Malusis landed the job at WPIX.
Another difference from working as a sports-talk radio host to being a television sports anchor is the increased opportunity to do some reporting out in the field. TV sports anchors are often at big events and in his brief time so far at WPIX, Malusis has taken advantage of that opportunity covering events like the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and New York Giants OTAs.
It’s one thing to have fun working in a studio, but sometimes it’s literally a “breath of fresh air” to get out in the field covering events and games.
“It’s not work,” said Malusis. “It’s awesome. It’s an amazing experience. It’s something that I’ve not done on the radio. I’ve never really gone out in the field on a regular basis. It’s so much fun. It’s really great it’s an experience that I never did on the radio that I get to do now.”
It was not exactly a “Happy New Year” for Marc Malusis after his full-time departure from WFAN, but a short time later he landed on his feet with a great opportunity at WPIX. Now, he has the best of both worlds working full-time in television while also keeping his toes in the radio waters with WFAN and Rutgers.
Life is certainly good these days for the “Moose”.
“I’ve got no complaints,” said Malusis. “I’m enjoying what I’m doing right now. I’m enjoying the experience and everything that comes along with it at PIX 11. To think about all of the men and women sportscasters in New York and now to throw my name in the mix, it’s really great. I’m as happy as the day is long.”
And in New York, the sports days are more than long enough to keep Malusis busy with his new gig.
Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing
…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.
In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.
“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.
“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”
Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.
The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?
That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.
You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.
“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”
Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.
Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”
Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”
Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”
Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”
It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.
WORTH EVERY PENNY
I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.
My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.
My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.
After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.
Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.
Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”
My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.
My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.
Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.
And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.
Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio
I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.
A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours.
But is that why you sell sports radio?
In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.
A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family.
Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.
I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.
I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.
Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important.
So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.
Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table
Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.