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A Conversation with Terry Boers (Part 3)

Matt Fishman

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When 2016 began, Terry Boers had already decided to retire on January 2, 2017 which would give him exactly 25 years with The Score. Then in June of 2016, Doctors found a cancerous tumor on Terry Boers’ jaw bone when they were operating on it. We start part three of our Q&A with Terry Boers talking about his surgeries and having Cancer.  

Matt: You started having pain in your jaw in 2016. Can you talk about what happened and how it has affected you?

Terry: I didn’t know it would be this bad when the jaw pain first started happening. It’s one of those things and I didn’t react well to the initial surgery and I was still swollen. I had to literally crash my way back into the emergency room for the second surgery. You look at it and it is a very difficult self-analysis. You have to realize that you didn’t do anything wrong. It just happens. You make the best of it.

The toughest thing to do mentally is to get through those days because I am not a great patient. You just have to understand you’re never going to eat the same foods again and there are a lot of adjustments that you have to make and if it keeps me alive and keeps me happy then I’ll do it. That’s what I’ve done over the past couple of years– Finding some kind of a sweet spot again. Not as sweet as the old spot but still sweet.

There’s a position you reach and it’s a very simple one—“Are you still here?” I wasn’t sure for a while that I would be. I mean some of the recovery from the first one—I was in the hospital for 15 days—was very difficult.  And I know people who’ve gone through a lot longer than that. When I see those stories it is easy for me to start crying because I know how I felt during those 15 days—like you’re never gonna go out and see the world again. I’m pretty good at making everyone around me miserable but I also understand that these are the people who want the best for you. So you have to still be yourself, still be the miserable bastard that I am and not be that guy 24/7.

I learned how to space it out a little better. No, you’re never the same person when this happens. You don’t look the same. You don’t feel the same. There’s nothing that you used to do that you can do—a lot of it anyways. Now it’s just a constant watch. I see Jim Kelly had another relapse. There’s no safe period. There’s no time you can just say, “I’m fine.” I know what you go through it mentally.  

Somewhere in the middle of it all you gotta find you again. It sounds so simple. Sounds so damn easy. No, not necessarily. It took me a little work to find me again. It really did. It took me months. I went from June of 2016 well into 2017 after the 2nd surgery in November of 2016 I just didn’t feel well. I just wasn’t me and couldn’t be me well into March of last year. I struggled with all of it. I still have a lot of functions that normal people have that I don’t have any more. I’ve done everything I possibly can to be me again. You get there.

I think it probably took longer than it should of for me to getting back to living my life and being as close to being me as possible. It’s tough because you still get those memories in your head. You still wake up and you don’t know where you are and you’re sweating and you’re in pain. That stuff never goes away and it’s probably good that it doesn’t. It serves as a reminder that a good day is really a good day. You know one when you see one.

Matt: What’s next for you in 2018?

Terry: My next project I’m going to do some stand-up comedy. I am going to do it as an opening act. This guy has been asking me for a couple of years and now I feel like what the hell do I got to lose. He’s out here in Frankfort, Illinois. It’s a wedding chapel, it’s a bar, it’s a concert venue, it’s a comedy venue, and it’s a Will County Courthouse on Saturdays—it’s everything. I’m gonna go out and do 10-15 minutes. It’ll be entirely off the cuff. I don’t write anything or prepare anything. Just right off the cuff. Have some fun with it and do some public speaking too. We’ll see if anyone is looking for a broken-down, old idiot. I look at some of these speakers and I think that I can do better than that. I didn’t want to start anything that I couldn’t finish.

Matt: What do you think of the state of radio right now?

Terry: Think about this. CBS sold everything. They had to have made money at some point. It’s (radio) just going in the wrong direction. There’s a lot of different ways people can spend their advertising dollar. I think CBS was done fighting for it. I kinda feel that I did it twice. I got ahead of the posse in the newspaper business and now the radio business. Who would think that CBS radio would call it quits? There’s a real sense that I got ahead of the posse twice. This has been coming for a couple of years. The radio business isn’t great. Things have really changed. What was once a great money making opportunity is now average at best. If CBS closes the curtain on you—those are some pretty good properties.

Matt: Are there any radio shows in your future?

Terry: I’m actually going to go back and do a show with Danny (McNeil) during the All-Star Week. People seemed to enjoy it when we worked together. So I’m not completely dead. It’ll be fun. Baseball All-Star week is traditionally slow. There’s nothing going on. Five hour shows are just a bitch but we can manage to get through five hours together. Looking forward to it, but would I want to do it every day? Not a Chance!!

As a writer’s note, I spoke to Terry for nearly 90 minutes for this Q&A. He sounded like the same guy I worked with from 1994-2003—sharp, funny, engaging, energetic and self-deprecating. As you could see from part 3, he has been through a lot over the past few years, but has come through as his genuine self on the other side. To learn more about his career and have some great laughs, check out his book “The Score of a Lifetime” from Triumph Books.

BSM Writers

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.

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WRONG BAD

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.

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BSM Writers

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.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

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.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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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.

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