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Tim Hall Brings Emotion to Game Day Broadcasts

Tyler McComas

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On Saturday, Tim Hall will be like many other hosts across the country, as he takes his place behind the mic for pregame coverage of a college football game. The only difference between Hall and everyone else, is that he’ll be covering the Ohio State vs. Penn State game, which is easily the biggest matchup of the weekend. At 97.1 The Fan in Columbus, Ohio, pregame coverage starts 5 and a half hours before kickoff. The show is designed to set the scene of the game and provide a final breakdown that takes listeners to the action just moments before kickoff. 

During home games, many stations take the opportunity to host their shows in areas where fans are known to mingle before the game, providing the priceless opportunity to be seen by many potential listeners. The great thing about pregame and postgame shows, is that they’re so different from your weekday programming. During a postgame show, it’s all raw emotion from a huge win or tough loss that the team just suffered. Callers want the head coach fired, the referee punished or the starting quarterback benched after things didn’t work out as according to plan. No matter what your weekday structure is, if real emotion is what you’re looking for, a postgame show is always the best bet to provide it. Hall is a host that’s not afraid to show emotion on the pregame show. In fact, he thinks it sounds best for the listener, considering over 90 percent of people tuning in are diehard Ohio State fans.

With such a big game coming on Saturday, you can bet he’ll try to capture the emotions that Buckeye fans are feeling before kickoff. Along with Hall, is his co-host, Jerry Rudzinski, a former linebacker at Ohio State. The duo make up the first two hours of pregame show on 97.1 The Fan, with a show simply called The Fan Pregame Show.

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Easy enough, right?

For two hours of the five and a half hours of pregame coverage, Hall and Rudzinksi will breakdown what the Buckeyes have coming up that day, as well as the bigger matchups in the Big 10 and the rest of the country, before handing it over to the next pregame show on the station. 

The Fan has a unique way of hosting its postgame show, as the duties are divvied up between the weekday lineup hosts, instead of just one or two consistent personalities for each game. Due to The Fan carrying the network broadcast for Ohio State football, the station isn’t able to provide its own postgame coverage until an hour or hour and a half after the conclusion of the game. That means if a late kickoff is on the schedule, there’s no postgame coverage that The Fan will provide, seeing it will be late at night before they can even get on the air. 

Like everything else in the industry, there’s a right and wrong way to handle pre and postgame coverage. Location is critical, emotion is necessary and caller interaction is warranted. But what’s the most important aspect of putting out a quality product on gameday? Tim Hall helped answer that question and many more in the pursuit of hosting an ideal pre and postgame show. 

TM: When you do a two hour pregame show, after doing a regular weekday show, how do you keep it fresh and come up with new information on Saturday?

TH: Good question. I would say that’s not a conscious goal of mine. I don’t go into the two hours thinking that I have to say brand new things or that I have to hold something back during the week to save it for game day. If it’s an important story line, you have to hit it.

If there’s a major injury, like Nick Bosa, just because you talked about it on your show during the week, doesn’t mean you can leave it to the side on a two-hour pregame show. It’s just a different sound, I think it’s totally different. I’m with a different host, so the person I’m with working with is different. Jerry Rudzinksi will always bring me a fresh perspective for something that I haven’t seen or thought about.

We have a couple of different features on our pregame show. We have a whip around segment that I think sounds cool, I’ll get a couple of stringers from Big 10 teams or someone covering a big national game for a 2-3 minute quick-hitter interview that highlights all the big storylines for a particular game. 

TM: You just mentioned something interesting that I hadn’t thought about. Do you think it’s best for a pregame show to pair up hosts that don’t do a normal show together during the week?

TH: I do think it works really well. I actually got to do a show with another guy for the TCU game, because my guy Jerry takes one road trip a year to the most fun road game the Buckeyes have. The guy I was able to work with was another former Buckeye football player by the name of Anthony Schlegel. He was a linebacker, he’s got the video on the internet where he tackles a streaker during a game.

He is so energetic, it’s hard to describe. Imagine Nick Swisher doing a football pregame show, that’s what it’s like. He’s like BROhio, deer hunter guy, let’s attack and dominate, ready to go, he stands in the studio and it’s just awesome. Game days are a big money making day for the station and it’s just fun to shake things up a bit and provide a different sound to the listener.

TM: What about phone calls from listeners? Is there any room in a pregame show for that?

TH: I don’t have a strong belief about it, but we haven’t done it. I can’t tell you that there’s a hardcore feeling that I don’t think it sounds good, because, I think for postgame shows, it sounds better.

We’re on the air so far before the game starts, I could envision a caller segment at some point in the pregame show. I don’t know, I would say less of that, I’m not completely opposed to it, but I can’t even remember the last time we did take a call. There’s been times where I’ve had an open segment during a more mundane game day, where it just wasn’t a whole lot going on, much like Tulane last week. So, on game days like that, I could possibly see a segment where you open up the phone lines for people to answer what they hoped to get out of a game such as that.

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But I think postgame shows are more for phone calls. That’s way more fun to hear caller reactions with raw emotion to what just happened. 

TM: What do you think about a host tweeting their opinions during a game when they have to do a postgame show? Is that bad? Or does each host have the obligation to provide their followers with thoughts during the action?

TH: The guys that do the postgame show for our station don’t go Twitter silent during the game. I certainly haven’t seen anything to where the postgame shows numbers aren’t doing well because of that. I really don’t think that much into it.

I think you do owe it to your followers on social media to tweet as you would any other game that you’re watching, because you still can’t put that much into it, you know? You can put out a main thought, but there’s always more to layer on top of what you’re going to talk about. The fun thing about Twitter is that you can put out a big, bold statement without backing up and leave it there. For example, I could tweet that Dwayne Haskins is the best quarterback in Ohio State history. You can send that out and reference why you said it on the postgame show. 

TM: Do you think it’s important for the broadcast to be on location and around the fans on game day? 

TH: I love it. I really do. I know when you talk to PD’s and people in management at sports radio stations across the country, there’s mixed opinions on the value of remote broadcasts, but my goodness, we’re here in Columbus where Ohio State football is king. This is the second year where we’re doing our pregame show, the one that I’m a part of, on Lane Avenue just one block north of Ohio Stadium. We’re right in the thick of the foot traffic, where the basketball arena is close by and people are passing by like crazy and stopping by.

We have six or seven tents of sponsors that pay to be a part of the action, there’s a bar about to open up close by, and it’s just really cool. Like I said earlier, it’s just a different feel than during the week. You turn on your radio and you can tell your guys are live and location with a set somewhere, it’s just the old ESPN Gameday mentality, you know? It’s just about setting the scene.

We’re in studio for the road games, but I do think it’s really cool to have the pregame shows out at the stadium. Like, the show that comes on after ours, you get to hear the Ohio State band come marching and playing right up the sidewalk on their way to the sidewalk. You can always hear it and they always pause as they walk by. It’s really cool. 

TM: You always have to be fair, especially on a postgame show, but is it good to have a host that can capture the excitement and almost be a fan after a big win or a loss?

TH: I always just go for a lot of emotion. I really don’t think we need to be afraid of being homers, when you’re in the middle of your Ohio State Network coverage. I kind of like it from Buckeye broadcasters, when you hear Jim Lachey yelling over Paul Keels when a long touchdown happens.

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Let’s be honest. 95 percent of the people tuning are Buckeye fans and after a big game, everyone is emotional and that’s okay. If something crazy happened and you hate it, or if you’re upset about how the game plan went or even a call from the referee, chances are that people are going to be emotional, and a lot like you, will be listening saying ‘yeah!’ or ‘damn right he should have gotten the ball more!’ Whatever your true and honest thoughts are, go with them and you can amplify it. Local postgame shows, you know who your audience is, I think it’s perfectly okay to show a lot of emotion. 

BSM Writers

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.”

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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.

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BSM Writers

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.”

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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.

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BSM Writers

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.”

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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.   

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