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.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’
The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.
The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”
Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”
According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.
1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming
The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.
Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.
The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.
The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.
In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.
One host who may remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.
Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.
Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.
One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.
This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce 5% of its programming staff.
Fred Toucher: Fred Roggin Rant ‘Is Why Everyone Thinks Radio Sucks’
“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said.
A recent piece in the L.A. Times painting the picture of why the sports radio audience in Los Angeles is smaller than that of Boston struck a nerve locally.
And when AM 570 LA Sports host Fred Roggin tried to explain why Boston does so much better with listeners, Fred Toucher couldn’t contain himself.
“Let me give it to you in a nutshell real, real quickly,” Roggin said in a clip that played during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday. “The implication here is that you don’t care. Do they have as many Latinos living in Boston? I don’t think so, and if you look at the ratings, they don’t. We’re a melting pot, we’re very different here. Sports is a niche audience.“
Toucher and company laughed at the sound byte before Toucher laid into Roggin.
“Does that mean that Latinos don’t like sports?” he asked. “To do well in Los Angeles, you have to adapt to the market, you jackass! Latinos have to listen to ya.”
Roggin and co-host Rodney Peete sounded even more out of touch in the clip by saying that part of the reason more people listen to sports talk in Boston is because of weather and an affinity for baked beans. Additionally, there’s just more to do in LA versus Boston.
“He is under the impression that the east coast is really something else,” Toucher said. “But he’s painting the east coast as if like no one lives out here. Like New York City and Philadelphia are these minor flyover states. It’s really funny.”
Toucher understood Roggin taking the time to go on the defensive, but he just couldn’t get over the way in which the defense was presented.
“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said. “What do you care if the station in Boston does better than you? What does it matter to you?! Clean up your own business! Jesus Christ!”
“This is the first time I think I’ve ever heard the northeast described as like toothless hicks that like got nothing better to do,” Toucher added.
Toucher finished his point by piling on the hosts further, saying that if their show aired anywhere else, it would fail.
“This is why everyone thinks radio sucks,” Toucher said before the rest of the Roggin clip was played.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.