Whether it is participating in the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain or swimming between two tectonic plates in Iceland, Scott Hanson is a thrill-seeker.
Having visited six of the seven world continents, seeing new places and being exposed to different cultures gives him the ability to live his life to the fullest and take advantage of many unique opportunities. That adventurous style of travel, though, takes a back seat when it is football season. As the host of the Sunday whiparound show NFL RedZone, Hanson and the NFL Network team notoriously bring fans every touchdown from every game in seven hours of commercial-free football.
No commercial breaks mean Hanson is hosting a program straight from 1:00-8:00 PM EST every day, requiring high levels of stamina and endurance. It is part of the reason why he works out five days a week during the regular season, cognizant of the perceived connection between maintaining good physical fitness and sharp mental acuity. For a hosting job that may seem interminable to some, Hanson revels in it and arrives at the brand-new state-of-the-art NFL Network studios adjacent to SoFi Stadium, the shared home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, Calif., excited and ready to immerse himself in the day’s action.
“I literally will be on the elliptical machine on the treadmill saying, ‘The last 10 minutes of this one-hour session is for the sixth hour of NFL RedZone‘,” Hanson explained. “I’ve still got to have that energy [and] enthusiasm. It might sound silly, but I really do believe that.”
From an early age, Hanson knew he wanted to work as a broadcaster in sports media, especially when he recognized that attaining a professional football career was highly unlikely to happen. Motivated to follow in the footsteps of the broadcasters living out his dream job of being paid to travel the country and interact with players, coaches and other team personnel, he attended Syracuse University and majored in communication studies. Four years later, he graduated cum laude, achieved Dean’s List status for all four years at school and also continued to play on the school football team.
In fact, his collegiate football career – which started by winning a roster spot as a walk-on long snapper and playing as a wide receiver and defensive back as a member of the scout team – concluded with a 1993 Fiesta Bowl win over the University of Colorado Boulder’s Buffaloes.
After completing a college summer internship with WXYZ-TV in Southfield, Mich. where he had the chance to work with the late-broadcaster Don Shane, Hanson was even more committed to finding a way to succeed in sports media. Upon his graduation, he started his professional journey working as an anchor and reporter for WPBN-TV in Traverse City, Mich. in 1993.
After an additional stop to work at WICS-TV in Springfield, Ill. in 1994, Hanson made the move to Tampa to cover the Buccaneers as a reporter. This marked his first time working in a role associated with covering a specific football team per se – the game he was enamored with growing up in Rochester, Mich.
While playing football at the high school level, Hanson served as the team’s captain and also earned all-conference honors; however, pursuing a career in sports media, although challenging, always appealed to him. He served as a public address announcer for the women’s soccer team in high school and sought to gain as many repetitions as possible as a broadcaster to hone his craft and diversify his skill set, recognizing the importance of versatility in the industry.
Hanson put that versatility on display when he landed a job as the intermission reporter for the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. Closely following the team during its days with star players Jeremy Roenick, Keith Primeau and Eric Desjardins, Hanson observed the differences between how football and hockey players conduct themselves and interact with the media.
“Hockey guys will do interviews differently than football guys will do it, generally speaking,” Hanson said, “and yet they are still uber-competitive, highly-skilled, world-class athletes, and there’s a certain mentality that comes with that [which] often displays itself while you’re interviewing them.”
After working in Bethesda, Md. for the next four years as an anchor and reporter with Comcast SportsNet Atlantic, Hanson joined NFL Media in 2006 as a national reporter. Every week, Hanson would attend National Football League contests and provide pregame and postgame reports. The only problem was that Hanson found himself following all the action around the National Football League even when he was in the press box for games, discussing action with journalists and media members other than what was taking place on the field down below.
“I would be the guy always looking at everything else going on in the NFL even though I had one live game in front of me,” Hanson said. “I guess I was wired for an NFL RedZone-style show from the beginning.”
Coinciding with the proliferation in fans creating fantasy football teams, NFL Network created what has been referred to as “the best invention since television” in NFL RedZone and tabbed Hanson to be its host after he had previously hosted other studio programming for the network in 2008.
While there is another version of the whiparound-style program called DIRECTV Sunday Ticket RedZone hosted by Andrew Siciliano since its launch in 2005, and available exclusively to NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers. Hanson is the host of the version produced by NFL Network, and once he learned of the opportunity to pioneer the program from “the captain’s seat” and heard more about the vision of the broadcast from network executives, he was euphoric to get started.
“I absolutely believed that the show would be a galactic success if we could execute [in] the way [with] the vision displayed out there,” Hanson recalled. “They came to me and said: ‘Hey, we’re starting a show from scratch. We’re going to show every touchdown from every game. We’re going to do it for the early window and the late window, so it’s going to go seven hours long. We’re not going to show any commercials and we’re going to bounce around and show people the best of the NFL.’ And I said: ‘Sign me up and put me in front of that camera.’”
Hanson stands in front of a plethora of television monitors featuring a well-orchestrated cacophony of game action occurring around the country. While scientific research has proven the impossibility in truly multi-tasking, additional research suggests approximately 2.5% of people can do it effectively. It is more than likely Hanson falls within that select group, regularly multi-tasking outside of the seven-hour window he hosts NFL RedZone on Sundays. He has five high-definition television screens set up in his home that simultaneously play a wide assortment of programming from sports to entertainment to news.
While it may seem dizzying to some to be closely following over half of the National Football League at once, it is simply all in a day’s work for Hanson. From the moment he returns home after a studio taping of NFL RedZone, his preparation for the next week begins – first by watching Sunday Night Football. Afterwards, he will tune in to all of the major football highlight shows, including those from NFL Network and ESPN, to ensure his broadcast did not miss any significant moments in the action or associated storylines. If he happens to hear information that is transferable to the following week’s broadcast, he makes a note of it and implements it as a part of his preparation.
The next day, Monday Night Football takes center stage, closing out the week of football and leading into the next day’s release of the weekly NFL Media research packet. The document, which ranges from 100 to 200 pages in length, contains facts, statistics and other relevant information compiled by the NFL Media research team. Hanson closely examines the contents of the document and begins to memorize parts of it he may want to use during the NFL RedZone show on Sunday.
On Wednesdays, Hanson begins creating spreadsheets complete with information about all positions and various game scenarios, including possessions taking place in the red zone. It is vital information he needs to be able to quickly recollect during the course of the broadcast.
“The rest of it is just studying and trying to memorize and then digging down into each individual game matchup that will be on RedZone [for that] Sunday,” Hanson said. “….I probably don’t do as much research as [Joe] Buck does for one individual game on all of my 11 games, but I probably do as many hours leading into it for the 11 games [in the] early and late window that we’ll have on Sunday.”
Hanson does not have a favorite NFL team, although he grew up closest in proximity to the Detroit Lions, and genuinely does not have a rooting interest in terms of who wins or loses specific football games every week. Having said that, his fantasy football team – nicknamed the “Iron Bladders” – consists of players from across the NFL and he will sometimes display his fandom during NFL RedZone broadcasts about their specific performance, although he affirms it will not interfere with his hosting responsibilities on the show.
“I do not care who wins any given NFL game, but I do care that the game is action-packed and dramatic and provides us with some moments that we will remember during the seven hours of the show,” he said, “and provide us with some moments that we’ll be talking about at our workplaces [all week] leading back into the next episode of NFL RedZone.”
As an on-air host, Hanson’s top priority is to be a source of information for fans tuning in to the broadcast who are looking to get a complete scope on what is occurring around the league. The show’s commitment to showing every touchdown from every game holds true as it did from its initial launch in 2009, but as time has gone on, Hanson has been able to find moments to insert humor, opinion and other differentiating factors associated with being on the air.
“I’m naturally energetic, naturally enthusiastic and I love the game of football,” Hanson said. “I hope that comes across to all the people that are watching all over the world on NFL RedZone; that if you don’t know anything about [me] personally, you would still say: ‘Yeah, I’d like to sit down and watch a game and have a beer with that guy. It sounds like he loves the game and he sees the game the way I see the game.’”
Being that Hanson watches every NFL game on Sunday, along with ESPN’s presentation of Monday Night Football and Amazon Prime Video’s streaming-exclusive Thursday Night Football game every week, he believes in the strength of football as a consumer product in terms of its dissemination and quality, both on the field and inside the broadcast booth.
This previous offseason saw the movements of Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit to Amazon Prime Video, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN, Mike Tirico’s elevation to the weekly play-by-play announcer on NBC’s Sunday Night Football and Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen forming the new primary booth on Fox – with seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady to eventually join as well. Among these and other changes, Hanson is encouraged about the future of football broadcasts and sports media in its entirety.
“A high tide raises all boats, they say, so I certainly am happy with the contracts that have been handed out to some of my on-air contemporaries,” Hanson expressed. “….I don’t think there’s a weak link in the national broadcasts today…. I love the fact that when it’s not NFL RedZone when I’m on the air, I have fantastic professionals to watch and enjoy as a fan [of] all of the national games.”
Just as fantasy sports rose in popularity in 2009, the phenomenon of sports betting has recently begun to grow coinciding with its legalization throughout nearly half of the country. Hanson attributes the survival of whiparound programs to the augmenting proclivity for fans to follow specific players and portions of the game action relevant to their own teams or bets rather than rooting solely for one team to win or lose. Nonetheless, the goal of the show to be a source of commercial-free football for seven hours every Sunday remains unchanged; the ways in which that goal is effectively accomplished has merely shifted with changes in consumption habits and emerging technologies.
“What I think we hopefully have gotten better at through the years is showing more action; being able to bounce around from stadium to stadium even quicker and slicker to make it an enjoyable viewing experience,” he expressed. “….I think social media has some ability to do quote-on-quote RedZone-style entertainment because the audience is choosing which link they click on; which clip they click on [using] Instagram; Twitter; TikTok; Facebook; whatever else it is.”
Other professional sports leagues have sought to emulate the type of program and staple NFL RedZone has become but whiparound-style programs simply do not work for every sport. For example, DAZN, in partnership with Major League Baseball, broadcast a whiparound program beginning in mid-2019 called ChangeUp. The show, which was hosted by Adnan Virk, Scott Rogowsky, Lauren Gardner and Tony Luftman, was canceled less than a year later after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and reportedly low viewership. Conversely, NBA CrunchTime has been broadcasting since 2015 on NBA TV, but will be added to the redesigned NBA League App for fans to stream.
According to Hanson, the game of football presents inherent differences that give it an advantage in presenting multiple games at once – such as the synchrony in kickoffs, 40-second play clock and sequencing of the game itself, along with the likelihood that crucial action favoring either the offense or defense will occur when play is within the 20-yard line – colloquially referred to as the “red zone.”
“We have eight games going on at one time on some Sundays where we can ping-pong to any one of those locations where the action is hot,” Hanson said. “You’re almost guaranteed that one or two of them have some drama going on at any given moment….. The fact that I can show you a game in Atlanta and I’ve got 40 seconds or thereabouts to show you something from Dallas and something from Green Bay and I can get back to Atlanta and you haven’t missed any material action in the Atlanta game – that helps.”
Some viewers of NFL RedZone or NFL Network as a whole might surmise that since the media outlet has a direct affiliation with the league, on-air talent and contributors may be more restricted in terms of what they can or cannot express. While it is evident that sports media is built on a balance between subjectivity and objectivity, it is up to hosts to establish a comfort zone in which they are able to deliver news and voice their opinions.
“I’ve been with the league for 16 years and while it’s clear they want me to be a fair broadcaster and they don’t want me taking shots at players or coaches or teams in an unfair manner, I am allowed to say what I want to say at any given moment,” Hanson said. “There have only been maybe two times in my 16 years where a boss of mine has come to me and said: ‘Hey Scott, why don’t you say this instead of this.’”
Aside from hosting NFL RedZone, Hanson serves as the in-stadium host for the Super Bowl each year, meaning that it is his job to entertain, inform and engage with fans attending “The Big Game.” It is a change from hosting studio coverage, giving him the ability to show fans different aspects of his skillset and vary how he infuses his personality into shorter segments of air time.
Additionally, he has had the chance to converse with some of the greatest football players to ever step foot onto the gridiron, including the aforementioned Brady, who told him that NFL RedZone was his favorite television program to watch on days he was not playing.
“I’ve been able to interview Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson back in his heyday,” Hanson added. “Just big-time, high-profile, world-class athletes; and that energizes me as someone who strives for excellence to be around people who exhibit excellence in their given profession.”
Hanson, akin to most other sports media personalities, works under a contract and while he could see himself hosting NFL RedZone for the remainder of his career, he is open to exploring any and all opportunities in media, the assimilation of sports notwithstanding. Cultivating the skills necessary to effectively host a top-rated sports whiparound program is no easy task, but it is something he has embraced over the years and continues to enjoy when he wakes up at 5 a.m. to go to work.
It takes a willingness to do whatever it takes to improve and gain experience in sports media, and Hanson advises aspiring broadcasters looking to work in the industry to take advantage of opportunities whenever or wherever they may be. Living on the edge is his modus operandi and has allowed him to build a successful career in the National Football League as a broadcaster rather than as a professional football player.
“Be willing to make sacrifices. It’s a very, very competitive business,” Hanson said. “If you’re trying to get into this business to become famous or make a ton of money or just [to] meet Peyton Manning, you’re going to have to pay your dues before any of that happens – and paying your dues means making sacrifices often. Be willing to move anywhere in the country where a job presents itself. Be willing to work whatever days, hours, holidays; anything else that your employer wants.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he serves as the production manager for the New York Islanders Radio Network and lead sports producer at NY2C. He has also worked on live game broadcasts for the Long Island Nets and New York Riptide. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks and wrote for The Long Island Herald. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
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.”
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.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
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.”
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.
Ryan Brown is a columnist for Barrett Sports Media, and a co-host of the popular sports audio/video show ‘The Next Round’ formerly known as JOX Roundtable, which previously aired on WJOX in Birmingham. You can find him on Twitter @RyanBrownLive and follow his show @NextRoundLive.
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.”
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.
Peter Schwartz has been involved in New York sports media for over three decades. Along the way he has worked for notable brands such as WFAN, CBS Sports Radio, WCBS 880, ESPN New York, and FOX News Radio. He has also worked as a play by play announcer for the New Yok Riptide, New York Dragons, New York Hitmen, Varsity Media and the Long Island Sports Network. You can find him on Twitter @SchwartzSports or email him at DragonsRadio@aol.com.