From the time she was young, Lisa Kerney considered herself to be a jock. Growing up in Leawood, Kan. as one of five children, Kerney was raised in a household where sports and competition were relatively quotidian and always in the stream of consciousness. After all, her mother was a marathon runner and her father played college basketball at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, so athletics were entrenched in their DNA.
She and her siblings were captivated by the game of football though and it quickly became a part of their Sunday routine after church and yard work. Once Kerney viewed several live game broadcasts and forms of studio programming including SportsCenter on ESPN, she recognized that she wanted to one day be on the other side of the screen.
“At some point when I was 6 or 7 years old, it kind of clicked for me that I was like: ‘Oh wait, I can actually live out these stories and be the one to share [them] with sports fans around the world’,” Kerney recalled. “I became committed to being a sports broadcaster when I was very little and truly had blinders on; I never came up with a Plan B.”
Kerney frequently used her four siblings, other family members, and friends as mock interview subjects throughout her childhood, immediately trying to hone her craft before she had any real-world experience. At the same time though, Kerney played basketball at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan., and ultimately chose to attend Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. to study broadcast communications and play on the school’s basketball team on a scholarship.
While her primary focus was always to build a career in sports media, playing sports enhanced her abilities as a broadcaster and afforded her perspectives that could have otherwise been left unrealized.
“Being part of a team is such a gift,” she said. “You learn so much not only about yourself but about how to work with others. You learn how to push your limits; you learn how to collaborate; you learn how to communicate. All of these things are critical skills in life.”
Balancing studies and athletic commitments can often be difficult for college students, but Kerney embraced working hard rather than loathing it. By her senior year, she was the team captain of the Lynn University Fighting Knights and was named the school’s scholar-athlete of the year. At the same time, she worked as an intern at Metro Sports, giving her professional exposure to sports media before she graduated with honors.
“I thrived because I really learned how to lean into hard work as well through sports and it became such a part of my fabric,” Kerney expressed. “If I’m not working hard, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it right.”
Kerney’s first job out of college was at local television station KXLF in Butte, Montana; she started in September 2004 working as a sports reporter and anchor. One year later, she was selected as the best sports reporter and best television personality at the Montana Standard People’s Choice Awards, representing monumental achievements for Kerney as she sought to break into the industry.
Entering that first job in market No. 296, she took the opportunity seriously and tried to be authentic with her audience by being herself on-camera rather than adopting a television persona.
“I just learned early on that it was okay to be me,” Kerney said. “Not only that as I grew that it was okay to be me, but it was the best way for me to grow and succeed to just be the same on-camera as I am off-camera.”
As she experienced success early in her career, Kerney was quick to hire an agent and explored opportunities to continue to report on sports in a larger market. After nearly taking a job in San Diego and interviewing for a role in Austin, she was informed by her agent of a chance to join KING-TV in Seattle, which turned out to be the perfect fit.
Working in a major sports city for the first time in her career, she noticed a stark contrast in the culture and its associated expectations, requiring her to intensify her efforts to progress as a reporter. It was early in her tenure when she conjectured that she had a lot to learn if she wanted to keep her position at the station and responded by making connections with colleagues and being inquisitive, looking to maintain a positive growth trajectory.
“I had no idea how much work I had to do on me because I was just living it up; I was living my dream job even when I was in Montana – and little did I know it was very different in Seattle because the expectations were so high,” she said. “All of a sudden you were so visible. I really took a step back when I got to Seattle…. [but] I just started asking a ton and ton of questions and really invested in making myself better.”
After hosting Northwest Sports Tonight featuring local, collegiate, and professional coverage of sporting events and athletes, along with anchoring weekend sports coverage, Kerney came to the east coast for the first time in her career. She began her time in the New York metropolitan area in Secaucus, N.J. working at MLB Network as a sports contributor and reporter for nearly a year before transitioning to work directly in “The Big Apple,” the number one media market in the world, with CBS 2.
Beginning her shift at 4:30 a.m., Kerney was the sports anchor on CBS 2 News This Morning, recapping the previous day’s action and previewing what was forthcoming in the day ahead. Once that show ended at 7:00 a.m., she walked across the studio to host Live From the Couch – a morning show grounded in entertainment news.
Working alongside John Elliott and Carolina Bermudez, Kerney and the team welcomed actors, authors, and other guests who typically appear on morning programs such as Today and Good Morning America. Moreover, the show would also have lifestyle segments, such as those illustrating beauty secrets and demonstrating cooking tips, for their viewers to enjoy and learn from.
“It was a great departure for me because I was able to extend myself and really kind of put a toe in the entertainment world,” Kerney expressed. “….As much fun as that was, my heart and soul has always been in sports. It was a short-lived show and a ton of fun but I was ready to move off of that morning shift.”
When she was growing up in Leanwood, Kan., Kerney was mesmerized by the thought of one day working in sports media, specifically at ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor. Whether it was Hannah Storm, Robin Roberts, Linda Cohn, or others, Kerney found herself inspired and motivated to succeed whenever she watched women working in the industry.
“That is such a gift that I took for granted for a really long time because I thought in my world that women were always a part of the sports world,” Kerney expressed. “….Growing up being able to watch them and be such professionals and so well-versed in their craft and be able to go toe-to-toe with men and be able to deliver sports equally. It was something important for me to see as a young girl.”
Before landing her dream job as a SportsCenter anchor at ESPN, Kerney had previously turned the network down two times – largely because the timing did not work out. From the first time she began to consume sports content though, being a part of the ESPN team was something Kerney long desired, even telling adults as a child that she sought to work for the network. Despite not being taken seriously by some of her peers when younger, Kerney focused on achieving that goal from the day her interest was piqued and did so when she officially signed on with the network in February 2014.
“I don’t think we can say enough about SportsCenter because you have every single element of sports television in [each episode],” Kerney said. “You have highlights; you have interviews; you have breaking news and also each SportsCenter [during] each time of the day is completely different. We have our pre-production meetings and we map out the whole show, but at any point, if breaking news comes in, you just throw those scripts away and you’re just basically ad-libbing and moving on the fly and pivoting and taking interviews from across the country.”
Aside from anchoring the network’s signature program, Kerney also penetrated into the podcasting space as the host of ESPN’s first internally-produced podcast called Stay Curious with Lisa Kerney. Once she began working in her hosting role and became a regular voice on the network, she was given the opportunity to host Fantasy Football Now on Sunday mornings throughout the National Football League season.
One of the first subjects taught to students in science classes is Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion – the law of inertia – which states that an object will sustain motion at a constant speed unless acted upon by an outside force. As her momentum trended upward at ESPN, Kerney became hesitant to decline any new opportunities presented to her, essentially removing the word ‘No’ from her lexicon.
Yet as she tried to raise a family with four young children and routinely drove 73 miles from her home to work at ESPN’s primary campus in Bristol, Conn., she found that accelerating her career and maintaining her work-life balance was unsustainable.
“As much as I wanted to give to ESPN and wanted to continue – and I had a contract on the table that I walked away from which a lot of people are like, ‘How do you do that?’ – it was a time in my life where I bet on myself and bet on my future,” Kerney said. “Sure enough, I get into an industry where betting is the next thing in sports.”
Kerney interviewed to join FanDuel in 2018, a time when the sportsbook was exploring opportunities to grow within sports media and working to turn its vision of launching its own network and OTT streaming platform into a reality. Following her initial conversation with Executive Producer and Vice President of TV Kevin Grigsby, Kerney was captivated by what was written on the company’s whiteboard and signed on to be a host of the platform’s first sports betting program called More Ways to Win.
Five years later, Kerney’s show is a central part of the recently-launched FanDuel TV, which includes shows featuring Kay Adams, Michelle Beadle, Shams Charania, Pat McAfee, and Bill Simmons.
“We’re so proud at FanDuel because we’ve positioned ourselves in a way to play a significant role in the changing landscape,” Kerney said. “We’ve had our show and we’re the core of a sports betting network in More Ways to Win, and I’m grateful to be able to host our show.”
The linear and digital network evolved out of TVG Network, an affiliate of FanDuel, and is available on multiple dissemination platforms including social media outlets and the FanDuel Sportsbook mobile application. According to Kerney, the network has various pieces of news to share regarding content development in the fourth quarter and into the start of the new year: one of which is the launch of a new NBA show called Run It Back featuring Beadle and Charania, along with Chandler Parsons and Eddie Gonzalez.
“I’ve been here almost five years at FanDuel and it feels like five minutes because of how fast our industry is growing and how quickly we’re changing,” Kerney expressed. “It’s thrilling to be a leader in this space.”
Kerney describes her hosting style as energetic and relatable, supplementing the analysis provided by betting experts and former players with her own commentary and ability to keep each show both dynamic and engaging. She is eagerly anticipating the show’s continued evolution and is cognizant in communicating her authenticity with viewers and aims to evoke genuine interest in sports betting.
“I’m just a sports fan that gets to talk about sports for a living,” Kerney said. “I’m grateful for every opportunity that I’m at the desk and am a point guard of our show. I don’t give out specific bets but I have really smart analysts and experts that are on the show with me.”
The show seeks to appeal to all audiences whether or not viewers have partaken in any form of sports betting. In essence, it serves a dual purpose of assimilating new customers to sports betting and the FanDuel Sportsbook while enriching the expertise of existing sports bettors and keeping them interested.
“We want to bring you along with the game; we want to bring you along with the terminology; we want to help you understand while giving you information to help you place your bets and what bets we think are going to play out in a certain way,” Kerney said. “A lot of times our experts and our analysts don’t agree and they explain why and that’s the fun part…. At the same time for seasoned bettors, you get really insightful information and statistics and really deep research that you wouldn’t get on other shows.”
Following a decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 in the court case Murphy v. NCAA that struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act – which prohibited sports betting in all states except Nevada – it has been delegated to states to adopt legislation officially legalizing it if they so choose. At the moment, more than 30 states have legalized some form of sports betting and many others are considering the measure including California, whose voters will decide the fate of two propositions this coming November regarding the practice.
“They’re coming fast; we see them falling so quickly,” Kerney said of states legalizing sports betting. “The regulation is so important not only for the safety of all of our players, but obviously the positives that come with each state legalizing and the taxing and where those tax dollars can go to help improve schools and roads and all those things.”
Nearly 20% of American adults say they have bet on sports sometime in the last year according to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center. The National Football League, its teams, and its players encompass an ideal property for bettors to follow and gamble on, Kerney says, largely because of the existing popularity and wide variety of bets that can be made on any given play. From props to teasers to parlays, sportsbooks like FanDuel continue to pitch to fans the ability to go beyond the game and have a stake in the action – a sort of metadrama instilled within the manifestation of competition in live sports.
“Back in 2018, the way I described sports betting to people is [that] it’s truly like playing a game within a game within a game,” Kerney expressed. “It keeps you interested beyond the score; it keeps you interested beyond… who won, who lost and what [a team’s] record [is]… Our slogan is ‘Make Every Moment More’ because literally in every moment, you could have a bet riding which is really exciting to turn up your Sunday a notch.”
Social media is a new content avenue that has augmented the power of viewer choice, leaving it in the hands of the consumer pertaining to just when or where to immerse themselves in multimedia – and nearly all distribution platforms have adapted themselves to be accessible in this way. It was a change facilitated by evolving technologies and shifting psychographics within the marketplace, combined with meeting an immediate and symbiotic need to continue to connect with sports fans through a global pandemic amid the cessation of game competition.
More Ways to Win was initially distributed through local regional sports networks – usually in states that had legalized sports betting. The problem came in finding the show as since it was distributed on a wide array of networks, consumers sometimes ran into trouble locating where it was in their market. With content offerings on multiple platforms, consumers may opt to watch or listen to programming that they can more easily find; therefore, new and innovative platforms are emphasizing enhancing their ability to be found.
“When we started our show back in 2018, we had a great product but our challenge for a long time was distribution,” Kerney said. “….I would be putting out through the magic of social media; I kept posting like, ‘Hey, catch our show here,’ and then it would be a rundown of 30 different states and local markets and times. We were all over the place and it was not a streamlined process of how best to find our show and at the time our show, More Ways to Win, was the only forward-facing content FanDuel had from a linear perspective.”
While she was unable to comment on any specific future opportunities, Kerney alluded to chances to continue to hone her craft and try new things down the road. Having worked in sports media for nearly two decades, she remains curious and ambitious in her own career pursuits, along with helping to grow the reach and actualization of the full potential of FanDuel TV.
“I’m competitive as hell, and not only with people around me but with myself to just get better and better every day,” Kerney said. “Now having FanDuel TV, a new challenge for us at FanDuel, this has really been the highlight of my career – getting to step out of my comfort zone and expand in ways that I haven’t yet. The best is yet to come for sure.”
Being able to step outside one’s comfort zone can often be difficult to embark upon and subsequently achieve for aspiring professionals. Coping with feelings of discomfort though is usually essential in finding one’s niche and effectuating vertical movement in the industry. One of those sources of uneasiness is small-market television and the thought of moving away to a great unknown. Young journalists, sometimes oblivious of the value starting in a small market garners, can feel crestfallen and apprehensive towards opportunities in those locales – which is why Kerney tries to disseminate a positive message to those she encounters.
“Small market TV is such a gift when you’re just starting out,” Kerney said. “Go to the small markets; be in markets that are barely visible. You can mess up; you can ask questions; it’s not going to stay with you. You can really get reps that are so valuable before you move on and really build your confidence.”
Working in smaller markets though should not preclude journalists from taking the job any less seriously than they would if they were in larger markets. Usually, the experience and connections made in smaller markets prove to be valuable as time goes on; therefore, it is imperative the job is viewed in the same light and executed as such.
“Hard work and sacrifice are non-negotiable in this business,” Kerney said. “We work holidays; we work crazy nights and mornings… constantly running on very little sleep. It’s hard work; it’s sacrifice.”
While Kerney has had the opportunity to interview athletes widely regarded as elite including Aaron Judge and LeBron James, she affirms that it is the broadcast teams with whom she has worked that have made her career invaluable. She looks forward to what the future holds both at FanDuel TV and in other opportunities not yet divulged, along with continuing to raise her four children with her husband and former two-time NFL Pro Bowl defensive end Patrick Kerney.
“We’re just getting started and that’s very true,” Kerney said. “Now that I’ve been in the industry for almost two decades, I have perspectives and a voice that is valued and respected. It is allowing me other opportunities that I can’t share right this second, but you’re going to see me outside [of] the TV box very soon.”
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.