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Chris Carrino Refuses to Be Slowed By Muscular Dystrophy

“There’s more than one path to success, and I’ve had to take a different path than the one that I maybe envisioned as a kid.”

Derek Futterman




Normally, a broadcaster travels with the team they cover and adheres to a tight schedule; however, Brooklyn Nets’ radio play-by-play announcer Chris Carrino was convinced to stay on the road for an additional day. It came following a busy Sunday during which he called the Miami Dolphins’ afternoon matchup against the New York Jets from Hard Rock Stadium and then, that night, the Brooklyn Nets’ battle against the Miami Heat.

The NBA recently held its annual sales and marketing meeting in Miami and included an awards ceremony to honor those working in these departments among professional teams. Carrino was tricked into attending and, unbeknownst to him, named as a winner of the esteemed NBA Values of the Game Award.

The honor, which he shared with former Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the Milwaukee Bucks — the late-John Steinmiller — is given to an individual who illustrates the values of the league in their community. It came in the midst of Carrino’s 22nd year behind the microphone for the Nets, and while the recognition was in part for his work on the air, it also related to the circumstances he continuously battles just to be able to do his job.

During his sophomore year at Fordham University, life seemingly changed once Carrino realized a drastic decline in his athletic abilities. He was examined by a doctor and was expecting to be told to lift weights or take vitamins to improve his strength and conditioning.

Instead, he received the news that he had Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) – a genetic disease that causes the progressive degeneration of several muscles, primarily those located in the face, shoulder blades and upper arms. There is no treatment or cure for this condition, indicative of a diagnosis that could have depleted Carrino’s will to succeed and suppressed his broadcasting abilities.

“It’s almost like you’re speeding up this aging process of your body, but more than normal,” he explained. “I look at an 80-year-old man get up out of a chair, and I’m jealous of how easily he can do it because I can’t do that; I used to be able to do it.”

It is a disease he calls “scary as hell,” eventually requiring the use of a wheelchair and arranging special accommodations in his quotidian routine. Carrino struggles with activities including getting out of bed, putting on clothes and climbing stairs.

“It slowly goes on, so you get to adjust as it goes, and I think that’s been the key to persevering with it over the years,” Carrino said. “You lose something maybe every year or so and you adjust. You slowly kind of get used to your new reality.”

Despite the diagnosis and its hardships, Carrino fostered a growth mindset and recognized that he would be defined not by his condition, but by how he reacted to it. With these principles in mind, he was able to build a successful career in sports media and remains immersed in the game of basketball.

In 1997, five years after his diagnosis, Carrino was promoted by the New Jersey Nets to work as its manager of broadcast operations, making him responsible for broadcasting-related activities and studio producing. One year later, Carrino stepped in for John Sterling, the backup play-by-play announcer for the New Jersey Nets, since he was traveling on a west coast road trip with the New York Yankees.

The primary radio play-by-play voice of the Nets was Bob Papa, but he usually would miss about 20 games per year to fulfill other obligations such as calling boxing on ESPN or New York Giants football on the radio. Having a chance to do play-by-play announcing was something he voiced to executives with the Nets, including former Vice President of Broadcasting Amy Scheer. Now his chance had finally arrived in the form of an April matchup against the New York Knicks – and he was determined to succeed.

“I did the game and it went really well,” Carrino said, “and they came to me afterwards and said, ‘You know what? From now on, you’re the backup.’”

Over the next several years, Carrino’s load of games with the Nets slowly increased to the point where he broadcast nearly 25 contests one season. When Lou Lamoriello was named CEO and chairman of the New Jersey Devils in 2000, he assumed the role of CEO and vice chairman with the New Jersey Nets. Lamoriello had a decision to make when Papa’s contract with the team expired. He knew that the Nets’ radio play-by-play job was highly-coveted by broadcasters in the market, but he wanted someone who treated the job as their primary focus.

“He came to me and said, ‘Hey, you’ve been the backup; everybody around here speaks very highly of you,’” Carrino remembered. “‘There’s a lot of people who want this job, as you can imagine, but I think you’ve earned the right to give it a shot – and I’m going to give you a shot.’ I always appreciate Lou Lamoriello for that.”

For the first two years as the radio voice of the Nets, the team went to the NBA Finals and suffered defeats from the Los Angeles Lakers (2001-02) and San Antonio Spurs (2002-03). It was during this time where Carrino adjusted into the role, honing his craft and developing a rapport with the fans. As a play-by-play announcer, he was focused on effectively portraying the action to listeners and describing what was occurring on the court, facets of the role to which he remains committed today. Additionally, he aimed to captivate the audience by refining the use of his voice and how to preserve it, akin to a musical instrument that people want to hear.

“There are times where it’s not imperative to listen to a broadcast, so how do I get it so you want to listen,” Carrino said. “Then there are times where the game takes over and it’s serious. That’s when they need to listen and you want to give them what they need.”

Just how to effectively maintain his voice was a lesson he learned in 2016, the first time he announced the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for Westwood One Radio. The opportunity had arisen in a spontaneous meeting between Carrino and Executive Vice President and Executive Producer at Westwood One Radio, Howard Deneroff, in which he shared that a chance to announce part of the tournament might become available.

Once the Seton Hall Pirates qualified for the NCAA tournament, Carrino was tabbed to be on the air for Westwood One Radio since Gary Cohen was obligated to be on the Seton Hall radio broadcast as its local play-by-play announcer.

In the midst of calling four matchups in one day on the radio, Carrino had to intensely prepare and focus on the games to effectively convey the excitement and energy to listeners. The task, while it may seem arduous, was the realization of a lifelong dream for Carrino who grew up watching Big East games on Monday nights called by Bill Rafferty and Mike Gorman.

“You’ve got to get your voice through four games, and I learned that the hard way,” Carrino said. “In the first year by the third game, my voice was starting to disappear and I had to massage it back. Tea; cough drops; laying out at different times – and just nurse your way through it. I don’t think it was that evident on the air but it was evident to me. The more you do it, it gets a little easier and it’s been really something that I look forward to every year.”

Tim Capstraw joined the Nets’ radio broadcasts in 2002 as its color commentator and has remained Carrino’s primary partner since. Capstraw had minimal previous experience in sports media, entering the role after doing television and radio analysis for college basketball in the Big Ten and Northeastern conferences. Before that, he was the head men’s basketball coach at Wagner College, his alma mater, working in that role for a decade before moving off of the hardwood.

Per Carrino’s recommendation, Capstraw studied the work of John Andariese, a former color commentator who often worked with Marv Albert. Providing analysis on a purely-aural medium such as radio is challenging in that it is essential the broadcast team remains synced with the flow of the game. Add in the fact that basketball is a sport with continuous action interspersed with abeyances in play and it becomes quite evident that synergy must exist between broadcasters to execute an appealing broadcast. Now over two decades later, Capstraw and Carrino remain a strong broadcast duo and close friends off the air who both try to make each other better.

“He’ll tell you about halfway through his first year together, he kind of had an epiphany where he kind of figured out the dance,” Carrino said of Capstraw. “I think the key to the longevity part of it with Tim and I is that we do genuinely get along so well with each other.”

As the years go on, Carrino’s physical condition continues to diminish, but his bliss and infatuation towards his occupation has steadily augmented. Eight years after becoming the primary play-by-play voice of the Nets, Carrino added another job working as a play-by-play announcer for Compass Media Networks’ coverage of the National Football League. From the beginning, he was paired with Brian Baldinger, a former offensive lineman who had previously worked in television, and he made a seamless adjustment to the booth.

“I was a little worried he was going to be a little too verbose or think that he had to dominate the broadcast,” Capstraw said of Baldinger. “The first time we worked together – the first series – I knew it was going to be great because he knew exactly when to get in and get out; he gave me enough time to set up the play [and] he had an understanding of what I was doing.”

The difficult part of balancing his duties in basketball and football comes in the contrasting nature of preparing. Carrino closely follows the Brooklyn Nets and has been with the organization for over three decades, rendering him familiar with its history and current events. Conversely, Carrino’s NFL broadcasts are national, meaning he does not follow one team each week and has to research the matchup and storylines both quantitatively and qualitatively.

“Every game’s like a test, and you have a week to study for the test,” he said. “It’s kind of an open-book test; you’ve got some notes that you have in front of you…. [On] a national broadcast, I think people understand that you’re not with these teams every day, but you’re still getting all the information that they need.”

With each passing day, Carrino knows his muscles are weakening; however, his fortitude and persistence remain strong. Throughout his career, he has been eager to take on new challenges and find ways to achieve his goals despite his condition. For example, Carrino’s neighbor accompanies him on road trips to call football games, helping him navigate the stadium and serving as a spotter while in the booth. The expenditure is covered by Compass Media and eases various difficulties Carrino combats in order to successfully arrive for the start of a broadcast. When it all begins, he genuinely becomes captivated by the game and absorbed in its action.

“My favorite time is when I’m just sitting at the arena and the ball is up in the air or the ball is kicked off because all the difficult things I have to do to get there are done, and now I just focus on something that I love to do,” Carrino said. “I consider play-by-play an art form, and as an artist, you love the fact that you can express yourself. [During] the games, I’m able to express myself, have fun and let loose.”

Whether it is doing play-by-play for three Olympic Games; hosting the Voice of the Nets podcast; or calling Los Angeles Angels baseball for a brief stint in 2012, Carrino has always been eager to take on new opportunities in sports media. He always wants to improve and strives to be at the top of his craft, but is satisfied with what he has been able to accomplish while enduring onerous circumstances.

“Sometimes you have a plan to get somewhere – and then something will happen that makes you have to drastically change that plan,” Carrino said. “There’s more than one path to success, and I’ve had to take a different path than the one that I maybe envisioned as a kid. Eventually, my willpower and my fortitude were strong enough that I achieved the things in my life; for the most part, I’ve done what I set out to do.”

Outside of his craft, Carrino established the Chris Carrino Foundation for FSHD, a nonprofit organization raising awareness towards his condition and raising money to research the disease. The impetus to start the foundation came from his wife, Laura, who challenged him to reveal his condition after keeping it private for many years.

He was willing to discuss it so long as there was a way in which he would be able to help others and urge support to discover treatment and/or a cure. Since the foundation’s inception in 2011, it has successfully raised money and led to breakthroughs regarding the disease.

“The more you can get out there and be open about it; the more you can tell people about it, the more you may find the right person who can be a game-changer,” Carrino said. “The kind of person who can offer the kind of support that we need both financially or whether it be a researcher or anything it could be – you’ve got to tell as many people as you can and hope that it finds the right people.”

Miles Davis is an acclaimed musician known for his abilities as a trumpeter and bandleader, specifically in the jazz genre. It took years of practice and repetition for Davis to truly become a master at his craft; in fact, he famously stated: “Sometimes, you have to play for a long time to be able to play like yourself.”

In order to succeed in broadcasting, Carrino believes you need to make it look simple while being both authentic and enthusiastic, and Davis’ words of wisdom, often cited by Capstraw, remain firmly rooted in his mind. Combined with his personality and indefatigability, Carrino demonstrates the values of the game and eagerly awaits the start of the action.

“It makes you take a step back and realize the longevity that I’ve had and how I’ve been around for a long time,” Carrino said regarding his award. “To be honored by your peers for that and be reflective on it; it was a great honor. I really did appreciate the award.”

BSM Writers

Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood

“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Derek Futterman




The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.

It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.

During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.

“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.

“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”

Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.

“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”

Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.

Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.

“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”

When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.

“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”

Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.

“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”

Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.

Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.

“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”

No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.

At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.

“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.

“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”

As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.

“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.

Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.

“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at

“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”

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BSM Writers

Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

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When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee. 

The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.

McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.

McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.

The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.

There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored. 

It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.

It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.

Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.

And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.

If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.  

Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.

If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable. 

It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.

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BSM Writers

5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit

“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”

Jeff Caves




Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain. 

Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:

  1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.  
  2. GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
  3. LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either. 
  4. SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email. 
  5. WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food. 

You’re welcome. 

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Barrett Media Writers

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