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Dick Vitale Will Never Give Up, Baby

“People don’t realize what a cancer patient goes through. That’s why I have so much respect and admiration for all these families that have to deal with it with their kids.”

Derek Futterman




Last March, Dick Vitale utilized a whiteboard to communicate his Final Four picks to fans on social media through his VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) ratings system. Normally, he would voice these picks, but a diagnosis of precancerous vocal cord dysplasia left him on vocal rest for an extended period. He ended up having two separate surgeries on his vocal cords and had to use the whiteboard so he could communicate with others.

Vitale had recently completed a bout with melanoma and was facing lymphoma – all while trying to maintain a positive attitude amid a global pandemic and uncertain future. Inside, he was acutely aware that he was “going through hell,” but remained hopeful that he would one day return courtside to receive a dose of the best medicine possible: calling college basketball games on ESPN.

At times, the madness of being away from the game felt unbearable, but it was through “passion plus pride plus perseverance,” along with the support of his family, friends, colleagues, and fans, that he emerged filled with gratitude and excitement to return to doing what he loves.

In 1993, Jim Valvano took the stage at the inaugural ESPY Awards from Madison Square Garden in New York to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. Throughout his career around the game of basketball, Valvano served as a player, coach, and broadcaster, forming one-half of the dynamic on-air duo the “Killer Vees.” He and Vitale, whose pseudonym is “Dickie V,” were often regarded as having similar broadcast styles imbued with exuberance, candor, and passion.

Less than a year before what ultimately became one of the most well-known award speeches of all time, Valvano had received his diagnosis of metastatic adenocarcinoma. Taking the stage, he gave the audience takeaways on how to approach their lives – including laughing, thinking and expressing emotions responsible for getting one to cry – and shortly thereafter, received a signal that he had 30 seconds to go in his speech. Valvano, however, neglected the plan, instead stating words that have endured the test of time: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

As Vitale laid supine in a hospital bed, those words remained in his subconscious and kept him going during a particularly burdensome and critical health battle. Over the preceding two years, Vitale overcame immense hardships, which began with battling melanoma, a form of skin cancer. To treat this disease, Vitale had to undergo surgery for its removal along with four additional cosmetic surgeries. In August 2021, Vitale announced that following a PET scan (positron electron tomography), his doctor declared him cancer free, and subsequently thanked people for sending him prayers and well-wishes.

“My greatest inspiration was all the prayers and all the messages from people I hadn’t heard from in years,” Vitale said. “….You need that support. I know I needed it because there were times I was laying in that hospital and my family would leave, and tears would flow. [I was] thinking, ‘Would I ever get out of here? Would I ever see my grandkids graduate college?’ It’s tough; it’s a really vicious disease.”

In his youth, Vitale played Little League Baseball but faced immense levels of scrutiny from his opponents and their parents because of blindness in his left eye. The cause, he estimates, was poking it with a pencil at the age of 4 or 5, causing it to appear that he was looking elsewhere. Toeing the rubber on the pitcher’s mound and being taunted by those in the stands engendered irreparable harm, and thinking back on it, he still feels the pain from that day.

Although he had surgery to straighten his left eye in 1984, he is still blind and sees entirely out of his right eye. The decision required Dr. Conrad Giles to operate on both of his eyes, risking a permanent loss of vision, but the pain and suffering that came out of the encumbrance were difficult to bear and led him to take the risk. During the midst of the 1979-80 college basketball season – his first on ESPN and in sports media altogether – a viewer had called to complain about Vitale being on television because of it, calling him a “one-eyed wacko.”

The peremptory and heinous actions of bullies compelled him to receive the surgery and urge others to show compassion towards others. Vitale persevered through the situation, as he originally decided to quit television and called Steve Anderson, the executive overseeing college hoops, to inform him of his decision. Luckily for college basketball and sports fans everywhere, Vitale reversed course and has been a fixture of the sport, 

Three years after his surgery, a car crash caused a bone fracture below his right eye, leading him to wear an eye patch and ruminate over whether he would ever see again. Luckily, Vitale did not lose his vision, nor his love for basketball and broadcasting. Through trials and tribulations, he is at the top of his craft, surviving changing regimes, emerging technologies, and a dynamic media landscape simply because he communicates the game to viewers in a way few else can.

“I had a great mom and dad, and they were uneducated [and] had a fifth-grade education – but they had a doctorate of love,” Vitale expressed. “….My [parents] used to always say to me, ‘Richard, big deal. One eye – you can do anything that anybody else does. You’ve got something they can’t hold back. Your energy; your passion; your enthusiasm – someday, you’re going to make in something.’”

Two months after being declared cancer free, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, resulting in six months of chemotherapy and additional steroid treatment. Vitale initially planned to continue working as a college basketball analyst on ESPN during this time, a job he held since the network’s inception in 1979, but he then had to pull the plug when it was discovered he had precancerous vocal cord dysplasia. Resting his voice was no easy task considering it had been the instrument through which Vitale articulated his thoughts, opinions, and feelings on college basketball with unmatched poise and command.

On Nov. 8, 1979, Vitale received a visit to his home by Bill Davidson, the owner of the Detroit Pistons. Little did Vitale know that the moment would mark the end of a 16-year coaching career, taking him from high school to college to the NBA. Vitale started coaching following a brief stint working in accounting, utilizing his business administration degree from Seton Hall University; yet his precipitous rise as a head coach kept him engrossed in the sport and allowed him to experience much success.

From 1958 to 1971, he was a high school basketball coach – first at Garfield High School and then at East Rutherford High School – and led the latter program to two New Jersey state championships. Simultaneously, he was a sixth-grade teacher, balancing the responsibilities of instructing students in the classroom and athletes on the court.

Nonetheless, he was still actively looking for jobs as an assistant coach or graduate assistant elsewhere, always looking to find chances to grow and make it to the NBA. From the day he was fired by the Pistons, Vitale desperately wanted to land another coaching job, especially after posting a 78-30 overall record in four years as head coach of the University of Detroit Mercy Titans.

When he was coaching at the University of Detroit Mercy following two years as an assistant at Rutgers University, Vitale advocated a winning formula of “passion plus pride plus perseverance,” qualities that are evinced in his ebullient and vivacious broadcast style today. He also found ways to convey life lessons to his players and helped the team beat top-ranked opponents and make the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

As the team entered the round to play the University of Michigan Wolverines, Vitale noticed NBC broadcasters Curt Gowdy and John Wooden watching his team practice on the court. He was then approached by Scotty Connal, a producer for the network, and asked the broadcasters to come to the locker room following practice. Vitale then gave a three-minute talk to his team about “greatness” and described Gowdy and Connal as its epitome, leaving them both flattered and convinced that he could one day be a commentator.

Connal departed NBC in 1979 to assist in the creation of a new television network called ESPN, a combination of four letters Vitale initially thought sounded like a disease. After initially declining an offer from Connal to call the first-ever college basketball game on the network – a matchup between DePaul and Wisconsin – he accepted the position at the suggestion of his wife, Lorraine, even though he still wanted to coach.

“I got very lucky that Scotty called me back 10 days later and said, ‘I’m going to give you one last shot, Dick. You’ve got nothing to do; why don’t you do the game and just have fun?,’” Vitale recalled. “….The things that have happened in my career – I’m blessed; I pinch myself; I’m lucky; I’m fortunate. I’ve just had an incredible ride.”

He considers himself fortunate to have received that phone call and rhapsodies of positive feedback, with Connal and other viewers recognizing his deft knowledge of the game and innate zealousness and excitement.

It was his genuine persona of being passionate and forthright that partially lost him his job with the Pistons, as he had told Davidson he would be unable to win and took the blame for the team’s 30-52 record in the 1978-79 season. He was offered another job in the organization, to which he declined with the hope of returning to coach at the collegiate level.

“Bill Davidson treated me like royalty,” Vitale said. “He kept saying, ‘Dick, you want to get it done now. We know it’s going to be five years at least.’ I said, ‘Oh man, I can coach until I’m blue in the face. We can’t beat Kareem; we can’t beat Dr. J.’ It was frustrating.”

On the day he was fired by the Pistons, Vitale never thought he would be a member of various different halls of fame (14 of them on last count), receive roles in commercials and movies or become one of the most recognizable and distinctive figures in sports broadcasting history. Every time he arrives at an arena, it is evident that Vitale feels the spirit of the game radiate from the court. He embraces the enigma, anticipating the action while staying ready to potentially witness something or someone for the first time.

Throughout his four decades in sports media, Vitale has covered basketball Hall of Famers such as Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing, serving as an erudite voice on a soundtrack documenting the start of legendary careers. While he does not have the ability to jump, run or shoot a basketball, Vitale shares a spot in Springfield, Mass. and is hardly picayune in comparison to the players. His skills and style, filled with honesty, catchphrases and esoteric knowledge, are nonperishable and appeal to audiences no matter their background, acumen or proficiency in basketball parlance.

“I’ve seen so many people today try to develop these niches,” Vitale explained. “I watched John Madden, Terry Bradshaw, Chris Berman [and] Stuart Scott. They were real; they were genuine. That was them; that’s who they are. I’ve always felt I’ve always been me.”

On his first broadcast, Vitale did not arrive until there were 20 minutes remaining to game time and worked alongside Joe Boyle. It was his first time broadcasting a game on television, and in an interview years later, Boyle expressed that Vitale had not changed. His effusiveness and alacrity for basketball and broadcasting keep him well-informed and motivated to improve, prepare and develop synergy with his colleagues and viewers.

“To me, the real pros are your play-by-play guys,” Vitale said. “Those are guys trained… and really have that great ability [and] getting in and out of commercials. I’m there just to tell you what is happening in the world of basketball and in the game taking place. With that, if I do it with lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation – I’ve always tried to be prepared – my style is unique and different, but it’s always been me.”

Vitale is a beloved figure in the world of sports; however, part of the essence of his job is in critiquing teams and individual players. Sports media pundits and viewers have lauded Vitale for his candor and honesty regarding issues of contentiousness, always approaching the situation with objectivity and integrity. Moreover, he does not waver when it comes to elocuting topics of exigence that simply have to be spoken of. He has gained respect through this approach rooted in probity, augmenting his credibility by being able to support his analysis with facts compendiously and unequivocally delivered in the sport’s vernacular.

“The one thing I’m proud of – and not many guys can say this – I’m going on my fifth decade and there have been all kinds of changes at ESPN, yet I’ve always been there,” Vitale stated. “Our business is very, very situational. It’s not really objective; it’s subjective.”


Despite March Madness being broadcast by CBS, Vitale will still be a critical part of ESPN’s studio coverage throughout the tournament and will broadcast the semifinal and Final Four championships for ESPN’s international feed. In fact, he received an offer made by CBS Sports to call a game or two of the tournament, an offer ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro gave Vitale permission to accept.

Yet he declined out of fidelity to ESPN, the network that gave him his start in the industry, and wants to end his career having worked exclusively for the company. Aside from the tournament itself, Vitale will call the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship Game tomorrow (6 p.m. ET) and the first game of the semifinal tonight (7 p.m. ET) with Jon Sciambi and Kris Budden live on ESPN and streaming on ESPN+.

“I think it’s the greatest three weeks in sports,” Vitale said. “….Everyone seems to catch that basketball fever during that time.”

As Dick Vitale sat in his doctor’s office, he was optimistic that he would be cleared to deliver an acceptance speech at the 2022 ESPY Awards 72 hours later. Even though he had been deemed cancer-free in April 2022, he still faced a battle in recovering from precancerous vocal cord dysplasia.

Vitale had not spoken for a period of five-and-a-half weeks in recovering from the surgery, but Pitaro told him that they would bestow the award on him anyway and have him at the ceremony.

Following tests to determine the progress of healing following surgery, Vitale wrote on his whiteboard: “Please give me permission to speak at the ESPYS.” While Dr. Steven Zeitels, a world-renowned throat specialist, surmised it was not 100% healed and instead at approximately 70%, he considered making an exception to allow Vitale to express his gratitude and thanks in front of a national audience.

Making that exception, however, required the doctor to speak to Pitaro on the phone about the conditions Vitale would be placed under in order to attend. Once Vitale called Pitaro, Dr. Zeitels expressed that Vitale could not do any pre-event or post-event media availability, nor attend the ensuing celebration since it would require he raise his voice to be heard by others.

Vitale would be allowed to speak for a maximum of 20 minutes and then remain silent thereafter, a shortcoming that he did not care about so long as he would be permitted to address the crowd.

Three days later, Vitale was at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. and introduced on stage by former ESPN president George Bodenheimer, sportscaster Chris Berman and actor Jon Hamm. He vividly remembers feeling nervous waiting to go on stage and speak, questioning how he would sound or what he would say. Once he stepped back in front of the microphone, he was in his element and back among his colleagues, subsequently addressing his gratitude and the ongoing uphill battle he faced.

“When I started, it was an unbelievable reception and the warmth of the crowd just got my adrenaline going,” Vitale said. “Everything I thought I was going to talk about, I just talked from my heart.”

Throughout the speech, Vitale spoke about the blend of passion, pride and perseverance and related it to the crowd, which included famed athletes including Russell Wilson, Lindsey Vonn and Stephen Curry. It is the winning formula Vitale has utilized since his days as a college coach, and one that motivates him to broadcast college basketball at 100 years old and declare someone “Awesome with a capital ‘A.’”

“I guarantee you’ve had passion in what you’ve done; you’ve had pride in what you’ve done; and you’ve preserved. I don’t care who you are – in life, we face challenges…. You’ve got to be able to respond. I was so pleased he allowed me to speak there. Getting that standing ovation before and after gave me goosebumps.”

In November 2022, Vitale made his return to broadcasting in a matchup between the University of Kentucky Wildcats and the Michigan State University Wolverines. He worked alongside versatile play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and thanked viewers on the broadcast for their support through the adversity he faced.

In the midst of calling a matchup a few weeks later between the Baylor University Bears and Villanova University Wildcats, Vitale received a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd, moving him to tears.

Days later, another standing ovation occurred in the midst of the SEC Tournament game between the University of Kansas Jayhawks and the Indiana University Bloomington Hoosiers. He felt strong emotions during these moments, recognizing how far he had come – but also despondent that there are some people who do not treat others with respect and instead spawn animosity and contentiousness.

Throughout the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vitale was posting daily motivational tips to help people in difficult circumstances. Moreover, he frequently expresses gratitude pertaining to his upbringing, family and career – never losing sight of how fortunate he truly is. He wishes more people would take the time to follow the “Golden Rule” of treating others in the way you want to be treated and believes this simple action could make the world a lot more bearable.

“The violence and the hate just tears my insides out,” Vitale said. “Innocent people being senselessly taken out – it’s just crazy. If we [only] all treated one another with love. I do loads of motivational speeches, and I try to share that all the time. Extend a hand to people.”

Vitale surely extends a hand to others in society through his work as a philanthropist. Whether it is creating an endowment at University of Notre Dame or awarding scholarships to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, he is always looking to find ways he can help and be a positive force in the world.

Although he enjoys his work as a broadcaster, his primary goal is utilizing his platform to raise awareness and funds for cancer research in order to help oncologists find treatments and a cure. He serves on the board of directors for the V Foundation for Cancer Research alongside Bodenheimer, Pitaro, Jay Bilas and other figures across a wide variety of different industries.

The foundation was founded by Valvano in partnership with ESPN before his death in 1993 and holds an annual weeklong campaign on the network, which includes the “Jimmy V Classic” basketball event. The foundation will hold its 30th anniversary gala from Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C. on June 3 to be hosted by North Carolina State University Athletics Director of Content Strategy, Jeff Gravley.

Furthermore, Vitale hosts an annual gala to raise awareness and funding in order to fulfill Valvano’s dream of beating cancer, something he says is essential and must be expediently carried out. In the last 16 years he has held the event, Vitale has raised $55 million for kids battling pediatric cancer, and the foundation as a whole has raised over $310 million. It has its own endowment to cover operational expenses, ensuring all of the money donated gets reinvested into achieving its mission of defeating this disease. This year’s event is set to take place on May 5 from The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Fla.

“People don’t realize what a cancer patient goes through,” Vitale said. “That’s why I have so much respect and admiration for all these families that have to deal with it with their kids. I try to raise as many dollars as I can for kids battling cancer because people have no idea…. It’s a constant battle and a challenge, so you need that support.”

With March Madness quickly approaching, Vitale is throwing “Dickie V’s Super Sixteen Basketball Bash,” a contest through which he will host one lucky winner and a guest at his home on Friday, March 24 to watch a Sweet 16 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament game together.


The package comes complete with airfare, two nights in a hotel, transportation to and from his home, dinner with Vitale and his wife and a special “Dickie V” care package. The winner will be drawn this upcoming Wednesday, March 15, and all proceeds will benefit the Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer at the V Foundation. Those interested in entering for a chance to win can visit “” for more information.

For now, Vitale has no plans of slowing down, energized to raise awareness and money for children battling cancer, along with commentating on college basketball games on ESPN. He is ready for an exhilarating finish to the college basketball season through which he will continue to promulgate the game, learn new things and work with distinguished colleagues. Quite simply, Vitale is grateful to have been able to return to this position, and surely does not take it for granted – enjoying the ride and keeping his foot steadily on the accelerator.

“The moment I don’t get excited about getting out and doing a game and being courtside, no one’s going to have to tell me,” Vitale said. “I’ll know when the party’s over, and it’ll be a very down moment because I’ve loved every moment of it.”

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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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