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Wilkins Rises Up The Ranks In NYC

Jason Barrett

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It’s not an easy road for an aspiring network-level sports play-by-play personality, but not much deters Jacob Wilkins.

He only knows one way to pursue his dream job — with passion and persistence.

Wilkins, who earned his broadcast journalism degree from Penn State in 2010, works as a sports update anchor for WFAN-AM (the nation’s first all-sports station), CBS Sports Radio and Sirius XM Radio. Based in New York City, he also handles play-by-play duties for Stony Brook University women’s basketball.

Just four years after leaving the College of Communications, where he stayed busy in a variety of roles with ComRadio, Wilkins has already handled play-by-play duties for a short-season Class A baseball team and completed assignments for mlb.com, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, MSG Varsity, CBS Sports and YES Network.

“There are just so many opportunities out there,” Wilkins said. “So far, New York has been a great place. It’s where I’m from, not that I’m tied to the city, but I’ve been able to stay busy.”

As if balancing several jobs was not enough, Wilkins created more work for himself last fall, launching a regular podcast titled “Let’s Talk” that recently welcomed College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock. Previous guests include New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, Fox Sports play-by-play man Kenny Albert and YES Network host Bob Lorenz.To listen to the podcast, click here.

Wilkins has also interviewed Penn Staters for the show, including Carmen Finestra (Class of 1971), the co-creator of “Home Improvement” and former supervising producer for “The Cosby Show,” and Mitch Lukevics (Class of 1976), director of minor league operations for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Wilkins, 26, had pitched an interview-style show to a few outlets but found limited interest. After brainstorming with a family friend, he decided to do the show himself, hoping the podcast would eventually draw interest and wider distribution because of its quality.

“The toughest part was getting the first guests. It was sort of streaky,” Wilkins said. “Fortunately, we got a couple of good ones early, and it’s found a rhythm. It’s still not easy — and I spend more time working on the podcast, just lining up guests and scheduling, than the other jobs — but it’s worth it.”

As Wilkins pursues his network dream job, his commitment to networking, with a sincere interest in getting better and getting to know people in the industry, provides an unmistakable calling card. He’s driven and sincere about meeting media and sports personalities. He’s authentic, not a schmoozer or someone simply collecting contact information.

“I’m constantly learning and networking is something you try to improve on,” Wilkins said. “It’s about developing relationships and learning how to better present myself as well as really listening to people. I’ve tried to be fairly ambitious and find people who support that ambition.”

To read the rest of the story visit Penn State University where it was originally published

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Boomer Esiason: People Watch Stephen A. Smith ‘Because of Him and What He’s Going to Say’

“What other alternative or where else can he go?”

Barrett Sports Media

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Graphic for the Boomer & Gio Show and a photo of Stephen A. Smith

With reports coming out that ESPN had made an initial contract offer of 5 years and $90 million dollars to Stephen A. Smith, various sports show hosts have weighed in and given their opinions. Such was the case during Boomer & Gio this morning on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti.

“Have you seen any of this Stephen A. Smith contract stuff that’s going on?” Giannotti asked.

“I have seen it, yes,” Esiason said. “Listen, the guy works his ass off, he is definitely a firestarter for that network and quite frankly he has built himself into a one man show.”

Giannotti replied, “He’s had success. He’s one of the bigger voices in sports if not the biggest voice in sports.”

Esiason added, “What’s different about him compared to Troy [Aikman] or Tony [Romo] or somebody else – people are going to tune in to watch the football game no matter who is doing it. People are watching him because of him and what he’s going to say.”

Giannotti reviewed the report of how much was offered and mentioned the other reports that say Smtih is looking for closer to $25 million per year. He also mentioned Dan Le Batard saying he thought ESPN had lowballed Smith with the offer.

Giannotti said, “This is one of those things that is just hard to calculate. I don’t know how much money they would lose if he wasn’t there. This is something I’d love to know…how many advertising dollars, how many things that they sell because he is there equates to a loss if he leaves?”

Esiason then said, “Here’s what I would ask. What other alternative or where else can he go?” He then later added, “In our medium on a national basis…both he and Pat McAfee have brought eyeballs or attention to ESPN for different reasons, and I think that if they can extract that kind of money out of those companies, good for them. I have no problem with any of it.”

Giannotti continued to ask about the ad dollars, but Esiason explained there were a lot of other factors that come into play.

“I don’t know about the advertising,” he said. “I think it’s more about the subscription services. I think it’s more about the fact that they use him in every single aspect they possibly can…He’s on that morning show…but then he’s all over the NBA playoffs, he’s all over the NFL playoffs. He’s all over everything. I couldn’t even imagine. I know what it was like for me when I was doing NFL Today, Monday Night Football and this radio program. It was exhausting…I know that he has complained about how much he is asked to do over there.”

All of this led to a discussion about a weekly Smith guest on First Take, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo. “I tell you what, when he is on there, I find him to be extremely entertaining,” Esiason said. “The interaction between the two of them is about as entertaining as it can get on television…If I was ‘Dog’ I would quit [SiriusXM] cuz nobody hears you and go over [to ESPN] and take a full-time spot over there and get paid.”

“I don’t know if they’re offering a full-time spot for him over there, he’s like a novelty,” Giannotti replied.

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ESPN Chicago Announces 2024 Football Fest with Adam Schefter and Field Yates

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Graphic for ESPN Chicago's Football Fan Fest
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN Chicago on Facebook

ESPN Chicago announced the return of Football Fest, an event they started in 2022. The 2024 edition will take place at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on Sunday, August 25. ESPN NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Field Yates are back as guests and will share insights and engage with fans throughout the event.

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned,” said Danny Zederman, director of content for ESPN Chicago in a release. “We listened to fan feedback, and we’ve added new ways for fans to interact with their favorite ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities, as well as a live onstage version of our fan-favorite, unfiltered podcast Crosstalk Unhinged with Carm, Jurko, Waddle, and Silvy.”

ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities will be available for meet & greets with fans taking photos and signing autographs. The Good Karma Brands owned station says the event “will consist of live programming from local and national experts on the upcoming football season, fantasy football, as well as games, vendors, and more.”

$10 tickets for the event are on sale through Ticketmaster.com.

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ESPN 103.7/104.1 Unveils New Lineup; Dawson Eiserloh Gets Solo Midday Show

“Can’t wait for this new challenge that’ll begin live from SEC Media Days next month.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Logo for ESPN SWLA and a photo of Dawson Eiserloh
Photo Courtesy: Dawson Eiserloh X Account

ESPN 103.7 in Lafayette, Louisiana and 104.1 in Lake Charles have announced a new, all live and local weekday lineup. Local programming will now be heard from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Starting on Monday, July 15 former LSU basketball player Jordy Hultberg will move The Jordy Hultberg Show to morning drive and go from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. He will be followed by Footenotes with Kevin Foote from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The lunchtime show will still feature RP3 and Meche, hosted by Raymond Partsch III and James Meche and it will air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. That show had also previously featured Dawson Eiserloh, however, he will now move to the 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. slot to host his own show which will be called The Lohdown with D-Loh.

Eiserloh posted on his X account, “Really excited to announce I’ll be getting a solo show weekdays from 1-3 pm on ESPN Southwest Louisiana. Can’t wait for this new challenge that’ll begin live from SEC Media Days next month.”

After Further Review with Matt Moscona will follow in afternoon drive and airs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The station also carries play-by-play for LSU athletics and the Houston Astros.

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