When you think of the largest cities in America, Portland doesn’t typically enter the conversation. But if you work in the sports radio industry, you can’t help but recognize and appreciate the role it’s played in the development of some of the best talent our business has to offer.
For example, John Lund at 95.7 The Game, Gavin Dawson at 105.3 The Fan, Ian Furness at KJR, Scott Masteller (PD) at ESPN Radio, Allan Davis (PD) at WGR and Dennis Glasgow (PD) at 99.9 The Fan are just a few who have spent time honing their craft in “rip city”.
Fast forward to today and the city is still called home by some very talented sports radio folks including John Canzano, Jeff Austin, Isaac Ropp & Jason Sucanek and while the city itself may have a small town feel, the passion for sports remains huge.
All you had to do this past year was turn on your television and watch one Trail Blazers or Ducks game and you could instantly see and feel the energy and excitement. Here’s a video clip which will give you a good idea of how loud Portland Trail Blazers fans can be and why visiting teams call the Rose Garden one of the loudest arenas in the entire NBA.
Well for this weeks personality profile I thought I’d shed some light on someone who has spent the past 20+ years calling Portland home and truly understands the pulse of the Portland sports scene. That individual is Chad Doing.
When you listen to Chad host a talk show, you can’t help but like him. He comes across as a genuine guy who truly loves sports but more importantly, you can sense that he loves to connect with his audience. At times you may even think he’s too generous or appreciative but that type of charm is what makes people root for him.
Chad is a high energy guy who sounds like he has the best job in the world and if you follow him on Twitter, you’ll see him constantly interacting and re-tweeting his fans. That type of relationship building means a lot to him and based on the responses I’ve seen, his audience appreciates that he’s accessible to them outside of his on-air program.
During the times I’ve caught his show I’ve also noticed that he’s not afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, have some fun by having a laugh or two at his own expense (or his partners) and he’s willing to put his real life experiences on the air. As a matter of fact he closes his show with the line “Be a Blessing” which has special meaning to him as a result of some of the things he’s gone thru and overcome on a personal level. What I respect about that is that it makes him authentic with his audience. That’s a trait most listeners appreciate.
I recently had a chance to chat with Chad about the sports radio format, the twists and turns he’s gone through during his career and what he looks to accomplish when presenting his show to the audience and I found him to be very humble and a guy who really loves the process of creating sports talk radio.
Q: Growing up, who were some of the sports radio personalities you listened to?
A: I was first introduced to Sports Radio in 1994 here in Portland. I listened to local guys, Greg Robinson, Mike Parker, the current voice of the OSU Beavers, and Former Blazer, Kermit Washington. But my favorite to start was Bob Kemp. He was a national host for One on One sports. I was captivated by his information, intelligence, and dry-sense of humor. I still stream his show, he is a current host on the FAN 1060 in Phoenix.
Q: What was it about Jim Rome’s show that made you want to participate in his show?
A: When I first heard his show years ago, I loved his energy! He encouraged listener participation and challenged callers to add something to the program. I really enjoyed the creativity that many of the callers brought from around the nation, and wanted to take part. Looking back now, I really had no idea what I was doing. I just wanted to have fun and hopefully give someone something to smile about.
Q: After calling in and gaining some local notoriety from it, how did that help you get your foot in the door to doing sports radio?
A: The exposure gave me a name people remembered locally which helped, and the participation on his show gave me a platform to show my creative side. I guess some of those moments during my calls were memorable. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but people still ask me about the calls and mention details that they remember.
Q: Since venturing into this industry, who have been some of the bigger influences to help you develop as a talent? How have they helped your career?
A: The biggest influence on my career without a doubt is one of your current hosts, John Lund. I worked with him in Portland at the Game for over a year. John was always gracious with his time. He had no ego, and was always willing to assist me with anything. I am still young in the business, but John has been around the country as a host and a programmer. John encouraged me to be myself, he taught he how to better prep for a show, and I admired how he always conducted himself with professionalism while having a lot of fun doing his job. I owe a lot to him.
John Phillips, who was part of a group that got sports radio started in Portland back in the early 90’s gave me my first shot in radio at KVAN in Vancouver, Washington covering high school sports. John was like a father to me. The best advice he gave me was just to have fun and be myself. He was a great host, but also did a great job of selling local sports to the community.
Q: What has been the most rewarding/difficult moment of your broadcasting career?
A: There have been many rewarding moments, but the one that stands out was my week-long trip to cover the National Championship game in Glendale, Arizona when Oregon played Auburn. John Lund and I spent a week together in a hotel room working and covering the game and all things surrounding it. We had a small team that worked side by side for hours to provide content on-air, on-line, and in person at different events with people from Oregon. For the Duck fans who weren’t in Arizona, they were able to live vicariously through all of the content we provided them and that brought great satisfaction. I remember being exhausted at the end of the week, but the satisfaction of a job well done was intoxicating. I realized on that trip that you are only as good as the people around you, and we had some great people working on that trip.
The biggest challenge came when our station moved from the FM dial back to the AM dial. This change was not received well by the listeners. With time and a grassroots effort, we were able to spread the word of where people could find us, but anytime you make a major change like that it’s going to be difficult.
A: We have a small staff, so usually the content layout comes from me and the assistance of my producer. The time involved always seems to be the biggest challenge. My show is four-hours, so I don’t like to spend less than six-hours preparing for the program. That varies day to day based on how my interviews I am going to tape before the show and how many are going to be live. Depending on the topic, I will involve as many people in my building as I can. I love the creativity that comes from different minds in the business.
Q: How much time do you spend on the air discussing local stories vs. national stories in Portland? What’s the reasoning behind your approach?
A: The Alpha Group in Portland has always been committed to live and local radio, so the majority of time on the show is spent focusing on local topics. The Trailblazers are number one in this market and always will be. After the Blazers, the NFL is crucial especially with the emergence of the Seattle Seahawks. The North West is big on College Football with both the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers. Portland is an interesting town. People who are from this area really love all things local. They love their food, they love their resources, and they love the teams that belong to them. This really works well when it comes to live and local talk. Of course there are those days when a national story will trump any local story, but those days are few in Portland.
A: The wow-factor. If there is a topic we believe will provide that “wow moment” for the listener, we definitely want to run with it. The biggest struggle I find day to day is learning how to determine what story is that A+ story. Sometimes it’s obvious and jumps out at me and some days it does not.
Q: You’ve utilized Lance Zierlein out of Houston as a character on your show, how did that start? What type of response have those segments created?
A: I will never forget it. Back in 2010, I got a call from Travis Rodgers and he told me that he knew a guy who was the most talented person he had ever met in radio. Travis said the guy was going to leave me a voicemail, and that if I wanted him on the show, to call him and let him know. Well, that voicemail was from SEC Guy, one of Lance’s many Characters. SEC Guy was an instant hit in Portland. Aside from the rivalry that was building between the SEC and the PAC 10 at the time, Portland and the deep south are on opposite ends of the spectrum. That provided for great comedy!
After SEC Guy, Lance introduced me to Bernie the Wolf, Tony the Hatchet Man, Jerry Sloan on a Mobile, and Phillip Rivers on a Mobile. His characters are so real, and his whit is unmatched. He has a magic where people have to listen because they don’t know what is going to happen, and they can’t wait to hear what he is going to say next. The best part about my interaction with Lance and his characters, none of it is scripted. He never knows what I’m going to ask, and his responses are always spontaneous. I think Lance and I click because we understand one another. I was born in Tulsa, and lived a number of years in Oklahoma. I understand that region very well, so I feel like I can relate and understand where he is coming from. Lance is the most talented person I have ever come across in the business!
Q: As an on-air talent, do you enjoy interviewing big name guests on your show or do you prefer to stay away from them? Why?
A: I enjoy interviewing big-named guests, but I have learned that there are a lot of people with a great story who can make compelling radio.
Q: You’ve worked in a team show environment and now as a solo host, which do you prefer and why? What makes each situation different from a preparation standpoint?
A: I enjoy a solo-show because I can follow my vision, but the challenge I face day to day is creating content for four-hours. I am just one-mind, and on those days when my mind isn’t popping with creativity, I wish I had other guys to bounce ideas off of. I really enjoy having a team for developing topics, coming up with the right questions, and all the different views and opinions that each individual brings to the table. I find the biggest challenge in hosting a team show comes from developing that feel for your guys. Knowing when to get the right person involved, knowing when to move on from a topic, or when to stay. That feel for the show and your team is something that just takes time to develop. I would say that when you have a team to share in your successes with, it always seems to be more rewarding than something you accomplish alone.
Q: You’re extremely active on Twitter, often re-tweeting responses from your fans – why do you believe that approach is important?
A: I think talk radio is very personal from the standpoint that people invite you into their home, car, or business on a daily basis, so if they take time to reach out to me I want to make sure I take the time to respond. I want the listeners to know that I appreciate their support, and that without them, I would be nothing. Twitter and other forms of social media is a great avenue for me to connect with people and create relationships with them. In my mind, Talk Radio is really just a matter of creating relationships. I really do enjoy the opportunity to meet people who support my show and the station.
A: I have done some work with a consultant we have with our radio group, but I wish I had more time with him. He has been very helpful. When one on one focus isn’t available, I have a few guys with years of experience I spend time with discussing the show and listening to their feedback. I have always taken the approach that there are a lot of brilliant people in the business I can learn from, so I am always willing to listen. I crave feedback and coaching and always desire more.
Q: If I asked a Portland Sports Radio listener to describe you using 3 key words, what would they say?
A: Genuine, Passionate, Energetic
Q: Going forward, what goals do you hope to accomplish as a sports radio personality?
A: My goal is to take one day at a time, be coachable, and have fun each and everyday doing what I love. My biggest desire is to the best personality I can be with the talents I have been blessed with.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at [email protected].
Channing Crowder: I Still Underestimate How Many People Listen to Radio
“We make fun of it like ‘Oh, AM radio’ and this, man, but here are people who when I went to the bathroom, and they’re walking up to me ‘Hey, love the show, man’.”
Even though he’s been in the sports radio game for more than a decade, 560 WQAM’s Channing Crowder admits he still doesn’t appreciate just how many people listen to his show.
While hosting Hochman and Crowder at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino ahead of sports betting going live in Florida, co-host Marc Hochman shared a story that one of the employees at the casino told him he often deals with giant celebrities.
However, despite his dealings with major music and movie stars, the employee was excited to meet Hochman and Greg Cote of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.
That led Crowder to admit he often underinflates the size of his daily audience.
“It’s funny, because like, I underestimate, still –12-13 years into radio — how many people listen to radio,” Crowder said. “And it’s funny because we make fun of it like ‘Oh, AM radio’ and this, man, but here are people who when I went to the bathroom, and they’re walking up to me ‘Hey, love the show, man. You and Hochman are hilarious’.”
Crowder has hosted afternoons alongside Hochman on 560 WQAM since 2015 after previously hosting the early afternoon window on the Audacy station. In addition to his radio work, he hosts The Pivot podcast with Ryan Clark and Fred Taylor.
Kevin Burkhardt: Athletes Are Calling Me ‘Lil’ Baby Kay Kay’ After FOX Sports Commercial
“It’s kind of turned into a life of its own.”
Throughout its broadcasts during the National Football League season, FOX Sports has presented a variety of marketing spots meant to promote its NFL on FOX property. Featuring the lead broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt, analyst Greg Olsen, and reporters Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi, the commercials have captured the attention of football fans on gameday.
One of the spots features Olsen trying to impersonate FOX NFL Sunday studio analyst Terry Bradshaw by donning a bald cap with white hair and trying out one of his catchphrases in the broadcast booth.
As Kevin Burkhardt appeared on Seattle Sports 710 on Thursday morning’s program featuring Brock Huard and Mike Salk, he was asked about what the filming session for these commercials was like. Salk in particular could not recall a similar instance taking place where the NFL on FOX utilized talent to film these types of commercials. Burkhardt began to explain how the marketing department at FOX Sports came up with the idea and everything was shot over a 13-hour day.
“We had a crew that had done a lot of funny commercials; a director and producer that were great,” Kevin Burkhardt said. “They were just like, ‘Okay, let’s do it this way. Let’s try it this way. KB, can you do it like this?’ So I actually had fun – it was kind of like an opportunity to act for the first time in my life, and it was a blast.”
Salk has enjoyed the promotional endeavor, and he was wondering whether or not there will be more commercials to be unveiled throughout the rest of the year. While Burkhardt revealed that all of the recorded spots have already aired, he did reference a story about one of the earlier commercials. When the NFL on FOX crew was gifted jackets with nicknames on the back, Burkhardt’s read, “Lil’ Baby Kay Kay,” and it is now an epithet that he is being referred to by athletes.
“A month ago, we’re doing a Cowboys game and we get on a Zoom with Dak Prescott and he’s like, ‘Lil’ Baby Kay Kay, what up man?,’” Burkhardt said. “I swear, and I rolled [with it]. It’s kind of turned into a life of its own. I’m glad you guys enjoy it.”
“It’s good,” Salk replied. “You worked really hard to get to the very top of your profession; all the respect that comes with it and now the athletes are calling you Lil’ Baby Kay Kay, so I think it’s good for you. Nice job.”
“It’s amazing,” Burkhardt said. “If you can’t laugh at yourself, what are we doing, right Mike?”
Burkhardt, Olsen, Andrews, and Rinaldi will return to the air this Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks face the San Francisco 49ers on FOX at 4:05 PM ET. The game will feature a quarterback matchup between Geno Smith and Brock Purdy as both teams look to continue making a postseason push.
Matt Vasgersian: Shohei Ohtani Free Agency ‘Should Be Pumped Up’ By Media
“There has to be some urgency here for these clubs to get it done.”
Shohei Ohtani is reportedly close to making a decision about where he will play next season after a free agency process that has been largely hidden from public view. Reports from earlier in the offseason indicated that if teams leak information about negotiations, it would be something to be held against them. This is something that has complicated manners for Matt Vasgersian and other broadcasters to effectively cover the sport, especially this week.
During the Winter Meetings earlier in the week, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed that the team indeed met with Ohtani. In the process, it helped revived an event that was filled with minor transactions and uncertainty regarding the two-way superstar, considered by many baseball fans to be one of the most talented players to ever step foot onto the field.
MLB Network was among several broadcast networks on-site to cover the event, featuring signature programming such as Hot Stove and MLB Tonight. Matt Vasgersian, who has previously served as a TV play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Angels, appeared on AM 570 LA Sports on Thursday afternoon with Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith where he recalled how the event went.
Papadakis specifically asked Vasgersian whether or not he felt Ohtani was holding the broadcast coverage hostage because of the stoppage that his free agency has put on other sectors of the overall marketplace.
“What it did for me is it kind of furthered the need for at least more conversation about like [what] the NBA has [in] just [having] a signing period,” Vasgersian said. “Like, ‘Look, Major League Baseball teams, if you don’t get your business done by the end of business hours on the final day of the Winter Meetings, you either get hit with a tax or we’re going to freeze you out for two-and-a-half months.’ There has to be some urgency here for these clubs to get it done.”
While Ohtani was among the most intriguing topics at the Winter Meetings, the conversation with him between team executives and reporters was quite minimal. On numerous occasions, officials stopped short of mentioning him by name and instead spoke in vague terms about everything going on.
“The Ohtani thing should be pumped up,” Matt Vasgersian said. “I’m not saying Jim Gray-LeBron [James] ‘Decision’-style, but there’s got to be a little sizzle around the biggest international star in our sport – maybe any sport – and we’re allowing the agent to completely hamstring the process and dictate who and when we get conversations with him.”
Vasgersian is grateful for what Roberts did at the Winter Meetings, choosing to be honest about what was going on rather than concealing details about the negotiations. These comments proved valuable in Winter Meetings coverage, as it led to further discussion and conversation on broadcast networks and conjecture from print reporters about his whereabouts. The lack of a conversation, however, is something that some people feel is just the opposite of what baseball needs as it tries to appeal to a younger demographic.
“I felt your pain,” Smith said. “I felt the pain of baseball not being able to celebrate the most exciting player that it’s seen in 50 years.”
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