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Brown Finds Voice In Broadcasting

Jason Barrett

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Former Colorado linebacker Chad Brown never has been one to shy away from an opportunity, but he has been known to shy away from talking about them.

Brown used to have a stuttering problem. It was something he dealt with as a shy kid growing up in California and throughout his career in football with the Buffs and 14 years in the NFL. Brown was once a beehive of nerves before any public speaking encounter, which almost seems impossible now because of the volume of work he does in broadcasting and advertising.

“I just think my thoughts tended to come faster than my mouth could get them out,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t say I had a severe stuttering problem, but I certainly stammered and stuttered a lot when I was trying to speak or even when I got excited.”

Brown is all over the airwaves these days on radio and television, and especially this week with the Super Bowl coming Sunday. He is in Arizona doing segments related to the big game on CNN. He also is taping segments for NFL Films and is doing radio interviews about the game sponsored by Solid Gold, a company that provides food and training for Wounded Warriors service dogs.

He is asked for analysis about everything from football air pressure to the strengths and weaknesses of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Brown played for both franchises in this year’s Super Bowl and was a teammate of Brady’s for two seasons. He also played in the Super Bowl for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And when he’s not dissecting the game, he’s selling game-day food in commercials for Juicy Burgers & Dogs.

“This whole journey I’ve been on has been very interesting and revealing on a lot of different levels,” Brown said. “I’m happy I kind of took the opportunity and ran with it.”

Brown’s first opportunity to step into the world of broadcasting came three years ago when fellow former Buffs linebacker Alfred Williams asked him to fill in for his regular co-host on their afternoon sports talk show on FM 104.3. Brown agreed and came away three shows later with a new confidence in himself.

Brown used to own Pro Exotics, a business he founded that was based in Littleton. He sold reptiles and other exotic animals from his store before a fire in late 2011 cost him the business. His love for animals remains strong but he no longer sells them. Instead, he runs Ship Your Reptiles and Ship Your Aquatics, businesses that help pet owners and hobbyists to safely, efficiently and cost-effectively ship animals around the nation.

But he seems to have found a new passion in what he calls trying to become a better communicator. He hasn’t decided yet if he wants to try to make a second career out of broadcasting or if he wants to be a coach. He will serve an NFL franchise to be determined this summer as a coaching intern and go from there.

“I’ve always had a philosophy in life that you’re always practicing for something,” Brown said. “Some of us practice something and it’s bad stuff and you’re kind of setting yourself up for something bad, and in this case, I’m practicing this with no idea where it’s going to take me, but I think it’s going to be a good thing.”

Starting at the ground level is also something Brown has never been afraid to do. Some 44-year-old former NFL stars would be reluctant to serve as interns on a coaching staff or attend the NFL’s Broadcast Media Bootcamp.

Brown dived in to that experience and he says it helped him realize he needed to slow down his thoughts and his words.

He has worked as a part of the CU game-day broadcast team for KOA radio (850 AM) the past three years, first as a sideline reporter and then as a color analyst for half of last season when longtime CU play-by-play man and color analyst Larry Zimmer suffered a fall and was sidelined.

Mark Johnson, KOA’s play-by-play man for the past decade for both CU football and basketball, said he can count on Brown to always be prepared.

“You can’t always say that about a former athlete, that they necessarily are able to turn their football knowledge that they know instinctively from playing into something that is digestible for a listener,” Johnson said. “So he is very good at that. And the steps he has taken and really grown in the last couple of years is on the broadcasting end of things. That’s not something you can just learn overnight. It takes time and he has made great strides in that regard in terms of knowing when to speak during a game, how to concisely make a point or convey that knowledge to the audience. He has made some great broadcasting improvement the last couple of years.”

Brown, who played on the Buffs’ 1990 national championship team, said he never feels more comfortable than when he is doing CU games because he knows many in the audience recognize him as a former Buff and want him to do well. He said learning to relax and studying the nuances of television broadcasting has been a big area of growth.

He is able to joke about some of it now.

“The first year I was just trying to stop myself from physically sweating every time I came on camera,” Brown said. “I mean, the Albert Brooks scene from ‘Broadcast News.’ That’s a real thing. That’s a real physical reaction that you literally have no control over. A lot of time I was so happy I had a suit on ’cause the suit would cover up the fact that my dress shirt underneath was completely stuck to my body from all the sweat.”

Brown said at some point during his football career he played every linebacker position possible. He said that wealth of experience made him more valuable to his team. It’s no different in broadcasting. His experiences as a sideline reporter, color analyst, guest commentator or panel member have helped make him more well-rounded.

He only recently began to feel like he has conquered the stuttering.

“I’m not immune from it,” he said. “It still comes up from time to time, but I’ve got control of it. It’s in my mind, if I think about it, I can control it. I am and it is still very much a work in progress.”

Credit to Times-Call who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Tobin and Leroy Debut on WQAM Middays

“This is a big change for us,” Tobin said. “I’ve been doing morning drive, producing or hosting now, for the last decade. Now it’s to middays we go.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tobin and Leroy

After a brief hiatus and the closure of 790 The Ticket, Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard officially returned to the Miami airwaves on Monday on 560 WQAM.

Tobin and Leroy debuted in its new midday timeslot of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the station.

“This is a big change for us,” Tobin said. “I’ve been doing morning drive, producing or hosting now, for the last decade. Now it’s to middays we go.”

Tobin added that the timing between when they made their exit from The Ticket and returned on WQAM was a bit off.

“It was a very weird week for us to take off last week. Because they were like, ‘Hey, you’re change times, you’re gonna change stations, and also it’s gonna be the busiest sports week of the year,'” he said. “So now we’re back, and nothing will happen this week.”

“There has been less action on days we thought we had to be here than what happened last week,” Hoard added.

Hoard actually arrived to the show late, citing traffic issues getting to the station. That was something even Tobin noted is an adjustment they have to make from when they were doing morning drive.

“We’ve all discovered here today is traffic is not the same at 8 a.m. as it is at 4 a.m.,” he said. “Very different.”

Tobin made sure WQAM listeners knew that even though they switched stations, the show isn’t changing. They continued with all the usual segments that fans know and love on Monday.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Rhyner Introduces Dallas to 97.1 The Freak

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

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Ben Torres / Special Contributor Dallas Morning News

There’s a new radio station in Dallas which features a number of personalities familiar to local sports radio listeners. 97.1 The Freak made its much anticipated debut and the first voice to be heard belonged to the ”Old Grey Wolf” Mike Rhyner.

97.1 The Eagle stopped regular programming late Monday morning and began stunting, a technique radio stations use to separate listeners from old programming and prepare them for new content. The station began by playing songs with the word “freak” in them before transitioning into a continuous loop of “The Waiting is the Hardest Part” by Tom Petty until 3p CT. Then, a voiceover detailing the Eagle’s history switched into the voice that Dallas-Forth Worth residents have gotten to know so well, Mike Rhyner.

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

Rhyner went on to relive his final moments at The Ticket in Dallas. He said he was getting his “head around being a Paw Paw” before getting a call from Ben Rogers of the Ben and Skin Show and thus an idea for The Freak began to take shape.

After that, the show’s intro music played and Rhyner welcomed in Mike Sirois and before you knew it, the guys were wondering about a quarterback controversy in Dallas.

97.1 The Freak is off and running with a lineup that includes “The Speakeasy,” with Jeff Cavanaugh, Kevin “KT’ Turner, Julie Dobbs, and Matt Cather in mornings (7-11am), “Ben & Skin Show” in middays (11am-3pm) and “The Downbeat” in afternoons (3p-7p) featuring Mike Rhyner alongside Mike Sirois and Michael “Grubes” Gruber.

The station is positioning itself as a lifestyle brand but given its talent connection to local sports radio and the strong interest in Dallas sports, it’s likely the talent will weave sports talk into their on-air discussions. Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket and 105.3 The Fan have enjoyed good ratings with the male 25-54 demographic and The Freak is expected to challenge them and every other brand that produces spoken word content.

“We’re beyond excited to introduce 97-1 the Freak – the level of talent is insurmountable, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to further connect with Dallas Fort Worth,” Patrick Davis, Regional Senior Vice President of Programming Dallas, shared in an announcement.

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Sports Radio News

Howie Rose Plans to Travel for Mets Postseason Games

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose said.

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Howie Rose has cut back on his travel schedule as the radio voice of the New York Mets in 2022, but he says that no place is off limits during the playoffs.

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose told Newsday. “A lot of this was designed to make sure that I had enough reserve to be able to handle anything that comes up in terms of road trips.”

Rose, 68, readies for what is likely to be a Wild Card series start to the playoffs and because of their Wild Card status, a win there could mean a trip to Los Angeles for the National League Divisional Series.

“It’s not exactly like managing Edwin Diaz’s innings, but I think that doing the number of games that I have and more to the point, being able to take the breaks that I have, has enabled me to approach the postseason with a clear mind and the full-speed-ahead attitude that you need to have.”

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