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Pauly Howard Does Gambling Content Right

“I think people are sick and tired of when they turn on these ESPN shows, it’s the same thing. It’s fluff pieces. Every pregame show is unwatchable. It’s terrible. They’re still afraid to get into gambling.”

Brian Noe

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The phrase “only in Vegas” gets thrown around too often. It shouldn’t be used to describe common occurrences like a $50 win at the craps table or a kiss from a stranger at a club. “Only in Vegas” should be saved for huge events like a future fiancée winning 12 million bucks or a Vegas sports betting show picking up major steam while adding popular TV affiliates around the country. Mammoth occurrences like this are part of the reason why Pauly Howard says he’s living the dream.

Pauly teams up with Mitch Moss to broadcast the sports betting show Follow the Money on VSiN. The show airs weekdays from 7am-10am ET (replayed 9am-noon PT) on SiriusXM channel 204. VSiN has established itself as the sports betting authority — the first network ever dedicated to sports gambling — and Pauly Howard is a big part of that success. He’s a great storyteller and very relatable. Well, except for the $12 million part.

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Pauly touches on several interesting stories and stances in the interview below. He isn’t shy about voicing his displeasure with several major networks that are falling short with their sports betting coverage. Pauly also talks about the sports radio host that has helped him the most. His views on the sports talk industry are strong, his career path is interesting, and Pauly’s stories are outstanding.

Enjoy.

Brian Noe: Can you start off by telling the epic story of being late to work and winning thousands of dollars on a machine?

Pauly Howard: We work crazy hours. We get up at 1:30. We were saying it’s amazing that no one has been late or overslept. Then the next day for whatever reason the alarm didn’t go off and I woke up at like 3:30 and we’re on the air at 4. Mitch locked me out of the studio for the first segment. It goes 15 minutes so I figure well, okay I’ve got 15 minutes to kill.

There was a machine that had been pretty lucky in the past. I went and got a Mountain Dew at the gift shop and like on the third hand I got a royal flush for $4,000. Then I hit a straight flush after that. In less than five minutes I had won $5,000. So then I go in after the commercial break is over. Mitch thought I was joking. We had the pictures all ready to go and the graphics. I flashed the money in front of him and he was so pissed. He wanted a percentage too for kicking me out or at least buy him dinner.

Noe: How many times have you thrown that in his face since it happened?

Pauly: He brings it up more than I do. (laughs) I think he wanted a couple of dinners out of it. I don’t blame him, but it worked out for everybody. That’s one that he brings up more than I do.

Noe: Who’s the person that taught you the most about being a sports radio host?

Pauly: I would say JT The Brick. Other than that I really didn’t get a whole lot of advice. I think I was in a bad situation at ESPN Las Vegas where I got my start. I didn’t think I had much of a chance to succeed early on with who I was working with. There wasn’t really anyone in the building who could tell you what you’re doing wrong and what you should do. It was baptism by fire, which was strange. I came in contact with JT The Brick later when he moved to Vegas. I think he really helped.

Noe: What were some of the valuable things that JT taught you?

Pauly: Interviewing techniques, how the business works, how to market yourself, people to know, things to avoid, pointing out bad habits, ways to get better, and don’t be lazy.

Noe: How did you feel as a broadcaster before JT told you all of those things?

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Pauly: I think I was above average, but I was getting into bad habits. I was frustrated because I didn’t think I was utilized properly. I find the whole thing ironic that once I quit where I was at and went on my own and got in touch with JT, I was then doing national fill-ins on FOX. It was fill-ins, but still I was by myself for four hours on the overnight, which is tough to do so at least somebody thought I was good.

Noe: What do you enjoy most about being a radio host?

Pauly: I’ve never worked a day in my life. I think this is the toy department especially now that we’re at VSiN. I think 95% of the country would change places with us. We work three hours a day and even though we have crazy hours your job is basically to watch games and research games, game previews, and betting trends. I guess it’s a cliché but it’s living the dream.

Noe: Do you think you’ve learned more over the years about sports broadcasting or sports betting?

Pauly: I would say broadcasting. I interned at KFAN when I was a senior in college. I had no idea what I was doing. They threw me on the air; I was 24, 25. I had no idea what I was really doing. There was a lot of room to grow and improve. Basic stuff I didn’t really know. I would say it’d be broadcasting.

Some of the stuff with sports betting is pretty straightforward. You know the spread. You know what the over/under is. You know what a moneyline is. You know what a teaser is. I think most people can understand that the minuses and the pluses and all that.

Noe: What are some of the most valuable things you’ve learned over the years about being a good sports bettor?

Pauly: I’m only good at college football and college basketball. I think this other stuff is very difficult. I’ve been a coin flip in the NFL my whole life. I don’t think that will ever change. The numbers are too good. We had the historic run in hockey with first period overs. It was great for the show and got national attention. That was a dream scenario and hopefully it’ll continue. It hit like 82% for a season. It was crazy with these teams we were highlighting.

I would just say you have to learn from your mistakes. You can’t chase. I also would say formulate your own opinion. Don’t ask people what they think because you’re going to get 10 different answers. If you like a game don’t talk yourself off of it. The more people you talk to I think the worse off you’ll be.

Noe: There are a couple of Twitter accounts — Pauly Howard’s Thoughts and Pauly Howard Paulyism’s — have you ever checked out either of those accounts?

Pauly: Yeah, I met the one guy that runs Pauly Howard’s Thoughts. He’s a nice guy.

Noe: Do you take those accounts as a compliment?

Pauly: Yeah. They have that and they have a drinking game. I know during NBA if I said Luka a certain amount of times it was take a drink, or if I said lunacy or buffoon. They have all the stuff — drinking games and Paulyisms and other stuff. I can’t believe there are parody accounts for both of us. People show up wearing our t-shirts and merchandise.

I was just some dumb kid from Minnesota. When people tell you they stopped listening to Howard Stern and they listen to you every day, I can’t believe it.

Noe: Is what you said about Howard Stern the best compliment you’ve gotten?

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Pauly: That or people come in from all over the country. They say they listen every day. It gets them through their commute. They’ll be staying on the strip, but they’ll still get in the cab or Uber and go 20 minutes just to come down at 6 in the morning to get a picture and say hello. That’s the stuff I can’t believe.

Noe: What was the biggest bet you won and what was the worst beat of your betting career?

Pauly: Well I wanted to bet $100,000 on Mayweather against Canelo Álvarez, but the guy from Morgan Stanley wouldn’t wire the money because he said I like the other side. He liked Alvarez. I couldn’t believe it.

My ex had a lot of money. We were going to put $100,000 on the bet. He wouldn’t wire the money and he talked her out of it. It was two against one. She goes okay you’re on your own, so I put $30,000 on it.

Dan Rafael had it 12-0, a shutout for Mayweather and the female judge had it a draw. They’re reading the scores; I’m like what the hell’s going on? He won but the female judge had it a draw. I couldn’t believe it. I just felt that you were never going to see him at that price again. I think I laid 220 or something on that fight. The worst beat is the live-in girlfriend of five years asking to get married and three months later she won 12 million dollars.

Noe: What happened from that point on?

Pauly: Well we gave it the college try. No one was going to tell me what to do. I don’t blame her for resenting me and saying, “I asked you to get married. You said no and now I have all this money.” Then she was the boss. Then she was doing her own thing. She was making all of the decisions and wouldn’t even run stuff by me.

I still proposed. I was in a tough spot after that too. I’m like well I can’t propose right away. I’ll look like a total idiot. It’s like so I have to wait. To my surprise she actually got mad that I took so long about proposing and everything. She said yes, but we never got there. I think once that happens I was drawing dead.

Noe: I didn’t know that story. So she won all that money after asking you to marry her?

Pauly: She asked me to get married and I said no. Then three months later she went to the casino. She went to go gamble. There’s a machine she liked there. I like the chicken fingers that they have. So she was going to get me lunch. She had some free food and some free comps. I fell asleep on the couch. It was a Friday. I woke up and had like a hundred missed calls. It was her saying she had just won 12 million dollars. I told her, I go, “Quit f***in’ around. You’re wasting my time.”

I made a couple of calls and the guy says it checks out. It actually bothered me because she was calm, cool, and collected over the phone. She’s like, “Hey, I just won $12 million. They might interview me on the news. Bring my makeup. We have the biggest suite they have. Go to valet. The host will meet you.” So I show up and it was all true.

Noe: Only in Vegas, right? That’s amazing.

Pauly: Yeah, she put like $20 in. I think it happened in like five minutes — the third hand or something. Ridiculous. I can’t believe it.

Noe: With that in mind — only in Vegas — how would you describe the Vegas market? Is it much different than anywhere else?

Pauly: Well it was, yeah. Doing local stuff we could talk about whatever we wanted because we didn’t have a pro team. We would do more of a national show, but we could joke around. There was always something weird happening with celebrities. Someone was at the club and there were always things going on.

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Now I would say it’s becoming just like every other place. We’re going to get the Raiders. We have the Knights. We have pro sports. Now we’re becoming a big-time sports city. The game changer is the new $2 billion stadium.

We’re going to get the Super Bowl. We’re going to get Pac-12 football. You’re going to get all these big events that are going to come to town now. I can’t believe that. I moved here in 2000. They always said wait another five years, we’ll get a team. Then we thought our big break was when we got All-Star Weekend for the NBA. That turned out to be a disaster. Pacman Jones — they had the shooting and a bunch of shady characters came to town. There was bad behavior. People weren’t coming out to gamble. They were causing trouble. People that work there all over the strip had horrible experiences.

I just can’t believe the NFL has decided to build a $2 billion stadium and it’s the Raiders. If you’d asked somebody for the small chance it would happen, you’d say Jacksonville or somebody like that would move. You wouldn’t say it’d be the Raiders and that brand.

Noe: Is Vegas a good sports town?

Pauly: I would say yeah. I think it’s unbelievable. They always used to say on the air that UNLV basketball didn’t draw unless they won. People would always call in and say you give us major leagues, we’ll go. I would laugh at that because you don’t even go to UNLV. But they were right.

It certainly helped they went to the Stanley Cup. The Golden Knights are selling out preseason hockey games. Tickets are expensive. I can’t believe how much the tickets are and people go every night and it’s the hottest thing. That surprised me. I didn’t think it was going to work because I thought the team would struggle for a while. Then it would go away and maybe hurt our chances of getting an NBA team. For an expansion team to almost win the whole thing is nuts.

Noe: Do you think the Raiders will work in Vegas?

Pauly: Yeah. That’s where you’re going to get people coming in from all over the country. People might be concerned about the population here and then people already have their team. I guess that’s different because the Golden Knights, it’s your team and it’s an expansion team. You already have, “I’m from Pittsburgh,” or someone’s from Chicago and they like the Bears. They’re not going to support the Raiders. But it’s only eight games. Plus with Raider Nation traveling — I’m sure everyone will just fly Southwest coming in all the time.

Then you just have to look at who the opponents are going to be too. I just think this will be like it is now with hockey. When the Red Wings are in town, when the Edmonton Oilers are in town, when the Blackhawks come here — that’s a lot of opposing fans. So I don’t think they’ll have any problems selling out.

Noe: If you look at your show with Mitch over these last two years what has been the biggest area that you guys have gotten better in?

Pauly: I think showing more personality and joking around and having a good time. People can get trends and stats anywhere. I also think it’s how you present it and if you also keep it loose. I would say we’ve done a good job of keeping it loose and being very entertaining. We’re entertaining and informative, but we’ve always had success there. We were highly recommended. We tried out. We got on. We were doing weekends. In no time we were doing afternoons. In two months they put us on morning drive after that. It was rapid fire. Everything happened so fast.

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Noe: Did you know Mitch before you guys teamed up?

Pauly: Yeah, I worked with him at ESPN Vegas. The funny thing is they never would put us together. They made us try out and it goes back to what kind of operation they were running over there. Whether it was you guys sound alike, you’re the same person, we can’t do it — they wouldn’t do it. They refused to do it. They wouldn’t put us on the same show just the two of us. Now we’re on TV in New York and Boston and hopefully adding some other markets here soon. I know the VSiN management laughs at that. You can tell right away how good the chemistry is. How couldn’t they see that? They would never put you two together? Several people in management have commented on that.

Noe: How does being on TV change your approach to doing a sports talk show?

Pauly: The only thing that changes is I can’t swear. We used to swear a lot and that’s the only thing. We’re on live television so that’s one of the stipulations.

I guess I have to look at the camera once in a while. I don’t think that’s a big deal anyway. I’m not doing the nightly news here. We’re doing a sports show. Once in a while I’ll put a sportcoat on.

The biggest thing is just watch the language. Other than that nothing’s changed. They always considered it that too. They’re on all over now, fubo, Sling, and there are a lot of radio stations that carry it. But from day one it was VSiN.com and watch online and all that. There are three or four cameras in the studio so nothing has changed for me.

Noe: How do you guys measure success at VSiN?

Pauly: For the show I think it’s just adding affiliates and getting on in other places. Getting on all over the country, which I can’t believe. We’re grateful for what NESN did as they reach I think five million homes. It’s great that Rick Jaffe believed in the show so strongly and put us on TV there and MSG followed. I think that was the first sign of this becoming big. Other than that you’d have to ask management. I don’t know what they would say.

I just think it’s people want something else. I think people are sick and tired of when they turn on these ESPN shows, it’s the same thing. It’s fluff pieces. Every pregame show is unwatchable. It’s terrible. They’re still afraid to get into gambling. You’ve got six guys that are laughing at their own stupid jokes. They do a quick thing where they make picks. They always take favorites. They’ll go with the dog of the week and they’ll always take somebody that’s catching two or three. It’s the same stuff. I just think people want something new.

Now that you see 13, 14 states, whatever it is, where it’s legal and continues to grow and who knows how many that will be, it’s just people want good information and they want to make money. They don’t care about Erin Andrews sitting down with somebody and asking mindless chitchat. The one thing they actually did that was good was they had Jillian Barberie on doing the weather. They even got rid of that. Stuff like that. I don’t know what they’re trying.

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Noe: Do you think that it’s just outdated thinking with these national outlets where they still treat gambling like it’s taboo?

Pauly: Yeah, that’s stupid. The one pregame show that’s good and it’s been that way for a long time is College GameDay. They have fun. They do picks. The Bear is on there giving picks. They discuss the point spread. It’s a good atmosphere and good energy. They like to have a good time with it.

The others, I don’t know what they’re doing, if they’re afraid of Goodell or what. The person who came up with this idea where we need six guys on there all ex jocks who speak in clichés and it’s all coach speak is laughable. I don’t know who came up with that. They all continue to do it. It’s a joke.

I think that’s why these fantasy shows are doing so well and why there’s potential for that. I don’t want to give them any ideas, but I just think if you would come on to talk point spreads and give good information right before kickoff on that type of platform — I think they’re wasting the platform. I don’t know anybody who watches that shit. It’s terrible. I don’t understand these guys who come in and like give me Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Tony Gonzalez, or who’s on CBS? Nate Burleson, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason — I mean you’ve got five guys in there and they can say something for 10 seconds and they’ve got to move on. It’s all clichés and it’s all the same stuff. I don’t understand it.

That’s where you just got to give Goodell the middle finger and say you can’t say you’re opposed to gambling when you gave Las Vegas a pro team. Where would you really be without fantasy football which is gambling, fantasy sports, or sports betting? Where would you be? Would you be the NBA? I mean how popular really would you be if you eliminated that? That’s the reason you’re so successful, because of bettors! People love this.

Noe: Do the Johnny-come-latelies who are now all of a sudden embracing sports gambling annoy you, or is it the people that are still reluctant to embrace it?

Pauly: I would say the latter. There’s nothing wrong with trying. It’s a huge demographic. This is very important. More people bet sports than play the stock market. You have what — four networks whatever it is — devoted to the stock market. Think about that; that more people bet sports than play the stock market. The numbers are just staggering about how many Americans placed a bet last year.

My mom couldn’t tell you who the coach was at Duke, but every March she you would come home with a bracket to fill out for 20 bucks. That’s why it’s the biggest thing in Las Vegas every March. It’s standing room only in ballrooms and you can’t get a room. It’s bedlam. It’s because everyone likes to bet and everyone does an office pool.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying. But the problem with that is you’re going to get found out and exposed right away. If you don’t know the terminology or the jargon, you’ll be found out quick. This is something you have to be around and know it. If you get the terminology wrong they’ll shut you off. I would say it’s the latter. I don’t know what ESPN is doing. That’s strange too because Van Pelt has been talking about it and doing the Bad Beats segment for years. I think they’re missing a huge audience. But that’s good for us because they can watch us then.

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Noe: Can you think of any unknown oddsmakers in Vegas that might become bigger personalities with sports betting becoming more of a national thing?

Pauly: I think Matt Lindeman could have a future. He’s at Circa. That’s going to be a billion dollar casino when it opens next year. I think it’s going to be the Bellagio on steroids. I think it’s going to be a game changer. He might be one because he’s an oddsmaker. He’s young, opinionated, has very good numbers — I think he could come on the scene.

The other one I think is a slam dunk is Mike Palm. Mike Palm is the VP at The D and with Circa Sports. He’s Derek Stevens’s right hand man. Number one he’s the Head of Active Content Management. Derek calls it a travesty in America — you go to a Buffalo Wild Wings, just go to a sports bar on a Saturday, and the bartenders can’t find a game. FOX News is on, the Weather Channel is on, and they’ve got a replay on ESPNU from 1987. When you ask them to put the soccer match on — Liverpool or whatever — they look at you like you have two heads. I can’t believe that the bosses aren’t training them. It totally could be a business.

In any event, he always knows what game is coming down to the wire and what game deserve sound. I know he’s a vice president, but he’s sharp, he’s got a good opinion, he does his homework on all the sports. He’s educated; he gave out the Blues early to win the Stanley Cup. He’s good at hockey, he’s good at baseball, and I think he could become a star. He’s already front and center with his position. If he bets big, he knows what he’s talking about on all these sports and he’s entertaining. I think those two go hand in hand. They’re building a huge broadcasting studio inside the new casino. I just think that thing is going to be a monster that opens late next year.

Noe: What would you say is your proudest achievement thus far as a broadcaster?

Pauly: I don’t think it’s happened yet. Well, I thought the FOX Sports Radio thing was a big deal. You know him; I was filling in for Ben Maller so however many markets he’s on. I also didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know if I could do four hours by myself in the middle of the night where you can’t have a guest on and sometimes the callers are drunk. I thought it was hard to do. I guess that was a big deal. I just think there are bigger things ahead.

Noe: What’s a major goal of yours or something you want to do before your career is over?

Pauly: I think just keep getting on as many networks and as many TV stations as possible. I think the sky’s the limit because so many other states are now getting sports betting and that just leads to all these people who want to bet, like to bet, and can add you all over the country. Look at all the networks. Look at all these places that carry 24/7 sports. There are some things I don’t want [to divulge] — I’m just throwing names out there like a MASN, whatever the networks are who carry these teams.

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Noe: What do you remember most about the first time you filled in for Ben Maller on a national platform? Did anything unexpected or funny happen?

Pauly: I felt comfortable. It was strange, but I was comfortable because I was doing it from the same studio that I worked at in Las Vegas. It was just me in a room. I was always confident that I could talk college basketball and March Madness was going on. I think Kentucky was going for an undefeated season.

On air they joked that my producer that night was in Liar Liar with Jim Carrey. I’m like are they serious? It was like a 10-minute discussion. That kind of loosened me up and I said okay we can talk about different things and joke around as well. I just couldn’t believe that the guy was one of the main stars as a child actor with Jim Carrey in a big time movie and here he was. I’m talking to him about “Jim’s on in Des Moines; he wants to talk about football.”

BSM Writers

Chris Broussard Is No Longer Just A ‘Basketball Guy’

“There’s no doubt that gets attached to you and that can be good because you’re seen as an ‘expert’ in one sport which is great.”

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After embarking on a career in sports, Chris Broussard made a name for himself as a writer, specifically as it pertains to covering the NBA. Whether it was covering the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, covering the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets for The New York Times, or doing television hits for ESPN, Broussard had always, whether it was justified or not, been pigeon-holed as a “basketball guy”.

That was the perception then, but today, the reality is different.

“There’s no doubt that gets attached to you and that can be good because you’re seen as an ‘expert’ in one sport which is great,” said Broussard, the co-host of First Things First on FS1 and the co-host of The Odd Couple on FOX Sports Radio. 

“But what was good for me was that at ESPN, I had done First Take with Skip Bayless a lot.  There were a few years where it was a rotation and I was in that rotation. That enabled me to at least do the other sports.” 

Broussard has certainly made a seamless transition from print to electronic media.

After joining The New York Times in 1998, Broussard started to get television exposure doing local hits and then appearances on the various ESPN platforms would soon follow. He joined ESPN full-time in 2004 as a writer for ESPN The Magazine, but that also included regular guest appearances and fill-in hosting opportunities on shows like First Take and the opportunity to be a co-host for NBA Countdown for the 2010-11 season.

With that gig came the opportunity to work with Michael Wilbon, Jon Barry, and his childhood hero Magic Johnson.

“I think that may be have been the pinnacle because Magic is Magic,” said Broussard. “He was my favorite player until Jordan came along and (with Wilbon and Barry), we just had great chemistry.”

After one season, Broussard and Barry were replaced by Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose. A few years later, Broussard would make the move that would bring him to the next chapter of his career.

In 2016, Broussard left what amounted to being just a reporters role at ESPN for a new opportunity at FS1 where he would also be an analyst as well as a regular panelist for shows like Undisputed, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, First Things First and Lock It In.  In 2018, he began co-hosting The Odd Couple radio show with Rob Parker on FOX Sports Radio.

And then in August of 2021, Broussard was named the full-time co-host of First Things First, something that almost had happened when the network first launched.

“When they asked me to come on as a full-time co-host, it was great and maybe a long time coming,” said Broussard. “I know when Jamie Horowitz first brought all the people over from ESPN to be on FS1 in 2016, he was considering doing a show where Nick Wright and I were the co-hosts.”

Broussard now co-hosts the show with Wright and Kevin Wildes.

“I thought that I really just fit right in with the chemistry and it’s just been a great trio,” said Broussard. 

Born in Baton Rouge, Broussard and his family also lived in Cincinnati, Indiana, Syracuse, Iowa, and Cleveland.  He was a star football and basketball player for Holy Name High School in Parma Heights, Ohio and went on to play basketball for Oberlin College, an NCAA Division III school in Ohio.

Believe it or not, his first love was not basketball.

“My favorite sport growing up was football,” said Broussard. “I played football through high school. I played basketball at Oberlin College but they recruited for me football and basketball. I even played baseball up until I was about 16 years old.” 

So much for being just a basketball guy, right?

After college, Broussard had a decision to make. He knew he wanted to be a sports reporter but wasn’t sure if it was going to be print or electronic media. When he was an intern at The Indianapolis Star, he spoke to people in the know about which direction to go.

“I was told that it’s just easier and there are more spots in print journalism than there are in television and radio,” said Broussard. “I chose print because I thought I had more opportunities.”

Broussard’s first taste of covering pro sports was in 1995 at the Akron Beacon Journal when he was a backup writer covering the Cleveland Indians who would go to the World Series for the first time since 1954. Then came covering the Cavaliers for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and then it was off to New York and a bit of culture shock for Broussard.

During his 2 ½ years covering the Cavaliers, Broussard typically wore a rugby shirt, jeans and sneakers at games. But he noticed that when the Knicks and Nets would come to Cleveland or when Broussard travelled to New York and New Jersey when the Cavaliers visited the Knicks and Nets, that the New York writers would typically wear suits and ties when covering the games.

So, when he interviewed for the job with The New York Times, Broussard had an important question for his future editor.

“I asked him when I was being interviewed for the job do they require that your writers dress up,” said Broussard. “He said no but they do generally in New York because they know television opportunities are there. So, when I started working at The New York Times, I started dressing up wearing a suit and tie or sportscoat and tie whenever I would cover games.  Ultimately that led to television.”

And the rest is history.

This coming week, Broussard will be busy co-hosting his shows from the Super Bowl in Arizona. It’s one thing to host a radio show or a television show from a studio but it’s really something special to do it from a live event, especially on the giant stage of the Super Bowl.

And this week, Broussard will be center stage in front of a lot of ears and eyeballs.

“It’s always great,” said Broussard. “FOX Sports Radio always has one of the biggest and best platforms on radio row. It’s always fun when you’re doing these live shows at the big events and you’ve got an audience, it really can kind of bring out the best in you. I’m excited about it both for TV and radio.”

Chris Broussard has certainly come a long way in his career in sports. 

From his days as an athlete in high school in college to getting his start as a write to a transformation into a radio and television personality, Broussard has worked hard to get to where he is today.

“I haven’t written a word since I went to Fox,” said Broussard. “I do feel fortunate that I’ve been able from morph from a writer into TV and radio. What you want to do in this business is stay relevant and you want an audience and a platform. There’s not that many people who get that opportunity to do it.”

He’s no longer just a “basketball guy”. He’s a “sports guy”.

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BSM Writers

Radio Row Is One of Sports Radio’s Worst Weeks

Radio Row is a great opportunity for hosts, PDs, and executives. But it isn’t an inherently great opportunity for your listeners.

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From strictly a listener’s perspective, sports radio the week of Super Bowl’s Radio Row is one of the worst weeks.

Before I was a sports radio programmer, I was a sports radio listener. And while I didn’t realize it at the time, I was listening to sports radio with a programmer’s mindset. And every year, I would spend the entire week listening to shows produced live — or pretending to be live — from Radio Row at the Super Bowl. And each year, I would wonder “What the hell is the point of this?”

And now, as a former sports radio programmer, I will sit this week and listen to shows produced live — or pretending to be live — from Radio Row at the Super Bowl. And each day, I will wonder “What the hell is the point of this?”

Who does it serve? Let’s take an in-depth look at that question.

It serves the NFL. Hundreds of media professionals are stationed at its largest event, talking about it, ensuring it stays at the forefront of the public consciousness and providing millions in value for its sponsors.

It serves NFL players. Both past and present. Dozens of current and former stars will flock to Radio Row to record dozens of interviews. They’ll be paid thousands of dollars to pitch their wares as often as possible while expanding their brands outside the cities in which they currently or formerly played.

It serves the sponsors of NFL players. Radio Row provides a one-stop-shop for sponsors to send their endorsers down a line of interviews to continually get in front of new audiences. Scale, baby!

It serves the hosts, PDs, and executives. You get a working vacation! It’s awesome! I live in the Midwest, and yesterday was one of a handful of days I’ve seen the sun since November. Being in Arizona in early February is phenomenal! Plus, you get to hob knob with celebrities, get your photos taken, go to awesome parties with extravagant hor dourves and open bars, and it’s fantastic. You deserve the little break Radio Row provides; better yet, it’s all on the company dime. You get some bonding with your co-workers, you get to network, and it really is an awesome opportunity.

But you know who isn’t served? Your listeners. At least, the vast majority of them. Because here’s the reality: While it’s really cool that you’re hanging out with other radio folks, and you’ll have a plethora of former and current players swinging by for interviews, your listeners really don’t care. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s the truth. While there’s a subset of listeners who are living vicariously through you — and that can’t be completely shortchanged, it’s a big deal — the overwhelming majority couldn’t be less invested in your Radio Row interviews.

Think of it from a listener’s viewpoint: Outside of the Bay Area, do you think anyone has thought “Man, I wonder who Kyle Juszczyk thinks is gonna win the Super Bowl?” I’ll tell you that, no, they haven’t thought that, and they don’t particularly care what he thinks. Furthermore, they definitely don’t care that he’s sponsored by Old Spice, which gives him the P-P-P-Power!™

And it would be fine if there was one interview here or there, but there are some shows — both local and national — that will completely fill out their rundowns with interviews with people your listeners don’t especially care about, ask questions that your listeners don’t especially care about, and end the interview by asking who they think wins Sunday, why they think that way, and allow them to pitch their boner pills or whatever else they’re schlepping. Every day. For five straight days. For two, three, four, or even five hours.

It stinks.

Self-serving isn’t bad as long as you recognize it’s self-serving. And that could be potentially the biggest issue. Now and then, you’ll get a host that is sanctimonious and pretends they’re doing the listener a favor by spending a week away from their family in a warm weather destination, rubbing elbows with some of the greatest players — both past and present — in the game. You’re not. You’re spending a week eating all the free food you can find, drinking all the free beer you can find, and taking pictures to post on your Instagram. And that’s fine, but don’t pretend like it’s something it isn’t. You can talk yourself into its importance, but it’s important to you.

Radio Row is a great opportunity for hosts, PDs, and executives. But it isn’t an inherently great opportunity for your listeners. You can turn it into one with thoughtful questions, a unique spin on the traditional interview, or avoiding the same boring questions your subject has been asked 1,000 times during the day, but you’ve gotta go the extra mile to accomplish that. And I hope that’s not something you lose sight of this week.

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What Are The Right Social Media Answers For Sports Radio?

“What are the limits of social media for radio brands? Are there any?”

Demetri Ravanos

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Social media does not stand still. The platforms that matter today can fall out of favor with the general public in the blink of an eye. Conversely, the right feature or attention from the right people can catapult a site’s importance in the social pecking order.

How does a radio company determine what matters? Are all formats received similarly on social media or is sports radio such a unique animal that brands have to be much more deliberate in how resources are allocated? To answer these questions, I turned to some experts. 

Tom Izzo doesn’t exclude any platform when he is plotting WFAN’s social strategy. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter may each attract a different type of sports fan, but they all matter in building and serving the larger audience.

“There is sports radio audience on every social media platform, you just have to talk to them differently depending where you are,” he told me. “The language and audience on Twitter is different than the language and audience on Facebook, but there is audience everywhere.”

Audience is everywhere. That’s what is at the heart of the conundrum. How do you best utilize your assets in a landscape that isn’t just constantly changing? It’s also constantly growing!

Lori Lewis has overseen social media strategy at an executive level for Cumulus, Westwood One, Jacobs Media and iHeart among others. Now she coaches companies on creating great content with her own company, Lori Lewis Media

She told me that the key for not just sports stations, but for any brand, is understanding what their audience prioritizes. That doesn’t mean it should be the brand’s only focus though.

“Obviously, for sports radio, it’s Twitter. But don’t sleep on short-form vertical video,” she said in an email. “When done right, you’ll see success (meaning converting views into new fans) with YouTube Shorts and/or Instagram Reels as well as playback videos on Facebook (those are visual replays from the audio show).”

Converting views into new fans was taken to a bit of an extreme in Nashville. 104.5 The Zone launched Zone TV in 2021. Will Boling took the lead in creating the product. He says that launching a proprietary video stream was never about moving away from other social platforms. It was about giving listeners more access to better content in more places.

“Our video platform affects a lot of our social strategy,” he said. “On Twitter, we don’t want to just be seen as a radio station, but as a media company. Our Twitter stream allows us to react to breaking news while also sharing our broadcast at the same time. And with Twitch’s video producer, we can create featured clips from shows whenever we want. That allows us to push video out of featured guests, funny callers and anything in between to promote our podcasts from each show too.”

Video matters so much more than ever before. It does not matter who you talk to or what platform it is you are talking about. The answer always comes back to using video to attract more eyeballs.

TikTok, our most controversial social video platform, is trying to figure out what its reach could be without the visuals. Last month the company announced that it would experiment with its version of podcasts – a mode on the app that would allow users to experience TikTok content as audio-only entertainment.

I asked all three of my experts what their initial impression of the story is. Only Izzo expressed reservations.

“Probably no need for us to be first anywhere if there isn’t any particular benefit to doing that,” he said. “We’ll watch and see what happens and if it turns out that people like consuming podcasts on TikTok we will certainly address that.”

That doesn’t mean WFAN hosts and bosses won’t keep a keen eye on the feature. I would anticipate that there may be some experimental posts that either don’t receive much of a push or perhaps never see the light of day at all.

Boling is adamant that any use of TikTok is a wise one for stations. He says anything set up with an algorithm that rewards creators for posting content the audience connects with is an asset that cannot be ignored.

“We use social media to push listeners to our YouTube channel because it’s an algorithm based platform. If we get someone to click on our page once, then our channel will get recommended to them the next time they get on YouTube. TikTok helps radio companies accomplish that and own every space in the digital market right now.”

Unsurprisingly, it’s Lori Lewis that approaches the feature in the most scientific way. Do TikTok podcasts represent a sort of new frontier for audio brands? Sure, but just like Grogu and the Mandalorian, you have to go there and poke around before you can figure out how it will work best for you.

“If TikTok expands to audio, how might you complement the mothership (The FM/AM stick) and build on the trust you’ve earned from your show? What’s a unique way to tap into new features? As social media evolves, so should our approach.”

What are the limits of social media for radio brands? Are there any? Since the onset of the pandemic, so much listening has shifted from terrestrial signals to digital streams. We have totally rethought what we are. Why should it stop with how our audience consumes our content? 

I asked Lewis if we are too narrow in thinking about how social media can serve us. Are we so focused on what is that we have not considered what could be? Can a brand have one identity on air and use social media to create something that does not mirror it, but instead compliments it?

“Depends on why you’re using social media,” she answered. “If you’re leveraging social media for increased awareness and building trust to drive more engagement during your show, it might not make sense to be different on social than on-air. But, if you’re a vanilla brand limited to creativity on-air, why not? Throw yourself out there. Show your real, relatable self (assuming it’s legal and appropriate, ha-ha). Relatability wins every time.”

Do we have to be deliberate in sports radio with how we allocate our social media resources? Yes, but that doesn’t mean there is a single correct answer. 

Strategy matters on air. It’s no different on social media. But in order to figure out the best strategy, you have to be open-minded and eager to play around with new offerings to determine what works.

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