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Brandon Tierney Joins The Bears

“It would be a disservice to not keep an open mind, as a person, a broadcaster, father who’s trying to show my children that anything’s possible and my wife who believes more in me than I believe in myself.”

Brandon Contes

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Humans are competing with grizzly bears and sports radio host Brandon Tierney is at the center of it all.

No, Tierney isn’t actually taking on a grizzly himself, but he’s hosting a new show for Discovery Channel featuring people that will, titled Man vs Bear.

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The concept – each week three human competitors will engage in challenges of strength, speed and stamina against three grizzlies. The bears receive home field advantage, using their Utah sanctuary for the show’s location. Each episode includes five challenges, with the top two competitors advancing to the final round against the largest bear, Bart standing 8’ 6” tall and weighing in at 1,400 pounds. Points are earned during each challenge and used to determine a champion. For the season’s final episode, the top three point-getters return for one last competition against the bears.

The series premieres on Discovery Channel Wednesday, December 4th at 9pm, featuring commentary from Brandon Tierney and co-host Casey Anderson. With 25-years of experience, Anderson is a wildlife expert on animal biology and behavior, a filmmaker, having also rescued seven bears from inhumane captivity situations. Tierney, co-host of the nationally syndicated Tiki and Tierney on CBS Sports Radio, brings more than two decades of sportscasting to Man vs Bear.

If Tierney seems like an interesting selection for this greenlit show on Discovery Channel, there were times he had the same thought. Trying something new in front of 40 cameras, 20 associate producers and three grizzly bears, is not an easy task. The opportunity was challenging, but equally rewarding.

Maybe the biggest challenge was finding a way to mix his current TV and radio gigs with the time requirements it would take to host Man vs Bear on Discovery. With his daily show on CBS Sports Radio, also simulcast on CBS Sports Network, stepping away for five weeks to work for an entirely separate entity in Discovery seemed like a tall ask. But Tierney credits his employers, bosses and agency for their willingness to work symbiotically and help him get this new opportunity.

Although the platform is new for Tierney, the expectations are the same as his other media responsibilities – create, entertain and deliver content. The ability to step outside the box and prove something to himself, was an opportunity Tierney couldn’t pass up as he continues to embrace the world and new challenges.

BRANDON CONTES: With all of your TV and radio work, Discovery Channel is very different from anything you’ve done, how did this opportunity get to you?

BRANDON TIERNEY: I’m in an Uber heading to Nashville to do Tiki and Tierney from the NFL Draft and I get an email from my agency about a new show Discovery is working on. They were looking for a host and the email said ‘they know you, they like you and they’d like to gauge your interest.’ But as soon as I read the stipulation of a five-week hiatus to shoot the show in Beaver City, Utah I knew there was no way I could do it. I was honored, but logistically I didn’t think it could work.

They still wanted to do a Skype interview and I always think it’s good to network and meet new people. It was supposed to be 15 minutes, we ended up going for over an hour. I put my best foot forward, I had fun, I was happy with it and I honestly didn’t think much about the job beyond that.

Two days later, I get a call – they want to fly me to Los Angeles for a chemistry test.  I had a 6am flight out of Newark, flew to Los Angeles for a noon audition, went right back to the airport and was back at Newark 6am the next morning. The chemistry test was with the potential co-host and person they identified as a bear biologist, Casey. It went great and I remember telling him, I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again, but if we get a chance to do this show I can’t wait to have a scotch with you because I think we’ll do great work. [Laughs] It just felt natural.

BC: I remember you doing your show from Utah a couple of times over the summer, I didn’t realize you were out there for five weeks though!

BT: If I didn’t have the synergy between Entercom, CBS Sports Network and Tiki [Barber] as a great partner, I wouldn’t be able to do this. I took all my remaining vacation and applied it to this. During dark days, which was once, sometimes twice a week, I drove 45 miles to Salt Lake City for Tiki and Tierney. CBS Sports Net got a mobile TV studio for me to do the show and everyone made concessions for this. When I first learned about the opportunity, I didn’t think there was a chance it would come together as serendipitously as is it did. Herculean effort by all involved that I work with and for.

BC: It is pretty interesting that Discovery has no affiliation with CBS or Entercom, but they were willing to help make this happen for you.

BT: Absolutely and I was also juggling the BIG3 at the time so there was a lot going on. If one person didn’t acquiesce, then it doesn’t happen. I’m so thankful to everyone.

I’m a huge Discovery fan, but my expectations about the possibility of this working out were tempered. After I auditioned, about 4 or 5 days later, the phone rings and they think I’m a great fit. From that point it became a dance of the business aspect, which my agency works out, but now we have to tell CBS Sports and Entercom that I have this opportunity. We need to find a way to make this work logistically, which still felt unrealistic even though I was offered the role.

My agency was in constant communication with everyone involved and multiple companies, multiple people were so flexible and accommodating to make this work. It was humbling to see the work my employers put in, just so I could host this show.

BC: Were you nervous to try something so different? You’re flying out there to host a show and I’m sure you didn’t have lines memorized at the time and you didn’t have exact details as to how everything was going to work on the show.

BT: I remember sitting in my trailer, which was extravagant and hysterical in itself, but I’m looking around, I have my script, I’m mic’d up and now my hearts pounding. But its go time, you have to sink or swim, this is different, this is going to be tough, you have to make it work. You have to dig down deep and crush it.

When you do what I do every day, you have a database of thoughts and historical occurrences that you can tap into and bridge from one thought to the next if you’re ever stuck. You have an excess of verbal ammunition.

But I’m not ashamed to admit this, right before we shoot, I’m standing there with my co-host Casey. The show doesn’t start until I speak and I’m looking around and there are 40 cameras, 40 lighting technicians, this monstrosity of a set, 20 AP’s and it’s a different world! In that second, I’m a little overwhelmed and questioning can I do this? Well you better find a way because the show is about to start.

BC: You’ve done plenty of TV in your career, but did you have an interest in branching away from sports? I’m sure the challenge was exciting, but have you been targeting opportunities like this?

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BT: I’ve always had an interest in being challenged and I’ve always had a natural curiosity and again, I’ve always been an ardent fan of the Discovery Channel. I do think it’s important to have hobbies and places to check out of the sports world a little bit, to infuse normalcy into your life. I’ve attacked my career with an open mind and I’m always prepared to give different things a try.

The core of what I do is, and always will be sports, but it’s a big world and I’m not afraid to embrace and explore it. I proved something to myself, that I wasn’t 100% sure I could do. I left Utah with a different understanding of my skill set and a deep level of confidence in the ability to challenge myself.

BC: There were nerves and moments wondering if this was something you could do. If you look back on your career, radio/television, local/national, is there one job or even one moment you could reflect on and take something from that you feel helped you?

BT: You just tap into your broadcasting instincts and understand that conversation is paramount. You find what messages need to pop and resonate. One of the jobs that definitely helped, because there was a lot of standup work, was the Red Storm Report which I’ve done for a long time with MSG and St. Johns. I learned how to have a presence, because camera presence is vastly different from verbal presence.

Anytime you do something new, you tap into that vulnerability and if you channel that properly, it really goes from a possible detriment to a true asset. The first time I was ever on TV in Detroit, or on Cold Pizza with ESPN, when I auditioned for First Take, when I helped launch a national radio network, those are moments where there’s not necessarily a net if you fall and we all fall because nobody does every segment and is fully enthralled in what you do. You have to be self-critical, you also have to appreciate when you do something well and find that balance.

BC: Did you interact with the grizzlies?

BT: We were close to them. They’re tame, they’ve been out of the wildlife since birth, but they’re still animals. There’s a whole protocol with the wildlife team and with their trainers, but Bart – the biggest bear is almost 9-feet tall and 1400 pounds. There were times when we’re shooting promos and Bart is only 11 or 12 feet away from us and my back is to him. I’m trying to deliver these lines, but I’m human! You realize, if something, God forbid happens, you’ll be squashed like a gnat and ripped apart like a salmon! It puts a charge through your body that you can’t replicate because we’re not faced with those innate dangers day to day.

BC: Has branching out inspired you to set other TV goals? Stephen A. Smith talks about wanting a late night show. Do you now have new goals that you previously never thought were attainable?

BT: You’re always looking to evolve. My personal evolution as a broadcaster has gone from local radio, moving to larger markets, incorporating TV and not being very good at first, going national. All of the different auditions and different jobs have reinforced that I’m incredibly lucky, but also that I’ve been talented enough, smart and blessed to take advantage of those opportunities. You don’t jump at every project, you get to a point where you can turn things down, but anything is possible. I’m at the point now, in my 40s, I’m a dad, I’ve traveled the country, I’m in tune and curious about the world. It would be a disservice to not keep an open mind, as a person, a broadcaster, father who’s trying to show my children that anything’s possible and my wife who believes more in me than I believe in myself. There are no limitations. 

BC: You have this big platform with your national radio show, could it be easy to ever get complacent and say I’m just going to focus on this and not look for new opportunities?

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BT: This is going to sound contrived, but I don’t look passed today in terms of my profession and I can say this with 100% conviction, I don’t take a segment off. There’s no such thing as this show’s been good, I can mail the rest of it in. There’s always some young buck ready to come take your job and eventually somebody will. We all get older, but I’ve always viewed myself as an underdog.

I’m from a middle-class family in Brooklyn where these jobs didn’t seem attainable. I didn’t have one connection in this business so I’ve fought and scrapped for everything I’ve earned. There are people who have given me the chance to prove them right and if I didn’t have those platforms, I absolutely wouldn’t be here today, but I wake up every morning and my mission is to slay it on the radio. To put out the most thought-provoking, passionate, energetic show of anybody. I’m probably insecure in my place in the industry. There are a lot of things I’m proud of on my resume, but it doesn’t feel that way. I’m not Stephen A. Smith. I’m in a good space, but there are still several rungs to climb. Complacency? Not a chance.

BC: What’s next for your radio show? I get the need to slay it and the underdog mentality when you’re young and you’re in small markets, climbing and chasing something. But you did local, you did major market, you’ve done morning, midday, now you’re in the afternoons on a national stage – What’s the next step for your radio career? What are you chasing exactly? Would you ever go back to local?

BT: My focus is on this show. To gain more affiliates and more markets, to convince people to say ‘Tiki and Tierney, that’s a show that we need.’ Three hours is great, I want four hours, five hours, I want more real estate, I want a larger platform, I want to connect with more people and continue to solidify the Tiki and Tierney, the CBS Sports Radio brand into the sporting realm every day.

I’m up for juggling some local, there’s a part of my heart that is local. Local radio is imbedded in my soul and I’d be dishonest if I said I wouldn’t be open to being able to do both. I also use Twitter for that local connection. But the Tiki and Tierney brand has grown and Tiki has really grown. He’s smart, curious and passionate for being great.

We’re motivated by the same things, but we’re very different and I think that’s why our balance is great. He knows when to let me go nuts for a few minutes and conversely, I can see when it’s time to give him 30 carries and let him roll. I want this show to get bigger.

The thing about national radio that I never thought I would say when we launched and certainly wouldn’t have said 10, 12 years ago when I was immersed in local, is that national has enabled me to branch into a different space. The way sports radio has changed and the way people talk about societal topics has opened up the opportunity for new conversations.

BC: Right, if something important outside of sports happens on the west coast, the conversation in New York remains Mets and Yankees, national lets you talk about happenings around the country.

BT: Sports will remain the commonality for our show, but we can morph into important, real-life, sometimes uncomfortable discussions. That is something I cherish and would never want to lose. In my mind, if you really don’t carry any bias or any hatred toward any person, then you shouldn’t be afraid to talk about this stuff. If you’re open-minded and embrace the exchange of ideas, there are no boundaries for what you can create and that’s very satisfying and appealing, especially as a dad.

BC: Is it frustrating, you are a New Yorker, Tiki has obvious ties to New York, but the show isn’t available in New York terrestrially.

BT: I crave a New York affiliate, this show absolutely deserves and has earned a New York affiliate! But I have Twitter and other outlets, I’m at the Garden for St. John’s games and seeing people on the street to fill that local desire.

I love baseball and can talk about it as well as anyone, but with this show, we don’t need to spend three hours in the middle of the summer breaking down Mickey Callaway’s use of the bullpen. At this stage of my life, I like conversations with depth and layers. With a national platform, you can create interesting and unique discussions.

BC: You mentioned sitting in your trailer and then standing in front of the 40 cameras on set. Your heart is pounding. At this point in your career, after doing this for decades, how often do you get that heart pounding feeling when you’re on the radio.

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BT: Every day. My fear of underachieving and not attempting to reach greatness is my fuel. It’s what keeps me sharp. You can ask Tiki, two or three minutes before we go on-air I feel like I’m going into the ring for a heavyweight fight. It’s go-time. Everybody’s pregame routine is different, but this is what works for me. I don’t deviate from it because without that urgency, I don’t feel as if I’m delivering what I want to deliver to my audience.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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Sports Talkers Podcast – Carl Dukes

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Carl Dukes went from DJing clubs to holding every job there is in a radio building. Now he is dominating 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. Check out his conversation with Stephen Strom.

iTunes: https://buff.ly/3xYq3Oe 

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3JVYgDp   

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3JWPFQS 

Google: https://buff.ly/3w9RBzX 

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3psPDGZ  

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Terry Ford Couldn’t Say No To 107.5 The Game

“In Columbia, South Carolina Gamecock fans are in 150 percent. These people love football. The Atlanta experience, the taste of it in Lexington really gave me a good foundation for what we have here in Columbia.”

Tyler McComas

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If he had to put a number on the big decision he made last year it would be 150 percent. Sure, leaving Lexington, KY and 96.1 WZNN didn’t happen without long thoughts and consideration for Terry Ford, but the opportunity to work for one of the most respected names in the business was too much to pass up. 

In late November of 2021, Ford was named the new program director and host at 107.5 The Game in Columbia, SC. The opportunity originally came about during a conversation between Ford and Jason Barrett. Ford had always wanted to work with Bruce Gilbert. Barrett knew this, so when the position under the Cumulus umbrella opened, he urged Ford to consider the position.

“I’ve always wanted to work for Bruce,” Ford said. “Jason told me there was an opportunity to work with Bruce and I talked to the market manager Tammy O’Dell. She was fantastic. Everything was just too good. It was 150 percent the right decision. This has been nothing but a phenomenal experience.”

Columbia is the exact market you think it is. Situated in a college town, which breeds incredible passion for Gamecock athletics. South Carolina has had success in basketball and baseball, but to its core, it’s like most other SEC markets in that college football rules the day. To an outsider, that can sometimes be a challenge to immediately grasp and understand. But Ford is no outsider when it comes to the SEC. His previous stop was in Lexington and he even did a stint in Atlanta at 790 The Zone. He knows the landscape of the SEC.

“When I was at 790 The Zone, I’ll never forget the PD Bob Richards was like, ok, you have to understand, we might have pro sports here but the Georgia Bulldogs are gigantic,” Ford said. “This is SEC country. I kinda learned then and there that if Georgia was sniffing around some 9th grader that runs a 4.2 40-yard dash, that’s a story. When you’re in SEC country, everything is a story that matters to the local program. Atlanta gave me my first taste of the passion of the SEC football fan. Lexington was different because it’s a basketball school. And in Columbia, South Carolina Gamecock fans are in 150 percent. These people love football. The Atlanta experience, the taste of it in Lexington really gave me a good foundation for what we have here in Columbia.”

But there was much more to his new gig than just understanding how much passion there is in Columbia for Gamecock football. His biggest challenge was going to be to earn the respect and trust of his on-air staff as their new PD, as well as blend into the three-man show he was going to be a part of. So how did he do that?

“It’s kind of a tightrope,” Ford said. “You’re the PD, but you’re also in the octagon with them. I really think talking with hosts in ‘hosts talk’ is the best way to connect with them when you go to another market. We hosts are different. When you can sit and talk like hosts together I think it builds a connection. I think all hosts, when you get a new PD, you’re like, ok, what the hell have you done? You’re going to be in charge of me as a host, have you hosted? I think that’s natural for a host, whether it’s outward or internal. I’ve done the same thing.”

Ford has more than 20 years of experience in sports radio. That will garner him some respect in the building, but not as much as his continued eagerness to learn from others. That could very well be one of the best traits for any PD, no matter their age or experience. If you’re always eager to learn, you’ll undoubtedly be better. Ford is just that. He wants to learn from as many people as possible. 

“I’ve always wanted to learn from guys like Scott Masteller or Bruce Gilbert or Jason Barrett,” Ford said. “People who have done this successfully at a high level. And learning from guys who’ve done it in different size markets. You can’t take things from Philadelphia and apply them to Oklahoma City. It’s a different level. I wanted to learn how different guys in different markets program their brands. I wanted to learn all aspects of the business.”

Ford’s eagerness to learn isn’t where his characteristics of being a good PD ends. In the eyes of a host, it can be appreciated that the PD in the building has also seen things from their side. Ford has done exactly that. In a closed-door meeting, he’s now the one delivering the news, good or bad, to a host. But it wasn’t long ago when he was the one sitting on the opposite side of the desk. 

“I never want to forget when I went into programming, what it’s like to sit on the other side of the desk in that other chair,” Ford said. “Because it can suck. I’ve sat in that chair and gotten good news and I’ve sat in that chair and got some crappy news. I just never want to forget what it’s like to be the guy sitting there getting news. I want to take all those experiences and all that knowledge and you come in and deal with a Heath Cline, or a Jay Phillips, or Bill Gunter, or a Pearson Fowler, who’s under 30, or Patrick Perret, who’s under 30. I want to be able to relate to them and talk to them in their host language, where they say, ok, this dude speaks the language. He gets where I’m coming from. It’s just about finding a way to relate to everyone.”

To be completely transparent, the phone call I had with Ford only lasted 20 minutes. But even in that short time, I found myself saying, wow, this is a PD I would love to work for. He’s intelligent and passionate about the business, he’s incredibly skilled and genuinely cares about relating to his hosts, but he’s also really funny. Each question he answered was well-thought-out and insightful, but it wasn’t said without a short joke until he broke out with a serious answer. He’s a guy that knows what he’s doing but isn’t the dreadful guy that sucks the life out of the building. Columbia seems lucky to have him. 

“Sometimes you get good fortune from the radio gods and other times you feel like you can’t get any luck they’re taking a dump on you,” Ford said. “They smiled on me through circumstance and with the help of a guy like Jason Barrett I ended up with a good opportunity in Columbia. It was too good to turn down. It was one of the moments where, if I turn this down, I’m a dope. I’ve been a dope in my life and this time I decided not to be one.”

I’ve always been interested in the daily life of someone who’s both a host and a PD. I don’t envy it because you have to perfectly delegate your time to fulfill both duties. So how does Ford go about it?

“Massive chaos at high speed while blindfolded,” joked Ford. “I get up around 6:30 in the morning and away from the office, I try to put in a couple hours of prep. That way people aren’t asking me about stuff and I’m not doing PD things. All I’m doing is trying to prep like a host. I try to give myself a couple hours of that before I come into the office. I’ll be honest, prepping as a PD and prepping as a host, good luck. I tell the guys here, I’m probably about 75 percent of a host right now, in terms of effectiveness. I just can’t prep like I want to. I’m a prepping dork. I jump down all sorts of rabbit holes and I’m deep-diving into stuff. As a PD you don’t have that time to dive.”

Ford started his radio career outside of sports talk. But he was always captivated by the business and spent many nights debating sports with his friends. It was a passion, even though he wasn’t yet hosting a show. 

“I always was captivated by sports talk, but when I was growing up it was a certain way,” Ford said. “It really wasn’t the way that I wanted to do it. I said, man, if it ever becomes where you can be opinionated, compelling but you can also have some fun, I’m all in. I always had an eyeball on sports while doing music radio. Around 2000, I said, I love sports, talking sports, you know what, screw it, I’m going to start looking for sports talk openings.”

So he did, but while searching for openings, Ford had to refine his craft, while also building a demo. He did it in a way that perfectly sums up who he is as both a talent and a person. He made it fun 

“I was doing rock radio at the time, and you talk to dudes, and what I would do is start sports conversations with them and record it. I would save those and put a riff in front of it like a monologue and I would take these calls and I built a demo by talking to drunk guys at a rock station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I got the gig off of that for Sporting News magazine in Seattle.”

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Anatomy of a Broadcaster: Kevin Burkhardt

He is always upbeat, but never over the top. No screaming, but his energy remains consistent and smooth throughout a broadcast.

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Anatomy of a Broadcaster, Kevin Burkhardt

It wasn’t all that long ago, that Kevin Burkhardt was selling cars in New Jersey. Now that’s all in his rearview mirror and Burkhardt is getting ready to enter his first season as the main play-by-play voice of the NFL on Fox. You could say he could be the definition of ‘perseverance’, doing whatever it took to chase a dream. That focus has certainly paid off nicely for Burkhardt. The leap he made in two decades time is amazing and not often duplicated. 

Growing up in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Burkhardt, would do play-by-play for his Nintendo games back in his Junior High days. He loved Gary Cohen and tried to emulate him as best he could. Strangely enough, he would end up working with Cohen on Mets broadcasts on SNY. 

A 1997 graduate of William Paterson University, Burkhardt earned a degree in broadcasting. He took that degree to radio station WGHT in Northern New Jersey, spending eight years working for the station. It was a 1,000-watt, daytime only AM station. Burkhardt delivered local news and called high school football. While at WGHT he also worked at Jukebox Radio, broadcasting New Jersey Jackals minor league games for WJUX. To make ends meet while doing freelance work, Burkhardt began working as a sales associate at Pine Belt Chevrolet in Eatontown, New Jersey. Over the next six-plus years Burkhardt could not find a larger station willing to take a chance on him. 

He recalled the frustrated feeling he had back then, when he spoke with Sports Illustrated in 2013. . “I thought I was good enough to make it [in broadcasting], but after so many years of busting my tail, I was making $18,000 a year and working all kinds of odd hours,” says Burkhardt. “It just wasn’t happening for me.”

Finally, Burkhardt got a part-time job working at WCBS-AM in New York, which in turn put him on the radar of the all sports station, WFAN. He began to work there part-time, then eventually became the station’s full-time New York Jets reporter. He got the break he needed. 

ROAD TO FOX

After his stint at WFAN, Burkhardt joined the Mets broadcast team starting the 2007 season for SNY. He appeared on shows such as Mets Hot Stove, Mets Pregame Live, Mets Postgame Live and Mets Year in Review. His main duties though were as the field reporter during Mets telecasts. He would also call select games during both Spring Training and the regular season. 

Also, while employed at SNY, he called Dallas Cowboys games on Compass Media Networks from 2011 until 2013. That’s when he left for Fox. But, sandwiched in between was an opportunity to be seen by Fox execs. He called a Mets/Braves game with SI’s Tom Verducci on their network. The Fox brass liked what they saw. 

According to that 2013 SI article, Burkhardt’s agent initially had discussions with the network about his client calling college football this season but those talks morphed into an NFL opportunity. “When my agent called me with that, I was floored,” Burkhardt says. “I’m sure you hear people say ‘this is my dream job’ all the time, but I literally dropped to one knee on the floor. I could not believe what he was saying on the other end.”

He started with the #4 broadcast team and of course has worked his way up from there. Now, some 9 years later he’s on the top crew. After Joe Buck left for ESPN earlier this year, Burkhardt was promoted to the #1 broadcast team for the NFL on Fox, alongside Greg Olsen. 

Football isn’t the only thing Burkhardt has exceled in at the network. He is the lead studio host for Major League Baseball coverage on Fox and FS1 during the regular season, for the MLB All-Star Game and throughout the entire MLB Postseason.

GOOD CHOICE

When Buck left for ESPN, in my opinion Burkhardt was the obvious choice to replace him. Buck leaves some big shoes to fill, but Burkhardt has the ability to make this work. It’s never easy to replace a well-known commodity like Buck, but Burkhardt himself has been featured prominently on the network. As mentioned, his other high-profile assignments have made him visible and appreciated by viewers. 

If social media is a good judge, I almost got that out without a chuckle, the choice was a good one. Even the outgoing play-by-play man was on board with the decision. 

Burkhardt will do a great job and will become a fixture on Sunday afternoons. 

WHY IS HE SO GOOD?

Maybe we’re finding out that he was a great car salesman through his work on television. I mean there’s a friendliness and something reassuring about the way he calls a game. It’s positive, almost downright cheerful in his delivery. You know what you’re going to get from a Burkhardt broadcast. He is always upbeat, but never over the top. No screaming, but his energy remains consistent and smooth throughout a broadcast. I really enjoy watching everything he does.

While the style may be more lighthearted in nature, the information and description are right on the mark. The presentation seems much more relaxed than some announcers that can be a little ‘in your face’ at times. I say relaxed as a compliment, because as much as you want, a broadcaster can’t be ‘hyped up’ all the time. That would be disconcerting to say the least to the viewer.  

The fact that he has such a diverse background in the business really helps. Having done radio, he can understand the importance of brevity. That comes in handy when calling a game on television, especially when you want your analyst to feel free to make points. The reporting and studio hosting on his resume allow him to be very conversational and at ease. Those assignments also tune up your listening skills, which helps when calling action and working with your analyst.  It didn’t hurt either that he had so much experience on the big stage of New York. 

I know I’ve said this a million times, but he genuinely sounds like he’s having the time of his life every time he works a game or hosts a show. Considering where he came from, I’m not surprised. 

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2019, he called select games for FOX Sports Sun, the television home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since getting his break, Burkhardt has appeared as the celebrity endorser of Pine Belt Chevrolet, his former employer, in Eatontown, N.J.

In 2019, Burkhardt and his wife established the Kevin and Rachel Burkhardt Scholarship at William Paterson University in New Jersey, their alma mater, for a fulltime student majoring in Communications and preparing for a career in broadcast journalism.

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