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ESPN Syracuse Wants To Bring Back Sponsors & Hosts

“Usually, when you’re going to hit a downturn you can see it coming, but this literally happened in 48 hours. I’m optimistic we’ve hit the bottom, the question now is, how quickly does the recovery happen?”

Brandon Contes




Nearly two months after COVID-19 forced major sports leagues to shut down, ravaging industries nationwide, radio brands are still unsure when the upturn is coming.

It’s something radio companies couldn’t have anticipated and it’s especially frustrating when your operation was running as a profitable business before the pandemic hit. It took just two days for the world to stop, but it could be closer to two years before things get back to where they were, with no guarantee of impacted industries ever making a full recovery.


Galaxy Media’s ESPN Syracuse was one of the first brands to make programming cuts when the sports hiatus began. Interestingly enough, the changes had less to do with the financial impact of COVID-19 and more to do with the end of the Syracuse University athletic season.

Still, the locally owned sports radio station went from having a great year, to now being in the midst of their worst year. I spoke with Galaxy Media CEO Ed Levine and ESPN Syracuse afternoon host Brent Axe about managing the pandemic’s current and lasting impacts.

Brandon Contes: How has ESPN Syracuse been impacted by the pandemic, in terms of losing revenue?

Ed Levine: Obviously with sports being on pause, most sports related marketing has also gone on pause and the revenue is way down. Our sports focus is very much controlled by Syracuse University athletics. During baseball season, we do a good amount of business with the Yankees, but once the Syracuse University athletics season is over, we typically put most of our shows on pause and this year we did that a little sooner.

Our Team | Galaxy Media

BC: ESPN Syracuse cut some of their local weekday programming in March, but those shows were going to be paused soon regardless of the pandemic?

EL: Yeah and realistically, we only shut them down about three weeks early.

BC: So the lineup change was more about the sports shutdown than it was an immediate reaction to losing advertisers?

BC: Obviously we can’t predict how quickly things will bounce back, but is there hope that you’re able to bring back some of those paused weekday shows?

EL: Absolutely. We’re in contact with most of them and I think it will happen sequentially over time. We’ll need to make some different financial arrangements because it’s hard to accept the revenue hits we’ve taken and then put everyone back to where they were, but I think most people understand that.

We have a great group of hosts, but we make our money talking about local sports and without that, there just isn’t enough revenue to pay local hosts. But the idea is, once Syracuse University is back in full swing, our local content will return. We also launched a 24/7 streaming network on Twitch and expect that to come back as well. But much like the revenue will come back in phases, we’ll add expenses back in phases, so we don’t get ahead of ourselves.

BC: Locally, ESPN Syracuse kept SportsZilla going, as well as Brent Axe, has it been beneficial to have some local voices still on-air even though there isn’t much Syracuse sports to talk about?

EL: Absolutely, Axe is without question the premiere sports journalist in the community and he’s done a phenomenal job of creating interesting shows without having obvious content and I give him a lot of credit for that. The SportsZilla shows have also done a great job and they have the ability to branch off into topics outside of sports, but as a sports talk host, you earn your chops by continuing to entertain in this environment.  

BC: You mentioned car dealerships reopening and hopefully returning as clients, I’m sure it helps to have local voices on-air when you’re trying to get sponsors back.


EL: Right, in retrospect, it was a good thing that I anticipated the advertising would dry up. We had a very good 2019 and great start to 2020. We went into March at 90% of budget, we finished the month at 75%, which basically means for every dollar we added in March and April, we took $1.50 off. But the state is now allowing car dealerships to operate again, so our sense is that April was the bottom, it was a dreadful month, but I’m optimistic we’ll see improvement in May.

We’re the only major local broadcast company in central New York and certainly, the only one doing sports. We’ve been doing recovery packages, where we run some free advertising because if we have the ad inventory, we might as well help. I own a local business, I’m in the same boat as them and that’s our calling card. We compete with iHeart, Cumulus and Townsquare and they do a good job for who they are, but they’re not local and you can’t pretend to be local when you’re a nationally traded company.

BC: Have you had to layoff any full-time workers?

EL: That’s the thing I’m proudest of. We’ve all shared responsibilities and sacrifices throughout the company, but none of our full-time employees have been laid off, they all have jobs still. Our sports talk hosts all mostly have other jobs away from the radio station, we’re their side hustle. But we haven’t had to layoff any full-time employees and we hope to keep it that way.

We also have an event division which has been shut down and it would’ve been an easy decision to shutter that. But the event division has been our secret sauce and it’s what separated us from other local media companies, so I didn’t feel it was right to put them on the unemployment line.

BC: What kind of events does the division handle?

EL: Everything from the “Taste of Syracuse” which is the largest festival in the community, drawing 200,000 people. We do wine and chocolate events throughout the state, we have our holiday festival “Lights on the Lake” which draws 40,000 cars to the light display. We’re in every area of New York State from Buffalo to Long Island. The division contributes about half of the company’s revenue, so it’s been a huge loss to have that shuttered.

BC: My wife works in the corporate event industry, global and domestic and that industry was hit before sports came to a stop. Canceling travel, canceling events, employees being furloughed, losing revenue, each step happened shortly before it hit sports radio.

EL: I’m hoping that 12-15 months from now we can get back to where we were and what’s maddening about this is, we were on a tremendous roll from 2019 into 2020. Usually, when you’re going to hit a downturn you can see it coming, but this literally happened in 48 hours. I’m optimistic we’ve hit the bottom, the question now is, how quickly does the recovery happen? While the radio industry has struggled in the last ten years, our events division was able to help fuel our company’s growth. They’re brainstorming some great events right now and as soon as we get the go ahead, we’ll be back stronger than ever. 

BC: What about across your different radio brands, have you seen one format be less impacted than another?

EL: Our sports talk stations have clearly been the most impacted. The music stations have also taken significant revenue hits, but people emotionally still felt those brands were a more viable place to advertise after sports were shut down. If we were down 50% overall, it was probably down 70% on the sports talk side. But once everything gets running again, we’ll go from having nothing, to having everything at the same time which will present a challenge in itself, but one we’ll certainly look forward to.

Brent Axe hosts weekday afternoons on ESPN Syracuse and has been a local sports radio and journalism fixture since 2002.

Brandon Contes: You’ve been doing sports talk in Syracuse for about two decades now, how important do you think it is for the city to still have a familiar voice on-air during a difficult time?

Brent Axe: The feedback I’m getting from listeners is that they enjoy the break from what’s going on out there. We’re all in the same boat and it’s been helpful for me too. I really enjoy being able to come in every day and keep a similar routine, so it’s been great to stay on-air from all angles.

Brent Axe (@BrentAxeMedia) | Twitter

BC: What are you doing now without live sports, are you still able to find local sports stories to discuss?

BA: There has been some great local content in terms of what local athletes are doing to stay in shape. Recently, there was a celebration of the 2003 Syracuse men’s basketball national championship team and Jim Boeheim and a bunch of former playoffs did a Facebook Live event where they watched the game and reacted to it. Recruiting stories have popped up, discussing players like Elijah Hughes entering the NBA Draft, so there have been a lot of local stories and a lot of nostalgia with people looking back and watching old games.

BC: People love reminiscing, even before sports stopped, there’s been a big emphasis on the ‘90s, just look at the amount of TV shows and sitcoms that have returned in some way.

BA: Everyone’s watching The Last Dance, so I look for a local connection. Syracuse played Michael Jordan and North Carolina at The Dome twice. Jordan’s longtime agent David Falk is a Syracuse grad, you can take what’s hot nationally and find the local angle because there are so many connections if you know where to look.

BC: Do you enjoy having the blank slate of topics every single day, or do you prefer having some direction of knowing what you’re going to talk about tomorrow?

BA: I don’t like having this much freedom, because sports is naturally something you react to, but I do enjoy the challenge. When the NFL Draft came, it was a relief to be able to react to fresh news and it gave a glimmer of hope for what’s to come. I still enjoy the challenge, because anyone can watch the games and react to it, but I’ve always said you learn how to do radio during the summer when there isn’t a lot going on. It’s like going to the grocery store right now, some aisles are more full than others these days, so you get creative with what you can make.

BC: Have you been able to try new things on-air?

BA: We do segments in different ways. Every day I do a segment called ‘Hot Takes’ and it’s my way of touching on national topics at a rapid pace. That segment has become a daily discussion of what we’re hearing in terms of when and how will sports return? I used to do a segment called the ‘Blind Side’ where my producer would hit me with five questions about anything. I don’t have a producer right now, so I might have my listeners ask questions. They’re not necessarily new segments, but it’s doing what we do differently.

BC: How is that aspect of doing your show without a producer?


BA: It reminds me of my college radio days, doing everything myself. Booking guests, doing all of the prep, it’s been interesting and a learning experience. It makes me appreciate the job my producer and our support staff do at the station that much more because you kind of take for granted being able to focus only on content and being on-air.

BC: Without a producer, who do you bounce ideas off of, especially with a blank slate of topics, I’m sure it’s helpful to have someone to discuss ideas with before the show starts.

BA: Absolutely, I talk with Paulie Scibilia, our operations manager. I’ll text him ideas, he’ll offer suggestions for guests as well. My normal producer, Seth Goldberg is home in New Jersey right now, but I still talk to him all the time. And even my other colleagues at, who aren’t in radio, but I get feedback and input from them as well. There’s a definite chain of communication when trying to develop topics and content.

BSM Writers

John Mamola Didn’t Overthink New WDAE Lineup

“I don’t go book-to-book my talent, I just don’t. I think the more and more you dive into ratings, the more and more you overthink things.”

Brady Farkas




Just over one month ago, WDAE in Tampa Bay reshuffled its daily line-up. The iHeartMedia station, programmed by John Mamola, moved the Ronnie and TKras program from mornings to afternoons and moved the midday Pat and Aaron show into mornings, while creating a new midday show centered around Jay Recher and producer-turned-host Zac Blobner.

The station let previous host Ian Beckles go as part of the reshuffling.

Barrett Sports Media caught up with Mamola this week to talk about the new line-up, the Tampa Bay market, the importance of developing from within and much more.

(Some of the answers have been edited for brevity and clarity)

BSM: It’s been just over a month since these changes took hold, what would you say is the overall response to them?

JM: Overall, really positive. We lost a really important piece and a pillar of the station in Ian Beckles, but with the moves that we did make, it was overall a pretty positive response from the listeners.

BSM: This wasn’t just creating one new show and calling it a day, this was moving multiple shows into new dayparts. How do you as a programmer get multiple hosts on board with re-arranging their schedules in that manner?

JM: My morning show went into afternoons so they didn’t have to wake up early, so they were very open and welcome to that. As for the original midday show, I knew they were early risers, so moving to mornings didn’t really affect their sleep schedules. And then my midday show, which is the new one, putting those two together is just a combination of some very young, hungry guys that always want new opportunity and are always looking to capitalize on opportunity.

So I wouldn’t say necessarily the convincing was the hard part because it just made a lot of sense for the people involved. The guys in the morning didn’t have to wake up early. The guys in the mornings are early risers anyway, and you get two young, hungry guys to take care of that opportunity so the convincing part was quite easy.

BSM: I got to know Zac Blobner a little bit on the Producers Podcast. He was highlighted a few episodes back and I thought really highly of him. Why was this the right time to get him into a full-time on-air role?

JM: Zac’s been doing some on-air stuff for on the weekends for a number of years. He had his own show and then we tried him out with a couple people on staff on Saturday mornings. That just didn’t necessarily work out but he has hosted a fantasy football show, which we actually air Orlando and in Miami as well as Tampa, live for the last five years.

So his on-air persona – he was a huge part of the morning show and the success of the Ronnie and TKras Show for their run in mornings. So if we were to elevate someone from inside, it just seemed like he was the right guy to elevate, and to pair with Jay Recher. It’s two young, hungry guys and they play well off each other. Some of the best highlights of my day are just sitting in their pre-show meetings with them and their producer Jon Dugas and just listening to how they collaborate together as a threesome on how to attack content, what sound to use, and what guests to book.

Really, it’s three producers in one room all talking about how to collaborate and do a show. Zac has earned the opportunity, just like Pat Donovan who was a producer first. Aaron Jacobson was a producer at first. It was Zac’s time and he’s done a tremendous job with it so far, albeit it’s only a month, but I totally expect it to be a very high ceiling for that show and for Zac in particular.

BSM: Some programmers believe on developing and promoting from within and some programmers believe in always looking for a splashy hire from the outside. Why is developing talent and promoting from within important to you and WDAE?

JM: I think it’s vital for every brand to have a good bench and to continue to find different ways to utilize that bench. Maybe not on the Monday through Friday, but definitely on the weekends in some capacity. And if not there, then on the digital product. You bring in certain guys to push everyone else. Zac was one of those guys. Jay Recher was one of those guys. Pat Donovan was one of those guys. Ronnie and TKras were two of those guys. I like to bring in guys that have a goal and want to push everyone to be better, not just themselves, but push everyone to be better. We have a tremendous team atmosphere on WDAE and we’ve had it for a number of years.

And when you do a lot of change, like we did about a month ago, you don’t want to keep it too foreign. You want to keep it with somebody that the audience knows and the audience has grown to know. Because the minute you start bringing in out of town people that nobody’s ever heard of or you start going to syndication instead of staying live and local, you start to lose your cume, and you start to lose that branding.

We like to put out as much as we can with whatever we have and I think having good, driven people in the hiring process, albeit I’ve hired a little young over my time here, it’s continued to push the narrative that we are continually growing from within and this was just the latest step of that. I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.

BSM: When you have new shows and shows in different dayparts, are you mentioning things like ratings and revenue to them? Or do you just tell them to build the shows and worry about it later?

JM: I don’t go book-to-book my talent, I just don’t. I think the more and more you dive into ratings, the more and more you overthink things. It’s important, but it’s not the biggest thing. For me, it’s the sound of the show. If the show sounds like it’s got energy, if it sounds like it’s progressing, if it sounds like we’re creating more attention by what we’re saying and we’re developing as talents and as a station, you feel it. You don’t need to see the numbers. The numbers are the numbers.

The system is great when it’s great but when it’s terrible, it’s still flawed. You know? I mean, Neilson ratings only get you so far but If I start seeing stream numbers go up, which I’ve seen, that’s a positive.  If I see digital traffic or social media growth or something like that, that’s a metric I can track. Today I went to the gas station and they had our sports station on. If I can hear that, that means we’re doing something right. I don’t look book-to-book. I think PDs that dive into numbers and analytics and, and clocks…. Look, if you put out entertaining stuff, they’ll stick with you. And it starts with giving that confidence to your talent. And that’s how I program.

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BSM Writers

Brock Huard Believes The Third Time’s The Charm For Brock and Salk

“If I was a radio consultant, there’s two muscles you have to build constantly. A is listening and B is curiosity.”

Tyler McComas




It just felt right for Brock Huard when he stepped back behind the mic at Seattle Sports 710. On September 6th, he returned to the airwaves with longtime partner Mike Salk in morning drive. It’s been almost three months since Huard returned to radio, but it still feels as right as it did that early September morning. That’s because the business is in his blood. 

“Once radio is in your blood, it doesn’t leave,” said Huard.

If you talk sports radio with Huard for any length of time, you won’t question his love or intelligence about the industry. He truly loves and understands the business. When you have a former player that has an incredible amount of passion for sports radio, you really have something. Seattle Sports 710 really has something with Huard and his return to the airwaves made locals in the Pacific Northwest very happy. 

Brock & Salk haven’t had to deal with the challenges that new shows experience in the first few months. They’re not trying to establish a chemistry and flow together. They’ve had it after doing a show together twice before, plus a podcast the two hosted together.

“He and I had still done the podcast together for the last couple of years, and had a number of conversations over that time about how fun that hour and a half was, each and every week,” said Huard. “We never really missed a podcast and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Had we not done that podcast for two years, I don’t know if we would have come back for a third iteration. The third time has been the charm on this iteration.”

What makes the show isn’t just Huard being a former athlete or Salk being a very dynamic and experienced host. The two share an incredible chemistry that shines through on the air. However, Huard thinks there’s one reason in particular that the two mesh so well on air. 

“Because we listen,” said Huard. “That’s number one. I will listen to so many radio shows when I’m on the road and I’m like, this is bad radio. And you can tell hosts aren’t listening to one another, they’re just waiting for their time to talk and they fill and it’s terrible.

“If I was a radio consultant, there’s two muscles you have to build constantly. A is listening and B is curiosity. I think for 14 years he’s still genuinely curious about me and how my mind works, world views, ideology and sports views. After 14 years, I’m equally interested in how he thinks and it’s very different than me.

“It was hard to be able to listen and respect one another, because we come from two totally different world views, in many ways. But at the same time, when you do, and you’re curious to listen to the other side and what they have to say, you create unique content.

“He and I used to have to build these big show sheets when we started and we still have structure and everyday there’s still show sheets, but a consultant by the name of Rick Scott told me this early on, he said you know your show will be good, when you don’t get to half of the stuff on your show sheet. And he was absolutely right 14 years ago.”

Co-hosting morning drive at Seattle Sports 710 isn’t the only gig Huard has in sports media. He’s also a college football analyst for FOX. He’ll be on the call Friday night for the Pac-12 Championship game between USC and Utah. But everything ties back to radio for Huard and a recent experience on an airplane made him realize it again. 

“I was sitting next to this very smart gentleman the other day on my trip home from college football, and he was crushing crossword puzzles like I’ve never seen before,” said Huard. “He’s a very successful attorney and you could see for him, that was such a tool to keep his mind sharp. For me, radio is the same thing. It’s been the best training ground for everything I do with media, especially television.

“If you can do live radio and equip your mind to listen and strengthen that listening muscle, while also creating content, it’s a pretty good active tool. It keeps my mind sharp and plays to my mind’s strengths, I think, with just how wackado I can be between my ears at times. If you have a tremendous partner that helps shape you, like Salk is to me, then it’s just addictive and gets in your blood and doesn’t leave.”

As it relates to radio, being a college football analyst has its perks, because of the access it gives Huard. Every week before calling a game, he gets production meetings with head coaches, which gives him insight that others may not have. It also awards Huard the opportunity to create relationships with coaches. But how much of what’s said does he feel like he can use on the game broadcast or his radio show?

“99.9 percent is used on the air, on the show and sometimes I gain insight and share it with coaches that I know to encourage them,” said Huard. “It baffles me how many times I will hear from my peers, oh, I hate these coaches meetings. I don’t get anything out of them. And I’m like, God bless you. I will have a career for the rest of my life if that’s the way you approach it. It’s the most valuable real estate we have. It’s a forum that nobody else has.

“Yeah, they have press conferences, but if you build true trust and relationship and confidence, they want to tell you their story. They want to share their team. I can’t tell you how many times content from those meetings comes to life in my sit downs with Pete Carroll or Jerry Dipoto, GM of the Mariners or Scott Servais, or on the air or off the air.”

Huard has an insight to college football that few in the Pacific Northwest has, but that doesn’t mean he and Salk will jam pack content from that sport into the show. The duo knows that Seattle cares about. Sure, there’s an interest for college football, but not anywhere near the hunger from Seahawks and Mariners content. 

For example, Huard called the TCU vs. Baylor game two weeks ago, which featured one of the best endings in college football this year, when the Horned Frogs nailed a field goal as time expired. The call of the moment was spectacular and could be the shining moment of the season for a TCU team that looks destined for the College Football Playoff. On the Monday after, Huard and Salk made it a part of the show, but never had the intention of making it the majority of the show. 

“Our audience is dominated by the Seahawks and Mariners,” said Huard. “That dominates 80 to 90 percent of our conversation. I would say lifestyle is probably the rest. For example, we played that highlight today four times over the course of the show. We rank things at the end of every show and it was my Top 5 games of my broadcast life in 14 years on the road and that was number 1.

“I often use conversations and things I learned from those games and players and relate them to the Seahawks and Mariners. Dave Aranda talked about living with expectations and how hard that is in our meeting on Friday. He said, you watch, TCU is going to have to live in an entirely different world, where you’re on the mountain top instead of climbing it. And then you relate that toward the Seahawks or the Rams this year.

“Inevitably, yes, those moments create content, either emotionally or football 101. Radio is all encompassing in that way. I never understand radio hosts who try to play it straight. I just don’t. I think it’s bad radio. You have to be willing to live your life and put your life out there, whether it’s good, bad or ugly. The more you do that, the more you attach yourself and connect with your audience.”

It feels like the third time is truly the charm for Huard and Salk. They listen, they have chemistry and the content is a refreshing mix of sports and lifestyle. 

“He and I are not comedians,” said Huard. “We don’t play fake laugh tracks like others do. He and I will land way more on the analytical information side than maybe a consultant would tell us what morning radio people want. But I think where it cuts through is he and I put our lives out there. Our parenting success and failures. Relationship struggles, kids, sports, youth sports, that’s probably where we connect in a way that’s more lifestyle. That’s the word I would use.”

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BSM Writers

Chuck Swirsky Embodies ‘Always A Pleasure’

“I love working with Bill Wennington and each and every day I have the same enthusiasm of calling a Bulls game like I did as a five-year-old child calling games off a TV.”

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It’s hard to imagine there are any more positive thinking people in the world than Chuck Swirsky. If you don’t believe me, just check out his daily tweets. Swirsky has a lot to be upbeat about, he’s doing what he’s always wanted to, and now he’s written a book.

Always a Pleasure” is his creation, putting thoughts on paper, or iPad or whatever, about stories and people he’s encountered over the more than 40-years he’s been in the business.

The title is aptly accurate. Chuck is always a pleasure to be around and is one of the most supportive people I’ve ever met. He encourages those that need it. Swirsky always has time for people in the business and those trying to get into this crazy racket. I’ve seen and experienced it for myself, so trust me when I tell you, it’s the truth.

There are those that have worked multiple decades in play-by-play, and I’ll bet each and every one of them has been asked at some point, ‘hey, why don’t you write a book?’. Sounds easy enough, I’m sure. But when you really think about it, how can a person be expected to fit 40 plus years of work into a book that wouldn’t be the size of a dictionary?

More on that in a moment. I was wondering what makes someone in Swirsky’s position to write a book. So, I asked him. He outlined the main reason he decided to put pen to paper and tell some of his favorite stories and recall good memories.

“Over the past several years I was approached by several publishers and writers who were interested in detailing my journey in sports broadcasting, featuring my stops calling major college athletics and NBA basketball in addition to sports talk.” Swirsky told me. “I was reluctant to do so but a year ago I had a change of heart knowing 2022-23 Bulls season would be my 25th in the NBA, including my 2-thousandth NBA play-by-play game.”

Swirsky didn’t use a sportswriter or an author to tell his tale. “For years I have saved notes and decided to write the book myself, in my own words. I love my job. I have no desire to retire. I want to continue broadcasting Bulls game for many more years as long as my health and clarity allow me to do so.” he said.

“I love working with Bill Wennington and each and every day I have the same enthusiasm of calling a Bulls game like I did as a five-year-old child calling games off a TV. I have the utmost respect for the Reinsdorf  family and our entire organization.  I just felt this was the right time to write a book.”

I have followed Swirsky’s career closely and gotten to know him over the years. Growing up in Chicago, I was fortunate enough to hear him in his early days here, at the old WCFL (now ESPN 1000), where he became one of the pioneers of sports talk radio. He’s called games on radio and television.

For DePaul, Michigan, select White Sox games, the Raptors and now over the last nearly 2 decades, the Bulls. That’s a lot of experience and a lot of experiences for one person. It made ‘editing’ the book a little difficult.

“I could have easily written another 100 pages featuring additional sports personalities and stories.” Swirsky said. “But I elected to highlight specifics of a timeline allowing the reader to understand that my quest to reach a childhood goal of broadcasting NBA basketball was met with challenges, setbacks and ultimately persevering through hard work, focus, passion and positivity.”

Writing books can be a way to look back on a career. Swirsky if far from done. He never really reflected on things, because he was always looking forward. But the retrospective allowed him to realize a few things along the way.

“I would say this. I am my own worst critic.  I very seldom look back on my career. While I was writing “Always A Pleasure” I had to stop and truly reflect how blessed I  am to be in the position where  I am today. I never take it for granted. Never have. Never will.” Swirsky said.  “Nothing is easy. It’s hard. This business can be exhilarating yet so difficult. I never get too high nor too low although I’m very sensitive and my insecurities get the best of me which is probably not a good thing , especially in radio-television.”

In looking back there’s bound to be a few lessons learned from the past. Swirsky did find a few things in writing the book that he remembered, educated him along the way. “I learned that anyone who applies themselves, making  a commitment to work on their  skill set, and their weaknesses through hard work, dedication, passion and purpose, can be successful.” he said. 

“For example, not every professional athlete is going to hit .330. Let’s say another player is hitting .240. What is keeping him in the big leagues? Is it his  glove,  his ability to play multiple positions?  His  character in the locker-room? The same principle is in effect in our industry. Maximize your strengths and do it with a great attitude, humility and kindness.”

Swirsky’s book details his interactions with some very familiar people in the business and the sports world. “I have plenty of stories featuring some of the biggest names in sports ranging from Hall of Fame baseball star Willie Mays who many consider perhaps the greatest player of all time to Kobe Bryant who left our world way too soon.” he says. “When you’ve been a professional broadcaster for 46 years, one  meets many, many players, coaches, executives, media and sports personalities along the way.” 

The one thing you can say about Swrisky, is he is real. There’s no pretense or facade. A genuine human being that is interested in what people have to say. Athletes, coaches, broadcasters and yes, even fans. His book has been reviewed by some of the greats. Mike Breen, Chris Bosh and even Steph Curry. Here’s the 2-time NBA MVP’s take on Swirsky and the book.

Having known Chuck since my days as a still-developing youth player in Toronto, where my dad was a member of the Raptors, I can attest to the fact that his passion for people and basketball is deep and sincere.

Chuck’s unique desire to mentor young people, especially minorities and those of different cultures and backgrounds, will help inspire those who share the same dreams, dreams that enabled him to persevere to the top of his profession.

I’m proud of Chuck, and excited that others can become enlightened by his exciting broadcasting journey, which includes nearly 25 years in the NBA and, of course, a trio of Curry family members shooting from the stars, just like him.

A book written by someone as accomplished in this industry as Swirsky draws interest because of who he is. But the Bulls’ play-by-play man is always thinking of others and trying to help where he can, just like Curry said. Along with stories, he lends his knowledge and relates it to those who are already in broadcasting and those trying to get in.

“I’m hoping those in our industry who read the book even those outside the radio-tv, new media field will come away knowing that perseverance is a powerful resource to help withstand the emotional heartache of rejection, disappointment and loneliness.” said Swirsky. He adds, “I have experienced everything. The good. The bad. The ugly. I’m talking all levels.  My message is to stay true to your core values. In this case,  my foundation is  built on respect,  kindness, honesty, sincerity and selflessness.”  

Given the opportunity to beam about the finished product, Swirsky in typical fashion, deflected any praise. Simply saying, “I am very humbled and appreciative of  the professionalism of the book’s publisher, Eckhartz Press. They allowed me to be me. That’s all I wanted. Mission accomplished. I am grateful.”

The entire industry should be grateful for people like Swirsky. There are so few in the business who are as kind and caring as he is. There are just as few people that take interest in others, and help mentor the next generation like Chuck. Inspiring stories, a career chronicle and life lessons, “Always a Pleasure” is going to be on my must-read list for the holidays. Congrats “Swirsk” keep up the great work.

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