Whether you are a gambler or just a fan of the industry, you should be familiar with the name Mitch Moss. Moss, along with Paul Howard, hosts Follow the Money, a three-hour show featuring informative and entertaining sports talk, actionable betting information and humorously legendary stories.
True story, but I first came across their show a couple of years ago after I purchased my new car. The vehicle came with a subscription to SiriusXM. I immediately became addicted to VSiN and religiously listened to, you guessed it, Follow the Money.
Moss’ journey into sports media goes all the way back to his Junior year of high school when he was trying to figure out what he wanted to do as a career. At his school’s career day, he discovered the broadcasting school Madison Media Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. That is when a light bulb went off for Moss, who used to do play-by-play on his own while watching sports on mute.
“I said to myself, I can actually come to your school, you can teach me broadcasting and I can turn into a play-by-play guy? I was like ‘absolutely, sign me up for that!’”
His love for Las Vegas and gambling came a little later, when Moss took a trip to the city when he was 21. Like many others who visit Sin City, he fell in love instantly.
“After that trip, I loved Las Vegas so much that I said to myself, ‘even if I can’t find a job in radio, I’m going to do something else here.’ I don’t know, like being a blackjack dealer or a mixologist. Whatever it takes’”.
Luckily, or unluckily, depending on how you see it, Moss never had to go that route. Instead, he was able to do what he always dreamed of in high school, sports radio. And, after spending thirteen of fifteen years of his career working for the Lotus Broadcasting radio stations in Las Vegas, Moss made the move to join Brent Musberger’s VSiN.
I spoke with Moss about his journey, the future of VSiN and his foresight to get into the gambling space long before many others.
How did you get into the gambling space in the media?
Many things transpired, but it was me being in Las Vegas that kicked it off. So, I had a Sunday morning pregame show starting in 2003. I’m talking to oddsmakers before a game kicks-off while the numbers are moving and I’m thinking to myself “This is so great. I love this.”
Then my Sunday morning show shifted to the WestGate. That show is still there now, but other people do it. But, that is where I got to know guys like Jay Kornegay and the Jimmy Vaccaro’s of the world. Just awesome dudes who had been doing this for a while. Then it just started rolling from there. I loved covering gambling and then I got to know the guys out here in Vegas and the industry better, which did it for me.
How did you eventually get to VSiN?
I have many people to thank. Guys like Jimmy Vacarro, Matt Youmans, Vinny Magliulo. Those three went to bat for me and kept telling VSiN that if they were going to be a full-time network with sports radio and eventually television content, then you need these guys. They kept going to the well and to bat for me and my co-host Pauly Howard. I also had talks with Brian Musberger before VSiN even started. He had listened and liked my Sunday morning show I used to do at the WestGate, so he knew about us. So when the time came, it all worked out. We did weekends at first, and then within a month they asked us to do this full-time at the network and offered us a time slot. Of course we took it, it was too good to pass up.
Tell me your thoughts on the future of VSiN.
I told the guys back then, this is before we were even hired, but I think the ceiling for VSiN is that it could be like ESPN. When you go back to the early 80s for ESPN and they were having the America’s Cup on, yacht racing and boxing, but now we know what ESPN eventually turned into.
I have the same feeling for VSiN because I know that the gambling content is going to be there and the industry is completely exploding. More people gamble on sports than they play the stock market. It’s inevitable and we are starting to slowly see it now.
You and Pauly have terrific chemistry on the show. How did that come about?
Paully and I worked at the same radio station in Las Vegas going all the way back to like 2001…I became the program director and when it happened I needed more help. So we decided to merge our shows together. We morphed Pauly’s show which he had with another host, into mine and then we did a three-man show. So we did that for a long, long time. In April of 2010 or 2011, we have the third highest ratings in the country.
It’s funny because we’re similar. Same age, same part of the country, same likes, same interests, so that chemistry has always been there since Day 1. It’s one of our strengths for sure.
You had the foresight to get into gambling before a lot of people, talk to me about that in a little bit more detail.
I loved it and had a feeling for it. I will tell you a funny story. If you go back six, seven years, I would have lost my life savings if I could have made a bet on the NFL ever having a franchise in Las Vegas. I’m not even joking. We covered 10 or 11 Super Bowls in a row and they hated the city. My friend John Hanson, who had his own show at the time, had the microphone one time to ask Paul Tagliabue a question about turning down Las Vegas dollars for Super Bowl ads and he compared it to prohibition. It was one of the weirdest answers and never made any sense to me ever. I remember when the host on NFL Network refused to say the city’s name and would just say that city in the desert instead and Goodell would laugh about it.
Another great story is about the Vegas mayor at the time. I was doing my pregame show at the WestGate and Mayor Goodman was on the air talking about parlay tickets.
But, living out here is so different, it is like the norm here. I was lucky, I guess, because in my 20s I lived in a spot that was within a hundred yards of the Palms. So I would walk there 5 or 6 days a week. I would just go out the side gate, walk to the Palms and would take me two minutes and I’m right there into the Sportsbook. And, the weather out here is so great.
Lake Green Valley Ranch is a casino where their big club at the time was called Whiskey Sky, I believe. They were known for 20 foot mattresses outside by the pools and it would be 75 degrees in January and we would make some bets and we would go sit on these mattresses and watch games. I’d be like oh my God, this is life! How is the whole city not out here right now?
It is so perfect and then just being here and living here and seeing it day to day. The more people that you talk to, the more bookmakers and bettors that you talk to, you can see the industry was ready to explode. But it became a part of my routine, like I brush my teeth in the morning and I look at the lines as well. So it was just a combination of me being in Vegas and believing that things were going to get bigger in the future.
What would you do if you were out of this gambling space one day?
Pauly and I joke about that, ‘like what other skills do we have’? I’ve been doing it since I was 19 years old. I know nothing else. Before I thought I’d go back to sports talk radio, but I don’t think I could do it anymore. I love covering gambling and love betting on sports, but I can’t stand hot takes and what the industry has become. I don’t have to say names, but some of the stuff we saw last week regarding Dak Prescott, I don’t want to be a part of that, where you have to be opinionated and get people mad and make them take sides. 50% of the audience is going to love you and the other 50% is going to hate you. So I don’t want to be a part of the hot take community in sports media.
If that ever happens to me, say me and VSiN we go our separate ways after four years for whatever reason, and I had to go back to hot take sports radio. I don’t think I could do it. I don’t enjoy it, it’s not fun to me. The idea of going back to school to learn a new skill is tough. My wife did that actually, she now has two degrees now and she’s amazing. Maybe I’d revisit that whole mixology thing we talked about earlier. Hopefully it never gets there.
COVID-19 affected everyone and everything including sports. How did it affect you from a work standpoint?
After March Madness was cancelled, in April it was obviously very gloom and doom. I’m not joking, we’d spend 90 minutes, if not more, talking about NFL draft props and betting on the NFL draft for 3 weeks leading into the draft. I mean it was to the point like what can you possibly say anymore? Then we did some futures talk. We really didn’t know what was going to happen.
Once we got UFC and Golf back, things got better. I think it was around May 9th with the UFC event coming back then Golf. Then that was enough at that time where we could just do UFC and talk about that 3 days a week, no problem. What else was anyone going to watch or bet on? Then European soccer eventually came back and we have Nigel Seely, who is an incredible soccer guest, so he helped by coming on for us. But, before that, it was the Russian table tennis. I tried to get involved, and I know Doug Kizierian was involved with that and I know others who stayed up to watch that and wouldn’t sleep. They actually changed their lifestyle to watch and bet that. That and the KBO. But, I couldn’t fake it. I couldn’t get involved in the KBO.
I will say though that golf has become one of my favorite sports to bet on. That’s one thing I’m going to take away from this. I always liked betting on golf, but now more so than ever, I like betting golf now almost as much as anything. I would say I like betting golf way more than baseball. But, yes, it was lean there for a long time. We did the best we could.
How do you put together your personal gambling card and picks for the show?
I mean there is a lot of good stuff that good people I trust put out there. I hope I don’t forget anyone, but VSiN does a great job. Their Point Spread Weekly is great as are their betting guides. There are a couple of good golf guys that I’ve been turned on to by Jeff Sherman. You have Joe Osborne from Oddsshark and sites like Kenpom for college basketball, teamrankings.com and FanGraphs for baseball. For football, one of our guests we have on every Friday is Adam Chernoff. He has a slack channel and I love reading his write ups and listening to his podcast.
Drew Dinsick does a podcast with Andy Molitor, and they are very good. Drew’s been coming on the show as a guest for a while now. There are so many good people out there and once you start to get to know them, it helps. Paul Stone is great. If I ever have a question with anything about college football, I’ll send him a text and he’ll get back to me. NBA.com has great data, you have to navigate it for a while, but still, and cleaningtheglass.com for the NBA as well. The information out there is endless, so you have to just vet it out.
Has the amount you bet per wager changed now that you’re in the industry?
That’s a great question. It’s remained the same for the most part. But, I will vary my bets, though. For example, I like betting futures bets and in-play a lot. The pregame stuff can be so tricky and so can betting baseball. I do vary my bets depending on how much I like something and what the number might be, but overall, throughout the years and even with me being in the industry, it has remained pretty much the same.
Looking back on your journey, is there a moment that helped you get to where you are today?
My buddy and I won the Last Man Standing Football contest in 2006. I’m going to wear that title for the rest of my life and I am going to bring it up until I’m 120 years old. At the time we split $17,000, people will say peanuts, but today that is worth around $85-100k … That helped me with my confidence moving forward.
Before we head out, what is one piece of advice you’d give to anyone trying to make it in the broadcast or gambling media industry?
Have fun with it for sure and the key is, get to know as many people as you possibly can. It might take some time, but I’ve been here since 2001 and now I know bettors, oddsmakers, etc. I think there’s a huge space for this in the media world.
Instead of saying ‘I want to be a talk show host’ or ‘I want to do play-by-play’, be more open. My whole dream was do play-by-play, but I would say absolutely concentrate on doing gambling right out of the gates. Read books about it, listen to radio shows, talk to people about gambling, listen to Follow the Money once in a while or listen to other podcasts out there. You are going to learn a lot.
Vik Chokshi covered the sports betting industry for BSM. He is based in Chicago, IL and working currently for BetQL. He has written previously for The Action Network, Front Office Sports, and The Big Lead. Reach Vik by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @DockSquad33.
The 2024 BSM Summit Welcomes Stephen A. Smith, Andrew Marchand and 7 More Speakers!
“I am both personally and professionally excited to announce that Stephen A. Smith will join us at the 2024 BSM Summit.”
This week’s column is going to focus a lot on the upcoming 2024 BSM Summit. We released the full schedule today on BSMSummit.com. This is also the final day for event sponsorships to be secured. If interested, email Stephanie at [email protected]. We only have a few remaining opportunities.
If you’re participating at the show, be advised that emails will go out today to all speaker groups with details on date/time of session, content focus, the address of the venue, and who to contact on the day of the event. I have a few names I still have to add to our advertising panel. Getting CMO’s and/or media buyers involved isn’t always easy but I think it’s important. More on that soon.
But let me not bury the lead. We have a major addition to announce. I am both personally and professionally excited to share that Stephen A. Smith will join us at the 2024 BSM Summit.
A month ago I wasn’t sure if this was going to work out. As a longtime fan of Stephen A.’s, this has been a session I’ve wanted to do for six years. Sometimes schedules don’t line up though. But when things do fall into place, it’s pretty cool. This is one of those times.
Stephen A. Smith is a man who needs no introduction or hype. He’s one of the most successful on-air talents in the industry today, helping First Take enjoy nearly 15 years of unmatched success. Aside from his on-air excellence and the impact he’s created at ESPN and during the course of a three decade career, Stephen A. also serves as co-executive producer of First Take, and operates his own production company, Mr. SAS Productions. His book, Straight Shooter; A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes is a New York Times best seller. He’s also created a hit podcast The Stephen A. Smith Show, which continues to attract a wide range of notable guests and thought leaders, and large audience.
On March 13th, Stephen A. and I will close out day 1 with a wide-ranging, in-depth conversation on the state of the sports media business. It’s a discussion that I know our professional audience will want to be present for. Given his rise to stardom, and ability to maintain a high standard while expanding into other areas of business, there’s a ton to tackle. We’ve got thirty five minutes to do it, and I’ll make sure we make the most of it. My thanks to Stephen A. and his team for moving a few things around to be able to join us.
8 More BSM Summit Speakers:
Stephen A. is going to attract a lot of attention, rightfully so but I don’t want to ignore how valuable these next eight speakers are to the Summit too. I am thrilled to welcome sports media’s top news breaker and a man whose recent arrival at The Athletic instantly elevated the brand’s media coverage, Andrew Marchand.
Joining Stephen A. and Andrew as additions to the Summit are Omaha Productions host Kevin Clark, Outkick’s SVP and Managing Editor Gary Schreier, Audacy Chief Digital Officer J.D. Crowley, Executive Editor and SVP of the Cumulus Podcast Network John Wordock, Matthew Berry’s Fantasy Life CEO Eliot Crist, 98.5 The Sports Hub program director Rick Radzik, and KOA 94.1/850 program director Dave Tepper.
I also want to thank SiriusXM, Quu and Bonneville International for signing on as Summit partners. We operate our shows independently and can’t pull them off without industry support. I’m grateful to every group that has pledged support for our 2024 show, and each individual who’s making time to join us in the big apple next month.
One-Day Only Sale:
To celebrate today’s schedule release and the addition of nine speakers, I’ve rolled out a one-day only sale on Summit tickets. We’re taking $50 off of individual tickets. To take advantage of the sale, click here. Prices return to normal on Tuesday February 27th. Ticket prices increase on March 4th to $324.99 so act now to avoid paying more.
Complete The Phrase:
Last week we tried something new in our 8@8. We introduced a full week phrase, which gave our newsletter subscribers a chance to win tickets to the BSM Summit. Congratulations to Heath Cline, Nick Cattles, Karlos Ortiz, Logan Ward and Michelle Rabinovich on being selected as our winners. Thanks to all who participated in the contest.
96.7/1310 The Ticket: What The Ticket has created in Dallas with Ticketstock is pretty damn cool. The free event is well supported with sponsorships, giveaways, merchandise, contests, and live content from the entire on-air staff. In a time where sports radio isn’t active as it should be producing big money making live events, it’s good to see one of sports radio’s originals out there creating an impact.
Rob Parker: In May of 2016 I wrote a column and asked why no station in America featured an all-black sports radio lineup. Corporate groups didn’t rush in but someone finally took the leap eight years later. Congratulations to Rob Parker and his investors on the upcoming arrival of Sports Rap Radio in Detroit.
Battling 97.1 The Ticket for sports radio dominance isn’t going to be the focus for the new local sports radio brand. Creating an alternative for the black community and launching new stars is. Will it work? Only time will tell. But I appreciate folks who take risks to innovate. That’s something sports radio needs more, not less of.
670 The Score: I absolutely loved what The Score did to turn debate and discussion around Caleb Williams and Justin Fields into an event involving their audience. Having the access to an in-house room to invite fans in is a great asset Audacy Chicago has. Mitch Rosen, Ryan Porth and the Parkins and Spiegel team made good use of it with their QB1 Town Hall. The content was crisp, the room was full, and 670 took a normal day of Bears talk and turned it into an opportunity to create a stronger bond with its audience. Nice job by all.
Jonathan Zaslow and Q Myers: I’ll eavesdrop on a show every now and then and if I know the host(s), I’ll send a text to let them know I was listening. Especially if I like what I hear. That was the case last Thursday night. I’m not usually out at 10pm on a weeknight but while I was in the car, I scanned the dial and landed on Q and Zaslow. Their energy and chemistry was great, and the NBA topics and discussions were relatable and easy to process.
Having worked the night schedule before, you sometimes wonder ‘is anyone listening?’ The good ones focus and perform whether they have an audience of one or one million. Twenty to thirty minutes may not be a ton of listening time, but capturing even five minutes at night is difficult. Nice job by Q and Jonathan. They were on target and kept me interested.
JJ Redick: Since bursting on to the scene, I’ve enjoyed JJ’s opinions and willingness to mix it up. It’s clearly worked because ESPN recently added him to their top NBA broadcast team alongside Mike Breen and Doris Burke. What I don’t understand though is his constant complaining about what people enjoy. Insulting the audience and their preferences is a sure fire way to lose fans. Kudos to Nick Wright for calling it out.
Drama and opinion will always outsell education. Nobody is suggesting that JJ shouldn’t try to make fans smarter. I myself appreciate that. But if you expect people to prefer analysis over entertainment, prepare to be disappointed. Furthermore, despising the audience and what they value leads to more people tuning you out instead of in.
ESPN 97.5: Six months ago the station lost a promising afternoon show with Jake Asman, Brad Kellner and Cody Stoots. Fortunately, they had a strong midday show with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank that was ready for the afternoon slot. They then added a new midday show with Joshua Beard and Michael Connor, and all seemed to be moving in the right direction.
Until this week.
The station has once again cut staff, killing the new midday show just six months into its run, and parting ways with the only program director in the building. It’s hard to say you want to compete when your decisions suggest otherwise. Frequent change also gives local clients less incentive to stick with you. Here’s to hoping it works out for John, Lance, Joel, Jeremy, Paul and Joe. Good, talented guys who deserve more help and stability.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at [email protected].
Peter Rosenberg Has Become a Dual Threat Across the New York City Airwaves
“I refuse to be the guy who’s like, ‘Let me just repeat kind of the same point so you hear my voice and I sound like a sports talk host.’”
Michael Kay and Don La Greca have been working together since 2002. The duo was able to accumulate success together for over a decade, but in September 2015, management chose to add a third host. Kay and La Greca did not desire the change, nonetheless, they welcomed Peter Rosenberg and were receptive to his ideas and perspectives. As a result, they’ve ascended to a higher level, creating exceptional chemistry while leaving an indelible mark on the sports talk format.
Before Rosenberg joined The Michael Kay Show, he frequently listened to it. He detected an overall warmth from the show and felt included as a listener. Combined with the confidence and track record he had procured in media, Rosenberg was able to assimilate into 98.7 ESPN New York and the sports talk format while continuing his music radio duties. He was certain he would be able to find his way and make meaningful contributions and believes the program found its groove in the new structure quickly thereafter.
“I knew that I would bring goods to the table, and once we did a few shows together and we got along, it was pretty easy to see how it was going to work,” Rosenberg said. “Probably easier for me to see than for Michael and Don, but I could tell how this thing was going to work.”
Prior to each show, Rosenberg and his colleagues consider what people are discussing and what they feel passionate about. There are times when his views diverge from that of the group, but he is given the latitude to express himself and offer his viewpoint. In the end, he feels that the show oftentimes gets it correct and finds a way to resonate with the audience. A common remark directed towards Rosenberg, however, is his tendency to not speak all the time. The practice comes from discipline he has accrued over the years, along with a cognizance of the three-person format and ability to suppress hubris.
“If I don’t have a lot to say on a subject, we have three people,” Rosenberg explained. “I refuse to be the guy who’s like, ‘Let me just repeat the same point so you hear my voice and I sound like a sports talk host.’ I would rather wait for the spot and be impactful or make that little quip.”
Rosenberg will be on hand at the 2024 BSM Summit along with ESPN New York co-host Michael Kay, taking part in a Day 1 discussion. Having previously attended the industry conference several years ago, he remembers interacting with industry professionals and learning more about the industry as well. The conference will highlight many aspects of the sports business while examining current challenges, changes, and opportunities.
“There are a lot of jokes about sports talk radio – it’s very easy to make fun of – but it really is an art form to do it well,” Rosenberg said. “I’m not putting every show we do in the Louvre. We do three-and-a-half-hours a day, five days a week, but there are days that belong in the Louvre.”
Outside of his job with ESPN New York, Rosenberg works as a commentator for World Wrestling Entertainment, appearing on television one to two times per month for events. The mode of entertainment blends athleticism with storytelling and is something he considers to be an art form. Additionally, Rosenberg hosts a variety of digital programs and podcasts surrounding the sport, including Cheap Heat with The Ringer and independent YouTube endeavors such as Wrestling with Rosenberg and Real Late with Rosenberg.
“There’s a phrase in wrestling called, ‘Getting your shit in,’” Rosenberg said. “Wrestlers will joke about having a match where it’s like, ‘Well, I want to get my shit in; I want to get my moves in.’ I don’t need to get my shit in every day.”
Despite Rosenberg co-hosting the show with La Greca and Kay, the program is titled The Michael Kay Show, something that people could assume may cause derision or divisiveness. On the contrary, he does not regularly think about the subject and instead focuses on how he can help the program thrive on a daily basis.
Throughout the show, Rosenberg delivers his opinions and insights when appropriate and most salient to the overall discussion. Even so, he is able to talk at length and lead segments if necessary, equipped with a skillset fostered through countless repetitions behind the microphone. The balance between speaking and listening took time for him to implement, and through years of practice, he has become more adept at choosing his spots.
“I take a lot of pride in the sort of humor that I bring to the show, and a lot of that comes in when Michael and Don are being very serious,” Rosenberg said. “You may not hear me very much and it may just be an ad-lib that if you’re a real fan of the show and you listen, it cracks you up because you know sort of what my angle is.”
Although sports media was Rosenberg’s primary interest in his youth, he transitioned to the music format while studying at the University of Maryland. Considering his skills and passions, he determined that the hip-hop genre would be conducive to success and had dreams of hosting on venerated radio station HOT 97 in New York, N.Y. Rosenberg positioned himself for growth in these years, starting his own radio program on the student-run radio station in the summer ahead of his freshman year.
By the time he was a sophomore, he was interning with Darian “Big Tigger” Morgan and Keith “DJ Flexx” Clagon where he learned about formatics and how to run the board. Upon graduation, Rosenberg had stints working at WPGC and WHFS before landing his own talk radio show on WJFK.
Eponymously titled The Peter Rosenberg Show, the program featured Rosenberg and co-host Daryl “Quartermaine” Francis and fused hip-hop with sports and other topics. Even though many perceived the program to be primed for growth, Rosenberg was fired after one year at the station following an on-air feud with colleague Don Geronimo. During the ensuing week, he was broadcasting online from his bedroom while thinking about the future.
Ebro Darden, the program director and morning show host of HOT 97, decided to hire Rosenberg to work at the station in 2007. Since then, Rosenberg has co-hosted Ebro in the Morning alongside Darden and Laura Stylez. The cast provides listeners with honest, candid discussions, exclusive interviews, and plenty of hip-hop. Together the group has thrived within the sprawling media marketplace, building a unique camaraderie across the airwaves.
“Not a lot of teams at this level get along this well, as evidenced by what happened to our competition in the market,” Rosenberg said. “It is not easy for people’s ego to be in check and also for people just frankly to have good relationships – even beyond the ego, actually enjoying each other’s company.”
By hosting in a marketplace considered a consensus birthplace of hip-hop with extensive platinum artists along with many accomplished professional sports teams, topic selection in New York City can seem like a daunting task. Despite not being from New York, Rosenberg tries to captivate and enthrall listeners on two very different programs. The dichotomy between the two formats is something he believes has allowed him to appeal to different segments of the audience.
“When you do music radio, a lot of young women listen to you,” Rosenberg said. “It puts you in a different space – the way that you entertain; the way that you talk – what’s interesting [and] what’s cool is different. When you get on sports talk radio, you’re mostly talking to 50-year-old men, so I think every once in a while it’s useful to be able to inject some of the things that make it work for you with that different audience.”
In August, Good Karma Brands will leave the 98.7 WEPN-FM signal, shifting its focus to its app and the 1050 WPEN-AM signal. Despite enjoying a steady presence on the FM band since 2012, the local marketing agreement (LMA) established between ESPN and Emmis Communications will expire, and Good Karma Brands has elected not to pursue purchasing the signal. With roughly 60% of its listenership taking place outside of radio, ESPN New York will move forward with its focus on digital distribution, relying on 1050 AM for over the air availability.
“I think it’ll force us to be creative in terms of how we market and things like that, and I’m excited to see what everyone does, but I don’t spend a ton of time concerned about it,” Rosenberg said. “I think if handled the right way, you can really make it a positive with how you push the listening online and maybe find a way to surprisingly expand the show into reaching a bit more of a broad audience.”
The head-to-head competition between ESPN New York and WFAN is frequently scrutinized in each quarterly ratings book and has been addressed on various programs between the two entities. Although The Michael Kay Show has finished behind WFAN in the daypart, Rosenberg measures the success of the program through a variety of factors. For example, the program sold out its 20th anniversary show in New York City and has loyal callers who frequently chime into the discussion.
“We just get up every day and act like good people and talk about things that we’re passionate about. I wouldn’t trade it to be one of these screaming lunatics who talks about subjects they don’t actually care about just to get people to bite,” Rosenberg said. “It’s not what we do. To me, I think being yourself is what it’s all about because then if you’re never lying, you don’t have to keep track of what you said in the past.”
While they all have deft knowledge of various sports, Rosenberg tries to stay away from breakdowns that could either be difficult to ascertain and actualize or are too obscure to render enticing. In fact, his least favorite editions of the show are those that closely examine techniques and schemes associated with the games themselves. There are times when it is necessary, but he feels that it evokes previous theories on how to engender interest in the format and a motif of the transformation of consumer options.
“I think that the future of sports talk, to me, is going to be audiences who really want granular sports talk seeking out specific podcasts around the teams and sports that they’re obsessed with,” Rosenberg said. “I think the role of mainstream sports talk radio as we know it will be people who love sports and want to talk about it in a very entertaining way while being themselves and doing other things as well.”
While he still enjoys hosting in the format, he also understands that technological advances, paradigmatic shifts in consumption patterns and proprietary, athlete-driven content has obliged traditional outlets to adapt and exercise prudence. Avoiding misfortune is sometimes out of one’s control, but it is something that Rosenberg attempts to prevent by always staying at the top of his game.
“You’ve got to be talented and innovative because there are going to be less jobs. That is for sure,” said Rosenberg. “In terms of what the jobs are that are offered by big companies and where you can get yourself a nice little salary and insurance, those will be limited if you’re not a former athlete. I think it’s super important that we’re ready to pivot and do different things because otherwise, there’s just going to be so much competition among people.”
Throughout his media career, Rosenberg has amassed many accomplishments while cementing his position with ESPN New York, HOT 97, World Wrestling Entertainment and several independent undertakings. Despite generating consistent success in the country’s number one market in multiple formats, he does not consider himself to have reached his pinnacle as a broadcaster. Rosenberg undoubtedly cherishes his past and present work, but he exhibits tireless determination to augment his standing by aiming to perform at a level commensurate to and exceeding the ingrained standard.
“I know we live in a world where if you get a lot of viewers on Twitch and you’re 19 and funny, you’re hot, but I view what we do a little differently,” Rosenberg said. “I’m probably finishing up my 10,000 hours or just did in the last couple of years, so I’m really trying to master this craft and get to another level that I haven’t gotten to yet. I’m still working on it.”
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
‘Load Management’ is Ridiculous in Sports and Even More Dumb in Broadcasting
I think it is a bad decision by any content creator to not have consistency.
If you are a fan of the NBA, you are familiar with the term ‘load management’ which has become popular in the last couple of seasons. I should say, if you are a fan of today’s NBA, because the NBA I fell in love with in the 80’s and 90’s had players who played unless they were hurt. Somehow I don’t think the thought of just sitting out a game here and there because it is a long season ever occured to the ‘Showtime’ Lakers or ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons.
Look, if the season is too long for today’s pampered players, we need to figure out how to shorten them. If not, maybe the players can sit out any game they want, they just don’t get paid for it (bet we see a change in behavior then).
I would love to spend this whole column writing about ‘load management’ from the player and fan side. Since I don’t have an NBA team in my city, I have to travel to see a game or two each year. I don’t even want to think about spending the kind of money it takes for me to get to an NBA game and then add in having to wonder if the player or players I am really wanting to see sit the game out for ‘load management’ purposes.
But, I digress. We cover sports media, not sports, so why am I bringing up the topic of ‘load management?’ Well, if you are a fan of The Pat McAfee Show on ESPN, you know that the show is taking a two-week break until March 4. The whole show. Just not happening. For two weeks. Instead, those that tune in to ESPN looking for McAfee, are getting SportsCenter. So, now, we have ‘load management’ going on with talk shows? I’ll come back to this.
Over the last decade or so, it has also been happening in the play-by-play booths of our favorite teams, especially in baseball. Recently here at BSM we have covered some stories of play-by-play talent being hired by baseball teams as Spring Training broadcasts get set to begin. If you are paying attention you are starting to see more announcers referred to as the “primary” play-by-play voice and then there is someone who serves as the backup. In some cases, there’s more than one backup.
What in the name of Vin Scully is going on?
Now, not only are our athletes managing their loads, but our broadcasters are, too?
What happened to the days when you would tune in to a team’s broadcast and you knew unless someone was sick or had a major life event, they would be the voices you would hear? In most cases you had one play-by-play announcer and a color analyst and they stayed in their lanes. After all, the two jobs are very different.
Today, you listen to a baseball game on the radio and you have play-by-play announcers switching off, you have color analysts doing a few innings of play-by-play, you have some innings where people disappear altogether. It’s like one of those lightbulb jokes, “How many broadcasters does it take to call one Major League Baseball game?”
Look, I get that people need breaks. I understand the grind of these seasons, especially baseball. So, perhaps you miss a game here and there during the 162 game (at minimum) season and the fill-in person sits in for you. Every once in a while, that’s understandable.
However, the nonsense that goes on now with people needing multiple innings off every game is a joke. Let’s put some consistency back in to our broadcasting.
The same can be said about your favorite sports television show, radio broadcast or podcast. Pat McAfee works his tail off. He is more than entitled to take some time off. What I don’t understand is why does the whole show need to shut down? Why does ESPN allow their programming lineup to be completely disrupted?
I think it is a bad decision by any content creator to not have consistency. It is so tough these days to pull audience away from their other habits. Letting them look for other programming for a couple of weeks while you take time off is a terrible idea and, in my opinion, shows little care for the people writing the checks.
Fans tune in to The Pat McAfee Show because they like the mix of sports talk, humor, bravado and all that comes with the show. I doubt many of them flip on the station, see SportsCenter running in place of the show they tuned in to see and leave it on. What percentage go somewhere else to find what they get from PMS in another show? What percentage of those discover something new they like? What percentage doesn’t tune back in because the habit was broken?
You can’t tell me The Pat McAfee Show couldn’t put together some great ‘Best Of’ shows or find a suitable fill-in host. Taking time off to refresh, spend some quality time with your family, take a vacation or just sit around and do nothing is great and needed. I just don’t get why the whole show has to do it at once. Give your audience something in place of your normal show that gives them a reason to stick around.
In my radio station management days, I always required programming to have a plan for vacations and if there was more than one host on a show, they couldn’t take the same time off unless it was a holiday. It never even occured to me we would ever allow a show to just take a few weeks off, throw the network on and just hope everyone came back when vacation time was over.
Consistency is huge in this business. Whether you are tuning in a game broadcast or turning on your favorite radio or television show, podcast or other digital content, you should expect to be delivered what you are there for, at least in some way, shape or form.
The Best Thing I Heard This Week
This past Thursday Kevin Clancy, better known as KFC from Barstool Sports, was a guest co-host with Gregg Giannotti on WAFN, filling in for Boomer Esiason (who notably took some time off without shutting down the whole show!). One of the conversations Gio and KFC had was about the behind-the-scenes nature of Barstool Sports. Clancy used the term “reality TV” to describe what viewers feel like they are watching whenever Barstool teammates start arguing with one another. It is like a family and it all plays out for the audience to see. This is great content for any talk show host to hear. Your audience wants to know what is happening behind the curtain.
You can hear the full conversation by clicking here.
In Case You Missed It
On Thursday, Barrett Sports Media founder Jason Barrett announced the addition of Paul Heyman from the WWE as one of the speakers at the 2024 BSM Summit. If you follow wrestling at all, you know how big this is already. However, I know many of you have an aversion to sculpted men rolling around in their underwear in matches that are predetermined, so for those you that don’t know Paul Heyman from Paul Molitor, let me play Jason’s hype man and tell you, this is BIG.
Paul Heyman may be the best on-screen character in the history of pro wresting, he is certainly in the conversation. He is also one of the most gifted speakers on the planet and he flat out knows how to get a reaction from an audience and create great content. He has done it all, in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Bottom line, don’t miss this year’s Summit. Paul Heyman is worth the price of admission alone, and oh by the way, you also get insights from some of the brightest minds in broadcasting and content creation. Hope to see you in New York!
You can read Jason’s full announcement by clicking here.
You can also get just a taste of what Paul Heyman is all about by watching this preview of his WWE Network biography:
Dave Greene is the Chief Media Officer for Barrett Media. His background includes over 25 years in media and content creation. A former sports talk host and play-by-play broadcaster, Dave transitioned to station and sales management, co-founded and created a monthly sports publication and led an ownership group as the operating partner. He has managed stations and sales teams for Townsquare Media, Cumulus Media and Audacy. Upon leaving broadcast media he co-founded Podcast Heat, a sports and entertainment podcasting network specializing in pro wrestling nostalgia. To interact, find him on Twitter @mr_podcasting.