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Fox Sports NFL Director Rich Russo On the Keys to a Successful Broadcast

“I do go through certain situations on gameday with all the camera operators whether it’s stories, specific shots we are looking for.”

Ricky Keeler

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Fox Sports

During NFL Sundays, fans are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what Joe Buck and Troy Aikman have to say during a game broadcast. In addition to the fans, the people in the Fox production truck are also listening so they can get to things as quickly as possible.

This past week, the lead NFL director at Fox Sports, Rich Russo, was on The WormCast: How Sports Media Happens podcast with host Jason Wormser. Russo, who has directed four Super Bowls on Fox and six Super Bowls for NFL International, discussed how listening in the truck for him and Richie Zyontz (lead producer) is key to a successful broadcast.

“For us in the truck, it’s really about listening,” Russo explained. “Just having conversations with Troy and talking to Troy about what he’s looking for during the game could maybe help me anticipate where he may be going. They are very good at playing off the monitor. The ability to listen is very important.”

One of the things that Russo gives Buck credit for is the way he is able to build a drama during any game and he knows what direction to take the broadcast at any given time:

“That verbiage has to be pretty quick, pretty succinct as to what they want, what they are looking for,” said Russo. “Even if I wasn’t working with the crew, if you turn on a game that Joe and Troy are doing, it’s a huge game. I think they do such an amazing job… Joe is so good at building the drama. He is so understanding of when to lay out, when the crowd is going crazy, or when to hear the cadence of the quarterback. That’s not easy to do. He really knows.”

That preparation for a game broadcast involves looking into certain things that may happen during the game following the prep work done by the broadcast and production crew. Russo will hear from Aikman what his key points of emphasis might be, and the director might make it a point to get to it quicker than when Aikman might have otherwise.

“I do go through certain situations on gameday with all the camera operators whether it’s stories, specific shots we are looking for,” Russo said.

“Maybe Troy, for example, wants to see the safeties earlier where maybe the safeties disguise some of their coverages, so I may say I’m going to get to the play-by-play camera a little earlier so we can, in fact, see those. Troy likes to telestrate prior to the snap, so I just want to warn our camera guys about that and to look out for that. There’s a lot of different variables that go into these discussions prior to the game.”

In terms of how game broadcasts could potentially be improved in the future, Russo said that while he loves audio, the networks are not allowed to use it all:

“I always love audio when we go back and you watch NFL Films when you hear these guys mic’d,” he said. “It’s all after-the-fact. It’s all in post. There have been times where we have mic’d players in Super Bowls. You can only use a certain amount of audio. I sometimes wish with that audio, we can do a little more in real time and I’m not so sure we can get to that. Some of that audio, I sometimes wish, we can incorporate into our games at times.”

During this podcast, Russo also goes into the details of what the prep for the Super Bowl is like when Fox has the broadcast, so it is another way to prepare for the big game coming up on Sunday. 

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Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’

“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.

That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.

Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.

“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”

Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.

“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”

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Nick Ashooh Joins BetMGM Tonight

Jordan Bondurant

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The talent lineup for the BetQL show BetMGM Tonight is expanding, and Nick Ashooh is joining the team.

The news became official on Thursday when BetQL announced the addition of Ashooh on Twitter.

Ashooh has worked mainly in the D.C. market up to this point in his career, hosting for Audacy and NBC Sports Washington. He had been contributing sports betting content for the BetQL network for the latter part of the last year.

Ashooh joins co-hosts Trysta Krick and Ryan Horvat on BetMGM Tonight. The show can be heard weeknights from 7-11 p.m.

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Sports Radio News

1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research

“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.5 billion for the Jay Fund.”

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Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.

This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.

“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of  Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College. The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.

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