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Meet The Market Managers: Jay Davis, Cumulus Media Oklahoma City

“We’ve had these great radio stations for a long time and we’ve kept our top talent on the air. So we’ve been very consistent with what our presentation sounds like, looks like, etc.  I think people see it as destination employment.”

Demetri Ravanos

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When you work with a guy for over thirty years, you get used to the consistency, but you have to know the conversation is coming. At some point, one of you will turn to the other and say that it’s over.

That is how I met Jay Davis. When Chris Baker told him he was ready to step down as Program Director of 98.1 The Sports Animal in Oklahoma City and retire, I reached out about the job.

Obviously, I am still working with JB and not in the middle of the country. While it didn’t work out the way I hoped though, Jay and I stayed in touch and remain friendly.

I wanted to feature him this season in our Meet the Market Managers columns, presented by Point-to-Point Marketing, because of that monumental shift he and his building are dealing with right now.

In this conversation, we discuss what happens in the moments after Baker made his announcement, how this political spending season could be different than in the past, and why his stations are have never had trouble finding good people when there is an opening.


Demetri Ravanos: The Sports Animal is experiencing its first change in literal decades. So let’s set the staff side for a second. How do you adjust to working with someone new when for so long you knew what you were dealing with? With Chris Baker, you guys had a good relationship that worked for a long time. 

Jay Davis: Yeah, we’ve been very lucky here. Chris started with us in the early nineties. I got here in the late eighties, but he was a rock. Not only did he oversee The Sports Animal, but for many of those years, he was an operations manager. So his imprint is on our success here or at least a large part of it. He certainly deserves full credit.                

He was great. I loved him as a coworker, but also personally, he’s a personal friend of mine and just a great guy. Enjoying his retirement is well-deserved.                     

The person who took his place, Robert Mueller, a guy we call ‘Cisco’, had worked for our company also for ten or fifteen years, and then he left us for six years to try some other things that he was wanting to do in the business. But again, he had been around our stations for many, many, many, many years, so he already had built-in credibility with the people on air, our sellers, and our clients.                      

There were a number of very, very talented candidates that we visited with for that job, as you know. In the end, he made the most sense for it in terms of just being able to come in with knowledge. There was zero learning curve. I mean, he could literally just hit the ground running on all these different fronts. So yeah, we’ve been very fortunate to have what could have been a very difficult transition be a pretty easy one. 

DR: So one of the things that you and I talked about during that time was sort of the parochialism or perceived parochialism of Oklahoma City. Is Robert’s experience, not just in Cumulus but in a market like this one, a necessary thing? Does that familiarity and knowledge translate in the decisions a programmer makes in parochial market?

JD: Obviously, if somebody knows the market, it helps and he does know the market, our stations, our personalities, and our presentation. The Sports Animal is such a big radio station in town. It could have been an earthquake with Chris leaving. Instead, it’s just been more just of a transition. And it’s been a good one. We were lucky. 

DR: So that day that it becomes public that Chris is going to retire and it’s found out in the building, are the air and sales staffs immediately coming to you with their ideas of what sort of knowledge or qualities the next PD needs to have? 

JD: Chris was obviously so well-liked inside the building. I was happy for him. There’s no doubt about that. As you would imagine though, it was a two-fold thing.               

It’s just like, “Oh, what the hell are we going to do? What’s that next?” Because he’s such a mainstay and a big part of what we do and all of our decision-making. Of course, there was an anxiety that came along with that.                  

The timing was something else. Cisco had been reaching out to me in the months prior to that just to say “hey, if you ever have something in Oklahoma City…” He was just looking to come back home. We just got lucky in terms of the timing of it all.                  

I was ready to tell people “Hey, listen, don’t worry, guys, we got to plan here. We’re not in as big of trouble as you might think.” We didn’t have that interim for too long where we had to worry or have client fears or sales fears or on-air staff fears. We were able to quickly soothe that tension.

DR: So it’s 2022 and one of the issues that I think every radio group around the country is talking about this year is obviously political spending. And I wonder, with you guys being in a pretty solidly red state, how does that affect spending in a state with so many assumed victories? Do you see less of a windfall than you could somewhere that is more competitive during these years? 

JD: Oh, there’s probably some truth in that, but you know, at the same time, there’s still issue ads that are that could be meaningful. Listen, no one is counting it in the bank anymore. We’ve seen in the last two or three years, what you thought might have happened politically doesn’t happen.               

We’re just now kind of getting into some of those ads. We’re receiving some dollars on the political front and expect to get more. So no, I don’t think so. But again, it’s such a crazy situation now. I mean, people are going to really want to spend to make sure their person wins because you can’t ever count on it. 

DR: What about the way the changing media landscape affects that spending? With the pandemic, suddenly Netflix and Hulu and Disney Plus and all of these streaming TV services become every day parts of our lives and not luxuries anymore. Could you foresee more candidates spending on radio because it still has a widespread penetration that maybe traditional TV is losing? 

JD: Yeah. I’d like to think that that’s true and that that could happen, and I do think you’ll see a little bit of a shift that way. Television has obviously been the traditional way that they have gone about it, but as it continues to be challenged in that way you mentioned, it certainly leaves it open for radio to maybe get a little bit better share than we’ve had in the past, especially with the stronger, more powerful, wider-reaching signals that that that would be able to provide both a frequency and a reach.                

You know, in a candidate’s mind, it will just kind of come down to cost to some degree. I think people are going to continue to do TV no matter what because that’s all they’ve known. But to your point, I do think that we will see a little bit more headed our direction in this cycle, and hopefully in the coming months and years.

DR: So you guys have chosen not to pursue either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State as a play-by-play partner. Why has staying neutral in that way been the right play for The Sports Animal? 

JD: Well, you know, those rights fees don’t come cheap. Listen, don’t get me wrong. We’re in the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State business.                 

We’re the flagship station for the Oklahoma City Thunder. So, you know, having both of those might be a hard thing to pull off just due to the commitments that come along with them.        

Even if we’re not the rights partner per se for OU or Oklahoma State, we certainly are in the business of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football. That’s what we do most on air. It’s something that I guess could always be considered whenever those rights come up, but they are expensive and you do have to weigh the value against the cost and make your decisions from there. 

DR: In the sports format, Cumulus seems to have a lot of stations in markets your size and in your situation that are doing very, very well. There’s JOX in Birmingham and The Zone in Nashville. I mean, these non-major market stations where sports fandom traditionally was built on college sports and now pro sports is a relatively new thing. 

Do you look at any of those stations as either a role model or a partner, someone that you want to be part of an information-sharing relationship with to help The Sports Animal evolve and grow? 

JD: We do, yeah. I’ve had conversations with both Birmingham and Knoxville. Even The Ticket down in Dallas is a brand we look to, although they’re obviously a monster. But you know, we’re kind of a monster in our town.                     

We’re open to any and every idea that our infrastructure gives us access to obviously. We’re encouraged to reach out to other markets if they’re doing some things that we need to be doing. They’ve reached out to us as well. We are very lucky to have some very, very good support stations in our community of stations. 

DR: How are you going about recruiting for jobs that are not on-air jobs right now? Sales, promotion, whatever? What is the best way for the broadcast business to reach young jobseekers? 

JD: Well, again, I’ve been at these radio stations since 1989, and we’ve got very strong, very well-branded radio stations in the market. The Sports Animal is just omnipresent in Oklahoma City. The Cat is a heritage rocker that is just awesome. It is a great, great radio station and has been around for 45 years.           

We get our share of people just wanting to put their foot in the door on-air, on the sales side, just to get into radio period. We haven’t seen, with the obvious exception of COVID, how that affected everybody else. In terms of calls or resumes we stay pretty in demand. We’re just lucky that way.                 

We’ve had these great radio stations for a long time and we’ve kept our top talent on the air. So we’ve been very consistent with what our presentation sounds like, looks like, etc.  I think people see it as destination employment. 

DR: I was thinking about this watching the NBA Finals last night. Crypto companies, whether it’s coins or exchanges, are spending a lot right now in terms of sports marketing, both on TV and live sponsorships. How about radio? Is that sector seeing growth for you? 

JD: Well, we have not seen that yet. Now, that may come to Oklahoma later than it might come to New York or L.A. or someplace larger. I’m not sure. But we have not yet seen that. But again, this business is growing and expanding in so many different ways with, you know, with the advent of how important digital is becoming into our sales process and into what we’re doing for our clients. So, you know, any of these things, such as what you’re talking about or I’m sure destined to be here sooner than later. 

BSM Writers

What Tom Brady Needs To Know Before His First Fox Broadcast

“Our panel includes a fellow player-turned-analyst, a legendary play-by-play man, and a broadcasting coach.”

Demetri Ravanos

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Tom Brady announced he is retiring from the NFL today. It happened literally a year to the day since the last time he retired.

The last retirement lasted just 40 days. Before the end of March of last year, Tom Brady had decided he was done pretending to be happy about embracing life off of the field and announced he was returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a third season.

I guess we cannot rule out that that will happen again. The difference this time around, at least for Tom Brady’s professional life, is that he has a plan for his future. Now that his playing days are over, it is time for him to start his ten-year deal with FOX to be the analyst in the network’s top NFL booth.

Audiences do not know what to expect. No one can deny that Brady brings star power. He is the GOAT after all, but we cannot say for sure if he will be any good.

The pressure is tremendous too. Not only is Tom Brady embarking on a new career, but football fans seem to have taken a liking to the guy he is about to unseat. Whether Greg Olsen gets kicked back down to the number two booth or he is forced to share the spotlight in a three-man booth, plenty of people will look at Brady as the reason we hear less from the guy regarded by many as the best analyst on TV right now.

Brady does not have much room for error here. Since that is the case, I thought I would get some perspectives from people that can help him out. I asked three people to give me their best advice for Tom Brady.

Our panel includes a fellow player-turned-analyst, a legendary play-by-play man, and a broadcasting coach.

THE PLAYER TURNED ANALYST: ANTHONY BECHT

In 2000, the New York Jets used the 27th pick of the NFL Draft to select Anthony Becht. He played for five different teams during his twelve NFL seasons.

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Courtesy USA Today

His broadcasting career began in 2013. Becht worked on ESPN for eight years as an analyst on the network’s college football games. He has since abandoned the booth to return to the sidelines. He will be the head coach of the St. Louis Battlehawks when the XFL starts its third first season this month.

I texted and asked him to look back on his broadcasting career. What does he wish he knew before he started? Here are the three pieces of advice that he had for Tom Brady.

1. Less is more. Folks want to watch the game and just know the “why”. Providing tangible information in a five or six second window is key.

2. Fans want to know about your personal experiences as a player – information and stories they can’t get or wouldn’t even know about because they never did it at the level we did. Share those when the time comes in a game.

3. Have a strong opinion about what you agree or disagree with, but be able to voice it without being demeaning towards players and coaches. It’s an art form and takes time to articulate that in a way that’s done right. I never bash any player or coach because a lot of work goes into be a professional athlete and coach. That needs to be respected but critiqued appropriately.

Anthony Becht via text message

THE PLAY-BY-PLAY LEGEND: TIM BRANDO

Tim Brando has worked with a lot of people. That happens when you have been calling football and basketball action on TV for as long as he has. When I called him on Wednesday to discuss what is ahead for Tom Brady, he drew on his experience with another Brady.

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Courtesy FOX Sports

Brando was working with Jole Klatt in his early days at FOX, but he and Klatt were not going to be an exclusive team. He remembers Brady Quinn coming in to their booth shortly after his NFL career had eneded. Quinn was about to make his debut for FOX. Before they were ready to turn him loose, the network wanted the former quarterback to get a feel for the pace and atmosphere of a broadcast booth.

I do think it’s important that you have a new talent understand what that workplace is like in the booth – the choreography that takes place, because there is choreography. If the ball is deflected, your spotter’s hands are coming together like a bad clap. If there’s a hit, who caused the hit? Who stripped it? So there’s a hand signal for stripping the ball and then recovering the ball with the arms closing together. So who got the recovery? Who caused the fumble? Those things are always helpful.

There are things that are going on frantically in the booth, but you as a broadcaster have to remain calm, understand it, and sound succinct and confident. That just takes time and it takes reps. 

That’s one of the great things I think that Greg (Olsen) probably had an advantage in, as do a lot of analysts that get better over time. They do games of lesser importance that maybe the whole world is not watching. 

Tim Brando via Telephone

Tom Brady won’t have the luxury of time or of reps under the radar. He may get to do a few practice games, but the first time he will be calling a game on live television, it will be one of the biggest of the week.

Brando says in that case, it is really important that Brady use his instincts to his advantage in the booth the way he did on the field.

I don’t know Tom well, but I know him well enough to know that he prides himself on preparation. I don’t doubt for one minute that he will be prepared. He’s obviously an incredible competitor. You know, this is a this is a business of competition too. 

If you’re a great player, just like a coach, you love the ecstasy of victory. You don’t want to admit it, but you love the agony of the defeat as well. That feeling of defeat is something we feed on to motivate you for your next performance. In television and sports television, you don’t get that in terms of winning and losing, but you do get it if you look at it as a great performance, 

I believe that all great broadcasters are performers at heart. It takes a certain level of of a theater. It’s live. It’s not scripted. 

I think some players that get in the booth that are looking to have that same, you know, euphoria that they have after playing and winning a game. Some of them get that and understand that in broadcasting and get out of that the same thing and others don’t.

Tim Brando via Telephone

THE BROADCASTING COACH: GUS RAMSEY

Plenty of broadcasters turn to Gus Ramsey for critiques and advice. The Program Director for the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting at Full Sail University is also a broadcasting coach working with clients at all levels of the business. They trust his opinion because of his professional experience.

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Courtesy Full Sail University

In a prior life, Ramsey was the producer of SportsCenter on ESPN. He has worked with a number of incredibly talented people and been tasked with taking newbies to new heights, so I asked him what he would be thinking if it were his job to get Tom Brady ready for his first FOX broadcast.

Sometimes great athletes forget that most humans don’t know what the athletes know. Things that are basic or simple or even mundane to the athlete are incredible pieces of wisdom or insight to the average fan.

When I was at ESPN we had Tony Gwynn in for an episode of Baseball Tonight. In our show meeting, Tony was explaining why a hitter was slumping because we was cupping his wrist. He went on explaining it for 30 seconds or so. The room was in total silence, eating up every word. The greatest hitter of our generation was doing a deep-dive on hitting. It was amazing.

Tony suddenly got a little self-conscious, stopped explaining and apologized for “going on too long” and we were all like “No!! Keep going!” Tony thought is was boring. It was just the opposite.

Athletes can think things they’ve learned and repeated their whole lives are common knowledge so sometimes they don’t share that info because they think “everyone knows this.”

I want to walk away from a broadcast feeling like I learned something. Sometimes the ex-athlete doesn’t realize how much educating they can do in a broadcast.

The other thing I always encourage former athletes or coaches to do is to take the viewer where they’ve never been; on the field, in the locker room, in a contract negotiation, etc. If you can get that viewer to fully appreciate the feelings and emotions of what goes on in those places, you enhance the experience for us.

Terrell Davis was an analyst on NFL Network for a bit after his career. He once described Champ Bailey running back an interception 100 yards by saying as Bailey got to the 50 yard line “right here it feels like someone put sandbags on your ankles.” I’ve never run 100 yards in a football uniform in Denver’s altitude, but Terrell’s line helped me better understand what it feels like.

Gus ramsey via text message

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BSM Writers

Mark Packer Loves Reading Your Memories & Tributes to Billy Packer

“I’ve heard from all kinds of coaches. I’ve been blown away. It’s just another reminder of the impact Billy had on so many different people, not just the world of sports.”

Tyler McComas

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It still stands today as one of the most iconic moments in the storied history of Arizona basketball. Three simple words said it all as the Wildcats celebrated an overtime win over Duke to win the 1997 national championship. “Simon says championship.” Those were the words of legendary broadcaster Billy Packer as Miles Simon fell to the floor with the ball in his hands. It’s one of many lines his son, Mark Packer, has been reminded of recently.

It was the perfect three words after the country just watched Simon carry Arizona to college basketball glory. Packer captured the moment perfectly, just like he did during every Final Four for 34 years.

Packer passed away last Thursday at the age of 82 but his legacy and impact in sports broadcasting will never perish. He was heard during every NCAA Tournament from 1975 to 2008 and was on the call for some of college basketball’s most iconic moments, including Michael Jordan’s shot to win the 1982 National Championship, Bird vs Magic in 1979, and even Kansas completing an improbable comeback to win the 2008 championship in his last broadcast. And the best part of it all was that Packer did it his own way, with his own unique style.

“It has really been remarkable,” said Mark Packer. “When Billy passed Thursday night we put it out on Twitter and it took off but I didn’t really know what to expect on Friday and Saturday as far as reaction. But the tributes have been fantastic and our family has loved it.

“I have heard from just about everybody and their brother. Folks I never thought I’d hear from, I’ve heard from them, such as commissioners, whether it be the NBA, whether it be other Power 5 leagues, I’ve heard from all kinds of coaches. I’ve been blown away. It’s just another reminder of the impact Billy had on so many different people, not just the world of sports. To me, that’s been comforting to all of us. It just reinforced all the stuff we knew he was about and brings back special memories.”

Packer’s style of broadcasting has been well-documented over the years. He was honest about what he saw and always spoke his mind. Granted, that didn’t always sit well with college basketball fans, but Packer wasn’t concerned about that. He was honest because he cared. 

“He wanted the game of college basketball to be the best it possibly could be,” said Mark.  “When he saw things he did not like, the one thing he always did was speak his mind. He ruffled feathers and he didn’t care. His intent was to make the game the No. 1 priority. You realize now he didn’t have it out for your team, he was just speaking his mind.”

That style meant fans would often yell at games, ‘You hate Duke! You hate North Carolina!’ Packer’s honesty was often taken by fans as he hated their favorite team. He used to laugh at that, just as Mark does know when he thinks about those moments. That’s because Mark can remember feeling the same way as other fanbases as a kid growing up rooting for NC State. 

“When he was calling an NC State game I thought he was always out to get my team,” laughed Mark. “He’d be doing a game in Raleigh — we grew up in Winston-Salem — and the next morning after the game I would be eating breakfast before school and I would say ‘Man, Billy, you really got on so-and-so last night, what’s your problem with NC State?’

“He used to just laugh, because I thought he had an agenda against my team. Of course the funny thing is, we’d go on trips with him to other games and you’d hear fans say, ‘Billy Packer hates my team!’ It almost became a laughing joke, even amongst the family members, that Billy Packer was out to ruin your team’s day when he does a ballgame.”

Mark has always referred to his dad the same his television partners did. That goes for his two other siblings, as well. “Dad” was rarely, if ever, said in the Packer household. Instead, the legendary broadcaster was called by his first name.

“The fact they called him Billy on television, we never called him dad,” said Mark. “We just called him Billy.”

As you can imagine, ‘Billy’ had a lot of stories. That’s normally the case when you’re around the game’s greatest players and broadcast the legendary games we still talk about today. Packer was always quick to share those stories with his family, which made for an entertaining childhood.

Out of the hundreds of messages Mark has received since his dad’s passing, he says he hasn’t heard any stories he’s never heard before. But that doesn’t mean people haven’t been telling him stories about his father.

“We’ve heard them all, quite frankly,” laughed Mark. “Maybe the thing that was so funny about it was that it reinforced some that we thought were total BS when we heard them the first time.”

Packer will always be synonymous with college basketball and the NCAA Tournament. He was the voice of the sport during its golden era and helped bring the magic to TV sets across the world. If Mark had to guess what his dad is most proud of regarding his broadcasting career, he says it would be just that. 

“From a broadcasting standpoint, probably the Final Fours,” said Mark. “When you, I think the number was 34 I heard, and he did so many of them, for us, we kind of took it for granted. It was just something he did. It was March and Billy is about to go do March Madness. It was just fabric for not only him personally, but also the family. He just loved the sport and wanted it to be good.”

Mark has carved out an incredible broadcasting career of his own. He’s hosted both radio and TV shows with outlets such as the ACC Network, WFNZ in Charlotte, and ESPNU. Having a front row seat to one of the most iconic careers in broadcasting, undoubtedly helped shape his career. Mark is very forthcoming as to what lesson he took from his dad the most. 

“Oh, that’s easy,” Mark said. “That’s prep. He always studied. He was always coming up with notes and angles and facts. I have always done that with the radio and TV shows, that you constantly prep, you constantly read and make notes. You may not use but 10 percent of whatever you’ve been studying, but somewhere down the road you’ll use it again.

“When we were cleaning out his closet I ran into an entire box of old notes that he had from games from yesteryear. I kept every one of them and I can’t wait to look at them and relive those games and see his prep work and point of detail for all those games.”

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Anatomy of a Broadcaster

Anatomy of an Analyst: Doris Burke

“Doris Burke has an ease about her. A quiet confidence if you will.”

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Basketball and Doris Burke have been synonymous for many years. At the age of 7, she started to play the game that would eventually get her to the top of her profession. Along the way she’s recorded many firsts for women in this field which I’ll detail later. Burke has also become an inspiration to other women already in broadcasting and those thinking about a career in media. Pretty impressive. 

Burke was raised in Manasquan, New Jersey. She was the youngest of eight children, and started playing basketball in the second grade. She starred at Providence, where she was the team’s point guard all four of her years there and made an impact immediately. 

During her freshman year, Doris Burke led the Big East in assists. She was a second-team All-Big East player once and twice made the all-tourney team of the Big East Women’s basketball tournament. Burke held seven records upon graduation, including finishing her career as the school and conference’s all-time assists leader, a record that has since been broken. She served as an assistant coach for her alma mater for two years from 1988-90.

From there it was time to embark on a Hall of Fame career.

ROAD TO ESPN/ABC

Burke began her broadcasting career in 1990 as an analyst for women’s games for Providence on radio. That same year, she began working in the same role on Big East Women’s games on television, and in 1996 she began working Big East men’s games. 

Doris Burke has been working for ESPN covering basketball in different roles since 1991. It has also allowed her to do other things along the way that were unchartered for women in the business. In 2000, Burke became the first woman to be a commentator for a New York Knicks game on radio and on television; she is also the first woman to be a commentator for a Big East men’s game, and the first woman to be the primary commentator on a men’s college basketball conference package.  In 2017, Burke became a regular NBA game analyst for ESPN, becoming the first woman at the national level to be assigned a full regular-season role. 

If that wasn’t enough, from 2009 to 2019 she served as the sideline reporter for the NBA Finals on ABC. I mentioned it was a Hall of Fame career and it was officially deemed as such in 2018. Burke was selected to enter the Basketball Hall of Fame as the Curt Gowdy Media Award winner.

AS AN ANALYST

“Doris Burke has an ease about her. A quiet confidence if you will.” Relying on her past experiences in the game as a player and coach, the information she brings her audience is relatable. Some analysts struggle to bring home a point in a way that a casual fan will understand. Burke has no trouble with this. Her ability to spell it out, concisely and conversationally sets her apart from most analysts, male or female. 

Burke attacks her job, knowing that some will question her authority when it comes to commentary on the NBA. She doesn’t mind steering into the skid.

“I am mindful of the fact that I have not played or coached in the NBA,” Burke said to Sportscasting.com last year. “It doesn’t mean that I can’t do a very competent job. I think I try to do that every single night, and I’m never afraid to ask questions.” 

It’s all about the information to Burke, and has nothing to do with the fact she’s a woman covering the NBA.

“If you enhance a viewer’s experience, it doesn’t matter what your gender is,” she said. “As long as you are competent and put in the work … you’re going to be accepted.”

Doris Burke learned the ropes so to speak from several women that came before her. In an NBA.com piece from January of last year, she outlined how much she enjoyed watching former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Gayle Gardner. Early on in her career at ESPN, Burke got to work with Robin Roberts on WNBA and women’s college basketball broadcasts along with Ann Meyers Drysdale and Nancy Lieberman. Roberts was Burke’s inspiration as she started her career path. She admired the professionalism that each displayed. 

“Working alongside Robin Roberts … the one thing I would tell you is the most powerful means to change or impact somebody is by your actions,” Burke said. “She was the epitome of professionalism and competency and garnered the respect of the people around her because of the work habits she had. Watching Robin early on let me know that the basis for everything is the work you put into something.”

While Roberts may have been influential to Burke, Burke has been a beacon for other woman that are getting opportunities in broadcasting.  When asked about their role model, YES Network analyst Sarah Kustok, 76ers play-by-play broadcaster Kate Scott and former WNBA player and current Miami Heat studio analyst Ruth Riley Hunter all mentioned Burke by name.

“Burke is the best example for anyone — male or female,” Hunter told NBA.com. “I love the way she describes the game. She adds so much to every broadcast, and when I was playing in the WNBA I was always really inspired by her work.”

Burke is popular amongst her colleagues at ESPN/ABC, thanks to a tireless work ethic an ability to adapt to whichever sport she may be calling that day. Count Jeff Van Gundy among her biggest fans.

“She’s the best, most-versatile analyst and commentator at ESPN,” Van Gundy said of Doris Burke in 2017 via Deadspin. “She does it all—great interviewer, commentator, studio analyst—everything. And she is an expert at it all—women’s and men’s college basketball, the NBA and the WNBA. She’s the LeBron James of sportscasters. There’s no better broadcaster out there right now.”

Burke is equally a big fan of Van Gundy and the top broadcast crew for ESPN/ABC’s NBA coverage. That includes Mike Breen and Mark Jackson as well. 

“We are talking about three of the best to ever do it. Mark, Jeff and Mike have held down the NBA Finals for over a decade with commentary that is the best of the best. Hubie Brown is a living legend. All of those men have been nothing but gracious and supportive of me,” Burke told the Athletic. 

Doris Burke is considered one of the best NBA analysts around.  Her bosses at ESPN made sure to re-sign her to a multi-year deal and promised she will be involved in “high profile” NBA games in both the regular season and playoffs. Burke will also call finals games on ESPN Radio and appear on the NBA Sunday Showcase program on ABC.

Good for her and good for fans of the NBA on ESPN/ABC.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2010, she was featured as the new sideline reporter for 2K Sports ‘NBA 2K11’ video game. She has appeared in every version since, including the latest ‘NBA 2K23’.   

As a senior at Providence in 1987 she was the school’s Co-Female Athlete of the Year.  

Her basketball idols growing up were Kyle Macy, Kelly Tripucka and Tom Heinsohn.  

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