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Bonta Hill Never Thought He’d Be Hosting Mornings on 95.7 the Game

“If I’m not good enough to make it here, then what the hell am I doing this for? I’m going to make it here.’”

Derek Futterman




Bonta Hill grew up a fan of San Francisco’s sports teams – albeit before the dominance of the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants – and was always willing to talk about the teams at the drop of a hat. Reading about sports from the local newspapers was representative of an escape for Hill, as he grew up in an unstable home and in a high crime area. At the age of 10, he was placed into foster care and struggled to balance maintaining financial stability with his academic performance.

Nearly 15 years later, Hill was working as a supervisor at United Parcel Service (UPS), but was let go by the company for what he referred to as minor errors. Shortly thereafter, he began working at a local Peet’s Coffee to pay his bills, but continued to watch sports from afar. Recognizing his love and passion for the local teams, a friend of his suggested he try to go back to school to pursue a career in sports journalism.

“I went back to school at the age of 26, walked into the journalism department and asked the department chair at the time, Juan Gonzales, ‘Hey man, I like to write; I’d like to try to be a sports writer,’” Hill recollected. “I did a story for him. A few months later, I won this award at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, and he offered me the sports editor position the next semester.”

From his early days at the City College of San Francisco writing and editing sports stories for The Guardian, Hill possessed a determination to try to differentiate himself from his competition by taking advantage of any opportunities that would help him diversify and/or sharpen his skills, along with networking with those across sports and media.

He transferred to San Francisco State University in 2011 to obtain his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and continued his public address announcing duties at the City College of San Francisco. Furthermore, he continued his writing by starting as a correspondent for the San Francisco Examiner in February 2011, covering sports on deadline at the college and professional level. Once he completed his stint as a public address announcer in early 2013, he worked simultaneously in a similar writing role with the San Francisco Chronicle, trying to continue to garner as much experience as possible in media.

While Hill thought he was going to be a writer from the time he entered school, making the move to San Francisco State University gave him his first exposure to working in sports talk radio – and he found to prefer the medium because of his nascent ability to discuss sports. In May 2013, Hill began working as an intern for SportsPhone 680 at KNBR where he operated radio consoles, wrote broadcast copy and screened phone calls from listeners. Aside from refining his interpersonal communication skills, he also grasped another valuable lesson applicable to all areas of sports media and something that would prove to be valuable years later.

“I learned what not to do in sports – and that’s burn bridges,” said Hill. “I thought that was very, very important. I saw a lot of people burn bridges; I saw a lot of people quit. There was a lot of turnover obviously. Some people were unhappy with the money they were making [or] the role they had. I just learned not to burn bridges, and learned to be patient [as well].”

Hill was hired in a full-time role after completing his internship, continuing to work behind the scenes; however, he ultimately knew that his place was behind the microphone in the main studio. To achieve this goal and prove himself in one of the top markets in the United States though, he needed to mature his “raw” talent and prove himself in other areas. He always knew that he would succeed in his hometown if he remained focused on his ultimate goal, which is why he was offended when he was told that he would need to follow an industry archetype by a colleague.

During graveyard shifts in which Hill would engineer San Francisco Giants games, Hill envisioned himself talking sports to an audience on the air despite the station having its lineup set. One morning at the end of a shift, he spoke to a former producer for NBC Sports Bay Area, and suggested that it was almost his time to receive a chance to be on the airwaves.

“He said, ‘Bro, you really think you’re going to be able to get a job in this market? You’re going to have to go to Bakersfield; you’re going to have to go to Eureka.’ And I went off on him,” recalled Hill, “and I said, ‘I’m good enough to run with the big dogs. If I’m not good enough to make it here, then what the hell am I doing this for? I’m going to make it here.’”

Confident in his knowledge of the Bay Area’s sports teams while procuring a naïve yet calculated hubris, Hill began working with radio host and baseball historian Marty Lurie, who would host Weekends in the Park and Giants Post-Game Talk at the station. As Lurie began to see Hill’s potential as a radio host, he gradually gave him the opportunity to appear on-air during his shows and interact with callers.

“Marty would make me stay after my shift where I was making no money to take calls with him and do a show with him,” Hill remembered. “When I didn’t have work on the weekend, he was like, ‘Hey, come down to do a show with me. Let’s go.’”

Hill continued to hone his craft working with Lurie and the belief that he would be able to build a sustainable career in the Bay Area was becoming more lucid and less improbable in scope. Nonetheless, there are never any guarantees in media, and Hill knew that the feasibility of him succeeding in a market with fixated lineups was still quite implausible. He never stopped having confidence in himself and his abilities throughout this time though, resolute in his commitment to realize his ultimate aspiration.

“I didn’t know if something was going to open up – I had no idea what was going on – but I had the self-confidence that one day I would do it even though it wasn’t realistic in this market with the lineups being so set,” said Hill. “I had the belief, although it may have been delusional, [that] I would one day be on the air in the Bay Area.”

By the time 2016 came around, Hill’s profile had gained prestige in the industry and word of his talent was circulating among industry professionals. One day, legendary radio host and play-by-play announcer Greg Papa was listening to the Giants postgame show, and contacted Lurie to tell him that he liked Hill’s voice and to contact him. In short order, Hill met Papa one night in the press box at Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, and quickly grasped that he wanted him to join his show on KNBR’s competitor: 95.7 The Game.

“I had never met Papa; I just knew about him doing Raiders games [and] obviously doing Niners games,” said Hill. “He’s a legend – just untouchable. You don’t even think about working [with him] when you’re growing up in the business.”

Following his conversation with Greg Papa, then-program director Don Kollins hired Hill to join Papa on his midday show, replacing previous show co-host John Lund who had been hired by KNBR. It was surreal to Hill, who just months earlier was engineering shows and working overnight shifts, along with doing shows for no pay on the weekends to gain experience. Now a broadcast entity in one of the largest broadcast markets in the country had taken a chance on him at the request of one of their hosts, which put immense pressure on Hill to flourish.

“A lot of people thought I was going to shrink,” said Hill, “and some of that kind of spurred me to keep me motivated because a lot of people didn’t think that I would last.”

Papa’s midday show did not implement any callers into the programming, deviating from a more congenial, interactive style of radio he had experienced with Lurie at KNBR. Moreover, it was essential that Hill worked to establish a working chemistry between him and Papa and try to make the most of what he considers to be a lucky break.

“I did a bunch of studying because I knew Papa was going to be watching everything,” said Hill. “I watched everything anyway, but you had to watch it a bit differently knowing that you’re working with a guy like Greg Papa.”

Throughout each show, Papa and Hill would analyze the action of the previous day and talk about the upcoming games set to take place. As they approached three years on the air together though, Papa abruptly left the station to take the radio play-by-play job with the San Francisco 49ers. It was a move that surprised many, including Hill, and left his future with the station in jeopardy if not for station program director Matt Nahigan.

“Matt’s been everything, and I think he helped save the station at 95.7 The Game when we were kind of going through some low moments – and here we are now still ticking,” said Hill. “He’s given me an opportunity – he could have let me go after Papa left.”

An aspect of what makes Nahigan the “best boss” Hill has had in the radio industry is his perpetual ambition to generate favorable ratings and revenue for the station and those involved. Superior performance comes with establishing good habits in a productive work environment, and Nahigan does that by meeting with his employees on a weekly basis to discuss their strengths and shortcomings.

“Sometimes we need to be coached; we all fall into bad habits,” said Hill. “I don’t care how old you are or how long you’ve been in the game. There’s always somebody to be there to have constructive criticism, and Matt Nahigan [has] provided that.”

Nahigan moved Hill to work with Matt Steinmetz and Daryle Johnson to form a new midday show called Bonta, Steiny & Guru. While there was undoubtedly an adjustment period for Hill to familiarize himself with his colleagues and the show’s audience, he felt comfortable in the direction and format of the show. Being able to take calls from listeners again was something always indicative of sports radio to him that had been missing for the time he had worked with Papa, and he was elated to once again foster that unique connection.

“I loved working with Greg Papa, but I did miss taking phone calls from the audience because that’s sports talk radio – hearing from crazy fans,” Hill stated. “They’re going to say some wild things; they’re going to say some great things. That’s sports talk radio.”

To Hill, the style of conversation between him and his co-hosts was more laid back and easygoing, but the show quickly culminated nearly a year after its launch when Joe Fortenbaugh left the station to pursue a new opportunity with ESPN in Las Vegas. As a result, the station revamped its lineup to appeal to the listening audience and to compete with KNBR, especially in the mornings with the longstanding duo Murph & Mac.

Once the opportunity came up, Hill wanted to host in the morning daypart, and Nahigan gave him the opportunity to do so with Joe Shasky and Kate Scott (who departed the show after the first year) on their new program The Morning Roast with Bonta & Shasky. For nearly the last two years, the two Bay Area natives have talked sports each morning on 95.7 The Game, having the first chance to react to the prior night’s action on the air.

“Morning shows set the tone for the station every single day,” remarked Hill. “That’s something that I think we both take pride in. You can be a little lighter – people want to laugh in the morning. They don’t want to get hit with all the X’s and O’s…. You can do a little bit of that, but you have to remind yourself that people are just waking up.”

Hill enjoys being able to determine the direction of the show with his co-host, a sense of ownership that he had never felt during his radio career up until that point. While he does not seek to be domineering in his authority, having a share of the final say on key facets of the show has augmented his impetus to produce the most entertaining show possible. This year, the show has seen success in its ratings, becoming the first morning program to win the winter book in the history of the station, along with topping KNBR’s Murph & Mac in the month of May.

“It’s been a lot of fun and for the first time to be honest with you, I feel like it’s my show,” said Hill. “….I didn’t think I’d do morning drive; I didn’t think I was capable of waking up every single day [to get] to the studio, and it’s been a grind at times. It’s been a great adjustment. Yes, it’s different – but it’s been a lot of fun and it’s been life-changing.”

Not all radio personalities decide to try to find a role on television, no less perform it at the same time. Yet there is a growing number of personalities seeking to establish themselves on multiple platforms, and Hill, with his ambition and determination to succeed, sought after an opportunity – one that ironically involved his former co-host Greg Papa.

Aside from working at KNBR as the 49ers’ radio play-by-play announcer and co-host of a midday show with John Lund, Papa had also been working on television with NBC Sports Bay Area to host Warriors Pre/Postgame Live for the last several years. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the network decided to change up the talent by moving Papa back to Giants Pre/Postgame Live, a show he had previously hosted from 2010 to 2016. Subsequently, Hill was named as the new host of Warriors Pre/Postgame Live, his first television role. Being seen has only enhanced the standing of his radio show, and it is a multi-platform presence he seeks to maintain as the years go on.

“Now that I’m on TV and they see me at night [and] they wake up with me in the morning, it’s been huge for our station; I think it’s been huge for our show; and I think it’s been huge for NBC as well kind of cross-promoting,” said Hill. “….I had to do multiple things. I get antsy if I’m just doing one thing and I get bored and what-not.”

In this role, Hill’s notoriety among sports fans in the Bay Area has elevated, and his profile among media personalities is trending in the same direction. From covering a championship team this season on multiple platforms, he has learned to balance coverage of the franchise with other sports, such as football and baseball.

“The priority was simple – Warriors in the playoffs; four championships in eight years,” Hill reflected. “The Giants will get a mention, but we’re not the flagship for them, [and] the A’s have just been an afterthought in this market. It’s unfortunate. We carried the A’s, we tried to talk about them, but there’s a business side to everything.”

His presence around the team and in the arena is something that some sports radio hosts neglect because they are either unable or unwilling to be present at sporting events. Being seen has helped move his career in the right direction, and as a result, he always seeks to make time to interact with players, team personnel and fans of the show – whether that be in-person or by another means of dissemination.

“I’ve definitely entered a different stratosphere in my career, a stratosphere that I never thought was possible,” said Hill. “I kind of keep that same perspective though that at the end of the day, I’m still the same dude as when I first picked up a pen and wrote for the City College of San Francisco as I am today, and I try to keep that same perspective on my life and this career. It could be over tomorrow, so treat people with respect and just be gracious.”

Hill’s media career has risen expeditiously since his early days working to be a team beat reporter thanks to his adaptability to try new things and yearning to succeed. Simply by remaining a fan in the sense that he continues to interact with his audience and attend sporting events as a radio host, Hill has established himself as a bonafide professional with the conviction to constantly improve and attain unrealized heights in the industry. After all, the reason he went back to school in the first place was to attempt to earn a college degree, but doing so ultimately gave him much more than that, stimulating his journey to work in sports media. Anything else for him is, as he puts it, “icing on the cake.”

“It’s an overused cliché, but we really work a kid’s job,” said Hill. “This is the toy department of life. If I wasn’t working in sports, I’d be watching it anyway.”

BSM Writers

Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood

“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Derek Futterman




The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.

It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.

During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.

“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.

“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”

Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.

“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”

Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.

Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.

“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”

When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.

“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”

Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.

“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”

Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.

Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.

“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”

No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.

At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.

“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.

“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”

As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.

“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.

Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.

“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at

“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”

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BSM Writers

Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

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When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee. 

The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.

McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.

McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.

The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.

There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored. 

It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.

It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.

Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.

And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.

If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.  

Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.

If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable. 

It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.

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BSM Writers

5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit

“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”

Jeff Caves




Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain. 

Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:

  1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.  
  2. GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
  3. LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either. 
  4. SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email. 
  5. WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food. 

You’re welcome. 

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