There is a saying in sports that you never want to be the guy who follows the guy. I’ve always thought that’s garbage. Although it might not be ideal to take the place of a legend on the way out, I don’t want to be the guy that’s never given a big opportunity. That would be much worse.
A host that has the opposite of a defeatist attitude while taking over for legendary broadcaster Brent Musburger, is VSiN’s Stormy Buonantony. She has embraced the challenge with a positive attitude as if to say, “No one said anything about the girl taking over for the guy.”
The Vegas Stats & Information Network covers sports betting from all angles. Stormy has taken the torch on My Guys In The Desert while showcasing her personality and knowledge. In addition to that role, she still continues to deliver college football and NHL sideline reports.
We chat about what the heck Metallica has to do with her two separate jobs and not being driven by goals. Stormy also talks about the growth of women in sports broadcasting and betting, and also provides a winning eight-team parlay for tonight’s action. (I might’ve embellished the last part.) Enjoy!
Brian Noe: Where are you from?
Stormy Buonantony: I am born and raised in Las Vegas.
BN: Oh wow, you’re local.
SB: Yes, I grew up here through high school and then I went to college at San Diego State. From there I kind of bopped around from different jobs. I moved to Colorado and then North Carolina and then I ended up back in Vegas. It’s really cool to be working back in the city where I’m from and be around my family and stuff. The majority of my family does live in Vegas or in San Diego. It’s really cool especially after being on the East Coast for a few years and having not seen them for a really long time to now seeing them all the time.
BN: Do you think that being a Vegas local gives you a bit of an edge when it comes to sports betting coverage?
SB: Not an edge to the coverage but I think a more natural understanding of it. I did grow up more so in the culture. My uncle, Eugene Buonantony, is an oddsmaker in town. My dad and my grandpa back in the day, just huge bettors, bet on absolutely everything. When I’m watching a football game as a five-year-old with my dad, the game is a blowout, but he’s rooting for another touchdown because he needs the points. [Laughs] It’s definitely a different growing-up experience than most.
BN: What’s it been like taking over for Brent Musburger on My Guys In The Desert?
SB: There are no words. It is surreal. And it’s so cool that he’s still so involved with the show because during football season he was on for the full hour every Wednesday with me. Any time I had a question about anything he was right there to answer it. He’s so nice. He’s so cool. He’s so wonderful at sharing stories even with the sideline work that I do, he would go out of his way to make sure he knew which game I was assigned so that he could watch a little bit of it and help give me tips in that area too. He’s such a legend obviously but so personable and down to earth. Every day that I get to do a show with Brent is the best day. It’s the best show. It’s incredible. I feel very, very honored that in any capacity my name can be referenced in the same frame as his. He’s incredible.
BN: What’s it like to try to keep the show somewhat similar to what it’s been while making it different now that you’re a part of it?
SB: We thought it was super important to make sure that we kept some of that old-school oddsmaker flavor on the show. I absolutely adore Vinny Magliulo, Jimmy Vaccaro, Chris Andrews, all those incredible legends and sports betting Hall of Famers. I’m getting their stories incorporated on a regular basis and making sure we’re always going behind the counter with some of these incredible guys, but also adding a little bit of flair and a little bit of my personality injected into it and some fun. I’m kind of a quirky human. [Laughs] We do little, fun bits. We just try to be as creative and fun-loving and entertaining as we can while also presenting important information that bettors need to know and following line movement and things like that, I guess with whatever Stormy is, thrown in the mix.
BN: With people like that who know this stuff inside and out, what’s something you’ve either learned from what they’ve told you, or by observing how they think and how they approach sports betting?
SB: So much more goes into it than I guess I initially realized. I didn’t even necessarily understand how many different options that you could have betting certain things. Talking to those guys and hearing the way they get to a number I think is really unique. Why their number might not add up to a lot of the other people that you’re talking to and their handicap and what led them to certain things I think is always intriguing to find out. Following line movement has been really, really interesting to me because just as a novice growing up I just think oh, the point spread is seven. Okay, cool. But I don’t think about it moving to 7.5 and what that means and the impact of that number as a kid. Or even somebody just when I was in college and thinking about this type of thing, I didn’t really know what steam meant.
Seeing these big players laying these huge, massive amounts of money that change the game is really incredible. How people get information and does the book know that information or not? I think it’s just more conversational and hearing their stories and hearing how they do things has been really eye-opening for me. I’m a broadcaster; I don’t think of myself as a betting expert. I bring betting experts on to the show.
I analyze a lot of numbers and I make my own bets and if you want to bet with me, let’s do it, we’re in this together. We’ll ride the highs and lows, but I like to bring people on the show who are dialed into their specific sports, who are dialed into the betting aspect behind the counter as handicappers and analysts, and making that information consumable for people that have been doing this and betting for a long time or in the industry. I’m not dumbing things down for them but also making it consumable and understandable for somebody who might be listening to us for the first time.
BN: What do you think about the growth of women in sports broadcasting and sports betting?
SB: It’s huge. I feel like so many stories that I had heard coming up in this business were just about how it’s really hard, there’s going to be a lot of preconceived notions about you being a woman in the locker room, being a woman in this space. You have to overcome a lot of hurdles. I have had some of those experiences I guess, but more often than not I’ve had so many men in my corner that were supportive and have made me feel so comfortable working in this industry.
I think and hope as more women continue to get invested in sports and in the sports betting side that they’re welcomed because I feel like every day I’m seeing somebody new getting involved or a new face on television that I hadn’t seen before that’s a woman. Not only in reporter roles but in analyst roles and in play-by-play roles.
When it comes to betting, I don’t know if it’s because of the explosion of legalization over the last handful of years, but from a content producing standpoint of women in sports betting that like to talk about it, there are so many female faces and voices, whereas it was such a long journey I feel like in the sports reporter realm to get to that point. Now with more states opening up with it, as soon as it pops up in a state, there are women that want to get involved. They want to be a part of this. I think that’s pretty telling for that section of the industry in itself.
BN: How do you have to switch your mindset when it comes to hosting a sports betting show compared to doing sideline reports?
SB: Being a reporter and host are two completely different skill sets because for being a sideline reporter, you do all of this work leading up to this one day, but you speak in 30-second increments so you have to make sure that you get your story out, it’s concise, it’s consumable, it makes sense to everybody and it’s good. On VSiN, I have this wonderful opportunity to sit there and speak my mind for an hour or longer depending on what show I’m on that day. Obviously my show is an hour, but when I fill in on other programs that are longer, you get to really dive into a lot more, which does mean more research and does mean more work, but it’s really fun to share your opinion.
Being a reporter and being a sports betting host are very different from the standpoint that I’m telling other people’s stories and trying to get in-the-now information there, and in my show, it is kind of about my opinion. For whatever reason people want my opinion and I’m not sure why. But I’m just very used to being the question asker and not being the one voicing that. At first it was a challenge for me to be able to do that because so much of being a reporter is to separate yourself from it. You’re not the story and you’re not part of it, but VSiN encourages that. They want you to dive into the numbers and share why you like something or why you don’t and what you know and what you don’t.
BN: It makes me think of the band Metallica. Back in the day they had these long, long songs. Then the black album came along and their songs were shortened quite a bit. They were asked which was harder to do. The drummer said it was harder to make the songs shorter and to be more concise. They could come up with ideas all day for longer songs, but to trim things down was difficult. Which do you think is more difficult for you; the quick sound bites, or all the prep and all the airtime you need to fill on the VSiN side?
SB: Yeah, that’s a really interesting question. I find them both equally difficult. It’s a challenge but they’re equally fun in their own ways. I’ve never really thought of it that way. It is different so one thing about the show that I’ve never had to deal with as a reporter that’s new for me, and anybody that works in radio or live TV for a long time has dealt with it plenty, but this is a very new thing for me when I had started with the show was if a guest drops out.
I don’t have a co-host or anything and on other shows I always have. That is a challenge for me. At the beginning, you plan out the show and you allow a certain amount of time for certain things. Then if you’re a minute into an interview and somebody drops out and they’re not able to reconnect again and you just have 11 more minutes to fill of just you talking, that was very hard for me at first just because I had never experienced it before.
My producer, Stephanie [Kamerschak], is incredible. That first time specifically she’s like I don’t know why you freaked out, you handled that really well, I’m really proud of you. I was like okay, thank you. Maybe we can plan extra segments each show or something so we can have something in the back pocket. That was harder for me because I had been so programmed to be a sideline reporter and to be more concise, so stretching was a challenge for me at first. But now I feel a lot more comfortable with it. I’ve done the job for a full calendar year now and I’m used to those things happening, but the first time I was like what’s happening? Why is this going on?
BN: What do you see happening in the near future for sports betting?
SB: I think growth first and foremost. It’s just going to continue to become more and more widely accepted. My Twitter feed is just constantly filled with it. When you watch NFL Network or any of these major TV programs, they have tickers on the bottom with spreads now, which is so different. I think that that’s just going to continue to elevate and elevate. Maybe it’s in broadcasting that they’re incorporating it more.
We’re seeing them already obviously, but in-game. I was watching the UFC fights and while maybe it wasn’t done great, the way that they presented some of the numbers and odds, but they’re not trained in that either. They just have a DraftKings logo and they’re like okay, we’re supposed to do this promo so we’ll do it. But I think that’s going to transform from it being a blurb and here are the odds because this is a requirement to wow, this number moved a lot. A lot of people are thinking that this underdog has a real chance here and talking about it like that and have it being a free-flowing conversation broadcast is going to happen sooner than later. Growth with more women involved, with more people of color involved as it expands. I’m really excited for the future of sports betting. I think it’s only brighter and it’s only going to get bigger.
BN: It’s funny because it makes me think of Al Michaels where he would have those read between-the-lines comments like well, that’s overwhelming. Do you see yourself on the sidelines, and it might not be your whole report, but at some point interjecting sports betting into what you’re saying?
SB: I actually have once. It was very fortunate the way that this panned out, but I was working the New Mexico Bowl this past bowl season and a couple of the players on the sideline kept on saying the number of the week. I think it was 11 maybe. But that was the point spread of the game. One of the kids even came up to me and was like did you hear that? I was like yeah, what was that about? He was like they were 11-point underdogs, that’s been their motivation. They knew they were being doubted. They were up at halftime. I just remember thinking that was so cool and I told my producer. I was like am I allowed to say this? He said go for it. It was really cool to see those worlds collide there for a moment.
BN: I wonder if that will ever become common. To me I just wonder where the line is, how far is it going to go before someone says that’s a little bit too much.
SB: Yeah, I’m not sure. Every other job that I have had prior to where I am at now, I’ve not been allowed to bet based on my contract. When I worked for the Mountain West Conference, you can’t even bet on any professional sport if it has an NCAA championship. You can’t bet on any college sports and you can’t bet on any professional sport that is associated with an NCAA program.
I worked for the Carolina Panthers in the NFL; you can’t bet on any NFL or football. I worked for the NHL; you can’t bet on anything hockey-related. It took a little while for my brain to flip that switch that no, you’re allowed to talk about this, it’s okay. Don’t freak out. [Laughs] It’s awesome now because I’ll go on a football game and our statistician will be over there like okay, Stormy, what’s the big game that we’re looking at this week? People are into it and it’s awesome and it’s cool and it’s normal. I’m sure it’ll take some adjusting for some of those big-wigs to welcome this transition. I don’t know where the line is. Fortunately, that’s above my pay grade and so I don’t have to worry about that right now. [Laughs]
BN: How often has it happened where you’re under contract, you can’t bet, and you’re like I would totally bet this line right now?
SB: All the time. It happened all the time. What was the worst was when I worked in collegiate athletics and working for a college conference you can’t even make an NCAA tournament bracket. Even if it’s not for money, you just can’t do it. So bizarre. When I worked in the NFL, my dad’s calling me every week, so what’s going on, Storm? I’m like, dad, I can’t tell you, but I do like that number. [Laughs] Stuff like that, it’s just so goofy. It’s really interesting. It’s a different world.
BN: What experiences would you like to have going forward in your career?
SB: I am the worst person to answer this question because I am just so on the fly and living life day by day. Whenever anybody asks me, where do you see yourself in five years, I’m like I have no idea because every time I think I know, I never end up there. And it’s been for the best. There have been so many jobs that I thought I really, really wanted and I didn’t get and I was so sad about it, but if I would’ve taken that job then I never would have gotten this other opportunity, which ended up being so much better for me. I’m very much just taking opportunities and taking life as it happens.
The fact that I’m with VSiN even feels super serendipitous. I was just back in town and someone basically saw me on a Golden Knights broadcast when I was working for the team in town and realized hey, that last name sounds really familiar and connected the dots with my uncle and was like wait, does she know sports betting? They just got to know me and asked if I liked or cared about sports betting and developed that relationship. I never ever, ever, ever would’ve thought that I would be working in this industry and now I can’t imagine not working in it. Yeah, just kind of seeing what happens.
BN: Do you ever think that goals could get in your way, meaning if you’re in the moment and you’re day by day, if you’re thinking I want to get to this job, could that almost throw you off in a way?
SB: I think sometimes because it doesn’t let you embrace what you’re doing currently enough. If you’re always seeking that next thing and that next opportunity, you’re probably not giving your all to your current job. That’s always been really important to me. People are paying me to do this job for a reason. I want to make sure they’re getting what they’re paying for. I want to make sure they’re getting all of my personality, all of my energy and that I’m not just always looking for what’s next. I think that’s really important and maybe that does get lost for some people.
I also think a lot of times at least for me early on in my career where I was thinking dang, why am I not quite here yet. I was looking at so many other people that were my age or younger doing certain things. Comparison is the thief of joy; I don’t know where that quote comes from but I very, very firmly believe in it. I’m more so focused on supporting and lifting other people up and celebrating everybody’s wins; it’s so much more important to me now than trying to get what’s next. I just think that’s really important.
Brian Murphy is Preparing to Write His Next Chapter at KNBR After Layoffs Ended ‘Murph and Mac’
“I don’t want to say, ‘This too shall pass,’ or, ‘Time heals all wounds,’ but you’re only as good as your next ratings book.”
After the morning show signed off at KNBR last Wednesday, co-host Brian Murphy was called into a meeting with Cumulus Media market manager Larry Blumhagen. Although there had been signs of potential changes, Murphy had partnered with Paul McCaffrey for nearly 18 years and survived all of the turmoil.
A simple look around the building represented proof of an alteration, evinced by reductions in the number of stations under its roof. A once powerful news station, KGO-AM, underwent a sudden format flip last year after nearly a century on the air. A few years earlier, alternative rock station KFOG was eliminated from the company’s portfolio as well. KNBR has weathered the storms, but not without alterations to the station’s programming department.
“I would say everything has shrunk,” Murphy expressed, “and that includes sending us on road trips or to Super Bowls, etc.”
Layoffs have reemphasized the importance of the quantitative bottom line, sometimes overshadowing the qualitative utility and widespread impact derived from talent and popular shows. It is partially why the deluge of palpable support after Murphy learned in a short meeting that McCaffrey was being laid off was surprising and reinvigorating. But first came an immediate, jarring feeling surrounding the decision.
“Truthfully numb,” Murphy said regarding his sentiment after learning what happened. “I guess it’s a cliché to say that people go into shock, but to know that Paulie and I wouldn’t be together was something that didn’t register. I mean, it registered, but it didn’t register until fully; the next 48 hours is when it really started to really hit.”
McCaffrey was one of seven laid off at KNBR that day. Morning show producer Erik Engle, former programmer Lee Hammer, host F.P. Santangelo and members of the outlet’s digital department lost their jobs as well. Even the long-running KNBR Tonight evening show, which aired for decades was canceled, and replaced with CBS Sports Radio programming. While Murphy always hoped that the morning show would continue in the iteration before the end of his contract, he is now facing a new reality without his longtime colleagues.
“I think what we were disappointed by was sort of an abrupt and premature end, particularly to our partnership, which I think we’ve learned from an incredible outpouring of social media is way more than we knew,” Murphy said. “We learned our partnership for whatever reason connected to a lot of people for a long time. It’s funny they say radio is dying, but radio sure is personal and effective in many ways baked on what we’re hearing from our listeners.”
During the next two days, Murphy was off the air and contemplating his future. There were moments where he thought about leaving KNBR. However, he knew that he had a contract to fulfill and a family to support. Additionally, the person that he was set to work with on Monday and beyond – Markus Boucher – had contributed to the morning show for nearly four years, rendering familiarity and comfortability.
“There’s a chance that Markus and I could do this for a long time; we’ll see how it goes,” Murphy said. “Maybe things go great and that would be awesome, and I’m definitely leaving that door open. For whatever reason, we recover from the pain of losing my partner for almost two decades and the next chapter works out.”
In 2023, KNBR has experienced two subpar quarterly ratings books. The decrease in performance has affected all dayparts on the outlet. Murphy knows that when the San Francisco Giants do well, it generally leads to KNBR succeeding. The station did improve in its summer and fall books for 2023, but there already were repercussions being felt.
“I just know that that happened and it damaged people’s perception of the station, but I don’t think it was an accurate reflection of all of our listenership at all; I just don’t,” Murphy said. “I know for a fact that we still had a huge audience, and it’s evident by what happened after the news; just so many people reacted and people in the demo too.”
Even though he knows it does not directly relate to his role as an on-air host, Murphy believes that the local advertising market was damaged because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the city. San Francisco was one of several major metroplexes that instituted strict health and safety protocols in an effort to slow the spread of the disease, which had an effect on sports talk radio consumption. With more people working remotely and fewer people commuting to the office, the transition to digital content and audio on-demand offerings has hastened in order to realize previous levels of engagement and keep the format alive.
“KNBR is going to have to weather this storm,” Murphy said, “and there’s this feeling of, I don’t want to say, ‘This too shall pass,’ or, ‘Time heals all wounds,’ but you’re only as good as your next ratings book.”
The station recently held an all-staff meeting to discuss its direction, which has been somewhat complicated by three program directors at the outlet over the last five years. Following the departures of Jeremiah Crowe and Kevin Graham, Adam Copeland took over the responsibilities last month. The layoffs took place two weeks into his tenure, causing some people to question how involved he was in the decisions and whether or not he advocated for the morning show.
“I think these things come from beyond San Francisco,” Murphy said. “Our headquarters are in Atlanta, and I think something this big – like I said, it wasn’t just Paulie Mac; it was seven people. Paulie Mac is personal for me, but that to me says, ‘Well, that’s obviously a big budget decision that’s being made at a level far above the San Francisco program director.’”
Although Copeland has minimal previous experience as a program director, Murphy is confident that he will be able to effectively lead the station through his energy, youth and passion for the medium. Copeland grew up listening to KNBR and worked at the station over the last several years as a producer and host, eventually earning a spot in afternoons alongside Tom Tolbert. Copeland remains in that time slot, pulling double duty for the radio station. His relatability and familiarity with the craft is something that Murphy views as an advantage.
“I think people are pretty excited that we have somebody who cares as much as Adam Copeland does about KNBR,” Murphy said, “I think if there’s anything to be optimistic about in 2024 that despite this ending to 2023, it’s that we have a program director who’s all-in on the station.”
Thinking about what comes beyond the immediate future though is not within Murphy’s mindset. At the moment, he feels it is too soon to determine if there will be a potential Murph & Mac reunion on a digital platform. Instead, he is focused on being able to continue to serve San Francisco sports fans without his longtime on-air partner. Murphy realizes how fortunate he was to have someone like McCaffrey by his side and valued both his consistency and dependability on a daily basis.
“Every single segment he was the same energetic, relentless, hilarious partner who only wanted what was good for the show – not what was good for him; not what was good for me – he only wanted what was good for the show,” Murphy said, “and it was such a lesson for this newspaper guy to learn, for lack of a better word, showbusiness.”
When Murphy entered the studio Monday to host his first show without McCaffrey, everything felt surreal to him on the air. There was ostensible tension in the room and from listeners about how he would address the news, and share his feelings with the audience. The program ended with a monologue from Murphy regarding McCaffrey, something that he is grateful Boucher did not raise objection to and that he was able to make his statement on the air.
“The 49ers had just destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles, which actually was a huge positive break for us because it allowed everything to happen Monday with the backdrop of great positivity because that was a huge game for the Niners and people were pretty jacked up about that game,” Murphy said. “So I opened the show by saying, ‘I know it’s corny, but that one was for Paulie.’”
The shock and surprise from McCaffrey being laid off is hardly evanescent, but Murphy is now thinking about how to optimize the morning program with Boucher. Predicting what may come next is an arduous task. Murphy considers himself fortunate to have had nearly 18 years hosting with McCaffrey, and he is now thinking about the next chapter of his time at KNBR while having reference for the enduring legacy of Murph & Mac.
“For whatever reason, I’ve never lost my absolute joy and passion for the sports world – sports content; sports stories; sports history; sports media – everything about it,” Murphy said. “And so every morning when my alarm goes off and my feet hit the floor, I’m like, ‘Let’s go! I’m stealing money. This isn’t work.’”
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.
How Big Noon Kickoff Turned Into a Legitimate College GameDay Challenger
Big Noon Kickoff is like a college football tailgate on TV. Panelists good-naturedly rip each other, toss the football around on a makeshift field, and talk smack whenever possible.
The best college football pregame show on television emanates every Saturday from a different college campus. It features close-up shots of a boisterous crowd flashing banners and signs and is hosted by an excellent mix of TV pros, former players, and coaches, but it’s not the show you might think. To use college football vernacular, ESPN’s College GameDay is the Granddaddy of them all in collegiate gridiron pregame fare, but FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff is College GameDay on amphetamines.
It has taken the genre to new heights of volume, vigor, and vivacity. The camera shots are more intense, smoke and flashing lights are the order of the day, and the panelists are vociferous, rowdy, and sky-high-pumped.
Veteran host and reporter Rob Stone is the ringleader of this pigskin circus. Brady Quinn, Mark Ingram II, Matt Leinart, and Urban Meyer fill out a crowded anchor desk. In Week 13 of the college football season, both Big Noon Kickoff and College GameDay were live at the University of Michigan in anticipation of the gargantuan matchup between the Buckeyes of Ohio State and the Wolverines.
FOX’s coverage was on point. Unlike on ESPN, where the mad throng of students and fans are set off a bit by the talents, the crowd on Big Noon Kickoff was right on top of the FOX panelists, and they certainly let Meyer, the former Buckeye head coach, know how they felt about him. He was booed roundly and consistently. Every time he spoke, the jeers would rise to new decibels. It was fun to watch.
On the flip side, Big Noon Kickoff analyst and ex-Wolverine Charles Woodson was greeted by a thunderous ovation. Woodson actually got up close with the crowd and high-fived the fans.
On ESPN, only Pat McAfee elicits such closeness and raucousness from the faithful in attendance. In fact, in my opinion, the emergence of Big Noon Kickoff as real competition is the reason why McAfee was added to the College GameDay roster.
This edition of Big Noon Kickoff featured an electrifying feature story on the fabled Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. Also helping the broadcast is the presence of that eminent reporter Tom Rinaldi.
Rinaldi, a former ESPN’er, talked about Ohio State’s preparation for the big game and revealed that Buckeye players were inspired by constantly viewing social media posts proclaiming Michigan’s dominance.
Reporter Jenny Taft chimed in as well, providing important Michigan injury updates. I really like the diversity of the Big Noon Kickoff team. You have a solid host in Stone, a coach’s perspective from Meyer, offensive insight from Leinart, Ingram II, and Quinn, and a defensive standpoint from Woodson.
Leinart stood out from the pack making the point that the game was about more than just a rivalry. It was really about winning a Big 10 title and gaining positioning for the college football playoff and a shot at a National Championship.
Ingram II added that the most physical team would win the game, while Quinn, a Columbus, Ohio native, gave some insight on what this game means to both states and fan bases. It’s a challenge to pass around the airtime when you have six bodies at the desk, but Stone does a good job of laying back in the weeds and letting the analysts analyze.
Perhaps the brightest light on Big Noon Kickoff is the presence of Chris “The Bear” Fallica. Plucked from ESPN, Fallica has been a tremendous addition. He brings serious college football chops and really puts things in perspective.
I always felt that this guy was underutilized on College GameDay. The dude does more than just pick game results. In this episode, he provided a lucid explanation of how 2023 is a watershed year for college football with realignment coming. In addition, he wrote an excellent script for the Leinart feature on the demise of the Pac-12 conference.
Big Noon Kickoff moves at a furious and frenzied pace, and viewers are enthralled to be along for the ride. I actually found myself on the edge of my seat wondering what feature or analysis would come next.
Coming back from a break, the show does not cut right back to the panelists. Cameras pan the crowd and audio goes up so viewers can hear the crowd cheer and sing team songs. This style really brings home the atmosphere of a major college football game.
While the show is mostly about the game being played at the broadcast site, Big Noon Kickoff offers a deep dive into highlights, previews, and analysis of games around the country.
One of the best parts of Big Noon Kickoff is the contribution of FOX’s Joel Klatt a model of excellence and versatility. Klatt excels in numerous venues: live game coverage, interviews, studio shows, guest shots on other programs, and more. His knowledge is unmatched and he always asks the right questions.
This was evident on the December 6 edition of The Joel Klatt Show: Big Noon Conversations where Klatt presented a terrific one-on-one interview with Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark. Klatt is always prepared and even-tempered. He listens to his subject and offers pinpoint follow-up questions.
Big Noon Kickoff is like a college football tailgate on TV. Panelists good-naturedly rip each other, toss the football around on a makeshift field, and talk smack whenever possible – pretty much everything short of beer pong.
Stone further added to the fury by encouraging Meyer to flash his Ohio State National Championship ring to the Michigan crowd. And Meyer did it, risking a damn near riot.
Having two former quarterbacks on set is a plus, especially when it comes to analyzing the game’s most important position. You can make the point that both Quinn and Leinart fizzled out in the NFL, but you cannot deny their fine college quarterbacking pedigree. They offered real talk on QB’s Kyle McCord and J.J. McCarthy.
Fallica once again showed his singular insight and was absolutely prophetic stating that without quarterback Travis Jordan, Florida State would not be looked upon as a top 4 team even if they finished undefeated.
In true FOX style, there is never a lack of star power on Big Noon Kickoff. The panel welcomed none other than Michigan native and Wolverines fan Derek Jeter as a guest. Jeter revealed that he actually signed to play baseball at Michigan and took some classes there before joining the Yankees organization.
He also added some humor saying that all ballplayers want to get out of the minors as soon as possible, but he did even more so because he was playing for the Yankees Triple-A team in Columbus, home of the Buckeyes.
Amid all the fanfare, you know if Tom Rinaldi is around, there is going to be a heart-wrenching feature story. His piece on McCarthy and boyhood teammate Ryan Keeler was top-notch.
Keeler would go on to play at UNLV and was scheduled to play at Michigan against McCarthy this past September. Tragically, Keeler passed away from a heart condition in February 2023.
Big Noon Kickoff is always moving, literally. Later in this show, the anchor desk moved from outside the stadium to down on the field in the Big House. The different settings bring variety and an intimate feel to the production.
Former Wolverine and current Detroit Lion Aidan Hutchinson joined the panelists on the field for some commentary. Keep your eyes on Hutchinson. His NFL career has just begun, but this young man has a future and broadcasting. He was at ease, personable, and insightful.
As for the ratings on this November 25 day in Michigan, well as they say, it depends on whom you ask. FOX public relations tweeted that Big Noon Kickoff averaged 2.34 million viewers adding that it was “Saturday’s most-watched college football pregame show on any network.”
Meanwhile, ESPN PR tweeted that College GameDay averaged 2.4 million viewers and was “the top CFB pregame program of the week.” Beyond the numbers, it is the overall feel of the broadcast that sets Big Noon Kickoff apart.
Whether it is the dramatic shots during pre-produced interviews and feature stories, the rapid-fire edits and cuts to of the crowd and players, or the majestic overhead images of both teams taking a pregame knee in prayer, Big Noon Kickoff brings viewers to the campus, on the field, and into the action in a manner that is fast-paced, frenetic, and just plain fun.
John Molori is a weekly columnist for Barrett Sports Media. He has previously contributed to ESPNW, Patriots Football Weekly, Golf Content Network, Methuen Life Magazine, and wrote a syndicated Media Blitz column in the New England region, which was published by numerous outlets including The Boston Metro, Providence Journal, Lowell Sun, and the Eagle-Tribune. His career also includes fourteen years in television as a News and Sports Reporter, Host, Producer working for Continental Cablevision, MediaOne, and AT&T. He can be reached on Twitter @MoloriMedia.
How Radio Sellers Can Be the Solution For Small Business Owners
In the face of these challenges, putting on a positive perspective can become a guiding light for SMBs.
The landscape for small business owners is rife with challenges, often leading to a cloud of negativity about their future. Radio sellers can be a ray of light.
The September NFIB Small Business Optimism Index reveals that 57% of these entrepreneurs do not expect improved business conditions in the next six months.
Despite improvement in their outlook from last year, this pessimism is still at recession levels. The majority of small-to-medium businesses are concerned with Top of Form inflation and labor shortages. We must get on The Energy Bus and help turn these negatives into positives.
The survey conducted among small business owners laid down the reasons for their negs:
Economic Uncertainty: A significant percentage expressed concerns about the unpredictable economic landscape, making strategic planning and decision-making difficult.
Inflationary Pressures: The rising costs and inflationary trends have worried them about maintaining profit margins and sustaining operations.
Labor Shortages or Quality of Labor: Finding and retaining quality employees amidst the ongoing labor shortage has emerged as a considerable challenge, affecting business operations and growth prospects.
In the face of these challenges, putting on a positive perspective can become a guiding light for SMBs.
See the Concerns and Offer Support
Address Their Worries: Acknowledge their concerns about the uncertain economic climate, rising costs, and labor challenges. Don’t let them drag on and on about it. But make sure to show some empathy and understanding towards their situation. If appropriate, share experiences of other station clients’ challenges and how your solutions or products have helped them navigate similar situations. Watch their ears perk up when they realize they are not the only business having issues.
Be a Partner: Position yourself as a partner rather than just a salesperson. Offer insights and strategies you have heard or read about that can help them navigate through these challenges. Be well-read and a resource for change.
Highlighting the Power of Radio Advertising: Showcase how your proposal can boost visibility, reach target audiences cost-effectively, and drive sales. Ensure you have a few different price point proposals that fit their budget. Don’t tell them to spend their way to success, especially on credit cards.
Success Stories: Share success stories of businesses similar to theirs that overcame challenges through effective radio marketing. Demonstrate how strategic advertising helped these businesses thrive despite economic uncertainties. This is your most powerful ally, and you must ask all the salespeople to share any success you can pass along.
Instilling Hope and Encouragement
Inspire Positive Vibes: Share uplifting anecdotes and stories of resilience to inspire hope and instill optimism in small business owners. Emphasize that challenges are temporary and can be overcome with the right strategies and a positive mindset. Recall how you watched businesses go through the same thing 2007-09. Please read up on those stories and pass them along.
Continued Support and Engagement: Maintain regular communication and send them stories you find. Stay engaged and offer hope by consistently being there for them.
The concerns SMBs have are valid. There is no argument there. However, amidst this negativity, we can play a transformative role. Before you go down this road, make sure you find the things to believe about why this business will succeed.
Focus on those positives. You are the person who is on the street dealing with dozens of local SMBs just like them. You are the voice of reason. Your positivity and support can drive their renewed optimism, and you will forever be seen as part of the Solution, not the problem.
Jeff Caves is a sales columnist for BSM working in radio, digital, hyper-local magazine, and sports sponsorship sales in DFW. He is credited with helping launch, build, and develop SPORTS RADIO The Ticket in Boise, Idaho, into the market’s top sports radio station. During his 26 year stay at KTIK, Caves hosted drive time, programmed the station, and excelled as a top seller. You can reach him by email at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @jeffcaves.
Barrett Media Writers
- BSM Writers5 days ago
Don La Greca is Putting His Faith in the Audience to Find ‘The Michael Kay Show’ on ESPN New York
- Sports TV News4 days ago
Stephen A. Smith: I Deserve to Be Highest-Paid ESPN Employee
- Sports Radio News5 days ago
Brian Murphy: Paul McCaffrey Tried to Make ‘Radio Magic Every Single Segment’