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Audra Martin Continues To Be Shaped By Words From Steve Harvey

“He goes, ‘Exactly, and I will never be somebody’s Plan B. I’ll give you a year but if you’re here next season, I’ll fire you.’”

Derek Futterman




“Survey says”. Those are the familiar words heard on the hit syndicated game show Family Feud. Audra Martin was responsible for coordinating the survey answers and filling in the audience working in television production as an audience coordinator at the show.

What viewers at home do not see is what goes on during the commercial breaks when host Steve Harvey takes questions from the studio audience. During one taping, he was asked about what advice he would give aspiring industry professionals, and the answer he gave genuinely changed the course of Martin’s career.

“Steve said, ‘A lot of people think it’s a good idea to have Plan B. That, ‘Hey, I have something to fall back on if my dream doesn’t happen’,” Martin recalled. “He said, ‘In my opinion, that’s the worst thing you can do because you’re subconsciously telling yourself [that] it’s okay to settle for something less than your dream.’ And I’m listening to this backstage and I’m just like, ‘Oh no, I feel like he’s directly talking to me.’”

From the moment she was young, Audra Martin always had a penchant for sports, specifically baseball and hockey. Growing up in the Chicago area, she was an ardent fan of the Cubs, tuning in to most of their games throughout the season. When she was in high school, she played softball, volleyball, and was a member of the cheerleading team.

Additionally, she cultivated her skills in music at a young age, learning to play the violin when she was 3 and beginning to sing at 12 years old. Nonetheless, her goal always extended beyond direct performance in music or sports, instead seeking to be in front of the camera as a liaison between fans and their favorite teams.

“I’ve been a big competitor, but my favorite part about [sports broadcasting] is telling the stories outside of what you see on the field,” Martin said. “Don’t get me wrong – I love doing highlights and talking about all the action, but there’s nothing better than being able to tell the story about an athlete or something going on behind the scenes that fans wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to hear about.”

While covering baseball and hockey as a sports broadcaster was always her dream job, she was unsure just how realistic it was. When she was young, she saw some women reporters penetrating boundaries including Pam Oliver and Michele Tafoya but it seemed more like an anomaly rather than being normal. As she got older, more women began to break into the industry, but she instead decided to major in criminal justice upon her enrollment at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla.

She finished her freshman year in college with a 4.0 GPA and shortly thereafter received a letter from the dean’s office featuring restrictive majors, meaning that students had to meet certain qualifications to apply for them. Once she saw radio and television on the list, she decided to apply for it since it represented something of interest in her, deciding to focus on the craft she had been drawn to from a young age.

“When I got into the journalism program, a lot of my focus was on local news,” Martin said. “I had an internship with the local Fox affiliate. Honestly, I was competing against a lot of the guys in our class to do all the sports stories and anchor our sports broadcasts. It was a little difficult and I felt intimidated by it.”

Unlike many industry professionals, Martin did not immediately begin seriously pursuing a career as a reporter after her graduation. She did have the opportunity to report on games and compile feature stories for the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers for Fox Sports South; however, that was just on a fill-in basis. Sports broadcasting was always in the back of her mind as she worked in the front office for MLB’s Atlanta Braves, connecting with then-field reporter for New York Mets baseball on SNY and now lead play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports’ NFL coverage, Kevin Burkhardt.

“I ended up meeting Kevin and told him [of] my desire to do his job one day and he allowed me to shadow him the next time the Mets and the Braves were playing,” Martin said. “We kept in touch and he always has just kind of been the go-to person, plus I think he did a great job when he was a sideline reporter for the Mets.”

Her foray into sports broadcasting did not occur until after she went home from that taping of Family Feud and immediately wrote Harvey a letter discussing the impact his words had on her.

The next day, Martin gave the letter to Harvey’s manager who passed it along to him. Moments later, she found herself being called backstage to meet with Harvey, presumably about the note regarding what he had said the day before.

“I go backstage and I’m waiting outside Steve’s dressing room and he comes out and he has the letter and he asked me, ‘So what is it that you want to do?,’” Martin recalled. “I said, ‘I want to be a sports broadcaster.’ He was like, ‘Wow, okay. Why do you work here?’”

Once Harvey posed that question, Martin waxed poetic about how she was enamored with working at Family Feud and helping in the coordination of the show. Yet that was not the question Harvey asked her; instead, she inherently avoided directly answering his question, something the longtime comedian and game show host immediately picked up on. Again, he posed the question to her regarding why she was working at Family Feud.

“And I said, ‘I guess because you’re my Plan B,’” Martin told Harvey. “He goes, ‘Exactly, and I will never be somebody’s Plan B. I’ll give you a year but if you’re here next season, I’ll fire you.’”

Harvey had given Martin the necessary motivation and a vote of confidence to pursue her dream to become a sports broadcaster and that night, she immediately updated her résumé and went on to apply to every open television job in the country. She ended up hearing back from WAAY-TV, a news station in Huntsville, Alabama looking for someone to cover sports in the area as a reporter and also anchor studio coverage.

Once she accepted the job, she officially gave Harvey notice that she would not be returning next season to begin building her career in sports media.

Moving from a metropolitan area to a small market was an immense transition for Martin; after all, she had always been used to the environment of cities and only knew one person living in the area. The benefits to working in a small market though were that she had the flexibility to make mistakes and gain the repetitions essential for advancement in this competitive industry. She began in September in the midst of prime football season both at the high school and college levels but quickly faced significant adversity.

“My sports director actually ended up leaving a couple weeks after I started so I became a one-person sports department for months,” Martin said. “I think there was a stretch where I worked 40-something days straight because this is what you had to do, especially in Alabama…. It was exhausting and very challenging but I look back on it now and it was the best learning experience.”

One year later, Martin found an opening to return to a city – Nashville – to work at another news network, WKRN-TV, as a sports anchor and reporter. The sports department in Nashville, unlike Huntsville’s, had four people and more resources to efficiently and effectively tell stories.

Additionally, the city has two professional teams – the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans – along with college sports at Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee. Nonetheless, working in local news was never Martin’s true “Plan A” and while she loved her job and colleagues in Nashville, looked for opportunities for career advancement.

“I knew when I got into the business that my ultimate goal was to work at a regional sports network,” Martin said. “There’s always been something about being part of a community and feeling like you’re part of the fanbase…. That just always had such appeal to me and it was always my dream.”

When working in Nashville, Martin received a phone call from her agent about an opening to host On The Fly at NHL Network, a highlights show recapping the day’s action in the National Hockey League. The chance to audition for the role coincided with her negotiation of a new contract, and following much deliberation, Martin decided to bet on herself by opting not to renew her deal in “The Music City.”

“I knew it was a big risk, but I felt like it was a risk I had to take,” Martin said. “Ultimately, I didn’t end up getting the job and I was devastated because now my future was so in flux.”

The job had been given to Jamie Hersch, who was previously reporting on baseball and hosting hockey coverage on Fox Sports North, now Bally Sports North. Hersch was beloved by fans in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and she now needed to be replaced since she would be moving to work at NHL Network. Martin was apprehensive about her future but had the realization of Hersch’s job opening and was recommended by those at NHL Network to be considered for an audition.

A few days later, Martin auditioned and subsequently landed the job and after one day of shadowing veteran play-by-play announcer Tom Hanneman at a game, began fulfilling her dream job covering both baseball and hockey.

“My roles are different; that’s why I love my job so much because I get to host in the winter and then switch over to sideline reporting in the summer,” Martin said. “Both have the opportunity to be really in-touch with the fanbase. You feel invested; you can’t help but feel invested with the team. When they’re doing well, it’s fun to be a part of it; it’s fun to cover it every single day; it’s fun to be able to tell those stories and call those highlights.”

The immediate issue for Martin was two-fold in that the Twins posted a 103-loss season in her first season covering the team and that she put immense pressure on herself to replicate the hosting style of Hersch in an effort to be accepted and embraced by fans in the area. As a result, she struggled to find her own style and enjoy working in her “dream job.” Three years in, she had a realization that she needed to change her approach and recognize how fortunate she was to have landed in a major market working in sports media.

“Once I started showing my personality and once I got that confidence to just be who I am and do the show my way and have fun with it, I think things really started turning around,” Martin said. “That’s been my mantra I guess over the last few years – just to have fun with it.”

Although the Twins missed the playoffs this past season, Martin looks back on working more than 100 baseball games for the first time because Marney Gellner, the reporter with whom she split sideline reporting duties, was calling games for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. In spite of working more though, Martin feels she was able to keep up with the team and tell stories that would typically go unnoticed by those outside of the clubhouse.

“It was a bigger commitment this year which was great because I never felt like I was having to catch up,” Martin said. “I was around the team so much that even if I had a few days off, it was only a couple of days off at a time and I never felt like I missed a huge chunk. I really got to get in a good rhythm; I got to know the players well. This season was tough at the end but in the beginning, there was a lot of great baseball and a lot of fun stories to tell.”

As the summer months begin to dwindle away with plummeting temperatures and the appearance of snow on local weather forecasts, Martin transitions to hosting Wild Live, the studio coverage for Minnesota Wild hockey live game broadcasts. She recognizes the difference between hosting and sideline reporting, specifically the differences each role presents in how to tell stories.

“[With] hosting, I know it’s not my job to tell the stories,” she said. “I’m not the analyst. It’s my job to set up the analysts. I try to make sure whether I’m asking them a legitimate question or if I’m just setting them up for a conversation to begin, I try to make sure it’s not the same thing every day.”

The future of studio coverage is somewhat in flux as emerging technologies and changes in consumption patterns have given fans more control than ever before over their viewing and listening experiences. Local pregame and postgame coverage is evolving with the changing media landscape as it fights to remain a mainstay in sports media and avoid extinction, finding new ways to appeal to younger demographics and viewers at large.

“To me as a fan – and this was even before I got into hosting and even before I was in television – I liked watching the pre and postgame shows because it is centered [around] the team that I am rooting for or watching,” Martin expressed.

“It’s everything that I need to know in one condensed 30-minute format and I’m not necessarily having to listen to information about games that are being played on the other side of the country that I’m not really invested in.”

As her career continues to advance, Martin aims to stay in Minneapolis-St. Paul working in sports media and will work to continue establishing her own identity.. She does not rule out one day working with a national network but genuinely feels a sense of elation and pride towards what she is doing now and is remaining focused on finding new ways to tell stories and hone her craft.

“This industry is changing every single day and there’s going to be something new that might not make sense at the time or takes a while to get used to – but we can only get better if we embrace the new resources [and] embrace new technology,” Martin said. “….Be open-minded and don’t be afraid to try something new. It might not work perfectly every time but sometimes the best ideas are when you just think outside the box and you take a chance.”

The impact of advice and others’ belief in one’s ability to succeed in sports media or another competitive industry can be paramount in fostering a successful career. Martin recognizes how Steve Harvey changed her life in one afternoon and returned to Family Feud after she had been featured in a magazine that did a story about the women’s Final Four and how she was, at the time, the only woman sports reporter in Nashville.

With a copy of the magazine in hand, Martin found Harvey’s manager – and what happened next was memorable and a full-circle moment.

“Steve brought me backstage and he came out and he had tears in his eyes,” Martin said. “He made me sign the magazine and he kept the magazine. I don’t know what it was about needing to hear that from Steve but I just needed that kick in the butt I guess.”

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Ian Rapoport Is Competing Against Everyone

“When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive.”

Derek Futterman




The 2023 NFL Draft was a weekend filled with speculation, intrigue and musing among football fans and experts alike. After two quarterbacks were selected with the first two picks – C.J. Stroud by the Jacksonville Jaguars; and Bryce Young by the Houston Texans – Ian Rapoport had the inclination that something was about to break at the event in Kansas City.

The third pick of the night was held by the Arizona Cardinals, but through previous intel, Rapoport knew there was a chance the team would trade it. His phone then lit up with a text message from a source that simply read, “Texans trading.” Receiving a message of this magnitude takes years of networking, credibility and immense trust from the people you cover. Rapoport has worked hard to attain all of them. 

He replied by asking, “Did the Texans trade up to three?,” as the team was not set to pick again until No. 12 overall. Once he got confirmation of the scenario, he began to visibly shake in excitement and captured the attention of the NFL Network team.

“I sit there with a camera in front of me that’s not always on air – this is during the Draft – and the producer gets in my ear and he goes, ‘Can you go on air with whatever you have?,’ and I just say, ‘Yes.’” Rapoport recalled. “And then I hear Rich Eisen go, ‘Ian, you have news,’ and I was able to break that the Texans have traded up to three to go get Will Anderson.”

This is the craft through which Rapoport has cultivated a successful journalism career, ultimately distinguishing him as NFL Network’s goto insider. He hardly ever separates himself from the job, equipped with an unparalleled work ethic to ensure he can communicate messages accurately and in a timely manner. While some people may argue that he is in direct competition with others in his position, such as Adam Schefter of ESPN, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports, the reality of the situation is that it is Rapoport vs. the world.

“It’s such a small world now and everyone is interconnected – and with Twitter, literally anyone could break a story and have it go viral,” Rapoport said. “Obviously, you want everything first, but really you’re competing against everyone that exists because anyone could get the story at any moment.”

Work-life balance in such a role is usually quite insurmountable in today’s dynamic, interminable breaking news environment. Rapoport strives to find some level of normalcy in his life by playing golf and attending his sons’ sporting events. In the end though, he knows the world of football never sleeps, and it is up to him to remain in the know at all hours of the day, essentially always on standby to break the next big story.

“I do not turn my phone off because that’s actually way more stressful,” Rapoport said. “At least now when my phone’s on and near me, if something crazy happens, I can react rather than having a fake relaxation moment and then being caught off guard with something.”

Rapoport recognized that journalism was the field for him almost immediately after stepping onto the Columbia University campus. He worked his way up at The Dial to ultimately become its associate sports editor. In the summer preceding his senior year, he landed a coveted internship with ESPN where he gained invaluable experience in the world of television production. 

By the time he graduated, Rapoport envisioned himself becoming a nationally acclaimed sportswriter, but he knew it was going to require he start small. Three hundred eleven job applications and two interviews later, he landed a part-time role with The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y. covering high school sports. It gave him a start in the highly-competitive business – and kept him close to home while trying many new things.

Two years later, he found himself moving from the bright lights of New York City to the quaint town of Starkville, Mississippi for a notable opportunity. He had landed a job covering the Mississippi State Bulldogs for The Clarion-Ledger in the nearby capital city of Jackson and was under the direction of sports editor Rusty Hampton.

“I knew how to write, but I really didn’t know how to report,” Rapoport said. “He was probably the best [at] showing me, ‘This is all about reporting. It’s all about telling people something they don’t know rather than how well you can pen a sentence.’ To be really valuable to society or your newspaper, you really need to inform rather than entertain. I think he was probably the first and best person to teach me that.”

After spending two years in Mississippi, Rapoport became a beat reporter for The Birmingham News tasked with following the Alabama Crimson Tide. Just months into his new role, the program made a coaching change and hired Nick Saban, who has since led the program to six national titles. 

Rapoport learned the thoroughness necessary to cover the Southeastern Conference as he rapidly watched the program become a perennial contender. In turn, he became an eminent college football reporter and his work began to be consumed nationally.

Simultaneously, Bill Belichick, another accomplished football head coach in his own right, was in the process of trying to lead the New England Patriots back to championship glory. Known to be stoic and restrained in his press conferences, reporters asking him questions knew extrapolating answers was not the easiest of tasks. 

When Rapoport saw a job opening to cover the team with the Boston Herald that required NFL experience, he knew that he was not qualified verbatim per se. Yet he figured the experience he had in covering Saban and Alabama would serve him well in the role, and articulated such in a protracted email to the newspaper’s editors. His strategy worked, proving why Rapoport is considered one of the industry’s best communicators at the micro and macro levels.

“You don’t see a lot of sources within the Patriots or sources within Alabama – there’s not a lot of that,” Rapoport said. “So I learned to report despite that and kind of work the edges and get the information I needed, despite head coaches who weren’t always the most forthcoming with information.”

NFL Network oftentimes has local beat reporters on the air to interact with studio talent and give their perspectives about teams, and it was something Rapoport did while at the Boston Herald. He had no television experience outside of other appearances he made on Comcast New England and certainly no intention to pursue the medium as a career. 

In Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants overcame the New England Patriots, who were undefeated for the year entering the game. Rapoport was on hand for the proceedings, and shortly afterwards was called into a meeting with NFL Network executives. 

He didn’t know he was interviewing for a job until he asked just why he had been summoned. He expressed his lack of television experience to the executives, who said the network would teach him everything he needed to know. 

Once the meeting concluded, Rapoport called his wife, who he had met while living in Starkville, Mississippi, and told her what had just happened. She tempered his expectations, warning him not to get his hopes up as he remained optimistic. One month later, Rapoport received a job offer and found himself moving once again – this time to the Lone Star State.

“I hired an agent and moved to Dallas and basically spent the next year reporting on the Cowboys and some other things being very, very bad at TV, but learning and eventually figuring it out,” Rapoport said. “At the time, this guy, Eric Weinberger, who was our boss, kind of mentioned to me the possibility of transitioning [me] from reporter to insider.”

Rapoport acknowledged that he did not have the contacts necessary to effectively work as a league insider for a national outlet, but through his years of experience, he knew how to network and he was ready and willing to take the challenge. 

Once he began the new position, Rapoport, along with reporter Michael Silver, was on the road for Thursday Night Football and contributed to its pregame and halftime coverage. While his television skills improved, Rapoport was hard at work bolstering his contacts and took somewhat of a geographical approach. 

Every time he arrived in a new city, he would contact anyone and everyone he could conjure up, including general managers, scouts and head coaches. If he could not schedule a meeting time with them, he would introduce himself by roaming the sidelines at practices and before games. He engaged in a similar practice before the NFL Draft Combine, training camps and the Super Bowl along with other premier events, always staying focused on the task at hand.

“It probably took me five or six years to get a baseline of sources where if something happened, I had someone to call,” Rapoport said. “And then it took me a couple more years to get to the point where I would know before a lot of people when something was about to happen. It’s all a multi-step process, and just [the] layering and layering and layering of sources is really the sort of engine that drives this thing.”

Ian Rapoport always attempts to triangulate his sources to verify information before he releases it publicly. There is no guarantee sources are always truthful or acting in a professional manner. Therefore, it is incumbent on a journalist to ensure the validity of content before publishing it themselves. 

“If you’re only right some of the time, then none of it is really worth it,” Rapoport expressed, “because then you say something and they’re like, ‘Well, wow, that’s a big story if this is true.’ The whole point of doing this is when I pop up on TV or when people see my Twitter alerts or whatever, they have to know that it’s true – they have to know.”

One day, Rapoport was having a conversation with a source and discovered through their conversation that Rob Gronkowski had informed the New England Patriots that he would return to the game of football under the stipulation he be traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reunite with quarterback Tom Brady. There had been much speculation pertaining to Gronkowski’s future after he had worked as an NFL analyst with FOX Sports, and now Rapoport realized he had a monumental scoop – that is, if it was true. Within six minutes, Rapoport verified the story with three sources, contacted his editor and reported to the world Gronkowski’s intentions. The story was picked up virtually everywhere.

“I just think about the job all the time, and I make little lists for myself of things that I need to track down, and I just make a lot of phone calls for it,” Rapoport said. “When I’m working, when I’m not working – my brain is still going on overdrive. It ends up just a brain full of football thoughts, and then I spend the rest of the time trying to figure out what I can learn from it.”

Working for a league-owned entity can sometimes epitomize an inherent conflict of interest. For Rapoport however, he has found working at NFL Network to be hassle-free. He knows, however, the nature of his job means he will not be universally liked.

“Whatever you do, you’re going to report and the people you report on are going to be happy or upset or neutral – or whatever it is,” Rapoport said. “I’m never going to criticize a referee, for instance, because that’s a nuanced thing and people might say, ‘NFL criticizes referees.’ I’m never going to do that, but I wouldn’t do that anyway.”

Rapoport continues to appear on a variety of external media outlets, perhaps most notably The Pat McAfee Show, which recently concluded its “Up to Something Season.” The grand conclusion of the proceedings was McAfee announcing he would be bringing his show to ESPN’s linear and digital platforms starting in the fall. 

While McAfee is retaining creative control and has expressed on multiple occasions that his show will not be changing, many have wondered whether insiders employed by other networks will be able to continue making appearances. It is an answer Rapoport himself does not know, nor has he asked about.

“When the news broke, my phone blew up with all sorts of people saying all sorts of different things,” Rapoport said. “I have no idea. I really don’t.”

Even so, Rapoport is elated for McAfee and his team taking the next step in their show’s journey and is genuinely glad to see them succeed. He does not think McAfee’s goal was to reshape sports media, but rather to cultivate a distinctive sports talk program built for fans and today’s generation of consumers.

“You get to know someone and you think they’re a good person and you respect the way they work. Some people have success and some people have a little success and some people don’t. It’s really rare to see someone who has every bit of success that’s essentially possible and deserves every bit of it, and that’s kind of how I thought about Pat. It’s really cool, honestly. He’s built it himself.”

It was on McAfee’s show where another prominent football insider – Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports – said it would be a matter of “when,” not “if” the NFL would have games seven days per week. While devoted football fans like Rapoport are open to such a proposition, he is not sure the league would ever go that far. 

“I don’t even know that it would affect my schedule that much,” he said. “It sort of doesn’t matter. I’ll report all year round anyway.”

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Face-to-Face Sales Meetings Have Never Been More Valuable

“With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F.”

Jeff Caves




When did you last attend a face-to-face (F2F) in-person sales call? Let’s imagine for a second.

In New York, Sarah, a determined sports radio salesperson, got tired of chasing a major client for months. Despite her calls, emails, and text, she couldn’t break through to get a meeting. 

Throwing caution to the wind, Sarah decided to go for it. She loaded her deck and took her burning desire via airplane to Florida to make the pitch. She showed up unannounced at the client’s office and startled the decision-maker. She was given the meeting and won over the client, getting a substantial annual contract and a movie deal in Hollywood. 

We have all seen that storyline. F2F meetings used to be the obvious choice over a phone call, and most buyers were open to that idea. We even conducted market trips to meet our buyers in person and create better relationships. 

With the increase in virtual meetings, new buyer preferences, limited time, and better tech, we have our work cut out to get the F2F. Lots of us work and listen from home. 

Gartner Research points out that live, in person selling is superior to virtual selling in financial services or, as I think, in radio sales. Now, prospecting new clients F2F is much more difficult. You have never met them, you don’t know who you are looking for, and gatekeepers and remote decision-makers make walk-ins more challenging. 

How about getting out and seeing your current or former clients F2F? 65% of outside account executives attain quota, 10% more often than inside reps. Here are some simple strategies to get outside and F2F:


Turn the sales faucet on ‘drip’ and contact your current clients with whatever works: phone calls, emails, or texts. Tell them you are checking in to see if anything has changed, give them a local business lead, or share your latest insight on their favorite team. When doing so, tell them you want to meet F2F and go deep into the next quarter’s ad plan or a new idea to get them back on the air. They may start looking forward to your communication. 


Schedule an annual review ahead of their busiest time of year to review the upcoming messaging in ads. Go over what worked or didn’t last year. Share a success story of a similar advertiser in another market or show them a new opportunity that fits. 

Be upfront that with F2F, we can get more specific, work with better feedback, and partner on hitting their goals. Be the person who looks ahead and helps keep your client focused.


Organize workshops for your current clients. Teach that about streaming, OTT, or Google ads. Get your digital person involved. Let them know you are bringing in other local businesspeople they may want to know or network with and meet F2F! A Mortgage broker may want to meet a realtor who wants to meet a wealthy local businessperson interested in meeting the local head coach. Stand out as a leader in the industry and watch clients brag about working with you. 


Attend trade shows where your current clients will be. This will show you are serious about their business and want to stay current so you can learn and earn. Set up a meeting over coffee or a drink. Share what you learned. 


Client Appreciation Events held at your town’s most meaningful events or places. Do whatever it takes to get hospitality tents at big games and concert suites to show appreciation and bond with your current clients. Host a luncheon at the hottest new local restaurant. Focus on providing an atmosphere or experience everyone wants, but not many can attend. Be the exclusive person in town.


Leverage your existing client relationships to seek referrals. Do it in person. Tell them you want to see them and ask for help and advice. Ask for introductions to potential new clients they know, and you will be surprised how much they like working with you. 


Bring your Digital manager to them and do a free review of their SEO, PPC, whatever. Working off your client’s pc and bringing them an expert at no charge or obligation is much easier. Watch your partnership grow by providing so much expertise at no extra expense. 

Don’t forget the value of F2F meetings. It’s a great way to build trust, connect, and unlock new opportunities. We are in a people business doing business with tons of local directs who still make most of their money serving retail customers F2F. Let’s get out and sell! 

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All Jason Timpf Needed Was A Moment of Clarity

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this.”

Tyler McComas




There was once a time when Jason Timpf always included Colin Cowherd in his commute to work. As he made his morning drive to a sales job at Verizon, The Herd was appointment listening each morning for Timpf. The ex-college basketball player would marvel at Cowherd’s ability to make relatable references and break down all of the same basketball games he would watch the night before. 

One of the unique things Timpf can remember from listening to The Herd during that time was Cowherd saying if FOX ever put someone in front of him, he could tell in five seconds if that individual had the skills to be a host. It was far from a hot take on the Lakers, but still a distinct moment that stuck with Timpf for many years. Little did he know at the time but Cowherd would soon give a five-second evaluation of Timpf’s career.

Jason Timpf was a late-bloomer in basketball. He played college hoops at an NAIA school in Utah, but not until his third year, after being a regular student the first two. After graduating, he pursued a basketball career overseas in India. However, after the league folded, he left the game for a normal job in the States.

There was a real desire for Timpf to get into the sports media business, but he was having difficulties finding the right fit. He wanted advice on the best way to start, but the tips he received just didn’t feel like the right initial path.

“I’d hear, hey, go bang on a radio station’s door and ask if you can work the soundboard,” said Timpf. “Or, try to go to a journalism school. Another big one that everyone was doing was the SB Nation blogs and FanSided blogs. I briefly tried to do that a little bit. But none of it was materializing the way that I had hoped.”

But then the lightbulb went off for Timpf and it happened during the middle of a podcast interview. In October of 2020, Jason Maples of Blue Wire reached out to Timpf to talk hoops on his podcast. It was in the middle of that interview when it all made sense. It felt exactly like the camaraderie he enjoyed with his old teammates and friends talking basketball. It was relaxed, fun and what he used to do for enjoyment. The perfect fit had just found Timpf organically. 

“It was, ‘this is it,’” said Timpf. “‘This is how I want to do it.’ It was like a moment of clarity. Like, this is the way I want to talk about the game. Fortunately, I was working in real estate at the time, so I was super flexible, so I literally was just trying to fake it until I made it.”

While Timpf was grinding away on his new platform choice, he was constantly putting out his content on social media. For a handful of years, he had used Twitter as an outlet for basketball talk – not because he was trying to build his brand, but because it was his preferred method of sharing his takes during and after basketball games. 

“My wife actually played basketball in college but she, like a lot of people, got out of it and was like, ‘actually I’m so sick of basketball, since it’s all I did growing up, that I’d rather not talk about it,’” laughed Timpf. 

As Timpf had built up years of basketball takes on Twitter, he also built up followers. Not a crazy amount, but enough to have regular interactions with several basketball fans. He had no idea at the time, though he remembers occasionally interacting with him, but one of his followers in the beginning was Logan Swaim, who just happens to be Head of Content at The Volume.

Being such a huge fan of Cowherd, Timpf was absolutely familiar with The Volume, a company started by the FOX Sports Radio host. In fact, during his first plunge into podcasts, he quickly took note of how much success The Volume was having with instant reaction and video content. He wanted to emulate what they were doing and would host a Twitter Space after each Lakers game.

Swaim kept up with Timpf’s journey and continued to be impressed with what he saw. He was so impressed, in fact, that a video eventually made it in front of Cowherd’s eyes. It was the moment Timpf had always heard about while driving to his job at Verizon. Cowherd was about to make a declaration on Timpf’s abilities. 

“I didn’t know it until after I was hired, but they said they played my video for Colin and he knew right away that I could do this,” Timpf said. “That was a huge boost of confidence for me, because it meant somebody I deeply respected believed I could work in this business.”

Timpf made his dream come true. He was offered a job by The Volume hosting Hoops Tonight. As much of a dream as it was when he was initially hired, the experience since has been nothing but ideal for Timpf. He gets to cover his favorite sport the way he wants to cover it. 

“When I first started and Logan and I were structuring out the show, he kinda viewed it as my show would be the slower, more methodical pace, where I work through my thought process of a game. And also that I’d be a guest on other Volume shows for more conversational podcasts. I really wanted to break down pick and roll coverage. It’s just going to take me a while, so trying to do that in a debate show format or conversational format can get hard. It’s a place where I can let more of my crazy depth out. And I can also have a side format where it’s more conversational.”

Timpf has learned prep for podcasts is one of the biggest elements to being successful. As Hoops Tonight continues to draw impressive numbers over audio and YouTube, he’s figured out the best method to prepare for a long-form podcast where he’s hosting solo. 

“I digest the game from the simple concept of how the game was won,” said Timpf. “Where was it won? There’s 100-something possessions in this game, there’s seven different storylines and several runs and sequences and sways in momentum, but what’s the one? Usually I’ll target that first in the opening segment of the show.

“While I’m watching the game I’ll take ancillary notes. About five minutes before I record, I sift through everything I’ve written down and limit it down to the things I think are most important. But generally the flow of the show is how the game was won.”

The whole experience has been gratifying and a full-circle moment in many ways for Timpf. Not only has it been vindicating to do things his way and see it become a success, but he’s gotten to do it with someone who he considers an idol.

Sure, Timpf always envisioned growing up he would be talking to Cowherd as a pro athlete, but talking to him as a colleague is certainly the next best thing. So when he got the call to talk with Cowherd during last year’s West Conference Finals, he didn’t hesitate.

“I was so incredibly nervous, as you could imagine,” laughed Timpf. “But I immediately remember him making me feel comfortable and confident. It immediately calmed me down.

“This is probably my favorite part of the entire experience, I think a lot of people think that these networks try to shove people in certain directions and The Volume has given me such freedom to cover the game exactly the way I want to and nobody is telling me to say crazy stuff. Nobody is pushing me in certain directions, it’s like total creative freedom. The way that Logan and Colin have been letting me do me, so to speak, has been so cool. To see my version of what I want it to look like makes me feel vindicated for talking about it the way I want to.”

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