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Jake Asman Always Has One Eye On The Future

“I think any sports radio brand that’s not taking advantage of the exposure you can get on YouTube is making a massive mistake.”

Tyler McComas




Being extremely versatile is an incredible tool for any sports radio host. In fact, it’s probably one of the best skill sets you could possess. Not only will it give you longevity at the station you currently work at, but you’re also more likely to open new doors and opportunities outside of your building. Versatility is what I think of when Jake Asman of ESPN 97.5 in Houston.

Why? Because He’s a do-everything type of host on the air. If you need someone to host a solo show, Asman has done that multiple times throughout his career at a high level.  Looking for someone to drive a three-man show during afternoons? He currently does that on The Wheelhouse with Cody Stoots and Brad Kellner. There’s not a situation you can throw Asman in on the air, where he’s phased and seems out of place. He can do it all.

“For me, I’ve always tried to be versatile as a broadcaster,” said Asman. “I think the days of, I do this and that’s all I do are long gone. You have to be able to do a little bit of everything. I think the ability to host solo, or with one co-host or even two is valuable, because you never know where the business is going.”

If there’s an art form to being versatile, Asman has mastered it. He did play-by-play in college, he’s done sports updates, hosted shows on the radio and even some TV stuff. But Asman has really zeroed in on YouTube and the opportunities the digital platform presents. He hosts The Jake Asman Show on his YouTube page, which serves as his outlet to talk about New York sports and the teams he roots for in the city. 

But it’s about more than just an outlet to talk about his beloved Jets. He’s projecting what the future of the business is going to look like and he sees YouTube being a big part of it. 

“Just with the way the business is changing from a digital media standpoint, I really believe YouTube is the future,” said Asman. “I think any sports radio brand that’s not taking advantage of the exposure you can get on YouTube is making a massive mistake. We’ve been really able to grow our Wheelhouse audience just by posting some clips and segments on our YouTube channel. We get listeners all the time that come up to us at remotes and say, hey, I started watching your show on YouTube and now I listen on the radio.”

Asman talks about New York sports on YouTube because that’s where he grew up. But Houston has been his home for the past four-plus years after originally moving to the city to host for SB Nation Radio. Local radio was always his passion while growing up in New York and he routinely listened to both WFAN and ESPN 98.7. Houston isn’t similar in many ways to where he grew up, but he’s embraced the community and the teams that play in it. 

“I’ve been really lucky,” said Asman. “I’ve been in Houston for over four years and I originally came here for SB Nation Radio as a host and doing some weekend stuff. During the week, Gow Media, the parent company owned SB Nation Radio, which is now SportsMap Radio and owned the ESPN Radio Houston affiliate, I’ve always been able to do things on the local station, whether it was my first year here covering the Texans everyday or going to Rockets and Astros games, or as a fill-in.

“I’ve always been around it. Local radio was always my biggest passion and I think I was very fortunate that, when they moved me to afternoon drive in August of 2021, even though I was new to doing day-to-day radio every single day in Houston, I had already lived in the city for three years. So, Houston had already become a home of mine and I was familiar with the teams and had relationships with the different coaches and executives around town. It made that transition easier than for someone who would have had to move to a new town.”

Asman can be heard every afternoon on ESPN 97.5 in Houston on The Wheelhouse with Cody Stoots and Brad Kellner. Asman drives the show, which can be tricky when you’re trying to get two other hosts involved as much as possible. But driving a three-man show was something Asman was prepared for, thanks to someone he really looks up to in the New York market. 

“Chris Carlin, who’s someone I really admire in the business and has done a three-man show before,” said Asman. “I called him over a year ago before I moved into afternoon drive and asked for one piece of advice. He said, for me, I always look at it like I’m a pass-first point guard but always want to make sure I get my shots off. So I sort of pick and choose my spots, where if I think I have a stronger take I can take us through the segment.

“Or if I know Cody or BK have something they’re really passionate about or something silly they want to make into a bit, it’s about listening to your co hosts and finding out where everyone fits in the show. And then sometimes funny things just happen or something comes out of the blue that you didn’t think would make a funny segment and you go in a different moment. I just try to make sure we have fun, not take ourselves too seriously and do a good sports show for the city of Houston.”

It’s incredibly beneficial to be able to host with other co-hosts but to also have the tools to host solo. Hosting with other co-hosts is much easier than hosting solo, but what type of show does Asman enjoy the most?

“I really like the three-man show from an entertainment standpoint,” said Asman. “ If it’s just me ranting about the Jets having a brutal loss on Sunday, then I can do that on YouTube. As far as entertainment value, I think it’s so hard to do four hours by yourself. I really think sports radio at its best is people having conversations. It’s the old sports bar analogy. That normally means more than one host is involved.”

The Wheelhouse is all-in on Astros talk right now, seeing as the team is playing in its fourth World Series in the past six years. The success of the franchise has demanded heavy baseball talk during football season, but when you combine it with the apathy of the Texans, the Astros have been the lead story most days. 

“Right now it’s been mostly baseball,” said Asman. “We’re also airing the Astros games on our station of the ESPN national feed. We’ve had pre and postgame coverage centered around that we’ve been able to air. The Texans would get more attention if they were more competitive. Because the Astros have been so dominant and in their fourth World Series in the last six seasons, that’s what people want to talk about.”

“I think Houston has almost become a baseball town, just because you look at the success of the Astros on top of how bad the Texans have been. People are just very disinterested at times with the Texans. The Bill O’Brien situation really took a toll on the fanbase. I think there’s a lot of people that are checked out or, hey, let me know when they’re good again and they’ll come back.”

Asman is incredibly talented and has a bright future ahead, but he also has the luxury of being with two co-hosts that are also incredibly gifted. Both Stoots and Kellner have hosted in the state of Texas, with Stoots having experience in Lubbock and Houston and Kellner having previous experience in Austin. They know the Houston scene well, just as Asman does. The chemistry the three have found together has made for very entertaining and thought provoking radio. 

“Cody is probably one of the most prepared hosts I’ve ever worked with,” said Asman. “He’s so creative in coming up with different angles on a topic. For the most part, everyone in Houston is going to be doing a similar type of topic on the Texans, Rockets or the Astros but Cody’s ability to take a national story and localize it, or take a local story that everyone is talking about and come up with a different angle helps us so much. Especially since we’re the only four-hour show on the station.

“Brad is the funny guy on the show. He’s probably the wittiest guy I’ve ever met. He can take something you say, that’s a very subtle thing and he can turn it into a whole bit and make fun of you. He always keeps the audience on their heels with things he says. Brad is always super prepared and when he needs to deliver a passionate sports rant, he is capable of it. He understands that radio is supposed to be fun.”

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Give Me Less College GameDay, More Game

“If you cut out all of Desmond Howard’s and Kirk Herbstreit’s fake laughter, you probably only have 90 minutes of content stretched out to twice that length.”

Demetri Ravanos



The fate of Pat McAfee, as it relates to College GameDay, is uncertain. McAfee has his pride and almost certainly didn’t enjoy being nitpicked by fans for every little thing last season. The show does not absolutely have to have him, but I do think he is more of a net positive than negative for the show. Plus, as I have written before, the network put an awful lot of effort into building rapport between him and Nick Saban last year. It’s hard to imagine ESPN doesn’t find a way to ensure they are working together this season.

McAfee’s drama is what has fans and industry types speculating on the future of College GameDay right now, but there’s something else I have been thinking about lately. Let’s give McAfee a break. Lord knows he has spent enough time as the focus of everyone’s College GameDay criticisms for the last two years.

I want to know how much longer the show intends to stay at three hours. That’s too much pregame show. If you cut out all of Desmond Howard’s and Kirk Herbstreit’s fake laughter, you probably only have 90 minutes of content stretched out to twice that length.

College football is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s an easy thing to say when Bama is your alma matter, but I don’t just watch the Crimson Tide. I watch EVERYTHING on a Saturday and I still don’t think I get enough.

So I have a radical two-part proposal. In the morning, I need less GameDay and more games. I think the average fan would be just fine with a one-hour pregame show, but I don’t expect ESPN to cut a valuable property down that severely. Instead, let’s settle on a two-hour show. The party can still start at 9 am, just stop at 11 instead of noon.

For that last hour? Start an East Coast game an hour earlier. It shouldn’t be hard for the network that controls all of the SEC and ACC inventory. Just be fair about it. Make sure all of the home teams are in the Eastern time zone and none of the visitors are from the West Coast or Rocky Mountains.

Think of the list of teams that gives you access to: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee from the SEC, the entire ACC outside of the three new additions, and Cincinnati, West Virginia and UCF in the Big 12. 

Even if ESPN wanted to accommodate playoff contenders like Georgia and Tennessee, there’s still a rich inventory of games they could offer at 11 am. Syracuse vs. Georgia Tech will probably be a top 25 matchup, but it is Power Four conference football. Plus, those are schools that should be happy to be on TV at all, so if you are offering them a spotlight time slot on ESPN, who are they to complain? You can swap those names for just about anyone in the ACC or Big 12 and it still works.

There’s a big difference between star power and mass appeal. McAfee and Saban have star power. Football has mass appeal. GameDay cannot deliver the numbers live football can.

On top of that reality, there’s the fact that it’s a decided advantage ESPN has over it’s top competitor. FOX may have the most valuable league in college sports, but they have spent years branding their coverage around the noon hour. Big Noon Kickoff, Big Noon Saturday. That network could not make the same move to 11 am kickoffs without spending huge money on a new marketing campaign. 

Now, let’s talk about part two of this idea. Take Rece Davis, Saban and Howard and give me a meaningful, insightful recap show after the final game of the night on ESPN comes to an end. That, I think, would have even more value to fans than GameDay.

The NFL is and always will be king, but there is a very large population that isn’t ready to jump into fantasy advice the second we wake up on Sunday. Pro games don’t kick off until 1 pm on the East Coast. Why can’t we keep the college conversation going until like 10 am?

College Football Final is fine, but it isn’t at all dynamic. Think of it this way, that replay that’s looped on ESPNU Sunday mornings, if you’re just flipping around, are you more likely to stop if you see Dan Mullen offering an opinion or Nick Saban?

Ultimately, I don’t expect the decision makers at ESPN will consider my idea. Maybe they will, but they’ll dismiss it. It’s always easier to stick with business as usual, and to be fair, the current way of doing things has been very profitable for them, so who the hell am I, right?

However, this is sort of a continuation of the piece I wrote last week about how the network is approaching negotiations with Stephen A. Smith. If you’re building a media company for the future, you have to focus on getting more meaningful games on TV more often. They are the only things that truly move the needle. Football will always be more valuable than football talk.

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Seller to Seller: Sales Meeting

That passion can get you meetings, it can get you sales, it can get you referrals and it can make you rich.



Graphic for a Seller to Seller feature

C’mon in everyone. Hope your week is off to a great start and you are excited for this week’s sales meeting. Chances are, you’ve already taken advantage of our topic today, which is technology. Some of you probably took out your phone today, looked at the weather forecast to figure out what to wear, or maybe you pulled up the Starbucks app and ordered your morning coffee, which you then paid for with Apple pay.

I still marvel every time I am watching my home cable system, through my phone, with a beautifully clear picture. I am old enough to remember my family having a small television in our kitchen with rabbit ears and sometimes you would have to smack the side of it to hope the picture got better. Now, I can whip out my phone, pull up anything I want in the universe to watch and see it clearly, even on an airplane.

Technology is great. Except for when it comes to sales.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are things about technology that have helped those of us in sales greatly. No more recording the ad on a reel and driving it over to the other station or ad agency that needs it. Just get it in your email and send it on over, or you can even text it over.

The problem is, like a lot of things when it comes to electronic forms of communication, too much gets lost when you are not face-to-face, and the worst part is the person on the other end can’t tell at all if you are passionate about what it is that you are selling. And that has been a huge negative when it comes to trying to communicate with people through email and text or by sliding into their DMs.

The biggest challenge most sellers face is setting appointments with new prospects. We used to call it cold calling but somehow a lot of places let the ‘calling’ part slip away and it became a game of how many emails and LinkedIn messages you could send in a day. And as we all know, the chance you have of someone getting back to you about a first-time meeting through one of those channels is slim. So, why waste the time?

Some would argue that people do not want to be cold called any longer and they would prefer you reach out to them electronically. Of course, that is because it’s easier for them to ignore you or say no to the meeting without actually talking to you. Which, when you think about it, is the exact opposite of what we as sellers want. We want to be in front of them.

So, this is where it gets challenging, but also where we separate the good sellers and the great sellers, or more importantly, the ones who make ok money and the ones who make big money. It is clearly much, much harder today to get that yes to that first meeting. So, we have to work that much harder to get it. And if you want to be successful in this industry, you have to be putting yourself in positions to be in front of people as often as possible.

Whether it is a networking group, Chamber of Commerce event, stopping into businesses, going to games and events or any other way you can be in front of a group of people, if you aren’t doing these sorts of things on a regular basis, you are missing out on a ton of new relationship opportunities.

If you have determined that you are going to meet your financial goals by emailing and sending LinkedIn messages all day, it is going to be a short career for you, and you might want to start looking up new ways to season your Ramen noodles. This is a people business and not many people stop by the studio or office to say hello and ask if anyone is in that can sell them some advertising.

The biggest part of this is the passion with which you sell your product. I believe that you have to have that passion to really make it big in the sports media sales business, and let’s face it, that is why most of us are in the business in the first place. We love it. Many of us eat, sleep and breathe sports. That passion comes out when you talk about what you do and how you can help a local business with the tools and resources you have at your disposal using sports radio as the catalyst. That passion can get you meetings, it can get you sales, it can get you referrals and it can make you rich.

Let people see it. Make a promise to yourself that you’re going to do x number of things every month to increase your time in front of the business community in your area. That is where you will make new connections.

Sales managers, I would encourage you to ask your team weekly in one-on-ones about this time and figure out who is putting in the work to really go out and make new relationships and who is doing the equivalent of ‘sitting by the fax machine waiting for orders.’

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Suzyn Waldman and WFAN Had a Lot to Prove 37 Years Ago

When Suzyn Waldman became the first voice ever heard on WFAN on July 1st, 1987, there weren’t too many people who thought that the radio station would have sustainability.

Avatar photo



Photo of New York Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman
Screengrab: Newsday TV on YouTube

On July 1st, 1987, Suzyn Waldman was about to be the first voice heard on WFAN in New York, the first all-sports radio station ever.  As she settled in to do her first update, a moment that is played back every year when WFAN celebrates its birthday, Waldman could not help but look over on the other side of the glass into another studio and see people holding hands and crying.

It was the staff of WHN, the radio station that WFAN was replacing at 1050 on the AM dial.

“I’ll never forget this as long as I live,” said Waldman who has been in the Yankees radio booth since 2005. 

“I looked through the glass and all of a sudden it dawned on me that when I opened my mouth, they would cease to exist and it really hit me just by doing that.  People were crying and that picture is something that has stayed with me forever.”

Next Monday, WFAN turns 37 years old, and it all started with these words that resonated with Waldman as she drove by Yankee Stadium on her way to work that day.  The old Yankee Stadium had a message board on both sides of “The House That Ruth Built” and that day the message would become part of WFAN history.

“The sign on the message board says, ‘Vintage Guidry’”, said Waldman as she delivered the first words ever heard on WFAN.   “I think I remember what I was wearing…a white blouse with a black skirt.”

But, unfortunately, that’s not all that Waldman remembers about that day.  Her broadcasting career featured some rocky moments early on and it started with what she heard seconds after that first update.

“What I heard through the other side of the glass was get that smart-ass bitch with the Boston accent off my air in afternoon drive,” recalls Waldman.

That first horrible experience did not deter Waldman who would go on to become a pioneer for women in sports broadcasting and a resume that would land her in the Radio Hall of Fame.  There were those at WFAN who tried to move Waldman to overnights with the hope that she would quit.

She wasn’t about to quit.  Instead, she built a career doing things that many of the male employees didn’t want to do.  She covered teams like the Yankees, Knicks and Devils and with that she made a little history.

“What I had to do for that was create my own job which was the beat reporter,” said Waldman. “I was the one who did that.  I took assignments that the guys didn’t want to do.  I did not have an easy time.  I was not going to be defeated because some man thought I was stupid because I was female.”

While there were those who tried to take down Waldman and ruin her career, she did have people in her corner including her family and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“The Boss” was initially tough on Waldman when she covered the Yankees but quickly grew into a big fan of hers.

Waldman isn’t so sure she would have enjoyed the career that she’s had without the support from Steinbrenner.

“My brother says I would have because I would have found a way,” said Waldman.  “I believed in what I was doing, and I was the one that was going to maybe make it safer for young girls to believe that they could do this or have some kind of career in sports.  George, except for my family, is the most important person in my life.”

In their early days, WFAN went through some growing pains.

They brought in a lot of on-air people from outside of New York and it really wasn’t until WFAN took over the 660 signal from WNBC on the AM dial that the station became a success.  By transforming from Sports Radio 1050 WFAN into Sports Radio 66 WFAN, the all-sports station assumed the iconic “Imus in the Morning” show from WNBC.  The station also created “Mike and the Mad Dog”, the most successful sports radio show in history, in afternoon drive and the rest, as they say, is history.

Waldman knew that WFAN could be a success before it started, but it had to be done the right way.

“Being the sports nut that I am and knowing that there were so many teams in New York,” said Waldman.  “What I did know was it was not going to work if they had national people.  Nobody in New York gives a damn about Nebraska football.”

It was during those early days doing updates at WFAN when Waldman would meet her longtime Yankees radio partner John Sterling.  One of the original hosts that WFAN had hired was legendary Cleveland sports talk host Pete Franklin to do afternoon drive.  But, Franklin’s arrival in New York was delayed because he had suffered a heart attack.

A number of people were brought into fill-in while Franklin recovered and one of them was Sterling, who retired from the Yankees radio booth earlier this season.

“I was John’s update person when he did a week at WFAN in 1987,” said Waldman.  “That’s how I met him.  We hit it off immediately.  I talk to him all the time and he’s very happy.”  

And now, as WFAN is set to turn 37 years old, Waldman is happy that the radio station continues to thrive even though the sports talk format may sound a bit different than it did in the early years.

“I’m not the demographic anymore,” said Waldman.  “It should change.  The times are very different.  I’m really glad I got to be at FAN when we were building something and I’m really proud of that.  Things change and the world changes and I have no problem with that.  It’s somebody else’s turn.”

When Suzyn Waldman became the first voice ever heard on WFAN on July 1st, 1987, there weren’t too many people who thought that the radio station would have sustainability.  There were also people who didn’t think that Suzyn Waldman should be on the air.

WFAN and Suzyn proved a lot of people wrong.

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