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Bob Wischusen Wasn’t Sure the NHL on ESPN Would Ever Be A Possibility For Him

“That was one of the happiest days I’ve had. I immediately went right into my boss’s office and said I want to be involved in this.”

Ricky Keeler

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Bob Wischusen

One of the busiest sports play-by-play announcers all year-round has to be Bob Wischusen for ESPN. Whether it is calling the New York Jets, or a hockey, college football, or college basketball game for ESPN, Wischusen is on your radio or TV all-year round. He also understands that no one wants to hear how busy his schedule is once they turn on a game he is calling.

Wischusen was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and he told Schein that with the crazy schedule he has, the key is having a short-term memory and understanding no one wants to hear him complain about what he does for a living.

“You obviously have to kind of have the ability to wipe your short-term memory and move on to the next game. You have to obviously delegate your time somewhat effectively as well to make sure you are not chasing the next game, but you are out ahead of it.

“If I’m someone that wants to listen to the Jets game, I’m going to turn the game on and listen to the game. If I happen to be calling a hockey game between your favorite team and someone else, you don’t care what bowl game I called two days ago or how I got there and how little sleep I had, you just want to watch the game. I get it. No one wants to hear you or me complain about our jobs.”

When it was known that the NHL TV rights were going to go back to ESPN, Wischusen knew he wanted to get involved even though he hadn’t called a hockey game since he was a substitute play-by-play voice of the New York Rangers for MSG Network. He appreciated that ESPN took a chance and gave him an opportunity to call NHL games for the network.

“It was not something I really dared to dream was possible. My first play-by-play experience at the pro level was actually with the Rangers. I left WFAN and went over to MSG when I was still the pre and postgame host for the Jets and hadn’t been elevated to the play-by-play role yet. I was given the opportunity to be the substitute , pinch-hitting play-by-play guy for MSG and the majority of that was Rangers and a lot of it was radio. I loved it.

“That was one of the happiest days I’ve had. I immediately went right into my boss’s office and said I want to be involved in this. Luckily enough, they kind of took a little bit of a leap of faith and let me do it because I had not called hockey for certainly more than 10 years, maybe less than 15. It had been a long time. They had the belief I can do it and put me on it without really ever having heard me do it. I will be forever grateful for them for having that faith in me to give me that chance to do it again because it is great.”

While Wischusen used to be a sports talk radio host in the early stages of his career and he told Schein he does miss that aspect of what he does, he mentioned how he enjoys being part of the event when he does play-by-play rather than waiting for the event to be over when he was at WFAN in New York or WQAM-AM in Miami.

“Yes, because I think that what is in my DNA, you’re passionate about sports for whatever reason. I know I am. I don’t know why when I was 8, or 9, or 10 years I would watch these games on TV and I would emotionally get wrapped up in them…None of us can specifically say why. Because in my nature of irrationally caring about sports and sports events, you always want to scratch that itch and get your opinion out there and debate as well.

“If you were to ask me when I was 21, 22 years old, what would you like to do for the rest of your life? At the time, I would have said I want to be like Mike and the Mad Dog. You want to host afternoon drive and watch all the games and yell and scream at people about them the next day. What can be more fun than that?

“It did tilt more towards play-by-play because in my world, I started to understand it’s a lot of fun to be at the event. It’s great to be on before and after the event and to be waiting for the event to be over so that you can then vent about it, but nothing beats being at the event for me because I think part of that DNA I’m talking about is you love the games, you love the crowd, you love the drama, you love the strategy, all of that lends itself towards wanting to be there and in a very small way, being part of it.” 

Sports TV News

NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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CBS Tried ‘Intervention’ With Tony Romo

“They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

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After his performance during the 2022 season, many have questioned why CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has seemed off his game after seeing high praise during the early stages of his broadcasting career.

A recent nugget from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post claims CBS executives attempted an “intervention” with Romo before the season.

“Tony Romo needs to study more,” Marchand said during The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast. “He needs to be better prepared. As you move away from the sidelines, you need to do more work. I know CBS is aware of this. They tried an intervention last offseason. They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

Marchand also argued that it appears as if Romo’s partner — Jim Nantz — is content to let the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback struggle.

“This was the narrative out of CBS when Romo was getting all of the publicity: you heard from Nantz’ side and people from CBS that Nantz was the one creating Romo,” quipped Marchand. “The issue now is, why isn’t Nantz helping Romo get to this next level?”

Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS in 2020 — addressed his critics in an interview with Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post, saying he’s simply trying new things.

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

The 42-year-old Romo appeared to push back on the insinuation that he doesn’t prepare for broadcasts like he used to during the interview.

“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”

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Sports TV News

Jason Benetti: Negotiations With Chicago White Sox ‘Kind of A Pain’

“I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done.”

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Jason Benetti

Jason Benetti and Steve Stone recently saw their contracts renewed by NBC Sports Chicago to team once more as the television voices of the Chicago White Sox. Benetti says the talks about a renewal weren’t without their hiccups.

In a profile with Chicago Sun-Times writer Jeff Agrest, Benetti said the talks about the situation weren’t exactly what he envisioned.

“The really good news is we got somewhere good,” Benetti said. “It was kind of a pain, really. There were some things that we had to get through that I thought were silly, and I’m sure they thought some of the stuff that I was talking about might’ve been silly. But we got there in the end.”

Agrest reported the Atlanta Braves were watching the situation with bated breath. Their television play-by-play announcer, Chip Caray, recently departed for the same position with the St. Louis Cardinals.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations between the White Sox and Benetti was how many regular season contests he would miss due to his work with FOX Sports. Benetti is announcing MLB and college football games for the network in 2023 and did his first NFL work for FOX Sports this season. Benetti admitted that were points of frustration along the way.

“I think the work has been strong and I appreciate the heck out of the fans and I have loved the Sox for all my life. I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done. Where I have put myself, totally honestly, the place I am is we got it done, and that means something. It means both sides wanted it to happen.”

Chicago White Sox Senior Vice President of Revenue and Marketing Brooks Boyer told Agrest he didn’t see any complications in the negotiations.

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