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Wes Durham Lives a Life of Prep and Red-Eye Flights

“I think you’ve got to be willing to understand that the path to success is going to be different.”

Derek Futterman

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Wes Durham
Courtesy: Phil Ellsworth, ESPN Images

By the time the calendar turns to Monday morning, Wes Durham finally has a reprieve after a long week of preparation and subsequent execution as he calls play-by-play for games within the Atlantic Coast Conference and National Football League. Durham’s weekend during the season lasts from the moment he wakes up on Monday until about 1 p.m. the same day before the cycle officially repeats itself. 

This upcoming weekend, Durham will be calling a matchup between the Florida Atlantic Owls and Clemson Tigers on the ACC Network, and he has prepared by watching both team contests and taking notes about players and details on the field. A similar premise applies to the Sunday NFL matchup featuring the Atlanta Falcons against the Green Bay Packers, which he will call as the radio voice of the Falcons.

In the next few days, Durham has the luxury of being able to drive to work, but he often finds himself on his fair share of red-eye flights. Frequently visiting collegiate practice facilities and conversing with coaches in pre-production meetings, the quantitative portion of his preparation occurs towards the end of the week.

As that is taking place, Durham is reading injury reports, game notes and viewing press conferences at the NFL level with the goal of being nearly ready to call that game by Saturday morning. Several production calls ensue over the final few days with the ESPN-owned ACC Network before he announces that matchup on prime time television. From the time he started calling Falcons games 20 years ago on the radio up until now, he has ensured to never take a day for granted in being one of the few commentators to call both collegiate and professional football games simultaneously.

“It’s funny – Bob Wischusen, Dave Pasch and I are the guys who work for ESPN who also do the NFL,” Durham said.  “I think all of us feel fortunate in many respects to… work for teams that support your ability to do two-for-one – they support you where they can, [and] I think that’s really important.”

Durham knew early on in his career that play-by-play would be the industry niche for him, but he also possessed the specialized skill set needed to succeed in sports talk radio. The first time he ever took the air was on WCHL in Chapel Hill, N.C., the locale’s primeval media outlet, where he would play music at night. Durham estimates that people down the road were unable to hear the station.

Through his four years at Elon University, Durham called 150 football and basketball games on the radio and graduated with a portfolio larger than most other college-aged students at the time. Entering the professional workforce with an understanding of how to correct common mistakes and stand out – and a clear picture of where he wanted his career to go. Interning under sports director Mark Concannon at WFMY-TV, Durham quickly stood out for his sports acumen and professionalism. Towards the end of his internship, Concannon told him that while he could foresee him doing well reporting on sports for television news, his passion for play-by-play shined through.

Before that time, Durham worked in Burlington, N.C. as a high school student calling local football games so he would have an array of experience before going to college. Being in the area, he fostered a relationship with Bill Leslie, who served as the morning news anchor at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C. Despite working in different genres per se, Leslie conferred years of experience and wisdom to him, specifically discussing bedrock journalistic principles such as elocution and syntax. 

Throughout his formative years, Durham sent out his demo reel to various local broadcasters, including Jeff Charles, the longtime voice of the East Carolina Pirates who passed away earlier this year, and received constructive criticism. Durham, however, recognized at the very instant he declared his interest in sports media that he had known his greatest mentor for his entire life.

Woody Durham, the legendary play-by-play announcer for the North Carolina Tar Heels, worked in sports media for parts of six decades and became synonymous with college athletics. One summer day during his adolescence, Wes mentioned to his father that he may want to become involved in radio and television. 

His father immediately said, “Okay, if you’re serious about doing it, then we need to find you some ways to have practical experience.” From shadowing his dad in the press box and eventually serving as a production assistant for the radio network, Durham compiled a résumé and an invaluable set of professional connections.

“I’m obviously fortunate that my dad was in the business for as long as he was,” Durham said. “I think that was an introduction at the time that I didn’t realize the impact it was having.”

Durham bases the way he prepares for games off of his father’s process. Woody used to compose his charts by hand ahead of every broadcast. As computers developed the capabilities to simplify labyrinthine tasks, Durham decided to digitize his game charts and additional notes. When he explained what he did to his father, the reply he received was, “You know what that is right there? That’s cheating!”

Even though he had developed a shortcut, Durham did not pare back the work that went into his assignments. He was able to immediately secure a broadcast job out of college calling games for the Radford Highlanders before spending a year with the Marshall Thundering Herd. In 1992, Vanderbilt University hired Durham to call Commodores games at the age of 26, something that was suspect to some sports media professionals and fans. 

Durham assimilated into the ACC in 1995 – a conference he knew well thanks to his father – when he was named the voice of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and called football, basketball and baseball games for 18 years. Durham was hired by Dr. Homer Rice, the same athletic director who hired his father 24 years earlier to call games for the University of North Carolina. No matter how long he works for a particular institution though, he feels an obligation to perform to the best of his ability. 

“You are essentially signing up to represent that institution,” Durham said. “….Even in this transition of college athletics, you still have to some degree of understanding of not just the athletic program and the sport you’re covering, but also the fact that you’re pretty much a representative of that institution in many ways.”

The desire to be able to retire having no regrets, however, compelled him to leave Georgia Tech and take a job with Fox Sports Net calling college football games nationally on television.

“Some of that was inspired by my dad, but some of that was also inspired by just wanting to do something different,” Durham said. “I think you’ve got to be willing to understand that the path to success is going to be different.”

One of many things he is grateful for in his time with Georgia Tech is the fact that the university allowed him to call Atlanta Falcons games and become the voice of an NFL team. Being able to have connectivity to a marketplace through collegiate and professional sports, along with eventually hosting a local sports talk radio program, is something he considers as a blessing. The key to his success has been cultivating ethos and credence with listeners so he and partner Dave Archer are able to objectively call games without having to impugn genuine situations.

“I think that’s the way people want it,” Durham said. “Fortunately for us, we’ve done it, for now, such a time that I think people trust us with the way the broadcast sounds, and they trust the way we’re going to broadcast the game – win or lose – [is] that we’re going to be as upfront as we can about the way it’s going down.”

While Durham has been paired with Archer for the last two decades, it was not until recently when he began working ACC Network games with Tim Hasselbeck. The former NFL quarterback has been on the prime time matchups since 2019 and previously worked alongside Dave O’Brien, who is no longer on the broadcasts. Roddy Jones was Durham’s partner during those early years, and the transition to working with Hasselbeck has been seamless.

“Tim has really, really been so kind in terms of answering my questions about, ‘Is this okay if this is the way I hand it to you in the open to start what we’re going to talk about?,’” Durham said. “For me, he’s got such a vast football knowledge, and his evaluation of players, particularly quarterbacks, is just second-to-none.”

ACC Saturday Booth 2023
Courtesy Ryan Hunt ESPN Images

There is a difference, however, in the way that Durham works with his analyst depending on the platform. Whereas television is a visual medium, radio requires an approach that relies on vivid depictions and the cultivation of an image to accurately and effectively disseminate an event to the audience.

“If it’s a radio game, the play-by-play guy is obviously going to be more involved in the verbiage with description and things like that,” Durham explained. “When I went to television, I was always thinking about, ‘Okay, how can I pitch the perfect game with the bigger team?,’ because you’ve got more people involved, obviously, in TV.”

The Walt Disney Company is in the midst of a 20-year media rights deal with the ACC for a reported $240 million annually. It is one of the longest contracts in the college sports ecosystem and is compelling select schools to look for a raise in fees. At the start of next season, the conference will add Cal, Stanford and SMU to the fold, bringing it to 17 teams stretching across the United States.

“We figured out a way to go from the BCS to the CFP, but when we expand to 12 teams for the College Football Playoff and the money that’s going to be involved in that television deal, we’re going to look at this sport in a way we’ve never looked at it,” Durham said. “I think we all have to be flexible and nimble enough… to understand the game may change dynamically once we get there.”

As a broadcaster, Durham stays aware of industry trends and works to enrich his craft on a daily basis. He does not call collegiate and professional games just so he can remain within a select group, but rather because he genuinely enjoys the craft. Being respected by his colleagues and other broadcasters, along with having veneration for them, makes it easier to be himself rather than acquiescing to the opinions of a faction of people.

After enduring the difficulties associated with the onset of a global pandemic, resulting in the abeyance of sporting events, Durham’s realization of how lucky he is to work in the industry was only accentuated. Each time he walks into a stadium, he has the same energy he did on the day of his first broadcast, eager to see something new or unexpected no matter the sport.

Football is Durham’s primary focus, but he has also called several PGA events on ESPN+ in the last couple of years. In his free time, he often reads about the game of golf – everything from the gear to strength training – and hopes that he will be afforded more chances to augment his versatility. 

Durham also remembers becoming inspired by the SEC Storied film More Than a Voice on SEC Network that shined a spotlight on iconic radio voices within the conference. Award-winning singer and songwriter Kenny Chesney served as executive producer on the project in an effort to spotlight John Ward, the eminent radio voice of the Tennessee Volunteers. “The King of the Road” affirmed that Ward was on the soundtrack of his childhood and one of the reasons he came to love watching sports.

“I would like to do a documentary about radio voices,” Durham said. “I think the chronicle of the radio announcer is fascinating – the way it’s just tied with the history of college football and just college football in general.”

As broadcasters look to penetrate through the competitive field, there is an incessant feeling of impatience and impetuosity that has pervaded various people in all professional spaces. Unequivocally so, success in media can be attributed to not just work ethic and abilities, but also timing. When people act intentionally and take calculated risks that they believe will further their career, there is a chance it may not engender success – but more often than not, a byproduct of such efforts is a pertinent learning experience. For Durham, doing just that has led him to have a multiplatform presence in sports, and it is something he hopes to keep for years to come.

“The one core thing that is always really important is to be patient,” Durham said. “I think everybody’s journey to any kind of success is one that you have to have some degree of patience with.”

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Jen Lada Has Built a Multiplatform Presence at ESPN

“I always say my job is to make the viewer care about somebody and root for somebody that they might ordinarily not root for or care about.”

Derek Futterman

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Jen Lada
Courtesy: Phil Ellsworth, ESPN Images

When Jen Lada appeared on Around the Horn earlier in the month, she became the 58th panelist to be part of the program since its launch in 2002. Facing off against three other panelists from around the country, she garnered a victory in her on-air debut and elicited plaudits from her colleagues. Throughout the program, Lada demonstrated her deft sports knowledge and nuanced opinions that have crafted her into a venerated, skilled reporter at the network.

Although she had appeared on many ESPN programs previously, Around the Horn represented a show to which she wanted to contribute for many years. In fact, she has memories of watching the show just out of Marquette University and remarking about its brilliance and ingenuity.

Utilizing reporters with comprehensive knowledge of various sports who have chronicled several events, the show provides them an opportunity to give their opinions on issues and engage in debate with their contemporaries. Lada earned a spot on the show by being persistent, continuing to express her proficiency in commentary and sports discussion. The journey to arrive at this stage of her career, through which she has realized high-level assignments and a presence both at the local and national level, required adaptability and fortitude, and she continues to never take opportunities for granted.

“It’s great that I won, but it just sets the bar really high for the next time I go out there, which is not something I’m afraid of,” Lada said. “I love a challenge, and I love proving to myself that I can keep trying new things and doing new things well, and I hope that if people see me as some sort of example in the industry, that that’s what they walk away with.”

The approach adopted by Lada within her multifarious career ventures is to develop and maintain versatility, always innovating within her approach to content. As she looks to build off her initial victory on Around the Horn, she aims to be more compendious in her discourse and applying a more succinct approach. Making the adjustment in order to deliver compelling, distinctive points quickly differs from her other work, but it is all ultimately centered on sports.

While studying at Marquette University, she observed her classmates having a conversation about the men’s basketball team and what had happened in a recent game. Lada, who at the time was dating a player on the team and cheerleading at games, began to give her thoughts and was subsequently asked if she had ever considered sportscasting.

“I didn’t know that women could be sportscasters,” Lada said. “It wasn’t on my radar as a real career that women held because there were so few of them at the time doing it, and so once I realized that that was something I could do, then I kind of turned all my attention to, ‘Well, how do I make this happen?’”

As Lada began to complete internships and navigate through the media industry, she learned to develop a thick skin and refined her conduct. Out of school, she had completed a year of a non-paid sports internship and was waitressing on the side to pay the bills. The first interview she took for a job at a television station in a top-10 market ended with her being sexually harassed. It was a jarring experience that disappointed Lada because of her propensity to give people the benefit of the doubt, and it also forced her to evaluate her own disposition.

“I think it’s only natural that you wonder how you contributed to the circumstance or what you could have done differently to maybe not put yourself in that space,” Lada said, “but I was very lucky that when I told my family about what had occurred, they very quickly knocked any notion of that out of my head.”

In navigating the industry with good intentions, Lada recognized that it is not her fault if other people fail at treating others professionally and create a misogynistic work environment. Receiving the lesson early in her career has made her more aware of the people to avoid, and she remains wary of advice given to women in the industry that they should just be nice. Lada was recently on a panel where someone advised a broadcast class that being nice would result in things working out for them in the future.

“I felt myself cringing internally because I don’t think that that is a luxury women are afforded,” Lada said. “I don’t think – maybe now is different, but when I was coming up, and I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, there were people who preyed on niceness. And so the way that I would tweak that is to be professional; to carry yourself in a professional manner and recognize that sometimes being ‘traditionally nice’ puts a target on your back to be mistreated, and the best thing you can do is alert those people who would see you as a target that you’re not going to fall victim to that or you refuse to be victim to that.”

Lada joined ESPN in 2015 where she was hired to contribute to Colin Cowherd’s radio program. When Cowherd left the network and joined FOX Sports on a full-time basis, she started co-hosting a new, national program alongside Jorge Sedano. The show, however, had an evanescent run and left her feeling as if she had failed.

It took her a full year to recognize that she had been involved in a series of circumstances and decided to enact the necessary change, asking producers for advice and attending seminars. One of these was an interviewing course hosted by journalist John Sawatsky where he synthesized the art of the craft. Akin to when she was in college, she overheard in passing that the network needed more women in the features space.

“I was fortunate enough to have done a lot of features during my time in Milwaukee because we had a 9 p.m. newscast that required a local sports feature every night of the week, so between our three-person department, we had to fill that timeslot,” Lada said. “I had done a lot of lengthy sports features in Milwaukee [and] had a good foundation of what that job required.”

The meeting led to Lada doing features on an interim basis at the network and later granted her a spot on College GameDay, where she works as its features reporter. Lada presents stories every week to the audience that go beyond the gameplay and divulge a bigger picture.

“I always say my job is to make the viewer care about somebody and root for somebody that they might ordinarily not root for or care about,” Lada said. “One of the things that has occurred to me over the last few years is just what a skill is required to do that job well because not only are you preparing questions to ensure that you have all of the details and information, you’re also gathering perspective on what they’ve been through – the adversity and the situation that has led them to where they are now.”

Lada recently found herself in a high school classroom at 8 a.m. sitting with other students taking the ACT standardized test. She had to complete the exam as punishment for finishing last in fantasy football at ESPN Milwaukee this past season. After four hours, Lada emerged from the school and revealed her score this past week on the Jen, Gabe, and Chewy morning show. Hosting the local program alongside Gabe Neitzel and Mark Chmura, she has established chemistry over almost four years in the three-person format discussing hyperlocal topics.

“I try to be conversational,” Lada said. “We don’t lean on stats – obviously, we want to be accurate, and we want to be, again, fair to the subjects we’re talking about, but we try to also just be friends who are talking about what’s going on on any given day on the Milwaukee [and] Wisconsin sports scene.”

In balancing a variety of different roles, Lada has tried to master everything that she is doing, refraining from being content with her abilities. Although working in local radio regularly has been a newer role for her, she has grown into the job and has co-hosts who understand the subject matter and allow her to utilize her strengths.

“I just want to keep learning,” Lada said. “I’m not satisfied with what I’ve done, [and] I’m not complacent about the skills I have. I’m always interested in adding more jobs to the résumé, and I think that in this industry, you’re rewarded for versatility.”

Once College GameDay commences, Lada adds the responsibility of feature reporting on that program to her schedule and continues making appearances across additional ESPN programming. Lada hosted the Friday edition of College Football Live last season and has also filled in as a host on shows such as First Take and SportsCenter. Moreover, she continues to complete projects for SC Featured and is working on a documentary for E:60 scheduled to premiere later in the summer. 

Lada aims to keep showcasing her indefatigable work ethic and passion for the craft without slowing down. Whether it is hosting a podcast, taking part in more panels or writing essays, she is open to exploring new forms of disseminating stories.

“I have a lot of knowledge and experience rattling around my brain, [and] I think the next iteration is figuring out a way to continue passing those experiences on to the next generation.” Lada said. “I don’t ever want to gatekeep the secrets of success – I think that’s selfish – so as I continue to do the media work, I think the next phase for me is figuring out how to pass a lot of these lessons on to future broadcasting generations.”

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Local Radio Advertisers Can Become Experts with Hosted Shows and Interviews

Overall, local radio interviews and talk shows can be a strategic and effective way for a local expert to enhance their business, build their reputation, and connect with the community.

Jeff Caves

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Photo of people talking on the radio

When looking for that extra edge for local radio advertisers, packaging radio commercials with an “expert” client-hosted talk show or interviews on your local shows or newscasts can be a game-changer. This strategy can build long-term business relationships with suitable clients, such as lawyers, business accountants, agents, psychologists, or sports handicappers. These professionals can provide valuable editorial contributions to sports and news stations. Of course, the expert must have good communication skills, be comfortable speaking their mind, and be ready to be the face of the business.

The radio commercials can tout the expertise the person has and give a call to action for listeners to move on. You can often find these experts on social media writing blogs or doing a series of vignettes about their business. For these types of clients, engaging in local radio news interviews or hosting a 1-2 hour talk show can enjoy several advantages:

Visibility and Brand Recognition

Visibility and Brand Recognition: Regular appearances on local radio help the expert become a well-known figure in the community. This visibility can lead to increased recognition and brand awareness and is a much faster track than just blogging on social media. Attorney Bill Handel and his ” Handel on the Law” show have created a directory business for Handel.

Public Trust and Credibility

By sharing their expertise and providing timely insights, the expert can build trust and establish credibility with the audience. Being perceived as an expert can enhance any client’s reputation and create top-of-mind awareness needed to lead business categories.

Client Acquisition

Listeners impressed by the expert’s knowledge and demeanor may seek their services. This exposure can lead to new clients who might not have been reached through other forms of advertising and give credibility to the expert who uses social media.

Community Engagement

Engaging with the local community through radio shows helps experts connect with potential clients more personally. This can foster a sense of community and loyalty. Question and answer segments can lead to deeper connections.

Educational Outreach

The expert can educate the audience on various issues, which can empower the audience. An informed audience is more likely to recognize when they need the expert’s assistance and whom to contact.

Stand Out in a Crowd

Stand out in a crowd: Being active on local radio can set the expert apart from competitors who may not use local radio. Often, the local shows or interview segments are exclusive to the expert.

Immediate Audience Feedback

Interacting with the audience through call-ins or live questions provides immediate feedback and allows the expert to address common concerns directly in real-time. The expert can be of service NOW.

Professional Development

Regularly discussing current topics can keep the expert sharp on trends and issues, contributing to their ongoing professional development.

Networking

Local radio stations often have a vast network of listeners and other professionals. This can open doors to new professional relationships and opportunities for collaboration. The station also provides a loyal audience who typically don’t follow the expert on social media. But they may start to after hearing the expert.

Overall, local radio interviews and talk shows can be a strategic and effective way for a local expert to enhance their business, build their reputation, and connect with the community.

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‘We Need To Talk’ is Insightful, Intelligent Conversation on CBS Sports Network

The show is not going to be a ratings giant like ESPN’s First Take or offer the decibel level of commentary on FS1’s First Things First, but it is a necessary and unique slice of sports television.

John Molori

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A photo of the women who host We Need to Talk on CBS Sports Network
Photo Courtesy: CBS Sports Network

CBS Sports Network’s ‘We Need To Talk‘ features a rotating roundtable of female sportscasters offering their views on a variety of topics in sports. The premise is important. Female voices in sports need to be heard. They bring perspective, weighty conversation, and thoughtfulness to each discussion.

Over the past few years, women have made major strides in being heard and seen in sports media whether it is hosting, commentary, reporting or play-by-play. This is a good trend, but We Need To Talk is about more than just female talking heads. It’s about insight, depth, and needed attention to athletes and sports that do not bask in the mainstream limelight.

This particular episode featured host AJ Ross joined by Summer Sanders, Katrina Adams, and Renee Montgomery. It was an eclectic and accomplished group with Ross, an experienced and versatile reporter, Sanders, the erstwhile U.S. Swimming star and a broadcast veteran, Montgomery, the former WNBA star, activist, and co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, and Adams, former tennis player, CEO of the United States Tennis Association, and chair of the US Open.

Montgomery got the conversation going looking back on the Celtics winning the NBA Championship. She also made a telling comparison between the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, renewed in the 1980s with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, and compared it to the current WNBA rivalry between the Indiana Fever and Chicago Sky with Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese. It’s a valid comparison, and Montgomery brought it to life effectively.

The WNBA was up next with Montgomery talking about Cameron Brink, the LA Sparks’ rookie who is making a splash not only on the court, but on the social media and fashion scenes as well.

It should be noted that this episode of We Need To Talk was taped before Brink suffered a season ending torn ACL, but Montgomery’s point was clear. It is not only important to be a great player. Today’s athletes also need to use multimedia platforms to raise their profiles.

Adams segued into a discussion on Wimbledon and No. 2 ranked Coco Gauff. It was good to hear some tennis talk on the airwaves, but this is a hallmark of We Need To Talk. The show makes it a point to move beyond the front-page stories and hit angles and areas that do not get much coverage.

These ladies are not afraid to get in each other’s grills as well. Sanders actually interrupted Adams to start a discussion about the upcoming Paris Olympics, but Adams would not relent and moved forward to an analysis of 2023 Wimbledon men’s singles winner Carlos Alcaraz.

The variety of sports continued with Ross starting a discussion about US track star Sha’Carri Richardson. I’ve been a fan of Ross for a long time. She does an expert job of mixing in her own commentary, while making sure all of the panelists on We Need To Talk get their due time. She’s also multitalented, seamlessly moving from reporter to host to debater.

We Need To Talk takes its roots in diversity with an all-female cast, but there is a deeper variety within the makeup of the cast. Sanders is a longtime veteran of sports, sports broadcasting, and entertainment. Ross is in the prime of her journalistic career. Adams brings perspective as an athlete, administrator, and leader, and Montgomery offers a fresh and contemporary style with her commentary.

Block 2 of the show featured Montgomery and Ross interviewing Naomi Girma of the San Diego Wave women’s professional soccer team. Girma was named 2023 US Soccer Women’s Player of the Year, the first defender to ever win that award. This is what We Need To Talk offers those who watch the show. It is almost like a smaller scale, studio version of the classic Wide World of Sports on ABC, “spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport.”

The interview was managed well with Ross asking meaningful questions and Montgomery enthusiastically following up with her thoughts and input. This edition of the program also featured a wonderfully produced feature story on USC basketball player Aaliyah Gayles.

The talented Trojan hoopster was on the fast track to basketball stardom when, in April 2022, she was shot at a house party in Las Vegas. Gayles required two emergency surgeries to save her life.

The pace, video, and sound bites in the package were equal parts frightening, sobering, and uplifting. Gayles literally had to learn how to walk again as the feature focused on her rehabilitation and eventual return to the USC lineup.

Coming back from a break, the panel engaged in a great discussion on the talent link between collegiate and US Olympic athletes. A graphic showed that 75% of Team USA athletes and 82% of United States medalists played an NCAA sport.

As the discussion expanded, Montgomery talked about the fact that in order to enter the WNBA, players have to complete four years of college or be of the age of someone who has completed four years of college. I actually did not know that. We Need To Talk passes my personal litmus test for important sports television, namely, it tells me something I don’t already know.

Bringing still another sport and recognizable female athlete into the fold, Dara Torres joined the show next for an interview. The 12-time Olympic swimming medalist talked about her new role as head coach of the Boston College men’s and women’s swim and dive teams. Sanders asked a solid question about how, as a world-class athlete, Torres will manage her expectations of the BC athletes.

 As sports continues to meld with social issues, so too does the subject matter on We Need To Talk. Ross introduced a segment on the National Gay Flag Football League. Again, kudos go to the show’s production team for a slick and enlightening feature story. Praise should also go to the program itself for expanding the boundaries of sports and opening up a whole new world of knowledge for viewers.

Following the feature story, Montgomery and Adams made a point that sports unite people and bring diverse groups and personalities together as one. Montgomery is a fast-developing on-air talent. Her wit, energy, and knowledge go far beyond the basketball court making her a rising star in sports media.

The program continued to bring sports and life together by connecting the June celebrations of Pride Month and Father’s Day with an emotional poem written by renowned DJ Zeke Thomas, the son of NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. This was part of the We Need to Listen segment of the program.

Let’s keep it real. We Need To Talk is not going to be a ratings giant like ESPN’s First Take or offer the decibel level of commentary on FS1’s First Things First, but it is a necessary and unique slice of sports television.

The show consistently provides uncommon subject matter with an inimitable approach and tenor. Check it out when you get a chance and bring an open mind and a joy of sports. They need to talk, and we all need to hear them talk.

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