Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

BSM Writers

Erin Andrews is Always in the Middle of the Action

“It’s fun, and FOX allows us to have a personality, which I’m really, really grateful for.”

Derek Futterman



Erin Andrews
Courtesy: FOX Sports

Prior to the Kansas City Chiefs-Chicago Bears game, rumors were swirling that Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Taylor Swift would be in attendance. Over the ensuing weeks, Swift had been linked to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who expressed disappointment that he couldn’t deliver a friendship bracelet to her during a performance on “The Eras Tour.”

As speculation around Swift’s possible appearance intensified, NFL fans and Swifties alike became curious about the details. Before the game, FOX Sports lead NFL reporter Erin Andrews was on the field with play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and color commentator Greg Olsen. The broadcasters were engaging in their usual routine, meandering the sidelines to make observations and converse with players, coaches and other team personnel to enhance their deft preparation ahead of kickoff.

Suddenly, Andrews noticed that her phone was being inundated with messages, including communication from producers for the pregame show, game broadcast and on-air features. Figuring that they would want her to confirm if the gossip was true, she informed Olsen of the situation. Although Kelce was in the middle of a pregame drill at the time, Olsen grabbed his attention and informed him that Andrews had a question to ask when he had a moment.

“I really did have a football question because I really do care about football,” Andrews explained. “I’m obviously being sarcastic right now, [but] I wanted to talk football. I think he was relieved because I don’t know if he heard Greg make a joke about, ‘Hey, she really needs to ask you something.’ And then out of the corner of my mouth I said, ‘Hey, there’s this rumor that Taylor’s coming,’ and he kind of just looked at me and he hugged me and he goes, ‘Yep, but you didn’t hear it from me.’”

In confirming the news, Andrews was able to inform the rest of her FOX Sports colleagues so they could adjust their coverage accordingly. As a reporter, she has worked to foster relationships with athletes in order to develop and maintain the necessary trust to be privy to insider information. Meticulous groundwork, networking skills and a passion for the craft have engendered Andrews a stellar reputation, and she has been able to combine those bedrock journalism tenets with the demands of the incessant modern content ecosystem.

Andrews, who is a fan of Swift and her music, knew what promptly became one of the top news stories of the day, but the broadcast still remained focused on presenting viewers with the nuances of the inter-conference matchup. Shortly thereafter, the FOX Sports broadcast team spoke with Brett Veach, the general manager of the Chiefs. The discussion centered around the roster and how to improve the synergy among the offense. Extemporaneously so, Veach asked if they were aware that Swift was coming to the game, giving Andrews a chance to probe for more information.

“I said, ‘Yeah, I kind of heard, but what are the details?,’ and he told us what he knew, so then I could attribute it to I had definitely heard it,” Andrews conveyed. “I didn’t want to hang Travis out to dry, but once she was there, obviously the cat was out of the bag.”

On a weekly basis, Andrews expertly gathers information, ensures its veracity and presents compendious reports on the air. Furthermore, she will direct handheld camera operators to capture certain shots for the broadcast, assisting producer Richie Zyontz and director Rich Russo.

There are times when viewers do not realize she has provided the broadcasting booth with the latest information, and she equates some of her responsibilities to those of a spy. The job would be considerably more difficult, if not near impossible, without the connections she has fervently worked to build and her willingness to go above and beyond for the story.

Andrews is certainly a frequent flier, often traversing the United States to interview intriguing sports figures such as Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders and New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Seeing journalists at work, however, was nothing new to her since she grew up as the daughter of Steve Andrews, an award-winning investigative reporter and writer at WFLA-TV, the local NBC affiliate. One day as they were watching Hannah Storm interview Hall of Fame basketball forward Charles Barkley, Andrews informed her father that she was interested in pursuing a career in sports media. Despite advising her against it, she proceeded anyway.

Throughout her youth, Andrews was an avid fan of the Boston Celtics and watched superstar players Kevin McHale and Larry Bird vie to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the season’s end. She also consumed plenty of Boston Red Sox baseball and NFL games, closely following the teams in the New England area. While tuning in to a Monday Night Football game, she discovered sideline reporter Melissa Stark and immediately recognized that she would be a role model as she worked to break into the industry.

“She was the hot name,” Andrews said. “It’s cool to talk to her now because she really started her career when [Tom] Brady came into the league when [Bill] Belichick was with him and so forth. She was young and she was somebody – I cut my hair to be like her; I would wear the sleeveless shirts with the collars like her – so she was somebody I really loved.”

Andrews attended the University of Florida, a school that stood out to her because of the national coverage its sports teams garnered. As an undergraduate student, she had the opportunity to interview various personnel across its sports programs and also saw the entities she aspired to work for actively producing television.

Upon her graduation, Andrews started freelance reporting with FOX Sports Florida, contributing stories as needed and hoping for a big break. By the next year, she landed a role with the Sunshine Network to report on the Tampa Bay Lightning, and she followed the team as it amassed and developed the pieces to create a sustainable, winning culture.

Andrews ultimately joined Turner Sports in 2002 as a studio host and reporter where she covered a variety of events throughout the year. She displayed her skillset by reporting on the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Thrashers while hosting college football and Atlanta Hawks coverage. The job required her to move to Atlanta, Ga. and she had the intent to stand out through her peerless work ethic, shrewd perspicacity and indefatigable willingness to adapt.

“I think they signed me to a two-year deal,” Andrews recalled, “and then they got rid of me because I was terrible. I was so bad.”

Throughout Andrews’ time with the entity, Charles Barkley, who she remembered watching in her youth, was an advocate for her. Upon learning of her impending departure from the network, he knew that she would flourish and gave her a vote of confidence.

“I remember he texted me when they let me go and just said, ‘They’re going to regret this, and I can’t wait to tell them that they are,’” Andrews remembered Barkley expressing. “Listen, I was green as hell in doing what I was doing. I don’t know if I was utilized the right way, [and] I don’t blame them for not renewing my deal because I think it pretty much all worked out, but everything happens for a reason.”

Cognizant that she would be without a job if she did not take action, Andrews devised a plan to go to a hotel bar to interact with broadcasters after a hockey game. Having worked in the industry for several years, she knew the likely location and ended up interacting with various personnel. Her drive to succeed was unyielding, determined to find a role and merit sustainability and longevity.

“I said, ‘I’m Erin Andrews, and I’m going to be unemployed in a month. Who do I talk to with ESPN hockey coverage so I can do the hockey coverage for you guys for the playoffs?,’” she recalled, “and I got a name and a number.”

One week later, Andrews was assigned to the Tampa Bay Lightning playoff series against the New York Islanders, the team she used to cover with the Sunshine Network. Twelve wins later, the Lightning earned a spot in the Stanley Cup Final where the team faced off against the Calgary Flames, battling to the brink for ultimate glory.

“The Lightning ended up winning the Stanley Cup, and I was doing post-ice interviews – center ice with the team that gave me my first shot – and it was pretty awesome from there,” Andrews said. “I signed a three-year deal with ESPN right after that, and away we go.”

The network assigned Andrews to ESPN College Football Thursday Primetime where she worked alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico and color commentator Kirk Herbstreit. When football was in its offseason, she reported for college basketball games on Tuesdays and Saturdays, calling Brent Musburger, Dick Vitale and Dan Schulman her co-workers.

ESPN also granted Andrews chances to become immersed in all levels of baseball by reporting on the Little League World Series and College World Series. She spent four years as the field reporter for Monday Night Baseball and another season on the Wednesday Night Baseball broadcasts with Dave O’Brien and Rick Sutcliffe before moving to other responsibilities.

The network partnered with ABC to cover the Scripps National Spelling Bee, granting Andrews a chance to report on the precocious contestants aiming to prove their acuity in the English language. Additionally, she appeared as a contestant on Season 10 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and she and her partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy finished in third place.

Because of her deft storytelling abilities and reporting acumen, Andrews was named the features reporter for College GameDay in 2010 and was also afforded the opportunity to host the first hour of the program on ESPNU. During that season, she balanced these roles while serving as the sideline reporter for Saturday Night Football on ABC where she reunited with Musburger and Herbstreit. Despite facing adversity and enduring personal hardship, Andrews prospered and further cemented herself as a staple in sports media.

ESPN made an offer to keep Andrews, but FOX Sports ended up signing her to a multi-year deal in 2012. Upon the announcement, she was immediately placed on the new Prime Time College Football Pregame Show and also on baseball coverage during the postseason and World Series.

Andrews recently appeared in studio for a football pregame show segment, coinciding with the MLB on FOX Pregame featuring analysts Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Álex Rodríguez, players she covered as a field reporter. A few weeks ago, FOX Sports held an event between its MLB and NFL properties, and she had the chance to thank Jeter for being accessible and kind during that time.

“Jeter made a mention to one of my bosses – ‘Hey, she’s a baseball girl; she needs to be back with us,’” Andrews stated. “It’d be a grind, but it’d be fun, and he was just being funny when he said it, but it’d be cool to be a part of that.”

Prior to the start of the 2014 NFL season, Andrews was named the new lead sideline reporter for the lead broadcast crew of the NFL on FOX. Whereas longtime announcing tandem Joe Buck and Troy Aikman departed the company to join Monday Night Football on ESPN, Andrews remained with the network. She has been working with Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen and Tom Rinaldi since last year.

Andrews values being able to follow the sport throughout the season, one of the aspects of the job that contrasted from her time on the baseball coverage. Veteran sports journalists Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci took over field reporting duties on the lead broadcast prior to the 2016 season after Andrews inked a contract extension with the company.

“It was harder for me to come on during playoffs and World Series because I hadn’t spent the whole year with them,” Andrews explained. “Kenny, obviously, just knew a lot more than I did, and I just don’t want to be put in a position where somebody knows so much more, and I don’t want to do a disservice to the sport.”

When Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to the lead NFL broadcast team, Andrews knew that she would be able to develop chemistry with them. After all, she had worked with Burkhardt in the past during her first year on NFL coverage and knew Olsen from his time on the Carolina Panthers. Everything culminated in what ended up being a record-setting Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs that drew an average of 115.1 million viewers.

“We all get along really well,” Andrews said. “We have a really funny side text chain that’s always going off that my husband’s always like, ‘Oh god, what does the text chain say now?’ Yeah, they’re your family.”

While Andrews has been in her role for over a decade, she presumes that the last couple of years have helped her become more comfortable and genuinely evolve her broadcast style. Leading up to a game, she prepares through conducting research, having conversations and participating in various meetings, all of which are intended to present an informative and engaging final product to the viewer. Reporting the situations on the sidelines such as in-game adjustments, injury updates and other occurrences are of critical importance, along with remaining nimble and malleable to react to environmental changes.

“I know when I need to be informative; I know when I need to be serious and give the facts, but it’s also football,” Andrews said. “It’s fun, and FOX allows us to have a personality, which I’m really, really grateful for.”

In her Week 6 assignment – which ended in a thrilling upset by the Cleveland Browns over the San Francisco 49ers – Andrews was reporting during a moist, rainy afternoon. Always having an admiration for the craft of meteorology, she concisely delivered a pregame report connecting the playing conditions to the game strategy. Her relationships allow her to accurately compile and recapitulate salient points on a weekly basis, augmenting the quality of the presentation.

“I talked about the wind gusts, I talked about the rain [and] I talked about my weave getting wet,” Andrews elucidated, “and then I said, ‘This is kind of what Kyle Shanahan wanted for this defense and offense. This is the stuff they’re going to have to go through to see if they can be the team that’s there at the end.’”

Andrews showcases her personality and perspectives without a bonafide time limit as co-host of the Calm Down podcast through iHeartMedia. She and FOX Sports colleague Charissa Thompson record two episodes of the show per week, on which they have candid, friendly conversations about their lives both inside and outside of sports media.

“The inspiration was, ‘Why can’t we?,’” Andrews said. “I have a lot more to say than just the 10 seconds that I’m allotted on air. With so many girls reaching out to us asking about the industry [and] asking what it’s like to travel on the road – we have so many funny stories, and it’s been really cool to be on the field for games and coaches to be like, ‘Hey, that podcast of yours.’”

A topic of discussion recently has been the potential relationship between Swift and Kelce, something that can be traced back to an August episode of the show. Commenting on Kelce being unable to meet Swift at a tour, Andrews implored the musician to “try our friend Travis.” She proceeded to impart that although she and Swift are not friends, she should take her up on the suggestion anyway. Ten weeks later, Swift was attending her third Chiefs game in a four-week span and donned a windbreaker that was sent by Andrews herself.

The apparel, which rapidly sold out after images were disseminated from the game, is part of the “WEAR by Erin Andrews” clothing line, an entrepreneurial endeavor she launched in 2019. It now has licensed products from various professional sports leagues, including the NFL, and is partnered with online retailer Fanatics.

“We helped maybe bring Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift together and all this stuff,” Andrews said of the podcast, “so yeah, we love it.”

Following the Chiefs’ 41-10 win over the Bears, Andrews interviewed Quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Since she has spoken with him on numerous occasions and developed a professional connection, she asked Mahomes to have fun with the final question in their conversation.

“I knew what everybody wanted,” Andrews said. “I knew at the end, I wanted to ask a funny question about her being there. Listen, everybody wanted to see [No.] 87 score because we wanted to get her reaction; it’d be fun. Once he scored, that was obviously something I could ask Mahomes about, but I’m there to do a job; I’m there to talk about football, and that’s what I did.”

As a trailblazer in the industry, Andrews remains focused on the task of supporting her colleagues and showcasing the athletes and personalities within a marathon towards the “Big Game.” This weekend, she will be back on the sidelines, trying to extrapolate the information and tell the stories to set up the broadcast for success. Even though Andrews has attended many thrilling matchups and tentpole events, she looks forward to every chance to demonstrate her reporting and football expertise.

“Every single week, I try to show them and grind as much as possible – just show them how much I care; how hard I work; all the things,” Andrews said. “When I get the validation from them, that’s really what success is to me.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

BSM Writers

Brian Murphy is Preparing to Write His Next Chapter at KNBR After Layoffs Ended ‘Murph and Mac’

“I don’t want to say, ‘This too shall pass,’ or, ‘Time heals all wounds,’ but you’re only as good as your next ratings book.”

Derek Futterman



Brian Murphy
Courtesy: Brian Murphy on Instagram

After the morning show signed off at KNBR last Wednesday, co-host Brian Murphy was called into a meeting with Cumulus Media market manager Larry Blumhagen. Although there had been signs of potential changes, Murphy had partnered with Paul McCaffrey for nearly 18 years and survived all of the turmoil.

A simple look around the building represented proof of an alteration, evinced by reductions in the number of stations under its roof. A once powerful news station, KGO-AM, underwent a sudden format flip last year after nearly a century on the air. A few years earlier, alternative rock station KFOG was eliminated from the company’s portfolio as well. KNBR has weathered the storms, but not without alterations to the station’s programming department.

“I would say everything has shrunk,” Murphy expressed, “and that includes sending us on road trips or to Super Bowls, etc.”

Layoffs have reemphasized the importance of the quantitative bottom line, sometimes overshadowing the qualitative utility and widespread impact derived from talent and popular shows. It is partially why the deluge of palpable support after Murphy learned in a short meeting that McCaffrey was being laid off was surprising and reinvigorating. But first came an immediate, jarring feeling surrounding the decision.

“Truthfully numb,” Murphy said regarding his sentiment after learning what happened. “I guess it’s a cliché to say that people go into shock, but to know that Paulie and I wouldn’t be together was something that didn’t register. I mean, it registered, but it didn’t register until fully; the next 48 hours is when it really started to really hit.”

McCaffrey was one of seven laid off at KNBR that day. Morning show producer Erik Engle, former programmer Lee Hammer, host F.P. Santangelo and members of the outlet’s digital department lost their jobs as well. Even the long-running KNBR Tonight evening show, which aired for decades was canceled, and replaced with CBS Sports Radio programming. While Murphy always hoped that the morning show would continue in the iteration before the end of his contract, he is now facing a new reality without his longtime colleagues.

“I think what we were disappointed by was sort of an abrupt and premature end, particularly to our partnership, which I think we’ve learned from an incredible outpouring of social media is way more than we knew,” Murphy said. “We learned our partnership for whatever reason connected to a lot of people for a long time. It’s funny they say radio is dying, but radio sure is personal and effective in many ways baked on what we’re hearing from our listeners.”

During the next two days, Murphy was off the air and contemplating his future. There were moments where he thought about leaving KNBR. However, he knew that he had a contract to fulfill and a family to support. Additionally, the person that he was set to work with on Monday and beyond – Markus Boucher – had contributed to the morning show for nearly four years, rendering familiarity and comfortability.

“There’s a chance that Markus and I could do this for a long time; we’ll see how it goes,” Murphy said. “Maybe things go great and that would be awesome, and I’m definitely leaving that door open. For whatever reason, we recover from the pain of losing my partner for almost two decades and the next chapter works out.”

In 2023, KNBR has experienced two subpar quarterly ratings books. The decrease in performance has affected all dayparts on the outlet. Murphy knows that when the San Francisco Giants do well, it generally leads to KNBR succeeding. The station did improve in its summer and fall books for 2023, but there already were repercussions being felt.

“I just know that that happened and it damaged people’s perception of the station, but I don’t think it was an accurate reflection of all of our listenership at all; I just don’t,” Murphy said. “I know for a fact that we still had a huge audience, and it’s evident by what happened after the news; just so many people reacted and people in the demo too.”

Even though he knows it does not directly relate to his role as an on-air host, Murphy believes that the local advertising market was damaged because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the city. San Francisco was one of several major metroplexes that instituted strict health and safety protocols in an effort to slow the spread of the disease, which had an effect on sports talk radio consumption. With more people working remotely and fewer people commuting to the office, the transition to digital content and audio on-demand offerings has hastened in order to realize previous levels of engagement and keep the format alive.

“KNBR is going to have to weather this storm,” Murphy said, “and there’s this feeling of, I don’t want to say, ‘This too shall pass,’ or, ‘Time heals all wounds,’ but you’re only as good as your next ratings book.”

The station recently held an all-staff meeting to discuss its direction, which has been somewhat complicated by three program directors at the outlet over the last five years. Following the departures of Jeremiah Crowe and Kevin Graham, Adam Copeland took over the responsibilities last month. The layoffs took place two weeks into his tenure, causing some people to question how involved he was in the decisions and whether or not he advocated for the morning show.

“I think these things come from beyond San Francisco,” Murphy said. “Our headquarters are in Atlanta, and I think something this big – like I said, it wasn’t just Paulie Mac; it was seven people. Paulie Mac is personal for me, but that to me says, ‘Well, that’s obviously a big budget decision that’s being made at a level far above the San Francisco program director.’”

Although Copeland has minimal previous experience as a program director, Murphy is confident that he will be able to effectively lead the station through his energy, youth and passion for the medium. Copeland grew up listening to KNBR and worked at the station over the last several years as a producer and host, eventually earning a spot in afternoons alongside Tom Tolbert. Copeland remains in that time slot, pulling double duty for the radio station. His relatability and familiarity with the craft is something that Murphy views as an advantage.

“I think people are pretty excited that we have somebody who cares as much as Adam Copeland does about KNBR,” Murphy said, “I think if there’s anything to be optimistic about in 2024 that despite this ending to 2023, it’s that we have a program director who’s all-in on the station.”

Thinking about what comes beyond the immediate future though is not within Murphy’s mindset. At the moment, he feels it is too soon to determine if there will be a potential Murph & Mac reunion on a digital platform. Instead, he is focused on being able to continue to serve San Francisco sports fans without his longtime on-air partner. Murphy realizes how fortunate he was to have someone like McCaffrey by his side and valued both his consistency and dependability on a daily basis.

“Every single segment he was the same energetic, relentless, hilarious partner who only wanted what was good for the show – not what was good for him; not what was good for me – he only wanted what was good for the show,” Murphy said, “and it was such a lesson for this newspaper guy to learn, for lack of a better word, showbusiness.”

When Murphy entered the studio Monday to host his first show without McCaffrey, everything felt surreal to him on the air. There was ostensible tension in the room and from listeners about how he would address the news, and share his feelings with the audience. The program ended with a monologue from Murphy regarding McCaffrey, something that he is grateful Boucher did not raise objection to and that he was able to make his statement on the air.

“The 49ers had just destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles, which actually was a huge positive break for us because it allowed everything to happen Monday with the backdrop of great positivity because that was a huge game for the Niners and people were pretty jacked up about that game,” Murphy said. “So I opened the show by saying, ‘I know it’s corny, but that one was for Paulie.’”

The shock and surprise from McCaffrey being laid off is hardly evanescent, but Murphy is now thinking about how to optimize the morning program with Boucher. Predicting what may come next is an arduous task. Murphy considers himself fortunate to have had nearly 18 years hosting with McCaffrey, and he is now thinking about the next chapter of his time at KNBR while having reference for the enduring legacy of Murph & Mac.

“For whatever reason, I’ve never lost my absolute joy and passion for the sports world – sports content; sports stories; sports history; sports media – everything about it,” Murphy said. “And so every morning when my alarm goes off and my feet hit the floor, I’m like, ‘Let’s go! I’m stealing money. This isn’t work.’”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

BSM Writers

How Big Noon Kickoff Turned Into a Legitimate College GameDay Challenger

Big Noon Kickoff is like a college football tailgate on TV. Panelists good-naturedly rip each other, toss the football around on a makeshift field, and talk smack whenever possible.

John Molori



A photo of the Big Noon Kickoff crew
(Photo: FOX Sports)

The best college football pregame show on television emanates every Saturday from a different college campus. It features close-up shots of a boisterous crowd flashing banners and signs and is hosted by an excellent mix of TV pros, former players, and coaches, but it’s not the show you might think. To use college football vernacular, ESPN’s College GameDay is the Granddaddy of them all in collegiate gridiron pregame fare, but FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff is College GameDay on amphetamines.

It has taken the genre to new heights of volume, vigor, and vivacity. The camera shots are more intense, smoke and flashing lights are the order of the day, and the panelists are vociferous, rowdy, and sky-high-pumped.

Veteran host and reporter Rob Stone is the ringleader of this pigskin circus. Brady Quinn, Mark Ingram II, Matt Leinart, and Urban Meyer fill out a crowded anchor desk. In Week 13 of the college football season, both Big Noon Kickoff and College GameDay were live at the University of Michigan in anticipation of the gargantuan matchup between the Buckeyes of Ohio State and the Wolverines.

FOX’s coverage was on point. Unlike on ESPN, where the mad throng of students and fans are set off a bit by the talents, the crowd on Big Noon Kickoff was right on top of the FOX panelists, and they certainly let Meyer, the former Buckeye head coach, know how they felt about him. He was booed roundly and consistently. Every time he spoke, the jeers would rise to new decibels. It was fun to watch.

On the flip side, Big Noon Kickoff analyst and ex-Wolverine Charles Woodson was greeted by a thunderous ovation. Woodson actually got up close with the crowd and high-fived the fans.

On ESPN, only Pat McAfee elicits such closeness and raucousness from the faithful in attendance. In fact, in my opinion, the emergence of Big Noon Kickoff as real competition is the reason why McAfee was added to the College GameDay roster.

This edition of Big Noon Kickoff featured an electrifying feature story on the fabled Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. Also helping the broadcast is the presence of that eminent reporter Tom Rinaldi.

Rinaldi, a former ESPN’er, talked about Ohio State’s preparation for the big game and revealed that Buckeye players were inspired by constantly viewing social media posts proclaiming Michigan’s dominance.

Reporter Jenny Taft chimed in as well, providing important Michigan injury updates. I really like the diversity of the Big Noon Kickoff team. You have a solid host in Stone, a coach’s perspective from Meyer, offensive insight from Leinart, Ingram II, and Quinn, and a defensive standpoint from Woodson.

Leinart stood out from the pack making the point that the game was about more than just a rivalry. It was really about winning a Big 10 title and gaining positioning for the college football playoff and a shot at a National Championship.

Ingram II added that the most physical team would win the game, while Quinn, a Columbus, Ohio native, gave some insight on what this game means to both states and fan bases. It’s a challenge to pass around the airtime when you have six bodies at the desk, but Stone does a good job of laying back in the weeds and letting the analysts analyze.

Perhaps the brightest light on Big Noon Kickoff is the presence of Chris “The Bear” Fallica. Plucked from ESPN, Fallica has been a tremendous addition. He brings serious college football chops and really puts things in perspective.

I always felt that this guy was underutilized on College GameDay. The dude does more than just pick game results. In this episode, he provided a lucid explanation of how 2023 is a watershed year for college football with realignment coming. In addition, he wrote an excellent script for the Leinart feature on the demise of the Pac-12 conference.

Big Noon Kickoff moves at a furious and frenzied pace, and viewers are enthralled to be along for the ride. I actually found myself on the edge of my seat wondering what feature or analysis would come next.

Coming back from a break, the show does not cut right back to the panelists. Cameras pan the crowd and audio goes up so viewers can hear the crowd cheer and sing team songs. This style really brings home the atmosphere of a major college football game.

While the show is mostly about the game being played at the broadcast site, Big Noon Kickoff offers a deep dive into highlights, previews, and analysis of games around the country.

One of the best parts of Big Noon Kickoff is the contribution of FOX’s Joel Klatt a model of excellence and versatility. Klatt excels in numerous venues: live game coverage, interviews, studio shows, guest shots on other programs, and more. His knowledge is unmatched and he always asks the right questions.

This was evident on the December 6 edition of The Joel Klatt Show: Big Noon Conversations where Klatt presented a terrific one-on-one interview with Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark. Klatt is always prepared and even-tempered. He listens to his subject and offers pinpoint follow-up questions.

Big Noon Kickoff is like a college football tailgate on TV. Panelists good-naturedly rip each other, toss the football around on a makeshift field, and talk smack whenever possible – pretty much everything short of beer pong.

Stone further added to the fury by encouraging Meyer to flash his Ohio State National Championship ring to the Michigan crowd. And Meyer did it, risking a damn near riot.

Having two former quarterbacks on set is a plus, especially when it comes to analyzing the game’s most important position. You can make the point that both Quinn and Leinart fizzled out in the NFL, but you cannot deny their fine college quarterbacking pedigree. They offered real talk on QB’s Kyle McCord and J.J. McCarthy.

Fallica once again showed his singular insight and was absolutely prophetic stating that without quarterback Travis Jordan, Florida State would not be looked upon as a top 4 team even if they finished undefeated.

In true FOX style, there is never a lack of star power on Big Noon Kickoff. The panel welcomed none other than Michigan native and Wolverines fan Derek Jeter as a guest. Jeter revealed that he actually signed to play baseball at Michigan and took some classes there before joining the Yankees organization.

He also added some humor saying that all ballplayers want to get out of the minors as soon as possible, but he did even more so because he was playing for the Yankees Triple-A team in Columbus, home of the Buckeyes.

Amid all the fanfare, you know if Tom Rinaldi is around, there is going to be a heart-wrenching feature story. His piece on McCarthy and boyhood teammate Ryan Keeler was top-notch.

Keeler would go on to play at UNLV and was scheduled to play at Michigan against McCarthy this past September. Tragically, Keeler passed away from a heart condition in February 2023.

Big Noon Kickoff is always moving, literally. Later in this show, the anchor desk moved from outside the stadium to down on the field in the Big House. The different settings bring variety and an intimate feel to the production.

Former Wolverine and current Detroit Lion Aidan Hutchinson joined the panelists on the field for some commentary. Keep your eyes on Hutchinson. His NFL career has just begun, but this young man has a future and broadcasting. He was at ease, personable, and insightful.

As for the ratings on this November 25 day in Michigan, well as they say, it depends on whom you ask. FOX public relations tweeted that Big Noon Kickoff averaged 2.34 million viewers adding that it was “Saturday’s most-watched college football pregame show on any network.”

Meanwhile, ESPN PR tweeted that College GameDay averaged 2.4 million viewers and was “the top CFB pregame program of the week.” Beyond the numbers, it is the overall feel of the broadcast that sets Big Noon Kickoff apart.

Whether it is the dramatic shots during pre-produced interviews and feature stories, the rapid-fire edits and cuts to of the crowd and players, or the majestic overhead images of both teams taking a pregame knee in prayer, Big Noon Kickoff brings viewers to the campus, on the field, and into the action in a manner that is fast-paced, frenetic, and just plain fun. 

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

BSM Writers

How Radio Sellers Can Be the Solution For Small Business Owners

In the face of these challenges, putting on a positive perspective can become a guiding light for SMBs.

Jeff Caves



Confidence, Sales

The landscape for small business owners is rife with challenges, often leading to a cloud of negativity about their future. Radio sellers can be a ray of light.

The September NFIB Small Business Optimism Index reveals that 57% of these entrepreneurs do not expect improved business conditions in the next six months.

Despite improvement in their outlook from last year, this pessimism is still at recession levels. The majority of small-to-medium businesses are concerned with Top of Form inflation and labor shortages. We must get on The Energy Bus and help turn these negatives into positives.

The survey conducted among small business owners laid down the reasons for their negs:

Economic Uncertainty: A significant percentage expressed concerns about the unpredictable economic landscape, making strategic planning and decision-making difficult.

Inflationary Pressures: The rising costs and inflationary trends have worried them about maintaining profit margins and sustaining operations.

Labor Shortages or Quality of Labor: Finding and retaining quality employees amidst the ongoing labor shortage has emerged as a considerable challenge, affecting business operations and growth prospects.

In the face of these challenges, putting on a positive perspective can become a guiding light for SMBs.

See the Concerns and Offer Support

Address Their Worries: Acknowledge their concerns about the uncertain economic climate, rising costs, and labor challenges. Don’t let them drag on and on about it. But make sure to show some empathy and understanding towards their situation. If appropriate, share experiences of other station clients’ challenges and how your solutions or products have helped them navigate similar situations. Watch their ears perk up when they realize they are not the only business having issues.

Be a Partner: Position yourself as a partner rather than just a salesperson. Offer insights and strategies you have heard or read about that can help them navigate through these challenges. Be well-read and a resource for change.

Present Solutions

Highlighting the Power of Radio Advertising: Showcase how your proposal can boost visibility, reach target audiences cost-effectively, and drive sales. Ensure you have a few different price point proposals that fit their budget. Don’t tell them to spend their way to success, especially on credit cards.

Success Stories: Share success stories of businesses similar to theirs that overcame challenges through effective radio marketing. Demonstrate how strategic advertising helped these businesses thrive despite economic uncertainties. This is your most powerful ally, and you must ask all the salespeople to share any success you can pass along.

Instilling Hope and Encouragement

Inspire Positive Vibes:  Share uplifting anecdotes and stories of resilience to inspire hope and instill optimism in small business owners. Emphasize that challenges are temporary and can be overcome with the right strategies and a positive mindset. Recall how you watched businesses go through the same thing 2007-09. Please read up on those stories and pass them along.

Continued Support and Engagement: Maintain regular communication and send them stories you find. Stay engaged and offer hope by consistently being there for them.

The concerns SMBs have are valid. There is no argument there. However, amidst this negativity, we can play a transformative role. Before you go down this road, make sure you find the things to believe about why this business will succeed.

Focus on those positives. You are the person who is on the street dealing with dozens of local SMBs just like them. You are the voice of reason. Your positivity and support can drive their renewed optimism, and you will forever be seen as part of the Solution, not the problem.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading


Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2023 Barrett Media.