Mon. Apr 22nd, 2019

My Six Degrees From The BSM Summit Panelists

Jason Whitlock-Fox Sports 

Jason actually picked me up from the airport for my PD interview at 610 Sports/KC and tried to teach a cocky young PD about Kansas City. I ended up loving the city, its people and most of all–its Barbecue. Jason’s favorite is Gates while I’m an Oklahoma Joe’s kinda guy. (OK Joe’s has since changed its name to Joe’s Kansas City)

Bruce Gilbert – Cumulus Media / Westwood One

Bruce is one of my favorite people and not just because he’s a Cubs fan. I was lucky enough to interview with him in 2004 for a PD position at ESPN Radio in Bristol. He didn’t hire me but we kept in touch and he has been a big supporter of my career. We got to go to a few Cubs games here in DC when Bruce was running Red Zebra Broadcasting. To this day my kids talk about “Bruce’s House” when we pass it in Bethesda, MD. 

Jason Dixon — SiriusXM Sports

I finally met Jason just a week ago in DC. We had a great talk about sports radio. Here’s our Q&A:

Ryan Hatch – Arizona Sports 98.7

I’m not sure Ryan Hatch knows of our connection but it is significant. When I coerced Doug Franz to come to Kansas City as part of the original team at 610 Sports, Doug HATED mornings. So as any great PD would do, I made him the morning show host. Taught him a few things and gave him a few bits to work with and got out of his way. 

Jeff Rickard – 1070 / 107.5 The Fan, Indianapolis

Jeff and I worked together at SiriusXM. What I love about Jeff is his versatility. He could host (and probably has hosted) on every sports channel on SiriusXM. He did an excellent job working with different analysts and was always eager to work and easy to work with. 

Eric Johnson – 97.5 The Fanatic, Philadelphia

I talked with Eric recently for my piece on top sports radio producers:

Ryan McGuire — KIRO 97.3, Seattle

I feel like Ryan and I have run in similar circles but never met. Ryan was PD for 610 Sports in KC from 2009-2012 while I was the station’s first PD back in 2003. Oh and we’re friends on Facebook! 

Dan Zampillo – ESPN LA 710

I’ve probably known Dan the longest of anyone at the summit. Dan and I worked together at The Score in Chicago. When I was Sports Director and Dan was a producer I knew Dan had something special about him and he was going to be a PD some day. He had survived being a college Division One basketball manager. He’d be able to handle radio talent. As luck would have it, we would work together again at SiriusXM. 

Demetri Ravanos – Barrett Sports Media

Demetri and I have never met in person, but we are in contact all the time. Whenever I write a column–like this one here–he’s the guy who edits it and makes sure it gets posted with nice images, a catchy headline, and a big quote from the piece. I couldn’t do this without him. 

Chris Kinard — 106.7 The Fan/Washington, DC

Chris and I met for the first time last year and again recently for a Q and A. He’s build a juggernaut of a station here and despite being in radio for 20 years, he has never had to leave the DC area. Smart, funny and the calmest PD I’ve ever seen. Here’s a link to my Q&A with him:

Justin Craig – ESPN

Justin likely hated our interactions. He was at ESPN Radio/NY when I was in charge of the ESPN Xtra channel on XM Radio. Anytime there was an issue–like they had changed their clock or were doing a special broadcast–it would affect the Michael Kay Show which we carried on automation. I’m sure I was never happy whenever I called Justin. Sorry! 

Mike Thomas – 98.5 The Sports Hub, Boston

When Mike was at CBS Radio, I interviewed for a PD job in Baltimore as the Entercom/CBS Radio merger was awaiting approval. It was a tenuous time for everyone, not knowing what the future held. Mike was pleasant and easy to talk to and had a strong commitment to improving The Fan in Baltimore. Also, he recently hired Judd Sirott as the Bruins Play by Play announcer. I interned for Judd at The Score back in the summer of 1994. 

Mitch Rosen – 670 The Score, Chicago

In a group of great Programmers, Mitch is a guy who truly cares about his people. I’ve only been lucky enough to work with him once. Between his stints at ESPN 1000 and 670 The Score, Mitch was an agent. He had a select group of clients which included former Bulls GM Jerry Krause. The Score hired Krause to be its NBA draft analyst that year and his preparation was amazing. Hand-written documentation on every player in the draft and he had seen each of them play in-person. Mitch was great to work with that day and has really grown The Score into the powerhouse of a station that it is today. 

Jason Barrett –Barrett Sports Media

I feel like I’ve been talking to Jason for years, but I have been writing for his site for a year now. I can’t thank him enough for giving me the opportunity and platform to discuss the important issues facing sports programming as well as the not so important. (See the best mustaches in sports radio column: