This week’s guest is Tyler Gildin, stand-up comedian and executive producer at Elite Daily. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: when did he first realize he was funny? (2:10), what he was like, comedically, growing up and through school (3:05), why going to summer camp as a kid helped him get experience and comfort performing in front of people (5:10), the balancing act that is performing for friends that come to see you and improving your act (10:40), the three annoying things people say to their stand-up comedian “friends” (12:26), the calculus of constructing a joke and how so many little things can throw it on or off track (18:13), when he’s more active on the stand-up scene, his process for writing and performing new and old jokes in a set (20:38), Tyler’s strategy for dealing with the crowd or hecklers, as well as the one time a “friend” threw him off his game (23:08), is there any subject material he won’t touch and a common mistake inexperienced comedians make when it comes to being topical (29:16), what are some of the ways, unlimited as they may be, to even try to “make it” in the NY stand-up scene—and what is “making it”? (30:41), at Elite Daily, what’s the process from idea inception to consumer watching at home? (37:03), why versatility is one of the prized qualities at a place like Elite Daily (42:15) and Tyler takes his chance to ask me a question: what the hell is this book I’m taking months off to finish even about? (47:07).
This week’s guest is Jason Horowitz, studio host for Westwood One, talk show host with SiriusXM and play-by-play guy in a number of places. He does a lot. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: Jason describes the experience that was seeing “Bayside! The Musical!” (1:23), the wonder that is Kelly Kapowski, despite her father being a deadbeat (2:41), his experience auditioning for and getting on ESPN’s “Dream Job” show, basically their version of American Idol (6:05), the non-sports-related, out-of-the-box audition that got him on the show (8:10), did being on the show ever let him get ahead of himself? (10:12), how not winning the competition put his whole life on the path he’s on now (12:55), the thing he remembers most about the night he lost (14:30), how simply being on the show helped him get his next job and prepare him for his future jobs (17:02), do you need to have an intrinsic knowledge of a sport or is play-by-play just technique? (19:54), what’s the one thing that makes a great play-by-play announcer? (22:30), why he hasn’t scripted a call since college (23:26), the two things play-by-play announcers do that he can’t stand the most (24:49), what it’s like to host for Westwood One for March Madness and other major college sporting events—who writes his stuff? how does he prepare? where does he get his information from? (28:45), where does he see his career going, insofar as all the different jobs he has? (31:47), being from Michigan and living in the city, especially raising a daughter here (33:29) and Jason takes his chance to ask me two questions—one, why did I even ask him to be on? and two, how and why did I finish my book by the time I turned 25? (36:47)
This week’s guest is Aaron Goldfarb, author of three novels and five books in total as well as contributing writer for a number of publications including Esquire and The Daily Beast. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: how has getting married impacted the sort of fiction he’ll write going forward (1:46), writing about things you didn’t quite experience (3:10), why he doesn’t like to let people know what he’s working on when he’s writing (7:07), why, among other reasons, he doesn’t like having a job and how that works into his writing process (7:54), why he doesn’t set day-to-day amount goals as he writes (10:11), how he writes the concept of a book, mostly doing the envisioning in his head (11:34), why he doesn’t send people his work until he’s finished (13:17), his passion for screenwriting for feature films and TV (16:22), the logically inane process that is screenplays getting optioned (17:41), how he determines whether an idea would work best as a book or movie (19:12), does Hollywood’s lack of originality piss him off, especially when he knows he’s created so much original content (22:23), why this era is the best in history to “chose yourself” when it comes to creating content (26:46), the correlation, or lack thereof, between his career as an author and as a writer (28:03), is there a tipping point where giving your stuff away for free becomes a bad thing? (31:08), would he go with self-publishing or the major houses with his next book? (31:55), the best way to get your book seen by the people who matter (34:30), how important is it to him to come up with “clever” ideas when thinking of topics for books and movies? (38:10), have his ideas ever been considered gimmicky, is that even a bad thing? and how people tend to treat authors (41:04), a brief discussion about, yes, Beanie Babies (44:50) and Aaron takes his spot to ask me a question: who is the most famous person I think I can get on the podcast? (48:47)
This week’s guest is Zach Berman, Eagles beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: is this as bad as it’s ever been for Philly sports teams? (1:29), the growth in demand for NFL content in the offseason and how fans now care as much about the business of sport as they ever have (2:58), has he lost any of his love for the NFL now that he covers it (6:22), how he lost his fanaticism when he went to college to become a journalist (10:20), is it sad that he no longer is a “fan” like he used to be? (12:06), what are the positives and negatives of Twitter as a beat writer with constant onus to provide content (15:27), the pressure to be first on breaking news and if that’s even a relevant thing any longer in the Twitter age (19:41), does he feel the need to include his personality more in his social media presence and does it bother him that this has become a trend among reporters (23:41), SnapChat as a tool for reporting? (28:36), do the gambling/fantasy football questions ever get annoying and why, sadly, he doesn’t have the ability to predict the future (30:55), why an internship after college isn’t the worst thing for a fresh-out-of-college writer (34:15), what his week look likes during the season–time spent at the Eagles’ facility, when he travels, what cities have the best press food, who pays for all this, where he sits during the game and, most importantly, what he’s looking for that you’re not during the game (39:15), why he says he’s least valuable to fans during the actual game and what he tries to provide to make up for that (48:09), why if you’re going to critique someone or something, you’d better be informed and show up the next day (49:42), what’s his goal for future work (54:14), how do you deal with grind of being a reporter and what do you do to improve as opposed to avoid simply pushing work out for another deadline (56:14), why he doesn’t see the trend of player-driven media as troubling for traditional media (59:43) and Zach takes his chance to ask me a question that’s been on his mind since I wrote my humor column in college: how do you become funny in print? (1:06:06)
This week’s guest is WFAN and CBS Sports Radio talk show host John Jastremski. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: how on Earth he maintains that upbeat attitude for his real life and radio life (1:41), the honest importance of being true to yourself on the radio (2:38), how he thinks he’d do in a different market sounding as “New York” as he does and the advice from Bob Costas that convinced him not to change his voice (3:54), what plays better and what he enjoys doing more, local or national radio? and how the two are done differently (7:28), how he handles topics that aren’t exactly his strong suit (10:01), where/how he gets his feedback of his work as a solo host of primarily overnight radio (14:04), the transition from doing only tandem radio in college to only solo radio as a professional and what he enjoys about doing it alone nowadays (17:21), John rants about the signal strength issues ESPN Radio in New York has (20:25), what specifically makes caller-driven radio his favorite style and why he hates hokey radio teases (22:27), establishing on his show that he’s the authority as a younger radio host (27:16), does his more lenient style of handling callers come from doing overnights? (29:40), how his mood determines how he handles idiotic callers (32:29), John’s pre-show prep, including his TV setup and why he doesn’t like to script anything (38:14), the experience of going through and winning the 2011 Fantasy Phenom contest to get a job at WFAN (42:15), why he didn’t introduce himself as “Fantasy Phenom winner” and how he gained respect as he began working there (49:45), a couple really good Mike Francesa stories (53:23), where he draws the line on bringing his personal life into his shows (58:06) and John takes his turn to ask me a question (1:00:00).
This week’s guest is Mark Medina, beat writer covering the Los Angeles Lakers for the L.A. Daily News. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: dealing with annoying/hating/trolling/critiquing fans (1:57), what it’s been like to go from living in Pennsylvania and Syracuse to Manhattan Beach (3:02), why neither of us really miss Syracuse–the place, not the university (5:17), how soon Mark got into the journalism extra-curricular scene at Syracuse (8:46), why he majored in broadcast journalism despite only wanting to really work in print journalism (11:28), the timing we both had in graduating in 2008, right at the true turn of social media as it related to journalism (15:00), the risk he took with two internships, as opposed to jobs, immediately after school in Virginia and Los Angeles (20:30), how/why he spent around $400 sending out nearly 100 resumes while looking for a job and how he got his L.A. Times gig from a cold-call application (22:05), a brief discussion about the WNBA and the Sparks (26:42), the good timing of getting let go from his internship right as the Times’ Lakers bloggers were leaving to go elsewhere (28:29), how he handled being the new guy on such an established beat and what’s been his biggest area of improvement since being that new guy (33:56), the balance between being a reporter and keeping your voice/personality involved without overwhelming your work (38:41), covering the D’Angelo Russell/Nick Young fiasco and the misreporting of it as a “bro-code” violation (41:52), covering something as serious, challenging and personal as the Lamar Odom overdose (43:42), the game-day routine of the beat writer (50:35), how he basically starts writing his post-game stories in the pre-game and have we seen the end of the game-story? (53:17), does he ever get to relax, not worry about breaking news or covering the team? (59:14), using an interaction I had with a snide Jim Boeheim as an example, Mark shares some of his best interactions with Kobe Bryant (1:06:52), a “Smush Parker is terrible”reference (1:11:04), and Mark takes his chance to ask me two questions, both regarding advice and preparation for those entering this industry (1:15:12).
The guest this week is Sarina Morales of ESPN’s SportsCenter: AM. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: her absolutely bonkers sleep/life schedule now that she’s on a national TV show from 7 to 10 AM every day (1:47), Sarina and I debate why ANYONE uses SnapChat—hint, she’s in favor of it (4:29), what were her first “Holy Shit!” moments about being on SportsCenter (8:29), how she’s been able to remind herself that despite being new, she belongs (12:57), what it’s been like to learn on the fly on a national television show after coming from a non-on-air job (16:54), we debate the uselessness of small talk, cliches like “neither here nor there” and relationships (19:23), how one video she wasn’t even supposed to make for Nat Geo helped get her discovered, a la Justin Bieber, by a sleepless senior VP at ESPN (25:29), her continual habit of expanding her job way past what she was hired for (28:27), the balancing act of pushing social media content further without going over-the-top or out of her comfort zone (32:22), Sarina goes in detail about just how much work goes into getting SportsCenter ready for 7 AM (39:01), dealing with the stigma that “Women don’t know about sports!” (44:35), dealing with men commenting more on her looks more than what she says (47:29), the double standard that the good-looking man gets fewer nasty comments than the good-looking woman, but that the man can respond sarcastically without being labeled a bitch (50:54), our new app idea, “Whelmed”, where you can leave mildly content/satisfied reviews (55:00), what it’s like to be recognized in person and the slow evaporation of her private life (57:50), Sarina joined Twitter in 2007, back when you had to text to tweet… why? (1:03:40), and Sarina takes her turn to ask me a question, which leads to a somewhat depressing but honest chat about the Spurs, why we take sports so (too?) seriously and why sports are important (1:07:33).
Zach Schonbrun, contributing sports and business writer for the New York Times, is the guest this week. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: is the Times just trying to piss me off with N.B.A and Mr/Mrs’ing everyone? (1:30), my one shining moment at Syracuse–the SU Media Game wherein I destroyed Zach’s ankles and acted like a jackass (4:51), Zach’s decision not to major in journalism while at Syracuse and get the practical education through experience (7:32), why his first job with MLB.com convinced him to go to grad school for journalism (11:09), how the work he put in at the school paper that would keep him there 5 days a week from 5pm to 1am so often felt like being involved in a fraternity (17:05), the brotherhood of the Daily Orange that helped send this year’s class to Indy and Houston to cover the Men’s and Women’s Final Four (20:25), my most burning question: What the hell does a non-beatwriter like Zach do every day? (24:35), Zach discusses the book proposal regarding the intersection between neuroscience and sports that’s been taking up most of his time lately (29:10), how does a contributing writer get paid and make money while avoid being taken for granted? (31:30), how his Kindle Single “One Great Shoe” came to be (37:48), how a writer should and does handle their story idea changing or evolving as they are doing the reporting (41:43), what percentage of story idea/pitches are from the writer or the editors and what makes someone good at coming up with fresh angles? (43:09), why Zach thinks the way sports reporting is done is going to have to change as we move forward (49:03), his concern that journalism is heading more towards the team and player led-media (ThisIsMelo, The Players’ Tribune) and that readers may not be able to tell (or care about) the difference between biased and non-biased media (52:07), how having a business story of his killed at the Times helped hone his bullshit filter (54:22), why he bristles at the notion of having to be a “personality” when being a reporter (1:00:48) and of course, Zach’s chance to ask me a question (1:03:39).
Check out his Kindle Single “One Great Shoe” chronicling the rise and fall of And1 Shoes. It’s good. For real.
Jordan Bernfield, ESPN play-by-play guy and host/anchor at 670 The Score in Chicago, is the guest this week. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: the weirdest part of being an engaged couple (1:53), the many name-related stages of a relationship (4:47), how the industry nowadays is such that you basically have to do a lot of things (7:05), the fear of the jack of all trades, master of none label that could come from wearing as many hats as he does professionally (10:09), dealing with fan expectations of you when you switch on-air jobs (12:46), the difficulty of being both a reporter and a talk show host (16:17), if he could only pick one job, it would be…and why? (19:55), one of the really fun benefits of being a network play-by-play guy—inside access (22:39), the interestingly personal relationship with coaches as a play-by-play guy (26:16), how an internship in the promotions department wound up being a blessing in disguise (34:08), how he was able to turn an internship with David Kaplan–someone who he had no relationship with prior to–into a friendship, and not just a generic networking contact (36:04), the seemingly awful production jobs he was offered as a product of his internships and how that was an incredible foot in the door (38:09), how he was able to work as a producer at WGN, while also doing all sorts of on-air jobs simultaneously to help stay in a big market like Chicago (39:57), why networking should be reciprocal, not just a one-sided relationship (42:40), how being a lunch-getting, sort-of-errand-running intern was beneficial to his career (44:45), developing his own style as a play-by-play guy, avoiding ripping off the people you grew up listening to and why he doesn’t pre-write any of his calls (52:20), how much prep goes into each game he does for ESPN (56:20), how he can tell what sort of a game it was based on how much of his prep he had to use (1:01:09), the one thing that young broadcasters do incorrectly (1:03:20), why young broadcasters need to be more than just sports fans, but be sports media fans (1:05:06) and Jordan takes his turn to ask me (2) question(s)… gets a bit real (1:10:01).
Jon Rothstein, College Basketball Insider for CBS Sports, is the guest this week. Here’s some of the stuff we talked about: where does that “Stay Humble, Stay Hungry” tweet come from? (1:26), how studying leaders from history has helped shape him into the worker/person he is today (2:26), how and why his job became an all-day, every-day grind (4:17), the importance of creating and having a niche when starting out in this industry (5:54), the career path that took him from Ithaca to ESPN Radio’s Dream Job competition to real estate to the current day, including the failures along the way (7:52), why/how he paid for air time at a local radio station as an up-and-comer (10:44), how being uncomfortable and envious of other people with connections drove him to work even harder (11:40), did doubt ever creep in about his career choice or after rejections piled up early on? (13:43), how he was able to build respect for himself as the new guy that had just won the competition (15:38), the interview with Billy Donovan that finally made him think he was “getting close” (19:04), why you can’t just do one thing in this industry (20:31), the importance of focusing on excelling just one day at a time (26:36), how his personal life–relationships with family, friends, women–has been impacted by his commitment to his job (28:10), the great advice he got from Bo Ryan (32:17), why he doesn’t see this everyday grind coming to a halt any time soon and his thoughts on vacations (35:40), how he turned a wedding invitation in San Francisco to a way to build relationships with three different schools (39:30), the approach you take when you’re not looking just for one story, but to do the job for the next 45 years (41:12) and Jon takes his turn to ask me a question–we discuss my favorite Rocky movie (47:15).