What’s in today’s weekly media column (linked here): The Top 10/Bottom 5 list of the Southern California sports-talk circuit. KSPN-AM (710)’s Marcellus Wiley, the feature story to go with the list, is the former NFL player who you’ve likely seen on an ESPN show but has himself a nice future in the media business. As long as he doesn’t lose his train of thought. Seriously.
More on Wiley and his career: His Wikipedia page, his Facebook page , his Twitter account (along with a shot of him with Tim Tebow), his ESPN bio and his NFL career stats on Pro-Football-Reference.com.
What’s not in today’s media column: More quips from Wiley about how life works in his world these days:
== On what he can to do slow down memory loss:
“It’s tough because I don’t have a baseline test, so who’s to say how forgetful I am. I take memory and circulation pills from GNC that I hope help, but also doing a show with Max, he talks so fast that if you need a millisecond to figure something out, you’re not going to get it out. It’s like a Clydesdale racing with a thoroughbred.”
== On dreaming of having a TV or media career back as a kid:
“I never had those kind of dreams, which seems pretty weird looking back. I was always thinking about trying to make it to the NFL. But I don’t any of those moments where I thought about any other careers. I knew that I had to keep working hard and use what few talents I had, to build on those and take my family to a more affluent place. That was it. How it turned out, I had no idea. I knew I’d been blessed with the gift of playing sports, and I did well in class. I’d just hope it would pay dividends.”
== On being able to connect with L.A. listeners because of his roots:
“I’m able to localize things, things I know second nature. I go to a lot of events now that I’m retired, and it’s part of the job to engage with the people. I’ve been to the Rose Bowl the last couple of years, I go to Lakers and Clippers games, to Chivas and Galaxy games. And I like hanging around out in the seats, not with the sideline pass or the box. Give me the regular seats next to that guy who when i was playing football was yelling and cursing at me for not making a sack. I need to hear that and feel part of that fan-damonium.
== On what L.A. fans are most passionate about when they call and talk:
“You mention the Lakers, and you get a lot of love. Mention anything about Kobe in regards to his legacy and how he ranks all time, you get a response. Last year, the Dodgers, good and bad, would get a response. Then it goes anywhere from there. There’d be a lot more football talk on our show if there was a team, but the prospects of that happen are exciting the fans. Largely, all football talk is about USC.
== On whether he had an opportunity to go to USC or UCLA coming out of high school and staying home:
“I had no opportunity at USC. UCLA was recruiting me. But I wanted to get away. I saw all that as ‘High School Part II.” The last thing I wanted was my mom coming to my dorm room bringing me cookies and sandwiches every weekend. I was looking for the best of both worlds in getting away. I wish I could preach that more to kids these days — I understand how great it is to go to a big school. I was All-City but I was no blue-chipper or ESPNU 150. I wish just one of them would say, ‘I’ll go where the football isn’t as good just to get into an Ivy League school.’ They could take over that league. Maybe they wouldn’t make an impact at USC, but they could dominate in the Ivy League and still go pro. I laugh at the kids who say doing that won’t give them enough attention. I went in the second round (of the NFL draft). They’d rather be third string at USC than be All-Ivy League and have the fans treat you as if you’re the next coming and forever be loved by the alumni base. I knew Jerry Rice went to a small school and still succeeded. I’m not sure why more don’t do it.”
== On how whether injuries he suffered while playing still bother him or he’s put it out of his mind:
“I think you just get used to it bothering you. There’s no way I’m feeling like any other 37 years old walking around out there. I was more injury prone, but I was told that at the combine in Indianapolis, and that affected my draft status. Still, No. 52 overall, but they told me during my medical exam that I had a uniquely high arch in my back. It’s called a ‘high booty.’ My butt was so high, I’m all legs and there’s a huge arch that puts a lot of pressure on my lower back. It became an issue after my third year (at Columbia). I went from a 6-foot, 185 pound running back to be 6-5 and 280 as a senior. I was never completely comfortable with all that new size of my body. So that was the trade off. I had to decide if it was worth it. And this second career I’ve got in the media, making good money, I’m looking forward now to a different game plan.”
== On getting into the media business:
“It was 2007 and it was the most random of experiences. One day I’m just chillin’ at the house, on Halloween, and someone from ESPN calls to see if I could do an interview about Halloween characters like Jason or Chuckie. Sure, why not. I do it from a satellite in West L.A, and the producer loves it. They said, ‘let’s do another interview, except this time in Bristol (Conn.)’ I’d done the ‘car wash’ there before (being interviewed on radio, TV, etc.), so I end up meeting with the bosses. A week later, they called and wanted to hire me. But I was ignorant to that whole world. I didn’t listen to talk radio. I didn’t watch ESPN other than ‘SportsCenter.’ So, it was like, ‘wow, let me learn about this world.’ I wasn’t a big sports fan, either. I only could name guys on the field by their jersey number, not their name. Two weeks later, I’m co-hosting ‘Mike and Mike In the Morning’ with Mike Greenberg. I get all these calls from friends afterward telling me that was a huge deal. People were listening? So I started co-hosting and guesting on so many shows, an opportunity came up in L.A. for the new radio station, and they knew I was from L.A. and told me about the commitment. So as long as I’m here, why not spend four hours a day talking sports? It was so random. Now, with this show, I get a chance to talk every single day and I love it.
“I have a two-year deal and everything’s going great. There are high expectations for our show because it’s so personality based. Max is his own character and I’m blending my personality and intelligence. The fact we both went to Columbia brings me into his circle of trust that I’m not sure I would have been afforded so quickly.”
== On making a connection with the L.A. audience from an African-American perspective:
“I feel connected. It’s all true that as you hear the media, especially growing up, it’s a white male older voice who may never have played but knows the game backward and forward. So you gotta respect that, but there’s the former athlete who comes in, but it’s pretty obvious he never went to class. You’ve just gotta keep it real. So then there’s the guy where you say, ‘Wow, he’s from the neighborhood and he used to play and he’s talking the proper English but it’s uniquely himself.’ That’s when you hit the jackpot. You don’t have to make compromises at any level. I see the media pundints who graduated from the broadcast schools at Syracuse, but there’s also the guy who’s got $3 to put in his gas tank, who just saw the game. I don’t make it highbrow so you’d want to turn it off. I like having that level of honesty. I don’t have to hide or sit there and be frustrated. I live a public life and I understand there’s no real privacy unless you lock your doors and stay inside. I enjoy coming out and talking about my experiences with the people. I love to have pictures taken, or get in arguments with Wisconsin fans about how Oregon is about to stomp all over them. As long as you keep that spirit in mind it’ll continue to be a great relationship.”