This week’s conversation is with Kevin Harlan, a well renowned sports television and radio broadcaster.

If you’ve watched just about any sporting event over the last few years, you’re familiar with Kevin’s voice.

This is his 34th consecutive season broadcasting the NFL and his 31st season broadcasting the NBA, currently as a play-by-play announcer for the NBA on TNT.

Kevin is in his ninth season as the full-time voice of Monday Night Football on Westwood One and recently called his ninth straight Super Bowl for the network.

He also currently calls play-by-play for CBS Sports’ coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Kevin is one of the best in his field yet he’s no stranger to criticism.

As someone who works in a very public line of work, he’s constantly hearing it from fans and his peers.

We discuss how he manages that criticism – the delicate balance between being open to feedback and caring too much what others think.

What stood out to me in this conversation is Kevin’s ability to separate who he is from what he does.

Kevin started broadcasting at the age of 14.

Typically someone who’s been at it for that long can find it hard to identify as anything other than that “thing” they’ve tied their life’s efforts to.

“Even to this day if I read or hear something critical, I never take it personal. It’s not about me. It’s about my style. Some people internalize it, fret over it, and let it get them down. I don’t.”

In This Episode:

  • Growing up with his dad as his role model: President of the Green Bay Packers and living his life with passion
  • The benefits vs. cost of getting into broadcasting early (as early as age 14)
  • How he learned to deal with criticism
  • Learning to not dwell on criticism, but rather assess whether there’s some truth there and then move on
  • Decoupling who is from what he does
  • How he navigates always being live and the importance of particular moments
  • His process for trusting himself and letting go
  • Why getting someone’s name wrong in a broadcast haunts him the most
  • Striving for perfect (or close it)
  • His most memorable call
  • His personal philosophy: attention to detail
  • What goes into preparing for a broadcast
  • How he looks at mastery

 

Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | SpotifyStitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS

 

 

Quotables:

“There’s never a perfect broadcast. Only a learning experience, which hopefully propels you to something better the next time you take the air.”

“If I read or hear a negative comment, I say, ‘Okay. Is there something there that I’m missing?’ I’ll go back and break it down. I don’t always agree with them but I’m glad it’s brought to my attention.’ Sometimes you need those outside comments to get better.”

“If I were broadcasting a high school game in the middle of Kansas on a Friday night when I was in college, I did think, Yeah, I bet the guys are out having fun but I’m glad I’m here doing this because I know this is what I love to do.”

“Find something you enjoy, and even as road blocks and speed bumps occur, as they inevitably will, you’ll still navigate those with a smile on your face and a direction in your heart.”

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TV & Radio Broadcaster

Kevin Harlan is a television and radio sports announcer. The son of former Green Bay Packers executive Bob Harlan, he broadcasts NFL and college basketball games on CBS and is a play-by-play announcer for the NBA on TNT.