An E-mail Interview with 970 ESPN Pittsburgh Radio Host David Todd
This is something that 970 ESPN Pittsburgh host David Todd managed to do several years ago. Todd was in a completely different industry when he decided that he wanted to make a change and get into the sports world as a radio host.
David was kind enough to take time out of his very busy schedule to tell us about how he became a sports fan, how he got into sports radio, where he has worked and currently works, as well as advice to those who want to get into the industry.
PH: Growing up, how did you get into following sports?
DT: I started following sports when I was 5 or 6 years old. Initially, I’m sure it was because my father and grandfather were big sports fans. I remember them taking me to my first game at Forbes Field to see the Pirates play Ferguson Jenkins and the Cubs. I started collecting baseball cards and reading the batting averages in the paper and was hooked.
PH: Who were some of your favorite teams and players growing up? Why?
DT: I followed all the Pittsburgh teams. I think my first favorite player was Bill Mazeroski because when I started playing baseball second base was my position. Growing up when I did was a great time to be a young fan. The Pirates and Steelers were winning championships seemingly every year. Pittsburgh was the City of Champions and it was fun to follow such successful teams and see so many great players.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a sports radio broadcaster?
DT: I thought about it in college and did a little broadcasting at that time, but while attending Yale I was pretty certain I was going to pursue a career in finance which I did for the next 25 years. About five years ago I was thinking of a career change and I ended up breaking into the sports broadcasting field in Pittsburgh.
PH: How did you get your start in the sports radio industry? What did you learn at the first channel/station that you worked out?
DT: I started with Clear Channel in Pittsburgh five years ago when they were kind enough to give me an hour show on Saturday afternoons in the summer. I think they knew no one was going to be listening and they did it as a favor to a friend of mine who had arranged the interview. The first thing I learned was that I had no idea how to “do radio.” Knowing about sports and doing an interesting and entertaining radio show are two completely different things.
PH: What was your reaction when you found out that you were going to have your own show on 970 ESPN Pittsburgh?
DT: Obviously I was very excited. I was working hard to get better at the job and that was some validation that I was making progress.
PH: Tell us about what you try to bring your listeners on daily basis?
DT: Ideally I hope I bring smart, insightful analysis with a bit of humor. I’m not looking to be outrageous or controversial just for the sake of getting a reaction, but I certainly have opinions which aren’t always popular or mainstream. The key is being able to explain those views in an articulate, entertaining way that keeps people tuning in.
PH: You were also given your own national show on Fox Sports Radio. How did that gig come about and how do you think it will help you when it comes to your work in the sports radio industry?
DT: Yes, that just happened this month. A senior FOX executive who knew of my work offered me the opportunity and I jumped at the chance. The national show gives me an opportunity to discuss a broader range of topics and issues that I touch on less frequently on my local show.
PH: What other sports radio projects are you currently working or involved with?
DT: I am the host of Steelers Nation Radio which can be found on iHeart Radio, Steelers.com and the Steelers Gameday app. It has expanded rapidly over the last 12 months as the Steelers have gotten more involved with the programming and is a great place to get 24/7 Steelers info. In addition I host the Steelers post game show and co-host The Terrible Podcast and The Bucs Dugout Podcast.
PH: For people who are letting to get into the industry, what wisdom would you impart on them?
DT: Radio is a tough business and you are not likely to get rich doing it. But like any other career choice, if you are passionate about it and are willing to work hard there are opportunities and it can be very rewarding.