10 Questions with ... Nate Lundy
August 16, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Began my radio career at age 16 and have been either on-air, producing, serving as Program Director, or all of the above ever since. Stops include Portland, Oregon, Charleston, South Carolina, Memphis, Tennessee, San Antonio, Texas, Orlando, Florida and Denver, Colorado.
1. A few years ago, after several as a mostly off-air PD and some with a weekend show, you're now solidly on the talent side with the daily show at SB Nation Radio and on camera at 5280. Was being on-air always the goal or did it come more organically -- was it part of a plan or not?
I think it has always been there in the back of my mind as something that I enjoyed doing. I have been blessed in my career to have the opportunity to be both behind the scenes as well as on the mic and have enjoyed both immensely. Each comes with its own challenges, but I believe my time as a Program Director makes me a better host and vice versa. As for being on camera with 5280 Sports Network and my Fantasy Football Hour television show this fall in Denver for Altitude Sports, given my face for radio, I'm just glad they haven't booted me off yet.
2. You're national with the SB Nation show (and you were with the Fox fantasy show before that); after all these years in Denver, how hard is it to talk from a national perspective without too much Denver in there? Is that even a problem -- do you perceive a coastal slant to most of national sports radio?
It can be a challenge, there's no doubt about it. When you are immersed in a set of local teams, you have to be careful to not allow that to take over the national scene. At the same time, though, there are parallels you can draw as a fan of your local teams that translates to how you talk about the rest of the country. I'm a sports junkie. During the fall, I find myself watching college football games with unranked .teams I have no rooting interest for. Would I be paying attention to the National League East if I were not hosting a national show? Probably not much until the playoffs approached. But I do pay attention more and try to stay on top of all the angles that could pop up each day.
3. How did 5280 Sports Network come about? In a crowded Denver sports media marketplace, what will you be doing to stand out?
5280 Sports Network is a concept that I have had for a long time. When I left KKFN, I realized the timing was right to launch it. I'm lucky to have a great partner with this project in Shawn Drotar, who I have known for a long time and who worked for me at KKFN. I'm also happy to have a fantastic network of sports media personalities here who want to be a part of what we are doing.
I think there are two things that we are pushing for to stand out. First, as I mentioned, we are working with some great people who are well known in the market already. Second, we are emphasizing quality over quantity. In a "click bait" online world, it's easy to get caught up in a shotgun approach. We won't do that. I'm not interested in breaking the news. I'm interested in what the news means. As for the Denver marketplace being crowded, I agree. However it is also a tremendous sports city with an appetite that never seems to subside, so I believe there's room to reach the fans despite the choices that exist.
4. Maybe this is related to 5280, maybe not, but how do you see sports radio -- sports media, really -- changing in the coming decade? Will sports radio as we've known it continue to be what it was, or has social media changed the mission? Will radio continue to be the home of the Hot Take or is that moving to Twitter and Facebook?
Wow. Not sure we have enough space for me to truly answer this one with everything I would want to say. But, I will try to elaborate on a couple of points that I have believed for quite some time and still do today. All media, not just sports, has been changed by the available technology as well as social media. The on demand world of YouTube, Spotify, Netflix and every conceivable app as made it so our audience can access what they want when they want it. The idea that the majority of your audience is locked in to every word you say for three hours a day is simply not the truth. The radio industry does three and four hour shows because it fits OUR economics, but it is not what the audience consumes. So at some point things are going to have to change to match their appetite. Radio will remain *a* home of the sports "hot take" but not *the* home.
5. You've been talking fantasy football for years and fantasy's become a massive business, but last year's Draft Kings/Fan Duel controversy put a damper on some of the excitement. Do you think that DFS, assuming that it will be legal in most states, will get back on track to becoming a mainstream fantasy vehicle? Do you see DFS being dominant in fantasy sports going forward, or will the traditional season-long leagues still dominate?
I think there is room for both the DFS and traditional season-long leagues because they each satisfy a different itch. Season-long gives you the connection to your friends and family. It's bragging rights at the office. It's Monday Morning Quarterbacking at its best. DFS satisfies the instant gratification that dominates our culture and in particular sports. I can have a bad night playing DFS and turn around and have a great day 24 hours later. The skill set in each version of fantasy is the same. As states regulate it (it's all about the money), it will continue to grow for the massive fantasy sports audience in this country and around the world. I participate in both, but have found myself doing more and more DFS and cutting back on the season-long leagues to only those with friends and family that I've been a part of for years.
6. Let's talk about your process a little. What, other than watching the games, do you do for show prep? How do you use social media in that mix?
I look for and watch, read, and listen to as much analysis as I can. The game is the "facts" and your show is the spin on those facts. So I enjoy seeing what others are saying about what happened. I think we all have our favorite writers or hosts and I take time to see what those folks are saying as well. Social media is huge for that. In part because, as you pointed out before in our questions, I'm covering the national scene as well as Denver. Social media is often my connection to something that happened a thousand miles away that I may have missed. I also look for the "fun" topics. Sports radio is an escape for many people. I try to make them laugh and realize that at the end of the day, it's just a game.
7. Of what, at this stage in your life, are you most proud?
For me personally, I'm proud of my kids and the people they are growing up to be. For me professionally, I'm proud that I have been able to make a career out of something that started as an out-of-the-blue phone call one day in high school. I have friends who have bounced between careers and still are not where they want to be. I am truly lucky to get to do what I love everyday.
8. Who's been your favorite interview subject over the years?
I don't have a favorite. I know that sounds like a cop out, but I don't. I have enjoyed a ton of interviews over the years.
To keep the dump button on ready: Patrick Roy
To learn about football: Brian Billick
To make me laugh: Jay Mohr
To satisfy the 12 year old fan in me: Jerry Rice
To mark off on the bucket list: Alyssa Milano
9. Football question because we're coming up on the 2016 season and why not: Who's your pick for the Super Bowl this season? (We WILL be reviewing this in February, of course.)
This will turn into the kiss of death for these teams, but give me a rematch from 2011 with the Steelers and the Packers and I'll take the Packers to win it.
10. What's the most valuable lesson you've learned in your career, or in life?
Take your job seriously, but don't take yourself seriously. And to that end, in the words of Johnny Carson, "Never stay in a job you don't love."