Christina’s Coffee Talk: Rob Guerrera

Over the last six months, Coffee Talk has taught me and hopefully you, about the many sectors of public relations. We’ve learned about agency and corporate life, entertainment, and consumer PR, juggling careers and a family, and how to go solo and much more. PR is so diverse that we can learn something new about it everyday, but what about the rest of our communications professionals? We work with media professionals on a daily basis, yet we never really get the chance to see what a day is like in their life. So I’ve decided to open Coffee Talk to media professionals too. I will interview hard working professionals from all different levels to give us an inside look at their daily life. First one to bat, Rob “Stats”  Guerrera, production assistant for ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning”.

How did you become the PA for ESPN’s Mike and Mike?

First, I got the job after applying for an internship in the “program integration” department. I had no idea what “program integration” was, but I wanted to work at ESPN my whole life, so I read the description and applied. I didn’t get it, but my resume was forwarded to the radio department because of all my experience with radio at college. Months later I went to a job fair to try and introduce myself to as many people as possible. I ended up meeting a program director and was hired as the intern in the fall of 2004. From there I worked just about every waking hour doing any and everything they asked me to. I was hired as a part-time employee at the end of my internship, and became full time about two years later.

After talking with Rob about his daily tasks and getting an inside look at Mike and Mike we felt it would be more beneficial to really just get a broken down version of his day and the life of radio.

I sneak out of the bedroom and immediately turn on ESPNews. I have to go to sleep by 8 or 9 PM every night, so it’s important that I catch up on all the sports that started after my head hit the pillow.With the TV on in the background, I log in to my work desktop and go through emails. I get about 100 – 150 emails a day, so I like to go through them before I get to the office. If I don’t, I’ll waste between 30-45 minutes just reading them all. Also, I start the “Headlines” packet. The packet is a streamlined version of all the research notes and story summaries that we get. I skim through the AP newswires and add stories I think we’ll talk about, and eliminate all the stuff I know we won’t mention. That gets sent out to Mike & Mike, as well as many other people at ESPN (including TV anchors).

By this time the headline packet is usually done, leaving me 20 minutes to shower and get dressed (not to mention breakfast, if I’m lucky). Clothes are picked out the night before and in the living room. This awards me more sleep and I can get dressed without waking up my wife. (Note: Men, you should write that down). On the way to work, I listen to ESPNews again on my satellite radio, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything. As long as it hasn’t snowed, I can get to work by 4:45 AM. If it snows, the whole day starts earlier than 3 o’clock. No one plows at 4:30 in the morning. Ever.

Once at work it’s my job to get the control room ready to go on the air. Working with the TV crew, I test the microphones and get my commercial playlist ready to go. Once the show starts, I am the last line of defense before the sound goes through your speakers. Almost all of the sound that is heard on the show is played by me. Things like rejoin music and sound effects are all fired by me from the control room. Greeny does have his own sound board that he uses, but that’s mostly for cuts from players, coaches, etc. I have control of basically everything from the control board in front of me. Throughout the show, I send story ideas to the staff, and keep track of all the billboards that are read. If there’s a big story and the Mikes are going to be on Good Morning America, I talk with their producers in New York and coordinate the things with our TV staff as well.

After the show, Liam, the producer, and I assemble all the liners and other post-show production that needs to get done. We sit down with the Mikes and record all of that stuff. I send it out to various affiliate radio stations later in the day. We also have a post-show meeting with the radio and TV staff where we talk about that day’s show, and plan the following day.

11:00am – 2:oopm
The after show meeting usually ends around 11 AM every day. After that, I create the promos for the next day’s show, as well as those for our owned and operated stations. Once that’s finished, I meet with Liam to discuss what tasks need to be completed for the next day’s show and we go over guest ideas. Depending on which one of us has the better relationship with the guest, we’ll try and find contact information to get them on. If there are any new songs or drops that we need, I’ll find those and load them into our database. If I sneak a lunch in there somewhere, I can usually be out of the office by 1 or 2 PM.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

What is your favorite experience, so far, working at ESPN Radio?

My favorite memory is watching the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills during a break. I was working on GameNight at the time, but I remember the entire staff just sitting there in awe and giving our take. For a second, I thought, “Wow, I’m getting paid to do this.” Then I looked at the clock, yelled, “Here we go,” and we were back on the air. The host was saying exactly what we just talked about. For a 19 year old kid, that was pretty cool.

What do you love most about working at ESPN Radio?

What I love most about working at ESPN Radio (and especially Mike & Mike) is basically having a direct line to the most powerful people in sports. All the commissioners listen every day, as well as numerous players, coaches, and agents. If I say something to Greeny and Golic and they use it on the air, it’s basically like I’m getting a chance to tell the most powerful people in sports what I think. Can’t beat that!

In addition, Greeny and Golic are great to work for. They really allow the entire production staff to offer their ideas and feedback. I can’t imagine two bigger hosts who are easier to work with.

Rob Guerrera is a 25 year old production assistant for ESPN Radio. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Quinnipiac University in 2006, and has been at ESPN since the fall of 2004. He also writes the blog “Stats Don’t Lie” where he brings his “realistic” view on all things sports from Mike & Mike in the Morning. Rob lives in Hamden, CT with his beautiful and very understanding wife, Erin

As always, if you have any additional questions/comments for Rob post them below and we’ll see if he can spare a few more minutes for some answers.

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