ESPN host Adnan Virk discusses his comfort level in talking publicly about his Muslim faith and more, plus Big Ten Network host Dave Revsine about how he keeps his job fresh and more.

By Richard Deitsch
March 02, 2018

Baseball viewers were not the only ones shocked by ESPN’s announcement in January that analyst Alex Rodriguez and play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian had been added to ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball coverage over in-house staffers.

“I was stunned,” says ESPN host Adnan Virk, a longtime Baseball Tonight staffer and part of the network’s play-by-play baseball rotation. “I thought it would be either be Boog [Jon Sciambi] or Ravy [Karl Ravech], both of whom I am friendly with, and am huge fans of both. Jon Sciambi loves baseball like no one’s business. He is up there with Tim Kurkjian in terms of his love of baseball and has called it for so many years at a high level. Karl Ravech has been the face of baseball for two-plus decades…Dave Fleming also does a brilliant job with the San Francisco Giants and does our Monday Night Baseball games with Eddy Perez so I thought he was in the mix. Then there is my buddy Adam Amin, who does a great job on the radio. I definitely thought with Dan Shulman leaving one of those very worth candidates would get a job. But it’s one of those where it is not a union, it is not necessarily next man up, even though you would think we have somebody in-house.”

As one of two guests this week on the Sports Illustrated Media podcast, Virk discusses his passion for film and his work as an Oscars red carpet host and interviewer; working in multiple roles for ESPN including on college football, college basketball, baseball play by play broadcaster, ESPN Radio, and as the host of the Cinephile: The Adnan Virk Movie Podcast; how Oscars viewers should feel about the show in the #MeToo era; his comfort level in talking publicly about his Muslim faith; how he navigates discussing Islam with ESPN’s social media policies; how he would assess the coverage of Muslim athletes in terms of frequency, depth, and tone; why he likes calling the MLB Celebrity All-Star Game and much more.

The other guest is Big Ten Network lead host Dave Revsine. In the podcast, Revsine discusses his role as the lead host of the Big Ten Network and his move from ESPN a decade ago; why it was important to be the lead anchor at a place; his recent medical issue with Bell’s Palsy, a temporary nerve condition that paralyzes one side of the face; how his network navigates covering the Big Ten with the Conference owning 49% of the network; his must-Big Ten Game Day environments a fan should partake in; the success of his book, The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation, and potential future projects, and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcast, Google Play and Stitcher.

 

PODCAST BREAKDOWN:

• 1:30: Adnan asks who canceled so he could be a guest this week.

• 7:00: Virk discusses his obsession with film and working for Oscars.com and the process of ESPN allowing him to do this.

• 17:10: Revering the Oscars in an era of #MeToo.

• 21:00: Virk predicts who will win the Best Picture.

• 25:00: His reaction to ESPN’s hiring of Rodriguez and Vasgersian.

• 32:00: The most well-known Canadian working in American sports broadcasting.

• 38:00: Virk’s comfort level in talking publicly about his Muslim faith and being Muslim in the era of Trump.

• 45:45: The calculation of discussing his faith on social media and dealing with anti-Muslim trolls.

• 49:00: Assessing the coverage of Muslim athletes and the tone of the coverage. 

• 52:00: Calling the MLB celebrity All-Star Game.

• 1:00:00: Revsine discusses his recent medical issue with Bell’s Palsy, a temporary nerve condition that paralyzes one side of the face.

• 1:06:00: Revsine’s decision in 2007 to leave ESPN for The Big Ten Network.

• 1:13:00: Navigating the Big Ten Network’s financial agreement with the conference while discussing and covering challenging stories and controversial issues about Big Ten teams.

• 1:16:45: The Big Ten men’s basketball Tournament in New York City.

• 1:19:00: The best Game Day experiences in the Big Ten.

• 1:23:00: How Revsine’s keeps his job fresh including outside projects.

• 1:26:00: The success of his book, he success of his book, The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation.

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