Instead of blogging about my Cowboys this week, I decided to interview one of the very best sportscasters, not to mention best dressed, in the business, James Brown of CBS Sports, or JB for short. We talked about a wide range of topics including his schedule, the growth of women covering the NFL, female football fans as well as some of his many passions outside of his job at CBS Sports.
James Brown is a graduate of Harvard University with a degree in American Government. He’s married with one daughter, who’s married, has three girls 4, 3 and 1. He is the very proud grandfather. His first job was moonlighting as an analyst for the Washington Bullets while working full time as a Sales Manager for Xerox Corporation. Eventually he landed a spot as co-host of the Fox NFL Sunday show, and upon leaving Fox became the host of CBS’s The NFL Today. Along with hosting NFL Today, James is also a special correspondent for CBS News, which includes 60 Minutes and hosts Inside the NFL on Showtime.
Q. Describe a typical day for you during the NFL football season?
A. I travel to Philadelphia on Tuesdays, stay a hotel then to go to the NFL Films studio on Wednesday morning to tape the Inside the NFL on Showtime with Phil Sims & Cris Collinsworth. Then I take the train back home to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. On either Friday or Saturday, I head to New York to get ready to host The NFL Today staying in New York, until I get off the air on Sunday evening. I do a one minute scoring update that airs on 60 Minutes before leaving the CBS studios between 8pm and 9pm to get home. While on the train, I try to watch the Sunday night game online. Monday, I review NFL news, watch Monday Night Football and then on Tuesdays, I do radio and television interviews before heading back to Philadelphia.
Q. You have been in sportscasting over 30 years. What impact have you seen with women in broadcasting?
A. The impact of women in television is a good thing. Talent and smarts have been the common denominators. As a father of a daughter and three granddaughters, I want them to feel there are no jobs for which they can’t qualify. It’s awesome for them to see talented, capable, hardworking women across the board, who can serve as inspirations to them.
Q. When will we see a woman sitting at the studio desk with the men at Fox, CBS, NBC, etc.?
A. That’s a question better posed to the decision makers of those sports departments, but I would think the answer would be, fairly soon. One has but to look at The NFL Network to see that is the case now, and at ESPN, on their various shows.
Q. What do you think about how the NFL is focusing more on the female football fan?
A. The NFL is embracing the female fan, but suffice it to say that there has been a definite focus by the league and its broadcast partners to do just that. Not only by way of the aforementioned examples, but in embracing causes like fighting breast cancer, and the wearing of cool, pink football gear, by every team in the league during that campaign. Commissioner Roger Goodell has daughters and is acutely aware of their interests.
Q. What are some of the things you enjoy doing once the NFL season is over?
A. I love going down on the water, getaways with my wife, spending time with my three granddaughters. I am also a guest speaker at 7 to 10 churches around the country each year, from February to the middle of August.
James also spends quite a bit of time giving back to the community. First, JB he serves as an AARP Community Ambassador. He was very excited about his involvement with the organization as his mom was a card-carrying member, relying on AARP health publications to help manage her diabetic condition. He’ll be going to the National Membership meeting is in New Orleans on the 20th and 21st.
Brown also works with the Verizon Foundation for Domestic Violence Prevention. He says, “I got involved with Verizon after a business colleague and member of my church shared a passion for being involved in cause-related issues. After undergoing an orientation and visiting their national hotline call center in Austin, Texas….and hearing the painful and threatening circumstances under which, principally, women and children are in, it motivates me to want to help in any small way I can. I want to engage as many men as possible making them aware of the seriousness of this issue, and to be a part of the solution.”
James Brown is a master at juggling his professional and personal lives, finding that delicate balance. It’s easier to do since his wife does his scheduling so that he doesn’t over extend himself. There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week but James seems to utilize every minute and every hour of each day to the fullest. It’s clear that JB is truly “the hardest working” man in sportscasting!