Q & A with Liz Mathews, producer of the John Clayton Show on ESPN 710 Seattle
By Brad VanFossan
I recently had a chance to talk sports, working in sports, and even a little Arod with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Liz Mathews. Liz is “The Professor” John Clayton’s producer on The John Clayton show on 710 ESPN Seattle, an avid Seattle Seahawk fan, and she practices law. Liz was nice enough to take the time to answer every question I had for her, and did a great job in doing so.
I got a chance to stream John’s show this past Saturday, and I can honestly say I thought it was very good. My readers know I tell it like it is, so I wouldn’t just say this. Not only was the NFL insight great, but it was very cool to hear John talk about baseball and other sports as well. And not to mention the great music Liz plays coming in and out of the breaks! Overall, the show is very well done, informative, easy to listen to, and fun! Without further ado, here are the questions I had for Liz and her answers:
1. What days and time does the John Clayton show air?
The John Clayton Show airs live every Saturday morning from 9-Noon PST, on 710 ESPN Seattle.
2. You are based out of Seattle, does the show reach out of the area as well and if so how far?
710 ESPN Seattle broadcasts over a huge signal. The show can be heard locally from the Canadian to the Oregon borders and everywhere in between.
3. Where can someone from the Midwest like myself tune into The John Clayton show?
4. What is it like working with John? Is there something interesting about him that people would be surprised to hear?
Working with John is a piece of cake! Booking guests for his show is incredibly easy because John is so widely known and respected.
As far as interesting goes, I have yet to see him stumped! John has a knack for managing callers and makes everyone feel like his or her question is worthy of a thoughtful response.
5. Is John’s show strictly NFL talk?
John talks about anything sports! From the NFL to the MLB, NBA and all things college, John knows his teams and players. I would stay away from soccer, though :)
6. Does John take calls?
He sure does! He can be reached live during the show at 1-866-979-ESPN or 206-421-ESPN, locally. In addition, listeners can text the show at #61749 or email their their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Does John have guests? Who are some of the prominent guests who have been on?
I try to book three guests per show, one per hour. I shoot to pull the guest on around 25 minutes after the top of the hour, when we return from our second commercial break. This gives John a chance to introduce the guest and set up the topic for that segment.We have had some huge national names on the show. Last week, Tim Kurkjian of ESPN's Baseball Tonight joined the action and this week we had Jason Churchill from Prospect Insider and Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.
8. Who have been your personal favorite guests John has interviewed or talked to, or that you got to talk to as well?
Oh man, tough to say! I like all the guests because they each hit on a different topic and something interesting that has happened that week. I would have to say that my favorite guest has been Owen Schmitt, FB of the Seattle Seahawks. He recently starred in a documentary, The Call, which basically followed his path to the NFL draft. Check it out, you won't be disappointed!
9. What is a typical day like for you? How do you prepare for the show?
The first thing I do every morning is to scour the Internet for Hawks news, breaking national stories and anything Seattle Sports. I am a big fan of research and reading anything I can get my hands on! As far as planning the show, I usually start booking guests around Wednesday and Thursday. Crazy stuff happens in the sports world every day and often times Monday's breaking story is old news by the weekend.
10. I see you write a Seahawks blog, how often do you update it and can you please share the link for everyone to check it out.
The Hawks Blog just went live for this year and we are still working on the platform. As this is my first shot at a professional blog, I am still tweaking my format but plan to post at least three times per week until camp starts and then numerous times throughout the day as the season gets underway. My goal is to provide the readers with one blog site where they can find everything Hawks - interviews, links, team news, and most importantly, a place to post their own comments and interact with other fans. The direct link to the blog is: http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=291
11. Who are your favorite sports teams, aside from the Seahawks of course?
Haha, I guess you answered my question! I am a HUGE baseball fan and besides the Mariners, have followed the Tribe and the Chi-Sox for years. Sorry about the 95' loss to the Braves! You had to get by us to get to the series and that season is one of my greatest memories. We got your boy Jose Mesa, shortly after.... poor dude.
12. I see you had a picture taken with Alex Rodriguez. What year was it and do you remember how that encounter went?
Before law school, I worked at Hooters in Seattle. I believe the pic was taken around 1998 or so when Arod was still playing for the Mariners. He used to come in to the restaurant and hang with the crowd. He would purchase a bunch of Hooters gear and would have all the girls sign it... always seemed a little weird giving my autograph to Alex Rodriguez - ha!
13. Do you have any interaction with other ESPN personalities?
Sure do. We have tons of guests on the show and everyone from head quarters and other local affiliates is always more than helpful.
14. Being from Seattle, what are your thoughts on the Sonics leaving the city?
Man, last year was horrid for Seattle Sports. The Sonics left, the Husky football team didn't win a game, the Hawks went 4-12 and the Mariners finished second to last in the MLB (had to sweep the final series and screw up our draft position!!!) The Sonics leaving town was a tragedy. They are the only professional sports team here besides the Storm (WNBA) to win a national championship.
15. What has your favorite sports moment been, either from a Seattle franchise or nationally?
My favorite homer moments include, the Mariners 95' run, SBXL and the 2007 Fiesta Bowl when the Boise State Broncos pulled out the famous Statue of Liberty play to win the game.
16. To me, I don’t even think twice when I see a woman working in sports these days. Do you think overall most people in the industry have the same attitude, where you are accepted and respected for the work that you do, rather than maybe not being (respected), or having to work harder to be respected because of your sex?
I'm fairly new to the industry, as our station just began broadcasting in April of 2009. As a far as broadcasting and reporting sports, I would say that credibility and integrity are the keys to the game. This goes for BOTH men and women. I'm also a licensed attorney and have been practicing for 8 years now. Trial attorneys and litigators are still considered to be part of the "good old boys network," and I feel that my experience in this arena has really given me a leg up in the sports world as well.
17. What advice would you give someone trying to get a job in sports, especially in radio?
Here is my advice, and I'm sure it will sound cliche. DON'T GIVE UP! Learn to take "no" for an answer and then ask your question or present your case in another way. Don't do this for the money, do it because you love it, and the money will come. Be willing to work for free - volunteer, intern, do whatever you have to do to get people to notice and appreciate you. Your time will come, you just have to want it badly enough.