Thornton Academy News

Behind the Scenes with Chris Brockman ‘98, On-Air Producer for The Rich Eisen Show
Katy Nicketakis

As a 9-year-old living in Alaska (before his family moved to Maine in 1993) Chris Brockman ‘98 knew he wanted to be a sports broadcaster. He remembers watching ESPN’s SportsCenter each night before bed, and being voted class sportscaster in the 5th grade—a foreshadowing of his future career. His interest in the field was encouraged by his time wearing the maroon and gold at TA, though he had to wait until college to get some experience behind the scenes. “TA didn't have any kind of [media] program when I was there. Even if it did, playing three sports each year would've prevented me from having the time!”  

Brockman’s official majors at Syracuse University were political science and history, but he spent all four years working on various sports shows at the student run television station. After graduation, he lived and worked in Maine even serving as a substitute teacher and coach at TA! He began his career at the Journal Tribune, first as their sports clerk, then their sports reporter and photographer, and finally sports editor. In 2009, he relocated to Los Angeles, where his friends at the NFL Network helped him get his foot in the door. “Getting set up with Rich Eisen, the main NFLN host, was actually dumb luck—which is what you need in this business sometimes.” 

In 2011, the NFL lockout left the network needing filler programming and Rich Eisen, who had a podcast at the time, started filming the player and celebrity interviews to be used for a 30-minute TV program. A series of staff changes opened an opportunity for Brockman to produce eight of these episodes. “Rich liked how I put the show together, the bells and whistles I added to jazz it up.” They got along well, filming weekly episodes centered around the league's big calendar events for two years, until DirecTV and Fox Sports Radio bought the show and debuted it in its new three-hour format in 2014. Brockman was the natural choice for Rich’s on-air sidekick and producer. “We've been rolling ever since.”

Brockman played three sports each of his four years as a Golden Trojan, and credits his time as a student athlete for teaching him teamwork, sacrifice, dedication, hard work, problem solving and overcoming adversity. “Being a student athlete at TA helped me get where I am today...The things I learned on the football field, basketball court, and baseball diamond are what I remember most, and what I use most in my daily life.” While he doesn’t think there is one single piece of advice that can assure success, especially in his field, he does encourage aspiring sports broadcasters to make the most of advances in technology that make content creation much easier than when he was a student. ”My advice is to create, create, create. Take chances. Don't be afraid to fail or look silly—that doesn't matter. What matters is the doing...Just go for it.”     

Brockman credits his journey to LA and time on the Rich Eisen Show for many amazing friendships and experiences, including covering six Super Bowls (and three Patriots wins!) and meeting his girlfriend of four years. The couple welcomed their first child in February. “Honestly, it's just cool that something I wanted to do 30 years ago actually happened. Not everyone is that fortunate and I recognize that. Hopefully I'll have 30 more years doing what I love.”

 

brockman, snoop dogg, and a TA Trojans football helmet

Chris poses with hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg and a TA Trojans football helmet. (Snoop’s alma mater, the University of Southern California (USC), shares the same mascot.)