Turn on your TV or flip on your smartphone and the chances of you finding your favorite sports writer or analyst on a program or podcast are quite high. That wasn’t always the case, in fact, that was out of the ordinary.
Lesley Visser made the full-time switch from The Boston Globe – where she had gotten her start as a sports journalist – to CBS Sports as a reporter in 1984.
Quite simply, Visser’s full-time move to TV was monumental at the time. I mean, there were only 20 or so jobs like this at the time, Visser mentioned on Bob Ryan’s Boston Podcast, shot live by CLNS Media at Wahlburgers in Hingham, MA.
“I was terrible. I looked like I had rigor mortis, I mean I was terrible,” Visser said to her former Boston Globe colleague Ryan. “John Madden had a great quote that – ‘Your life becomes weird when you go from being the observer to being observed’ – and that’s how I felt.”
— Bob Ryan's Podcast (@BobRyansPodcast) February 23, 2018
Long before PTI, First Take and every other show on between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., jobs in sports media were far more segmented. You either wrote for a newspaper or worked TV, there was no in between.
Visser’s transition to TV over 30 years ago was anything but seamless. The now-legendary sportscaster found difficulty in giving every interview “nine” innings, even when it wasn’t warranted.
Part of what aided Visser in her transition from print to TV in the beginning stages of her career was the corollary between gigs – more specifically, deadlines.
“I used the mechanism that instead of typing on deadline, I would just be speaking on deadline,” Visser added.
Visser is of course not only one of the great media personalities in American history, she’s also a trailblazer for female broadcasters everywhere. Her accolades and contributions cannot go understated.
Some of Visser’s accolades include:
- First and Only Woman Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Voted to Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame
- Voted to Sports Writers Hall of Fame
- First Woman Assigned to Legendary Series – Monday Night Football
- First Woman Assigned to a Super Bowl Sideline
- First Woman Sportscaster to Carry the Olympic Torch
Although the sports media landscape has changed quite considerably since Visser began her career, the most basic and fundamental aspects of what makes for a good story, report or interview still exist.
Visser’s work, past and present, serves as a shining testament to her one-of-a-kind career.
CLNS Media was on hand to record this live podcast at Wahlburgers in Hingham, MA. Watch the clip above, then listen to Bob Ryan’s Boston Podcast in full.