In the past several months, I’ve published interviews with urban fantasy author, Campbell Award winner and I Should Be Writing podcast host Mur Lafferty, public speaker, marketing expert, The Creative Penn podcast host and thriller author J. F. Penn (aka Joanna Penn), writing instructor and bestselling author James Scott Bell, award winning journalist and non-fiction author Brendan I. Koerner, audio book narrator, voiceover expert and radio morning show host Mark Andrews and several others. I am an fiction author, blogger and book reviewer, and up to this point, everyone I’ve interviewed has had some connection to the publishing industry. That’s about to change in a big way. I’d like you to meet Adam Aizer.
Adam was born in New York, grew up in South Florida and attended the University of Miami. While there, he was heavily involved with the student radio station – WVUM – where he hosted radio shows and did play by play for Canes football, basketball and baseball. Post graduation, he worked for a website called missionsecfootball.com. , “We traveled to a different SEC football game every week and focused on SEC traditions,” Adam said. “I was writing blogs and doing video hosting/producing/editing. It was freaking sweet. I had always liked college football prior to that job, but I developed a passion for it during the job. I was on the road for three months, living in 3-4 hotels per week.”
Adam’s next stop was New York City where he worked for CSTV (now CBS Sports Network), CSTV.com and NCAA.com (all under the same umbrella). He transferred to the CBSSports.com offices in Fort Lauderdale in 2009 and has been there ever since, hosting podcasts and video shows and riding the wave of fantasy sports popularity.
A little personal info here–although I’ve never followed college sports that closely, I’m a huge fan of the NFL. My favorite team usually stinks, so it helps to have something else to focus on. I first dipped my toe into fantasy waters around 1999. Back then, it was exclusively an online activity and relatively few people participated. These days, there are fantasy blogs, websites, television shows, radio shows, magazines, podcasts, etc. I’ve been commissioner of my own fantasy football league for over a decade. It’s through CBS Sports, and that’s how I first became aware of Adam Aizer. Among other things, he’s the host of what’s now called the Fantasy Football Today podcast. I reached out to him and told him he had my dream job. Yes, I would like nothing more than to talk football all day long. I do have a background in broadcasting. Unfortunately, that chapter of my life ended long before the first podcast was ever downloaded. It amazes me that fantasy sports, something that by definition doesn’t exist, has become such a huge business. I wanted to get Adam’s thoughts on the subject and he was gracious enough to give me a few minutes of his time.
Q: You’ve obviously been a sports fan most of your life. At what point did you first develop an interest in fantasy sports?
A: I started playing Fantasy sports in high school at around age 16. I remember having Napoleon Kaufman on my first team, but that’s about all I remember. My first win came in 2002 as a Freshman at the University of Miami when I took a flier on a rookie RB from the U named Clinton Portis.
Q: When you began a career in sports broadcasting, did you ever imagine it would lead where it has?
A: I am not surprised I am a sports host, but when I graduated college podcasts were just getting started and I had never heard of them. I figured I would end up doing play by play or on a local news station or something like that. This is much better
Q: How many fantasy leagues do you join on an annual basis?
A: Usually about 7 Fantasy Football and 5 Fantasy Baseball leagues, plus 1 Fantasy Basketball league
Q: Do most of the people you compete against know who you are or what you do for a living?
A: Most of the people I compete against are CBSSports.com employees, so obviously they do. But in the two leagues I am in that are not work-related most people have no clue who I am. If they did they might not want me in the league haha
Q: What’s the worst feedback you’ve ever received from a viewer/listener that felt you gave them bad advice?
A: I don’t specifically remember one, but there have been some negative ones for sure. I am pretty good at ignoring that garbage. Sometimes the negative comments can serve as good constructive criticism. Other times they are just awful and not worth wasting time on
Q: I already told you that you have my dream job. What is yours?
A: I don’t really have a dream job, but hosting my own national radio show would be up there.
Q: What do you think about how fantasy sports have grown and evolved in the relatively short time you’ve been involved?
A: I guess I’m not too surprised that Fantasy sports have become so popular. When I started noticing people were more into their Fantasy teams than their actual favorite NFL teams I stopped being surprised. That, by the way, is ridiculous. I obviously love Fantasy but not nearly as much as I love real sports. That’s why I never check my opponents’ roster before games. I don’t want to know who I’m playing against as it would impact my enjoyment on Sundays. I want to be able to watch Calvin Johnson be amazing without worrying about whether or not I’m playing against him in any leagues.
Okay, a bit more personal info here–although Adam would obviously disapprove, there are times I have put my fantasy interests above my own team loyalties. I mentioned before that my favorite team usually stinks. That’s because I’m a Vikings fan. This time of the season, playoff time in the fantasy world, the Vikings typically aren’t playing for much more than their spot in next year’s draft. If I need Calvin Johnson to shred the Vikings secondary for me to win a championship, I say Go for it Megatron! Would that be considered a character flaw? Don’t answer that. We’ll get back to Adam instead.
Q: I know you play guitar and I’ve heard you have an unnatural attraction to cats. What are some of your other interests outside the sports world?
A: Well I do like cats, but probably not as much as you are led to believe. I am just a sports junkie. Most of my free time is spent watching sports. The one bad thing about covering sports is that the sports world never stops. So I’m always reading or researching or doing something for the job. It doesn’t leave me with much spare time. I am into some TV shows though (Game of Thrones, The Leftovers and some others).
Q: I worked in broadcasting for several years and I know some of the perks can be pretty sweet. What was the best thing you got to do in association with your job?
A: Going to College Football and College Basketball National Championship games. I was at the Duke-Butler classic in Indianapolis. I’ve also been to the College World Series and the NBA Eastern Conference Finals through work (Bulls-Heat).
Q: What was the worst or most embarrassing thing you ever had to do?
A: Hmmm, probably when I had to read our Podcast emails in various accents. That was awful. Also I had to dress up as a Bears Super Fan after the Bears beat the Giants and host a show as a Super Fan, accent and all
Q: What was the last book you read?
A: I read Scar Tissue – Anthony Keidis’ autobiography. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are my favorite band. I don’t read many books, to be honest
Q: Can you think of any good reason a mystery author would want to devote time or blog space to this interview?
A: Well everyone loves Fantasy sports, right!? And cats! And I think a lot of people want to talk sports for a living and are curious about getting into the profession
Before I put the icing on this cake, there’s just one more thing I’d like to mention. My original plan was to publish this interview in January. There were a couple reasons. first, I generally only publish one interview per month and my interview with author, publisher and former racecar driver Lew Boyd was posted in early December. Second, as much as I thoroughly enjoy listening to Adam and the Fantasy Football Today podcast, I didn’t want any of my fantasy league opponents to know I had such a great source of information. The cat’s out of the bag now, but it’s hopefully too late to do them any good. I still would have preferred to wait a bit, but learned just a few days ago that Adam Aizer is leaving CBS Sports to return to his birth state of New York. He’s following his heart, and although he’s unsure what his next professional step will be, I have no doubt he’ll end up doing very well for himself. Best of luck, Adam, and thank you again for your time.
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