Marc Silverman is co-host of WMVP AM’s Waddle and Silvy show which airs weekdays from 9am-1 CDT on ESPN radio 1000. He’s also a regular on WFLD Fox 32′s The Final Word, airing at 10pm central on Sundays. He has one of the biggest Twitter followings among sports media personalities in this market, and you can follow him here. had an exclusive chat with Silvy about all the local teams and the local sports media- enjoy!Paul M. Banks: We’ll start with your beloved Bulls- losing at home to the Cavs? This just fits right in with the Bobcats and Wizards losses. Yet they’ve handled the Heat and Knicks. What do you make of this polarizing team?
Marc Silverman: It’s been frustrating as of late. The record overall is where I expected it to be when I made my prediction in October. I thought they’d finish somewhere in the 45-48 win range. And they’re pretty much on that pace. My thinking was they’d hover around .500 without Derrick Rose and then hit their stride later in the year with Derrick Rose. So that’s the most disappointing part–Rose watch. Bulls.” It also doesn’t sit well with me that Rose could miss two straight postseasons with the same injury and go 18 total month without playing a meaningful game. When was the last time you heard someone miss 18 STRAIGHT months with the same injury. I’m one of Rose’s biggest fans, but this hasn’t sat well with me. Reggie’s comments haven’t helped his cause either.
Yep things are getting a little tense in Deerfield. Sundays are great in that you get the political talking head shows in the morning and the local sports talking head shows at night. What distinguishes The Final Word from the others?
I love the consistency that show has produced. I’ve been doing the Rant and Rave segment for over 10 years now. I think Waddle has been their main analyst for 15 years. Lou Canellis has been the host for several years. John Eskra has produced the show for over a decade as well. How many shows get Brian Urlacher in-studio after every Bears game? It combines the best weekend Chicago sports highlights, the big newsmakers, strong opinions, a debate segment, and lots of laughs. The 35 minute show flies by.
Time for a little background/biography. Tell us your story of how you got to having both a tv and radio show simultaneously. What’s your advice for someone trying to break into the business today?
I still think of myself as a kid from Skokie who just loves talking Chicago sports. It’s really a dream come true. My mom would take me out of school every year for Cubs opening day. My grandfather took me to hundreds of Bulls games at the old Chicago Stadium. So I ALWAYS knew that this is what I was going to do with my life. I went from doing play-by-play of high school boys and girls basketball games in Estherville, Iowa in the winter of 1994 to covering Michael Jordan’s return in 1995 for WGN Radio.
I’ve always believed in the quote “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” And that’s the advice I always give to people who want to do what I do. Work harder than anyone else and the breaks will come. Do, do, do. Get as much hands on experience as possible. My first job in Estherville had me making $900 a month fresh out of SIU. 900 bucks a MONTH! And in order to get back home to cover Chicago sports, I had to take a paycut!
I accepted an internship in 1995 at ‘GN and moved back in with my parents. I was over qualified to be an intern, but it was the only way I’d get my chance. The sports staff back then didn’t have a reporter. So I volunteered to cover Bulls and Hawks games for free and cut up the tape. They appreciated how many hours I put in with no promises for a full time job. My big break came when Michael Jordan was rumored to be returning to the Bulls in March of ’95. I volunteered to stake out the Berto Center. And of course, the day they let me go, MJ did NOT show up. But instead of just turning in my tape recorder–I recorded a parody report with the “Mission impossible” theme in the background. Nobody asked me to do it, I just did it and asked the WGN radio afternoon producer to listen to it. He loved it. They aired it 3 times that afternoon.
A few days later MJ returned and I was in Indy reporting on his “comeback.” A year later I was hired full time. The rest as they say is history. I covered 3 Bulls championships for ‘GN. I Also got to cover the great home run chase of 1998. The day after McGwire hit HR #62, I returned from St Louis to interview for a job at ESPN 1000. I’ve been there for the last 15 years; one of the station’s three original hires that remain on staff today. I take a lot of pride in that.
That’s an amazing story about Jordan and how you got your big break! Wow that’s a break-in story very difficult to match.
You have close to 50K followers on Twitter, when you have a sports journalist’s account- what’s the key to building up such a large following?
I just enjoy the banter. I’ve met so many cool people because Twitter makes it easy to connect. That’s how I came across your blog and we started chatting. I use to drive my friends’ wives crazy by continuously texting them thoughts during Chicago sporting events. When Twitter came along, I didn’t have to text them anymore. I had an audience every night of passionate Chicago sports fans like myself who wanted to hear the thoughts. And I really like hearing theirs. <Many listeners come up with great topic ideas on Twitter. Or they may have seen something that I didn’t see during a game. I’m also not scared to answer a lot of the tweets I receive. I also don’t shy away from critical tweets. I don’t have all the answers, but I do believe I have one of the largest followings of any local Chicago host or writer on Twitter.
Yep, our shared Twitter community is a lot of fun. What factors do you think have attributed to the longevity of the Waddle and Silvy show?
We have fun–EVERY DAY. We’re always evolving. I’m an extremely opinionated guy, as is Waddle, but we’re as self deprecating as any show out there. Nobody has all the answers–so I’m not going to tell listeners they’re idiots. I believe the chemistry between Waddle and I is unmatched. Our differences help keep the balance. He’s the closest thing that I have to a big brother. And that’s the way it’s become off the air. He’s one of my closest friends.
There’s no better sound man in radio than Jeff Meller. You won’t find a show with a better guest list. Executive Producer Randy Merkin has a lot to do with that. I’m a diehard Chicago sports fan and Waddle is a former Bear who was a fan favorite because of the way he played. Our listeners can identify with both of us. Hopefully we’re just getting started.
I know the Bears move the needle more than any other team in this market, and the Jay Cutler Show is a huge success for you guys, but it seems like both sports talk stations in this city are just all Bears all the time. There is no off season for Bears talk I guess.
I know that has been a big pet peeve of yours.
We take a lot of pride in the way we cover our beloved Bears. But we also take pride in using our four hours to provide as much variety as possible. We’re talking Hawks streak. We’re talking a lot of Bulls and debating the DRose soap opera. We have three local baseball reporters that check in everyday at spring training with the Cubs and Sox. We’re talking college hoops as we get closer to March Madness.
Did you see Ben Brust hit that half court shot vs Michigan a couple of weeks back? Shot of the year. He made that shot Saturday afternoon and was talking about it on the air with us that next Monday morning. Point is, if it’s hot, we’re talking about it. Yes, it’s a Bears town and we’ll give you plenty of Bears and NFL discussion, but we’ll provide whatever is hot and try to talk about as much as possible.
Since it against the Wolverines, I truly appreciated it. Finally, the just announced deal between Chicagoland Speedway and ESPN 1000 must be very exciting for both parties. We all just experienced some Danica mania when she took the Daytona 500 pole. What would happen if Danica Patrick actually won a Sprint Cup race this year? Imagine if she won at Chicagoland?
Scott Paddock has done some great things in his time as president of the Chicagoland Speedway. A couple of years ago, we did an hour long show with Trevor Bayne the day after he won the Daytona 500. His story was incredible and it was all set up by Paddock and the Chicagoland Speedway. We had Danica Patrick in studio this past summer and we really enjoyed the experience. We heard some stories that she wasn’t the friendliest before the interview, but she could not have been nicer that day. The reason I watched more than half the Daytona 500 this year? Danica. And yes, I can see her winning this year. And hopefully it is in Chicago.
A Fulbright scholar, author and MBA, Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB)
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