Ryan Ruocco readily admits he is “biased, I absolutely am,’’ when it comes to the NFL labor situation, a potentially awkward spot for a sports talk radio host who must talk about such newsy matters.
But he makes no apologies. His father, Peter, is senior VP of labor relations for the NFL’s management council, and Ryan said his understanding of the league’s position has tilted him in its favor.
On the other hand, his father’s job has been of zero value to him in news terms.
“I could have the greatest resource in the world, who can tell me everything going on in those meetings, but he tells me nothing,’’ the younger Ruocco said. “I’ll say things like, ‘How’s it going?’ He doesn’t even answer that . . . He’ll even say: ‘You’re a media guy. I can’t.’’’
Ruocco, 24, is the latest in a long line of sportscasters from the Fordham mill that dates back to Vin Scully. He has done work including play-by-play for Nets game on YES and is considered a rising personality at 1050 ESPN, where he and partner Robin Lundberg, 29, will see their show expand from one hour to two Monday as part of the station’s new mid-day lineup.
Yes, they are young. That is part of the point. They hope to engage a demographic that traditionally has not been as engaged in talk radio.
“The youth in us, or our ability to speak to youth, comes naturally,’’ Ruocco said. “It’s not something we try to do.’’
The final hour of the new show will be against WFAN stalwart Mike Francesa. Ruocco said getting listeners to change long-held habits will require a fresh approach.
“People who are set in their ways, it’s hard to change them to begin with,’’ he said. “If they drink Coke they’re not switching to Pepsi. You have to give them Mountain Dew if you want them to switch."