Welcome to Episode 8 of the ESPN PRod Pod, the official podcast of the ESPN Communications Department. The PRod Pod takes you behind ESPN’s unmatched storytelling by introducing the people behind the content – who they are, where they’re from and how they create the magic.
It’s only appropriate the recording of this episode took place on Sept. 7, 2021 – 42 years to the day that ESPN first signed on as a spunky upstart in the fledgling cable industry. Soon thereafter, a bright-eyed, eager St. Bonaventure University graduate, Chris LaPlaca, joined the ESPN PR team in Bristol, Conn., recalling how his first “office” was located in a trailer with a view of a scrap metal shop.
As the network developed its pioneering spirit, LaPlaca was on the ground floor of charting a course for what is now an award-winning, best-in-class PR department that employs strategic tools like websites, social media and, yes, PODCASTS in telling the story of ESPN.
LaPlaca was named ESPN’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications in June 2008. For LaPlaca, as he shares with Communications Associate Producer and PRod Pod host Jon McLeod, “relationships are what matter most” and he has built a boatload of them in over 40 years with ESPN. Additionally, LaPlaca reveals how he leans on his days in the service industry for survival in the corporate world.
In the concluding “Fab 5” segment with ESPN Fan Relations Senior Coordinator Kiana Lowe, LaPlaca’s anecdotes regarding former colleague Stuart Scott and the event held on ESPN’s 40thanniversary are especially poignant discussion topics.
Chris LaPlaca delivers the 2017 Commencement Address at Saint Bonaventure in 2017
Jon McLeod and Kiana Lowe produced the podcast.