In the latest installment of Front Row’s “Team Player” series — where an ESPN commentator selects a behind-the-scenes colleague to spotlight – ESPN Radio Host & TV Personality Sarah Spain is highlighting her frequent collaborator Josh Bard, producer for Around the Horn.
Front Row caught up with Spain, who explains why Bard is a quintessential “Team Player” and why his knowledge and attention to detail are unmatched and make for the best show. In the sidebar below, Bard explains why he appreciates working with Spain.
What attributes does Bard possess that make him effective in his role?
Josh is not only crazy knowledgeable about sports, but he really takes the time to understand the idiosyncrasies and tendencies of each of the Around The Horn panelists. He knows their style of argument, their sports allegiances, their pop culture knowledge and their relationships and history with both the host, Tony Reali, and the other panelists. Caring about more than just the X’s and O’s not only makes him a better producer but also allows him to help each of us show up prepared and create the best show. From assisting newbies in learning how to prep for the show to helping veterans make callbacks to jokes from a decade back in the show’s history, his attention to detail makes for such a great product.
In what way does Bard help you do your job to the best of your ability?
Josh not only helps with the sort of stuff you expect and appreciate from show production staff — great statistics, relevant information, and research — but also has an incredibly quick wit and sense of humor. Whether pre-show or in your ear mid-show, he’ll occasionally drop a hilarious nugget on a topic, a joke to play off another panelist’s answer, a follow-up to something Tony has said, or a callback to a previous bit.
More times than not, if you slide it into your answer, the points add up! He’s also super well-rounded, from NFL to WNBA and game rules to social issues, so he helps keep the show addressing a wide range of topics with care.
Could you share a favorite moment working with Bard or an example of his going above and beyond to get the job done?
Halloween shows are my favorite because I get to scratch my improv comedy and acting itch. Working on those shows with the Around the Horn crew is so rewarding, because Josh and Tony care so much about going all-in with the costumes, accents, props, and comedic bits. This past October, when Tony was out on paternity leave, I was Tony for the Halloween show — wig, 5 o’clock shadow, all-black outfit, stereotypical Italian gesticulations, and all. Josh, having worked with Tony for years, had so many great suggestions and tips on how to nail the impression, including a “turn to camera” speech heading to break about not body shaming NY-style pizza slices or Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Genius!