Ever wonder how ESPN content makes you feel something – no matter the platform? ESPN Communications staff talk with ESPN content creators about their creative process, uncovering the magic behind these individuals. Guests include ESPN award-winning producers, editors, writers, designers and more.
Chris LaPlaca - ESPN Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
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.
Voice Artist, Author and R&B DJ/Enthusiast Cayman Kelly
Welcome to Episode 7 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.
One year ago, when voice artist, author and R&B DJ/enthusiast Cayman Kelly added the title of “Voice of ESPN Radio” to his already impressive resume, he took the opportunity to reflect a bit: “I have turned to [ESPN] as a fan for years,” he said. “Now, to suddenly be a part of the sports magic is surreal! I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity.”
Likewise, Communications Associate Producer Jon McLeod was thankful to have had the time he and ESPN Fan Relations Senior Coordinator Kiana Lowe shared with Kelly earlier this summer for this episode on the PRod Pod.
From his youth in DC to his never-give-up approach in navigating the audio business, Cayman shouts out his wife for helping him follow his dream and in Lowe’s “Fab 5,” he offers some vocal exercises to help all levels of voice artists or public speakers.
As he tells McLeod, “I need to share this story to inspire somebody not just for personal gain. That’s my biggest goal is to invest in another human life.”
Invest your time with a listen to the “PRod Pod, Episdoe 7.”
Cayman on IG; Cayman on Twitter and Cayman’s Book
Brian Lockhart - Senior Vice President, ESPN+ Original Content and ESPN Films
March and April can have their lions and lambs, May was an absolute monster month for ESPN’s Brian Lockhart. On the seventh of the month, he was promoted to Senior Vice President, ESPN+ Original Content and ESPN Films. And on the 18th, during the Walt Disney Company’s Upfront day, Lockhart and team unveiled a new slate of ESPN+ original content and a new 30 for 30 project that got more than a bit of attention.
Communications Associate Producer Jon McLeod welcomes Lockhart to this episode of the PRod Pod and he admits to not entirely anticipating how his second stint at ESPN would unfold (he worked for the network after graduating from Holy Cross, where he played basketball).
A Conversation with SportsCenter Anchor Michael Eaves
With today’s news of Michael Eaves’s multi-year contract extension, Communications Associate Producer Jon McLeod welcomes Eaves for a wide-ranging conversation about the new deal, his dad’s influence on a devotion to golf and the night he came to work and delivered this powerful message, in the early days after George Floyd was murdered almost one year ago.
ESPN Images Photographer Phil Ellsworth on capturing the weekend’s most compelling sports photo
In this special episode, Communications Associate Producer Jon McLeod welcomes his ESPN Communications colleague, photographer Phil Ellsworth, who snapped the weekend’s most compelling sports photo (above) – and one that will surely make any “Best of 2021 Photography” list worth its salt.
SportsCenter Anchor Elle Duncan discusses motherhood, maintaining positive social justice momentum, and of course, music
In this episode, Senior Publicist Anna Negron welcomes SportsCenter Anchor Elle Duncan to the podcast, for an honest discussion on motherhood, maintaining positive social justice momentum, of course, music. Duncan also warns Negron (a professional singer herself) to watch out for the anchor’s daughter, Eva, who could soon be grabbing gigs of her own. In addition to her 6 p.m. ET SportsCenter duties with co-anchor Kevin Negandhi, Duncan most recently appeared in ESPN+’s presentation of The Undefeated’s A Love Letter to Black Women and is a highly recommended follow on Twitter and Instagram.
The show concludes with PRod Pod Producer and ESPN Fan Relations Senior Coordinator Kiana Lowe taking Elle through the required “Fab Five” lightning round.