For Syracuse Orange fans who frequent these web pages, many of you are surely familiar with ESPN Syracuse and the various radio personalities over there. Among that radio talent that you surely know is Syracuse University alumnus Seth Goldberg, who has worked at Galaxy/ESPN Syracuse since graduation.
Seth has held various roles over there — which includes his own show (to be named later) —and covers all things Syracuse sports. We caught up with him to talk generally on ‘Cuse, his work and some of his favorite sport experiences to date.
TNIAAM: So, how’s spring in Syracuse?
Seth Goldberg: Spring is actually pretty nice! Well, at least once we get to spring.
TNIAAM: For the uninitiated, tell us about your background and how you got to your current radio gig on ESPN Syracuse.
SG: I grew up in New Jersey about 40 minutes outside of New York. I was a complete sports nerd. I played whatever sport was in season, went to games as much as I possibly could. I didn’t have a TV in my room, but I did have a radio. So I would run in to listen to sports talk while I did home work and always had a game or talk show on when I was falling asleep. So that probably played into why I wanted to do this sports radio thing.
In college I had a couple internships at CBS Radio in New York. Someone I met through an internship connected me with the owner of Galaxy Media when I was still a student at SU. I started out as a producer doing nothing on air and slowly worked my way up to doing updates, then filling in on shows, and eventually becoming a host by the time I was ready to graduate from SU. Since then I’ve continued to take on more at ESPN Syracuse, I worked with Dan D’Uva on his show and now hosting daily with Steve Infanti in addition to my nightly Yankees show and Syracuse football and basketball pregames and postgames.
TNIAAM: Coming from New Jersey, what was your perspective on Syracuse and what made you want to attend SU?
SG: My brother and I kind of latched on to Syracuse for one reason or another. The first college basketball game I remember we decided “we need to watch this” was the 2003 Final Four game against Texas. I think we just really liked Carmelo Anthony. So I definitely knew about the basketball program, and probably ended up watching a lot of Big Monday games in the old Big East days. But I never really paid much attention to the football team, which makes sense given what happened around that time to the football team.
As far as going to Syracuse, it was pretty simple. I knew I wanted to be a sports broadcaster. When I was going through the college search process, I came to learn Syracuse was the best and saw all the names of people I knew who went there. So I think I said something along the lines of “I want to be a broadcaster, that’s where the best people have gone, I want to go there.” I came up and visited on some gross rainy September day— it was actually the day reports broke about Syracuse and Pitt leaving the Big East to join the ACC, I remember getting an alert on my phone sitting in Varsity. I loved the campus, despite the weather, and decided to go to Syracuse.
TNIAAM: Don’t you get sick of the snow?
SG: HA nah not really. Maybe I’m crazy. But I’ll take a lot of snow over other crazy weather like tornados and hurricanes and earthquakes.
TNIAAM: Being a Yankees fan, do you ever wish SU had a baseball team that you could cover?
SG: Absolutely 100%. I don’t really know how it would work with the weather, Title IX and other stuff, but yes I’d love it.
TNIAAM: You were on Sports Jeopardy!?
SG: Yes! It was so much fun. Like I said, I was a really big sports nerd growing up— and I really still am. So I just took a shot in the dark when I heard about it and ended up as a contestant. This actually came up recently with James Holzhauer crushing it on real Jeopardy!. I did pretty well, but not like that guy.
TNIAAM: The Gerry McNamara Show is one of my must-listens throughout the basketball season, but what are some of the joys of your profession, basketball or otherwise?
Well first, thank you for the kind words. I really like doing the Gerry McNamara Show, it’s a lot of fun. I feel like Gerry is pretty open and insightful when we’re talking about the team. I still love going to games. A couple that stand out the last few years were Tyus’ buzzer beater against Georgetown, Gillon’s buzzer beater against Duke (both were coming right towards the media seats), the Virginia Elite 8 game, the UNC football game from this last season with DeVito’s comeback and the Clemson game. In 2017-2018, I was hosting both pregame and postgame for football and basketball, so I had to leave games to get back to the studio.The Clemson game was the only game that I had a feeling that I shouldn’t leave, but then I would have missed my show. Didn’t really have a choice there. The other thing is when there’s breaking news. One of my first days at ESPN Syracuse was when SU announced they were banning themselves from the postseason and I remember we stayed on the air for like an hour without taking a break. When Dino signed his extension we stayed on late too. It’s fun, it’s an adrenaline rush almost.
TNIAAM: Do you have a favorite interview at ‘Cuse, whether it be a player or coach?
SG: As I said, I like talking with Gerry. I haven’t talked much one-on-one with Dino, but I think he’s really interesting. John Gillon the one year he was here was really good, I thought. It felt like he was really honest. I remember in like mid-January of that year he said something along the lines of “We finally started listening to coach” which I thought was interesting and not something players normally say immediately following games.
TNIAAM: Do you have a preference for covering Syracuse football or basketball?
SG: Not really. I think it changes. Through my time as a student at SU, I probably preferred basketball. The football games were kind of a drag. My sophomore, junior and senior years were the Shafer seasons. Then Dino was introduced and it kind of flipped. Meanwhile, when I was a student the basketball team went to 2 Final Fours and started 24-0 another year. So those were fun teams to watch and cover. I really do think Dino has changed things. He puts a fun product on the field, he’s personable and he’s made them a winner. But obviously, there aren’t too many teams and programs better to cover than Jim Boeheim and Syracuse basketball.
TNIAAM: What have been some of the highlights or favorite experiences in your career thus far?
SG: In 2014 I was an intern for NBC at the Sochi Olympics. That was one of those things I heard about when I toured SU and Newhouse. I remember the first time I heard about the internship I turned to my mom and said “Yeah, I’m going to do that.” That was an incredible experience. I called play-by-play of the SU WBB team playing the NCAA Tournament in the Dome and had the 2nd half as they clinched their first ever Sweet 16 appearance. That was pretty cool. And going to the 2016 Final Four is up there too. It was the first time I was credentialed through a professional station and not a student station. I did a few days of shows on their Radio Row. Then I stayed for the Championship Game when Kris Jenkins hit the buzzer beater.
TNIAAM: What are you most looking forward to for both football and basketball season in 2019-20?
SG: I’m really looking forward to the football season. I think that the team could come back just as good or better than they were last year. The receivers and running backs are so dynamic and they’ve got so many of them. Alton Robinson is an NFL defensive end, Kendall Coleman has had a really, really good career here. And I know Eric Dungey set a bunch of records and was so great for the program, but I think Tommy DeVito brings something different to Dino’s offense and that could be really exciting.
And quite honestly, I don’t know what to expect for the basketball season. I assume that because Jim Boeheim is the coach that 20 wins is the baseline and we’ll see where things go from there. Obviously they’re going to look really different. I think they added a ton of shooting with Joe Girard and Brycen Goodine coming in, Buddy presumably starting and Elijah Hughes maybe taking more of a featured role in the offense. But I don’t think we know what they’ll be.
Oh, and the first game in the Dome for both football and basketball is against the defending Nation Champions. So I’m definitely looking forward to that.
Big thanks to Seth for taking the time here to answer some questions.