In changing communication business, 'Mike and Mike' ESPN Radio anchor says, 'Connect'

August 04, 2010

Connect. So said Mike Greenberg, the ESPN Radio personality, author and 1989 Northwestern University alumnus who addressed students graduating July 31 from the Northwestern School of Communication's Master of Science in Communication (MSC) program.

Greenberg, best known as one of the Mikes of Mike and Mike in the Morning, ESPN Radio's daily morning sports show, told the graduates that, no matter the medium, "The key is, was, and always be making a connection."

Mike Greenberg
View video segments from the address

"The only way to make the kinds of connections I'm talking about is to put yourself out there, to make yourself vulnerable," he said. "And, trust me, it's a lot easier not to. But if you're not vulnerable you are likely going to be very unmemorable."

The MSC program is an interdisciplinary communication management program focuses on the knowledge and skills required to navigate the 21st century's complex information environments. MSC students are often working professionals. In giving the graduates advice, Greenberg acknowledged that the professionals in the MSC program "might be doing better in communications" than he is.

That's unlikely, since Mike and Mike is the top sports radio show in the nation. Still Greenberg shared a few experiences that might inspire the graduates, including how he took a risk to make his own big break. "Your own intuition that this may be a moment you can seize is the best indication of what you should do," he said. "Trust it. There's no better reason to do anything than because you think it's the right thing to do."

Greenberg also shared stories about his time at Northwestern and how, as a reporter for WSCR-Radio in Chicago while the Chicago Bulls were three-peating, he got the chance to play pick-up basketball with Michael Jordan—and made the mistake of laughing when the sports great missed a shot. "He did not like that I laughed...He proceeded to knock me down multiple times, dunked on me, talked trash to me, and, once, called a foul on me," Greenberg told the crowd. "I couldn't foul Michael Jordan with a machete in a way that it would make any difference."

Greenberg, who is married to Northwestern alumna Stacy Steponate Greenberg (GJ95) and has two children, also shared a lesson his daughter, 4 years old at the time, taught him. Heading to the car after a walk to smell flowers in the park, Greenberg said his daughter stopped and accused him of walking too fast. "And I was. And I realized that we are all walking too fast," he said. "I've tried hard since to slow down. Not to a halt—don't get me wrong—or anything approaching a halt. Just slow down a little. That's my advice to you: Don't walk too fast."

More information about the MSC program can be found at www.msc.northwestern.edu.

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