Episode 59 of the Sports Media Podcast features guest Bob Ley, who recently retired from ESPN after 40 years with the network. Ley was ESPN’s longest-serving commentator, joining the network as a SportsCenter anchor on its third day of operation (September 9, 1979)and had hosted Outside the Lines since its inception in May 1990.
In this podcast, Ley discussed why he left ESPN; dispelling any notion that this was not his decision and his alone; how he came to his decision; what he did during his sabbatical from ESPN prior to announcing his retirement; whether he would do some on-air one-offs for ESPN in the future; what he believes the future is for Outside The Lines and whether management will support the show; how he navigated ESPN internally for 40 years; how the rounds of layoffs impacted his day to day at ESPN; how ESPN attempts to navigate the discussion of politics, race and social issues when its front-facing people discuss it on their social media channels; what it was like for him internally when reporting on ESPN’s league partners; the experience of covering the World Cup in South Africa; where his current professional interest lie; the most satisfying and challenging stories he worked on; what it’s like to be a guest at your own online funeral and much more.


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