Interviewing Bob Ryan

By TJ Horgan


As the host of Jimmy Young’s K Sports Sunday, I, along with several other aspiring sports broadcasters, get the chance to express our thoughts surrounding the ever-changing world of sports. We have interviewed professional sportswriters, as well as television and radio reporters, and even professional athletes. However, on Sunday, June 22nd, we learned that we would add prolific Boston sports writer and reporter Bob Ryan to that list of interview guests.

Upon hearing that we would be hosting Ryan via phone call on the show, I was undoubtedly nervous, and assumed that Ryan’s years of professional experience would produce unwavering high expectations for those asking him questions.

Despite the anxiety associated with being “star-struck,” the K Sports crew and I are more seasoned in the field of interviews than many people might expect. Through years of working with Jimmy Young, he has taught us tactics to fight nerves with strategy when it comes to interviewing a person of high notoriety. Bob Ryan was no exception.

After about an hour of brainstorming questions and angles, we were ready for our 10 minutes with Bob Ryan. Jimmy prepared us by mentioning that Ryan loves to talk, so responses could be long-winded, and also that we should have two specific, but also open-ended questions ready to ask.

Bob Ryan began the interview guns blazing (metaphorically, of course) with opinionated responses and knowledgeable passion in his voice. With over 45 years in the business, one might expect Ryan to grow bored with talking Boston sports. However, that was what amazed me. Ryan spoke with vigor and passion that was present in his very first articles, and still is present in his current columns and television appearances. You can’t fake 45 years. Bob Ryan loves what he does, and it was abundantly evident, even in a seemingly meaningless 10-minute interview with the K Sports crew.

Bob Ryan was unique, and speaking with him reinforced his deserving to hold a spot in the highest tier of sports columnists and reporters.