SBD/August 28, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business: Tennis Channel Senior VP/Production & Exec Producer Bob Whyley

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Whyley (c) said tennis' 10-12 hour days make it different from other TV sports
Tennis Channel Senior VP/Production & Exec Producer BOB WHYLEY was introduced to sports TV in the late '90s, starting at Fox Sports Net before joining Tennis Channel in '03 for its launch. "The opportunity to build something from the ground up, and create something completely different and have your hands in a lot of different aspects was extremely intriguing to me," Whyley recalled. "I learned a lot over the eleven years of how to do fairly big productions without fairly big budgets." Whyley spoke with THE DAILY about the unique cooperation among tennis TV partners, which current players have a bright future in the business, and how he unwinds in the California mountains. 

Collaborating with the competition...
What’s really intriguing about our sport and the grand slams is our ability to work together as networks. In Australia, Tennis Channel works together with ESPN, and they’re responsible for facilities and the below-the-line personnel; we travel in above-the-line people and talent. We work within the core of the ESPN infrastructure, side by side as partners. The next couple months in May for the French Open, Tennis Channel is the facility provider.  We hire all of the equipment and the engineers and all the below-the-line personnel, we build out the infrastructure, ESPN brings their talent and their above-the-line, NBC brings their talent. We have three networks working in the same facility. 

From the court to the booth...
I have my eye on SLOANE STEPHENS. Sloane is a 20-year-old American, she has such a dynamic personality that she would be fantastic. Someone we just used as a commentator this year just to get his feet wet is JAMES BLAKE. James is extremely articulate, an excellent player, a good-looking guy, and he does a really good job.

Looking for in a hire...
Live TV requires a certain personality type, somebody who’s much more nimble, somebody who’s comfortable with change, and organized and has the right leadership qualities. Tennis is a different world than the NBA or an NFL game. We typically are on the air from 10-12 hours a day. They have to be somebody that is willing to work the long days, somebody who takes personal initiative, and doesn't need to be micromanaged.

Daily media diet...
I am a big sports radio guy. In L.A., you're in your car an hour each way, so I ingest a lot of information about the industry that way. I'm also on Twitter every day, I follow over a hundred different journalists, players in my sport, players in other sports. I always make sure to read JON WERTHEIM because he’s a part of the team, but I love CHRISTOPHER CLAREY, NEIL HARMAN, he’s really good.

Business lunch in Santa Monica...
When we’re doing real business we go to Vito, an old Italian place right across the street from our offices. You get the sanddabs, they’re these little fish that are on their daily offering.

For relaxation...
I have a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, so if I’m not on the road I do stuff with them. They’re really into soccer and tennis, so we do sports together. My big release is biking. I live in the foothills of the mountains, so every day I get on my bike and hit the road.

Music to my ears...
I’m all over the place. I grew up with a father who was a recording engineer, an A1, so music has always been a part of my life. I love music from the seventies, from LED ZEPPELIN to PAUL SIMON. I love classical music, musicals, I love country music. Got to see the movie "SOUND CITY," if you haven’t seen it, it’s phenomenal.
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