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Volume 24 No. 137
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Minding My Business With "NFL On CBS" Lead Producer Jim Rikhoff

Name: Jim Rikhoff

Position: "NFL on CBS" Lead Producer

Where I’m from: New Jersey

Where I call home: Roxbury, Conn.

Focusing on right now: I try to hone in on what I need to improve upon the most, whether it’s communication, replays or working with talent. This year has been a little different because we have a new analyst in TONY ROMO, which has been really fun and challenging.

Best advice: It’s a vocational business. I always tell my son to re-evaluate where you’re at. Are you happy or are you challenged? Is this the right fit for what you want to do? Constantly check yourself. Never turn down any experience, if you put yourself in the right position, you never know what might happen.

Must have for a new hire: Work ethic, those kind of people who get out early and go after it. Kids coming out of school right now are really sharp and really have it together.

Execs I admire: There were some instrumental guys. FRANK CHIRKINIAN was probably my single biggest mentor. There’s BOB STENNER at CBS Sports who produced the lead game. Bob was great at putting people in a position and just letting them do their job. Frank was a great leader and as I got older he let me try things, make mistakes, he was really open to that. I also really lean on LANCE BARROW a lot for advice.

Book shelf: I love biographies, reading about events in history. I do love football history. The last book I read was “When Pride Still Mattered: The Life of Vince Lombardi,” for the fifth time. It’s a must-read for anyone covering the NFL.

Talking tech: My golden rule is that technology has to enhance the telecast. The first down line, people take it for granted now, but that was a great, simple innovation that instantaneously helped viewers enjoy the game. Doing technology just to do it is not the end goal.

Must-have music: I’m a Jersey guy, so I have to go with SPRINGSTEEN. ELVIS COSTELLO, all the old stuff, I know I’m aging myself a bit. I’ve seen Springsteen three times in the last year, whether you love his music or not, he’s just a consummate performer.

Food for thought: Week 2 we’re headed to New Orleans for Patriots-Saints -- that city is always good for about eight pounds of weight gain. There’s a place called Pascal’s Manale that we always eat at. We love dimes all the way to five-star restaurants on the road. Me and Lance, both of us are pretty handy with a knife and fork. A lot of my family lives in Charleston -- there are a lot of places down there.

First thing in the morning: I usually try and go for a run. Then I’m a list guy, so I have a list and the thing I’m looking forward to the least that day, I try and do that first. It makes your day a lot more efficient.

How I unwind: I’m on the road so much, just hanging out with the family. I live in a rural area, so I like to fish up there and just decompress. It’s a good balance for me.

Day in the life: Usually we get to the stadium between 5 and 5 1/2 hours before the game. I like to get there early and get everything set up. We have a big production meeting the night before and go through all our storylines and what we want to talk about. A lot of people think we show up on Sunday morning and do the game. We’re there Thursday, we meet with the home team on Friday, we’re in the trucks all day Saturday and then Saturday night we meet with the visiting team. A lot of work goes into a three-hour telecast.