The All Day SJ Show – Season 2, Episode 8


Guest: See Red Fred

On this edition of The All Day SJ Show, we have a very special guest.

See Red Fred, a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan, is heard regularly on “Waddle & Silvy” on ESPN AM 1000. He also is a contributor to Chicago Bullseye. Myself and Fred discuss various topics, including:

  • Year One of the Bulls current rebuild
  • What the future holds for Chicago’s pro basketball team
  • The development of Lauri Markkanen
  • Predictions for the upcoming NBA Playoffs

A great listen. Tune in for an awesome conversation between two die-hard Chicago Bulls and NBA fans. Season 2 is soon coming to a close!

The All Day SJ Show – Season 2, Episode 4


Guest: Adam Abdalla

In today’s episode of The All Day SJ Show, ESPN Chicago (AM 1000) Host and Producer, Adam Abdalla, co-hosts.

We talk all things Chicago Sports and Hip-Hop. That includes the Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox — and the expectations for the teams both now, and in the future.

  • Who is closer to a championship between the Bulls and Blackhawks?
  • Expectations for the Cubs and White Sox in 2018?
  • Who is the best rapper alive today?

All that and more on The All Day SJ Show.

The All Day SJ Show – Season 2, Episode 2


Guest: Stephen Noh

Season 2 of The All Day SJ Show continues. In Episode 2, Stephen Noh joins the show. Stephen serves as a Chicago Bulls Columnist/Podcaster for The Athletic in Chicago.

We cover a variety of topics when it comes to the Bulls. We discuss how the rebuild is going so far, have potentially two lottery picks in this year’s draft — and whether or not, if packaged with the available cap room, will this rebuild only take one year?

Noh also discusses his targets for the Bulls in this year’s draft, as well as potential fits in free agency and restricted free agency — Rodney Hood anyone?

Also, Anthony Davis to the Bulls? Not so fast…

All this and more on this edition of The All Day SJ Show

The All Day SJ Show – Season 2, Episode 1


Guess who’s back?! The All Day SJ Show is back for Season 2!

First off, thank you to all who listened, shared and supported during Season 1. I am blessed and humbled at all the support that was shown for the show, website and myself. I am motivated to continue bringing you all the best content, and that starts with Episode 1 of Season 2.

Guest: Raejhon Johnson

In Season two’s first episode of The All Day SJ Show, Raejhon Johnson joins the show to talk some NBA. We discuss our thoughts on the 2017-18 season so far, what the future holds for the Chicago Bulls, if this the season the Toronto Raptors finally break through and our predictions for the rest of the season.

A great discussion between two up and comers in the sports journalism/broadcast game. Tune in and welcome back.



Guest: Kendall Gill

This episode of “The All Day SJ Show” is a special one. Joining me for this edition is a true legend of Chicago Basketball in Kendall Gill.

Gill was a part of the “Flyin’ Illini” phenomenon, which was the golden age of Illinois Men’s Basketball. He was a lottery pick with the Charlotte Hornets in 1990, where he was drafted fifth overall. Gill was successful as a rookie, as he made the NBA-All Rookie First Team in 1991.

Known for his hard-nosed defense, Gill led the NBA in steals in 1999. He also is the co-holder of the NBA record for most steals in a game (11).

In this episode, we talk about the expectations for the Fighting Illini this season, as well as the “Flyin’ Illini” era. Kendall also talks about who was the toughest to guard between Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James… but who was the true G.O.A.T.? Kendall’s answer may surprise you…

Also on the show, we discuss the Bulls current rebuild and how long we have to wait to expect them to be contenders again.

The All Day SJ Show (S1, EP1)


Season 1 – Episode 1

Guest: Mark Schanowski

On the debut episode of “The All Day SJ Show,” NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls Pre & Postgame Host, Mark Schanowski, talks the Bulls current rebuild & goals for 2018 free agency and the NBA Draft. Schanowski also touches on the Nikola Mirotic & Bobby Portis situation and whether or not it is the right time to trade Robin Lopez.

Grab the Bulls by Their Horns: Part II

Why the Bulls should have committed to the “retool”

By Steven Johnson

It is July 2016. The Chicago Bulls are yet again in a state of purgatory. A month prior, they traded Derrick Rose, the most important and popular Bull since Michael Jordan, to the New York Knicks.

The move firmly entrenched Jimmy Butler into the role as the franchise centerpiece, even though the front office never explicitly stated they were building around him. Gone were other core pieces in veteran and champion Pau Gasol, as well as the heart & soul of the Bulls franchise: Joakim Noah.

Rose, Gasol & Noah: three of the Bulls four star players along with their head coach Tom Thibodeau, who helped lead the team to 50 wins during the 2014-15 season, were all out.

A true changing of the guard was taking place. Management preferred the younger Jimmy Butler & a “pace and space” approach on offense, which is why they brought in Fred Hoiberg.

The Three Idiots

After a mediocre 2015-16 season where the Bulls finished 42-40, a change of direction was needed. Either hit reset and commit to a rebuild or try and reshape the roster in Hoiberg’s image with accomplished players. The Bulls, by sheer luck and circumstance, committed to a “retool” of the roster.

Out was Derrick Rose, in was Rajon Rondo. Rondo, coming off a season in Sacramento where he led the NBA in Assists (11.7/gm), brought the “pure Point Guard” skill set to a team who wanted to emphasize pace and shooting.

An NBA Champion, multi-time All-Star and All-NBA Team member, Rondo could fill two roles: “name recognition” and “player development.” Rondo was well-known enough to the casual fan, but also brought the reputation of being a “team cancer,” even though his teammates always raved about him.

With Rondo in the fold, Butler now had a PG on his team that never looked to score and also preferred to distribute and create shots for everyone. Most importantly, Rondo would not take away touches from Butler, who wanted to prove that he could be the player a team could build around and contend for a championship with.

It is July 2016: The Bulls are still in a state of purgatory. The signing of Rondo has received mixed reviews from the fan base, as well as media analysts throughout Chicago and the NBA. Why sign an older, but accomplished, veteran when the goal was to become “younger and more athletic?”

It was quite simple: stay relevant and compete. The Bulls, still scarred by the seven-year rebuild starting in 1999, were still not ready to commit to a major overhaul. Management still felt they could compete and sell out the United Center. The fact of the matter is, as much as most would disagree, they were not wrong.

While still trying to figure out how Rondo fit into the Bulls future, one of the biggest moments in franchise history was in place to occur.

No, this was not 1984, where the greatness and dominance began. No, this was not 1991-1998, where six NBA Championships happened. And no, this was not 2011, where D-Rose became the youngest Most Valuable Player in NBA history.

It is July 2016: Dwyane Wade comes home. The Prodigal Son returned. Wade, a three-time NBA Champion, 12-time All-Star, multi-time All-NBA Team member, a Finals MVP, a Scoring Champion and most importantly: a Chicago native, decided it was time to play for the franchise he grew up watching.

Wade, coming off a season where he almost single-handedly carried the Miami Heat to an Eastern Conference Finals berth, grew tired of the lowballing and perceived disrespect Heat management had been showing him.

The Bulls finally did it. They finally signed a big-time free agent, albeit at 34-years-old. The Bulls, spurned by Wade in free agency twice before, finally convinced a big name free agent commit to the team.

Wade Comes Home

No, this is not a slight towards the likes of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver or Gasol. While all great players in their own right, they were simply complimentary pieces that could help your team win a lot of games. They were not in the class of a LeBron James, a Wade, a Carmelo Anthony, a Tim Duncan or a Tracy McGrady.

They were not franchising changing talents, meaning that if you added them to your roster, you were not a championship contender right away and to be honest, at this point, neither was Wade.

However, that is not why Wade was signed. As mentioned previously: the Bulls plan was to stay relevant and compete. By signing Wade and Rondo, not only would you be able to compete… you would definitely be relevant.

Again, reception to the decision to sign Wade was mixed, albeit not among the majority of Bulls fans. Wade was welcomed back with open arms by the city of Chicago, a fact that he himself acknowledged.

“Flash” was looking forward to being a Chicago Bull and bringing the organization back to prominence.

Questions arose about the shooting fit between Rondo, Wade and Butler. Rightfully so, as all three would admit to you that three-point shooting is not their strong suit. It also did not help that Hoiberg’s plans for the Bulls offense were to place a heavy emphasis on three-point shooting.

But Wade and Rondo are veterans; they were expected to make it work and they did throughout several times during the season – Rondo shot a career-high percentage from 3 & Wade shot his second highest career percentage last season).

We all know how the 2016-17 season worked out for the Bulls. On paper, it was mediocre. The team finished with a 41-41 record and lost 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics. All the preseason expectations for the team went about as expected, right?

I tell people all the time, it is about “perspective.” Let’s put the Bulls 2016-17 season into perspective:

  • Remain Relevant and Competitive

The Bulls accomplished this. While finishing .500 for the season, they pulled off several big wins vs the Warriors, Cavaliers (who they swept), Spurs, Celtics, Raptors, Grizzlies, Bucks, Thunder, Jazz, Trail Blazers, Wizards and Hawks (all playoff teams). Out of the 15 other playoff teams that season, the only two the Bulls did not beat were the Clippers and Rockets.

The Bulls also led the league in attendance. The team averaged 21,680 fans a game. Another indication that eyes were still on the product.

  • Jimmy Butler’s Willingness to Recruit

The Bulls best player wanted even better players to join him in Chicago.

Butler was very open about his willingness to recruit star players to Chicago. Butler, a member of Team USA and also an associate of the “Banana Boat” crew, was the popular kid in school who also happened to hang out with the nerds (Bulls).

Butler openly told the media he would love to have Carmelo Anthony in Chicago. He chopped it up with DeMarcus Cousins during the Olympics. He was the main reason Dwyane Wade decided to sign with Chicago (… well, that and almost a $50 million payday).

There’s also one huge NBA Champion that would have joined Chicago if Butler was still in the fold… more on that later.


  • The Bulls were now ‘Cool’ again

As stated, the Bulls were no longer the redhead stepchild when it came to free agency or star players around the league. That all changed when Wade decided to commit to them and Butler took on the role as lead recruiter.

Several times, the Bulls had been spurned by big-time, franchise changing free agents. Several times, they were left at the altar and had to settle for the bridesmaid.

By taking care of an accomplished vet and powerful voice in the NBA in Wade, other star players’ eyes were now on Chicago.

cp3 congratulates wade

The Bulls, although you would not know it, were in a great position.

They were not tied down to any of the horrible deals that occurred during the cap boom in the NBA. The deals with Rondo and Wade were virtually ‘1 & 1s,’ meaning two-year deals tops. They would have maintained their “financial flexibility” for the 2018 off-season had they kept both Rondo and Wade.

Not only were they in a great position financially, they were in a great position competitively.

Let’s be honest. The Bulls were a Rondo injury away from beating the Celtics in the playoffs. They probably would have swept them. The Bulls have had notoriously bad luck when it comes to their star PGs getting injured in the playoffs.


Wade himself acknowledged that if Rondo does not get injured, this past off-season would have been different.

There would be no Jimmy Butler trade. The Bulls would be coming off a season where they shocked a lot of people in the playoffs. The young players would have received even more playoff experience.

In fact, with the trades of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and the departure of Paul Millsap, an even more watered down Eastern Conference would have allowed the Bulls to compete for a 3rd or 4th seed for the 2017-18 season.

However, as the old adage goes: “You never know what you have until it’s gone.”

  • Gone is the lead recruiter and one of the best two-way players in the league in Butler.
  • Gone is one of the most powerful voices in the NBA in Wade. He’s rejoining LeBron as a teammate in Cleveland.
  • Gone is one of the best teammates the younger Bulls ever had in Rondo, he’s in New Orleans with the two best big men in the game.

The ‘Three Alphas’ era was over before it got a chance to start. What is even more frustrating is between Butler, Wade and Rondo, each individual saw the potential in this group to do something special down the line.

Rondo specifically said “Yeah, I like where I’m at. I think we have a really good team.” He continued, “Everyone is not going to be San Antonio. Always keep your guys together as long as possible so they can develop chemistry and make deep runs in the playoffs and go through things together and grow. If that’s the case here, that’d be great. If not, it’s up to those guys.”

Butler and Wade had even bigger plans for the Bulls, however. Wade reportedly even was taking the younger Bulls to task, telling them before the off-season to be “ready to work” for the upcoming season. Something was definitely brewing when it came to recruiting players to Chicago.

After the trade of Jimmy Butler, reports started to leak that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. Irving, a friend and teammate of Butler with Team USA, wanted to be more of a focal point on offense and also prove he could be the player that could lead a team to a championship.

butler irving

The main place Irving wanted to do that? Chicago.

That’s right. The Bulls were Kyrie’s #1 option to play for if he was dealt by Cleveland. The notion came together because of his relationship and familiarity with Butler. Another NBA Champion and multi-time All-Star wanted to join the Chicago Bulls.

butler irving bulls


Simply stated, the Chicago Bulls missed their chance.

Here they were, finally at the table with the cool kids. Butler and Wade were talking with several players and those players’ eyes were on Chicago.

A two-way star in his prime already in the fold, a powerful NBA voice already in the fold, a boat load of cap room in 2018 and one of the biggest markets and brands in the league.

Bulls’ management was sitting on a gold mine and quit digging just before the discovery.

The commitment to the retool should have been sustained. While fans are appreciative that a direction has been chosen, it is hard to pinpoint when the Bulls will be ready to compete again. They have to hit big in the draft, which is not as easy as it sounds anymore.

They have to again go through the process of signing a big-time free agent, one that has historically been difficult for the organization. They have to bank on younger players, such as Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic, Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine panning out. They have to bank on their current head coach finding his way and panning out.


Bulls’ management is preaching patience with this current rebuild. True Bulls fans will be patient; it is not like they have a choice. But one has to wonder about all the possibilities if they decided to run it back with Butler, Wade and to a lesser degree: Rondo.

Instead of committing to the “retool,” the Bulls committed to the rebuild. Now, it’s time to wait and see if it was the right move… no matter how long it will be.

Follow me on Twitter: @lAmSteveJohnson

Grab the Bulls by Their Horns: Part I

A 2017-18 Season Preview for Chicago’s latest rebuild

By Steven Johnson

And here we are… another attempt at rebuilding by the Chicago Bulls. No, it is not 1999.

Elton Brand, Tyson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Ron Mercer, Brad Miller, Marcus Fizer, Jamal Crawford, Jay Williams and Kirk Hinrich are not the targets or the ‘Plan As’ of the draft lottery and free agency.

It is 2017 and this is a full-fledged rebuild. We are talking about young talent in-house, a head coach still trying to find his way and a front office who finally decided it was time. The 2017-18 Chicago Bulls are officially “tanking.”

While “tanking” is the popular buzz word for any rebuild, the fact of the matter is the Bulls are not going to be very good this season. The wheels were set in motion with the trade of Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves in June.

JB Timberwolves

The deal, which occurred after Dwyane Wade picked up his $23-million player option, signified the end of an era in Chicago. Butler, Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott were now on other teams with Nikola Mirotic being the sole player left from the Tom Thibodeau-era.

Butler was dealt for several young assets from Minnesota. The Bulls acquired point guard Kris Dunn, a high-flying and athletic scorer in Zach LaVine and the #7 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. In addition to giving up Butler, the Bulls also gave up their own 2017 first round pick.

Reaction to the trade was mixed. Fans and the media were split on confusion as to why the Bulls decided to unload one of the best two-way players in the game for what was perceived to be unequal value.

travelle gaines

There was also the segment of fans and media who felt the option of a rebuild was put off for far too long and that the Bulls were fortunate to get back what they did for Butler.

Either way, a decision was made. The Bulls front office picked a direction for the franchise and the wheels were set in motion for the future. The Bulls drafted Lauri Markkanen with the 7th overall pick.

Markkanen, a legit 7-footer, offers an intriguing skill set. A big who can shoot from inside and out, the Bulls hope he can be their version of Kristaps Porzingis.


Dunn, who the Bulls were intrigued by during the 2016 Draft, brings a ton of potential with him as he prepares for more playing time (something that was not afforded to him under Thibodeau in Minnesota).


LaVine, a proven athletic monster and Slam Dunk Champion, will take over the starting shooting guard spot when he is cleared to play. LaVine suffered a torn-ACL last season. It was horrible timing considering he was averaging 18.9 PPG and shooting nearly 39% from three.

Adam Silver

LaVine’s situation is an interesting one to watch. He will be a restricted free agent in 2018 and one has to wonder how the Bulls will play this situation when the time has come.

With LaVine coming off a serious knee injury, the Bulls might take a “wait and see” approach when it comes to discussing a contract extension or a new deal.

Regardless, the Bulls added three new young pieces to their core of young players. That is ideal for a rebuild as it allows the young players to grow with one another. It also allows Hoiberg to finally implement the style of play he has been craving on offense.

There is definitely more shooting ability with this group as LaVine, Valentine, Portis, Markkanen and Zipser have all proven they can shoot from beyond the arc. In what will surely be a difficult season, it is important to continue to develop as well as grow the games of each individual young piece.

The potential distractions are all out of the way.

Lopez is an intriguing case. He is a productive big on a cheap contract and brings a lot to the table in terms of rim protection, energy and post/midrange game. If the Bulls can flip him for a late first-round pick or a young player with upside, that would be ideal for the front office and team.

robin lopez

While rebuilding is not something Bulls fans have been used to for quite a while, the fact remains that it should have been done after the 2014-15 season.

The Bulls were in the best position to win an NBA Championship since Derrick Rose’s injury in 2012. However, the team could not get past LeBron James yet again… even with several breaks going their way.

With the decision made to fire Tom Thibodeau, the team should have committed to a major overhaul. The team built in Thibs’ image could not compete, so a new blueprint was needed. Instead, the front office brought back the same team and put Hoiberg in an undesirable position.

While the front office definitely deserves the majority of the blame for several lost seasons, they deserve credit for finally committing to a rebuild and picking a direction for a franchise which has been directionless since the 2015-16 season.

Whether the timing of the rebuild is appropriate is up to debate. There are analysts and fans on the side of both opinions. While appreciative of knowing what the direction of the Bulls will be going forward, I was in the camp of committing to the retool…

Grab the Bulls by Their Horns: Part II… Coming Soon.

new bulls jersey

Follow me on Twitter: @lAmSteveJohnson


Today’s guest: @RyanMcGuffey


As a Production Assistant & Associate Producer at CSN Chicago, I have a lot of ambition. Working in the world of sports broadcasting, there is a lot of opportunity to tell stories and be a part of something memorable.

I have seen and worked with a lot of “names” in our industry, but what people do not realize is that there is always the story behind the story.” It is not just about the people who bring you those features or the subjects that they are about. No, there are always those who bring you the moments that you did not or would not know even happened.

Enter Sr. Producer of Original Content at CSN: Ryan McGuffey.

Guffman,” as I know him, has seen and done a lot in our business. He is the man behind “5 Outs,” “Believe: The Story of the 2005 White Sox,” and most recently: “Reign Men.”

You have seen him on television during Chicago White Sox broadcasts or on CSN news programs such as “In The Loop” & “In The Loop: Prime.”

You have heard him on several Chicago radio stations, sometimes as a host as he did with David Haugh on the “Kap & Haugh” show.

However, what stands out about The “Guffman” is that he does not take himself too seriously. Honestly, you probably would not have known about all he’s accomplished if I did not list it.

It is not something he boasts about. He is fortunate to have been a part of a lot of historic moments; however, it is the humble approach he takes when it comes to what he has done in this business.

“Never forget where you come from,” he always tells me. It is that honest approach that keeps McGuffey grounded. He never takes what he does for granted and it is that which motivates him to keep working hard and telling stories.

So how did we get here? Let’s hear from the man himself:

“When I was four or five-years old, I can remember broadcasting Nintendo games,” McGuffey said.

“When I was home, we had this projection-screen TV when I was a little kid. I remember we got it for the Super Bowl when the Bears were playing in 1986 and I thought we were like the richest family on the block, and we weren’t, but it had the slide bar for the volume on it and when I was at home at night and the Bulls were playing, I would run downstairs and turn all the lights off and slide the thing all the way off and then would do: ‘AT GUARD, FROM NORTH CAROLINA!’”

“It was in my blood, I don’t know why or how. My Mom & Dad weren’t big sports fans but it was always my passion for as long as I could remember. I was broadcasting the games, I played sports and from the time I was eight or nine-years old, the people I wanted to be were the people I saw on TV. It just stuck; I knew what I wanted to do all through high school and when I got to college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It’s very rare, I know that. When you’re 17 or 18- years-old, no one knows what they want to do… and I did.”

“Luckily, I just worked hard & I stayed with it. Like I’ve always told you: ‘You have to kick down your own door;’ and once you get in: keep kicking it down because I feel when you get in, it’s your responsibility to keep going… and here I am.”

Even though McGuffey’s journey started off as an eight-year-old kid, he continued to hone his skills throughout his growth in the world of sports.

While attending DePauw University, he was a three-year letterman for the DePauw Football team, a four-year letterman & two-time captain for the Track & Field team and also served as the Assistant Sports Director for WGRE Radio. He was also an active member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.

“I found a place I was happy enough to call home,” McGuffey said. “I love DePauw; I loved everything it did for me. I continue to love it. I have a passion for that place because I feel like it was a huge inspiration for me being here today.”

“I try to give back to them and the students who reach out to me. I didn’t have all that necessarily with people reaching out back to me at the time. It’s just so valuable for kids, whether it’s DePauw, Illinois or Indiana, whatever it is… you still see people that have passion: that to me is the best part.”

After graduating from college in 2001, McGuffey was like most graduates when it came to finding the right gig after school. He worked with his family’s small business until one day he decided he had to take matters into his own hands. He was hired as a Production Assistant & Associate Producer with Fox Sports Net Chicago (where he interned in 1999).

“One day, I just called this phone number that I had,” McGuffey said. “I called this guy, a DePauw connection that was working at Fox Sports Net and he kind of wrote me off… and he told me as much because I didn’t keep in touch for a little while.”

“He gave me a guy’s phone number, a name & a phone number: Dan Lafferty. He was the Executive Producer and that was it. That was all he gave me. It was up to me to do something with that number. Keep in mind: it wasn’t like texting. E-mailing was an option… but from a computer, because cell phones were still really new. I didn’t have one in 2001. So I called the guy, every single day for 17 days… and he never picked up.”

“Every day, I left a message. Every day… and on the 17th day: he picked up. He said: ‘Hey, I’m Dan Lafferty.’ I froze because I didn’t expect him to pick up & before I could say my name, he said: ‘You’re Ryan McGuffey,’ and I’m like ‘Yea.’ He said ‘could you come in today at 3:00?’ and I was like: ‘Yes.’ I think I was in his office for maybe 10 minutes.”

From there, McGuffey was hired as a freelancer. He was allowed two days to train and was assured that if he caught on quickly; they would try to call him every day if they could. McGuffey proceeded to work 22 straight days after the meeting.

“It was persistence,” McGuffey said. “Like I said, when you get an opportunity, kick down the door. I got hired full-time three months later. I got laid off four months after that. After September 11th, there were huge layoffs. They let 100 people go and we had to stay here two weeks to get severance packages. I was devastated. I was 22-years-old and I just didn’t expect it. I was so happy to have this job.”

“It happened, and I got called into the same guy’s office. He said: ‘Look, they’re going to rehire like three people. Not for what we’re doing right now. I know it’s not what you want to be doing but if you want the job, you should consider it.”

McGuffey was convinced he was not going to take the job. He went home one day, however, and had a conversation with his mother. Not only did his mother encourage him to take the job, she raised a good point when it came to McGuffey’s dilemma: “Take the job, if you want to find another job afterwards, ok but stay on board.”

“It was a rough three years,” McGuffey said. “It was fine for like the first 15-18 months. Then, the last 18 months, it was rough. It was more like administrative, 9-5 stuff. Not that I don’t like 9-5 but it just wasn’t production.”

“So I would keep my nose in the production mess over here by helping out with ‘Pro Football Weekly’ while I was doing my normal job. I just needed to feed that fire. CSN came along in 2004 and I was right about at the end of my bridge. My bridge was almost up at the end of that other job. If CSN had been another year, I don’t know if I would’ve waited… but it all worked out.”

From there, McGuffey continued to hone his skills in all facets of the sports broadcasting field. He started at CSN as an Associate Producer for seven months before being promoted to Booking Producer in February 2005.

After working in that role for three years, he produced the popular Monsters in the Morning show, which was hosted by Mike North & Dan Jiggetts. He also served as head producer of “Chicago Tribune Live,” now known as Sports Talk Live on CSN.

McGuffey continued to pay his dues as a producer. He served as CSN’s Coordinating Producer for two years, a role in which he oversaw all of the daily content on the station.

In April 2013, McGuffey moved into the role he continues to have today at CSN: Sr. Producer of Original Content.

“I never stopped doing things on the side,” McGuffey said. “Because I love to be creative, I love to feed my own beast and that’s kind of how it all led to where I am at now. With Original Content, which I give Kevin Cross [CSN’s News Director] beyond so much credit because it’s truly what I feel I should be doing.”

“It took a long time. It took a lot of different paths and detours to get to a spot where I feel I truly am doing something with my talent that makes sense for it. You need time to figure out who you are; you need time to figure out if the career is right for you. It’s like any career: you have to have a lot of downs & you have to have some ups, then you have to sort through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.”

“Luckily & fortunately, I have been able to do that. I don’t know what the future holds… but I like where it’s at right now.”

Original Content at CSN has an impressive library of content thus far:


McGuffey is always one step ahead when it comes to his next feature.

He collaborates daily with his team which includes Cross, Sarah Lauch, Willie Parker & various talents at CSN. He makes it a point to always “tell the story behind the story.”

How did this event get to that point that’s being talked about nonstop? McGuffey always asks himself different questions when approaching his features & it frames the story structure. It’s a deliberate process & it is very detailed…

“In 2013, we did ‘5 Outs’ and it was really good,” McGuffey said. “I was excited. We told some stuff that had never been told… like players buying plane tickets home during the series. At the time, I was so excited about ‘Ok, we got Moises Alou.’ I didn’t care about anything else. I didn’t care about how it looked, I didn’t care about where it was, and I didn’t care about what he had on.”

“It didn’t impact the show but it did impact maybe the look, whereas now, everything to me is thought out. I know we’re going to get the interview. I’m just confident. We’ll get Jason Heyward, what’s the room like? Is it going to be in this room? What time? What’s the day look like? What are our lights situations? Should we go to the room an hour, two hours early? That’s all a part of the content creation part.”

McGuffey focuses on what is not obvious. We all know the Cubs won the World Series in 2016. We all know the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. We all know about the Bulls & Blackhawks dynasties. But what are the stories behind them? What went on behind the scenes to get those teams to that point of accomplishment?

“I was at Game 7 (of the 2016 World Series) and I knew there was other stuff going on that needed to be told,” McGuffey said. “I watched Game 7 six or seven times before I did these interviews and I think the art and crafting process has changed the longer I’ve done this. Not just for what I do & we do, but for everybody.”

“If you look at [ESPN’s] 30 for 30 from where it started vs 30 for 30 now, it just destroys the original product… and that’s just because they are getting better. They’re putting more resources into it. That’s a good example too: that people want it. People want that stuff. They think about that ‘What if I told you…’

“There is something. The Cubs didn’t just win because there was this rain delay. There was legitimate doubt and concern from the players. They felt like you did at home. I don’t think people thought about that. People didn’t think those guys felt the emotions that fans do, but it turns out they are human beings.”

“My goal is to humanize these guys… to realize: ‘Yea, he makes $25 million and we’re only sitting three feet from each other… but it’s just two guys talking.”

McGuffey’s story itself is “the story behind the story.” Yes, he’s accomplished a lot and continues to create and tell stories. He loves what he does and he is truly fortunate. But he never forgets what he had to go through and what journey he had to take to get to this point.

It all would not have happened if he didn’t call for 17 straight days about a job. If wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t take his mother’s advice. It wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t have to experience the lows of doing a job he didn’t want to do.

Hell, it wouldn’t have happened if the bridge didn’t stay strong for one last week…

McGuffey wants those to know the story is still being written, while also encouraging others to keep “kicking down that door.”

“There definitely is more,” McGuffey said. “I want to keep telling stories that haven’t been told or maybe some stories that have been told: but differently. I want to keep pushing the envelope… further & further, whether it’s here or down the line… wherever it is.”

“I want to raise the bar of expectation, not for those around me but for myself too. For my bosses, for the people all the ways up the ladder. For people who don’t even know me yet. Maybe I am a little more cognizant of my name now than I have been in the past… whereas, I want people to say: ‘Ryan McGuffey was involved in that.’”

“I have more confidence. There’s proof out there, so I should. That could sound arrogant and cocky but I think it’s more of a humbling process for me to get to that point. I want to keep doing Original Content, 100%. I do not want that to change. That passion is very much alive.”

What should all the aspiring producers do to get to this level, though?

“Test your limits,” McGuffey said. “Push yourself. Challenge yourself to do something that maybe you think you can’t do. Don’t just come in here and swipe in. Don’t come in the door to just be content. That’s probably the best way to say it.”

We’re already on our way…

Follow Ryan McGuffey on Twitter: @RyanMcGuffey

Follow me on Twitter: @SteveJohnson_12