"30 Features in 30 Days". Ali Bronson..The Climb continues at ESPN.
BRISTOL: As she talked about how far her career had come since starting as a wide-eyed intern some five years ago with the World Wide Leader in Sports (ESPN for those living on Mars), Torrington native Ali Bronson was living the life.
Let’s see. After three years of working 9-5 (overnight) on numerous radio program as an assistant producer and meeting countless sports celebs and the like, she now finds herself on the good side of that schedule working on one of the most popular radio shows in the country.
Bronson is now the assistant producer of the SVP and Russillo show which runs from 1-4 p.m. on 1410 a.m. in Hartford along with other affiliates around the region.
Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo follow the Mike (Greenberg) and Mike (Golic) Show and The Herd (Colin Cowherd), as good a line up as there is out there in sports radio land.
The former Torrington track and gymnastics standout dreamed of this job most of her young life and started the journey while she was attending Southern Connecticut and began her adventure working that grueling overnight shift.
Okay, so working overnight in a job you have dreamed about all your life is not truly a hardship, especially when you are in your early 20’s.
The one thing most folks who have talked to anyone who works at the Mother Ship come away with is that it is a high energy, fast paced world in which you need to keep ahead to keep up.
While her schedule (which by the way, now gives her weekends off) is the classic Americana dream of going in a little later and getting out at a good time, the work doesn’t end when she drives out of Bristol.
Her job is to help plan, promote, inform and organize the day’s sports news while keeping a fast paced show moving along.
The show is simulcast on ESPN television so part of her task is to make sure the connection to the tube is seamless.
Bronson is no stranger to either host. During her overnight stay, she worked with Russillo, who did tremendous work on College Game Day, a onetime phenomenon that has become a staple around the country on lucky campuses.
Planning a show as popular as this one is starts the night before when the producers send out a list of guests and talk segments while making sure they are up to date on everything going on in the sports world.
“We have to keep track of what’s happening all over the sports world,” Bronson said. “I help organize the segments, trim down the fat and make sure the eight minutes they have are well organized.”
You have to be on your toes as well for surprises, as when she found out the day after the Red Sox won the World Series that Jonny Gomes was on the phone.
You always find time for a bearded one.
The halls of ESPN are always filled with athletes from every sport and since she has been in the building a good while now, the thrill is wearing off but still gets to her on occasion.
Like the day one of her favorite actors was in the hallway and Bronson bumped into him, while multi-tasking on two or three mobile devises I’m sure.
Showing the coolness of somebody who had been there before, the former Raider looked up and said, “Oh, hey Vince.”
It was Vince Vaughn, one of her favorite actors.
“As I kept going I said to myself, that was Vince Vaughn,” Bronson said. “How cool was that!”
There was the time that Giant legend Lawrence Taylor stopped by (Bronson is a True Blue G-Man fan) and by her own admission, it impressed her.
“I walked around that day like a little girl when LT was in the building,” Bronson said.
Being part of the ESPN family has not pulled her away from her THS roots though, if anything her new schedule helps her keep up with the talented group she graduated with and they even find time to play a little on the gridiron.
“We play in a Flag Football league in Waterbury,” Bronson said. “The games are played at Hamilton Park and last spring we made it all the way to the championship game.”
Joining Bronson, who described herself as a tight-endish kind of player, are former Raiders Torrie and Taylor Mussleman, Kelsey McKenna, Natalie Giampoalo and Cassie Salemme.
“Torrie is the quarterback, she played softball and has the best arm of the bunch,” Bronson said. “We didn’t make the playoffs this year but it’s great to play anyway.”
I asked her what the hardest part of the job was and in a true testament to just how happy she is in her career, she had to really stop and think about it.
“Being able to take the fan out of the job can sometimes be challenging,” Bronson said. “We have every kind of sports fan here but you have to stay objective.”
Getting to that next level is always a goal of the former Raider but she knows it will take time.
“I’ll stay as long as they will have me,” Bronson said. “I would someday like to become a producer so I’ll keep working towards that goal.”
Knowing her drive, it will come sooner than later.