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Pete Radovich interview: The producer behind CBS’ soccer coverage

Pete Radovich interview

Growing up as a child in a Croatian immigrant family, life in Queens was a different experience for Pete Radovich Jr compared to other American kids. After all, not every family had a relative playing as a goalkeeper in the same team as Johan Cruyff.

These days, if soccer fans don’t know Pete Radovich Jr by name, they know him by his work. As an executive producer with forty-plus Emmy Awards, you’ll have seen Radovich’s production across CBS Sports’ coverage of the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Serie A and Concacaf competitions.

For soccer fans, it was the summer of 2020 that viewers first got a chance to experience Radovich’s production. After Turner Sports bailed on the UEFA Champions League, CBS picked up the pieces. In doing so, they scrambled together a studio team during the pandemic to broadcast the rest of the 2019/20 UEFA club competitions.

A breath of fresh air

Not only did they pull it off, but the coverage was refreshingly different. For example, it featured A-list talent such as Jamie Carragher, Roberto Martinez and Micah Richards.

Radovich, speaking exclusively to World Soccer Talk, remembers those days quite well.

“We started this in the summer of 2020 right in the height of [COVID], with restrictions on travel and quarantining,” Radovich explained. “Our production meetings early on were very much [an open forum]. The first meeting [where we were all together in a big room] that we ever had with the Champions League group, [the talent] just started talking. Whether it was about personal things in their lives, or opinions, or whatever was going with the sport.

“This went on for an hour with [Peter] Schmeichel, Jamie, Roberto, Micah, Alex Scott and Kate [Abdo]. I was on the floor laughing at times at how much fun they were having. At some point, Kate turned to me and said to me, ‘Are we going to start the production meeting? Are we going to do something here?’

“And I remember distinctly saying, ‘What you guys just did for an hour, that’s our show.'”

While soccer fans like myself were new to Radovich at that time, most sports fans will have seen his work previously. Radovich has produced CBS Sports’ coverage of the NFL, NCAA Championships and golf. He has produced the weekly highlight show, Inside The NFL, as well a piece for 60 Minutes. If that’s not enough, he directed music videos for CBS’s coverage of the Super Bowl and Final Four, featuring musical artists Jay-Z, Queen, Green Day, and P-Diddy.

Timing is everything

The Super Bowl, March Madness and 60 Minutes is one thing. But soccer came to Radovich at just the right time for him and CBS Sports.

“I think this was a perfect storm for me,” Radovich said. “A lot of luck that this happened to me at this point in my career. You do this for a few years, you get some confidence. And you’re willing to take some risks.”

Pete Radovich interview about his cousin, Dragan

NASL goalkeeper Dragan Radovich, first cousin of Pete Radovich Jr. Photo credit: John Ruplenas

Before Radovich became CBS Sports’ Vice President of Production and Senior Creative Director, he got his start in the industry at NBC Sports.

“[NBC Sports] invited me to the [1996] Olympics that summer as a Production Assistant. I guess I did a pretty good job because when we got back from the Olympics, they offered me a full-time job doing NFL for a season.

“Right out of college, right out of that internship, my career started. And it took off from there.”

For soccer fans who have been watching CBS’ coverage of soccer since the summer of 2020, you may have noticed some of the hallmarks of Radovich’s production style. At the heart of it is allowing the talent to be themselves.

“What we’re trying to do is just be ourselves, and be entertaining while informative” said Radovich.

Pete Radovich interview: The future beckons

Looking to the future, Radovich wants to keep taking risks and expanding CBS’s soccer coverage past just match broadcasts. He and his team are working diligently on long-form documentaries despite the challenges such as the pandemic, which has impacted travel and access.

“Now, thankfully, all of that is starting to loosen up,” explained Radovich. “And now we can really start doing some cool stuff.”

Part of that is the flexibility that Paramount+ offers. While television windows are more condensed, the freedom of Paramount+ allows for bonus coverage and other projects.

“[With Paramount+], what we’ve done so far is truly the beginning,” Radovich said. “We’re very aggressive. We’re very forward thinking and risk taking, not risk-adverse. We’re going to try some things. Yeah, I love it.”

CBS’ coverage of the UEFA Champions League continues this week across CBS, CBS Sports Network and Paramount+.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Tony

    March 11, 2022 at 11:04 am

    Would be nice to hear more crowd noise when watching the some of the games ! It seems to be turned down and all you can hear is like a whisper while the commentators talk. The commentators often say “The atmosphere is fantastic inside the stadium, etc”
    Well it would be nice to hear it .

  2. Sandy

    March 8, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    Amazing work by a very talented man. Bravo!

  3. Susan

    March 8, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    Very impressive! The man is a great talent .

  4. Efrain

    March 7, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    Now all that’s needed is for CBS/Paramount+ to shorten the UCL replay availability! Up to 24 hours is insane. Not that I’ve ever seen them wait that long but when a match played in the afternoon is still not available by 9pm it’s too long to wait.

    ESPN match replays within an hour, don’t see why CBS/Paramount can’t do that.

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