Veteran analyst Anthony Herron shines in rookie debut as studio host

Anthony Herron, who joined the Pac-12 Networks in 2013 as a game analyst, made his debut as a studio host Friday night during the Pac-12 Pregame Show, Presented by 76®. Although Herron has plenty of broadcasting experience, the transition into the hosting role had its challenges.

“My first time out, it was chaotic. It’s a different skill set even though it’s just one chair over. The folks at home may not realize how different it is. It’s different muscles that you’re flexing in your head to get it done,” said Herron.

As an analyst, Herron was able to work off of the other analysts and the host, but now he is the one who must direct conversations. His new role also comes with added responsibilities. 

Producer Adam Stanco (l) goes over show rundown with Herron (r) and pregame show crew.

“For me, this role is different because I’m actually the point guard now where I have to direct the traffic, I have to get us in and out of breaks, I have to keep the show on pace and on tempo and tee the guys up for them to be the ones who finish.”

Prior to becoming an analyst, Herron played defensive lineman at the University of Iowa. He then spent five years in the NFL before playing and coaching in the AFL. He won the 2008 Arena Cup Championship as the Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator of the Tennessee Valley Vipers. Herron hopes that his experience both as a player and as a coach will allow him to bring a slightly different vibe to his host position.

“I’ve been an analyst for so long, I’ve played the game and coached the game,” he says. “I think there are ways I can push the analysts who are next to me when I’m the host and challenge them on certain things that the traditional host who didn’t play football at a high level or coach the game may not be able to do.”

According to seasoned host Mike Yam, Herron was able to benefit from his background during his debut and use his experience with the Pac-12 Networks to ease the transition.

“I think Anthony had a huge advantage over pretty much any other host that could be doing it for a couple reasons,” said Yam. “One, he obviously played football. Two, he knows the conference because he has been working with us. I told him, that’s a huge added benefit that he’s got to be able to take advantage of, and I think he did after watching that first show.”

(L-R) Anthony Herron, Curtis Conway, Nick Aliotti and Ronnie Lott on Pac-12 Football Pregame Show set

To ensure that the pregame show would go smoothly, Herron utilized his resources at the Networks, including other members of the on-air talent team who have hosted shows. He admitted that the his pre-production preparation was difficult, but it ultimately helped him when the cameras started rolling.

“I talked to Mike in detail. I’ve been bending Ashley Adamson’s ear. I talked to JB Long too, as well as friends with other networks as well.”

“It got a lot easier, and there is so much pre-production. You’re writing scripts and you’re reviewing highlights and packages and shifting things around. That was as difficult as anything.”

Curtis Conway, who served as an analyst on Friday, thought that Herron had a good first show, but the entire team could use some practice as a group.

“I thought it was solid,” Conway said. “There are always going to be some bumps in the road the first time. The reality of it is, it’s (the team’s) first time working together, so it’s not going to be perfect.”

Yam praised Herron for getting comfortable in his new role and allowing himself to relax, despite the added pressure.

“I told him to have some fun out there, which he was able to do. I think a lot of the other things will come into play as he gets more and more reps. I think for his first show, he hit a home run.”