Episode 45: Sports Personality Matt Mosley Part 2

George Mason and Sports Personality Matt Mosley talk about the ever-changing world of journalism. At center of this fascinating conversation is Matt’s journey from print journalism at the The Dallas Morning News to a contributor online at Dallasnews.com and from a weekday show on 103.3 ESPN radio to his ventures in podcasting with Ed Werder and The Doomsday Podcast and Brent Musberger and "You Are Looking Live." Matt reveals how his faith, friends, family and church uplifted him through difficult decisions he had to make along the way.

Listen to the podcast, read through the transcript below, or click here to view the video.

George Mason: How can faith help you when the safety net is pulled out from under you vocationally? We'll be talking to Matt Mosley, a sports journalist about just that, on Good God. Stay tuned.

George Mason: Welcome to Good God: conversations that matter about faith in public life. I'm George Mason, the host, and I'm pleased to welcome to the program today, Matt Mosley. Matt, glad to have you with us again. We've had conversation about some things about your faith journey and today I'd like for us to talk a little more about the direction of your vocation.

George Mason: Matt is a podcast personality here in Dallas, Fort Worth and I'm sure it goes all over the country, Matt.

Matt Mosley: Yes.

George Mason: The Doomsday Podcast, it's called.

Matt Mosley: Yes.

George Mason: You and Edward Warder, have this Doomsday podcast and it's not predictable when you drop us an episode. Is it? Maybe during the Cowboys season, it's an every week thing.

Matt Mosley: Yeah, it is. With the cowboys, you never know because with so much, Zeke Elliott, his off season, I mean that gave us a whole series of shows, right?

Matt Mosley: So there's always something that could happen or a player being suspended. So we have to be ready to jump into action. But you're right, during the season we get on a little bit more of a schedule. I think you're someone who needs a schedule more than I do.

George Mason: Well, Sunday's always coming, Matt. You know, for me. So I am used to a deadline and a schedule and there's no leeway about that. Sunday morning is going to arrive.

Matt Mosley: And that's what somebody told me about radio one time cause I was on and I've been, and I don't know how much news I want to break on here, I'll give you a little bit, but I've been thinking about, and I've been doing some other kind of radio projects, but kind of like you're talking about with your sermon.

Matt Mosley: I remember somebody saying 3:00, it comes every single day. And I remember just the excitement at first. I'm on the radio. I'm on the radio. And then at some point it's kind of like these people who do these Broadway musicals and everything. It happens every single night and you have to get up for it. And so every day at 3:00, that red light would come on. And it was time to go, much like those Sunday sermons.

George Mason: That's true. And so you did that 3:00 hour first with Randy Galloway, the Gack Show, Galloway and Company, and then it became your afternoon show, cleverly titled by the way, after sort of like the ballpark in Arlington. Sort of generic, but you and Cowlishaw for a while. But it's interesting to track your career.

George Mason: So Dallas Morning News, right? Sports writer, and then you move into radio and continue to write at the same time as you're doing radio. And then, the industry just keeps changing, right? I mean the newspaper industry changes, the sports radio industry changes and you find yourself doing podcasts. Talk a little bit about the insecurity that represents, the vulnerability it feels like in the industry itself where the surest institutions are not there for everyone anymore.

Matt Mosley: Yeah. And I think the scary thing is I, you know, so many people laid off. I mean Edward Warder, my podcast cohost on Doomsday. And don't forget, I do one with Brent Musburger.

George Mason: Excuse me, yes.

Matt Mosley: You are looking live. You know how Brett starts every broadcast and that's the, You Are Looking Live podcast. But the day we started Doomsday was the day Ed Warder laid off after 20 something years at ESPN.

Matt Mosley: And I mean, you know, once somebody is at a place for that long, you sort of think, well they're going to be there forever. And I thought that's probably what Ed thought. And so I thought, "Well, this is a disaster."

Matt Mosley: And it probably in looking back is they allowed him to do something like my podcast. They probably already knew they were going to lay him off. And that was why he was allowed to do it.

George Mason: Fascinating.

Matt Mosley: But the second podcast ever, we had somewhere around 50,000 downloads, mainly because people were interested in hearing Ed's side of the story. I've told Ed, "I don't think people need to hear any more about this at some point." You know, we sort of move on, but Ed's been a great partner in this, and you're right, it is. I've had the whole industry change on me a couple of times in what happened with the Internet.

Matt Mosley: Newspapers weren't ready for it and they didn't know how to handle it. They didn't know how to sell. They gave all this stuff for free and then they tried to take it back. Then they tried to make it free again. And it just, you know, for years the profit margins on newspapers was just enormous. And then the price of printer ink, you know, all this stuff went up, and the Internet just changed everything overnight.

Matt Mosley: I remember when I left, I didn't leave the Morning News, I started writing columns for TheDallasNews.com which is part of The Morning News. And everybody thought I was crazy. How could you leave the paper? Because there was still that thought in people of your generation and we're not that far apart. But I mean, it's just-

George Mason: My generation. Gray hair.

Matt Mosley: But I'm just saying there's still that and I grew up in the newspaper business. I love holding the newspaper, but it's just crazy. I'm in my 40s now and anybody my age and younger, they just barely, even in kids. I've got a little 10 year old daughter. I mean, she's seen a newspaper just because I still get one. But most of them don't even have any clue. So that happened. And when I went and did all the internet stuff, it was great for my career, but people thought I was crazy. Leave, you know, all this newspaper, you're in the paper all the time. And even like my in-laws and my parents, you know, people in Kaufman County where I grew up, "Wait, I thought he was in the paper."

Matt Mosley: It's like I have to, you know, almost retrain everybody. You've got to look on the Internet. It's okay. And I think people almost felt, "Oh, there's something. Matt's career's not," you know.

George Mason: But it's an interesting thing to look at how industries change. It's sort of the old analogy of the buggy whip company used to have a horse drawn carriages and this is what we do. We're the buggy whip company that makes these, and then cars come along and instead of thinking about being in the transportation delivery business, they're still in the buggy whip business. And then suddenly things change. It's hard for people to reinvent themselves, to anticipate where these changes are happening and to get ahead of it, isn't it? And to be part of that new wave.

Matt Mosley: It is, and I think it's even hard, I think about you and the church and trying to anticipate, okay, how do we reach out to people? How do we do this on social media yet, we also have this part of it that's just like, "Hey, put your social media down and just have a relationship with somebody." And it's like, where do you, where does it end?

George Mason: It's always the opportunity and the opportunity cost of that technology change. Right? So, on the positive side, many Sundays before I even get back to my office, I have a text from Matt Mosley saying, "Nice work this morning." And it's an encouraging thing and I appreciate you doing that. But on the other hand, you know, there are people who are making the choice to stay home and watch on livestream and not be in the pew with their fellow Christians.

George Mason: And it's just easier that way. And it's leisurely. On the other hand, there's a woman there I recently visited who's now deceased and she was thanking me because the past few years she's watched on livestream every morning, every Sunday morning, and felt a part of the church and she wouldn't have 20 years ago. She would feel sidelined and lonely and not part of our congregation. So how do you put all of that together in a way that continues to nurture the community and the faith of people and yet doesn't give people an excuse not to be part of that flesh and blood community?

Matt Mosley: I think it's extremely hard and nobody has all the right answers with podcasting, why I got excited about it is what I started to realize. I think we sometimes get into this thing where we think about millennials. How do we reach the younger folk?

Matt Mosley: You've had it happen in ministry. How do we get these people while taking care of our folks that have been here for forever? And what I've realized, I have, the gym I go to, I know you can't really tell, but I go to the Cooper Fitness Center and I just love it up there. And I've met, I've got a lot of mentors up there. There's guys in their 60s and 70s who have just have done incredible in business and all. You talk about a place of like, I don't know what you would call it. It's just an unbelievable ... My wife and I have different thoughts on working out. She goes up there, get your workout in and can be home in like 30 minutes or something. And she wonders why it takes me like four or five hours.

Matt Mosley: She's just like, "Really, you need to be in a steam room that long?"

George Mason: I'm picking up these tips. Very successful people, sharing stories.

Matt Mosley: Yes. It feels like a place for networking. Although I never like, do anything. I just meet, extremely interesting people, but podcasting. I find that even people and the reason I brought that up is because people, 60s, 70s, 80s, they are loving the on-demand nature of that. The fact that they can get it anytime and it's just, radio, while I love it and there's still some radio stuff that I do kind of on the side. If you miss it, you miss it. If you miss an interview, they might podcast it. But the radio, it's kind of like you're saying, the buggy whip kind of thing, they're kind of like, if we podcast everything, aren't we hurting ourselves?

Matt Mosley: They're still thinking kinda like newspaper. If we wait, should we still wait on our scoops in the newspaper or should we put it online? I mean, that was the longest debate, people were still waiting. When do we put the breaking news up? Well, put it up immediately. And you can still get credit for it across the country, but it's just people weren't, you know, thinking like that. So with podcasting, what I find that it's not just kind of a young man's game or young woman's game, it's for everybody. And the thing about advertisers that love it is that I can sort of just work it into a podcast and mention them and do it in a way that, okay, we're not going to go take this commercial break. I mean, you know, I could hear the people punching out when we went to, I could in my mind.

George Mason: So instead of taking a break, in between our conversations here to promote a nonprofit, I should just under my voice be saying, Wilshire Baptist Church, 4316 Abrams Road, by the way, we're glad to have you on Sunday morning. Is that kind of the way we do it?

Matt Mosley: People don't even know what happened.

George Mason: Just subliminal. It's just like, okay, well there it is.

Matt Mosley: That's why advertisers love podcasts. For that very reason.

George Mason: Well, all right. Podcasting is so easy once you get the hang of it and you say it's not necessarily younger people but I will say that there is a little bit of a learning curve for some folks to just locate it on their smartphone or how to connect in the car or you know, to get online on their computer. It is still not the traditional sources.

Matt Mosley: It's not. What I do is just grab people's phone, like at church or whatever. They're like, "Wait, what does this thing you do?" Like this one guy, my neighbor who's this highly successful criminal defense attorney still, he's like, now how do I get your blog? Ted, it's not a blog.

George Mason: It's not a blog. It's a podcast.

Matt Mosley: Yeah, he calls it a blog, but it on the iPhone, you know that that iTunes thing is just right here and then you just do the search. I mean, people were sort of shocked because they, I think they're so used to things being a little difficult right that when you show them, okay, this is not that difficult. Then once they subscribe to the Good God Podcast.

George Mason: There it is. Good God Podcast. On Apple Podcasts.

Matt Mosley: You have them forever.

George Mason: Google Play, and all those other sources, thank you for the plug there, and that's another example of how this can be done, I suppose. So. Podcasting, though, has allowed you, it seems to me, to really use your voice in a way that's native to you, that you don't feel as obligated to an organization or to ESPN or some larger group. You get to kind of design your voice and the program the way you want to.

Matt Mosley: Yeah, and it is, you know, people would say to me, when I left radio, they said, "Well, you have a really good brand." And I never thought of myself in that ... I guess we all should maybe think, I mean, the George Mason brand, it's out there, you know, we should maybe think in those terms. No, it is.

Matt Mosley: You have a brand. And so, I did think through, okay, what do I want to build? What should this thing look like? And I'm still working with it and you know, I've been fortunate much like you have that some partners, it's just amazing. It's one thing. I mean you know how to ask for money because you have to do it like almost a weekly basis.

George Mason: Yes, and not often enough. Yeah. That's right.

Matt Mosley: But I'm just saying I don't have any experience with that other than trying to raise some money for the YMCA and I'm just horrible at it. I mean, literally. I'll finally at the last minute, whatever my goal is, I still like, call my parents, like, "Hey."

George Mason: Your wife, on the other hand, is a natural.

Matt Mosley: Oh, my gosh.

George Mason: She hit me up for something-

Matt Mosley: Millions. Yes.

George Mason: And I thought, "Of course, well, Meredith is asking. Write the check."

Matt Mosley: Yeah. Well, you made the mistake years ago, I think of telling somebody or you've made it public.

George Mason: I have.

Matt Mosley: That if someone comes to you, you try to give.

George Mason: I say yes. If it's at all possible, I say yes.

Matt Mosley: And I try to follow your lead.

George Mason: Thank you.

Matt Mosley: Every football player who shows up selling some Hershey's bars or whatever, I'm like, okay.

George Mason: Very good.

Matt Mosley: Just, $20s fly. But speaking of this brand thing and trying to put it together, it's been a frustrating experience at times, but there is something about like when you work for yourself and when you realize it's sink or swim time, it's not based on somebody else or some of these, I guess we are all still tied to ratings. You need people to download and all that kind of stuff. But yeah.

George Mason: Well, let's talk about what that means, working for oneself because one doesn't actually ever fully work for oneself. You know, there us a sense in which we're all part of this work together. So let's talk about that when we come back from the break. All right.

Matt Mosley: All right.

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George Mason: We're back with Matt Mosley. Matt, you were talking about your Doomsday podcast and let's not forget, yes, you have another podcast with Brent Musburger.

Matt Mosley: Yes. You Are Looking Live.

George Mason: You are Looking Live. And that's pretty much sports gambling podcast? That's what it is?

Matt Mosley: Yeah, that's right.

George Mason: Anyway, but. But we were talking about, in a sense, this represents self employment and how you get to direct this and whatnot. But you still have an audience and you still have investors. We're always working for someone, right? Not just for ourselves. So when you think about this broadcast that you do, this podcast, what is the audience that you have in your mind and how much do you think about them? And do you say what I really want them to hear today is.

Matt Mosley: Yeah, I think with like a Cowboys show, what can we do to differentiate? There's a lot of folks talking about the Cowboys out there so that the head start we have, there aren't a lot of great, there are some, I mean I don't want to say we're the only, what I think is a really good Cowboys podcast. They're out there.

Matt Mosley: But what can we do that no one else could do? So what we try to get for our audience is, hey, we're gonna to pull back the curtain. We talk to people within the Cowboys, you know, insiders, that kind of thing. And I think that's why it's a good mix with Ed. Ed is actually kind of a witty guy. But when he gets on the air and when he's talking, he gets very serious. And so I tend to try to break him up and so, yeah, I want some mixture of what can we bring them.

Matt Mosley: And we try to get great guests, much like you have. Yeah, exactly. But, how can we entertain and inform at the same time? And that's what I've always done. I mean, in my writing career, I tried to find a niche at the Dallas Morning News that just didn't really exist. I thought if I wrote like everybody else and covered a team, like I'd just kind of do that the rest of my life, it'd be a fine career. But if I could actually, I don't know what you'd call it, sports humorist. I liked Dave Berry. I read him. Barbara, my mother-in-law, also member of Wilshire, Barbara Floyd. She sort of introduced me to him. I think I knew about him from his days in Miami.

Matt Mosley: And you probably ran across some of those columns over the years. And there was just, to me, he had such a distinctive voice and I just thought you've got to go a different route if you're going to, so that's what I did. And I had a guy who didn't, at The Morning News named Bobby Yates, who I don't even know if he totally got me, but he just thought this guy has something different and just let me go with it.

George Mason: So I think that's an interesting point about vocation too, and that is that when you're thinking about what you do with your life, part of it is of course what's possible that people care about, right? And part of it is also who are you? Right? How do you put together your sense of humor, your angle on looking at life, the personality that God gave you and what people are looking for and needing. When that comes together, there's a beautiful match. But the process of finding it is also sometimes a challenge.

Matt Mosley: And I'll tell you this and you've seen this in ministry, it's difficult when you feel like you're connecting with your audience and you're getting the feedback and you're not connecting with a boss. I mean, I've had those issues.

Matt Mosley: Now, I've had great program directors, I've had some GMs I love, so I don't want to paint it ... Like, I am difficult to manage because I'm pushing back and so for some people I'm not for everybody on that front, but that was tough. That was probably my last, when I left this last radio thing, that was the toughest thing in the world cause I thought I had developed and cultivated an audience that I sort of connected with. And the new people who bought the station just didn't have any appreciation for that, I didn't feel like.

Matt Mosley: And so, you have to make a decision when somebody offers you a nice, hefty pay cut. Do you say, "Okay, it's important for me to keep going." And which a lot of people have to make that decision. I mean maybe that was, looking back, that what I should've done, but I was just like, no, because once you do that, then they have you.

George Mason: Okay, so how did your faith factor into being able to make the decision to venture forth without a safety net? I mean, to move from security into this much more fragile world that and make your way, was this just because that's the way you're made or was it also because there is a faith component?

Matt Mosley: Well, you know, a pastor at Kaufman years and years ago and I was trying to make a difficult decision. I think it was a relationship wise even, you know, was like sometimes God speaks through your gut and that has been the way with me a lot of times. And in part of it is looking back and going, God, when the whole law school thing happened, I mean, and people will say, well, how do I get into journalism? I'm like, don't do what I did.

Matt Mosley: I mean, it's just crazy. But it worked out, and I remember when I left radio. I think I just had faith that this whole career, somehow things, you know, trusting in God and just trusting that things are going to work out. It has worked out. Right. So this seems like the right thing to do right now. And I remember I read a book, it's just funny when you're kind of going through some job stuff, people, boy, they're throwing books at you, you know, I'm sure you've had people hand you books and there was one.

George Mason: The stack is really high, all the time.

Matt Mosley: Oh, I know. And you actually read some of them. There was a guy, cause I was looking into, I was kind of fascinated when I first left in this coach search business. I was like, how did these guys, what does this guy, and there's a guy named Beau Dean that does that and he'd written a book called Two Chairs and, and it resonated with me a little bit because I was just kinda like, man, I really need this time and my buddy Tyler Cooper, of Cooper Fitness Fame, he and I went to college together. We're fraternity brothers. He sent me off to San Diego. They had a place on the beach there. Where do the Navy BUDs train? Whatever that is. Coronado. Del Coronado. And so he said, I think you need to go and be alone for a bit and maybe just decompress.

Matt Mosley: And this is a couple of weeks after I left radio after 10 years and I had just read this book called Two Chairs and so for whatever reason I needed something in that moment that was really a little more physical than just the meditation. And so where you're sitting, I was sitting in a chair and I would just like talk to God and like had a moment where, and then the hard part is you can talk and talk, which I'm good at, or I have a lot of practice, but it's the listening. Okay, you sit back and how comfortable can that be, to look at an empty chair and try to have that. But at that time, you know, that sort of was a good thing for me, to sit there and try to listen and hear and not the competitor in me.

Matt Mosley: And I mean you've probably had moments like this, there's a opportunity I have probably a year or two down the road, there's probably an opportunity to get in an ownership group in a radio and that kind of thing. And what I constantly ask myself is like, would that just be sort of getting back at somebody? Would it be for the right reasons? Do I really miss it that much? And those are the things I kind of go back and forth. And so in that moment after I left, I had that competitive side of me that is like, "I want to go get a job the next day. I want to bring that old radio station down." It was a good time for me, because I got away from it.

Matt Mosley: And then those days when I got back to Dallas and it's just weird to do something. It's like if you just left ... Sunday, man, your program's like playing football. Sunday at 11:00. Sunday at 8:30. Boom, you're on, what time is early service? I don't come to that. That's too early.

Matt Mosley: But yeah, you're just conditioned to do all that. And it's just strange when suddenly it's not there. So what I did is jumped on my bike and went around White Rock Lake. And talk about a sanctuary, that became, so when it was time for me to go on the radio, that's what I did every day. And I rode about 18 miles and got on my bike. And that's been good.

George Mason: I think these are spiritual practices that put us in touch with, with God.

George Mason: And most of the time people don't have experiences with a sense that God audibly speaks to them. But for many of us, when we're actually trying to listen, there is a sense in which we come away from it feeling that God has given us messages of peace and security and confidence, to move forward. I like to say that it's not that when we are people of faith, Christians, that we come away with a relationship with God where we say, "Okay, God told me everything's going to be okay." But I think what God says is everything may not be okay, but you're going to be okay in it. And once you hear that, then you can go through those times that aren't so good because you know that you're going to be sustained through it and it's not going to last forever, you know?

George Mason: Well, I'm glad you've been able to make that transition. I just think that there are a lot of people, whether it's in law, and the law business has changed because it's actually moved from being more of a profession to more of a business. And that's been difficult for people to manage that as well. Newspapers and journalism and ministry. Everybody seems to be in a process of transition and trying to struggle with how to manage the vulnerability of all of that with families and a sense of identity. So your experience is a good help to others, I think.

Matt Mosley: Well, I hope so. When you're out there and you're just kind of searching, you know, for what's next. I mean, you're right, it does feel vulnerable and you're just used to having that sort of a position of strength, whether it be the radio or writing for somebody or whatever.

Matt Mosley: And so, yeah, I think for me and the podcast and sort of getting the reins of this thing, not that we're ever truly in charge, but it's been a fascinating experience.

George Mason: Well, I want to thank you for being a faithful church member, too. I mean, we don't talk about this all the time, but you know, everyone should probably know that any chance you get, you're in the pew on Sunday morning and you're part of the church and you're even right now on the personnel committee. So I need to be really kind to you because you're in charge about my future and all of that. But thank you for your faithfulness to the church and you and Meredith and your daughter Parker are great contributors in every aspect of the church. I appreciate it.

Matt Mosley: Well, and I appreciate you and the church and your friendship, and it's an amazing place and these are crazy times that we're in and it's nice to be able to come to a place and even your sermon recently, boy, you move people. they were coming up to me, you know, telling me about it. The David and Goliath.

George Mason: Yes. Very good.

Matt Mosley: It gets really resonated with folks, I believe.

George Mason: You know, I think it's a great inspirational story for us and we have to be careful with it because we'd all want to be David all the time. Right? We have to be careful not to be Goliath, but just to know that there's an unseen presence in the world, that when we're standing for justice, and being compassionate to stand with people that God is present with us and working with it. So thanks for all your witness and the ways that you practice your faith and quietly, but persistently and consistently as well.

Matt Mosley: Well, I appreciate you. Thanks for having me.

George Mason: You bet. Thanks, Matt. Thanks for coming.

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Announcer: Thanks to Wendy Crispin Caterer for guest parking accommodations. Good God: Conversations with George Mason is the podcast devoted to bringing you ideas about God and faith and the common good. All material copyright 2018 by Faith Commons.

Announcer: The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas welcomes neighbors each day to make sure everyone regardless of age, income, or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. The YMCAs annual campaign enables the Y to provide free or discounted memberships and programs to the people who need them the most. Making our communities safer, stronger, and healthier. The Y has always been a place of possibility and a promise for all.

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