Leisure Studies Degree Leads To Living The Dream As An LA Talk Star

5 mins read

Growing up in Denver, Colorado, Ryan always dreamed of being a journalist. Thanks to his creativity, that dream came true, and then, he carved his way into the podcasting world. 

Ryan’s experiences before starting his podcast network contributed to his successful creation of his premiere podcast, the LA Football Podcast.

Ryan was a huge fan of all Denver sports teams, including the Broncos. His family was, as well. He played both hockey (from eight years old through high school) and football (through college as a wide receiver). When he decided to move to Southern California to go to college, he chose to let hockey go.

Ryan wanted to be a journalism major, but changed that focus twice—first to business, but when he began failing, he changed it to leisure studies… the Van Wilder major. Ryan could not believe a major like that existed, and he went on to use it to create the dream he is living today.

After college, he was in event sales with the Queen Mary. He learned how to promote and market. During that time, he started writing for SB Nation and Fan Nation. He was not making much for those publications, so he decided to write his own blog.

He also created his website. Later, he started a podcast with a bunch of his college friends.

Ryan knew there was a need for LA football talk, so next, in October 2019, he founded the LA Football Network (LAFB). 

“All of LA sports talk is Lakers and Dodgers, so I created a need for football fans to talk LA football,” he said.

This was right before COVID-19 hit, and getting advertisers was challenging. 

I tell people all the time, ‘I want to be an extension to your sales team. Give me three months, and I will show my worth to you. I want to be all-in.’ It’s about relationship-building.” 

Ryan also sells merch to monetize his podcast.

He created a ton of content, too, and used his expertise in promoting and marketing to grow his brand. He points to the importance of social media in doing so, saying, “Twitter is the platform I use the most. Sports dominate on Twitter.” Instagram, he said, is “great for building a brand.” 

It worked: there are now over a million downloads on the LAFN.

He started covering training camps, becoming one of only four members covering the teams. This gave him an opportunity to be “the source” when it comes to LA football.

He has since covered the Super Bowl in Miami, and this year, in LA, home to his Rams. 

“We got to cover on Radio Row,” Ryan said. “I got to see my idols growing up, like Montana, Sanders, and Irvin.” 

With a focus on creating community, Ryan is growing the LAFN by covering the 7-on-7 Flag League, which they stream live. He also has goals to buy a sports bar, and broadcast live there, as well.

He is dedicated to producing consistent content for LA Football, broadcasting his one-hour show every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This requires about 20 hours of preparation and promotion each week, which is down from 40, Ryan said. “Now, I spend that time on my other shows on the network, too.”

On LA Football, Ryan covers USC, UCLA, the Chargers, and the Rams, discussing the breakdown of the game, training camp, and any off-season news.

He is building something really special in LA, and he’s looking to expand it to many cities. He also hopes to create football community centers for youth. 

And he’s in a position to do so, thanks to his landing his dream job by creating it himself.


April 2022 Issue

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