In an interview with USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand, Clark Kellogg made some interesting comments about his own career longevity in addition to the future of the industry:
"I really see a shelf life now for all of us commentators," says Kellogg, who'll work his fifth Final Four with Jim Nantz after replacing Billy Packer, who called 34 Final Fours on CBS and NBC. "The TV landscape is totally different now — you won't see (on-air) careers like you did with Billy Packer, John Madden, Dick Vitale. With the 24/7 news cycle and the digital world, now there's always going to be a clamoring for the 'next new thing.' ''
Kellogg has a point. It's nearly impossible to keep up with everything when you have the 24/7 news cycle and news that breaks on Twitter. The element of control (how and when stories break) is no longer in the networks' hands, and they have to scramble to keep up and stay relevant. It also means there's infinitely more criticism and voices given to the people that may like or dislike people on television. If only Twitter was around for the Billy Packer years.
So what does this all mean? Kellogg goes on to say:
"Now, I'm not looking beyond two- to four-year windows. I just don't think you'll be able to see guys stay long in lead analyst positions. I'd like to be considered longer, but I just see it playing out that way."
Do we even know what the "next new thing" is? Even THAT is changing, what, every 15 minutes? Does it make sense to replace commentators every so often, even when the ones we have are knowledgeable and talented? It's hard to find announcing teams that click and entertain (see: Raftery, Bilas, McDonough) – would we want to change that too? It's like the backup quarterback being the most popular person in town – we always think there's another guy out there who could do a better job.
Kellogg has experienced this in his own career. After a couple years being the solo lead analyst for the NCAA Tournament, he had to slide over to make room for Steve Kerr. But ironically enough, Kellogg's logic doesn't necessarily apply to the top play by play announcers. His partner Jim Nantz is announcing his 23rd straight Final Four this year.
We are fairly sure Kellogg is not going anywhere – he has carved out a career for himself in this space, and be it with CBS or elsewhere, he'll always have options.