June 11, 2024

Alum Dorsey excels as a “Different Animal” at ESPN West Palm

Wynton Jackson

In high school, Theo Dorsey spent his free time debating sports topics with his best friends. He dreamed of captivating viewers as a sports anchor like the late Stuart Scott.

Dorsey fulfilled that dream, but instead of sitting in front of television audiences, he dominates the airwaves on ESPN 106.3 FM in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The multimedia journalist examines the hottest sports stories on his show Theoretically Speaking with co-host Christian Katt on weekdays from 5-6 p.m.

Since starting the show on April 9, Dorsey and Katt have recorded 37 episodes. The nascent program is already gaining traction on radio waves and YouTube live streams.

“The show is flourishing,” he said. “We had Eli Manning on a couple weeks ago and have opened a couple new partnerships which will fuel ideas for some fun segments. My favorite part is watching the show’s real-time growth with the YouTube audience. We stream every show live and have had 61,000 unique views over the past month alone.”

Despite airing out of ESPN West Palm, the show is not limited to Miami sports teams. Recent discussions include the legitimacy of Rudy Gobert’s fourth Defensive Player of the Year Award, why the NBA Playoffs are better without LeBron James, and Caitlin Clark’s impact on women’s basketball.

It was at Hampton University where it all began for Dorsey.  He tipped his toe in all branches of sports media. He wrote for the student newspaper, anchored on the campus news show, announced basketball games and hosted the radio show. He was ready for an opportunity at all times. As a freshman, he’d wear a suit on shoot days for the broadcast news show even though he wasn’t an anchor.

“Funny enough, I did get that call one day when I was supposed to be going in to be a camera operator,” he said. “Last minute, the weather guy didn’t pull up and I got that opportunity to get on air and I never gave it back.”

Success hasn’t always come easy to Dorsey, though. The Sports Journalism Institute taught him his first valuable lesson.

“That was the first time I literally felt incompetent,” said the 2013 SJI alum. “I got to SJI and I realized I had so much further to go because, not just my peers, but the teaching I got from Leon, Greg, Sandy, Squires, and everybody else that kind of poured into us. It was a reality check for me and what it showed me was, as good as I was at Hampton, that wasn’t gonna be good enough to compete with all of the talent coming out across the nation.”

After graduating from Hampton in 2015, he worked for WALB in Albany, Georgia.

As a young journalist expecting to make a splash, Dorsey wasn’t thrilled with his weekend anchor role.  Once his two years ended, he was ready to jump to a bigger market. Instead, Dorsey became the first Black sports director in WALB history.

“I realized that community had a need to have someone like me with my youthful energy, with my understanding for what the people that were that needed the coverage,” he said.

In 2018, the Georgia Association of Broadcasters recognized him as a top sports anchor in the state, just three years after he left Hampton.

Dorsey landed at ESPN West Palm after a short reporting stint in North Carolina, followed by some time as a substitute English teacher and an Amazon driver. The transition from anchoring to radio forced him to change his style.

“There was the Kobe commercial where Kanye West was talking to Kobe and he was like, ‘How many more records is great?’ And Kobe said, ‘You got to be the same beast, but a different animal.’ It felt like what I was trying to evolve my career into. I’m trying to be the same beast I was on TV, but a different animal now doing it on radio,” he said.

His success in radio has granted him special opportunities, such as emceeing the Lou Groza Award (which goes to the top college football placekicker)  and hosting the Capital One Orange Bowl FanFest Tailgate with Peyton Manning and Champ Bailey.

“It’s just crazy to me to be in this position that soon,” he said. “I knew it would happen eventually, but to be in those positions, to be in my shoes at that moment, I reflect on that as some of my favorite stuff.”

Wynton Jackson will intern at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this summer.

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