Max Utsler

Associate Professor
Primary office:
2071 Dole


I have spent most of the last 28 years teaching journalism at the University of Kansas.  I grew up on a farm in central Illinois.  I graduated from Knox College with a degree in American Studies and played varsity football and baseball for all four years. I also worked part-time at the Galesburg Register-Mail and WAIK and WGIL radio during those years.

I took my first job teaching junior high English in the Osseo, MN school district and serving as a volunteer baseball coach at the University of Minnesota.  That led me to apply to graduate school at the University of Missouri where I became a graduate assistant in baseball while pursuing a master’s degree in journalism.  After completing my M.A., I remained on the MU faculty and taught there another 11 years with an emphasis on television news reporting. For seven years during the summers, Christmas vacation and Spring Breaks, I worked in Kansas City at KMBC-TV as a producer and reporter.

After finishing my doctorate in education at MU, earning tenure and becoming department chair, I left Columbia to become assistant news director at KSDK-TV in St. Louis. I was there a little over a year before taking the job at KU as chairman of the Radio-TV Department.

Other professional experience includes senior sports producer at KPNX-TV in 1995 and reporter for WEEK-TV in the summer of 2006.  I currently free-lance for and work in production for CBS with the Kansas City Chiefs and college basketball.

I currently teach classes in sports marketing, sports and the media, innovation, the business of media, and television news reporting.  Most of my research revolves around sports marketing, advertising and sports talk radio.  I am working on a book chronicling my life as an amateur athlete, “It Ain’t Easy Being Mediocre.”

In my spare time I play baseball in the Kansas City’s Men’s Senior Baseball League, supervise umpires for youth league baseball tournaments and religiously follow the fortunes of the St. Louis Cardinals.  

Academic Degrees

  • B.A., Knox College
  • M.A., journalism, University of Missouri
  • Ph.D, education, University of Missouri


  • Katich Award for Creativity in Teaching, 2017
  • HOPE Award finalist, 2003
  • various awards for television programming and corporate video production
  • developed marketing communication for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City


  • Sports talk radio
  • Sports and the media
  • Sports marketing and advertising


Utsler, Max and William Nolan: “Star Crossed: An Exploratory Study of the Influence of College Football Recruiting Websites.”  Under review at the Journal of Sports Media, March 2012.

Utsler, Max and Stuart Esrock. “Southern Fried Advertising:  NASCAR Meets Madison Avenue.”  Published in Broadcast Educator, March 2009 (Editor-reviewed, online journal).

Esrock, Stuart and Max Utsler, “The $2.5 Million Bargain; Super Bowl Ads and Added Value.” Published in Broadcast Educator, January 2009 (Editor-reviewed, online journal).

Utsler, Max; “Sports Talk Radio and Its Relationship with Sources.”  Published in Journal of Radio and Audio Media, December 2008

Beggs, Elizabeth and Max Utsler, “Lesbian or Hottie:  Sexuality in Women’s Sport Media. Paper presented at Broadcast Education Association Annual Convention.  Las Vegas, April 2008

Utsler, Max and Jennifer Byrd, “Is stereotypical coverage of African-American athletes as “Dead as Disco”?: An analysis of NFL quarterbacks in the pages of Sports Illustrated.  Journal of Sports Media, Spring 2007

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