Vice President, Production
Dave Roberts, vice president, production at ESPN, oversees the network’s production of First Take, the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, Get Up, High Noon, Highly Questionable, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption. Roberts is directly responsible for 35 hours of programming per week on ESPN.
In November 2016, he added ESPN’s popular morning debate studio show First Take – with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and host Molly Qerim Rose – to his portfolio. While under his guidance, First Take has reached several ratings and audience milestones and double-digit audience increases in all key demographics.
Previously, Roberts served as vice president, ESPN Audio network content, leading a new group focused on overall strategy for national talk and play-by-play content. Roberts was responsible for bringing unique voices to ESPN and ESPN Radio including Bomani Jones and the successful launch of The Right Time with Bomani Jones on ESPN Radio. Roberts also drove diversity on the airwaves at ESPN Radio, with the additions of espnW Presents: The Trifecta, Izzy & Spain, The Morning Roast and more.
He previously served as general manager of ESPN Radio New York 98.7FM. While at ESPN Radio New York, Roberts led the rights deals negotiations that brought multiyear deals for New York Knicks, Rangers and Jets games to the station, as well as the Spanish-language broadcast rights for ESPN Deportes Radio 1050AM. In addition, Roberts oversaw the simulcast agreement for The Michael Kay Show on the YES Network.
Prior to his role at ESPN New York, Roberts was senior coordinating producer, studio production for ESPNEWS, including its move to a new high-definition set in March 2008. Roberts joined ESPN in 2004 as a coordinating producer, working on ESPNEWS, SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight.
Roberts came to ESPN after more than 25 years in local news, both in front of and behind the camera, capped by three years as news director of WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C., 2001 – 2004.
He began his television career in 1978 as a reporter for WGPR-TV in Detroit, Mich. In 1980 he joined WFMY-TV in Greensboro, N.C., as a reporter. In 1982, he returned to his hometown of Detroit as an assignment editor for WJBK-TV. In 1984 he moved to KFSN-TV in Fresno, Calif., as executive producer. A year later he assumed that same role for WGHP-TV in High Point, N.C.
In 1987, he became news director at WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio, where he was the first African-American news director in the state’s history. In 1991, he moved to WBAL-TV in Baltimore as news director and in 1996 he joined WXIA-TV in Atlanta in the same position. Once again, in Atlanta he was the city’s first African-American news director.
A native of Detroit, Roberts earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications from Wayne State University in his hometown of Detroit.