Sports Radio News
Will Boxing Announcers Hold Back?
A singular motivating force led HBO and Showtime to join forces this Saturday night in producing the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao rumble — greed.
The payday, the moo-la-dee, is what forced the suits (holding their noses no doubt) to mix and match voices from different sides of the aisle for this Pay-Per-View telecast. Their public proclamations promising a smooth fight night operation, and that all the announcers will remain neutral, are, at best, totally disingenuous.
Then again, these executives are involved in a sport where lying is simply a reflex action — kind of like breathing.
Each network has plenty at stake. The fighter who loses leaves Las Vegas as damaged goods to his network. The broadcasters working the fight know this. None of them enters the arena as a neutral commentator. At least one is honest enough to admit it.
“You can never completely erase that business relationship (between a fighter and your network), and what it means, from your mind,” Jim Lampley, the HBO voice who will call the fight, said over the telephone. “I know what our business relationship is in every fight we do. It seeps into your mind during a fight. It will Saturday night, too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t call the fight fairly.”
The gold-plated tracks Mayweather traveled from HBO to Showtime in 2012, when he left to sign a six-fight, $200 million deal with the CBS-owned company, are covered with bad blood.
Before leaving HBO, Mayweather tried to force a clause into his contract that would have prohibited Lampley and then-analyst Larry Merchant, from talking about any aspect of the fighter’s life outside the ring, including his history of domestic violence.
Merchant and Mayweather also verbally went at each other in a post-fight interview after the fighter’s controversial KO win over Victor Ortiz in 2011. Mayweather called for Merchant to be fired, adding, “You don’t know s— about boxing.” Merchant: “I wish I was 50 years younger and I’d kick your ass.”
No voice from Showtime would ever speak to Mayweather in such a harsh manner. Mayweather is not just Showtime’s biggest star. He also has an “executive producer” credit on all “specials” involving him and final say over all scripts. The network’s boxing voices mostly verbally genuflect to him. Al Bernstein, Showtime’s analyst, will join HBO analyst Roy Jones Jr. and Lampley for Saturday’s PPV telecast. Max Kellerman (HBO) and Jim Gray (Showtime) are ringside reporters. Steve Farhood (Showtime) and Harold Lederman (HBO) will be the unofficial scorers.
“There’s a delicate tension that goes with this production,” Lampley said. “Everyone knows these are two networks with conflicting business interests.”
Depending on whom we spoke with, either Lampley calling the fight was not an issue, or it was a huge one that was debated. On his show, “The Fight Game,” Lampley has consistently ripped Mayweather, once saying “for the betterment of boxing’s image, Floyd Mayweather’s retirement cannot come a moment too soon.”
Lampley said he won’t be dealing with Mayweather’s troubled past during the fight. “I don’t have to think about it,” Lampley said. “That’s for the host’s (James Brown) operation.” Through his career, Brown has not ducked issues.
But with Mayweather being such a controlling force at Showtime, will Brown dare to bring up Mayweather’s history of domestic violence during his segments? Considering his strong commentaries on cases of domestic violence in the NFL, Brown must know Mayweather once said that the NFL was overreacting to a videotape when it suspended Ray Rice.
Once the bell rings, the action inside the ring will dictate the voices’ commentary — or will it? Other than scoring figure skating, nothing is more subjective than analyzing, or scoring, a prize fight. This is when the relationship between boxing commentators can get contentious, especially if a fight such as Mayweather-Pacquiao is close.
Credit to the NY Daily News who originally published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
106.7 The Fan Extends Deal to Remain Washington Nationals Flagship
“We’re looking forward to continuing to serve as the home for everything Nats for the foreseeable future…”
106.7 The Fan has announced it has reached a multi-year extension with the Washington Nationals to remain as the MLB club’s radio flagship.
Nationals fans will continue to hear game broadcasts on the station, and those living inside the club’s broadcast territory will be able to stream the radio broadcasts on the Audacy app.
“Opening Day is finally here and we’re thrilled to celebrate the return of baseball season by extending our partnership with the Washington Nationals,” said Audacy Washington D.C. Senior Vice President and Market Manager Ivy Savoy-Smith. “We’re looking forward to continuing to serve as the home for everything Nats for the foreseeable future and give the team’s fans a front row seat to the action on the field and top storylines throughout the year.”
The Nationals have called 106.7 The Fan home since the 2011 season. Beyond game broadcasts, the station will welcome Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo to The Sports Junkies every Wednesday at 9:00 AM throughout the season. The station will also air segments titled “Nats Insider”, hosted by broadcaster Dan Kolko that feature player interviews and features. Those segments will air all along the Nationals Radio Network.
“We couldn’t be happier to partner with Audacy in bringing Nationals fans even more of the interviews and exclusive access they love,” said Lerner Sports Group COO Alan H. Gottlieb. “From in-depth interviews with execs and top players, to off-the-field profiles and more Spanish and English bilingual content than ever before, Audacy offers a comprehensive look at our ball club from all angles.”
Sports Radio News
Todd Markiewicz Departing 97.1 The Fan
“He has left an indelible mark in the Columbus market and within the sports/talk radio world by building The Fan with excellent programming, dominant ratings, and overall market share.”
Longtime 97.1 The Fan Vice President and Market Manager Todd Markiewicz has announced he is leaving the sports radio station.
Markiewicz has been named the President of the 1870 Society, a Name, Image, and Likeness collective working with Ohio State athletics and Learfield to devise NIL strategy, fundraising, and logistics.
In an internal memo, Tegna Columbus President and General Manager John Cardenas credited Markiewicz for helping to establish the brand as “the powerhouse sports station in the country. He has left an indelible mark in the Columbus market and within the sports/talk radio world by building The Fan with excellent programming, dominant ratings, and overall market share.”
Markiewicz joined the station in 2010. Under his leadership, 97.1 The Fan has routinely ranked as the highest-rated station in the Columbus market.
His final day with the station will be Friday, May 26th.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio. Reach him at email@example.com.
Sports Radio News
Gregg Giannotti: Doug Gottlieb Is ‘Using My Name’ To Deflect Blame From Himself
“I wasn’t there. This was 2013 before the incident. I wasn’t even there.”
Earlier this week, Doug Gottlieb revisited a gaffe he made on the set of CBS’s NCAA Tournament Selection Show a decade ago. On a set that included Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Greg Gumbel, and Kenny Smith, Gottlieb said that he was there to “provide the white man’s perspective.” Gottlieb owned that it was a poor attempt at humor, but Gregg Giannotti takes issue with the FOX Sports Radio host’s version of events that lead up to the televised misstep.
“If you’ll allow me, I’d like to clear my name for a little bit,” Giannotti said on Wednesday’s edition of Boomer and Gio on WFAN.
Gottlieb contends that he tried out a better rehearsed version of the joke in a number of other places before going on television and it was well-received. No one told him it was a bad idea or that if delivered in the wrong way, it could create problems. One of those places, according to Gottlieb, was CBS Sports Radio’s Gio & Jones.
One problem, the show did not exist in 2013.
“Here are my issues with this,” Gregg Giannotti said. “One, I wasn’t there. This was 2013 before the incident. I wasn’t even there. Two, he is placing blame now on whoever he told this to to stop him and say ‘Don’t do this on the set!’”.
Boomer Esiason, Giannotti’s WFAN partner said he can see how Gottlieb overlooked the reality that this joke would not land well with a general audience. Former athletes are used to joking with one another like this in locker rooms. Plus, being on a set with Barkley and Smith may have made Gottlieb think that he would get a little more leeway.
Esiason added that he can see how Gottlieb would assume Gio was there. The show on CBS Sports Radio that he was likely on was MoJo, which featured Brian Jones and Chris Moore. It became Gio & Jones in 2015 when Giannotti came to CBS Sports Radio from 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, where worked in 2013. More surprising to Esiason was the Gottlieb wanted to talk about this a decade after it happened.
“He’s still hanging on this,” Giannotti answered. “The issue I have is that he is using me, saying that he tried it out on me and that I found it hilarious but I should have stopped him from saying the joke when I wasn’t even part of this. I was talking about the god damn Penguins!”