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St. Louis Media People Impacted By Rams Move

Jason Barrett

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The Rams’ departure has an impact on people who have covered their games, though certainly not to the extent of those who work for the team and stand to lose their jobs or move far away. For the Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas, reporting on the Rams has been his full-time job. For radio broadcasters Steve Savard and D’Marco Farr, it is moonlighting.

Thomas has reported on the team since it arrived in 1995, the only person to have covered each of the 431 “St. Louis” Rams’ games — including playoffs and exhibitions. Post-Dispatch sports editor Roger Hensley said “it’s too early” to know what Thomas will do next, but there is a possibility he’ll continue to cover the NFL.

“Those conversations will take place next week,” he said.

Thomas said he hasn’t looked ahead much.

“We’re almost like players during the season, were focused on what’s immediately ahead,’’ he said. “I’m sure we’ll sit down in the near future and talk about it. We have to follow this (NFL situation) for a while, to see if St. Louis has the desire to pursue another team. It may not have been enticing to Kroenke, but $400 million could be enticing to a team in a normal-size market.”

There have been hard feelings expressed locally, with Mayor Francis Slay saying he has no interest in pursuing another team. But, as Thomas points out, things can change and cites Rams coach Dick Vermeil, who retired shortly after the team’s improbable Super Bowl victory to cap the 1999 season. but regretted the decision and soon thereafter returned to the sidelines, in Kansas City.

“They always say, ‘Step away from something like that for a while’” before making a decision, Thomas said. “Maybe St Louis will do that.”

Savard has been the team’s radio play-by-play broadcaster since 2000, hired after Mike Bush stepped down following his only season (the Super Bowl winner) in the booth.

Savard, who then was the sports director at KMOV (Channel 4), now is the station’s lead male news anchor and assumes his Rams days are over.

“I haven’t been called, I’m sure that’s not a priority for them now,’’ he said. “I’m also sure there are many capable, able-bodied, play-by-play guys chomping at the bit in Southern California to do the job.

“I’m operating under the assumption that I probably have called my last Rams game. I had 16 great years, fortunate to have 16 years calling Rams games as a second job.”

He did not want to amplify on the possibilities of commuting to continue doing the broadcasts.

“I have gainful employment to fall back on at KMOV,’’ he said. “For me to talk at any more length right now about the play-by-play job would be disrespectful to those who are losing their jobs at Rams Park because of the move. There are lives and careers being interrupted by this and I’d be a horse’s patoot if I made myself a topic of discussion. I’m fine, my focus is on my job at KMOV right now.

“I feel bad for the fans who showed up on Sundays, screamed their lungs out and paid there money to support the team. And I feel bad for anyone whose job and career are in jeopardy. I sincerely mean that.”

Farr has been the radio analyst since 2009, when WXOS began broadcasting the games and the year he was hired as a key member of the station’s afternoon drive-time show — on which he remains. He could not be reached.

To read more visit STL Today where this article was originally published

Sports Radio News

Barstool’s Big Cat Recalls Awkward Moment of Aaron Rodgers Interview

“If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to reroute a conversation when a guest is like, ‘Oooh, I don’t like you guys.'”

Jordan Bondurant

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Big Cat, Aaron Rodgers

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently appeared on the Barstool Sports podcast, Pardon My Take, and the interview seemed to go well.

Podcast co-host, Dan “Big Cat” Katz, who is a die-hard Bears fan and well-documented Aaron Rodgers hater, relished in the fact that Rodgers agreed to take trash talk from him.

But there was one moment where things almost derailed.

Big Cat, in his weekly appearance on ESPN Chicago with Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman, talked about asking Rodgers how many grandmothers he had killed (A reference to Rodgers not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and his beliefs on vaccine mandates).

“That was a good lesson that PFT and I sometimes have to learn,” Big Cat said, before saying he saved the interview by finding a way out of the subject. “If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to reroute a conversation when a guest is like, ‘Oooh, I don’t like you guys.'”

Katz said it was a moment where they had to pause and understand what they were actually asking and insinuating with Rodgers.

“That was one of those ones we really don’t live in the real world, so when we go out into the real world and we say something that we’ve been joking about within the confines of our studio on ears that haven’t heard those jokes before, it’s kind of like, ‘Wait what did you guys just say? Are you really joking about grandmothers that died from COVID?'” he said. “And then when you get it repeated back to you, you’re kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah that is kind of messed up. Right, good point.”

Katz mentioned Rodgers went with the whole bit for the interview the entire time. So while there was a brief second where things could’ve gone south, everyone just let it go.

“Score one for Aaron, but he was smiling,” Big Cat said. “It was all in good fun.”

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Sports Radio News

Fescoe in the Morning: ESPN Has a History of Ignoring Non-Partner Leagues

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

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Fescoe in the Morning

ESPN is out of the running for the Big Ten football and basketball media rights. Those will be awarded to a combination of other networks and likely a streaming service. ESPN appears to be focusing on NCAA Championships next.

Josh Klingler, co-host of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, took time on their show on Tuesday to break down what that might mean for the Big Ten in terms of coverage.

“You’re (Big Ten) going to network television, which is better; more eyeballs and what have you,” noted Klingler. “But also, let’s not forget ESPN has a history of ignoring you when you’re not on their air. That’s the risk they are going to run.”

Klingler would add, “They are going to take the money. They are going to get network viewers, which is good. I guess the highlight and the hype and all those things that we are accustomed to doing that ESPN provides. We’ve already seen they ignore you if you’re not on their network.”

Bob Fescoe chimed in a reminder about another prominent league that chose not to partner with ESPN.

“Ask the National Hockey League what happened when they took the money from NBC and ran,” said Fescoe.

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

“Right, but I think they are willing to do that for a billion dollars per year,” Fescoe responded.

Fescoe then said that the Big Ten might make up for the perceived shortcomings of not being on ESPN by being on network television.

“If you’re going to be on network TV in all three windows, Josh, quite honestly all your marquee games are going to be free,” said Fescoe.

“That’s exposure,” said Klingler.

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Sports Radio News

NESN’s Dave O’Brien Says National Networks “Blew It” By Not Hiring Dennis Eckersley

“I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.

His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.

“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”

O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.

“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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