Football season is back, which means the interest in sports media content should be top of mind for the next four months. This week there were a little more than twenty news items to share. As always, if you have information to share involving yourself or your company, please send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Now here are this week’s tidbits.
Last year many blamed the NFL‘s ratings decline on the election, Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick’s protest, Peyton Manning’s retirement and Tom Brady’s four game suspension. But this year’s Thursday Night opener on NBC featuring the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs produced a lower rating than last year’s game between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. Is it a one week aberration or a sign of things to come? To read more about it, click here.
As WFAN begins dealing with the aftereffects of Craig Carton‘s arrest, the million dollar question becomes, “who takes his spot opposite Boomer Esiason?” The Fan has a few internal options to consider from Brandon Tierney, Gregg Giannotti, Damon Amendolara and Jerry Recco. They could stay in the company and ask Adam The Bull, Chris Carlin or Mike Valenti to relocate to the big apple. Or they could go outside the box. The New York Daily News raised the possibility of external candidates such as Chris Simms, Jon “Stugotz” Weiner or Michael Rappaport, and Greg Hughes, formerly of ‘Opie and Anthony’, has also been floated as a suggestion before too. One thing that’s not expected to change is the show’s television simulcast on the CBS Sports Network.
New York radio stations are ramping up their contributors for the 2017 NFL season. 98.7 ESPN New York has added New York Giants safety Landon Collins for The Michael Kay Show, and former New York Jets Linebacker Bart Scott as a contributor on a variety of station shows. WFAN will once again have Eli Manning and Ben McAdoo on each week with Mike Francesa, plus NFL Network reporter Peter Schrager has signed on to appear with Mike each Friday.
Speaking of contributors, ESPN Radio has announced its collection of experts to contribute to the network’s morning show, Mike and Mike, and starting in November, Golic & Wingo. Set to appear on the show are Louis Riddick, Booger McFarland, Ryan Clark, Herm Edwards, Paul Finebaum, Kirk Herbstreit, Matthew Berry, Brian Billick, Field Yates, Mike Golic Jr. and Joey Galloway.
Also on ESPN Radio, the network is bringing back Brian Custer and Donovan McNabb. The two men will broadcast Monday evenings from 7p-10p ET.
Changes are coming to 97.5 The Fanatic. The radio station has confirmed the addition of Bob Cooney to the morning show with Anthony Gargano. Cooney spent twenty five years with the Philadelphia Daily News.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, Sports Radio 94WIP deserves a round of applause for leading the cause to raise over two hundred thousand dollars for the Eagles Charitable Foundation. WIP says the money will help over 6,932 children receive eye care in the form of a $30 comprehensive vision exam and a pair of eyeglasses. Nice work.
Sticking with WIP, the radio station also announced their football contributors for the 2017 NFL season. Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham will appear live from Chickie’s and Pete’s each Monday night at 6p ET. The show will be hosted by Merrill Reese, Howard Eskin and Jon Marks. Immediately after Graham’s show at 7p ET, WIP rolls out the “Player’s Lounge” with Ike Reese and Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. In addition, Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson appears Monday mornings at 8a ET with Angelo Cataldi. The station will also feature regular appearances by The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia, former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker, former NFL coach and Super Bowl champion Dick Vermeil, Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks, Ray Didinger, former NFL executive Mike Lombardi, Eagles cornerbacks Rodney McLeod and Jalen Mills, fantasy football experts Paul Charchian and John Hansen, and NFL Insider Ian Rapoport.
Congratulations to 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C. on finishing the August book in the Top 3 with Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid. The Sports Junkies turned in a dominant performance in morning drive, finishing the month a few tenths of a point under a 12 share, good enough for second place. Local competitor ESPN 980 also received good news. The majority of their weekday programs finished in the Top 10 including their morning show hosted by Chris Cooley and Kevin Sheehan which came in sixth.
The ratings were also positive for ESPN Los Angeles 710AM. Month to month performances were higher for the majority of the weekday lineup, but even more important was growth for each show in the key M-F 6a-7p schedule. Leading the way as usual were Mason and Ireland who turned in a little better than a three and a half share. Their rating is the best of any local sports talk show in the market.
When it comes to numbers, 101 ESPN in St. Louis has become accustomed to dominating the local competition, and the month of August was no exception. The station’s weekday shows once again finished between 1st and 4th. Leading the way were The Fast Lane which turned in another #1 performance in afternoons with better than a 12 share.
Jordan Kent has returned to 102.9/750 The Game in Portland to co-host the Oregon Ducks pre-game show. Kent, who played football, basketball and ran track for the Ducks, also contributes locally on television for Comcast Sports Northwest.
KNBR 680 host John Lund has launched a new website, playing off of one of his popular benchmarks “The Caboose Pistol.” The site contains a bunch of male demo prep material and can be accessed by clicking here.
Staying in San Francisco, KCBS has announced the return of John Madden to its airwaves. The former NFL head coach and analyst has been a longtime contributor to the radio station.
A little further south, the Broadcast Company of the Americas in San Diego have struck a deal to feature University of San Diego football and basketball on their radio stations. Five football home games will air on The Mighty 1090. The remaining road games will be carried by sister station ESPN 1700. Men’s basketball games will also split between the two stations, with 1090 carrying 10 games, and the remaining ones being offered on 1700.
Charlotte’s sports leader WFNZ has added some firepower to its talk shows for the 2017 NFL season. Joining the station’s lineup as weekly contributors are voice of the Panthers Jim Szoke, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, former NFL executive Tony Softli, NBC Pro Football Talk reporter Mike Florio, former NFL offensive lineman Lomas Brown, and a slew of others.
The Big 1070 in Madison, Wisconsin has adjusted its weekday lineup. 1070 has replaced Fox Sports Radio’s “Rich Eisen Show” weekdays 11a-2p CT with a one-hour edition of “The Rundown with Jon Arias”, and a regional simulcast of sister station The Big 920’s “The Drew Olson Show.” An hour of Mike Heller’s programs gets eliminated but he remains installed in afternoons on the station from 3p-6p CT.
Shifting to Denver, Ryan Edwards is moving from Mile High Sports to Orange and Blue Radio. Edwards will host M-F 10a-12p MT.
In Cleveland, Danny Cunningham has left ESPN 850 WKNR. He says he’s involved in talks for another project and will share the details at the appropriate time.
The Syracuse Crunch have decided on their new play by play voice. Congratulations to Lukas Favale on earning the opportunity.
Aaron Torres has joined Kentucky Sports Radio as a contributing writer according to founder Matt Jones.
A new podcast has been launched by former WFAN and current WOR producer “Sugar” Ray Martel, and New England radio personality Keith Rice. The two Boston sports fans will discuss Boston’s “Big 4” via the Sugar and Rice podcast. Martel brings a Big Apple perspective to his Boston fandom. Rice acknowledges his slant is very “anti-New York”. The weekly podcast will be available on iTunes and Google Play.
A toast is in order for ESPN which celebrated 38 years in business last week. The network launched to an estimated audience of 30,000 viewers. It’s pretty remarkable to see where the company is now compared to where it was in 1979 when it first began. Cheers!
While we’re on the subject of anniversaries, congratulations to CBS‘ flagship show, The NFL Today, which celebrates 50 years on the air on September 13th. The initial broadcast ran 15 minutes and was hosted by Frank Gifford. Since then, 43 different hosts, analysts and reporters have contributed to the program.
Lately many writers have been flocking from the Bay Area News Group to join The Athletic, leaving holes inside the organization’s sports department. One of them has been filled as BANG has hired Dieter Kurtenbach as a sports columnist.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has lost a valuable member of their sports department. Longtime Blues reporter and writer Jeremy Rutherford has announced he’s signed on with The Athletic. JR says he will transition from breaking news, game stories and practice updates to providing deeper columns that cover the key issues involving the Blues.
The Athletic has landed another scribe north of the border. The company’s Toronto division has lured Eric Duhatschek over from the Globe and Mail. Duhatschek had spent 17 years with the local newspaper.
Ken Pomeroy has also announced he’s joining The Athletic. Pomeroy will be a regular contributor and analytics editor for the company’s college basketball platform.
There will be a new beat reporter covering the Missouri Tigers for the Kansas City Star. Longtime writer Tod Palmer has confirmed he’s stepping aside to take a position as Suburbans Editor for some of The Star’s products as well as Lee’s Summit Journal and the Cass County Democrat.
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.
Joel Utley, College Basketball’s Record Holder for Most Games Called, Retires
Utley retires after 61 years as the team’s basketball play-by-play announcer which is a college basketball record.
Joel Utley has announced he is retiring from broadcasting and as the voice of the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers.
Utley retires after 61 years as the team’s basketball play-by-play announcer which is a college basketball record. He broadcast 1,933 Kentucky Wesleyan games during that span, also a record for total games called. He began his career on December 2, 1961 when KWC defeated California State University – Northridge, 100-64.
Utley also is the only broadcaster in the nation to call 12 NCAA Basketball Championship games (all levels) including eight Division II titles.
“It was a tough decision to make, but the timing is right to step down,” Utley said. “What I have done as a broadcaster reflects my love for KWC. My career has been beyond any dreams I ever had.”
He is a member of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame and in September, Utley will be inducted into the Kentucky Broadcaster Association Hall of Fame.
Mark Chernoff: ‘I Didn’t Believe Mad Dog Was Going To Leave WFAN’
“I wish they hadn’t separated, because it was the most amazing team.”
Mark Chernoff offered some great stories and insight on the latest episode of The Jason Barrett Podcast. The former program director of WFAN in New York began his appearance by paying tribute to the station’s three soon-to-be Hall of Famers.
He reflected on Jeff Smulyan’s vision in creating sports radio, Suzyn Waldman’s gravitas and versatility as a reporter and talent, and all of the success he shared with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.
Russo and his long time radio partner Mike Francesa split up in 2008 after Russo left WFAN for Sirius. Chernoff admitted that even as he was told it was about to happen, he still didn’t believe it.
“You know, I misread a little bit the situation with Mike and Chris,” he admitted. “Mike said ‘Dog’s gonna leave. I know he’s gonna leave.’ He even intimated that he had spoken to Mel [Karmazin, the then-CEO of Sirius], not Mike but Chris, and it was likely he was going to go over to Sirius. And I just couldn’t believe it.”
Mike and the Mad Dog is as dominant a show as local sports radio has ever produced. The duo was together from 1989 until 2008. When they split up, Mark Chernoff says that he took it personally.
“I was sad for a really long time. I was angry too.”
The move hurt his relationship with Russo for a while. The two did not speak for a long time.
He told Barrett that that is over now. They share occasional texts and always hug and catch up when they see each other. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t still some lingering disappointment.
“I wish they hadn’t separated, because it was the most amazing team,” Chernoff said of Mike & the Mad Dog. “But both [Chris] and Mike were certainly successful on their own.”
New episodes of The Jason Barrett Podcast are released each Tuesday morning.
Eli Gold To Miss Start of Alabama Football Season
He’s faced his share of health challenges recently. His streak of 409 consecutive Alabama football games was broken in 2020 after a COVID diagnosis.
Legendary Alabama play-by-play announcer Eli Gold will miss the beginning of the 2022 football season with health issues.
Jim Carabin, Vice President and General Manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing announced the news Wednesday. The school did not elaborate on Gold’s ailment, only saying he would be sidelined to begin the season.
Chris Stewart, who handles play-by-play duties for Alabama’s basketball and baseball teams will fill in during Gold’s absence. Stewart will also host The Nick Saban Show and Hey, Coach until Gold returns.
The 68-year-old Gold is a 2014 inductee to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Gold, who’s contract runs through the 2023 season, has been the Voice of the Crimson Tide since the 1988 season.
He’s faced his share of health challenges recently. His streak of 409 consecutive Alabama football games was broken in 2020 after a COVID diagnosis. Gold also had both shoulders replaced that same year.
In addition to his work with the Crimson Tide, Gold has served as an announcer for NASCAR, NFL, NHL, and the NBA G-League, among others.