Another week of activity to bring you up to speed on from the sports media world. If you have personal or brand related news to share please send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to this week’s news.
Lost in the chaos of Super Bowl week was the news that Chris Mannix has ended his radio program on NBC Sports Radio. No word on what Mannix has planned next, although he did appear on FOX Sports 1‘s “First Things First” and stepped in to host “The Dan Patrick Show” which airs on FOX Sports Radio. NBC Sports Radio has turned afternoons over to “Calling The Shots with Keith Irizarry.” Details of the new afternoon show are not available yet on the network’s website.
Elsewhere on the national circuit, Peter Burns has landed a new weekend program on ESPN Radio. “Best Week Ever with Peter Burns” made its debut this past weekend and will air each Sunday morning 7a-9a ET.
Barstool Radio has added former Oakland A’s pitcher, ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst and current Barstool contributor Dallas Braden to its weekday lineup. “Dialed In with Dallas Braden” now airs weekdays from 2p-4p ET and includes comedian Steven Brody Stevens and Patrick “PCon” Connor who also works for KNBR in San Francisco. Barstool President Dave Portnoy says Braden’s addition will complete the radio channel’s lineup for the time being.
A new weekly soccer podcast, Alexi Lalas’ State of the Union, has been launched by FOX Sports. Episodes are expected to run 45-minutes and premiere every Tuesday at 5am ET. The first episode featured a preview of the U.S. Soccer Presidential election.
In less positive news, the sports radio world lost a good guy behind the scenes. Remote engineer and technical producer Kevin Ingles passed away last week. Ingles was a dedicated and well liked member of the ESPN Radio family. He also spent time working for CBS Radio. He was 36 years old.
In the big apple, Ray Martel has been named the new Executive Producer of the 710 WOR New York Mets Radio Network. As part of his new responsibilities, Martel will work on Mets broadcasts with Howie Rose, Josh Lewin, Wayne Randazzo and Chris Majkowski. He’ll also work with Pete McCarthy and Sal Licata on “WOR Sports Zone.”
WGN AM 720 is said to be pursuing the radio rights to the Chicago White Sox which recently became available. In the meantime, the station has inserted Joe Brand and Andy Masur into their weekend schedule offering sports updates.
For the first time in a decade, a woman is leading a program on KFAN 100.3. KFAN has added “Overtime with Carly Zucker” to its weekly schedule. The show debuted last Thursday and will be rotated in the evening hours around game schedules. To hear the debut episode which featured Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen click here.
1500 ESPN in Minneapolis is taking longtime personality Patrick Reusse off of Saturday’s in order to keep his involvement focused on M-F. Reusse previously had Friday’s off and co-hosted “Saturday Morning Sports Talk” with Judd Zulgad. Taking his spot on the Saturday show will be 1500’s Vikings reporter Matthew Coller. Reusse will now be featured M-F in afternoons working with Joe Soucheray.
Shifting to Seattle, Gee Scott is getting an opportunity to expand his horizons. The on-air host and contributor on 710 ESPN Seattle is moving to evenings on NewsTalk station KIRO 97.3 FM. Both KIRO and 710 are owned by Bonneville International.
Also in Seattle, iHeartMedia in Seattle has switched affiliations from CBS Sports Radio to FOX Sports Radio on its second sports station in the market 1090 AM. The station is being branded as 1090 KJR. The weekday lineup features FSR’s on-air personalities giving the KJR brand a live and local outlet on 950 and a national flavor on 1090.
Congratulations to Justin Kinner on being named the new program director and afternoon host at ESPN WING 1410 AM in Dayton, Ohio. Kinner started with the station in 2014 and takes over the position previously occupied by Mark Neal.
The same courtesy goes out to Frank Fowler who has been hired by SiriusXM in Washington DC as a producer. Fowler will join the satellite company’s sports programming department in early March. He’ll primarily be working on the SEC Radio channel.
Waco’s ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM and 99.1 FM is shuffling its sports talk lineup. The station will air ESPN Radio’s “Wingo & Golic” from 5a-9a. The “Voice of the Bears” John Morris moves from the afternoon to the morning and hosts from 9a-10a. Butch Henry joins Ward Whites for “The Opening Drive” from 10a-12p. “Unnecessary Roughness” with Craig Smoak and Qiant “Your Boy Q” Myers shifts from noon to 3p, followed by “You Make The Call” with David Smoak and Paul Catalina airing from 3p-6p.
In writing circles, news continues to revolve around The Athletic who are stockpiling talent across their various platforms. The sports website has added longtime sports columnist and 101 ESPN morning host Bernie Miklasz to the company’s St. Louis platform. To read Miklasz’s first piece click here. The company also snagged exceptional baseball writer Jayson Stark. The former ESPN baseball writer will begin writing for the site on April 1st.
One piece highly recommended is the column Doug Gottlieb wrote for The Athletic. The FOX Sports Radio host and FS1 on-air analyst and contributor opened up about some of the mistakes he made in college and how they’ve helped shape his life.
And ESPN is losing a talented scribe. Andrew Marchand has announced he’s departing as Senior Writer in order to join the New York Post as a sports media columnist.
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.
Fescoe in the Morning: ESPN Has a History of Ignoring Non-Partner Leagues
“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.
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.
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.”
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.”
Sal Paolantonio Not Interested In Trying Ayahuasca To Better Understand Aaron Rodgers
“Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately.”
Dan Patrick is a very good interviewer. He asks the questions he knows his audience wants answered. He also makes a habit out of throwing out questions to his guests that they never see coming. That was the case on Tuesday for ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.
Paolantonio joined the Dan Patrick Show to discuss Pro Football Hall of Fame voting and the new NFL season. That is not what the host hit him with out of the gate.
The first question from Patrick to Paolantonio was “Just to relate to Aaron Rodgers, would you be willing to try ayahuasca?”.
Paolantonio was left speechless. All he could do was laugh and say “you got me on that one, Dan.”
Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately. The Green Bay quarterback recently said on a podcast that experimenting with ayahuasca opened him up to be ready to succeed both on the field and as a leader. He credits the experience with laying the foundation for his 2021 MVP season.
Patrick pushed the issue challenging Paolantonio to beat Andrea Kremer to the experience.
“My money is on the fearless Andrea Kremer,” Paolantonio shot back.
For the record, Kremer responded to the challenge on Twitter.