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Dan Le Batard Says Losing An Hour On ESPN Radio Feels Like Demotion

” If ESPN is going to tout a reimagined emphasis on Le Batard’s show as a digital product, he wants to see them put effort into growing the platform.”

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Dan Le Batard

With a long list of changes about to take place on ESPN Radio, the one constant is Dan Le Batard, but it’s going to be with a smaller platform. Going from three hours on national radio and television down to two looks like a demotion from the outside, and despite ESPN assuring him it’s not, Le Batard acknowledged the reduced time feels like a demotion. 

Being on vacation this week, Le Batard took time to pre-record a podcast addressing the reports and rumors about his show’s standing with ESPN. The 20-minute podcast was released Wednesday, after ESPN Radio’s new lineup became official. 

“I myself viewed it, and said to people above us ‘hey, this feels like a demotion,’ and the answer I’m getting is ‘no it’s not,’” Le Batard said near the start of the podcast. 

“If you guys are afraid of hurting my toddler feelings and you want to say it’s part of a digital push, I will agree with you once those resources come about that digital push that we’ve been promised,” he added. If ESPN is going to tout a reimagined emphasis on Le Batard’s show as a digital product, he wants to see them put effort into growing the platform. 

Cutting a third of Le Batard’s terrestrial show comes shortly after The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported ESPN Radio was considering removing the show from its lineup altogether. Le Batard quickly responded to that report in April, calling it weird, false and ridiculous. It seemed unlikely, considering he has more than two years left on his contract with ESPN, but after seeing his terrestrial content get cut by a third, Marchand’s story appears more plausible. 

While ESPN says making Le Batard’s third hour digital-only is not a demotion, it’s also not a promotion. But the shift comes as Le Batard, Stugotz and the Shipping Container already have a large digital following. He’s never shown a desire to just ‘stick to sports’ which usually doesn’t align with the thinking of ESPN, but The Worldwide Leader has exemplified a shift on that front recently. Moving an hour of his show off the terrestrial airwaves might inspire Le Batard to focus even less on adhering to the requests of Mickey Mouse. 

If ESPN is starting to transition Le Batard to their digital platform, he will have to decide if it’s the best location for his show going forward. Le Batard is the type of personality and show that could succeed on an all-digital platform. Joe Rogan recently landed a $100 million deal with Spotify, and The Ringer was sold to the same company for nearly $200 million earlier this year. If and when Le Batard puts his show on the open market, he’ll have other suitors.

Sports Radio News

Peter Rosenberg: Gio’s Rant ‘Gimmick Infringement’ of Don La Greca

The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay.

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The war of words between WFAN’s Boomer & Gio and 98.7 ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show continued Monday, with a quip from Peter Rosenberg about a rant from Gregg Giannotti.

Giannotti, a Vikings fan, was discussing his viewing situation during Monday morning’s show as the franchise played the New York Giants. His wife, two daughters, mother, mother-in-law, and best friend joined him to watch the Super Wild Card game, and the WFAN host detailed that the situation grew more tense with each passing moment due to comments made by those in attendance.

Giannotti eventually admitted to yelling at his friend, and jokingly shouted “Not the time, Louise!” after his mother-in-law commented about how good the Giants had gotten during a Saquon Barkley touchdown run.

The rant didn’t go unnoticed by Rosenberg, however, and he replied to Giannotti’s video clip of the segment by saying “Fake Don Lagrecca (sic) much? This is called gimmick infringement”.

The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay after walking back comments he made about getting a producer at the station fired by calling them “performance art”.

While criticising Kay, Giannotti could not identify Rosenberg, only calling him “whatever his face”.

“He’s gonna retire. It doesn’t matter whether you kiss his ass or not, it’s not gonna be the difference in you getting that job when he leaves,” Giannotti said of La Greca and Rosenberg. “Just stop it. Just stop kissing his ass.”

Rosenberg responded to the disapproval from Giannotti last week by tweeting “My favorite part of the trash talk from the guy on the fan is ‘pick on someone your own size Michael Kay… pick on me’…LOL who are you?!!!!”

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Sports Radio News

Jim Rome: Sad Paul Allen Is The Saddest Thing Ever

“Never mind letting yourselves down, never mind letting your employer down, never mind letting your fans down, you let the great P.A. down.”

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Jim Rome

One of Super Wild Card Weekend’s biggest upsets came in the Giants/Vikings game on Sunday afternoon, and Vikings radio voice Paul Allen obviously wasn’t thrilled about the final offensive play.

Jim Rome picked up on that listening to Allen’s call of Kirk Cousins finding T.J. Hockenson short of the line to gain, ending Minnesota’s season.

Rome said he hurt for Allen, who like many followers of the Vikings were shocked to see the second seed in the NFC playoffs bounced the first weekend.

“On the one hand sad P.A. is the saddest thing ever. I hate that so much,” Rome said Monday. “But he turns into pissed P.A. too. I mean that is a brutal way to lose. And what’s sadder than sad P.A.?”

Allen went viral halfway through the 2022-23 season, with his calls of a wild game against the Buffalo Bills on November 13. Allen went through a complete roller coaster of emotions as Buffalo fought to win 33-30 in overtime.

Rome added that he thought disappointing Allen was the worst of all for the NFC North champs.

“Never mind letting yourselves down, never mind letting your employer down, never mind letting your fans down, you let the great P.A. down,” he said.

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Sports Radio News

Angelo Cataldi: Could Al Michaels Just Quit Already?

“How do you go from ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ to “There’s a flag on the field’?”

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Angelo Cataldi has never been one to shy away from his feelings about any topic, and has been especially outspoken on his criticism of different broadcasters. Al Michaels was the target of Cataldi’s ire Monday morning for his lackluster performance during the Super Wild Card matchup on NBC Saturday.

“This is not easy for me. The man is an icon. I gotta tell ya, Al Michaels sucked the life out of the game he did,” Cataldi said. “This is the first thing I don’t understand: Al Michaels — even though now he’s on Amazon — still did an NBC game. They made sure he was getting one playoff game, but they didn’t bring the partner from Amazon, Kirk Herbstreit. They brought in someone who doesn’t do color analysis in Tony Dungy. I love Tony Dungy, but not in that role. Tony Dungy is bland and boring in that role. He was bland and boring and it was awful!

“It’s 27-0 and Al Michaels is in a bad mood. And Al Michaels is talking about the overtime rules, and he says ‘We won’t have to worry about that in this game’. He’s dissing the game! A few weeks ago, he went crazy on a bad game and just ripped it apart. He said ‘I’m not here to sell a used car’. He said this on the air! Then you get to the end of the game, it’s a thriller. A great comeback by Doug Pederson! The fourth down chances he takes, the brilliant decisions he makes. And they’re lining up for the field goal, and I want you to hear how he sucked the life out of the moment,” Cataldi said before playing the clip of Michaels’ game-winning call.

“The guy’s an icon!,” Cataldi shouted. “A Hall of Fame broadcaster, and he never even called the play! He never told you who won the game! It was unbelievably brutal! How do you go from ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ to ‘There’s a flag on the field’?”

Cataldi concluded by saying the 78-year-old Michaels needs to retire if that’s the best effort he can muster. The 94WIP host then compared the call from Michaels to that of Jaguars radio announcer Frank Frangie.

Michaels was not the only NFL announcer to feel Cataldi’s wrath Monday morning. He also criticized Tony Romo, as well as Daryl “Moose” Johnston, and Cris Collinsworth.

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