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John Clayton, Tom Wassell and Jim Moore Out At 710 ESPN Seattle

“The cuts were a mandate by 710’s parent company, Bonneville International and are considered a direct result of declining ad revenue during the global pandemic.”

Brandon Contes

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As COVID-19 cases are ramping up again throughout the country, so too are cost-cutting moves in the sports media industry. 

On Thursday, Bonneville’s 710 ESPN Seattle announced a round of layoffs, leading to another shake-up within their lineup which has seen multiple changes in the last 15 months. On-air personalities John Clayton, Tom Wassell and Jim Moore were let go, as were behind-the-scenes contributors Matt Taylor and Scott Blumenfeld. 

According to the director of programming for Bonneville Seattle Mike Salk, the cost-cutting moves are a direct result of declining ad revenue during the economic downturn stemming from COVID-19. Salk, who previously hosted morning drive for 710 accepted responsibility for the personnel changes, but by no means were these moves he wanted to make.

“Horrible day at 710 today. Hardest we’ve had. The financial effects of this virus caught up with us in a big way and that caused three great people to be laid off,” Salk wrote on Twitter. “I understand if you are upset by the changes. I take responsibility for it. One of the best things about radio is the relationship that forms between hosts and audience. It’s unique and real. We feel it just as much as you do. And it makes days like today even harder.”

For Clayton, this is the second time he’s been laid off in recent years. With 710, Clayton had been hosting their late morning show, but he previously spent a near quarter-century as an NFL reporter for ESPN. Clayton was part of a 2017 round of layoffs by ESPN which announced another 300 cuts last week. 

According to the Seattle Times, Clayton will continue working as a sideline reporter for Seahawks games on KIRO. Replacing Clayton on his late morning show will be Paul Gallant, who will host a solo hour from 10 – 11am. Gallant will continue to host 710’s morning show alongside Danny O’Neil. 

The 710 ESPN midday show will shift its timeslot up an hour, now filling the 11am – 2pm block, but they’ll do so without co-host Tom Wassell who was laid off Thursday after about a decade with the station. Stacy Jo Rost and Jake Heaps will continue as co-hosts of the show. Prior to working as a full-time host on 710, Wassell served as a producer for Brock and Salk

Jim Moore is a longtime radio personality on 710, spending most of the last decade as co-host of their afternoon show. Without Moore, Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman will continue in afternoons for 710, extending their show by an hour, now airing from 2 – 6pm. 

Sports Radio News

Charles Barkley: ‘I Want to Be on TV Less’

“His contract with Warner Bros. Discovery runs through 2024-25.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Charles Barkley

It’s possible you could see Charles Barkley appearing occasionally on CNN.

Reports from The Wall Street Journal and Variety this week indicate the cable news network is close to finishing a deal that would have Gayle King on the network. Rumors have said that the network would like to have Barkley join her, but Barkley says nothing is decided on his end.

In an appearance on Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports on Tuesday, the Suns legend and NBA on TNT analyst said he and King are friends so this wouldn’t be a situation where the duo would be coming in green.

“I’ve gotten to know her well through the years through my relationship with Oprah (Winfrey) and she’s just cool,” Barkley said. “I said, ‘I would consider doing a show with Gayle, one day a week starting in the fall.'”

But Barkley, 60, reiterated what he’s made known for a while now: he doesn’t plan on sticking around in the TV business for too much longer. His contract with Warner Bros. Discovery runs through 2024-25. So this CNN opportunity could be pretty limited in scope, which is what Charles desired.

“It’ll only be one day a week if I decide to do it,” Barkley said. “I said, ‘No, I don’t want to be on TV more. I want to be on TV less.'”

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Sports Radio News

John Kincade: Thursday Night Football Flex Vote About ‘Licking Jeff Bezos’s Boots’

“For these billionaires to be licking his boots? Embarrassing. They can’t do this. It’s obnoxious.”

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John Kincade

A report claims that at the NFL owners meetings, a proposal to give the league the ability to implement flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football was proposed. 97.5 The Fanatic’s John Kincade was flabbergasted at the idea.

The proposal would allow the NFL to move scheduled games in the final weeks of the season from Sunday to Thursday. The league would also have to change the rule that teams could only play one Thursday Night Football game per season to accommodate the change.

During The John Kincade Show Tuesday, the host claimed that even considering the idea was simply a matter of the owners kowtowing to Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, whose company — Prime Video — broadcasts the package.

“They’re licking Jeff Bezos’s boots,” Kincade said. “I can only imagine buddies running trips and fans go ‘Ok, I’m going to the Eagles game on Sunday. I’m flying in Friday, spend two nights in a hotel, and fly out Monday’. Oh no you’re not, the game’s been moved to Thursday night. This is freaking ridiculous, and shining Bezos’s shoes is freaking embarrassing. For these billionaires to be licking his boots? Embarrassing. They can’t do this. It’s obnoxious.”

Kincade continued by marvelling at the idea even being floated to the public.

“To me, it’s just such a dumb idea. But sometimes those things happen in sports.”

The 97.5 The Fanatic host is not the only sports media member who has shared their displeasure with the proposal this week. Monday Morning Quarterback’s Peter King aired similar sentiments, saying “We can all agree this seems insane.”

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Sports Radio News

Mike Francesa: BetRivers Podcast Is Enough For Me Right Now

“I’ve had a couple offers in the last couple of months. I’ve turned them all down. Anybody that’s asked me for steady work or to do something Monday through Friday I’ve said no.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Mike Francesa

If you were hoping to catch Mike Francesa hosting a daily TV or radio show in the future, that ship has likely sailed.

Asked by a listener on his Mike Francesa Podcast if he would go back to doing a show on television similar to his Mike’d Up program on NBC New York, Francesa said it’s not in his future.

“I would doubt it,” he said on his Monday episode. “At this point, I’m not as visible. So it wouldn’t make as much sense as having me now as it would then. And frankly, I’m doing what I do now, and I love doing it.”

Francesa reunited with his former WFAN co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on ESPN’s First Take back in January, but Mike said the podcast he’s doing for the BetRivers Network checks all the boxes of what he’s looking for work-wise at the moment.

“It’s actually enough,” he said. “I’ve had a couple offers in the last couple of months. I’ve turned them all down. Anybody that’s asked me for steady work or to do something Monday through Friday I’ve said no.”

“It would have to be something very unusual for me to do on a regular basis,” he added.

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