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Michael Eaves: “Stephen A. Smith Is The Modern-Day Howard Cosell”

The ESPN Anchor appeared on “The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

Stephen A. Smith is a part of this weekend’s UFC 264 broadcast, and his partner on the desk is thrilled to have him. ESPN anchor Michael Eaves appeared on The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio this week and had some glowing comments about his ESPN teammate.

Smith has come under fire from UFC fans and even Joe Rogan himself for how he’s analyzed the sport in the past.

Here is what people have to understand, Stephen A. Smith is the modern-day Howard Cosell,” Eaves said on the guest appearance. “Ok, Howard Cosell was an attorney, and all of the sudden, he became a sportscaster. So was he from the boxing world? No. Was he covering boxing on ABC? Yes. Was he from the football world, did he play football? No. Was he in the Monday Night Football booth? Yes. That’s who Stephen A. Smith is.”

The highest-paid media personality at ESPN has earned that money over the years and then some. Smith is seemingly everywhere, all the time, on the network because he brings people in and draws interest. Gravitas like that is especially important to a growing brand like the UFC, which is the main attraction for ESPN+.

“He is polarizing because he has an opinion on everything; you’re not going to make everybody happy,” Eaves continued. “The thing that I find interesting the most about the MMA fans being mad at Stephen A. Smith… What Stephen A. said was right, [about the Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone – Conor McGregor fight] people just didn’t want to hear it because they took it as a diss to Cowboy Cerrone.”

Smith criticized the level of opponent McGregor faced in Cerrone following his 40 second KO victory over the UFC workhorse at UFC 246 last January. The only UFC fight that McGregor has won since 2016. Check out the full conversation with Asman and Eaves here as the anchor prepares for all of the octagon-action from Las Vegas this Saturday.

Sports Radio News

Sarah Spain Leaving ESPN Radio

Spain had been with ESPN Radio for 12 years, hosting shows nationally over the course of the last eight. She began her radio career in 2010 at ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN Radio host Sarah Spain will be hanging up the headphones for the worldwide leader, the host announced Monday.

Spain revealed on Twitter that her last show with Spain and Fitz co-host Jason Fitz will be on December 1.

Spain had been with ESPN Radio for 12 years, hosting shows nationally over the course of the last eight. She began her radio career in 2010 at ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

Spain added that she’ll remain at ESPN, so she’s not leaving completely, but more details of what’s next for her at the company will be coming soon.

She reminisced about her time on the network with photos of several iterations of her evening shows.

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Sports Radio News

Laurence Holmes: Ben Watson Let Peter Burns Know He Was Out of Line

“You just let him understand that he went too far, and you had to yoke him up a little bit and grab him in his collar.”

Jordan Bondurant

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SEC Network analyst Ben Watson didn’t take kindly to a joke made by Peter Burns on the air over the weekend, and it was evident. Watson and Burns have appeared to put the exchange behind them, with Watson saying Burns owes his wife an apology.

On Chicago’s 670 The Score, host Laurence Holmes said while it’s unclear whether Watson laid hands on Burns during the commercial break, Burns needed to learn that his joke was too much.

“I feel like this is what we like to call a correction,” Holmes said. “You just let him understand that he went too far, and you had to yoke him up a little bit and grab him in his collar.”

“Had he been punched or slapped by Benjamin Watson, they couldn’t have taken that picture together without us actually seeing the remnants,” he added.

While the hatchet appears to be buried, Holmes thinks Burns will give it a second thought before taking things to a more personal level.

“I hope that it was just one of those moments that now Peter knows that he was out of line,” he said. “He stepped over a line and maybe he got told to not do that anymore.”

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Sports Radio News

Matt Volk to Exit BetQL, Mitch Rosen and Danny Freisinger Earn Internal Promotions

“SVP of Sports Matthew Volk will be leaving the company.”

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Behind the scenes changes are coming to the BetQL network. The Audacy owned sports betting operation will have different leadership in place to guide day to day strategy and execution entering 2023.

In an internal note sent out earlier by Audacy EVP of Programming Jeff Sottolano, it was revealed that SVP of Sports Matthew Volk will be leaving the company. Volk has been offered a C-level position back home in Boston which allows him to return to his first love, sports television.  

Sottolano said of Volk’s exit, “It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that Matt Volk will be leaving Audacy at the end of this year. I hired Matt less than two years ago primarily to oversee the build out of our BetQL Network. He has done exactly that, helped cement a long term investment from BetMGM in the network and led the successful launch – surrounded by a talented team – of our 2400Sports podcast network this year.”

To help fill the void, Sottolano shared that Danny Freisinger will be elevated to VP of Sports and have operational oversight of the 2400Sports podcast network. The former 95.7 The Game Assistant Program Director and ESPN 1320 PD will also lead the company’s sports editorial and video content teams and team with Sports Format VP Spike Eskin on new multi-platform content development for internal and external distribution platforms. Sottolano added that 2400Sports VP/Executive Producer Lena Glaser will remain in charge of prestige/national podcast shows, talent and content development.

Additionally, 670 The Score PD Mitch Rosen will be elevated from Director of Operations to VP of the BetQL Network. Part of his responsibility will include overseeing BetQL Brand Manager Andrew Williams and leading the network’s team of talent, producers and writers. Sottolano also said shared that Rosen will work closely with Mike Dee to grow the network’s sports book relationships and increase external distribution of the network. His involvement with BetQL will not affect his status as The Score’s brand manager.

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