Sports Radio News
Michael Eaves: “Stephen A. Smith Is The Modern-Day Howard Cosell”
The ESPN Anchor appeared on “The Jake Asman Show on SportsMap Radio”
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.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Sports Radio News
Stephen Strom Leaves Barrett Sports Media For Miami Marlins Radio Role
“Earlier this month, the team announced that Kyle Sielaf was moving from the studio host role into the broadcast booth.”
It is always a good day when Barrett Sports Media gets to congratulate one of our own. Stephen Strom made his debut Thursday as the studio host of Miami Marlins baseball coverage on 940 WINZ in Miami.
Strom came to BSM in 2022 to host the Sports Talkers Podcast. The show delivered 33 episodes and was consistently one of the best performers on the BSM Podcast Network.
Prior to announcing his new role in Major League Baseball, Stephen Strom served as a broadcast assistant for the Miami Heat, working with the team’s television voice Eric Reid. He also called games for Nova Southeastern and Florida International universities.
The new gig means Strom is leaving Barrett Sports Media. That means, unfortunately, that the Sports Talkers Podcast is coming to an end.
“Stephen is a bulldog. I am not surprised he landed this opportunity,” BSM Content Director Demetri Ravanos said. “I could not be more proud of him. This is just another significant step in what I am betting will be a long, successful broadcasting career for him.”
Earlier this month, the team announced that Kyle Sielaf was moving from the studio host role into the broadcast booth. He replaces Glenn Geffner, who had been on Marlins’ radio broadcasts for the previous 15 years.
“One of the great rewards of running Barrett Media is being able to give a platform to talented people and seeing them take advantage of the opportunity,” said Barrett Media President Jason Barrett. “Stephen Strom has done an outstanding job for us with the Sports Talkers Podcast and though we hate to lose him because he’s become someone we hold in high regard, I couldn’t be happier to see him advance his career, and take the next step with the Miami Marlins.”
Sports Radio News
Travis Rodgers: Angels Radio Broadcast ‘Is a Giant Middle Finger to Fans’
“You’re telling your fans ‘I’m 100% okay with giving you a product that is less than 28 other teams out there.”
The Los Angeles Angels are not going to get much slack on ESPN Los Angeles. The station may be a radio partner of the team, but that doesn’t mean the hosts are required to agree with the team’s decision regarding its radio broadcast.
In 2023, only the Angels and Toronto Blue Jays will keep their broadcast teams from traveling to away games. Team owner Artie Moreno said at a press conference that the broadcast experience does not justify the cost.
Thursday on ESPN Los Angeles, Travis & Sliwa blasted the team saying they were sending a very clear message to the fans.
“It is a giant middle finger to your fans,” Travis Rodgers said. “You’re telling your fans that listen to the games on the radio, particularly here in California where we have such a strong car culture, where people are in their cars a lot. We all commute. We’re all stuck in traffic, and if you’re a baseball fan, there is something very pleasant about listening to a baseball game on the radio.”
An article in The Athletic estimates that it would cost $200,000 for the team’s radio crew to travel to away games. Instead, Terry Smith and Mark Langston will stay back in Anaheim and call the action from the television feed.
Allen Sliwa is pleasantly surprised that the Angels are in the minority. He said that he expected between fifteen and twenty percent of Major League Baseball teams would quit sending broadcasters to away games after the Covid-19 pandemic changed the 2020 season.
Rodgers, on the other hand, was incensed by the amount of money Moreno is apparently trying to save.
“$200,000. Anthony Rendon makes $38 million per year,” he said.
Sliwa said the Angels’ radio broadcasts will feel like the MLB Playoffs that happened in a bubble in Texas in 2020 when so few people were in the stands. It was hard to feel any real energy at home. Rodgers said that on top of that, the broadcast will simply have a lower standard than those of other teams because there is so much that a broadcaster gains simply by being with the team on the road.
“You’re around the team. You’re with the players. You’re with the coaches. You’re with the executives.,” Rodgers said. “You learn things. You can add color to your broadcasts that you’re not gonna get if you’re around them half as much as your contemporaries and your colleagues. You’re telling your fans ‘I’m 100% okay with giving you a product that is less than 28 other teams out there. You don’t matter to me to give you the best experience possible when you’re listening to your favorite team on the radio because I want to save $200,000.’ That’s a rounding error in the economics of baseball.”
Sports Radio News
Ken Carman: NCAA Women’s Tournament Seeing Higher Ratings Isn’t An Indictment on NBA or ESPN
“Women’s basketball is a much bigger deal than it used to be, and is a much more popular sport than it used to be.”
A television ratings report earlier this week revealed that ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament game between Iowa and Louisville garnered 2.5 million viewers. That number is higher than any NBA game broadcast on the channel this season, but 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman believes that doesn’t necessarily mean the NBA is seeing a downturn on the Worldwide Leader.
“People know those NBA players, even though a lot of them are sitting on the bench, but it’s women’s basketball and we know women’s basketball gets a fraction of the love in this country,” co-host Anthony Lima said. “She’s not in the same stratosphere as those NBA guys.”
“It’s playoffs versus regular season, and I’m just not surprised,” Ken Carman countered, arguing that NBA games on a random Friday night have a different feel and energy to them compared to an Elite Eight contest.
“ESPN does a good job of promoting (the women),” Carman continued.
“Is this more about the statement of the women’s game or more of a statement about the NBA, where it has gotten stale and become an afterthought?” Lima questioned.
“Both these things can be true,” argued Carman. “The regular season in the NBA — they’re not sitting there talking about a mid-season tournament for nothing. People don’t care about the regular season, and they want people to care about the regular season. And women’s basketball is a much bigger deal than it used to be, and is a much more popular sport than it used to be.”
Carman concluded by saying that the NBA playoff games will have high television ratings, like always, and that comparisons of the two audiences simply boils down to regular season viewing against playoff viewing.
The 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on ESPN has garnered record highs this year, with first round viewership growing 27% compared to last year.