With the departure of Steve Somers from WFAN, along with the implementation of new premium subscription services, such as The Athletic and ESPN+, WFAN welcomed sports media columnist for The New York Post Andrew Marchand to the program to talk about the latest happenings across the industry. The conversation centered around a foray into the concept of “Post Sports+,” a new paid subscription service being offered by The New York Post which is being branded as “A whole new ball game for The Best Sports in Town.” Many of Marchand’s columns about the latest news in sports media are available to read for free on The New York Post website, and he often tweets about the latest news in the industry on his own personal Twitter page, making his role within the service seem, at least to the hosts of Boomer and Gio, confounding.
“I read the New York Post sports section every day,” said Gregg Gianotti. “I think it’s some of the best reporting that we have in the City… I’m a guy who is consuming your stuff every single day. The stuff that is Post Sports+ I wouldn’t touch with somebody else’s eyes… If you’re going to do Post Sports+, why not put the good stuff behind the paywall?”
Marchand explained the strategy being enacted by The New York Post to augment its revenue stream.
“I think what we’re doing is more additive,” said Marchand. “[For] people that have read the Post online previously, nothing’s changed. If you like sports media, I’m now doing a Monday newsletter all about sports media [where] I’m trying to give you more in terms of inside the business. That’s extra, and part of your monthly subscription… Obviously, what we’re trying to do is add revenue, but do it without taking that core business where we’re getting millions of people every day who come to the website.”
Marchand continued to elaborate on the strategy when pressed by Giannotti regarding just who this subscription service was appealing to, ostensibly positing that it is an effort to ensure that The New York Post stays around for another 220 years.
“You’re not getting everybody,” elucidated Marchand. “That’s not how a subscription works. If you get one out of 10 people, then you have a chance at success. Because of the digital world, [distribution] has changed. Back in the day, The New York Post could only reach as far as the trucks would drive. Now [with] distribution, you can reach around the world. I don’t know our demographics of Post Sports+, but in theory, when you look at a subscription site, you get a certain amount that’s additive revenue to The New York Post, and that’s the idea behind it.”
Show co-host and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason then chimed in on the discussion, discerning what he does when WFAN asks him to participate in extra station activities, such as meeting with sponsors, in a lighthearted exchange.
“I wouldn’t really do a lot,” said Esiason. “I used to do a lot. No more — I just tell them to go eff off and leave me alone… No, I’m just kidding.”
“That might have worked with [Mark] Chernoff, but is that going to work with Spike Eskin?,” questioned Marchand, generating laughter in the studios at 345 Hudson St.
Esiason then spoke about the burden it is for him to be bothered by multiple subscription services from The New York Post; that is, having to subscribe to both the paper itself and Post Sports+ to get a full plethora of stories. He believes the paper is making a mistake in this regard, and, as a writer, Marchand agrees.
“I’ve asked about that because I actually agree with you on that one,” said Marchand. “I’ve been told that they’re working on that. I tend to agree that there should be some sort of deal there — [maybe] if you’re paying for The New York Post app, maybe you get Post Sports+?”
Whatever the future holds for Post Sports+, Marchand figures to be covering the world of sports media across multiple platforms, aligning with the approach many sectors of traditional and digital media are beginning to take in producing and distributing their content to the largest audience possible.
UConn Basketball’s Mike Crispino Less Critical of Referees As Official Himself
“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this. Because I realize how hard it is.”
While basketball broadcasters may not have as contentious a relationship with referees as coaches, players, and fans, part of calling the action can involve criticizing a call. And with broadcasters typically positioned at courtside, there is certainly more opportunity for exchanges with officials than in football or hockey, for example.
But as David Borges writes in a feature for CT Insider, UConn men’s basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Crispino might go a bit easier on referees than his colleagues. And that’s because Crispino works as a referee himself when he’s not at the mic, officiating high school basketball and baseball games in Connecticut
Crispino has been a referee for 12 years and says it completely changed how he viewed officiating while calling play-by-play for the New York Knicks and UConn Huskies. Prior to donning the stripes, he would often question calls during a broadcast.
“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this,” Crispino told Borges. “Because I realize how hard it is. It’s not easy. You’re on-call all the time. You’ve got to have two hours of being sharp. You can’t get lazy, you can’t get distracted, you can’t listen to too many people barking about stuff. You have to be on it. Otherwise, you’re not doing the service that you’re getting paid to do.”
Despite having the perspective of a working referee, Crispino — who’s been broadcasting UConn men’s basketball for the past four years — still gets caught up in the moment and questions certain calls, sometimes with the officials standing right in front of him.
Unlike broadcasting, where young announcers are always trying to break into the industry, Crispino is concerned about the future of officiating. He says fewer people work as referees because of stories about angry parents and coaches.
Of course, Crispino has also experienced such exchanges from the other side with high school coaches disputing his calls as a referee. But he’s only issued one ejection during his officiating career, along with just a few technical fouls. Seeing referees work at the college and NBA levels as a broadcaster has helped him understand how to deal with such situations. That perspective has clearly been beneficial in both jobs.
Pat McAfee Irritated At Fans’ ‘Throw Rogan’ Nickname For Aaron Rodgers
“His haters got very loud.”
Many NFL fans, both casual and diehard, were ready with jeers and nicknames for Aaron Rodgers following the Green Bay Packers’ 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s NFL divisional playoff game.
As Pat McAfee pointed out on his show Monday, fans were eager to throw insults at Rodgers, waiting for the opportunity like a batter waiting for the ideal pitch to hit.
“People were sitting on ‘Throw Rogan,'” said McAfee, who naturally supported the person who appears on The Pat McAfee Show every week and made those conversations must-see viewing.
That particular nickname is a play on Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host whose advice Rodgers followed for batting COVID-19. As Rogan recommended, Rodgers took the drug Ivermectin, which is typically used to treat roundworms and other parasites.
McAfee cited last week’s ESPN.com feature on Rodgers by Kevin Van Valkenburg in which the reporter detailed the turn perception has taken toward the Packers QB this season and Rodgers’ strident belief in himself as a free thinker and intellectual.
Co-host A.J. Hawk agreed, adding another popular nickname posted to social media Saturday. “QAaron Rodgers” mocks the quarterback’s stated belief in conspiracy theories regarding the vaccine.
On the field, the Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and considered in prime position to advance to the Super Bowl. Rodgers will likely win the NFL Most Valuable Player award (despite some voters feeling otherwise) for the second consecutive season after passing for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns (to just seven interceptions), while completing 68.9 percent of his throws and leading Green Bay to a 13-4 regular-season record.
But off the field, Rodgers gained national notoriety and became a controversial figure for his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodgers refused to get vaccinated, which put him at odds with many throughout the country. But what became the subject of national outrage and discussion was the quarterback giving the impression that he’d been vaccinated by saying he was “immunized” against the virus.
That turned many people against Rodgers for the past three months and those fans took delight from him losing in the playoffs. (The quarterback also lost some fans for trying to force a trade during the offseason and it’s possible Rodgers played his final game in Green Bay on Saturday.) And they flooded social media with nicknames.
“His haters got very loud,” said McAfee. “But I will say, I don’t think he has a lot of haters in general managers around the NFL on whether or not they can get him in the building.”
The trade rumors will begin gaining heat soon. Will fans tossing out derisive nicknames right now — especially those supporting the Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Saints, and Steelers — eventually embrace him as their quarterback? You know the answer to that.
Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI (Update)
“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”
Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.
Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.
In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.
In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.
On Monday, Jeff Rickard took to Twitter to update fans and followers on his situation. He did not have anything negative to say about WEEI, Audacy, or anyone involved with him coming to Boston. He even noted that this move is likely what is best for him and his family.
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