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Listeners Don’t Care If You’re Right

“It’s fun to be right, but if you’re really good at picking winners, you should spend more time at the Bellagio and less on the radio.”

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We used to be so much better about asking for someone in the industry, not regularly associated with the site, to share an opinion with our readers. It is something I am trying to do a better job with as we head towards 2022.

Today, Aaron Goldhammer of ESPN Cleveland has volunteered to share an observation with all of you. He used to fret over predictions gone wrong. Now, he could care less.

Aaron Goldhammer of WKNR's 'The Really Big Show' hits the nail on the head  (ouch) - cleveland.com
Courtesy: Cleveland.com

Somewhere along the way, a host that used to worry that his picks were spot on turned into the guy that would do anything for a laugh or to stay top of mind.

What changed? Why? He explains in this exclusive piece he wrote for BSM. Enjoy!


“With the 22nd pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select…”

Those words, from NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell, had a profound impact on the next few years of my career. I’d spent the previous nine months campaigning for the Browns to shed their perception as NFL Siberia, finally take a chance on a bona fide star, and draft Johnny Manziel. LeBron was long gone to Miami. All the SportsCenter producers had lost my phone number. Both Cleveland and I craved the spotlight. 

I realized the gaping hole in my logic sometime before Johnny donned a disguise and headed for Vegas while he was supposed to be preparing for the season finale. The Manziel Mafia disbanded. Fans wanted their pound of flesh: GM Ray Farmer, the homeless guy who legendarily told owner Jimmy Haslam to pull the trigger on the pick (true story), and that annoying radio host from Denver (me).

I was wrong.

Spectacularly. 

At first, my bruised ego didn’t want to admit that I went out on such a flimsy limb, but it became obvious and embarrassing. Farmer got fired. Did I deserve the same? Did I ruin my credibility? Would fans trust my quarterback acumen? What’s more important: being right or being memorable?

As I was navigating Browns coverage in the post-Manziel era, I vividly remember a key conversation with my radio partner and mentor, Tony Rizzo.

“There’s no giant scoreboard in the sky keeping track of your opinions,” Rizz said. “You don’t have to apologize for being yourself and saying what you think. Your takes are your takes.” 

It’s fun to be right, but if you’re really good at picking winners, you should spend more time at the Bellagio and less on the radio. Rizz made me realize that I never watched or listened to a show because the host made solid evaluations or accurate predictions. That’s ridiculous.

I want to hear a host that can bare their soul as a fan. I’m interested in the perspective they share and the way they interact with the audience. The color and detail they deploy in a story captivates. It’s about energy and passion and authenticity. 

I used to feel ashamed of my frigid cold take from the 2014 draft. Now, I wear it as a badge of honor. Fans still remember something I talked about seven years ago. Alas, I’d make a terrible NFL GM. But my support of Manziel stuck in the mind. It was entertaining, evocative, memorable, and terribly wrong.

Johnny Manziel cut by Cleveland Browns
Courtesy: AP

And that’s okay.   

Seven years later, I’m writing this piece in bed after an exhilarating day at work. The Browns won, keeping their playoff hopes alive against a division rival. Of course, I picked them to lose. Twitter let me have it. Tomorrow, Chris Oldach from our show will undoubtedly pull the sound and make fun of me. So be it. Chalk up another loss on that magic scoreboard in the sky. You know, the one no one pays attention to. 

Sports Radio News

Mason & Ireland Ink Contract Extensions with ESPN Los Angeles

The pair signed a multi-year contract and that will ensure they continue to be the longest-running duo in L.A.

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Mason and Ireland

The long-running West Coast sounds of Mason & Ireland will continue. The pair signed a multi-year contract and that will ensure they continue to be the longest-running duo for ESPN Los Angeles.

Steve Mason and John Ireland have been on-and-off partners in radio since 1992.

Mason said of the extension, “I love L.A. sports and I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I really appreciate ESPN and our new owner Good Karm Brands. We’ve got a really good team on Mason & Ireland with producer Greg Bergman and associate producer Jorge Briones. And I especially love doing the show every day with John Ireland, my friend of 30 years.”

Ireland also has a statement that read, “It’s both an honor and a privilege to continue this ride with ESPN. During the course of our last deal, the Lakers, Rams and Dodgers all won titles. Obviously, we were able to mistakenly convince our bosses that we had something to do with that, so they’re letting us continue. Please, nobody tell them.”

Mason & Ireland airs weekdays from 1-4p PT on 710 ESPN in Los Angeles.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Francesa and Phil Mushnick Lock Horns Over Golf Bets

That led to a Mushnick article lambasting the “soothsayer of colossal doom”. Mushnick continued to attack Francesa and claiming his legacy was as a “self-deluded, boastful blowhard”.

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Phil Mushnick of The New York Post, is no fan of Mike Francesa. The latest bout between the two was triggered by a series of erroneous golf bets that Francesa has given out in each of the last three majors.

Francesa, on his podcast with BetRivers Network, told folks that the best bet to win the Masters was Brooks Koepka. The best bet to win the PGA Championship was Scottie Scheffler. He also said the best bet to win The U.S. Open was Cameron Smith. Neither won. Neither even made the cut.

That led to a Mushnick article lambasting the “soothsayer of colossal doom”. Mushnick continued to attack Francesa and claimed his legacy was as a “self-deluded, boastful blowhard”. 

Francesa heard about, or read, the piece and responded on Twitter, calling Mushnick “sad, pathetic” and said that Mushnick’s writings make him look “like the jealous old man that he is”.

Moments later, Francesa tweeted again, “Ask him to add up how much the horses I own have won the past two years. What a complete, obsessed fool.”

As AMNY points out, these two have rammed horns before.

Mushnick once said he had alleged tapes of Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo demanding loyalty oaths from Jews after 9/11.

The writer would also accuse Francesa of fighting with his then-boss Mark Chernoff, after losing to ESPN New York’s Michael Kay in ratings, an accusation Francesa denies.

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Sports Radio News

Luke Kuechly Joins the Carolina Panthers Radio Broadcast 

“I just love the Panthers; I love being around it,” Kuechly told Panthers.com. “I love the people. I think I want to be attached to the team, and the game, and the organization somehow.”

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Listen to Luke

The Carolina Panthers radio booth just added another piece to their crew for the 2022 season. Luke Kuechly, the retired linebacker who spent his entire eight-year career with the Panthers, will be an analyst this season.

“I just love the Panthers; I love being around it,” Kuechly told Panthers.com. “I love the people. I think I want to be attached to the team, and the game, and the organization somehow. I think it could be a lot of fun. I think that’s the biggest reason, to do something around the game on game day that’s fun. You still get the atmosphere, and all the good memories I have here in Carolina.”

Kuechly will join the three-man Panthers radio broadcast with play-by-play announcer Anish Shroff and two other former Panthers who call some but not all of their games, Jordan Gross and Jake Delhomme. Kuechly will be a part of the broadcast team for seven of the team’s games. Jim Szoke is the third man in the booth for the games Kuechly doesn’t call.

The Panthers have already announced which games Kuechly will broadcast. He will call Week 1 at home vs. Cleveland, Week 4 vs. Arizona, Week 5 vs. San Francisco, Week 7 vs. Tampa Bay, Week 9 on the road at Cincinnati, Week 12 vs. Denver and Week 15 vs. Pittsburgh.

The Panthers have made several broadcast changes this offseason. It includes a new flagship television partner and a new flagship radio partner as well.

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