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Ariel Helwani: ‘Working At ESPN Wasn’t What I Thought It Would Be’

“One of the good things about going to a place like ESPN is that people view you in a different way.”

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Sometimes, when we get that dream job in the media industry or meet someone that we looked up to for years as kids, the experience is not always what we had envisioned it to be. That was the case for Ariel Helwani while he was at ESPN, but he was able to make the most of his situation.

Helwani was a guest on the most recent episode of The Adam Schein PodcastHe mentioned always wanting to work at ESPN when he was a kid. But as he started actually working there, something wasn’t right:

“My dream, as is the dream for a lot of people, was to work at ESPN,” Helwani told Schein. “I grew up idolizing ESPN as a brand and looking up to all those guys like Stuart Scott, Rich Eisen, Chris Berman. This was my life.

“I’m very thankful and grateful for the experience. But it wasn’t, if I’m being honest, what I thought it was going to be. There was some disappointment in that initially, but I was able to turn that disappointment into excitement and opportunities.”

While there was some disillusionment, having ESPN on his resume did help Helwani as he got into future endeavors because now he felt he could do different things for different people.

“Leaving ESPN has been incredible because thankfully, one of the good things about going to a place like ESPN is that people view you in a different way,” he said. “I’m still the same guy, but you’re now the former ESPN guy. You get a lot of opportunities and people want to work with you.

“What was great about my situation was I realized I didn’t want to be exclusive. I wanted to cut up my services into a puzzle and I would do this for these people and that for these people and everyone was okay playing in the sandbox. I have freedom. I have my voice back. I was feeling censored. I was feeling stifled. I don’t have to worry about that stuff anymore. I haven’t been this happy in quite some time.”

One of the things that helps Helwani in trying to grow his brand is that he takes in a lot of sports media. He tries to apply that to what he does because he realizes his responsibility to the audience.

“I’m not a big ‘J’ journalist, but I feel like we have an incredible responsibility to the audience,” Helwani explained.

“They come to us for the facts, news, and entertainment as well, and I don’t want to BS them. I think what helps me is I consume a lot of media. I’m obsessed with sports media. I listen to you while I’m driving my kids to and from school, I listen to WFAN here or 98.7 FM or SIRIUS, I listen to everything. I know what I want as a viewer or listener and I want to be the best version of that in my little world as well.”

In fact, one of the people who helped Helwani early in his career was Schein. He told a story that Schein never heard before. When he was at Syracuse, Helwani contacted Schein for advice and the now SIRIUSXM host took it a step further.

“2003, they tell me to go to the Student Center and there is a computer there,” said Helwani. “You can type in whichever industry you want to work in within broadcasting, media. Network, whichever person you want to connect with, all within the NewHouse family.

“It actually worked. I got an internship at HBO Sports as a result of that. However, I typed in your name and your contact info came up. I emailed you and you called me as you were filling up your car with gas. I get a cold call from you and you were like, ‘Hey, man I got your email.’ I was a junior, a total nobody. You were the only one and I emailed everyone. You gave me advice about careers and life outside.”

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Dave Portnoy Tells Business Insider CEO He Is ‘Piece Of S*** Coward’

“Despite objections from the moderator, Dave Portnoy got out his entire question before his mic was muted.”

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Dave Portnoy is not going to move on from his hate of Business Insider. The Barstool founder joined a Twitter Spaces session on Thursday night where the public had a chance to talk to Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget.

The event was hosted by the New York Times. Blodget was part of a panel discussing issues facing the business community.

“So yeah, I saw that piece of shit Henry Blodget’s on there,” Portnoy said when his mic went live. “My first question’s why would a piece of shit who’s been banned by the SEC from talking about stocks be on there. My second question is hey Henry, you f***ing coward, you know everything you wrote about me was bullshit. Why don’t you ever sit down with me you f***ing piece of shit coward. That’s my question.”

Despite objections from the moderator, Dave Portnoy got out his entire question before his mic was muted. No answer came. The moderator apologized to Blodget and ended the event.

The accusations of Blodget being banned by the SEC from discussing financial advice are true. Portnoy was referncing fraud charges that Blodget settled in 2003 when he was a Wall Street analyst.

Business Insider has ran a salacious piece about Portnoy’s sex life in November. It included accusations of misconduct from three women that claimed consensual sexual encounters with Portnoy took a dark turn without their consent.

Dave Portnoy has maintained the story is not true. He has also threatened to sue Blodget, Business Insider and the story’s author Julia Black.

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Mile High Sports Acquires Colorado Preps

“Mile High Sports adds Colorado Preps to a portfolio that includes a radio brand broadcasting on 98.1 FM and 107.5 FM HD-3 in Denver, a magazine, and MileHighSports.com.”

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Mile High Sports has acquired the Colorado Preps brand, including ColoradoPreps.com and the company’s radio and podcast networks. The deal is effective immediately.

“I am proud of what we’ve accomplished through 19 years of the Colorado Preps Network and very excited about the future with Mile High Sports,” said Kevin Shaffer, owner and founder of Colorado Preps. “The MHS crew is poised to bring additional and expanded coverage to high school sports across the state and we’re honored to stay involved with the network and help its growth.”

He will remain on the staff and continue hosting and producing radio and digital shows.

“With the elimination of the Rocky Mountain News, and shrinking budgets across most news outlets, local high school sports coverage has often and unfortunately become the casualty,” said Mile High Sports Editor-in-Chief Doug Ottewill. “But there will always be kids playing sports and parents wanting to read about those kids playing sports. I think ColoradoPreps.com fills a need and a niche that will never go away, no matter what’s happening on the bigger sports landscape in Colorado.”

Mile High Sports adds Colorado Preps to a portfolio that includes a radio brand broadcasting on 98.1 FM and 107.5 FM HD-3 in Denver, a magazine, and MileHighSports.com.

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Barstool Sports To Eliminate Some Podcasts

“We almost created a model where we started with all the resources, we didn’t start with the idea or the people and as a result, we have a lot of things that weren’t necessarily going in the right places.”

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Barstool Sports is doing some internal re-organizing. As a result, some shows are being cancelled.

Talking on her podcast Token CEO, Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini said the company has looked under the hood the past few months and are trying to clean things up.

Nardini also stated that the company’s spending needs to be reined in. She feels like too much has been invested in content that hasn’t been delivered, and creative freedom has become more of a curse than a blessing.

“We almost created a model where we started with all the resources, we didn’t start with the idea or the people and as a result, we have a lot of things that weren’t necessarily going in the right places,” she said.

In the podcast space, Barstool has 94 different offerings to choose from. Nardini said it’s just become too much, and they’re going to have to scale things back.

“No company of our size should have 94 shows,” she said. “What was my mistake and our mistake? We treated all 94 shows equal.”

Nardini realizes that means tough decisions are going to have to be made. Good, talented people will either have to move on or their jobs will be re-purposed.

“I’m bummed that it impacts people’s jobs,” she said. “I think that is a really, really serious thing when a role gets impacted and things change. You have to take that with a little bit of a heavy heart.”

Erika didn’t specify which shows, in particular, would be getting the ax, but it’s believed that the show Podfathers will be among them.

Show co-hosts Michael McCarthy aka “Large” and Justin Clemenza aka “Clem” took to Twitter and to the Barstool blog to announce the parenting podcast was no more.

Jordan Demcher aka “Jordie” tweeted a couple of thoughts on the situation but then clarified his podcast would carry on.

Keep your eyes on social media over the next few days for more details on this situation from Barstool’s personalities.

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