As Super Bowl Sunday draws closer by the minute, various sports radio stations from around the country have taken their broadcasts on the road to Radio Row to interview guests, catch up with old friends, and feel the anticipation and excitement before kickoff.
This year’s matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams marks the first time the city of Los Angeles has hosted the Super Bowl since 1993 when the Dallas Cowboys won the championship at the Rose Bowl. Additionally, the Rams will try to become the first Los Angeles-based team to win a Super Bowl since the John Madden-led Los Angeles Raiders took home the championship in 1983.
With some signs of normalcy beginning to return throughout society, the buzz in the “City of Angels” is quite palpable both inside and outside of the area. Ryan Clark, a former NFL safety and current analyst on ESPN, joined The Pat & Aaron Show on 95.3 WDAE Tampa Bay, and spoke about the atmosphere not only surrounding “The Big Game” on Sunday, but also that of the week as a whole.
“It’s absolutely bonkers – it truly is,” said Clark, who won a Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. “You can see how excited everyone is… to at least almost feel normal. Other than the masks, we get to move around and convene and have different events like we normally do.”
Clark has always cherished the week leading up to the Super Bowl for the opportunities it gives people to see one another and reconnect. However, as a player, the focus is squarely on what happens on the gridiron Sunday. The game brings about conflicting interests. That is, a cultural phenomenon with league events, media coverage, and parties surrounding the most meaningful and decisive football game of the year.
“It’s about getting chances to see people you haven’t seen in years, or see people you haven’t seen in a year, and really enjoy what this is,” explained Clark. “It’s the biggest sporting event in the world. We have seven games in the NBA Finals, you have seven games for the World Series, but this is only one chance, one opportunity, and you got to savor every moment.”
On Thursday, Clark visited Radio Row himself, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, to experience the plethora of live broadcasts and to be interviewed by other stations.
“[There are] so many different people from so many different countries and [so many] opportunities to get athletes on,” said Clark. “It was really good to get back in that type of atmosphere.”
Clark, along with NFL legends Dan Marino and Eli Manning, recently starred in a new advertisement for Stella Artois titled “The Stella Substitutes,” in which they give bartenders tickets to Super Bowl LVI in exchange for filling in for the bartenders’ scheduled shifts.
“Tyrone is a bartender out here in L.A., [and] I got an opportunity to surprise him with tickets,” said Clark. “What we’ve gone through the last two years, people [have] not [been] able to truly enjoy life like we’re used to. We want to make sure that people are getting opportunities to share great moments with the people that they love, and so he’s going to get an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.”
Show co-host Pat Donovan was curious to know how many beers Clark’s ESPN colleague Mike Greenberg could drink “before he would be in the tank.” His response:
“A half a beer. [Greeny’s] one of the softest humans I’ve ever been around. I’m pretty sure Greeny would be one of those people that says beer has too harsh of a taste to actually drink and enjoy. He’s more like a very light dessert wine kind of guy.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, Derek serves as a production manager, broadcaster, voiceover artist, technical director, audiovisual editor, and media engineer for Hofstra University’s WRHU. He has also worked on New York Islanders radio broadcasts. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @DerekFutterman.
1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’
The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.
The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”
Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”
According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.
1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming
The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.
Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.
The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.
The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.
In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.
One host who may remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.
Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.
Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.
One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.
This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce 5% of its programming staff.
Fred Toucher: Fred Roggin Rant ‘Is Why Everyone Thinks Radio Sucks’
“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said.
A recent piece in the L.A. Times painting the picture of why the sports radio audience in Los Angeles is smaller than that of Boston struck a nerve locally.
And when AM 570 LA Sports host Fred Roggin tried to explain why Boston does so much better with listeners, Fred Toucher couldn’t contain himself.
“Let me give it to you in a nutshell real, real quickly,” Roggin said in a clip that played during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday. “The implication here is that you don’t care. Do they have as many Latinos living in Boston? I don’t think so, and if you look at the ratings, they don’t. We’re a melting pot, we’re very different here. Sports is a niche audience.“
Toucher and company laughed at the sound byte before Toucher laid into Roggin.
“Does that mean that Latinos don’t like sports?” he asked. “To do well in Los Angeles, you have to adapt to the market, you jackass! Latinos have to listen to ya.”
Roggin and co-host Rodney Peete sounded even more out of touch in the clip by saying that part of the reason more people listen to sports talk in Boston is because of weather and an affinity for baked beans. Additionally, there’s just more to do in LA versus Boston.
“He is under the impression that the east coast is really something else,” Toucher said. “But he’s painting the east coast as if like no one lives out here. Like New York City and Philadelphia are these minor flyover states. It’s really funny.”
Toucher understood Roggin taking the time to go on the defensive, but he just couldn’t get over the way in which the defense was presented.
“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said. “What do you care if the station in Boston does better than you? What does it matter to you?! Clean up your own business! Jesus Christ!”
“This is the first time I think I’ve ever heard the northeast described as like toothless hicks that like got nothing better to do,” Toucher added.
Toucher finished his point by piling on the hosts further, saying that if their show aired anywhere else, it would fail.
“This is why everyone thinks radio sucks,” Toucher said before the rest of the Roggin clip was played.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.