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Shulman Values ESPN Role

Jason Barrett

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Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas may be college basketball’s household names when it comes to television, and that’s just fine with one of the best and most versatile play-by-play men in the business.

“I’m exactly where I want to be,” said Dan Shulman.

As ESPN’s lead announcer for college hoops, the 47-year-old Canadian will be courtside with Bilas on Saturday night when top-ranked Kentucky meets Florida in Gainesville.

So how did a Canadian become the World Wide Leader’s top play-by-play man on two of its biggest sports?

Shulman worked three years at the University of Western Ontario campus radio station before graduating in 1990 with a degree in actuarial science. Six months as an actuary, however, caused him to try radio full-time.

He started at a station in Barrie, Ontario, 50 miles north of Toronto. A year and a half later, Shulman moved to a Toronto sports station. Five years after that, he transitioned into television where he did the Toronto Blue Jays games for seven years.

It was seeing him work the World Basketball Championships, however, that caused ESPN to hire Shulman in 1995 for college basketball. He began working exclusively for ESPN in 2002. He became Sunday Night Baseball’s lead announcer in 2011.

Major League Baseball ends just as college basketball begins, which makes for a heavy travel schedule.

“I estimate I sleep in a hotel room about 140 nights a year,” said Shulman via phone Thursday from his home in Canada. “The travel part is not glamorous, but it’s a means to an end. I’m blessed to have the job that I do.”

Wait a minute; aren’t all Canadians crazy hockey fans?

“As a young kid, hockey was the only thing I knew,” Shulman said. “I was 10 when the Blue Jays came to Toronto and I was hooked on baseball from the day they got here.”

Shulman played high school basketball, but his first exposure to American college basketball came when his family visited his grandparents in Florida for spring break.

“This was March of ’83, the year where North Carolina State made the Cinderella run and won the national championship,” said Shulman. “I was hooked. Everybody else was going to the beach and I’m just sitting and watching basketball all day.”

He is also a huge football fan — his favorite team being the Green Bay Packers, so Shulman is “still stinging” from the NFC Championship game loss to the Seahawks.

“If my career had taken a different bounce, I could have just as easily been a hockey/football guy,” Shulman said.

Instead, he is a baseball/college basketball guy.

“Sometimes people will come up to me and know me as a baseball guy and hardly even know I do basketball,” Shulman said. “Sometimes people will come up to me as a basketball guy and hardly even know I do baseball.”

The pace of the two sports is different, presenting unique play-by-play challenges.

“I liken it to during baseball season, I’m walking on a treadmill, then on Nov. 8, or whatever it is, someone triples the speed of the treadmill and I’ve got to get going fast,” he said. “I’m equally comfortable doing both, to be honest with you.”

He’s also comfortable working with different partners. Shulman said his goal is to get the most out of his analysts. It shows.

“One of the producers I work with makes the analogy that we’re a basketball team and I’m a pass-first point guard,” Shulman said. “That to me is about the highest praise I can get. I don’t need to make the basket, I prefer the assist.”

He sometimes gets an assist on the road. Two of his three boys are huge sports fans. His 14-year-old wants to visit all 30 Major League Baseball parks. (He’s at 19.) His 21-year-old is looking forward to attending the ACC Tournament in March.

“It kind of alleviates some of the loneliness for me from being gone so much,” Shulman said. “If I can take my kids with me and show them a really good time that’s a good thing for everybody.”

Just as making that career switch was a very good thing for a certain Canadian.

“I love being a play-by-play announcer for games,” Shulman said. “I’m lucky that the thing I wanted to do is the thing they hired me to do and they’ve allowed me to keep doing it.”

Credit to the Lexington Herald-Leader who originally posted this article

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98.5 The Sports Hub’s Mike Felger Says He is Rooting for WEEI and Audacy “Big Time”

“We would want sports talk to be a really healthy space, a really healthy business in general, and then through competition, we win.”

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Mike Felger
Courtesy: Nantucket Current

98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston host Mike Felger said on Facebook Live earlier this week in reference to his station’s crosstown rival, WEEI and their parent company Audacy, he is “rooting for them big time.” The conversation was with former WEEI employee Mark Dondero, who had only recently moved over to The Sports Hub.

The “Off Air Show with Felger” airs on Facebook and on this occasion, Felger used the opportunity to get to know his new teammate a bit better. When the topic of his former employer came up, Felger asked, “So what’s the word over there? Are they going to make it…I hate the bankprutcy [stuff]. I hope they make it. I’m rooting for them big time.”

“You should be able to have two stations in Boston,” Dondero said. “It’s ridiculous with the amount of passion that’s in the area for the teams. I don’t see them going down. I hope they’re fine but I don’t know. They didn’t talk to me all that much with certain things, so I don’t know.”

Felger drew the comparison to Coke and Pepsi. “I am sure Coke wants to beat Pepsi, but if Pepsi went out of business and that meant that fewer people were drinking cola…you want the space to be healthy…you want the product itself, whether it’s your brand or not to be widely consumed and healthy,” Felger said. “And I would be worried that if EEI didn’t make it, it’s like sports talk was declining, not an EEI thing, it’s a sports talk thing. So I…hope they make it. They should be able to.”

Later, Dondero asked, “So you just want them to exist, but you just continue to dominate?”

“Yes, yes, absolutely,” said Felger. “We would want sports talk to be a really healthy space, a really healthy business in general, and then through competition, we win. That’s what I would want…Part of it is selfish. If my contract’s ever up, like it’s been in the past and the other station bids for you, like that’s healthy for people who work at the stations, but that’s obvious,” he added. “But beyond that, I think it’s healthy just that sports talk be vibrant, and important and widely consumed.”

Audacy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early January and last week a US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas approved a plan for Audacy to reemerge from its bankruptcy proceedings. Under the plan, Audacy will equitize more than $1.5 billion of funded debt, which reduces its debt load by 80%, down from $1.9 billion to $350 million.

In the latest ratings ratings report, Felger & Mazz earned the best number among local sports radio programs in the market. Mike and Tony garnered a 20.1 share for the quarter, up from a 17.2 share in the summer. 

In weekday prime hours (6a-7p), 98.5 The Sports Hub gained a 16.3 share, which placed the Beasley Media Group-owned outlet first in the market. WEEI dropped by three shares from the summer to fall book, finishing with a 4.4 share in the prime frame. That placed them seventh place for the quarter.

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Joey Votto Tells Dan Patrick He Has Analyst Job Offers; No Firm Offers to Play

“I’m on the show and I am here to hock my wares. I’m hopeful that a Dan Patrick push will get me a job. So, here I am.”

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Dan Patrick Show Logo with guest Joey Votto
Courtesy: The Dan Patrick Show YouTube

Joey Votto is campaigning for a job, but unfortunately the offers he continues to get are for media jobs and that is not what he is looking for, yet. Votto took to X to ask for an interview on The Dan Patrick Show and he made it clear when the interview began that he was looking for a push.

Patrick asked Votto how his morale is doing as Spring Training is underway and he has not yet received a solid offer to play. “Low, it’s as low as it gets, and I just don’t see it getting any better,” he said. “But, I’m on the show and I am here to hock my wares. I’m hopeful that a Dan Patrick push will get me a job. So, here I am.”

The veteran first baseman spent all 17-years of his big-league career with the Reds. The team declined a $20 million option for 2024, opting instead to pay a $7 million buyout.

Many have thought Votto will make a terrific baseball analyst when he does decide to hang up his cleats. Barrett Sports Media’s Andy Masur recently listed Votto as an athlete to watch when it comes to future standout analysts.

Masur wrote in part, “Votto’s personality is unbelievable. He was always talking to fans when he was on-deck or even in the field. A man of the people and a man that is really good behind the mic. While rehabbing from a shoulder injury in 2022 Votto did a couple of stints in the Reds’ TV booth, even doing a little play-by-play… Here’s hoping Votto considers this vocation when he’s done with his current one. He’s got what it takes to be really good. Perhaps the most important to current broadcasts, he respects the industry.”

As it relates to offers on getting a media career started, Votto said, “Funny enough, I’ve had 10-times the analyst jobs over this offseason than I have had any baseball offers.”

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Mike Stone Does First Fill-In Shift on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit

“I drove across the state to thank [Tigers manager] A.J. Hinch for all he was able to do with me when I did the morning show.”

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Mike Stone
Courtesy: George Fox, 97.1 The Ticket

Mike Stone said he wasn’t retiring. Two weeks to the day after stepping away from the morning show at 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, ‘Stoney’ filled in for Mike Valenti with Rico Beard.

Prior to the show starting, Stone did the crosstalk segment with Doug Karsch and Scott ‘Gator’ Anderson on Karsch & Anderson. Stone had said he was headed to Florida when he ended his final full-time appearance on the station. Today, he gave the hosts and listeners the insight on how his trip went.

“It was good, got to see a few innings of Tigers baseball,” Stone said. “I drove across the state to thank [Tigers manager] A.J. Hinch for all he was able to do with me when I did the morning show and I said ‘you’ll be more sick of me now, because now that I don’t have to get up early, I’ll be at more games.'”

Stone said his golf game is not doing badly, although he said one range session made him not want to play the game anymore.

Beard was excited to welcome Stone backto the station and said they had done one previous show together, which was a Lions based broadcast, however this was their first weekday talk show together.

Stone had told listeners the day of his last morning show, “I am not retiring. I will be here for two years filling in for a lot of shows, Lions football, I will have a presence at the draft. It’ll be different, yes…And when those two years are over, who knows, I might want to staty another two years.”

Stone signed on with The Ticket in 2009 and hosted with Rob Parker, Bill McAllister and Jamie Samuelsen before starting with Jon Jansen. Prior to his time with the outlet, he was one-half of the Stoney and Wojo Show on WDFN with Bob Wojnowski.

Jim Costa has taken Stone’s place and the show is now known as Costa and Jansen, as he joins Jansen and Heather Park.

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