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Can 3 Sports Stations Last In Indy?

Jason Barrett




As 3 p.m. hits each weekday, fans with an insatiable appetite for Indianapolis sports talk have choices.

Three local drive-time radio shows commence, each claiming to have a special recipe for success.

For the “Kent Sterling Show,” it’s all sports all the time, no veering into pop culture. On “The Ride” with JMV, Lady Gaga (and almost anyone else) is fair game. “Query & Schultz,” the only two-man show in the time slot, is somewhere in between with a twist — banter sparked by their differing viewpoints.

In the cutthroat industry of radio — which is battling a seemingly ever-increasing ocean of competing media from the Internet to iTunes to satellite radio — sports is as cutthroat as any genre.

How many people are listening to the local shows? In Indianapolis, the 40th largest among U.S. radio markets, JMV’s station leads the way. Nielsen audio rankings show WFNI (107.5 FM, 1070 AM) garnered a 3.8 rating in January. Query & Schultz’s WNDE (1260 AM) received a 0.4 rating and WXNT (1430 AM), where Sterling airs, finished the month with a 0.1 rating.

When it came to afternoon drive time ratings for individual shows, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., WFNI received a 4.2, WNDE a 0.6 and WXNT a 0.2.

In a market such as Indy, home to the Colts, Pacers, IU, Purdue and Butler, there is room for plenty of sports talk. But is there enough room for this much? Or is it just a matter of time until one falls off the airwaves?

“I think there’s room. I sure hope there is,” said Jeff Smulyan, founder and CEO of Emmis Communications, which owns WFNI. He’s also the man who invented the format, launching the first 24-hour sports talk station in New York in July 1987. “Ultimately, it’s up to what the audience wants.”

The hosts of the three shows say that there is a market for all to survive. All three shy away from talking ratings. In fact, all say that they don’t even consider one another competitors, and that the more high-quality shows there are, the better.

“That is smoke,” said Scott Bridge, internship director for the college of communication at Butler University, who teaches electronic journalism and sports broadcasting. “Everybody is being professional and that’s nice. But I think when behind closed doors, they want to kick each other’s asses.”

They are all trying to nab the biggest share they can of the sports talk radio pie in Indianapolis, appealing to an audience that is two-thirds men ages 25 to 54, according to Bridge’s research.

Sterling, who previously worked at WFNI and has been doing his show less than a year, delivers analysis to the diehard sports fan without references to what Lady Gaga did at the Academy Awards.

“We talk about sports. That’s just what I do best,” said Sterling, 52. “It wasn’t a competitive decision to do that. It’s just what I think this format does best and what listeners like best.”

JMV, who moved from WNDE to WFNI in 2010, mixes pop culture and some non-sports stories into talk about the games, teams and players. He wants to grab those listeners who want entertainment beyond sports.

“It’s like the Super Bowl,” said JMV, whose real name is John Gliva, 45. “They don’t have to have Katy Perry because people are going to watch, but I’m trying to get everybody into the club to hang out and have fun. It’s all about trying to fish for what is going to pull in and keep that person that maybe wouldn’t necessarily be listening, while also keeping that person that’s your top-level listener.”

“Query & Schultz,” which started in 2011, combine the two approaches while using the dynamic duo approach to banter, argue and make fun of each other.

“When you have two people, you have a greater opportunity of diversity of thought,” said Jake Query, 42. “One of the benefits of having a two-person show is Derek and I never intentionally disagree. We never pre-write who’s going to take what stance but, because we’re of different ages (Schultz is 11 years younger), because we’re of different backgrounds to an extent, I think that by and large people listening are going to have their opinion expressed.”

None of the hosts would comment on how successful their approach affects ratings. Some voiced concerns that the method Nielsen uses to measure audience listening is inaccurate and doesn’t tell the whole story.

Smulyan said it’s clear that JMV is running away with the sports talk market in Indianapolis.

The ESPN backing, radio signal strength and affiliation with the Colts, Indiana, Pacers and Butler give WFNI a decided advantage, Bridge said. (WNDE broadcasts Purdue.) He doesn’t believe that means the others can’t survive.

“People need their sports,” Bridge said. “We are a nation of rabid sports fans. I think they are always going to have an audience.”

Credit to the Indy Star who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Doug Gottlieb Details Interviewing For College Basketball Head Coaching Vacancy

“I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up.”





Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb recently interviewed for the vacant head coaching job at Wisconsin-Green Bay and detailed the experience on his podcast.

“I got a chance to talk to (Wisconsin-Green Bay AD) Josh Moon several times during the year after they had made their coaching job available and my approach to how I’ve done these things — and this is not the first time I’ve gone down this path, but this was a different path,” Gottlieb said on his All Ball podcast.

“This is a low-major, mid-major job, and there’s no connection there. I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up. I love doing it and I think there’s a very smart world where if I’m coaching I can still do this podcast and still do it with basketball people all over the country and the world, and it’s kind of like a cheat code.”

He continued by saying that seeing Shaka Smart be successful at Marquette has motivated him to continue to search for the right fit as a college basketball coach.

“That’s what I want to do. And last year when I was coaching in Israel, that also continued to invigorate me…this is something that I would really like to do. It has to be the right thing. It has to be the right AD who hits the right message.”

He continued by saying that a sticking point of negotiations was he wasn’t willing to give up his nationally syndicated radio program for the job. He was willing to take less money for his assistants pool, but also to continue doing his radio show.

Gottlieb did not get the position with the Phoenix, noting that he was a finalist but was never offered the job. The position ultimately went to Wyoming assistant coach Sundance Wicks. Wicks had previous head coaching experience and had worked with Green Bay athletic director Josh Moon at Division II Northern State. He admitted he wasn’t necessarily “all-in” on the job due to the current ages of his children and whether the timing was right to uproot his family to move to Northeastern Wisconsin.

The Fox Sports Radio host does have coaching experience. He has worked as a coach for the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Maccabiah Games, sometimes referred to as the Jewish Olympics.

Gottlieb’s father — Bob — was the head men’s basketball coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1975-1980, compiling a 97-91 record.

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Sports Radio News

Waddle & Silvy: Scott Hanson Told Us to Lose His Number

“We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”





Aaron Rodgers took immense pride in the fact that he told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter to “lose his number” while discussing his future earlier this week on The Pat McAfee Show. ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy said they’ve experienced similar treatment from guests on their radio show.

While discussing the Rodgers interview with McAfee, the pair admitted that NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson once told their producer to stop trying to book him for interviews on the program.

“I believe the presentation was ‘Do me a favor: lose my number after this interview’,” Tom Waddle said. “So he tried to do it politely. Scott Hanson did. Get out of here. That concept is foreign to me. How about ‘Hey, next time you text me, my schedule is full. I can’t do it, but thanks for thinking of me’. ‘Lose my number?’ You ain’t the President, for Christ’s sake. I’m saying that to anyone who would say that. ‘Lose my number?’ We’re all in the communication business. I just don’t know — why be rude like that to people? What does that accomplish? You know what it accomplished? We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”

Co-host Mark Silverman then mentioned that the show once tried to book Hansen and NFL Red Zone host Andrew Siciliano together in the same block, with the idea of doing a trivia game to see who the supreme Red Zone host was. Siciliano agreed, but Hansen declined.

The pair also confirmed that an NFL Network personality had told them to lose their number, but couldn’t remember if it was Rich Eisen or not.

Silverman later joked that maybe Hanson was getting a new phone with a new number, and was politely sharing with the producer that he could lose the current phone number because he would share his new number in short order.

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Sports Radio News

Seth Payne: Aaron Rodgers ‘Makes Gross Inaccuracies’ When Calling Out Media

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations.”




Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is always mad at the media for the inaccurate things he says they report, but according to Sports Radio 610 morning man Seth Payne, no one is more inaccurate than the quarterback himself.

Friday morning, Payne and his partner Sean Pendergast played audio of Aaron Rodgers responding to a question about a list of players he provided to the Jets demanding they sign. Rodgers called the idea that he would make demands “so stupid” and chastised ESPN reporter Dianna Russini, who was the first to report it.

“Now to be clear, Dianna Russini didn’t say demands in her tweet. She said wishlist,” Pendergast clarified.

They also played a clip of Russini responding to Rodgers on NFL Live saying that she stands by her reporting and it is her job to reach out to confirm that it is true.

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations,” Seth Payne said.

He added that if Rodgers is being serious, he is doing some serious nitpicking. He claims that he didn’t give the Jets a list, but that he spoke glowingly about former teammates and told the Jets executives that he met with who he enjoyed playing with during his career.

Payne joked that maybe he wrote down the names in a circle pattern so that it was not a list. Pendergast added that he could have had Fat Head stickers on his wall that he pointed to instead of writing anything at all.

In Payne’s mind, this is a case of Russini catching stray frustration. Neither in her initial tweet nor in any subsequent media appearance did she use the phrase “demands”.

“What he’s actually responding to in that instance is Pat McAfee is the one that described it as a list of demands,” Seth Payne said.

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