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Colin Cowherd To Leave ESPN

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Colin Cowherd, a prominent national voice on ESPN radio since 2003, is leaving the network, multiple industry sources tell The Big Lead. While no destination is finalized, talks are progressing towards a deal with Fox Sports. The move away from the Mothership does not come as much of a surprise for anyone who follows these things closely, or has been listening to Cowherd’s show for the past few months.

But, the timing will leave a gaping hole in ESPN Radio’s weekday lineup and has broader implications about where some things are going both in Bristol — few will forget the great talent exodus of 2015 at ESPN, which has seen the network lose other outspoken voices in Bill Simmons and Keith Olbermann — and in general sports media. The difference here was that ESPN did make an aggressive bid to keep Cowherd, but was upstaged by Fox, who are clearly looking to make a big splash.

“We’ve enjoyed a mutually beneficial run with Colin for over a decade,” ESPN president John Skipper told TBL in a statement. “He came to national prominence on ESPN with his unique perspective on sports and society. Endings also bring new beginnings, for ESPN and Colin, and we thank him and wish him the best.”

So why leave ESPN now?

Near the top of the list would be a reunion with Jamie Horowitz, the new President of Fox Sports, who produced SportsNation with Cowherd and Michelle Beadle, as well as Cowherd’s Sunday morning football show a couple years ago. Perhaps Fox has a multi-faceted plan that may include a Cowherd-driven Sunday morning football pregame show on Fox that airs before the Sunday NFL pregame show?

It’s not currently known what Cowherd would do for FS1. One potential idea is to put him at 6pm and attempt to better compete with SportsCenter with a talk-driven show, which Horowitz previously had a lot of success (depending on how you define the word) with at ESPN2.

At ESPN, Cowherd wanted to be simulcast on a network with better distribution than ESPNU, but there wasn’t any way he was going to supplant SportsCenter (ESPN) or First Take (ESPN2). As far as simulcasting goes, if Cowherd’s radio show lands at FS1 – industry sources say Sirius and DirecTV a la Rich Eisen are in play – will he have the same issues as Mike Francesa, who often gripes about being preempted?

Cowherd recently expressed some of his thoughts about the future of radio on the About Sports Radio podcast with Zach McCrite, which could give a hint as to where his show will land, and how it could change his pay structure: “In the next 5-10 years, I don’t even think they’ll have radios in cars. I think podcast and digital and Sirius is the future. I think terrestrial — AM especially — is done in five years.”

On that podcast, Cowherd estimated that his show makes $18-20 million a year on radio alone, but speculated within two or three years that his program would go from radio show simulcast on television to vice versa.

For Cowherd, it’s undeniable that his reach would dwindle in a move from ESPN to any radio outlet, whether it’s Direct TV, Sirius, or Premiere Networks (which distributes content to Fox). But, perhaps he’s calculated that he’d rather have a bigger piece of a smaller pie, with massive upside if podcasts are indeed better-monetized in the near future. The less-is-more move worked for Glenn Beck when he left Fox News, though he also had a website and streaming digital channel in addition to his radio show. And, all on-air radio talent has taken note of the way Howard Stern has handled business, opting for the biggest payday and unconditional freedom of speech on satellite radio rather than the biggest audience.

Credit to The Big Lead who originally published this article.

 

Sports Radio News

Craig Carton Making Responsible Gambling Content For FanDuel

“He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.”

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FanDuel announced yesterday that it has hired its first ever “responsible gaming ambassador”. WFAN’s Craig Carton has agreed to take on the role. He has been open about his gambling addiction and advocated for those that believe they have a problem to seek help on air since returning to New York radio last year.

The content he creates for FanDuel will have a very specific focus. A press release says Carton will promote messages of “advocacy, prevention awareness and content development focused on the importance of wagering within limits”.

Craig Carton was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a ponzi scheme to defraud investors of money they were told was being invested in tickets for resale. In reality, Carton was using the money to repay some of his gambling debts.

“My story and personal history with gambling has been well documented,” said Carton. “More than ever, I want to use my experience and platform to shine a meaningful spotlight on the issue of problem gambling. It was important to me that I find a real partnership with a company that shared my passion for this issue. It became clear FanDuel shared the same goals and was comfortable working transparently with me for the sole purpose of protecting people.”

FanDuel is planning to utilize Carton in a number of ways. He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.

He will also create audio and video for FanDuel’s Play Safe Campaign. FanDuel will help Carton’s WFAN program “Hello, My Name is Craig” find a bigger audience. The show airs on weekends and features Carton discussing his addiction and offering advice to others seeking help.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Craig to place even more emphasis on responsible gaming behaviors,” said Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Everyone at FanDuel understands the importance of protecting our customers who are also our family, friends, neighbors and community members. Craig’s powerful personal story will help fuel our mission of making sure no bet placed results in hurting a loved one.”

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Sports Radio News

Marc Malusis: Stephen A Smith Spouting ‘Complete & Utter BS’

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

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WFAN’s Marc Malusis wants Stephen A. Smith to acknowledge that he either has inside information regarding the Nets or that he completely made up a trade rumor on First Take earlier this week. Smith said on First Take that the Brooklyn Nets would trade Kyrie Irving to Philadelphia if it meant they got Ben Simmons back in return, but the idea has been nixed by Kevin Durant.

Stephen A. Smith accused some in the media of lying about his report. He tried to claim that he what said on First Take was that the Irving for Simmons deal is a trade the Nets could do. That was enough to sett Malusis off.

“This is just complete and utter BS,” he shouted. “I mean, get the boots on!”

Marc Malusis claims that the idea of an Irving for Simmons trade isn’t totally absurd. Having James Harden on the roster would allow Brooklyn to bring in someone that does everything well but shoot. Still, he says Smith framed his stance as something he knows happened and Malusis is adamant it didn’t.

He was even more upset that Smith would say people in the New York media “lied” about what Smith had said. Marc Malusis pointed out that when you are the local media, you have to dive into a rumor like that. It doesn’t just get to be something that was said on ESPN.

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

It sounds like Malusis’s greatest objection is to Smith’s indignation at the idea that someone took his trade rumor seriously.

“Don’t all the sudden start waking back and saying ‘everyone’s spewing lies about what I had to say yesterday’ because you know what? We had to weed through the BS of what you said yesterday.”

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Sports Radio News

104.5 ESPN’s Matt Moscona Sets Up $100K Donation to Local High School

”It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

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Guaranty Media and 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge recently invited a local Athletic Director from South Lafourche High School Brian Callais to come and promote an upcoming fundraising event host by Central High School on After Further Review with Matt Moscona.

During the phone interview, Callais informed listeners of the impact that Ida had on their school, including major damages to the high school that there are no funds to repair. Additionally, the school’s sports teams will be forced to travel for every game this season as their facilities are not fit to host other schools.

Little did Callais know, Matt Moscona had invited the founder of a Baton-Rouge-based cryptocurrency business called Game Coin to join him in the 104.5 ESPN studio to surprise Callias with a donation of $100,000 dollars to the school.

“This will go a long way,” said Callais after learning of Game Coin’s donation to his program. “Our [senior] student-athletes have not had a normal high school year since their freshman year…Their sophomore year, they were hit with the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to a regular senior year for them. It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

Gamecoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that is not totally for profit, as 4% of their 10% transaction fee goes to charitable donations to help youth sports groups.

“Growing up, I didn’t have everything that I thought I should have,” said founder of Game Coin David Mahler on Moscona’s radio program. “I just always wanted to be able to provide for people…and since I’m able to do that now, I added that as a part of Game Coin.”

Mahler also said in the interview that three more similar donations are already arranged and they will be announced within the next two weeks.

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