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Will Cooley Leave DC Radio For NFL?

Jason Barrett

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Chris Cooley was sitting in an office break room in Rockville, a few minutes before the start of his daily radio show on ESPN 980. That morning, the former Redskins tight end had power cleaned 350 pounds inside the Redskins Park weight room — the most he had done since he was in college. After being about 15 pounds over his playing weight in January, he was back down to his normal 250.

“I feel [bleeping] awesome,” he said on a recent afternoon.

NFL assistant coaches who have run into him in recent months have seen what sort of shape he’s in, and asked why he isn’t still playing football. It’s the sort of question that can stick with a just-turned-33-year-old radio host.

Because Cooley never actually retired, not formally, anyhow. He couldn’t imagine playing for a team other than the Redskins, and he didn’t want to play for a bargain rate, so he left the game after the 2012 season and started a media career, just a few hashmarks into his 30s.

The typical sports-radio host, though, has a different health regimen than the typical NFL player. By this January, Cooley didn’t like the way he looked, or the way he felt. So he resumed football-style workouts, running pass routes in the Redskins Park bubble, sprinting 20 or 30 yards while dragging a sled loaded with 45-pound weights, jogging down to the Redskins Park weight room to do a quick set or two during his show’s commercial breaks, benching 315 pounds six times in a row.

Now he’s back in shape, and having non-joking conversations with an out-of-town NFL offensive coordinator about playing in the league. And the 33-year old can’t help but wonder: Could he still do it?

“If I went to camp, I could be anybody’s third tight end, worst case,” he said. “I have no doubt. Any team in the NFL, I could be their third tight end. There’s not a question in my mind.”

But Cooley can see both sides of this column, like any proper radio host should. (Your calls, after the break!) He will tell you that he feels like he can still play, and then without taking a breath he’ll admit that every former player believes that same thing. He will tell you he “absolutely” would listen if a team called, and then acknowledge the idea “seems far-fetched to anybody else.” He will talk about how much fun it would be to get out on that field again, and then explain how much he doesn’t want to tarnish his Redskins legacy.

He will describe his feeling during recent workouts and then admit that “this feeling of greatness can only occur in my life for, what, two more years?” He doesn’t want to beg someone for a chance, but he still imagines “somebody calling me and being like we really, really, REALLY, want you; come play.”

Cooley said he loves his job: breaking down film, calling games from the booth and hosting an afternoon drive show. But there’s a certain thrill that comes with playing football, a jolt of life that apparently does not come with debating it.

In football, “you prepare, and then you achieve something great, and there’s this huge adrenaline rush, this huge excitement,” he said. “And it’s so dumb, because it’s just a game, but there’s a great fulfillment. You finish a radio show, and some days you might think ‘That was an awesome show!’ and then everyone walks out of the studio like ‘All right, see you later.’ … The atmosphere, being a part of a team, trying to achieve something, it’s unattainable outside of professional sports.”

In the meantime, he got engaged, had a daughter, and watched countless hours of football tape for his weekly film breakdowns, which remain among the best segments in local sports radio. That process, he said, increased his love and knowledge of the game. Two seasons in the booth also mostly convinced him that his Redskins legacy wouldn’t be spoiled if he spent time running around in some other color uniform. And so?

“So I’ll just say that I want to” play again, he said on the radio a few weeks back. “There aren’t the competitive challenges and the competitive accomplishments to be achieved in [every] job, the feeling of going crazy because you’ve worked to achieve something. And if you think you only have a couple more [chances], why wouldn’t you do it?”

To read the rest of this story visit the Washington Post where it was originally published

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SiriusXM Signs Exclusive Podcast Agreement with Dirty Mo Media

“We are very excited to team up with Dale Jr. and the team at Dirty Mo to bring several of the leading NASCAR podcasts into the SiriusXM Podcast Network.”

Barrett Sports Media

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SiriusXM; Dirty Mo Media
(Illustration) | SiriusXM Logo – Courtesy: SiriusXM | Dirty Mo Media Logo – Courtesy: Dirty Mo Media

SiriusXM has reached a new, exclusive podcast agreement with Dirty Mo Media, the multimedia content platform founded by Hall of Fame NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. This new deal will provide exclusive advertising and distribution rights to Dirty Mo Media for its slate of programming on the SiriusXM Podcast Network, along with opportunities for crossover events between Dirty Mo Media and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Earnhardt Jr.’s podcast, the Dale Jr. Download, will also air twice per week on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel beginning in early June. Both entities will collaborate on special event broadcasts during the year as well, including at the forthcoming Daytona 500.

“This is a great day for our company,” Earnhardt Jr. said in a statement. “This agreement allows us to continue producing the shows we want to produce and telling the stories we want to tell to an audience that values our brand of originality, passion and candor. This also brings my relationship with SiriusXM full circle. I first started hosting my own show nearly two decades ago on XM Satellite Radio. We did it for a couple years. Since then, nothing has changed other than I’m now a married father of two, I don’t race as much, XM is called SiriusXM, and I am bringing an entire media company back with me.”

Earnhardt Jr., along with executive producer Mike Davis, founded Dirty Mo Media in 2013 and has become an enduring, impactful platform in sports media. In addition to constructing its podcast network, Dirty Mo Media also created and produced a television series titled Lost Speedways where Earnhardt visited and explored several abandoned racetracks across the United States. The company is also working with Amazon’s Prime Video and Imagine Documentaries on a four-part documentary that will tell the story of his father, legendary racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Sr. Earnhardt Jr. will also serve as an analyst for coverage of NASCAR racing for Prime Video and TNT Sports beginning in 2025, concurrent with the start of its new seven-year media rights deal reportedly worth a total of $7.7 billion.

“One of our main areas of emphasis over the past year has been increasing our collaborations and expanding relationships,” Davis said in a statement. “A lot of that is simply knowing who we are, what we are trying to be and where we can be most effective. For Dirty Mo Media, we are a relatable, personality-driven brand of content creators and documentarians. Combine that with the reach, resources and credibility of SiriusXM, this relationship will produce fruit and serve our fans well.”

SiriusXM Media, the advertising division of the company, has gained exclusive global advertising sales rights to the Dirty Mo Media lineup of sports podcasts. These include the aforementioned Dale Jr. Download, Door Bumper Clear and Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin among others. The podcasts will join the SiriusXM Podcast Network, which the company states reaches one in two podcast listeners in the United States every month.

“We are very excited to team up with Dale Jr. and the team at Dirty Mo to bring several of the leading NASCAR podcasts into the SiriusXM Podcast Network,” Sarah Van Mosel, senior vice president of podcast strategy at SiriusXM, said in a statement. “This not only bolsters the strength of our podcast offerings, but the addition of the ‘Dale Jr. Download’ to the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel enhances the programming available to our SiriusXM subscribers. This is another great example of the unique ways SiriusXM and talented creators like Dale and his team can work together.”

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Mike Felger: iHeartMedia Adding ‘The Rich Shertenlieb Show’ is a Good Sign

“Anything that gets people to turn the radio on I am for.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screengrab of The Off Air Show with Mike Felger joined by Kendra Middleton
Screengrab from 98.5 The Sports Hub Facebook

Mike Felger had Kendra Middleton as his guest on the latest edition of The Off-Air Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Facebook page. In between finding out about Middelton’s influencer career and the dirty pics she gets sent to her from men, the subject of The Rich Shertenlieb Show came up. Shertenlieb started this week on Boston classic rock station 100.7 WZLX after being off the air for over six months since he left The Sports Hub and show partner Fred Toucher.

About the new show, Felger said, “I’ve sampled it, I think it sounds good. It sounds like Rich. It sounds like what it would sound like when Fred was off, and Rich was in.”

Felger has talked before on the show about wanting the industry as a whole to be successful and that was what stood out to him about iHeartMedia adding Shertenlieb to mornings. “I’m glad that he got that gig…Anything that gets people to turn the radio on I am for,” he continued. “I just want the industry to be good, I want radio to be strong, the industry to be strong, I want people to listen to the radio. I want radio companies hiring radio hosts to do radio shows. I take that whole thing as being healthy.”

While Felger wants his company to win, he wants the other companies to have just enough success to continue doing what they are doing. “I hope Fred and Hardy beat him soundly in the morning in the ratings, but I want Rich to do well, do well enough,” he said. “I want ZLX and iHeart to do well and do well enough. I want them to have a good business and a strong revenue stream. I am rooting for that and Rich personally as well, who I know, and I wish personal success to him. I’m more interested in iHeart hiring a real radio host to do a real radio show in Boston and obviously paying him enough to it. That’s a good sign and I hope it does well enough that more radio stations keep doing that and whatever gets you to turn on the radio, I am for.”

Middleton said she had not yet heard the new show but said, “I think the rotating third chair is an interesting concept. I was shocked to see Ted [Johnson] go. The rotating third chair is going to be an interesting thing in the industry.”

The pair talked about rumors ZLX might flip to all sports eventually and try to get the Boston Red Sox play-by-play rights, which are not up again until after the 2028 season. Felger asked Middleton if all of that were to happen, “Is that a good or bad thing for The Sports Hub?”

“I think both,” she said. “Obviously it’s going to pull listeners away from The Sports Hub, but it’s doing that already in the mornings because the nature of another show being in town. But I think the competitiveness and forcing people here to be on their ‘A game’…I don’t think that’s ever a bad thing. Competition is never bad.”

Felger later added, “Sports radio is so lucrative that a third company has decided to come in and do it, that’s how I read that, that’s good…I want radio to be strong. Radio, not just The Sports Hub, radio as a medium, as a business. So, if iHeart flipping to sports means sports radio is strong, I am for it.”

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Sports Media Reacts to the Possibility of Losing ‘Inside the NBA’

“It’s must-see television, it always is.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Photos of Shaquille O'Neal, Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley
Photo Courtesy: TNT Sports

Many in sports media have reacted to the news today that NBC will claim the final NBA media rights package. This means that longtime NBA partner TNT is out after next season and, most likely, Inside the NBA will come to an end next year as well.

On 670 The Score in Chicago, Dan Bernstein said, “I’m genuinely unhappy about it because it appears that the last season of the NBA on TNT and Inside the NBA is next year and then it’s over. Unless somebody just throws a ton of money and picks that whole show up and grabs it and says, ‘What’s your number’ for everybody we want to just take the whole show, everybody involved and make it part of what we do…it sounds like it’s over and that sucks. That’s the best sports studio show ever.”

Steak Shapiro from 92.9 The Game in Atlanta said upon reading the news, “That stinks… What great entertainment does is allow you to be entertained and take a deep breath and say, ‘I just enjoy this, this is my hour and a half or two hours watching Shaq, Kenny, Charles and Ernie Johnson Jr. hanging out.'”

Rich Eisen spent time on his show talking about it and said, ” I’m telling you guys I would be stunned if they were all a package deal going somewhere else.” He later added, about the show, “It’s must-see television, it always is.”

Several others took to social media to post about the show:

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