The proverbial writing on the wall for The Steve Sandmeyer Show should have been evident following a pair of February sports events in Arizona just weeks apart.
The first was the Super Bowl, in which Seattle homegrown radio host Sandmeyer, 42, was forced to watch his beloved Seahawks on television for a second straight year instead of broadcasting on-location all week like his rivals. Then, a few weeks later, as the Mariners opened spring training ahead of their most-anticipated season in years, Sandmeyer and noted baseball analyst co-host Jason Churchill were again denied a travel budget.
So, it wasn’t a total shock two weeks ago when CBS 1090 The Fan had the plug pulled on its only locally-produced sports show. For Sandmeyer, who’d spent 2½ years waiting for CBS Radio’s head office in New York to give local management better resources, what hurts most is wondering what could have been.
“I was under the impression that eventually they would expand their local lineup and that the station would be more of a destination on the dial,’’ Sandmeyer said. “Because we were so new and just starting to gain momentum, it honestly seemed like an odd time to deliver this kind of news.’’
But ultimately, he adds: “CBS didn’t have the budget locally or nationally to support many of its affiliates.’’
So, when CBS Radio cut more than 200 positions nationwide, the No. 3 sports show locally behind time-slot counterparts on Sports Radio KJR and 710 ESPN Seattle wasn’t spared. That leaves 1090 The Fan with only nationally syndicated content, an outsider’s perspective on sports Sandmeyer and others say was already too prevalent and impeded his show’s growth.
The Sandmeyer Show was hands-down the best baseball talk in town and offered routine Huskies, Sounders, Storm, NHL and NBA topic alternatives for Seattle radio listeners weary of the usual two-dozen daily takes on Russell Wilson’s contract situation.
But without the budget to compete on big events, nor additional local programming to draw new listeners to the channel, ratings suffered and left the show vulnerable.
Sandmeyer is largely philosophical about it, noting CBS was among the last major networks to institute widespread layoffs in a “volatile” industry he still loves.
“I signed up for this line of work, so I have to take the bad with the good and I can’t complain when something like this occurs,’’ he said.
In many ways, the radio industry is experiencing what newspapers have grappled with the past decade: desperately seeking profits and listeners in a digital age where competition lines have blurred between print, audio and visual media.
Everyone involved says local management — including marketing manager Kevin McCarthy and program director Carey Curelop — did its best to support the show and scrape by on scant budget crumbs. But growth takes money and from its January 2013 launch onward, 1090 The Fan hasn’t deployed the resources to truly compete.
“Our Seahawks are in the Super Bowl two years in a row and they couldn’t send us because the budget wasn’t there,’’ Churchill said. “So, that was really frustrating.
“You lose a lot of traction. You get all this momentum going, we’re having really good shows and the Seahawks are the hot thing and they go to the Super Bowl and we’re nonexistent. We’re still here, we don’t have the guests and we don’t have the exposure. Those are missed opportunities.’’
The show didn’t have a dedicated, full-time executive producer until Brian Lambert was hired two months ago. But veteran on-air host Bill Swartz was dismissed at almost the exact same time. Now, Lambert, who’d barely moved in to his new office digs, is also back looking for work.
Nobody in CBS management, either local or national, would comment.
Churchill continues to run his popular Prospect Insider baseball website but says all options are open even if it involves leaving town. Sandmeyer says he can’t yet fathom leaving the area he’s grown up in and is exploring options locally.
“The fact that I have a lot in common with many of our listeners resonates with people,’’ he said. “Jason Churchill and I put on a damn good radio show. And I think we did it the right way.’’
Credit to the Seattle Times who originally published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Bobby Belt: ‘Pat McAfee Butchered The Name Shan and RJ’
“I mean, it clearly says on the graphics ‘Shan and RJ’.”
Shan and RJ is a show that routinely finds itself in the media spotlight. They may be a Dallas show, but when Jerry and Stephen Jones routinely appear on your airwaves, you are going to draw attention from outside of the market.
On Tuesday, Pat McAfee played a clip of the hosts talking to Jerry Jones. McAfee threw to the clip introducing the show as “Shan, RJ, and Chop.” On Wednesday morning, the 105.3 The Fan’s morning show had some fun with the former Colts punter’s struggles.
“There’s a lot to unpack here,” newly added co-host Bobby Belt said after listening to McAfee and his crew take three unsuccessful cracks at naming the show.
“Reggie made a good point yesterday when I was talking to him about this,” Belt said. “Reggie was like ‘I think McAfee was going to the clip, saw three faces and didn’t know a third name, and so he’s like ‘well, that must be RJ and Chop.’”
Belt delighted in the idea that in McAfee’s mind, RJ Choppy goes by “Chop” on air and even pointed out that one of the producers said that RJ “looks like a Chop.”
Pat McAfee called the show “Shan, RJ, and Chop,” “Shana, RJ and Chop,” and “Shannon and RJ” on different occasions according to Belt. He didn’t think it was disrespectful. He just didn’t understand how McAfee got it so wrong so often.
“They butchered this three ways to the weekend. I have no idea. I mean, it clearly says on the graphics ‘Shan and RJ’.”
Cubs Radio Voice Pat Hughes Named 2023 Frick Award Winner
Chicago Cubs radio voice Pat Hughes has been honored as the 2023 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award.
The award is given annually for “excellence in broadcasting” by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
“Known throughout the Midwest for his easy delivery and unparalleled knowledge, Pat Hughes has called some of the biggest moments in Cubs history and has provided the narrative for one of the most successful eras in the history of the franchise,” said National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum President Josh Rawitch. “Since arriving at Wrigley Field in 1996, Pat has served as the radio voice for nine postseason teams – matching an ardent fan base with his own passion in every broadcast. His reverence for baseball history and gift for storytelling have made him one of the game’s broadcast treasures.”
Hughes has spent more than 25 years as the voice of the Cubs, and is a nine-time winner of the Illinois Sportscaster of the Year Award. Earlier this year, Hughes found out on-air that he would be inducted into the Cubs Hall of Fame.
Hughes was previously a finalist for the award in 2016 and 2020.
Craig Carton: Jon Heyman ‘No Longer An Insider’ After Aaron Judge Gaffe
“That’s a bad job. And all that is is a guy trying to get ahead of everybody else. He screwed the pooch. That’s embarrassing.”
MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman erroneously reported that New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was signing with the San Francisco Giants in free agency yesterday. That news was not well received by WFAN afternoon hosts Craig Carton and Evan Roberts.
After Heyman rescinded his original tweet saying “Arson Judge” appeared headed to the Giants, he resent a new one with the correct spelling. During the confusion, Roberts told producers to get Heyman — who is an Audacy contributor — on the phone, which Carton immediately shot down.
“No, we’re not putting him on the air,” Carton said. “I’m not putting him on the air. He doesn’t get a platform on this show. Listen, he made a deal with the devil when he took a job with The (New York) Post. That’s his business.”
While Carton and Roberts processed the news, producer Chris McMonigle said he was certain that Judge would be signing with the Giants, but that was not Heyman’s report, and would hold off until it was official.
Roberts mocked McMonigle by saying he was in denial. “He still hasn’t accepted that Jon Heyman knows what he’s talking about,” Roberts said. Moments later, McMonigle read Heyman’s follow up tweet apologizing for “jumping the gun”.
“That is a horrendous job by Jon Heyman,” Carton replied.
“Heyman’s done,” Roberts shouted. “Jon, what are we doing?”
“Heyman is no longer an insider,” Carton added. “That’s a bad job. And all that is is a guy trying to get ahead of everybody else. He screwed the pooch. That’s embarrassing.”
Carton later took umbrage with Heyman deleting his tweets.
“To play fans like that is absolutely unacceptable. It’s not right. Sorry. That’s because everyone’s gotta be first. God forbid someone else has it first. You’re a clown. Your entire career’s work has just been flushed down the toilet.”