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
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”