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Miami’s Ticket Considering Skolnick

Jason Barrett

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Longtime South Florida sports journalist Ethan J. Skolnick, a name familiar to most of you, will be on the market soon and has emerged as a potential candidate for a full-time job at 104.3 The Ticket, where he has appeared on talk shows for several years, primarily the 1-3 p.m. slot with Eric Reed.

Skolnick, an excellent writer and reporter, was among a few journalists whose contracts inexplicably were not renewed by Bleacher Report in recent days. Bleacher appears to be shifting its emphasis on NBA coverage to using more “national voices” instead of deploying writers to cover a few marquee teams.

Skolnick, whose deal with Bleacher runs through Sept. 17, also has been hosting a Sunday NBA show for Bleacher Report radio, with LeBron James among the recent guests.

If Dan Le Batard moves to 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to replace Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio — something that remains under consideration — then Skolnick would be a strong candidate for a prominent local role on The Ticket during the 3-7 p.m. slot now filled locally and nationally by Le Batard and Jon Weiner.

Credit to the Miami Herald who originally published this article

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Sports Media Reacts to Awkward Caitlin Clark Press Conference Moment with Gregg Doyel

“I was just doing what I do, talking to another athlete, another person, and didn’t see the line – didn’t even know there was a line in the vicinity – until I crossed it.”

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Photo of Caitlin Clark
Credit: Clark Wade/IndyStar

By now almost everyone it seems has weighed in on an incredibly awkward situation at yesterday’s Indiana Fever press conference involving Caitlin Clark and Indianapolis Star reporter Gregg Doyel. Doyel’s strange exchange started with him making a heart gesture with his hands, something Clark flashes to her family after each game. “Start doing it to me and we’ll get along just fine,” was Doyel’s reply.

Doyel has since apologized and wrote a column about it which said, in part, “I’m devastated to realize I’m part of the problem. I screwed up Wednesday during my first interaction with No.1 overall draft pick Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever…I was just doing what I do, talking to another athlete, another person, and didn’t see the line – didn’t even know there was a line in the vicinity – until I crossed it.”

Several in sports media gave their thoughts on the situation, on the air and through social media:

Josh Klingler and Bob Fescoe played the audio from the press conference on 610 Sports in Kansas City and when it ended, Klingler said, “What the hell was that?”

Fescoe responded, “That’s just creepy and if I’m Caitlin Clark, I’m like, ‘I don’t want this guy around.’ What was he doing to begin with?…Don’t get creepy…that’s just disgusting.”

In Boston, The Greg Hill Show on WEEI highlighted the incident in a segment called ‘How Creepy Is It?’

“He’s kind of a dink,” Hill said. “…If I were Caitlin Clark, I wouldn’t accept the apology.”

“He was lightweight flirting with her, he tried to make a joke and it didn’t land,” said co-host Jermaine Wiggins.

Mike Mulligan and David Haugh talked about the issue on their morning show on 670 The Score in Chicago. “It just fell so flat, and it was so borderline sexist, misogynistic, it was just the wrong tone,” Mulligan said. “It was completely unprofessional for an introductory news conference.”

Haugh replied, “Well it was unprofessional, but what was worse is because it was a 22-year-old female, it was inappropriate, and he should have known better…His apology was clumsy itself.”

105.3 The Fan in Dallas’ RJ Choppy said about Doyel, “He was an idiot…He tried and attempted humor…and it backfired. He’s not part of the problem, he is a problem, in general.”

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Gregg Giannotti: If Brendan Burke Wants to Replace John Sterling, “You Got It”

“He’s as good as anyone in the business right now.”

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Photo of Brendan Burke

Fresh off months of speculating who might be the new programming boss at WFAN, a new search is underway, this time the replacement is needed for John Sterling, who retired this week as the New York Yankees play-by-play voice. While the person would work for the radio station, the team will have plenty to say about who gets the job. Gregg Giannotti and Boomer Esiason talked about some candidates during Boomer & Gio today on WFAN, including national broadcasters such as Brendan Burke and Ryan Ruocco.

In speaking about what has been written recently in the New York Post and The Athletic, Giannotti said, “…There’s four candidates that they have listed for John Sterling’s replacement. And we know that Justin Shackil and Emmanuel Berbari are two that are doing games right now and they are going to fill in for the rest of the year.

“They also mentioned…Brendan Burke the TV voice of the Islanders, who also does national hockey games for TNT, and they also have Ryan Ruocco on there who fills in on YES from time to time and also works for ESPN doing NBA games. Now, those last two guys are interesting because they would step right in, it would be bigger names, they are seasoned and they are really good.”

Giannotti discussed talking with Brendan Burke and said, “And I know that that was his dream because I had spoken to him about how he grew up at Yankees stadium because his father was a Yankees beat reporter and he used to work in the booth when he was a kid and he dreamt of doing that. But he has now gotten to a place on national TV in hockey and has a fulltime TV job, would he leave that or at least do both?…If I’m the person who is hiring these people and Breandan Burke tells me he wants to do this, then you got it, because he’s as good as anyone in the business right now.”

Ruocco also has a similar situation in that the 37-year-old has risen to be ESPN’s No. 2 NBA announcer in addition to his work in college basketball and with the Brooklyn Nets.

Boomer Esiason mentions there are other factors in all of this including finances and analyst Suzyn Waldman. “The thing that has already been proven is that Justin and Emmanuel both can work with Suzyn if she wants to remain. They are probably the cheaper options for the company…I don’t want to take anything away from those guys. I am sure their seat is burning wondering what’s going on. I would just say to both of them, they have an enormous opportunity here, to really show everybody, including the Yankess…and the question is who do they want in the radio booth? They might like Justin, they might like Emmanuel, because they work well with Suzyn, if Suzyn wants to stay.”

Giannotti says he thinks Shackil, 36, will have the upper hand and wondered how far he might be willing to go to get the fulltime job. “So basically, you’ve got Justin Shackil and Emmanuel Berbari doing the rest of the season, they’re going to be in there, Justin’s going to get more games. This opportunity there for him is humongous because he’s doing the games… Does he really go for it, to the point where maybe he goes outside of his comfort zone to try and get more attention, or does he just stay sort of the pretty standard flat-lining guy that he’s been?”

Esiason gave his advice to both of the younger broadcasters (Berbari is 24) saying, “Here’s my advice. My advice is to be yourself. Less is more…They’re fine, they are both fine, they sound similar a little bit, because they’re younger.”

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Spike Eskin Introduces Rules for Callers on WIP Afternoon Show

“A polite society, an organized society, a civilization has rules, and we will have rules for calling the WIP Afternoon Show.”

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Spike Eskin

Earlier in the week, Audacy announced that it hired Ryan Hurley to serve as the brand manager of WFAN and Infinity Sports Network, officially naming a successor to Spike Eskin and allowing him to begin his role on the afternoon drive program with SportsRadio 94WIP. Eskin officially made his on-air debut on Monday where the show discussed a variety of sports teams in the area, including the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia 76ers. On Tuesday, the show continued its sports discussion but also introduced new facets to its structure, including a list of rules by which callers will need to abide in order to be featured on the WIP Afternoon Show.

Named the “Bill of Spike,” the document of six rules was revealed by Eskin during the broadcast, each of which was followed by a subsequent explanation. Before he began to read from the list, which he stated is non-negotiable, he provided his rationale as to why he was implementing these regulations within the program.

“Some things have gotten out of hand,” Eskin said. “There is a new sheriff in town. We need some rules. It is with great respect and honor that I introduce the Bill of Spike, the rules for calling the WIP Afternoon Show. A polite society, an organized society, a civilization has rules, and we will have rules for calling the WIP Afternoon Show.”

The first rule on the list mandates that callers must reach their point immediately. Even if the primary topic does not pertain to sports, it is essential that they begin discussing it upon being placed on the air. Should a caller have an issue with another listener of the show, the program will eventually get to it, but it will not be the first thing.

“Rule No. 2 – please do not ask how we are doing,” Eskin continued. “We’re great. We’re having such a good time. This is such a good job; it is silly; we all like each other. You don’t need to ask us.”

Eskin also added that if a team lost the game on the day before, it should be obvious that the hosts are not doing well. They will likely express those sentiments on the air within their discussion about the games and teams as well. When they are speaking with a listener though, Eskin made sure to inform them that they should not be calling into the show on speakerphone.

“If you’re on a speakerphone, just take the L,” Eskin said. “Do not ask us for a second to take us off speakerphone. We’ve already hung up; I’m already on to the next caller.”

The fourth rule on the list reads, “Don’t tell me the rules, I’ll tell you the rules,” something Eskin highlighted because there have been several callers who have questioned specific rules. Instead, he wanted to make it clear that he would be informing the callers of the rules rather than it being the other way around. He then proceeded to outline the fifth rule on the list, which specifically mentions how listeners should address Eskin, co-host Ike Reese and producer Jack Fritz.

“You can greet the hosts in any order possible, but please, limit the times you passive-aggressively do not say hello to one of us,” Eskin said. “I can see what you’re doing if you call up and you say hi to Ike and Jack and don’t mention me; you say hi to Jack [and] don’t mention me and Ike, so and so. We’re not doing that – we’re all friends here. If you’re going to say hi, say hi to all three of us. You don’t have to say hi to anybody by the way – you can just go.”

Fritz asked a follow-up question to Eskin regarding this rule pertaining to what would happen if a caller specifically asked for his takes about the Phillies. In response, Eskin said that he would drop the call, leading to Reese to provide his input on this directive.

“I have seen that scenario happen before where somebody has called up and said, ‘I just want to get Jack’s opinion on the Phillies,’” Reese said. “Now me, it doesn’t offend me at all – I’m like, ‘Go right ahead.’”

“You know what?,” Eskin replied. “I’m going to change my opinion. If you greet all three hosts and you want to ask Jack something specific about the Phillies, we can let that slide.”

The final rule within the “Bill of Spike” is that callers are not allowed to say that any of the hosts only received the job because of their father. Spike Eskin is the son of Howard Eskin, who was a longtime host on SportsRadio 94WIP and continues to appear across its programming while sideline reporting for its broadcast of Eagles football. Even so, Spike Eskin said he was standing up for everyone on the show with this rule on the bill, concluding the list and commencing a new era in afternoons on the station.

“The Bill of Spike – the rules are ingrained,” Eskin said. “They are in stone, they are posted on the wall, they are tattooed on my abdomen.”

While Reese believes that Eskin did an adequate job crafting the bill, he believes that the callers are going to initially fight against the mandate. After some time though, he thinks that they will conform to the rules about calling into the show.

“They will fall in line,” Eskin said, “or they will fall out of order; out of the rotation.”

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