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Miklasz Prepares For Change

Jason Barrett

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Bernie Miklasz is the most well-connected member of the St. Louis sports media, with many sources near and far, and has been a force on the internet and social media as well as in print. He doesn’t mince words, as he’s paid not only to provide information but also give his opinion.

But those offerings soon will be on the move. Miklasz, who has been a sports columnist for the Post-Dispatch since returning to the publication in 1989, has his farewell pieces this weekend in the paper and its online component, STLtoday.com.

On tap is a “Bernie Bits” column Saturday in which he plans to “do stuff like pick my favorite moments, worst moments, favorite athletes, least favorite, favorite events, biggest regrets, my biggest mistakes, etc.” He added that his finale on Sunday will be “personal in nature … and probably overly sentimental.”

He doesn’t want to get into details about his decision to leave the company for which he has been employed for more than a quarter century and take an offer to be on the air and write for the website of St. Louis sports-talk station WXOS (101.1 FM), which he has been associated with in a variety of ways for six years — most recently making regular on-air guest appearances.

It’s a big change, and possibly a big risk, for a guy who is 56.

WXOS’ main identity is tied to the Rams, as it has been the flagship outlet of the team’s radio network since the station adopted the jock-talk format in 2009 and much of its programming is football-related. But the Rams might be gone after this season and the full impact that would have on the station is uncertain.

“I gave that some thought but in the end it was a non-factor,’’ Miklasz said. “The Rams are an asset, but the station’s ratings and financial success isn’t dependent on airing Rams games or related events. … Working in sports media, the more material you have the better. So I hope the Rams stay. But if the Rams move it doesn’t mean the station will go off the air, or I won’t have a show, or I will sit and stare at my laptop, unable to think of topics to write about.”

John Kijowski, who runs 101.1 and is “ecstatic” about Miklasz coming aboard full time, said there is a “Plan B” if the Rams leave.

“We didn’t build the business model with play-by-play,” he said. “The concentration was Monday-Friday” from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. “That’s still really important. … It doesn’t change our business plan, but having an NFL franchise is so valuable it definitely would be missed.”

CHANGING TIMES

Miklasz is highly popular and received a special deal at the Post-Dispatch two years ago when he expanded his duties and gave up his daily show on WXOS, so he is relinquishing something that at least on the surface seems much more solid long-term than does venturing into the fickle radio field — in which format changes happen frequently. On the other hand, the newspaper industry — including the Post-Dispatch — certainly isn’t the same as it was even five years ago. Media increasingly has become a bottom-line business, where corporate profit goals often supersede what is in the best interest of individual employees. Again, this isn’t limited to the Post-Dispatch — it’s a way of life in many media outlets. Just ask people at many of the local TV or radio stations.

So Miklasz moves on.

“It’s a big world out there,” he said. “Plus, I could talk and write about Cardinals baseball 365 days a year, and a significant percentage of the local population would be happy.”

THE NEXT CHAPTERS

Now Miklasz will combine his top professional love, writing, with returning to the air on a daily basis. It’s familiar territory as he has hosted a radio show on numerous stations over the years. This time, he’ll be on 101.1 FM from 7-10 a.m. weekdays and bump the last two hours of the ESPN Radio show hosted by Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic — a move that took some negotiations between WXOS and ESPN to accomplish.

The arrival of Miklasz, who is to start Aug. 31, will lead to other lineup tweaks — each subsequent show is to start one hour later than it now airs. Kevin Wheeler will be on from 10 a.m-1 p.m., Chris Duncan and Anthony Stalter from 1-3 p.m., followed by Randy Karraker, D’Marco Farr and Brad Thompson moving to the 3-7 p.m. slot.

Meanwhile, Hensley vows that Sports in the Post-Dispatch and its website will remain sturdy.

“We have an opportunity here to embrace change and to make things better than ever,” he said. “But the bottom line is this: We will continue to be the undisputed leader in St. Louis when it comes to providing daily coverage and commentary on our teams. No question.”

To read the article in its entirety visit STL Today where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo: I Don’t Do As Much Prep As You Think

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris “Mad Dog” Russo would much rather go with the flow for his radio show than try and put everything together ahead of time and hope it comes out well.

Russo was the featured guest on the Golf Digest podcast The Loop, and hosts Christopher Powers, Alex Myers and Steve Hennessey first congratulated Mad Dog on his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame last year. Russo mentioned how he had written a short speech but decided against that after seeing the other inductees run long with their speeches.

Mad Dog was asked about preparing for his SiriusXM sports talk show every day, and he said he really doesn’t put a ton of work into putting a show together.

“On certain days a little more, because on Mondays I do that NFL recap so that takes a little while to put that together at 5 o’clock – probably a couple of hours,” Russo said. “Outside of that not as much as you’d think. I mean obviously I’m gonna follow what’s going on.”

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you,” he added. “This segment do this, this segment do that. Sometimes when you sort of ad lib it, and you figure it out as you’re moving the program into the second hour and the third hour, it’s a better show.”

Mad Dog talked about how he likes that his radio show is the reverse of when he does First Take on ESPN or High Heat on MLB Network. He likes not having a rundown packed to the gills for his radio show.

“The radio is more of a host’s medium,” he said. “So it’s up to me what we’re going to do.”

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Sports Radio News

Stetson Bennett IV Fires Back at Steak Shapiro Over Parade Criticism

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Georgia walloped TCU last week to win their second straight national championship, and the Bulldog community came together toward the end of the week to celebrate with a parade.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV took part in the parade, but 92.9 The Game host Steak Shapiro wasn’t thrilled with how Bennett acted during the celebration.

Shapiro on Tuesday took a shot at Bennett, who appeared to spend some time fiddling with a cell phone during the parade.

Tuesday night, Bennett responded first with a quote tweet.

Bennett followed that up with a longer statement he posted under his quote tweet explaining the situation.

“I appreciate your concern with my image/intentions/loyalties/obligations (as well as your willingness to reach out to me to confirm them),” Bennett wrote. “You obviously thought quite deeply about some motives I might’ve had.”

Bennett said ultimately he was trying to soak up the moment with his teammates, and he was just trying to make sure the celebratory mood was set with the right music on his phone.

“So to finish it off nice and neat: I was controlling the aux and playing bangers so sed and Chris and I could have a blast on our last ride into Sanford,” he said. “That’s pretty much the gist of it.”

Bennett finished with a little dig of his own at Shapiro.

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro,” he said. “But to be fair, I’m not a fan of your work either.”

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Sports Radio News

Ryan Edwards Moves to The Sports Zoo on KOA

“Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.”

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Ryan Edwards is staying with KOA, but his hours are about to change. The Denver sports radio staple is moving off of Broncos Country Tonight to join Alfred Williams and Dave Logan on The Sports Zoo in afternoon drive.

“I am thrilled to join radio and football legends Dave Logan and Alfred Williams on The KOA Sports Zoo,” Edwards said in a press release. “I look forward to bringing a fans’ perspective to the Denver Broncos and all things Denver sports.”

Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.

He joined iHeart Denver in 2017. He was on Orange & Blue 760 before the company replaced the station with a conservative talk format. He moved to KOA in 2019, where he has worked on Broncos Country Tonight with Benjamin Albright.

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