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Lewin Juggles Mets, Chargers Responsibilities

Jason Barrett

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When Josh Lewin started out in broadcasting, he figured he would have plenty of his own Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in miracles?” moments on the microphone.

Why wouldn’t he think that? In his first season as the primary play-by-play voice for Rochester Community Baseball, the summer of 1990, the Red Wings won the International League’s Governors’ Cup.

He hasn’t called a championship since. Not in 19 previous years behind the Major League Baseball microphone or in 11 NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers.

That could finally change within the next week, if the New York Mets can overcome the 2-0 deficit they face in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals.

“I’ve lived the personalized version of Mets fans and Royals fans,” Lewin said by phone before Game 2 of the World Series, referring to the title-call drought.

Lewin, a 1986 graduate of Brighton High School, has been describing Mets games on the radio since 2012 and is in his 11th year as voice of the Chargers. His resume also includes two years with the Baltimore Orioles, one with the Chicago Cubs, four with the Detroit Tigers and nine with the Texas Rangers.

“The Chargers have never made the Super Bowl, the Rangers were just getting good when I left and the year I was with the Cubs they started 0-14,” Lewin said.

“Right now I’m just happy to be along for the ride.”

What a ride — and flight — it may be on Sunday, too. If the Mets force a Game 5, Lewin will work his own football/baseball east coast doubleheader. The Chargers play in Baltimore against the Ravens at 1 p.m. First pitch for Game 5 of the World Series is set for 8:15 p.m. at Citi Field.

He plans to call both.

Because the Chargers game, barring overtime, figures to end around 4 p.m. or 4:15 p.m., Lewin couldn’t risk trying to find a commercial flight to New York so he could be on the air on WOR-AM (710) for the first pitch.

So he booked a small private plane, at his expense, to take him from Baltimore to LaGuardia Airport. While he didn’t divulge the price, it’s more than he’ll earn by calling the games that day.

“I’ve got my goggles and my scarf,” said Lewin, 47. “I have to be the master of my domain. I’ll be operating at a big loss but I’m happy to do it. I have two great jobs and two great bosses that let me do what I love to do.”

To read the rest of the article visit the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle where it was originally published

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ESPN LA 710 to Broadcast USC Athletics

“We’re excited to collaborate with ESPN LA 710 AM to advance the USC Athletics brand and connect with fans across the Greater Los Angeles media market.”

Barrett Sports Media

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ESPN LA 710

The University of Southern California and ESPN LA 710 have agreed to a deal that will expand their broadcast partnership starting in the 2024 season. ESPN LA 710 will be the flagship station for USC Trojans football and men’s basketball games throughout the season in addition to adding women’s basketball games on the airwaves as well. Beginning in the fall, listeners will be able to hear all of the games on 710 AM, the ESPN LA Trojans Radio Network, in addition to within the USC Trojans Game Day app, the USC Trojans website and the ESPN LA app.

As USC prepares to move to the Big Ten Conference for the season, games will continue to air on the USC Trojans Media Network, which includes affiliates KSZL Barstow 1230 AM, KJJZ-HD3 102.7 Thousand Palms, KSHP Las Vegas 1400 AM and 107.1 FM and the Hawaiian Sports Radio Network on KGU 95.1 FM and 760 AM. Spanish language broadcasts of USC Football will be available on the ESPN LA app and USC Trojans app as well. The USC Trojans Media Network will also air basketball games as new men’s head coach Eric Musselman starts his tenure at the university and the women’s team welcomes transfer forward Kiki Iriafen from Stanford.

“We’re excited to collaborate with ESPN LA 710 AM to advance the USC Athletics brand and connect with fans across the Greater Los Angeles media market,” Jen Cohen, director of athletics at the University of Southern California, said in a statement. “As we move into a new era of Trojan Athletics, identifying partners who can help us provide our student-athletes with the platform to make their mark on collegiate athletics and reach new generations of supporters is critical. From the addition of play-by-play coverage for our women’s basketball program and Spanish-language coverage for football, to the reach and brand equity established by ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, we’re confident this partnership will help us achieve our goals.”

Outside of live game broadcasts for USC football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball, ESPN LA 710 will also air a new weekly program titled Trojans Live. The show will be broadcast on ESPN LA 710 AM from 6 to 7 p.m. EST starting on Monday, Aug. 26 and running through Monday, Dec. 9. ESPN LA 710 previously broadcast USC Trojans Athletics from 2006 to 2019 and is also the flagship home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles FC.

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Bob Fescoe: Charles Barkley is Irreplaceable

“How many people want to do that as well, just kind of walk away and say, ‘You know what? I put in my time and I am done here, and now I have the ability to walk away…'”

Barrett Sports Media

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Bob Fescoe
Courtesy: 610 Sports Radio

Charles Barkley announced that he would be retiring from television following the 2024-25 season on Saturday night. The TNT Sports analyst revealed the news during a postgame show on NBA TV after Game 4 of the NBA Finals, in which the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Boston Celtics to remain standing in the best-of-seven series. Within his discourse, Barkley emphasized that he made the decision himself and that next year would be his last no matter what happens.

Moreover, he stated that he has talked with other networks who have approached him as reports indicate that Warner Bros. Discovery could be losing broadcasting rights for the NBA following next season. Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler played the audio of Barkley’s retirement announcement on 610 Sports Radio during the Fescoe in the Morning program on Monday.

Barkley emphasized that he would pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter or Steve Smith when he retires from television next year. For the last 24 years, Barkley has been a member of Inside the NBA, the award-winning studio program hosted by Ernie Johnson with analysts Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal. There were rumors about Barkley leaving Warner Bros. Discovery to take a role with the LIV Golf Tour; however, he decided to cut off those talks and stated that he would finish his television career with the Turner Sports division.

The NBA is now reportedly in the process of formalizing new media rights contracts with The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC), NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Prime Video said to be worth a collective $7.6 billion. Throughout the process, Barkley has been interviewed several times across different media platforms and expressed his feelings on the matter, including questioning the rationale of Warner Bros. Discovery chief executive officer and president David Zaslav.

“I feel like he’s just tired of being asked about it,’” Klingler said. “He’s like, ‘You know what? I don’t care where it goes – I’m done.’”

Fescoe questioned if anyone could blame Barkley for what he has decided to do, especially receiving firsthand knowledge on how everything is playing out. Over the last several months, Inside the NBA has been a topic of discussion, part of which has presumably been about its future on television. If Barkley follows through with his decision, it would mark the end of the studio program as currently constructed, and Fescoe believes that Barkley has ultimately had enough of dealing with the speculation and ambiguity.

“How many people want to do that as well, just kind of walk away and say, ‘You know what? I put in my time and I am done here, and now I have the ability to walk away,’” Fescoe questioned, “and not many people work for the love of the job anymore, right, and it seems like what they’ve gone through and what they’ve been drug through with all of this rights fee stuff is management getting in the way of them doing what they love doing.”

Part of Fescoe’s logic pertaining to why Barkley has decided to move on from television after next year is that he could be reading the writing on the wall. In mentioning that he has spoken with other networks, Fescoe presumed that ESPN would have Barkley work more hours and that he would not be interested in doing that. Barkley is a sports media professional Fescoe considers to be irreplaceable, much like his co-host Josh Klingler, who is leaving the show on 610 Sports Radio next month.

“Greg Olsen, I guess, is considered replaceable at FOX by Tom Brady, and they just move analysts out and bring guys in all the time, but there are some people that are not replaceable,” Fescoe said, “and if you’re going to keep that Inside the NBA show, you can keep it in name, but if you don’t have Charles Barkley, no offense to anybody else up there, it’s just not the same type of show and it’s just not going to be as good as if Charles Barkley is there.”

Klingler is not sure that Barkley will end up retiring and believes that he will be back in some capacity. Additionally, he mentioned that it could be a means of putting TNT on the hot seat by putting pressure on the company to retain broadcast rights to the league. Fescoe replied by articulating that it could be Barkley putting ESPN on the hot seat to make him a lucrative contract offer and consider signing with the network.

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SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research Release New Sports Audio Report

“Family, community, and emotion drive this passion unlike any other. What brand wouldn’t want to be associated with this level of devotion?” 

Barrett Sports Media

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Logos for SiriusXM, Edison Research and GroupM

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research have released a new sports audio report. The report “explores sports fandom in the U.S. and the role that audio content plays in fans’ engagement with sports and leagues.”

The report found that 64% of sports fans frequently or occasionally listened to sports content last year via radio, podcasts or SiriusXM.

The findings were presented in a webinar late last week by Gabriel Soto, Senior Director of Research at Edison Research, Melissa Paris, Vice President of Sales Research at SiriusXM Media, and Jen Soch, Executive Director, Channel Solutions at GroupM US.  

The key findings in the study showed that 186 million people ages 13 and over identify as sports fans, that is two-thirds of the American population. The study also found that 68% of sports fans say sports brings their family closer together. Another major finding was that the majority of Gen Z and Millennials closely follow the personal lives of athletes they like.

While the majority of sports audio is still being consumed via AM/FM radio, podcast’s share of sports listening has almost doubled since 2018. With the younger audience, the study found that 13–34-year-olds are spending three times as much time with sports podcasts than sports radio.

In a positive note for sports audio advertisers, the report also showed 63% of sports audio listeners have gathered more information about a company or product after hearing an ad on a sports podcast or sports audio program. Over half have purchased a product or service after hearing an ad on a sports podcast or sports audio program. 

“The idea that sports is more than just a game is at the core of what drives fandom, audio consumption, and the benefits advertisers receive from sports audio,” said Soto. “Family, community, and emotion drive this passion unlike any other. What brand wouldn’t want to be associated with this level of devotion?” 

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