Sports Radio News
Sandra Golden Standing Out On The Atlanta Airwaves
During the baseball playoffs in October, 92.9 the Game host Mike Bell tweeted his displeasure seeing a softball player doing baseball analysis on ESPN, going after her with a sexist insult made famous by the film “Anchorman.”
After hurling potshots and defending his position with foes for hours, Bell made an on-air apology the next day and was suspended for three days.
Though his insult was aimed at Jessica Mendoza, the ridiculous nature of his comment wasn’t lost on Sandra Golden.
Golden — Atlanta’s only female sports talk radio host, heard daily on the Fan (680 on the AM, 93.7 on the FM) from 9 a.m. to noon — has survived in a male-dominated business by successfully battling this prevalent attitude about women in sports media.
“His argument makes about as much sense as saying men can’t be gynecologists,” Golden said. “Most of the men in TV and radio have never been professional athletes themselves.”
At the same time, she is actually friends with Bell and called him soon after the kerfuffle happened. “I said, ‘Hang in there. That “Anchorman” line is funny. People are too serious.’ I’ve called him a meathead myself, but he really has a big heart.”
Bell, in return, calls Golden “a great loyal friend. I always loved hearing her laugh at my corny jokes back in the day when we were on mornings together. She’s the best.”
Golden has been in sports media for more than two decades, coming to Atlanta in 1997 after multiple broadcasting stints in Florida. She has built a reputation for her preparation, her sports knowledge and ability to wrestle with the big boys in their playpen. Before joining radio in 2004, she spent seven years at Fox Sports South covering the Atlanta Braves and ACC sports.
“She’s a sweetheart,” said Chipper Jones, the legendary starting Braves third basemen from 1995 to 2012. “It’s not easy to be a female in a professional locker room. She carried herself with the utmost professionalism. She always had a huge smile on her face.” (Golden said she was “kind of tough on him, but he was always respectful.”)
Golden is part of “The Front Row,” a show that features bombastic veteran host Stephen “Steak” Shapiro and soft-spoken former Atlanta Falcon Brian Finneran.
On the show, the Buckhead resident plays like the sassy older sister to the two younger men. “It’s almost annoying how happy she is in the morning,” Finneran said.
She also possesses what she calls a “loud cackle,” which she tried to suppress when she first started on sports talk radio station 790 the Zone as the news update person for the morning show. But Shapiro told her that this was part of who she was, so let it rip!
David Dickey, who runs the Fan and hired Golden in 2010, said he loves the trio’s chemistry. “They can poke fun at each other, but it’s not mean-spirited. They can laugh at each other and themselves. Sandra is very comfortable in her own skin.”
Occasionally, she’ll get hot on a subject such as athletes committing domestic violence. When the video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice punching his fiance in an elevator leaked last year, she couldn’t believe Rice had defenders. “I didn’t hold back calling it reprehensible behavior,” she said. “Nancy Grace was calling me about it. It definitely bothered me more than most men.”
And when she heard last week that Rice was rallying to get a job back with the NFL, she wasn’t impressed, noting he had just had a subpar year. “He can get a job at UPS or RaceTrac,” she said on air Friday. “You can earn a living. Listen. If he was such a great running back, he’d be back on a team. I don’t think the NFL would get all high and mighty if he could play.”
To a younger generation of female sportscasters, “she’s like the godfather,” said Rachel Baribeau, a college football host and analyst for SiriusXM and a sideline reporter for the ACC Network. She spent 10 months in 2012 and 2013 as a co-host on 92.9/The Game.
To read more of this article visit the AJC where it was originally published
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.
Sports Radio News
Mike Mulligan: Jeff Van Gundy is Terrible & ‘That Broadcast is Bad’
“Unfortunately, my mind turned off when it was his voice.”
Mike Mulligan dislikes everything about Jeff Van Gundy. At the end of Thursday’s edition of Mully & Haugh, the 670 The Score morning man reacted with disgust to audio of the ABC analyst suggesting that an assist should be awarded to a player that passes to a teammate that is fouled if the teammate hits his free throws.
Dan Bernstein, who was in studio for the crossover segment, asked Mully if he really hates the suggestion or does he just hate that it is coming from Van Gundy.
“Unfortunately, my mind turned off when it was his voice,” Mully responded. “So, I don’t even know what we’re talking about.”
Others in the studio suggested that the disdain stems from the fact that Jeff Van Gundy was the coach of the Knicks, a team Mully hates. He disagreed.
“I think he’s terrible, and I think that broadcast is bad,” he said.
Bernstein noted that he is a huge fan of Stan Van Gundy’s work for TNT. He asked Mike Mulligan if his hate covers all of the Van Gundys or did it just apply to Jeff.
“Stan seems like a decent guy,” Mulligan answered. “I don’t adore his brother, but I do like his brother.”
Sports Radio News
Adam Silver: Networks Will Always Focus on Most Popular Players & Teams
“In fairness to them, the ‘Joker’ hasn’t been in the Finals before.”
The first two games of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets have attracted a larger than anticipated audience. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shared with Dan Patrick that he has attended the first three NBA Finals games, and the atmosphere inside both arenas has been electrifying. The same seems to be true from the media angle with comparable ratings to last year’s matchup featuring the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, a pleasantly surprising outcome marking sustainability and viability the league has worked to strengthen over the last decade.
“Probably after last night, we’re going to be up a little bit, which says a lot about the league that you have two midsize markets,” Silver said. “A popular team in Miami, and a Nuggets team that has never been in the Finals, and the fans are responding.”
Silver became the commissioner of the league in 2014, and since then has been a part of the league expanding its digital footprint. The NBA national media rights deal with The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Discovery expires at the conclusion of the 2024-25 season, and speculation has already begun as to which entities will bid to present league games.
Patrick asked Silver how the Association can do a better job in utilizing its national media rights to market superstar players in smaller markets. Prior to the NBA Finals, Nikola Jokić was a two-time recipient of the Most Valuable Player award and a five-time NBA All-Star, but was only ninth in social media views. Over the last 30 days, Jokić has skyrocketed to No. 1 on the list, drawing more than 300 million video views across the NBA’s social media platforms.
“We have some influence,” replied Silver. “It’s interesting. To the networks, they do focus on the teams and players that they think are going to be most popular. In fairness to them, the ‘Joker’ hasn’t been in the Finals before.”
On Wednesday, ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and reiterated ideas he has previously stated about modernizing basketball. Some of these ideas included doing away with halftime, offensive goaltending and changing the rules on free throws. Silver heard these remarks before appearing with Patrick on Thursday, and responded to the inquiry with intrigue regarding halftime.
“When we’ve looked to shorten it a bit – because I think you know we changed the format of the last two minutes a couple of years ago to speed the game along – and I think we forget sometimes that the guys really do need the break,” Silver said. “Put aside the programming at halftime; the commercials… maybe you could shorten it slightly. But I think it is meaningful to the players in addition to the coaching that goes on at halftime, [plus] the opportunity to get a breather.”
Silver also commented on the recent merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf, which has come under scrutiny because of human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns a majority stake in LIV Golf, and has made lucrative offers to external golfers in an attempt to lure them to the entity. Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, along with several other golfers, took the money, and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is coming off as hypocritical after making remarks about how the deal comes off to families of survivors of the September 11 attacks. Silver divulged how the fund has not tried to make an offer for an NBA team; yet even so, the league only permits individuals to buy teams at the moment.
“When the Saudis invest in sports, it gets outsized attention,” Silver said. “I don’t want to complain about that because we want to get outsized attention. On the other hand, somebody could go down the list – they are investors in some of our largest American corporations. Some of the most well-known brands have investments from them…. With a sport like basketball, our Finals are distributed virtually everywhere in the world where the sport is played. It’s an opportunity to bring people together.”
Sports Radio News
1580 & 99.3 The Fanatic Adds ‘You Better You Bet’
“We’re confident Phoenix sports fans and betting enthusiasts will quickly incorporate the show’s unique combination of insights and ‘Wagertainment’ into their daily listening habits.”
As the BetQL Network continues its burgeoning expansion across the country, its flagship program You Better You Bet will now be heard on 1580 and 99.3 The Fanatic, a sports betting station in Phoenix, Ariz. The radio show will be aired weekdays from 12 to 4 p.m. MST on weekdays, and is hosted by Nick Kostos and Ken Barkley. With the addition, the program is now available to consume on 48 stations in 44 markets nationwide, some of which include Chicago, Ill., Los Angeles, Calif. and New York, N.Y.
“We’re pumped to continue the growth and reach of You Better You Bet and introduce the show to Arizona’s sports betting station,” Mitch Rosen, vice president of Audacy’s BetQL Network, said in a statement. “We’re confident Phoenix sports fans and betting enthusiasts will quickly incorporate the show’s unique combination of insights and ‘Wagertainment’ into their daily listening habits.”
Rosen was promoted to vice president of BetQL Network after previously serving as its director of operations. He is responsible for overseeing BetQL brand manager Andrew Williams while leading the network’s talent, production and writing teams. Additionally, Rosen continues to work as the vice president and brand manager of 670 The Score while supporting the expansion of BetQL Network’s reach and partnerships.
BetMGM is the exclusive sportsbook partner of the BetQL Network and has category exclusivity on the network’s programming. The BetQL Network distributes nearly 100 hours of original content on a weekly basis across Audacy and BetQL digital platforms. This comes at a time when the global sports betting market continues to augment in value, with an expected total valuation of just over $182 billion by 2023, according to a report by Grand View Research.
Both online and in-person sports betting is legal in Arizona, but it has yet to become precedent across the entire country. The U.S. Supreme Court decision made in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018) gave the states regulatory power over sports betting, a practice that had long been illicit outside of the state of Nevada.
“Sports betting in Arizona has become very popular since becoming legal in 2021,” Ron Cohen, president and general manager of CRC Broadcasting Company said in a statement. “The addition of You Better You Bet provides another compelling reason why Phoenix area sports fans choose KQFN The Fanatic for timely, valuable and entertaining sports programming. The addition of this show has further solidified The Fanatic as Arizona’s sports betting station!”