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Andy Bloom Discusses The State of Sports Radio

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A week before Christmas, Andy Bloom was laid off from his job as operations manager for Sportsradio 94.1 WIP and 1210 WPHT — two of CBS Radio’s six Philadelphia stations. The company said it was part of plans to streamline operations.

Bloom is best known as the young program director at rock station 94.1 WYSP – WIP’s predecessor – who played a key role in the decision to simulcast Howard Stern’s New York morning program in Philadelphia and then Los Angeles in the 1980s. He returned to radio in 2007 at WIP and WPHT after four years as communications director for U.S. Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio).

He recently talked about threats to the future of radio, dealing with the outsized egos and erratic behavior of hosts, and whether podcasting can produce a successful business model.

How has the business and format of sports talk radio changed over the years?
I think it was [former WIP program director] Tom Bigby who came up with the idea to mix sports talk with guy talk. It’s essentially moving in and out of sports and pop culture. But it all depends on how successful the teams are here. And I think that’s when things started to change for us.

When I started in 2007, the Phillies were making their big run, the Flyers were building toward a Stanley Cup Finals run in 2010 and the Eagles were a playoff team almost every year. There was only one parade out of that era but there was a lot of success and so everyone liked talking sports.

But by 2012 or 2013, the teams had all become so bad that it got depressing and rating started to dip. But the two guys who did not see a dip were Angelo [Cataldi] and Mike Missanelli. And that’s because they didn’t just talk sports; they also entertained. When the teams are not performing, you have to do more entertaining on the air.

I’m sure you’ve seen the Oliver Stone movie Talk Radio. Are you ever concerned about hosts going too far in the name of entertainment?
The difference between now and when Talk Radio came out, or when Howard Stern came to Philadelphia and Los Angeles, is that social media and email didn’t exist and political correctness was not what it is today. Anyone behind a keyboard can express anger and say things they would never say in person. It’s essentially the bathroom wall.

You have to shut that noise out and take your cues from the ratings. Listeners will tell you if you went too far. And with WIP, we continued to grow our ratings in the morning and afternoons so I don’t think we went too far.

I’m sure you had to have talks with certain hosts after they said things on air, right?
I had talks with people. But I also realized that when you do 20 to 25 hours of radio a week, you are going to say stupid things from time to time. What I tried to do was not blow things out of proportion. It would be different if a host disregarded something we had previously discussed or did something malicious in nature. But if it was not malicious and just something that was a stupid comment, I tried not to overreact.

Are podcasting and satellite radio existential threats to terrestrial talk radio, like the stations you ran at WPHT and WIP?
There are all sorts of alternatives now. It doesn’t mean that radio is dead. If radio dies, it will be because of suicide. It has to respond by being platform agnostic and trying to deliver the product in the way people are using it. On-demand is a way of life for TV. The measurement of how much programming is being DVR’d is a big issue for TV right now. They want total viewership to include DVR and there will be the same issue with radio and streaming. I think eventually they will be counted together.

To read the full interview visit the Philadelphia Business Journal where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Yankees Are Going To Give Marc Malusis A Heart Attack

“To turn what the Mets did into a referendum on the Yankees’ incompetence is a joke. It’s an absolute joke.”

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Over on WFAN in New York, there seemed to be some friendly ribbing going on Tuesday from afternoon hosts Criag Carton and Evan Roberts. Marc Malusis was very upset by the New York Mets’ free agency acquisitions and the inaction to this point by the New York Yankees front office.

Malusis said in part that it was frustrating to see teams like the Texas Rangers and the Mets go out and sign sought-after free agents like Marcus Semien and Max Scherzer, while the Yankees front office essentially sits on its hands.

“You have the Yankees here basically collecting their coins, looking under the seat cushions to see exactly who they can find and who they can sign,” Malusis said.

He added that it was a disservice to Yankees fans to justify not signing anyone of note at this point by appealing to lesser player acquisitions and trying to convince fans to wait for prospects to develop.

“As a Yankee fan, you have every right to be frustrated,” he said. “And if you don’t go out and add one of these shortstops this offseason, it further shows the breaking point between the ownership and the leadership of the Yankees, and the fan base and how the Yankees operate right now as an organization. And I think you can easily make the argument that would be a failure.”

Meanwhile, Carton and Roberts opened their show saying it was ridiculous for Malusis and Yankee fans to be overreacting at this point.

“Malusis damn near had a heart attack at 10 o’clock this morning,” Carton joked. “I was worried about him. I called him to make sure he didn’t pass out.”

Ultimately Roberts explained that the Mets were further away from being a team capable of making a postseason appearance and run than the Yankees, who have routinely been among the league’s biggest buyers of marquee talent during free agency. Carton agreed and said Yankee fans need to just pump the brakes and calm down.

“To turn what the Mets did into a referendum on the Yankees’ incompetence is a joke. It’s an absolute joke…The New York Yankees have never sat still…Like shut up. It’s embarrassing.”

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Sports Radio News

Bill Michaels Steps Up To Help Waukesha Victims & Families

“When people ask why do this? I say, because we need to.”

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Wisconsin sports radio host Bill Michaels is stepping up to help Waukesha, Wisconsin. The small Wisconsin town has earned a flood of media attention recently after Darrell Brooks Jr. drove his SUV thru the town’s Christmas parade, killing six people, including an 8-year old boy, Jackson Sparks. Brooks has been charged with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide. He is being held in a Wisconsin jail on five million dollars bail and faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

With so many impacted by the tragedy, Michaels decided to use his radio platform to help raise funds for the victims and their families.

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin sports voice called on his audience and local people to join him in making donations to help those affected. Michaels broadcasted from Nice Ash Cigar Bar, and encouraged people to donate to the Waukesha Foundation Fund. He shared on the air that he was headed to the Christmas parade on November 21st, when he learned that something had gone awry at the event.

“We’re out here today raising funds for the victims, their families, and those in need down here,” shared Michaels on his radio program ‘The Bill Michaels Show’. “This is one of those situations where people say ‘thoughts and prayers’ which is great, but you need to do something. When people ask why do this? I say, because we need to,” Michaels added.

As of Monday afternoon, seven children were still hospitalized at Children’s Wisconsin.

To help raise awareness for Jackson Sparks, the eight year old boy who was killed in the senseless tragedy, Wisconsin native and Texas resident Todd Ahrens took to social media asking people to wear baseball jerseys on Friday in honor of the boy’s love for the sport. The social post created by Ahrens has gone viral, being shared and liked by thousands all across the country.

Those interested in making a contribution to the Waukesha Foundation Fund to help the families and victims affected, can do so by clicking here.

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Sports Radio News

David Feherty Launches Weekly SiriusXM Show

“David’s unique blend of wit and golf wisdom, and his experience from a lifetime in the game, really make him one of a kind.”

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Via NBC Sports Pressbox

SiriusXM announced today that David Feherty, who has been entertaining golf audiences with his witty perspective on the game for more than two decades, is joining SiriusXM to launch a new weekly show.

Feherty will team up with fellow former pro and SiriusXM host John Maginnes for Feherty and Maginnes. The show will be on Monday evenings on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel.

They will preview the new show this Wednesday at 5pm. The show officially starts in its new time slot on January 3rd, as the PGA TOUR season picks up steam with the Hawaii tournaments.

“I can’t wait to work with John Maginnes,” said Feherty.  “He is one of my favorite people and SiriusXM will be a really fun platform for us. The over/under on both of us getting canceled is about six weeks!”

The format will include long form interviews with personalities from the world of golf with storytelling to the listeners coming from the golf expertise of Feherty and Maginnes, who both had playing careers on the PGA Tour.

“David’s unique blend of wit and golf wisdom, and his experience from a lifetime in the game, really make him one of a kind,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer. “SiriusXM is the perfect platform for his many great stories and the insightful and revealing conversations he’ll have with his guests.  We are thrilled to pair him up with John and bring together two terrific personalities who will deliver an entertaining, must-listen show for our listeners.”

Feherty spent time following his playing career at CBS and NBC as well as his own show on the Golf Channel.

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