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Le Batard Warns: “If You Leave, You’ll Get Lost”

Jason Barrett

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Is ESPN still a destination for the world’s biggest sports media personalities? It’s no secret that over the past two years the company has experienced an exodus. Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann, Jason Whitlock, and Mike Tirico have all departed and a narrative has been created that the worldwide leader in sports is no longer interested in forking over big dollars to the nation’s top talents.

But do they have to?

One can make a case, that exposure for an individual is largely increased when they perform on ESPN. Stephen A. Smith re-signed with the company when he probably could’ve earned more elsewhere, but he was wise enough to recognize the value he gains from being associated with the company.

Make no mistake about it, Smith is still well paid. But, as competition has increased, talent now find themselves in a position to reap the benefits financially, even if it reduces their influence professionally.

Yesterday on Dan Le Batard’s ESPN Radio show, the subject of Skip Bayless departing was raised. Le Batard spoke candidly about it, and provided a behind the scenes account of a conversation he had with Colin Cowherd when he was entertaining moving on. Kyle Koster of The Big Lead transcribed the commentary, and a video is available on The Big Lead’s website:

“The ego of these guys is such that they don’t believe they’re choosing money over winning. They believe they are going to make the difference. It’s happening right now in the sports opinion business. I told Colin Cowherd not to leave this spot. We were having conversations — now I’m revealing private conversations that I shouldn’t be — even though it would have benefited us, I was telling Colin Cowherd I don’t think you leave. You leave, you’re going to get lost, you’re going to do it for money and no one’s going to know where to find you. We don’t do this to have our voices stuffed in a drawer; we do this to be heard.”

“Skip Bayless doesn’t think he’s going for money,” Le Batard added. “Skip Bayless thinks he’s going to make a difference. And he’s not. What’s been happening with the athletes is happening in the gasbag business.”

LeBatard isn’t wrong that there’s a drastic shift in terms of relevance when a top flight personality vacates ESPN, and signs on at another network. The reach of brands such as the CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network, and FS1 have yet to enter ESPN’s neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t in the future.

It also doesn’t mean that an individual who has an opportunity to vastly improve their financial standing shouldn’t explore it if they feel it will make other aspects of their life more rewarding. Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, and Dan Patrick took similar risks and they’ve turned out just fine, even if they broadcast to smaller audiences.

However, if personalities are going to move on from the four letter network, and expect immediate results in another arena, they’re likely to find themselves disappointed. You don’t make the jump without understanding that it’s a long-term play. ESPN may find itself right now in unchartered territory, but the brand still remains powerful. They can also reverse their stance on paying premium dollars for talent tomorrow if they choose to.

What this ultimately boils down to is giving up influence, and relevance for the almighty dollar. Critics and fans of an individual may find fault with a personality’s decision to chase the money, but I’m certain that the person making the decision will gladly welcome media criticism, and public scorn in exchange for enjoying a better life.

Sports Radio News

Joy Taylor Says Aaron Rodgers Is More Likeable After Pardon My Take Appearance

“It makes him astronomically more likeable,” Taylor said.

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Joy Taylor

On Monday, the Pardon My Take podcast dropped their latest episode which featured an interview with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Big Cat, one of the show’s co-hosts, is a Chicago Bears fan and has spent a lot of time not liking Rodgers publicly.

Colin Cowherd saw one of the many clips that the show shared and brought up how much he thought that Rodgers took ribbing from Big Cat and the podcast in stride. That’s when Joy Taylor offered that the interview could help Rodgers in the long run.

“It makes him astronomically more likeable,” Taylor said. “When you can show that you don’t take yourself that seriously, all of the animosity that people have towards you just kind of starts to wither away.”

She added that the disarming quality helps if people don’t perceive Rodgers as thinking he has all the answers.

“When people feel like they are projecting ‘I know more than you’ and ‘I’ve got it all figured out’ energy, people are like: ‘you got to be the smartest guy on the room all time time? You’re not.’

This is so likeable,” Taylor said. “It’s really funny.”

Cowherd agreed and even said he is probably going to go listen to it after the show.

“Aaron is genuinely laughing as they make fun of him and that is an incredibly endearing quality.”

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Sports Radio News

WNSR Debuts ‘Power Hour’ with Sami Kincaid

Nashville’s WNSR debuted Power Hour with host Sami Kincaid.

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Power Hour with Sami Kincaid

Nashville has a brand new voice to listen to on WNSR and her name is Sami Kincaid. On Saturday, the station debuted Power Hour with host Sami Kincaid.

The debut show featured Associated Press writer Teresa Walker, Vanderbilt women’s basketball guard Jordyn Cambridge and North Georgia assistant softball coach Alea White. The show is focused on women that are operating inside sports.

The show airs Saturdays from 9-10a CT.

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Sports Radio News

Toucher and Rich: Dennis Eckersley’s Retirement a “Huge Loss”

“When Eckersley got in there (the booth),” Shertenlieb started, “he was great. It made all of them better when Dennis Eckersley was around. It’s going to be a huge loss.”

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Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley announced that he was going to retire from the Boston Red Sox television booth at the end of this season. The current NESN analyst is leaving after twenty years on the air with the team.

The news broke during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 the Sports Hub and it gave show co-host Rich Shertenlieb a chance to mention the news and praise the departing personality.

“When Eckersley got in there (the booth),” Shertenlieb started, “he was great. It made all of them better when Dennis Eckersley was around. It’s going to be a huge loss.”

The show spent the rest of the segment talking about what Eckersley offered that made him so unique. That’s when Matt McCarthy, fill-in for Fred Toucher, said that Eckersley was exactly what you wanted in an analyst.

“You want someone that’s going to give you an opinion,” McCarthy said. “Eck gave you an opinion. He’ll be missed.”

McCarthy also pointed out that this is the latest major shakeup that has happened to the television broadcast in recent years.

“There’s no doubt this is a blow,” McCarthy added. “This is a tremendous loss to that Red Sox broadcast to which has taken a lot of hits over the years with the loss of Jerry Remy, the decision to move on from Don Orsillo and now Dennis Eckersley retiring… they are going to have to find an entertainer in there. Matt McCarthy

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