The latest developments that you may have missed throughout the sports media world. As always, if you have news to share or something to promote, feel free to pass it along via email at [email protected].
Jim Celania of 610 The Fan (WFNZ-AM) is retiring after nearly 20 years at the radio station. Celania recently hosted the morning show alongside Chris McClain. He previously worked with Gary Williams on the Morning Sports Page. Celenia said “I had two highly prepared lead hosts in Gary and Mac and many others allowing me to just be me, but now it’s time to go. I will miss it more than it will miss me. If I made you think or laugh then I guess I did ok.”
Former CBS Radio President Dan Mason is keeping busy in sports media circles. Mason, who currently serves as Senior Advisor for iHeartmedia, will be calling a handful of college basketball games on television for the CBS Sports Network. He was also added recently as an analyst on the Horse Racing Radio Network. HRNN programming can be heard on Sirius 93, XM 93, online and podcast at horseracingradio.net, and on select HRRN affiliates.
Clay Travis wrote a column which focused on the continued decline in subscribers at ESPN. This led to a response from the worldwide leader. Nielsen, the company which supplies ratings data for radio and television companies has since removed their November 2016 Cable Network Coverage Universe Estimates (versus the prior month) citing an unusual change. The company says they take the accuracy of their data very seriously and are conducting a thorough analysis to determine whether or not there was an issue.
Prior to the start of the World Series, 670 The Score program director Mitch Rosen took to his station’s website to thank listeners for their support during the past 25 years. You can read Rosen’s piece by clicking here. The Score’s Chris Tannehill also put together an excellent production piece to summarize the Cubs season and get local fans ready for the matchup with the Indians. You can hear it by clicking here.
102.5 The Game in Nashville has a brand new program director and they didn’t have to look far to find him. Ryan Porth has been promoted from the station’s APD role to the top spot. Station General Manager Jana Hampton says “Ryan exceeded expectations as the APD and has proven himself worthy of the elevated role. He brings energy, understanding, knowledge, and a plan to win. The competition wasn’t even close.”
Jeffrey Wright has been hired by 92.9 ESPN in Memphis. He’ll serve as Executive Producer of the Geoff Calkins Show, and as a contributor to the station’s local programming. Wright spent the past four years in Oxford, Mississippi covering Ole Miss for the Yahoo/Rivals network and hosting the Oxford Exxon Podcast, the largest daily podcast in the Southeast.
Staying in Nashville, 104.5 The Zone doesn’t have the radio rights to the Predators but that isn’t stopping them from tapping into one of the team’s most popular new additions. P.K. Subban has been added as a weekly contributor and will join the station’s afternoon show 3HL every Wednesday.
97.9 ESPN in Hartford is down to a few finalists for its vacant program director position. A final decision is expected soon. Former PD Tim Spence left in order to take the reigns at Denver Sports 760. Both stations are owned and operated by iHeartmedia.
Longtime Golden State Warriors radio producer R.C. Davis has joined 95.7 The Game as a producer of the station’s weekday NBA show. The program “NBA This Week” is hosted by John Dickinson and Matt Steinmetz.
Congratulations is in order for Arizona Sports 98.7FM midday host Vince Marotta who has taken over duties as the P.A. Announcer of the Phoenix Suns. Marotta replaces Kip Helt.
Chris Herring has left his position as the New York Knicks beat reporter at the Wall Street Journal to join ESPN where he’ll serve as a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight and as a national NBA reporter for the True Hoop Network.
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 [email protected].
Mike Ricordati: I’ve Made 97.1 The Fan Tons of Money, I Should Be Able to Skip Breaks
“We’ve never been accused of being professional.”
97.1 The Fan afternoon hosts Mike Ricordati — also known as “Common Man” — and Jonathan “T-Bone” Smith raised eyebrows around the industry earlier this week after the pair refused to take regularly scheduled commercials breaks while discussing Ohio State’s loss to Michigan. The show was threatened with suspension and removal from the air if they didn’t return to taking commercial breaks.
On Common Man & T-Bone Tuesday, the pair discussed the incident at length, with Ricordati sharing his displeasure about the situation.
Although he was apparently not supposed to discuss what occurred the day before, Ricordati opened the show by describing the incident. He conveyed that he was back on the air despite some people assuming that he would not be allowed to host the program. Moreover, he acknowledged that there were points on Monday where he did not believe he would be on the day’s episode, although he posted on X that he would be on the show at 3 p.m. later in the day.
“We were talking and drinking bourbon on the air, which is not professional but who the hell cares,” Ricordati said. “We’ve never been accused of being professional.”
Smith thought that the hosts’ consumption of the alcoholic substance would get them in trouble, which was indeed confiscated later in the program. The initial concern seemed to stem from the program skipping a commercial break, which prompted Ricordati to expound on what he believes is a double standard within the building. TEGNA also owns a television station, WBNS, which operates under the same roof and provides breaking news coverage when necessary. During these times, the outlet interrupts regularly scheduled programming and eschews commercial breaks as it procures and disseminates real-time information en masse.
“But when there’s a national day of mourning among Buckeye Nation, they expect us to go out there, do our 10 minutes [and] hit the break,” Ricordati said. “Why? We’re here to provide a service to you, so you take the hit for a day. If you’ve got a radio host willing to sit there for three hours straight and drink bourbon and talk to people and still adhere to FCC regulations, which we were going to do, then you know what? Eat the commercial inventory for a day. I volunteered to pay for it.”
Smith suggested that instead of going to break, the show could have implemented live sponsorship reads, using plumbing services as an example. Not only would it have hypothetically provided a boon for business, he surmised, but it would have also ensured that the outlet could keep attaining revenue.
When Ricordati began to ponder how often the program has an episode as monumental as an Ohio State loss to Michigan, he recognized that it is becoming an annual tradition, a matter of concern for fans of the team. Smith replied by vowing that if the team loses a fourth straight game to Michigan next year, the program will discuss the NBA and eliminate football discussion from the episode entirely.
“NBA and just commercials. It’ll be TEGNA’s wet dream,” Ricordati added. “Oh yes.”
Although he did not divulge specific details about the conversation he had with management on Monday, Ricordati implied that he raised his voice and revealed that Fishman did not show up for work. While the reason for Fishman’s absence is unknown, Ricordati took it as an opportunity to say that he won the battle.
Mike Ricordati then took issue with the idea that he doesn’t have the ability to dictate how his program operates, in spite of his long history with the station.
“I have been on these airwaves for 20 years,” Ricordati affirmed. “I have hosted more shows than anybody in the history of this radio station. I’ve made a lot of money for this place. If I want to do a show where I blow through a break or two, I should be allowed to do it.”
“What do they think?,” Smith said later in the segment regarding company management. “They know who we are; they know this show. We’ve been on the air together for 11 years; you’ve been on here for 20 years. They know how this show is. We talk; we tell people what’s on our minds [and] we have an audience that listens to us because they expect us to not pull any punches, which by the way, that’s what yesterday was all about.”
Following a brief discussion about Ohio State and the job security of head coach Ryan Day, it was time for the show to take its first scheduled commercial break of the afternoon. Ricordati told his producer once again that he did not want to go to a break, eliciting laughter within the studio before the show ran its first set of advertisements.
“We’re going to do a fun show today,” Ricordati disclosed. “I can’t do yesterday’s show again for a variety of reasons.”
Jim Rome: I Don’t Want to Talk About How the NFL Sucks Every Day
Rome argued that “hate is the new dopamine” while noting that he doesn’t want to talk about what he hates all day.
Jim Rome didn’t want to have to be that guy on Tuesday, but he had no choice.
Rome opened his CBS Sports Radio show by prefacing his comments on Monday night’s Bears/Vikings game by saying his goal isn’t to just ridicule the NFL schedule into oblivion.
“I don’t come in here every single day looking to bag on and hate on NFL primetime games,” Rome said. “And yes, I’m the one who said it – hate is the new dopamine. But that’s not how I get down. That’s not my deal.”
Jim Rome added that just saying everything sucks isn’t a sports take. But he pivoted from there saying that it’s OK to say 95% of the primetime games in the NFL suck because it’s true.
“Then not only is it a take, it’s the only take,” he said. “How are these games actually managing in primetime to get worse and worse? And how is anything going to top the atrocity that we sat through last night?”
Fans in theory should get a more competitive, high-scoring affair on Thursday night when the Seahawks take on the Cowboys. But Rome just couldn’t believe how torturous Monday night’s contest really was.
“Technically, the Bears did win that game. But technically, really, we all lost,” he said.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Mad Dog: Gus Johnson ‘Bothered The Hell Out of Me’ Saturday
“For crying out loud, Michigan/Ohio State isn’t even better than North Carolina/Duke, who play twice a year. So let’s be careful with the hype machine.”
FOX Sports college football voice Gus Johnson has made no bones about his affinity for Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. However, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has heard enough.
During his Mad Dog Unleashed program on SiriusXM, Russo shared that not only was Johnson obnoxious for the constant use of a nickname he bestowed up Harrison, but he was also misguided for calling Ohio State/Michigan the greatest rivalry in sports.
“Gus Johnson — the hype machine that he is — please, when you broadcast a ballgame, I don’t need to hear about Maserati Marv, number one. And number two, that’s not the greatest rivalry in sports history. Have you heard of the Yankees and the Red Sox? Giants and the Dodgers? How about Bears/Packers? Have you heard about that?
“For crying out loud, Michigan/Ohio State isn’t even better than North Carolina/Duke, who play twice a year. So let’s be careful with the hype machine. That bothered the hell out of me.”
When a caller pushed back on Russo’s opinion on the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry, he continued by saying “That rivalry’s not Yankees/Red Sox. To compare college football to the Yankees and the Red Sox is ludicrous.”