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Mike Greenberg To Host New TV Show and Leave Mike & Mike

Jason Barrett

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It’s been one of the worst kept secrets in the media industry, and now the cat is finally out of the bag. Mike Greenberg is leaving his ESPN radio program alongside Mike Golic after 18 years.

We had alluded to this possibility in previous posts, and Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated has nailed down the confirmation. ESPN executives want to move Greenberg into a new role as the lead host of a television show that would air in the morning on ESPN. The new show will be a blend of a traditional morning show and some of the regular features which sports fans have come to expect from SportsCenter. The show is expected to originate out of New York City.

In making the move, there is certainly a sudden impact to the ESPN Radio network which will now have lost Greenberg, Colin Cowherd, and Scott Van Pelt all within a span of three years. The loss of those key personalities has led many programmers to become frustrated with the programming choices from the network, which makes it even more important that the network delivers big when replacing Greenberg. A false move could lead affiliates to terminate relationships in favor of local programming or other partnerships with FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio, NBC Sports Radio or SB Nation Radio.

Mike and Mike were inducted into the NAB radio hall of fame in 2016, which seemed to signal the beginning of the end for the pair. Greenberg also switched agents, and was signed to a new contract at ESPN for a reported 6.5 million dollars, which indicated that other plans were in the works for him. The network doesn’t offer those type of deals to talent with a primary focus on radio.

With Greenberg moving on, many feel a brand new morning show with fresh blood would energize the brand. But according to Deitsch’s report, Trey Wingo has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Greenberg, and Mike Golic Jr. is expected to be part of the final mix. Sources I spoke with also said that Mike Golic Sr. was likely to remain as the network generates a lot of revenue from the Mike and Mike brand and Golic’s stability could help retain some of the show’s key advertisers.

There has always been mixed feelings towards Mike and Mike. Those who love the show often point to the duo’s chemistry, commitment to sports, fast pace, and content selection. Those who reject it often cite a lack of bold opinions and a too-safe approach. I conducted a study in October on the possibility of breaking up the show, and the 7 radio executives I polled were split down the middle on whether to stay the course or move on.

So now the elephant in the room has been addressed and the only remaining questions are, when will Mike and Mike permanently sign off? Who takes over mornings on ESPN Radio and ESPN2? And will the new show meet the approval of the radio industry or cause companies across the country to start pursuing other options?

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ESPN Films Creating Stuart Scott ‘30 for 30’

“ The 30 for 30 film will explore Scott’s rise up the ranks at ESPN, his influence on media and culture, a painful divorce and his fight against cancer, which ultimately took his life.”

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ESPN Films has announced plans for an upcoming 30 for 30 documentary on former SportsCenter star Stuart Scott. The film will be directed by Andre Gaines.

According to Deadline, the film will detail how Scott shattered preconceived notions of how on-air talent were expected to look, talk, act, and think. It’ll also highlight how hip-hop and Black culture were brought into the sports media mainstream.

“Stuart Scott transcended broadcasting, journalism, sports and culture in ways that we’re only beginning to really understand and appreciate now,” said Andre Gaines. “He made his mark on so many people, especially young black men, and his legend has only grown since his passing. The opportunity I’ve had now to examine his life, visit his home, get to know his daughters Taelor and Sydni, and understand how incredibly vast and rich a life Stuart lived, I can only hope that audiences find the same catharsis I’ve already experienced in making this film.”

Vice President and Executive Producer of ESPN Films Marsha Cooke added, “We pride ourselves on telling the stories of true originals who changed the world, and Stuart epitomized that in so many ways. This film is the perfect tribute to a man who touched lives in front of and behind the camera. Andre Gaines has begun crafting a film that will shine a new light on who Stuart really was–from his relationship with Taelor and Sydni to the many people who saw the world differently just from spending time with him. The film will be Stuart through and through–funny, smart, edgy, touching, and transformational.”

Scott passed away at the age of 49 in January 2015 following a battle with cancer. His style and memorable catchphrases helped ESPN attract new fans, influence broadcasters, and put a modern twist on the network’s signature show.

The 30 for 30 film will explore his rise up the ranks at ESPN, his influence on media and culture, the pain of a divorce and his fight with cancer that ultimately took his life. Scott’s daughters Taelor and Syndi will also lend their voices to the tribute to their father.

A release date has not yet been announced.

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Jeremy Conn: “How Pissed Would You Be if You Didn’t Have Apple Tonight?”

“It’s just this is how it’s going to be moving forward. If you don’t get in line and adjust to it, you’re going to be left out.”

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Graphic for the Big Bad Morning Show

The Big Bad Morning Show, featuring Rob Long, Ed Norris and Jeremy Conn, on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore this morning discussed the upcoming home debut of No. 1 baseball prospect Jackson Holliday. That game will take place tonight, however, for those who cannot make it to the game, they will need Apple TV+ in order to view it.

Host Rob Long said, “I am going to see it because I am going to be there live, but some aren’t going to be able to see it because it is on Apple TV+ tonight instead of on MASN. This is not an Orioles thing folks. This is Major League Baseball. Are they making a mistake with these Apple and Peacock games?”

Co-host Ed Norris said, “I don’t know if they are making a mistake, it’s just the way we live now, it’s the way it is done. I don’t think so because I think by now people have gotten very used to this.”

Jeremy Conn added, “No they are not making a mistake, this is the money-making part of this business, and this is what’s going to keep happening across sports. It’s here guys and it’s either adjust or get left behind. “I’m sorry, I’m not even trying to be rude to people that can’t afford these things. It’s just this is how it’s going to be moving forward. If you don’t get in line and adjust to it, you’re going to be left out.

“It sucks for everyone out there who can’t afford those things and can’t do it, but there’s a reason why Apple is paying so much money to have these games, because people are going to subscribe to watch.”

Rob Long pointed out some statistics showing 4 of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25 shows were carried by networks which exclusively stream. “If these shows are so popular, who doesn’t have streaming?” he said.

Conn then used tonight’s Orioles game as the example of times when we will see people very upset with Major League Baseball even though it is one game out of 162 regular season games the Orioles will play this year. “I’m not trying to be a jerk by saying either get in line or get left behind, because that’s what happening,” said Conn. “…You’ll still be able to see some baseball games…a lot of them…but how pissed would you be…if you didn’t have Apple tonight to watch this?”

The hosts talked about baseball needing to attract the younger audience and pointed out that streaming platforms is where those younger fans can be reached. They also wondered why more heat isn’t thrown at the NFL, where one or two games carried exclusively by a streamer is a much higher percentage of a team’s games than if baseball does the same

Ed Norris added, “The NFL has paved the way for this so people are used to it. I think it sucks a little more in baseball because there’s so many games. I don’t want to have to chase the team all over…if it’s going to be on Apple and Peacock and Prime, I don’t want to be purchasing all of these.”

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Spike Eskin: Chris Oliviero ‘On the Precipice’ of Deciding Next WFAN Program Director

“For the sake of the place and you guys, he should know that it’s not just lunacy here every day.”

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Spike Eskin

Audacy is in the midst of its search for a new program director for WFAN, borne out of Spike Eskin returning to SportsRadio 94WIP to serve as an afternoon drive co-host. It was revealed on Thursday that Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, member of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz and various other programs through Meadowlark Media, was offered the position but ultimately turned it down.

Weiner called into the Boomer & Gio morning show on Thursday to explain his rationale, citing his family and desire to take the air as part of the reasons why he decided to decline the opportunity. Eskin himself joined the morning show live in the studio on Friday while wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt, prompting speculation as to whether or not it was his last day on the job.

Eskin confirmed that he would be at the station next week, but he did acknowledge that his tenure at the outlet is coming to a close. Morning program co-host Gregg Giannotti explained that whenever he was asked when Eskin was leaving the station, he told people that it would be when he wore the Iron Maiden T-shirt. Giannotti then wanted to know if Eskin wearing the T-shirt was a ceremonial selection ahead of his final days at the station.

“I felt like a Friday shirt – maybe not ceremonial, but certainly on the precipice of – as you were talking to Stugotz yesterday, obviously Chris is on the precipice of deciding who the next program director will be,” Eskin said.

Eskin went on to explain that he understood the upside of deciding to hire Weiner to take over the responsibilities of program director. Morning co-host Boomer Esiason then reflected on when Eskin was hired for the job last May, explaining that he did not initially know that much about him within the sports media industry.

“I took one look at you and thought you were some sort of meth addict because all the [tattoos] and all that stuff, but it turned out that you were actually a great guy and you turned out to be [a] really, really great program director and got this whole station back on track, I believe,” Esiason said. “A big part of Boomer & Gio Live, which has been great, and now I hear that they got Mark Chernoff possibly coming back in – is he going to fill in until the new guy is hired or a new person is hired?”

“I do not comment on any of those,” Eskin said. “That is for the Architect to comment on.”

Audacy has yet to announce a new hire to fill Eskin’s position with the company, but Giannotti felt that the process is taking longer than anyone expected. As a result, he perceived that Audacy New York market manager Chris Oliviero may have felt bad about that and wanted to get him to Philadelphia rather than having him train the new hire. Eskin, however, said that he will be able to assist the new hire nonetheless and help them become familiar with the outlet. From there, he commented on Weiner saying that Eskin did not make the program director job sound more attractive, a proposition with which he disagreed.

“I told him it was the best programming job in America without question… and I said it’s a lot of fun, but I assured him it is an actual job that has emails and meetings and salespeople and all of those things,” Eskin said. “For the sake of the place and you guys, he should know that it’s not just lunacy here every day.”

Esiason reflected on a caller from the Thursday show who stated that Weiner is lazy, meaning that he would be unable to assume the position Eskin is leaving behind. Eskin responded by yielding that it would be a difficult job for a lazy person to adequately perform. From there, Giannotti repeated the syllogism explained by Weiner that he was unsure if he would be able to resist finding a spot on the air if he were to have programming responsibilities at the outlet.

“I talked to Stugotz for a while, [and] I reported back to Chris [Oliviero] what I thought, and I was positive about the conversation,” Eskin articulated. “I said, ‘One thing I am thinking though,’ I said, ‘You know, I guess it’s possible that he’s just coming here to [wait] for an air job to open up, and then you lose a program director.’”

“It was 100% trojan horse,” Esiason concurred. “Just get in the building and wait until somebody either dies – me – or somebody else is going to leave or say something stupid – Sal [Licata] – on the air.”

Eskin assuaged Esiason’s fears of Audacy hiring someone who is coming to the station not genuinely wanting to perform the programming job, conveying that he did not have anything to worry about. After that, Esiason asked Eskin if he knew who the program director was, to which he replied, “Maybe.” To close the segment, Giannotti outlined the moment that he is eagerly anticipating upon the start of the new vice president of programming.

“Whoever this is, I just can’t wait for this first real ‘has to ask Boomer something’ interaction, because I was talking to Al,” Giannotti explained. “You had been in the business; your father was in the business for a long time. I knew you had – and you had dealt with Angelo Cataldi – I knew you had that in you, so I wasn’t as excited about your first interaction with Boomer as I am this one because whoever this person is is going to have to ask him to do something at some point, and I just can’t wait to see it.”

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