Although the cuts at ESPN dominated the sports media coverage last week, there were a few other stories that took place too which received less attention. A reminder, you can pass along news, tips, press releases and promotional items via email at [email protected]. Now on to this week’s developments.
ESPN Syracuse host Brent Axe conducted an excellent interview with former ESPN executive John Wildhack who now serves as Syracuse’s Athletic Director. Wildhack, who was part of the inner circle that made key business decisions on retaining the network’s play by play deals with the NFL, NBA and MLB, explained why those deals made sense, and addressed some of the differences between opinion and journalism and why FOX Sports 1 isn’t on the same level with the worldwide leader in sports. To hear the conversation, click here. The ESPN discussion occurs thirteen minutes into the interview.
Speaking of ESPN cuts, after being fed the grim news last week that his run with the network had come to an end, longtime NFL reporter Ed Werder is jumping right back into action. Werder has teamed with former ESPN Dallas radio host Matt Mosley to create The Doomsday Podcast. An episode is expected to launch on Monday with Werder addressing his departure from the company. To hear it click here.
A tip of the cap to Arizona Sports 98.7FM who received positive praise from their local audience for their NFL Draft coverage. The radio station featured afternoon hosts Dave Burns and John Gambadoro, morning man and former NFL player Ron Wolfley, and longtime ESPN College Football analyst Mark May who was recently part of the network’s cuts. Not only did Gambadoro break the news of who the Cardinals were selecting, but the blend of all four men on the broadcast resulted in numerous social media responses from listeners adding that they were enjoying the draft with the volume down so that they could enjoy hearing what the group were providing on the radio station.
WFAN is celebrating 30 years of sports broadcasting excellence. As part of it, the radio station has created a web page which features classic audio moments throughout the years, and poll questions built around memorable teams and athletes from the past three decades. The Fan has also announced a special 30-year Anniversary Show will take place on June 22nd live from Grand Central Station in New York City. One former personality who has confirmed he’ll appear at the event is WABC midday host, and former WFAN host Sid Rosenberg. For more information on The Fan’s anniversary click here.
Former Cleveland Browns GM Phil Savage, who was also part of ESPN’s cuts last week, yet remains involved hosting shows for SiriusXM NFL Radio and serving as Alabama football’s color analyst, has published a new book “4th and Goal Every Day.” Savage is making media appearances in support of the new book. To reach him click here.
92.9 The Game in Atlanta and evening host Mark Zinno have ended their relationship. No word yet on who will take over evenings for The Game, Zinno meanwhile is looking for his next opportunity. The talented host can be reached by email by clicking here.
Moving north to the nation’s capital, 106.7 The Fan will hold its 4th annual Fan Fest event this Saturday at the Nova Field House. The event is free to the public and runs from noon to 3pm ET. Included in the day’s festivities are a Nationals youth baseball clinic, PGA Golf instruction, and autograph sessions with current and former Redskins players Josh Norman, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien. The Fan’s on-air personalities will also be present. For more information click here.
Rogers Media has acquired Adult Standards CSIL 650 AM from the Newfoundland Capital Corporation. As part of the purchase, Rogers is expected to flip the radio station’s format to sports sometime this fall. Rogers landed the radio rights to the Vancouver Canucks this past March.
Congratulations is in order for Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score and ESPN Radio‘s Sarah Spain. The two Chicago based sports personalities earned a Peabody award in the public service category for their video which shined the light on harassment of women in sports. To see the video click here.
In addition to contributing to 106.7 The Fan on a part time basis, former ESPN 980 host Nick Ashooh has been hired by CSN Mid Atlantic to provide digital content to its platforms.
Staying in the digital space, some unfortunate news to share out of New York City. Jake Brown who had spent the past 3 years working for CBS Radio as its Digital Content Manager was laid off last week due to budget cuts. Brown’s show will continue on CBS’ Play.it but he’s looking for his next opportunity. To reach him by email click here.
Shifting gears to sports agency news. ICM Partners have signed ESPN host Jonathan Coachman and NFL Network host Erin Coscarelli. Coachman will be represented by Ted Chervin, Heather Karpas, Matt Sorger and Mark Zimmerman. Coscarelli will have Zimmerman, and Lou Oppenheim, Courtny Catzel, Will Horowitz, Justin Ianda, and Tyler Kroos handling her affairs.
The MLB Network added former Indians, Phillies and White Sox slugger Jim Thome as an analyst last week. Thome will contribute on a part-time basis. He also serves as a special assistant to White Sox GM Rick Hahn.
Stephen Cohen is leaving the Seattle Seahawks beat to focus on general news reporting at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Michael-Shawn Dugar will take over for Cohen.
After nine years at The Big Lead, Tyler Duffy has announced he’s leaving the website. Duffy recently served as the site’s Senior Writer.
Brian Dunshee has announced that he’s joining SB Nation’s On The Banks where he’ll contribute to the site’s coverage of Rutgers football.
Congratulations goes out to Kyle Crooks who was added as a new play by play broadcaster at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
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].
Andrew Fillipponi: Jac Collinsworth “Was Dreadful” at Play-by-Play
“Jac Collinsowrth was underqualified…for the position he was in in. He didn’t deserve to have the job, I’m glad he doesnt have that particular job anymore and I dont even feel remotely bad about sayiing it.”
Count The PM Team with Poni & Mueller hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller amongst those who will not miss Jac Collinsworth on Notre Dame broadcasts. The 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh hosts were responding to the news Andrew Marchand of The Athletic had reported earlier in the day that Collinsworth was being taken out of the play-by-play role for Notre Dame games on NBC.
“He just was terrible on those broadcasts,” Fillipponi said. “… if anyone thinks I’m being too hard on a guy who got his job in large measure because of who his dad is, feel free, if I ever lose my job to just dunk on me endlessly…Jac Collinsowrth was underqualified…for the position he was in in. He didn’t deserve to have the job, I’m glad he doesn’t have that particular job anymore and I don’t even feel remotely bad about saying it.”
Reminded that Collinsworth is a Notre Dame graduate, Fillipponi asked, “Do you know how bad you have to suck at the job to be a Notre Dame alum and they don’t even want to keep you on the broadcast?”
“Taking him off that assignment, I bet he’s livid,” Mueller said. “Because he wants to call his alma mater’s games. I wonder how Cris Collinsworth takes it? And it makes me think, ‘is Collinsowrth, the elder, the dad, how much longer is he going to be at NBC?’ If Cris Collinsworth is seeen as their top analyst and someone they want to have call their games until he’s ready to retire ten years from now, they are basically firing his son off of Notre Dame football games.”
“He was dreadful at the job,” Fillipponi added. “As a desk guy, in all those roles, pretty much dreadful.” Fillipponi also went on to say if the response is for Cris Collinsworth to leave NBC, he had a suggestion on who could take his place. “I’d put Greg Olsen with [Mike] Tirico on Sunday Night Football in a heartbeat…I think [Cris] Collinsworth is very good…the fact that virtually every fanbase hates Cris Collinsworth and thinks he hates thier favorite team, is proof positive that he is good at his job.”
In case anyone thought Fillipponi was just mad Jac Collinsowrth got the Notre Dame job because he is the son of Cris Collinsworth, he said, “You don’t hear me going on and on about nepotism with Noah Eagle, because I think Noah Eagle is excellent already at the job.”
Christian Fauria: I See the NFL “Icing Out” Broadcasting Partners
“If I’m the league, does it make more financial sense by selling off a game here, a game here, to five different partners and really trying to fleece them…making it realy competitive, and having them overpay. Or, to farm it out ourselves, like to really own everything ourselves.”
Former NFL player Christian Fauria said on his WEEI show, Gresh & Fauria, that he believes the NFL will soon own and control their own television and streaming rights . Fauria and his partner, Andy Gresh were discussing the recent reports of Amazon Prime Video paying $120 million (or $150 million depending on which report you read) to stream one exclusive playoff game.
“It’s just one game and it’s $120 million dollars,” Gresh said. “I just go back to, this is where it’s going. At what point is the NFL tapped domestically?…I just wonder how do you extract more from the domestic marketplace? How do you find a way to squeeze more blood out of the rock? There are no more TV networks to go to. The streaming services are what they are, but at the end of the day, isn’t owning it yourself and going to pay-per-view the only real remaining revenue stream for the NFL here in America?”
Fauria said he sees the NFL potentially going all in. “If I’m the league, does it make more financial sense by selling off a game here, a game here, to five different partners and really trying to fleece them…making it realy competitive, and having them overpay. Or, to farm it out ourselves, like to really own everything ourselves. One platform that we own, that we regulate that we control and we can reach a world-wide audience and they all go to one particular [place]…one platform that everyone goes to and they pay a fee. Eventually, I see them icing out all their partners.”
Gresh took a different point of view, noting how desperate the networks will be to keep the NFL programming and all that would be involved if the NFL took over all of the broadcasting responsibilities. “I don’t think it’s going to get that deep because then the NFL would start to get in to paying production costs, flying people around, hiring crews. If the NFL just housed it on their own, they are then just incurring the expense that they have had the luxury of having someone else incur, on top of paying them a ton of money. To me, the only carve out can only be the Super Bowl and these sort of standalone deals.”
Fauria then added how he can not only see the NFL taking it all on themselves, mainly due to the owner’s greed, but added he can also see the addition of at least two more teams which would create more inventory for the league to sell. Gresh didn’t disagree about adding more teams, his belief, however is that adding the teams will continue to drive the price up for the broadcasting partners and the NFL may try different things with single games like the exclusively-streamed playoff game.
KFC on WFAN: What Makes Barstool Sports Successful is the “Reality TV Aspect”
“Anybody that has success in entertainment and sports…I think there is going to be that desire to see behind the curtain and we just kind of opened the curtain willingly.”
Kevin Clancy, better known as ‘KFC’ from Barstool Sports, filled in for Boomer Esiason on WFAN this morning with Gregg Giannatti. The two hosts discussed the feuding going on between members of the 1990’s Chicago Bulls as some players, most notably Scottie Pippen, are disputing some of what was said in The Last Dance back in 2020.
They compared the situation to some of what they face at their offices, noting they spend a lot of time with their co-workers, who aren’t members of their family or in most cases their best friends and drama can sometimes ensue. “Barstool has taken that office drama to a level that no one else has achieved,” Giannotti said to KFC. “When we do stuff like that here [at WFAN], it’s very rarely serious. The drama that you guys have, it’s real and it’s out there and that’s got to be a really difficult thing to deal with if you’re not prepared for it.”
“We usually refer to it as “being in the mud,” Clancy responded. “And there’s only certain people that can really live in the mud…It’s part of what made Barstool successful, is that reality TV aspect of it in that it is kind of like a team, and there is internal drama like clubhouse drama, locker room drama and the way we usually handle that is let’s do it out there and on the air.”
KFC talked about being a fan of WFAN and seeing it from the outside looking in. He said as a listener you could sense who was not a fan of certain people. He used the example of the feuds which would take place between Mike Francesa and Craig Carton and then the subsequent feuds Giannotti found himself in with “The Pope” when he took over for Carton.
“Anybody that has success in entertainment and sports…I think there is going to be that desire to see behind the curtain and we just kind of opened the curtain willingly,” KFC said about Barstool Sports. “We will probably fight each other more than anything, but then when there’s an outside problem, we close ranks and we are like, let’s handle business.”