When the 2017 NFL season begins, the Chargers will call a new city home for the first time since 1961. As they begin the next chapter of their franchise’s history, they’re preparing to build it with a brand new radio announcer.
The team has announced that Josh Lewin, who had called the team’s games for the past 12 seasons is being replaced by Matt “Money” Smith. Lewin confirmed his departure via Twitter adding “The Chargers have decided they want a full time LA announcer so a wonderful run ends today. I’ll happily continue with the Mets and UCLA and will cherish my memories of serving Chargers fans the last 12 years. Thank you for everything Bolts fans, you’re the best!”
Smith is a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles radio market, and hosts weekday afternoons with Petros Papadakis on AM570 LA Sports. In addition to hosting afternoons, he’s also built an impressive play-by-play resume. He’s spent the past seven years calling NFL and college games for Compass Media, and has called television games for the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports.
Smith will be accompanied in the booth by former Chargers center Nick Hardwick. Hardwick is one half of the morning show for XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego, the team’s former flagship radio station. Initially he was critical of the team’s decision to turn its back on San Diego and bolt for Los Angeles, but as they say, time heals all wounds.
“I’d never been broken up with and I was emotional,” Hardwick told ESPN.com. “And when I get emotional, I get angry and let my emotions come out. And they were authentic, genuine and in the moment.
“All of the anger was immediately directed at the Spanos family and the Chargers organization, but my emotions around that completely subsided and I’m glad to be back in the family. I’m glad to be back with a group that gave me my opportunity, gave me my life and stuck with me through bad times and bad injuries. They’ve done nothing but support me in my career.
“I care for this team. I literally broke my neck for this organization. I played 11 years for the franchise, was a team captain for five years and I want the best for them.”
But while Hardwick may have good intentions and personal reasons for reconnecting with the franchise, he understands that it may ruffle feathers of those who continue to call San Diego home and remain bitter about the team leaving the city.
“I don’t feel like in any way this is a slight to San Diegans who are little bit like Trump supporters,” said Hardwick. “They’re leaning into each other and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to follow this Chargers team.’ And then they keep it quiet, because the people who are mad are mad, and you don’t want to come out against those folks. So am I going to get backlash? Sure, 100 percent. I completely expect it, and I’m cool with it. For me, it’s not their life, it’s mine. And I have to follow my own passions and be honest with myself. I’m a football guy.”
The Chargers will air their games on radio in the Los Angeles market on KFI AM-640. They currently have no radio agreement to air games in San Diego. The team also says that Spero Dedes and Hall of Fame Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts will call the team’s three-game preseason schedule on ABC7 Los Angeles.
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 JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Paul Finebaum: ESPN, FOX Have Power To Tank EA Sports College Football Video Game
“Paul Finebaum had high praise for what the video game has meant to college football.”
The power brokers in college football now are the media. In particular, it is ESPN, who is set to take over the SEC’s media rights and FOX, who controls the Big Ten’s media rights. Paul Finebaum said recently on the Dynasty Mode podcast that those relationships give the two networks major control over college football.
Dynasty Mode is a podcast about EA Sports’ popular college football video game series hosted by BSM writers Arky Shea and Demetri Ravanos. Finebaum told the pair that if either ESPN and FOX or the Big Ten and the SEC don’t want to work together, the video game, which will return to store shelves in 2023 after a ten-year absence from the market, could be doomed.
“We’re a year removed from an absolute certainty, that was a 12 school playoff for the CFP, getting shot down for the very same reason,” he said. “So if they can shoot down the most important entity in college sports, I think they can shoot down this.”
Paul Finebaum had high praise for what the video game has meant to college football. He told Shea and Ravanos that he hopes power brokers at schools and networks realize that.
“I think it’s been very important and I don’t know how many people that are in those power five seats think about stuff like that.”
In the early 2000s, Tony Bruno brought a fictionalized version of his radio show to EA Sports’ Madden NFL series. Finebaum said he had not been approached yet by EA to do something similar for the new college football video game.
“I’m really surprised they haven’t because it would be a big money-making operation, at least for me. I don’t know about for them, but I am happy to participate,” Finebaum joked.
He added that the real value to EA Sports would be his audience. They could give the game a level of authenticity that many fans have missed as college football becomes a more corporate entity.
“You can replace me, but you can’t replace the callers. They are the most unique, and I think it takes a lot of work to nurture callers like that. I’m not campaigning for EA because I have people to do that for me,” he said. “Point being, what makes college sports what it is? It’s the fans. It’s not the fat cats that buy the one million or two million dollar suites. It’s not the people sitting with the president. It’s the rank and file that probably never get to campus.”
Matt Chernoff: WFAN’s Sal Licata ‘Doesn’t Have The Guts’ to Appear On 680 The Fan Again
“He doesn’t have the guts to come on again. After what happened last time? You think he wants that again? Why the hell would he want that?”
Would WFAN’s Sal Licata join Chuck and Chernoff on 680 The Fan in Atlanta again? According to Matt Chernoff, no.
During a May appearance on SNY, Licata declared the National League East race over, saying the New York Mets had wrapped up the division. The Atlanta Braves then proceeded to win 14 consecutive games. The Mets currently hold a seven game lead over the Braves in the division.
After the 14 game winning streak, Chuck and Chernoff had Licata on their show to confront him about the opinion, and things got slightly heated, with Chernoff and Licata eventually yelling at each other, before cooler heads prevailed.
The two hosts rekindled their disdain for one another after the Mets won four of five games against the Braves over the weekend, with the two trading barbs on Twitter. Licata joked Chernoff should hope the New York host doesn’t move to Atlanta to win a ratings battle, and called Chernoff a clown before deleting the tweet. He later tweeted “Funny. No invites from Atlanta sports talk radio today,” accompanied by a should shrug emoji. That caught the attention of Chernoff, who addressed it to open his show Monday.
“He (Licata) won’t come on,” Chernoff said. “He doesn’t have the guts to come on again. After what happened last time? You think he wants that again? Why the hell would he want that? He made a fool of himself and then lied about it to his own fans. There’s a reason he didn’t play the audio on his dumb little show. And next time when he’s an hour late, they have that to play instead. I mean, honestly, if he wants to come on, come on. He has no interest. He does not want this smoke.”
790 The Score Debuts In Providence
In addition to shows like Bet MGM’s The Daily Tip and others like Bet QL Daily, listeners can catch Jim Rome and Amy Lawrence.
The station, which was last on the air in the market in 2008, has been revived and will serve as the market’s first sports and sports betting station.
“The station features a lineup of expert personalities that deliver unique sports talk and sports betting insights that entertain, inform, and engage,” said Holly Paras, VP and market manager of Cumulus Providence. “We think Providence sports and sports betting fans will love 790 THE SCORE!”
In addition to shows like Bet MGM’s The Daily Tip and others like Bet QL Daily, listeners can catch some of the top national talent on the airwaves throughout the day and night. This includes hosts like Jim Rome and Amy Lawrence.
McNamara will host his show Kevin Mac Sports Hour daily from 5-7 p.m.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.