The sports radio world has had a number of developments recently which are worth passing along. I remind you that this column doesn’t work without your input. Whether it’s company news, personal news, a brand success story, a creative idea or something else that you think would be valuable to our readers, if you have an item worth passing along, please send an email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s the latest information.
Last week Entercom confirmed the rumors of a flip to talk in San Diego. Those who were expecting Energy 97.3 to become a full service FM sports station though were left with only part of their appetite fulfilled. The station has been rebranded as 97.3 The Machine. The lineup includes some sports via San Diego Padres baseball and Dan Sileo in middays. The Machine though is taking a different approach in both drive times, focusing on hot talk and comedy courtesy of The Men’s Room and Kevin Klein Live. Evening and weekend programming will include a mixture of classic rock and comedy bits. With San Diego having just one professional team and two sports stations with established local talent in place, The Machine is hoping a different approach allows it to make a greater impact.
One show which is not part of the new lineup on 97.3 The Machine is The Jim Rome Show. Rome was recently dropped by The Mighty 1090, the San Diego station where he first introduced his unique brand of sports talk. Despite being a mainstay on the station over the past few decades, 1090 said Rome’s numbers had declined and a change was necessary. The decision created a lot of local noise which led 1090’s Market Manager Mike Glickenhaus to make a rare appearance on Scott and BR to address it. To hear the interview click here. Rome’s program has been replaced on 1090 by ESPN Radio‘s Dan Le Batard Show. Le Batard’s program has also been added to ESPN 1000 in Chicago’s evening schedule.
A little further north, Sean Farnham has quietly left the afternoon show at ESPN LA 710 after just two months on the job. The ESPN college hoops analyst and former radio host had been added to the mix in December where he was to join Marcellus Wiley and Eric Davis as part of a revised three man team. Davis though was let go the following month after sexual harassment allegations arose from his time working at the NFL Network. That led to Wiley and Farnham working together as a two-man unit. However, that too was short lived because now Farnham is gone and Travis Rodgers has been added to the mix. Local sources haven’t said much about the change. Farnham hasn’t addressed it directly either.
One place you will be able to hear Farnham going forward is on SiriusXM‘s Pac-12 radio. The satellite company has launched a series of new college conference channels. The Pac-12 product hit the air on Monday and includes a new morning show featuring Guy Haberman and Ryan Leaf, and an afternoon show with Geoff Schwartz and Kate Scott and Sean O’Connell taking turns as lead host. Farnham and Charles Arbuckle are expected to make appearances on the channel, and former Arizona State head basketball coach Bill Frieder and former Arizona State guard and Pac-12 Player of the Year Eddie House are visiting this week to discuss the Pac-12 Tournament.
SiriusXM also unveiled its ACC Radio channel. The lineup includes “ACC This Morning” with Mark Packer and Wes Durham. The afternoon slot is being branded as “ACC Today” and features the team of Chris Spatola and Jac Collinsworth. The channel also includes contributions from Fran Franschilla, Bobby Cremins, Aaron Taylor, Jonathan Vilma and Tom Luginbill.
If that wasn’t enough SiriusXM news for you, Mad Dog Sports Radio has one item to pass along as well. Danny Kanell has been added to channel’s weekday lineup. The former QB turned radio and TV analyst is joining Steve Torre weekdays from 1p-3p ET.
WEEI in Boston created some buzz on Tuesday. The radio station brought in Britt McHenry as a third host on the popular morning program Kirk and Callahan. No word if future appearances will take place with McHenry or if it’s a one-time deal. The station is also going thru a search in afternoons to fill the seat vacated by Michael Holley. McHenry has also added a Friday night TV program in Washington DC on FOX 5 working with Bram Weinstein and Guy Lambert.
Well wishes go out to Beanie Wells. The former NFL and Ohio State RB has been battling health issues which have caused him to miss time from his radio program on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. Wells said he’s been experiencing headaches and dealing with memory loss as a result of a traumatic brain injury which he suffered while playing football. The challenges have forced Wells to take on a diminished role on the show for the foreseeable future while dealing with his challenges. The station will use a rotation of co-hosts alongside host Tim Hall until further notice.
Afternoon producer and on-air host Ben Heisler is ready to take on a new challenge. After spending 4 years with 610 Sports, Heisler has announced he’s leaving the station for an opportunity as the new Director of Media Relations for Fantasy Sports Markets. Heisler says he plans to continue hosting his fantasy show on 610 and remain a fantasy insider in radio/TV/digital. He also stays active hosting a podcast for Awful Announcing. To read FSM’s release on hiring Heisler click here.
Kudos to Ben and Skin of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. The afternoon show landed an interview on February 23rd with Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant which generated a lot of mainstream media attention. The brash Cowboys wideout addressed speculation about his future in Dallas and said “I’m ready to make my mark. I don’t care what nobody is talking about, I couldn’t care less. Everybody that ain’t with Dez Bryant, they can kiss my ass.” Those remarks were followed up by Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones offering a number of non committal responses about Bryant’s future with the franchise. To hear the Bryant interview, click here.
Westwood One‘s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament coverage will be utilized as part of Turner Sports, CBS, and the NCAA’s March Madness LIVE streaming services. The network’s play-by-play broadcasts from all 67 tournament games will be streamed along with TV coverage from Turner and CBS as part of a special “Fast Break” channel which will be similar in style to what NFL fans have become accustomed to with “Red Zone.”
Portland Trail Blazers play by play announcer Brian Wheeler continues to battle health issues. As a result, it’s forced Wheeler to restrict his availability to working only home games. Scott Lynn has been handling road games for the franchise.
Congratulations to Zach Gelb. The afternoon host and program director of 920 The Jersey FOX Sports Radio has announced he’s leaving the Trenton, NJ sports station for an opportunity on CBS Sports Radio. Gelb will be heard on weekend overnights hosting the 2a-6a ET shift. His final day with 920 will be March 15th. The radio station hasn’t announced yet how they will operate in afternoon show beyond that date. With his move to CBS Sports Radio, Gelb will also give up his part-time hosting role during the football season on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Sticking in the Tri-State area, 98.7 ESPN Radio New York host Dave Rothenberg will be honored on Saturday April 21st by his alma mater NYIT. The school has declared that day ‘Dave Rothenberg Day‘. The special day will include an appearance by Rothenberg and his on-air partners Chris Canty and Rick DiPietro at the school’s LaCrosse game against LIU Post. The trio will preside over a ceremonial faceoff among other activities. For more information click here.
Hall of Fame broadcaster and the voice of the San Francisco Giants Jon Miller appeared on the Watch The Media podcast with John Shrader. Miller offered his insights on a number of subjects including his admiration for Vin Scully and his call of Hank Aaron’s 715th homerun, Barry Bonds’ homerun chase, his lengthy career and more. To hear it click here.
SB Nation Radio has launched a new show. Two Man Game features former NBA star Mario Elie and local host Joel Blank. The program is scheduled to debut on March 10th and will air each Saturday from 3p-4p ET.
In South Florida, Alpha Media Hot AC morning co-host Kevin Rolston has been handed the keys to his own sports program on 640 The Hurricane. Rolston is now installed weekdays from 3p-4p ET and hosting the show affectionately titled “Kevin’s Other Show.”
After 42 years, John ‘JT’ Thompson decided it was time to step away from mornings on Talk/Sports 960 WBST in South Bend. The station has replaced Thompson’s show with ESPN Radio‘s Wingo and Golic.
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.
Andrew Williams Named Brand Manager of BetQL Network
Williams will be based in Washington DC and will oversee all producers, talent, and audio content for the network.
Audacy has announced Andrew Williams as the Brand Manager of the BetQL Network, the company’s sports betting platform.
Williams comes to BetQL after working as the Senior Producer for SiriusXM FC. He has also spent the past year as the Executive Podcast Producer for Chicago Fire FC.
“I am delighted and honored to join the BetQL Network and the Audacy family,” Williams said. “The opportunity to join the leaders in Wagertainment is something that I could not pass up. My family and I are extremely excited about this next chapter.”
“Andrew possesses a proven track record of creatively reaching audiences through the creation and development of rich multimedia content, and we’re thrilled to welcome him to BetQL Network as that is one of the core principles of the network,” said Matthew Volk, Audacy Senior Vice President of Sports. “We look forward to welcoming him and his leadership to our brand, which has seen rapid growth across all platforms over the last year, and watching his experience and expertise help continue to grow the network.”
BetQL Network distributes roughly 100 hours of original content per week on the Audacy and BetQL digital platforms, and features shows like BetQL Daily, You Better You Bet, The Daily Tip, and BetMGM Tonight.
Williams will be based in Washington DC and will oversee all producers, talent, and audio content for the network.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.
Reese Waters Exits The Team 980
In what appears to be another budget cut from Audacy, The Reese Waters Show on The Team 980 has been cancelled.
“It is in fact true The Reese Waters Show on The Team 980 has come to an end,” Waters confirmed during a video posted to Twitter. Waters went on to thank his producers, guests, and listeners for helping him grow both personally and professionally during his stint hosting the show.
Waters, who told Barrett Sports Media his sportscasting career began by happenstance, joined the station in February of 2021. His show aired from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM daily. He will remain the host of Open Mic on WUSA TV.
Craig Carton Details ‘MMA Uncensored Live’ Demise to Dana White
“About, maybe, 10 shows into it, Kevin Kay — the former President of Spike — comes to me and says ‘Listen, from now on, you can’t talk about the UFC’.”
UFC President Dana White appeared on WFAN’s Carton & Roberts Wednesday, which allowed Craig Carton the opportunity to tell White how he was partially responsible for the demise of Carton’s short-lived television show MMA Uncensored Live.
“I was not the biggest MMA guy, but I knew Dana and I knew the guys at Spike real well,” Carton said. “Spike decided to get in bed with Bellator, which was just a stupid decision because the UFC’s everything, right? So, Dana, you don’t know this story, I don’t think. About, maybe, 10 shows into it, Kevin Kay — the former President of Spike — comes to me and says ‘Listen, from now on, you can’t talk about the UFC’. And I go ‘Wait a minute. The name of the show is MMA Uncensored Live’. It was on Thursday nights. All we’re doing is talking UFC. And he says to me ‘I’m not putting any more money in Dana White’s pockets. F*** Dana White’. And I go ‘Then I quit. I can’t do the show’. Because it’s about the UFC.
“So he goes ‘Alright. I’m gonna compromise with you’. And the compromise was you can talk about a fight from last weekend but you can’t promote the fights that are happening in 48 hours. Which made no sense to me. And then when the poop hit the fan, I went on MMA Uncensored Live and I said, on the air, Joe Rogan is the best sports analyst of any sport on any network. And two weeks later, the show disappeared. So thanks, Dana. Appreciate that.”
White, who made headlines for calling an ESPN reporter a “scumbag”, then went on to detail how a Viacom executive — the parent company of Spike — who calls himself “Philippe Doo-mond” was one of the most “arrogant, pompous, goofy” people on the planet. White said “His real name is Phil Dauman. He’s from Jersey,” before detailing how Dauman thought Viacom had built the UFC into what it was at the time. Those ineptitudes, in White’s eyes, made the show’s cancellation unsurprising.