Sports Radio News
ESPN Radio Returns to Asheville
A format flip for iHeartMedia brings ESPN radio back to Asheville, North Carolina.
“I’m really excited we’re bringing the ESPN format back to sports talk listeners here in Western North Carolina,” said iHeartMedia SVP of Programming Brian Hall. “The ESPN brand aligns perfectly with our platform of top-rated iHearMedia radio stations here in Asheville.”
ESPN Asheville will be available to listeners locally on WPEK 880, WMXF 1400 and 92.9FM. The new station will feature ESPN nationally syndicated audio except for noon – 3pm when they will opt for the regionally syndicated David Glenn Show and Paul Finebaum from 5 – 7pm. The switch to sports replaces talk radio stations “The Revolution” on 880AM and 92.3FM, as well as the NewsRadio 570 simulcast on WMXF 1400.
“ESPN is the premium brand in all of sports and ESPN RADIO offers the best programming on the planet for sports fans,” said iHearMedia Area President Bill McMartin. “iHeartMedia is already the home to the best local and regional sports in the area. Having ESPN Radio available in Western North Carolina will provide our listeners with even more coverage of the teams they love.”
ESPN radio did previously broadcast in the Asheville area via Saga Communications’ WISE Sports Radio on 1310AM, 970 AM and 97.3FM. WISE Sports Radio is now a Fox Sports affiliate broadcasting on 1310, 970 and 102.9FM.
Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Sports Radio News
USL, SiriusXM Renew Agreement
“SiriusXM has been a great partner the last three years and extending this relationship on the men’s side was an easy choice.”
The United Soccer League (USL) and SiriusXM have inked a new agreement that extends its media rights deal through 2025. The deal ensures SiriusXM will be the audio home of USL Championship games, including the USL Championship Final, USL Super League inaugural Final, the USL League One Final and USL League Two Final. SiriusXM subscribers can listen to games on channel No. 157 and on the SiriusXM app.
“At the USL, we want to ensure that our games are available to our fans wherever they want to experience them,” Court Jeske, USL chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “SiriusXM has been a great partner the last three years and extending this relationship on the men’s side was an easy choice. We are also incredibly proud that they will offer coverage of the USL Super League, our new women’s professional league, with the inaugural season beginning in August of 2024.”
The SiriusXM FC channel has been the broadcast home of the USL Championship since 2020, and also airs a USL Game of the Week for consumers in the United States and Canada. Additional future coverage will include games from the 2024-2025 USL Super League season. Moreover, USL All-Access will resume with hosts Mike Watts and Devon Kerr, offering listeners new perspectives on the league, and a broad view of highlights and storylines.
“The USL has a terrific and dedicated fanbase across the country and we’re pleased to deliver those fans both the action on the pitch and a show dedicated to their league,” said Eric Spitz, SiriusXM vice president of sports programming, in a statement. “We’re excited to not only renew our agreement with the USL for multiple years, but also expand our coverage and be the exclusive audio home of the USL Championship Final, League One Final, League Two Final and the new USL Super League Final.”
Watts has been the play-by-play announcer for the USL Championship since 2015, and he continues to work on Westwood One’s college football game of the week and serves as a backup public address announcer at Madison Square Garden. Furthermore, he called eight domestic and international finals in 2021, including the U.S. Men’s National Team victories in the Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup.
Kerr serves as an analyst for MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and contributes to FOX Sports as well. He has been the lead analyst for the USL Championship since 2018, and works in a similar role for the NCAA Men’s College Cup on ESPN and Concacaf events. Aside from his work with Apple TV and FOX Sports, Kerr has appeared on platforms for ESPN, EA Sports, the NCAA and MLS.
Broadcasts started Wednesday night, but the next game airing on SiriusXM FC will be a matchup between the San Diego Loyal and Sacramento Republic at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST. Games have been announced through July 3, and additional matchups will be announced at a later date.
Sports Radio News
Audacy Names Lee Davis SVP of Sports Monetization Overseeing New Sales Team
“Through our best-in-class sports audio portfolio, powered by over 150 flagship team partnerships, iconic local broadcast brands, award-winning podcasts and sports betting content, Audacy is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a new sales strategy in this arena.”
Audacy is has a newly organized sports sales team. Lee Davis will be its leader. He has been named the company’s SVP of Sports Monetization.
The team will oversee “sales and execution, managing the entire client lifecycle” for Audacy’s sports properties. They will provide solutions for both on-air and digital platforms and work on both local and national properties.
“No medium delivers more value for sports than Audio. People are spending more time than ever with broadcast Radio, streaming and podcasts, and the demand for compelling sports content across these channels is growing exponentially,” Brian Benedik, Audacy’s Chief Revenue Officer, said in a press release. “Through our best-in-class sports audio portfolio, powered by over 150 flagship team partnerships, iconic local broadcast brands, award-winning podcasts and sports betting content, Audacy is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a new sales strategy in this arena.”
Lee Davis worked with WFAN from 1990 until 2005. He returned to Audacy in 2018 to over see the company’s Traffic, Weather, Information and News (TWIN) offering.
Sports Radio News
Jay Williams: My ESPN Contract is Up in 3 Months
“It feels like media cannibalizing media right now, and I get how that game is played. But sometimes that game gets boring to me, dawg.”
ESPN NBA analyst and ESPN Radio host Jay Williams may not be at The Worldwide Leader for too much longer.
Talking to Chicago Bulls guard Patrick Beverley on his Barstool Sports podcast, Williams revealed how much more time he has on his current deal with the network.
“My contract is up in three months, man,” Williams said on The Pat Bev Podcast with Rone.
Beverley seemed kind of surprised at how soon Williams could become a free agent. Jay joined ESPN in a full-time capacity in 2008. He’s hosted ESPN Radio’s weekday morning show alongside Keyshawn Johnson and Max Kellerman since 2021. The show featured Zubin Mehenti for a year prior to that.
Williams implied that he’s looking to change things up away from the routine he’s got at the network.
“It feels like media cannibalizing media right now, and I get how that game is played,” Williams said. “But sometimes that game gets boring to me, dawg.”
Jay added that he’s intrigued by the laid-back nature of the podcast that Beverley has going. He said if he could have an ideal situation, that’s what he would strive for.
“Everybody can just be themselves authentically and not feel like you have to give a take on something,” he said. “Not everything requires some kind of polarizing POV.”
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@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.