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Jayson Stark to Receive JG Taylor Spink Award

While it is not an official induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the award is presented in Cooperstown on Induction Weekend.

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Jayson Stark of The Athletic is receiving the JG Taylor Spink Award from his peers in the Baseball Writers Association of America. While it is not an official induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the award is presented in Cooperstown on Induction Weekend.

Stark is best known for the 18 years he spent at ESPN, but his career is far more wide-ranging than that. He has covered baseball since the 1970s. His column “Week in Review,” which was nationally syndicated, is what put him on ESPN’s radar. 

Peter Gammons, who worked with Stark at ESPN, wrote a tribute to his friend that appeared on The Athletic. In it, Gammons talks about Stark’s different way of thinking and telling stories. 

[When we met he] was a young writer from the Providence Journal. At the time, I didn’t know he once climbed up the billboard sign outside Fenway Park where fans — leftover ’60s guys, likely members of the Cult of Bill Lee — climbed up with cases of beer and watched games. If I had known, I’d have better understood how his brilliant mind could uncover those conflicting, inexplicable things that make some of us awaken every day believing the next game will bring us something we’ve never seen before.
He could read about something, track it, and make it a great story. On May 5, 1996, Sammy Sosa hit a ball out of Wrigley Field that went through a window in an apartment building across the street. Jayson tracked it down to the apartment of a Frenchman named Philippe Guichoux and learned that Guichoux had no idea what the ball meant. “I knew the apartment was near a field,” he told Stark. “I just didn’t know a baseball could go out of the field.”

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NASCAR to Continue ‘Radioactive’ on YouTube

“We get to listen in to the conversations between drivers, crew chiefs and spotters and it would always get interesting.”

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Graphic for the Radioactive segment from NASCAR Race Hub on FS1
Screengrab: NASCAR Race Hub

NASCAR Race Hub, the daily studio show which debuted in October 2009 and just came to an end on June 11 will have part of its show live on. The very popular ‘Radioactive’ segment the show would do weekly will now become a feature on the NASCAR YouTube channel and run on FOX’s social and digital channels according to a report from Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal.

The segment would typically last four to six minutes and would feature the best audio from the team in-car radios.

On the final episode of Race Hub, host Shannon Spake introduced the final on-air ‘Radioactive’ by saying, “One of the staples of Hub happened every single Tuesday, a little segment we like to call ‘Radioactive.’ We get to listen in to the conversations between drivers, crew chiefs and spotters and it would always get interesting.”

In a story posted by On3’s Nick Geddes, he includes a quote from Denny Hamlin from his podcast about the end of Race Hub:

“… Let’s just say, my intuition says it’s going to get replaced with something, whether it be NASCAR or one of the new partners or something, but I don’t love getting off of FS1 for an hour a week. I don’t love it, but it’s not our decision. What I understood too, that was a real money-loss for FOX. They spent quite a bit of money, per year, putting that on. It was a net negative. So yeah, everyone’s got a business to run.”

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Dan Le Batard: TNT Sports Will Try and Talk Charles Barkley Out of Retirement

“He’s tired of being emotional about this, and he just went emotion from the hip.”

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Dan Le Batard
Courtesy: Derek Futterman, Barrett Sports Media

Charles Barkley, studio analyst for TNT Sports and former NBA Hall of Fame forward, announced that he would be retiring from television after 25 years on the air upon the conclusion of the 2024-25 NBA season. The topic was a subject of discussion on Monday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, an announcement that Le Batard conveyed that Barkley made in his own way with different people than the group with whom he normally broadcasts.

Barkley has made several media appearances outside of his Warner Bros. Discovery obligations pertaining to the future of NBA media rights with TNT, during which he has spoken candidly about his sentiments on the negotiations. Within those interviews, Barkley revealed that he has an opt-out in his 10-year contract should the company lose NBA rights and also criticized executives with the company after not closing a deal within its exclusive 90-day negotiating window as an incumbent rightsholder.

“It was really an unusual place for him in the middle of the night after a game to just tell everybody, ‘And I’ve decided to retire,’ and then TNT’s statement is, ‘We’re going to discuss all of this with Charles. He just caught us off guard,’ and Charles can say whatever that he wants, but they’re going to try to talk him out of this,” Dan Le Batard explained, “and at the very least, that’s not the way they wanted him to do it, and of course, Charles Barkley doesn’t care how you want him to do it.”

The NBA is reportedly in the process of formalizing new media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC), NBCUniversal, and Amazon’s Prime Video. If Warner Bros. Discovery is unable to reach a deal with the NBA, it would mark the end of NBA live game broadcasts on Turner-owned properties, which have been telecasting the games since the 1984-85 campaign. Stugotz is not sure if Barkley will follow through on his retirement announcement and concurred that it was an atypical setting to deliver the career decision.

“I think Barkley is emotional right now – I think they’re all emotional – they should be,” Weiner said. “I’m not certain that Charles Barkley, because he’s going to have so many offers and so many opportunities be it at Turner or ESPN or elsewhere, I’m not certain if he’s just caught up in the emotion or he’s actually going to go through with it.”

There had been rumors several years ago of Barkley joining LIV Golf and potentially leaving Warner Bros. Discovery; however, that did not materialize into any kind of deal. Barkley ended the conversations with the golf tour and affirmed that he would be staying with the Turner Sports division for the remainder of his broadcast career. While he was making his retirement announcement, he revealed that he had spoken to other networks and did not want to be contacted for interviews on the matter.

“The amount of pressure that Barkley must feel to keep the whole thing together as it falls apart because he’s the centerpiece of the whole thing and if they lose the rights and Ernie doesn’t want to leave and the show gets ruined, he doesn’t want to do it in some distorted form,” Le Batard said. “I do believe Stugotz’s analysis is right. He’s tired of being emotional about this, and he just went emotion from the hip.”

Show producer Mike Ryan offered the possibility that Barkley could be creating significant leverage by announcing his retirement at this time. With a year to go until the expiration of the existing NBA media rights contract, he will effectively have a year-long farewell, but he has spoken about retirement in the past and ended up re-signing with the network. The possibility of Warner Bros. Discovery landing an NBA package of some kind is also said to still exist, leading Ryan to ask Le Batard if he thinks Barkley would reconsider his decision if it came to fruition.

“I don’t know because I think predicting his behavior can be very difficult because it hasn’t been hinting at retirement,” Dan Le Batard said. “He has been talking publicly and privately about actually retiring at the age of 60, and he did surprise me when he signed another contract at the age of 60 because of how he’s been talking about that for a while. He does want to slow down the amount of obligations that he has, but he hasn’t been able to do it for whatever the reasons.”

Dan Le Batard said the rationale of Barkley deciding not to slow down in television spanned beyond fiscal compensation. At the moment, Barkley seems to be trying to create public leverage, according to Le Batard, when, with his new contract, he could be doing it privately and still have such leverage.

Producer Billy Gil also mentioned that ego could be involved and finds it difficult to believe Barkley would just disappear from television and no longer express his opinions.

“Billy, you think he’s not going to have other options to do whatever the hell he wants the moment he walks?,” Dan Le Batard asked. “….He could create whatever job that he wishes to create on his own time. He’s got maximum freedom.”

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iHeartMedia Announces Lineup of Original Podcasts for Women’s Sports Audio Network

“We’re committed to championing incredible athletes and building further awareness until women’s sports reaches the kind of nationwide and international prominence it has always deserved.”

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iHeartMedia; Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment
Courtesy: iHeartMedia, Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment

iHeartMedia and Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment have announced the lineup of original podcast shows that will be part of the launch of the Women’s Sports Audio Network.

The audio platform is dedicated exclusively to women’s sports and will feature top athletes and personalities as part of the venture. Capital One, e.l.f. Cosmetics and e.l.f. SKIN have also joined as the founding partners of the free, ad-supported network, which will be available across iHeartMedia broadcast, digital, and podcasting platforms.

In addition to the new shows, the Women’s Sports Audio Network will introduce “Women’s Sports Reports” on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. The seminal moment will provide more equitable media coverage to women’s sports with demand and interest at an all-time high level. Women’s sports is projected to become a $1 billion industry in 2024, indicative of a 300% increase over three years; however, women’s sports is estimated to receive only 15% of media coverage, according to a report from The Collective.

iHeartMedia will begin this endeavor live at the Cannes Lions Festival in France where Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment will host the Women’s Sports House in partnership with Axios.

“We’re committed to championing incredible athletes and building further awareness until women’s sports reaches the kind of nationwide and international prominence it has always deserved,” Gayle Troberman, chief marketing officer of iHeartMedia, said in a statement. “It’s humbling and inspiring that the first-ever, dedicated women’s sports reports will start airing with the massive reach of iHeart’s broadcast radio platform and the full-on power of collaboration between world class athletes, incredible journalists, podcasters and the fans. This is a pivotal moment for women’s sports to get heard.”

“Women’s sports aren’t just having a moment, it is the moment. And yet women’s sports content continues to be difficult to find and difficult to buy,” Laura Correnti, founder and chief executive officer of Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment, said in a statement. “The Women’s Sports Audio Network aims to change that — providing an accessible platform for every fan, from the most casual to biggest of super fans, to be educated and entertained while expanding the aperture of investment opportunities for brands to reach and engage with a dialed-in women’s sports community.”

The Women’s Sports Audio Network will include a new program titled Good Game with Sarah Spain, a weekday show covering stories around women’s sports. Spain will cover breaking news and conduct interviews, and she will also be regularly joined by a roster of guests to discuss the forthcoming games and engage in debate.

“Women’s sports have no shortage of show-stopping moments to unpack, and that’s especially true this summer – from the ongoing NWSL and WNBA seasons to the excitement at the upcoming Paris Olympic games,” Spain said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to breaking it all down on ‘Good Game’ with elite athletes and expert voices across a range of sports. Whether we’re spilling tea or talking ‘Ts’, we’re gonna give fans both loyal and new everything they need to keep up with the wild world of women’s sports.”

Four-time WNBA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist Sheryl Swoopes will host a show focused on difficult conversations pertaining to a variety of topics, including basketball, motherhood, retirement, and mental health. Additionally, professional golfer and media personality Tisha Alyn will host a podcast where she talks about women’s golf and other areas such as fitness, entrepreneurship, lifestyle and LGBTQ culture.

WNBA insider Khristina Williams will talk about the biggest stories in women’s basketball on a weekly podcast and interview those involved in the sport as well. Other programs announced by the Women’s Sports Audio Network include shows hosted by Madison Packer and Anya Packer, Rennae Stubbs and Caitlin Thompson, and a program dedicated to League One Volleyball. The launch dates for these shows on the Women’s Sports Audio Network and more talent will be announced in the future.

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