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Brandon Contes’ 5 Favorite Stories of 2018

Brandon Contes

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Sorting through all of the articles I contributed to Barrett Sports Media in the last year, there were many that stood out.  I’m grateful to all of the people in the industry that took time to sit down and have a conversation with me for a piece during the year, but I cut my list down to these five that I enjoyed rereading most.

Four months after his yearlong retirement tour, rumors of Mike Francesa returning to WFAN quickly strengthened in April.  Regardless of your feelings on Francesa as a host at this stage of his career or his ability to retire and return as quickly as Brett Favre, what I loved seeing was radio dominate the news.  In 2008, when Mike and the Mad Dog split it was on the front and back page of the paper, a decade later after plenty of modernization with how media is consumed, to still see an old medium such as radio be the big story in New York was really cool.

https://barrettsportsmedia.com/wfans-dysfunction-could-benefit-all-involved/

Barstool Sports is often criticized for its frat-like culture with complaints that the platform promotes sexual harassment and online trolling.  But in a male-dominated industry, rarely do people talk about the fact that Barstool has a female CEO and women hosting prominent radio shows and podcasts.  Rarely do people talk about all the good Barstool promotes.  Their ability to say ‘hey, trust me, this person needs help,’ and get people to open up their wallets no questions asked is inspiring.  I watched that play out first-hand in September when KFC raised thousands for a close friend of mine.

https://barrettsportsmedia.com/kfc-uses-barstool-venmo-account-for-cancer-survivor/

I listened to Craig Carton every morning for a decade, but I wouldn’t have referred to myself as a Carton fan until his WFAN tenure came to a screeching halt and I realized how much he was a part of my day.  I met Carton a few times in recent years, each time he came across genuine and easy to talk to, this conversation was no different.  I understand why people would be upset with Craig, but staring at jail-time, yet still being able to continue his energetic, brash style on-air speaks volumes to his radio talent. 

https://barrettsportsmedia.com/an-unfiltered-conversation-with-craig-carton/

“Talking about equal rights is not political. It should be offensive to people on both sides of the aisle to act like advocating for equal rights is a liberal or conservative position.”  An inarguable matter of fact statement, but it was one of the thoughts from Nick Wright that led this article to be picked up by Awful Announcing and tweeted out by many including Jemele Hill.  Wright’s one of the most talented personalities in the industry and I thoroughly enjoyed the hour I spent with him for this article.

https://barrettsportsmedia.com/nick-wright-determined-to-make-his-mark-on-fox-sports-1/

Growing up in the industry, Spike Eskin has radio in his blood, but it’s his own creative drive and passion for radio that led to his success.  Spike told me he’s never been an “industry guy,” he doesn’t read or listen to much on the subject, but there are few people I would rather discuss the industry with.   

https://barrettsportsmedia.com/a-conversation-with-spike-eskin/

Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason: ManningCast Proves Peyton Manning Can Never Be a Coach

“He’s got no patience whatsoever.” 

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Don’t expect to see Peyton Manning on an NFL sideline. He may be one of the best quarterbacks the league has ever seen, but Manning isn’t cut out to be a coach according to Boomer Esiason.

On Tuesday morning, Esiason and the rest of the Boomer & Gio cast listened to highlights of the previous night’s ManningCast. They enjoyed the audio of Peyton Manning losing his temper after Cowboys kicker Brent Maher missed his third extra-point attempt of the night.

The clip, which has since gone viral, includes Manning asking if a kicker can be cut at halftime of a playoff game.

“This is why Peyton can’t coach,” Esiason said in response to the audio. “He’s got no patience whatsoever.” 

The chemistry and authenticity of Peyton and Eli is often cited as the appeal of the ManningCast. Esiason noted that was what is on display in moments the brothers cannot control.

Boomer Esiason was a guest on the week eight ManningCast, which featured his former team, — the Cincinnati Bengals — playing Cleveland Browns. Esiason said at the time that while it was a distracting way to try and follow a game, being a part of the show is a lot of fun. He echoed that praise Tuesday morning.

“Those things are really unbelievably done. I mean, they are funny.”

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Sports Radio News

NHL All-Star Game Airing Exclusively on SiriusXM After Contract Extension

The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter.

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SiriusXM and the NHL have reached an extension that will see the satellite service continue to carry every league contest. The new multi-year deal will run through the 2028-2029 season.

Part of the deal includes the NHL All-Star Game airing exclusively on SiriusXM. The game had previously been distributed by Westwood One before Sports USA Media took over the rights in 2021.

The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter. All three are regulars on NHL Network Radio. Stellick and Laughlin serve as hosts of NHL Morning Skate, while Kouleas hosts the station’s afternoon show, The Power Play.

NHL Network Radio will also provide live coverage of the league’s All-Star Media Day on Thursday, February 2nd and the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday, February 3rd.

The deal includes SiriusXM continuing to produce and distribute SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on the platform for the duration of the contract.

“Hockey fans are among the most passionate sports fans, and our long-term relationship with the NHL enables us to deliver those fans across North America comprehensive access to the league, offering them live broadcasts of every game and the only 24/7 NHL channel in audio,” said SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.

“Live sports, coupled with great, in-depth sports talk, is one of the key elements of our programming and we are very pleased to be extending our content agreement with the NHL for many more years.”

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Sports Radio News

Peter Rosenberg: Gio’s Rant ‘Gimmick Infringement’ of Don La Greca

The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay.

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The war of words between WFAN’s Boomer & Gio and 98.7 ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show continued Monday, with a quip from Peter Rosenberg about a rant from Gregg Giannotti.

Giannotti, a Vikings fan, was discussing his viewing situation during Monday morning’s show as the franchise played the New York Giants. His wife, two daughters, mother, mother-in-law, and best friend joined him to watch the Super Wild Card game, and the WFAN host detailed that the situation grew more tense with each passing moment due to comments made by those in attendance.

Giannotti eventually admitted to yelling at his friend, and jokingly shouted “Not the time, Louise!” after his mother-in-law commented about how good the Giants had gotten during a Saquon Barkley touchdown run.

The rant didn’t go unnoticed by Rosenberg, however, and he replied to Giannotti’s video clip of the segment by saying “Fake Don Lagrecca (sic) much? This is called gimmick infringement”.

The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay after walking back comments he made about getting a producer at the station fired by calling them “performance art”.

While criticising Kay, Giannotti could not identify Rosenberg, only calling him “whatever his face”.

“He’s gonna retire. It doesn’t matter whether you kiss his ass or not, it’s not gonna be the difference in you getting that job when he leaves,” Giannotti said of La Greca and Rosenberg. “Just stop it. Just stop kissing his ass.”

Rosenberg responded to the disapproval from Giannotti last week by tweeting “My favorite part of the trash talk from the guy on the fan is ‘pick on someone your own size Michael Kay… pick on me’…LOL who are you?!!!!”

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