In an interview with Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, sports radio host Spence Checketts detailed his efforts to rebuild his life and career following a DUI last February.
His alcohol addiction began shortly after a cancer scare at the age of 25. Six weeks after being released from the hospital, Checketts and his wife divorced, he fell into depression and turned to alcohol. Checketts was arrested three times between 2003 – 2008 before remaining sober until 2016 when his radio career began to take off.
Spence, who is the son of business mogul and former president of the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks Dave Checketts, hosted the afternoon show on Utah’s 1280 The Zone. Checketts resigned from the show soon after he was arrested for going 120mph in a 70mph zone with an open alcohol container in the car. The radio host was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but the judge suspended 145 days and allowed 30 days of credit for the time Checketts spent in rehab, leaving Spencer with almost one week of jail time.
“I’m not mad about it. I totally get it.” Checketts told Genessy about the criticism he’s received from the general public regarding his struggles with addiction. “When you’re in sports-talk radio, you make a living with opinions, and sometimes scathing opinions about the actions of other people. That’s the job,” he said. “You have to have informed, educated opinions, and if somebody else messes up you have to be ready to take them to task. I’ve done it for 15 years so when the shoe’s on the other foot, you can’t throw a fit and say, ‘Leave me alone.’”
After Checketts lost his “dream job,” his radio show with 1280 The Zone along with his game-day analyst role on Jazz broadcasts, the host decided to launch a podcast. Checketts wanted to go beyond just sports and use his voice to raise awareness for people dealing with depression and addiction.
“Let’s talk about lifestyle. Let’s talk about recovery and, really, ultimately, let’s help,” he told Genessy. “Professionally, that’s what is taking all my time right now. I’m really enjoying this, and I’ve got a great business partner. I’ve got a great team. There’s a real chance that this could be very, very successful in a lot of different ways.”
Reality Check with Spence Checketts debuted on Halloween, releasing weekly episodes featuring guests including his father Dave Checketts, former NBA head coach and current ESPN analyst, Jeff Van Gundy and former Jazz coach Frank Layden.
Checketts told Genessy he’s learning from his past and focusing on the present to make good decisions.
“You can’t get too far down the road in the future and you can’t get lost in the minutiae of the past or else the overwhelming dynamic of what you’ve done and what could happen down the road is this mountain of pressure.
“That could motivate you to pick up a drink to numb your feelings. I try hard to not go down that path. Here’s the ultimate thing: It’s a pragmatic approach to life now. This is how I approach every day: If it’s working for me, I’ll continue. What I say to myself is, ‘Do the next right thing.’ Simply just do the next right thing.”
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.
ESPN Radio 94.1 Sells Station Naming Rights To Priority Automotive Group
“The programming on the station does not change.”
Max Media has found an interesting new revenue stream in Virginia Beach. ESPN Radio 94.1 has sold its naming rights. The station has rebranded as Priority Auto Sports Radio 94.1.
“This is an important partnership for us,” said Priority Automotive COO Matt Elmer. “At Priority Automotive we think sports ties everyone together, so this is a great opportunity for us to be a voice in the community and partner with the number one voice for sports in Hampton Roads, ESPN 94.1.”
The programming on the station does not change. Listeners in the 757 will still hear the nationally syndicated ESPN Radio lineup except for in afternoon drive when The Tim Donnelly Show is on the air.
“The partnership between ESPN 94.1 and Priority Automotive is a natural evolution for both companies,” President and Market Manager Keith Barton added. “From the many youth organizations to college teams, Priority Automotive Has been dedicated to sports in Hampton Roads for decades. Max Media is incredibly proud to be partnered with such a class organization.”
Priority Automotive owns 17 car dealerships across Virginia.
SiriusXM Plots Super Bowl LVII Coverage
“SiriusXM will deliver fans around the country the unique mix of sports, music and entertainment programming that you can only find on SiriusXM.”
SiriusXM has announced its extensive plans for coverage of Super Bowl LVII and the events leading up to the big game.
A dedicated Super Bowl pop-up channel on SiriusXM Channel 104 will be just one of the avenues SiriusXM plans to cover the event. Amber Theoharis will conduct interviews with players, and personalities making their way through Radio Row throughout the week that will air on the pop-up channel.
Mad Dog Sports Radio will have a large presence on Radio Row, with shows hosted by Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Adam Schein, Dusty Dvoracek, Danny Kanell, and Steve Torre all airing live on location in Arizona. Former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Brandon Marshall will be on hand to host I Am Athlete Tonight from the event, as well.
“With all eyes and ears focused on Phoenix for Super Bowl Week, SiriusXM will deliver fans around the country the unique mix of sports, music and entertainment programming that you can only find on SiriusXM,” said SiriusXM President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.
“With multiple game broadcasts, several channels in Phoenix covering the latest news and providing expert analysis on the teams, interviews with many of the celebrities in town for the game, and our exclusive concert with Luke Combs, our subscribers will have exceptional access throughout the biggest week on the NFL calendar.”
ESPNU Radio hosts Colt McCoy, Rick Neuheisel, and Max Starks will also be in Arizona on Radio Row, in addition to Dusty and Danny hosting their shows each day from Radio Row.
Fantasy football expert Jeff Mans and SportsGrid Radio host Scott Ferrall will also originate content from Radio Row.
SiriusXM will offer four different game broadcasts of Super Bowl LVII. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles home broadcasts will each air, as will the national Westwood One call. Additionally, a Spanish-language broadcast will also be provided. Listeners will also be able to hear the halftime show — performed by pop star Rihanna — on Sirius XM Hits 1, The Heat, and Super Bowl LVII Radio.
BetQL Network Going to Arizona for Super Bowl Week
“Three shows will be at the BetMGM Sportsbook in Glendale.”
BetQL is headed to Radio Row. Audacy’s sports betting radio network will be in Arizona ahead of Super Bowl LVII.
Three shows will be at the BetMGM Sportsbook in Glendale. BetQL Daily and You Better You Bet will be live Monday through Friday. BetMGM Tonight will be live Monday through Thursday.
The network’s hosts will stay busy in the desert. BetQL is producing 52 hours of live audio and video content. Hosts are also scheduled to make 25 live appearances across other Audacy radio stations and digital channels.