Veteran programmer and radio executive, Mike Thompson has been named Operations Manager of NRG Media’s five-station cluster in Omaha, NE. In his new position, Thompson will be responsible for programming KOZN 1620 The Zone, Sports KZOT 1180 Zone 2, News-Talk KOIL The Mighty 1290 and regional Mexican KMMQ La Nueva 1020/99.5.
“I am excited to join a great brand of sports and news talk with NRG Media in Omaha,” Thompson said in a press release. “NRG Media’s slogan is Great Local Radio — for me that’s what I am all about. Working with Market Manager Mark Shecterle and talented hosts and producers it will be rewarding to always live up to that slogan.”
Thompson brings decades of radio experience to Omaha, including a stint as program director of ESPN New York from 2003 – 2007, followed by ESPN Los Angeles from 2010 – 2015 where he hired both Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith.
Thompson fell victim to ESPN’s companywide layoffs in 2015 which led to the dismissal of approximately 300 employees. Since being let go by ESPN, Thompson has remained in Los Angeles, working as a television show and commercial actor. During his radio career, the executive also spent time working for stations in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta.
“Mike will be a great addition to our already talented and award-winning staff and has an outstanding programming mind as well as a strong sales mentality,” said market manager Mark Shecterle.
Thompson joins NRG Media’s Omaha cluster, filling the void left by previous Operations Manager, Dave Tepper who departed the company last August to program Denver’s Altitude 950. Thompson will begin his new position on Thursday February 28th.
Dan Le Batard Mourns Damian Lillard Trade, Calls Dan Patrick a ‘Dirty Trickster’
“I was not expecting for people to say this is a journalistic, objective guarantee.”
Following a blockbuster trade that sent All-NBA guard Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz mourned that the Miami Heat had lost the sweepstakes for the superstar player. For much of the summer, reports had indicated that the Heat were the frontrunners for Lillard, considering that he reportedly had the team at the top of his wish list upon requesting a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. Broadcasting the show from Miami, Fla. and growing up just outside of the city, Dan Le Batard was crestfallen that a deal never came to fruition. Moreover, he now had to address his discourse over the last few months on the hit digital program where he adumbrated that the Heat would end up with the guard.
Le Batard had appeared on The Dan Patrick Show earlier in the week and began his appearance with praise of Patrick, who is retiring upon the completion of a new four-year contract. The former ESPN SportsCenter anchor has had a long and distinguished career in sports media, highlighted by his choosing to leave the “Worldwide Leader” and build his own platform from scratch. While Le Batard admires what Patrick did, he emitted a much different tone to begin his abbreviated appearance on Friday.
“You are a dirty trickster that now, I resent deeply,” Le Batard said to Patrick. “….For 20 years basically, Dan Patrick – maybe not 20, but 15 years – he calls me when a [Miami] Dolphins offensive line coach does cocaine off his desk and sends a romantic video to an exotic worker in Las Vegas; or some such Miami calamity to talk about the Dolphins, usually only something they’ve done wrong. I go and I make a bunch of people at ESPN mad by never asking permission to go on your show and just doing it anyway.”
As he continued his soliloquy, Le Batard said that Patrick invited him on the show last week to discuss the Dolphins, who are 3-0 and considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender by many football experts. The interview was proceeding well until Patrick concluded by asking an unrelated question about another Miami sports team, the Heat, and their pursuit of Lillard.
“Dan Patrick calls me and tricks me into talking about the Dolphins for a while,” Le Batard said. “Then at the end, what does he do? He asks the question that makes me publicly a larger fool [and] more wrong than I’ve ever been about anything in front of a worldwide, intergalactic audience.”
Le Batard answered the question by guaranteeing that Lillard was coming to Miami, something that is partially true, according to Patrick. It is just that he will be visiting the city as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks rather than playing for the reigning Eastern Conference champion Heat. The entire occurrence has left Le Batard and the cast of his show moribund enough to hold a eulogy for the anticipation they had for Lillard to play alongside South Beach.
“I was wearing an actual Heat mouthpiece as I did so,” Le Batard said of his comments. “I was not expecting for people to say this is a journalistic, objective guarantee. You could barely understand me; I was muffling it through an actual Miami Heat mouthpiece.”
“You used to be a journalist; now you’re an entertainer,” Patrick replied. “You’re an entertainer.”
Le Batard did acknowledge that he is indeed an entertainer on his program and has had discussions about the role of genuine journalism in today’s sports media coverage with the cast of his show, along with ESPN featured commentator Stephen A. Smith.
“[I am] a sanctimonious, self-important entertainer who gets things profoundly wrong in a way that echoes from sea to shining sea,” Le Batard asserted.
“That should be the name of your show,” Patrick replied. “It’s a little wordy, but that should be the name of your show from now on.”
“Because of you, it’s going to be the thing on my tombstone,” Le Batard said.
Boomer Esiason: ‘Don’t Know Why’ ESPN Reported Taylor Swift Would Be at ‘Sunday Night Football’
“I’m fascinated by the whole thing; you know that.”
Over the course of the week, several reports have stated that Grammy Award-winning music superstar Taylor Swift is expected to be on hand to watch the Kansas City Chiefs play the New York Jets on Sunday Night Football at MetLife Stadium. Swift unexpectedly appeared at last week’s Chiefs home game from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium against the Chicago Bears, and she was seen exiting the facility with star tight end Travis Kelce afterwards. In the ensuing weeks, there had been reports that she and Kelce were communicating and potentially exploring dating one another, noise that was only amplified after Sunday’s occurrence. Boomer & Gio have been on the case, discussing the topic several times this week.
WFAN morning co-host Boomer Esiason is infatuated by the situation, slipping in references to Swift songs throughout the week on the show. Conversely, his co-host, Gregg Giannotti, has had enough of the entire situation and wishes that everyone could just focus on football. Even so, NBC Sports is preparing a specialized broadcast open and will likely show her on camera, even though director Drew Esocoff would “bet the under” on doing so for a total of 22 times. Esiason, interested in the situation, decided to try to uncover information as to just what may be occurring at the stadium this weekend.
“There’s no official, ‘Taylor Swift is going to be at the game,’” Esiason revealed Friday morning on WFAN. “Everybody’s assuming, and I don’t know why ESPN went with this earlier in the week.”
Since reports of Swift’s attendance were released, ticket prices for the matchup have steeply risen with fans doing anything possible to get a glimpse of the superstar. While the logistics of such an appearance still seem to be in the process of being planned out, Esiason decided to try to figure out she could be sitting. Reviewing options from the visiting team suite to the New York Giants home suite, Giannotti interjected that the venue will find a place for her one way or another, even if it means displacing fans.
“They’ll definitely figure it out,” Esiason said. “Plus, obviously she just had her tour there, so they’re very tight with the stadium authority.”
Esiason’s daughter is a fan of the artist and has informed her father about the history behind her dating life. The information has led him to assert that her fans are happy that she is “actually dating a real man” this time around, with many “Swifties” hoping that it works out.
“I’m fascinated by the whole thing; you know that,” Esiason told Giannotti. “I don’t know why.”
Ken Carman: People Bored With Thursday Night Football ‘Just Going to Tweet About Al Michaels’
“The guy called the 80 Olympics. You think he’s going to sit there and try to put lipstick on that hog of next week’s game between Chicago and Washington?”
Social media may enjoy ripping Al Michaels for not showing a lot of enthusiasm on Thursday Night Football, but Ken Carman appreciates the broadcast legend’s honesty.
Friday morning on 92.3 The Fan, the Cleveland sports talker listened back to audio of Michaels casually promoting next week’s game between the winless Chicago Bears and the Washington Commanders, who just lost a game by 34 points. Fans online began mocking him as disinterested or too old.
“I don’t like ripping on Michaels. I think he’s a legend. I’m not going to rip Al Michaels,” Carman said. “I think that people are just looking for something entertaining, so they’re just going to tweet about Al Michaels because it’s a 27-3 football game at that time. But Al Michaels…the guy called the 80 Olympics. You think he’s going to sit there and try to put lipstick on that hog of next week’s game between Chicago and Washington?”
Thursday night’s game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers was not particularly close. Carman said that Michaels could be forgiven for not sounded particularly connected during the broadcast.
He joked that while his radio partner, Anthony Lima, would be happy to oversell a bad game, Al Michaels isn’t going to do that. He wondered why that is a problem for fans.
“Ryan Day gets to be honest, Coach Prime could be honest, Dan Lanning. Everybody can be honest. Why can’t Al Michaels be honest? Let Al Michaels be honest. He could not wait to get out of there. And, by the way, that’s fine.”
Lima noted that Michaels is reportedly getting $15 million per year from Amazon. Carman said that does not change his mind.
“He deserves every penny of it. I don’t mind him taking that, And I don’t mind him telling you the absolute God honest truth. ‘I’m a legend of 78 years old, and if you don’t like what I have to say about this football team, to hell with you. I don’t care.’”