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WCKG In Chicago Becomes Sports Book Radio

“Timing of the rebrand for WCGK is fitting, with the legalization of sports wagering in Illinois launching this past Monday, when Rivers Casino in Des Plaines opened the state’s first sportsbook.”

Brandon Contes

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Chicago-area WCKG AM 1530 and 102.3 FM is rebranding as Sportsbook Radio. According to local media expert Robert Feder, the station hasn’t announced any programming changes yet. 

Since April 2018, WCKG has offered listeners the national weekday lineup from FOX Sports Radio, and currently continues to do so while still in the early stages of their rebrand. Station manager Matt Dubiel told Feder, the idea of Sportsbook Radio is to have gambling experts, not just sports hosts who cover gambling. 

“We’re planning to develop long-form and short-form ‘Sportsbook Radio’ content on WCKG, with local casino and media partners to be announced,” Dubiel told Feder. “That work is underway, but rather than have sports personalities cover gambling, we’d prefer to have gambling experts on air. Ultimately, we will see our studio inside a Chicago-area sportsbook to get as close to the action as possible.”

Timing of the rebrand for WCGK is fitting, with the legalization of sports wagering in Illinois launching this past Monday, when Rivers Casino in Des Plaines opened the state’s first sportsbook. 16-year NHL veteran and current Chicago Blackhawks broadcaster Eddie Olczyk placed the first official sports bet.

Sports Radio News

Sarah Spain Leaving ESPN Radio

Spain had been with ESPN Radio for 12 years, hosting shows nationally over the course of the last eight. She began her radio career in 2010 at ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN Radio host Sarah Spain will be hanging up the headphones for the worldwide leader, the host announced Monday.

Spain revealed on Twitter that her last show with Spain and Fitz co-host Jason Fitz will be on December 1.

Spain had been with ESPN Radio for 12 years, hosting shows nationally over the course of the last eight. She began her radio career in 2010 at ESPN 1000 in Chicago.

Spain added that she’ll remain at ESPN, so she’s not leaving completely, but more details of what’s next for her at the company will be coming soon.

She reminisced about her time on the network with photos of several iterations of her evening shows.

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Sports Radio News

Laurence Holmes: Ben Watson Let Peter Burns Know He Was Out of Line

“You just let him understand that he went too far, and you had to yoke him up a little bit and grab him in his collar.”

Jordan Bondurant

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SEC Network analyst Ben Watson didn’t take kindly to a joke made by Peter Burns on the air over the weekend, and it was evident. Watson and Burns have appeared to put the exchange behind them, with Watson saying Burns owes his wife an apology.

On Chicago’s 670 The Score, host Laurence Holmes said while it’s unclear whether Watson laid hands on Burns during the commercial break, Burns needed to learn that his joke was too much.

“I feel like this is what we like to call a correction,” Holmes said. “You just let him understand that he went too far, and you had to yoke him up a little bit and grab him in his collar.”

“Had he been punched or slapped by Benjamin Watson, they couldn’t have taken that picture together without us actually seeing the remnants,” he added.

While the hatchet appears to be buried, Holmes thinks Burns will give it a second thought before taking things to a more personal level.

“I hope that it was just one of those moments that now Peter knows that he was out of line,” he said. “He stepped over a line and maybe he got told to not do that anymore.”

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Sports Radio News

Matt Volk to Exit BetQL, Mitch Rosen and Danny Freisinger Earn Internal Promotions

“SVP of Sports Matthew Volk will be leaving the company.”

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Behind the scenes changes are coming to the BetQL network. The Audacy owned sports betting operation will have different leadership in place to guide day to day strategy and execution entering 2023.

In an internal note sent out earlier by Audacy EVP of Programming Jeff Sottolano, it was revealed that SVP of Sports Matthew Volk will be leaving the company. Volk has been offered a C-level position back home in Boston which allows him to return to his first love, sports television.  

Sottolano said of Volk’s exit, “It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that Matt Volk will be leaving Audacy at the end of this year. I hired Matt less than two years ago primarily to oversee the build out of our BetQL Network. He has done exactly that, helped cement a long term investment from BetMGM in the network and led the successful launch – surrounded by a talented team – of our 2400Sports podcast network this year.”

To help fill the void, Sottolano shared that Danny Freisinger will be elevated to VP of Sports and have operational oversight of the 2400Sports podcast network. The former 95.7 The Game Assistant Program Director and ESPN 1320 PD will also lead the company’s sports editorial and video content teams and team with Sports Format VP Spike Eskin on new multi-platform content development for internal and external distribution platforms. Sottolano added that 2400Sports VP/Executive Producer Lena Glaser will remain in charge of prestige/national podcast shows, talent and content development.

Additionally, 670 The Score PD Mitch Rosen will be elevated from Director of Operations to VP of the BetQL Network. Part of his responsibility will include overseeing BetQL Brand Manager Andrew Williams and leading the network’s team of talent, producers and writers. Sottolano also said shared that Rosen will work closely with Mike Dee to grow the network’s sports book relationships and increase external distribution of the network. His involvement with BetQL will not affect his status as The Score’s brand manager.

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