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Dan Le Batard Calls Andrew Marchand Story ‘Ridiculous’

“Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick The Coverage posted the segment of Le Batard discussing the “false” story to YouTube.”

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Dan Le Batard

On Monday, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported significant changes could be on the horizon for ESPN Radio. While personalities such as Will Cain and Trey Wingo have previously been mentioned as candidates to leave ESPN Radio, Marchand added Dan Le Batard’s name to that list.

“There is a feeling among many that his program does not mesh with the tastes of Norby Williamson, who is ESPN’s executive vice president and the point person on ESPN Radio’s programming,” Marchand wrote in the story. “Le Batard does more of a variety show rather than strictly sports.”

Naturally, Le Batard’s tendency to stray from sports, combined with the fact that there are no sports right now, led the ESPN Radio host to address Marchand’s report, calling the story “weird” and “false.” Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick The Coverage posted the segment of Le Batard discussing the “false” story to YouTube.

“Anybody who’s followed us at ESPN knows that I negotiate freedom, not money. I negotiate the ability, as a child of exile, to talk about the things I want to talk about. And so, the idea that there would be a newspaper story, and that any executive would have any issue, would have a problem with me commenting on a newspaper story about us, when I’m in the radio content business, I’m not really going to ignore that one,” Le Batard said.

“When the story is not flattering to us, when ESPN’s fired an employee (Adnan Virk) for talking to the media about stuff, and then you get a weird story in the New York Post during a pandemic talking about whether we’re going to be here any more when we’ve got two-and-a-half years of an expensive contract that makes it kind of ridiculous, the whole story. To not talk about it, it is one of the objections I’ve always had. ESPN doesn’t like to cover itself the way it covers others, but hell if you’re going to do that to me.

“I’m a journalist, they wrote a story about us. I called some people, they said it’s not true, they said it’s false, it’s a false story.”

Le Batard did note his past disagreements with ESPN. “We’ve always fought with parts of the regime at ESPN,” he said of the idea that he should “stick to sports,” rather than have serious discussions about things such as journalism and race. 

As the bearer of a prominent media platform, there have been numerous times Le Batard veered from sports to discuss a topic he feels should be addressed. Last summer, he famously called the behavior of a crowd at a rally for President Trump “un-American.” In the same rant, he called out his own network’s past reaction to its talent talking about political stories saying ESPN hasn’t “had the stomach for that fight” and described ESPN’s policy for discussing politics as requiring “some sort of weak cowardly sports angle that we can run it through.” 

Le Batard avoided suspension for the incident. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro even expressed his support for the outspoken host after multiple meetings. According to an article by Ben Strauss of The Washington Post, Le Batard said that he would “check with the higher-ups” before addressing such stories in the future.

Le Batard signed a four-year deal with ESPN during the summer of 2018, making it unlikely that he would be nearing a departure from the network, but Marchand didn’t report a full parting of the ways for Le Batard and ESPN. The New York Post report acknowledged Le Batard’s contract status when stating he could leave radio.

There’s a difference between leaving ESPN Radio and leaving ESPN. If ESPN Radio does indeed undergo an overhaul in the coming months, Le Batard could be impacted by those changes and still continue to be an important contributor to The Worldwide Leader. 

Sports Radio News

NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role

The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.

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Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.

The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.

Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.

Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.

In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.

In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).

One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

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Sports Radio News

Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance

Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.

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USA Today

The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.

Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.

Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”

Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”

Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”

Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”

Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”

And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”

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Sports Radio News

The Rundown With Jeff Michael Coming To SportsMap Radio

“The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6.”

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Jeff Michael is getting a promotion at SportsMap Radio. He is moving from the part-time staff into a new midday show.

The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6. The network describes the new two-hour show as energetic and fast-paced.

“Sports talk radio always meant the world to me,” Jeff Michael said in a press release. “Having an opportunity to reach such a large national audience is something I do not take lightly. While I’m so grateful for the opportunity, my focus will always be on creating captivating and informative content.”

Michael has been with SportsMap Radio since 2020. He has also been a prolific host in the podcasting space.

“I feel this is a perfect format for Jeff to excel,” CEO David Gow added. “From listening to fill-in appearances, you can tell he has tremendous command of his audience. You cannot easily teach what Jeff Michael already possesses.”

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