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Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin Make ESPN Radio Debut

“While their show is different than Mike & Mike or Golic & Wingo, the three hosts made sure to acknowledge those who came before them at the beginning of the show.”

Ricky Keeler

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On Monday morning, ESPN Radio’s new national lineup officially began as Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti began their run as the 6 AM-10 AM ET host of Keyshawn, Jay-Will, and Zubin. 

While their show is different than Mike & Mike or Golic & Wingo, the three hosts made sure to acknowledge those who came before them at the beginning of the show.

“The loyalty that they engendered from the audience, you out there, has allowed us to come in and hopefully have you enjoy the show as much as we do bringing you the show every day,“ said Mehenti. 

Jay Williams further added to that tribute by talking about how much Golic and Greeny have meant to him as he starts this new show. You can read more from Williams in our interview with him courtesy of Demetri Ravanos:

“First and foremost, Mike Golic Sr., an incredible individual and one of the first times I was ever on TV 13 years ago, I remember seeing him and he was himself. It was incredible. You can be self-deprecating, you can have fun and that put me on a journey saying I have to find out who I want to be naturally on TV. 

“Mike Greenberg gave me the opportunity to get on Get Up and actually allow me to be more of myself and that’s ultimately led to this point. To those guys and Mike Golic Jr. who kills the game, he’s one of the best we have in the game, thank you for allowing me the opportunity.” 

Johnson looked at it as more of a big picture thing for ESPN with a little Tonight Show comparison thrown in.

“For me, I look at it like Johnny Carson, like we are taking over a Carson-like Leno deal and we are going to run with it and turn it into something even more special so 20 years from now, somebody comes in and takes over for us.” 

There were many notable guests on the first edition of this new show, which included New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, ESPN MLB analyst Alex Rodriguez, Stephen A. Smith, and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. 

The Fields interview was the center of the show and it aired around 8:10 a.m ET. As Mehenti pointed out towards the end of the program in the Before I Let You Go segment, he said if there is a breaking news story, we will do our best to get them on the air.

“That’s what you can expect each and every morning on this program. If something is happening, if someone is saying something, we are going to do our darndest to get them on the program.”

Adding into the Fields conversation about the petition the Ohio State QB started for them to bring Big Ten football back, Johnson made his point known that college football should not be played this fall. Here is what Johnson had to say earlier on the show: 

“I can’t wrap my hands around why they keep trying to get on the damn field. It makes no sense. Just play next September. Let this thing carry itself out till we get what we need to cure things up. Stop trying to get on the field and play. Football is not going anywhere.” 

The other notable story of the day was the breaking news that the Washington football club hiring Jason Wright as Wright becomes the first black president in the NFL.

“My question in this, if the organization did not go through everything they have gone through over the last several months, would they have hired that dude?” said Johnson. “Would you have hired him or would you have kept everything the same if word never got out? 

After the show, ESPN correspondent Ryan Smith chimed in with his thoughts on how the debut episode went via Twitter.

While some might criticize the trio for only plugging Mike Greenberg’s new show Greeny at noon and not the other shows in the daily lineupit was a good way for ESPN Radio to kick off their new programming lineup. 

Sports Radio News

Danny Balis Joins 97.1 The Freak

“I feel kind of nervous because I haven’t done this in a long time. I thought this may not ever happen to me again, to do radio with people I’ve known for a very, very long time.”

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Longtime Sportsradio 96.7/1310 The Ticket producer Danny Balis is joining 97.1 The Freak in Dallas.

Balis was introduced Monday as the newest member of The Downbeat cast, which already features Mike Rhyner, Mike Sirois, and Michael Gruber.

“He was the one I want, and I get what I want here,” Rhyner said during Monday’s announcement.

“I’m excited,” said Balis. “I feel kind of nervous because I haven’t done this in a long time. I thought this may not ever happen to me again, to do radio with people I’ve known for a very, very long time.”

Balis left The Ticket in May, citing an interest in focusing on other areas of his life outside of radio. He served as a producer at the station for 22 years before stepping aside. At the time, he said “The room for growth for me up here is not going to open up until all you knuckleheads retire,” the 54-year-old joked.

In addition to his work with The Freak, Balis continues to co-own the Twilite Lounge in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

97.1 The Freak launched in October, and features a “broad-based, personality driven format” that features several former Dallas sports radio personalities including Rhyner, and Ben and Skin among others.

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Sports Radio News

Shan & RJ: We Have Questions About Jerry Jones But Washington Post Report Isn’t One of Them

“We all have some skeletons in our closet, but to throw the weight of the word racist on anyone, you’re gonna have to come with more than that.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones found himself in the headlines last week ahead of the team’s Thanksgiving Day game, but it was largely seen as something that didn’t need to be dragged out into the spotlight, and 105.3 The Fan hosts Shan and RJ agreed.

The Washington Post last week published a photo from 1957 showing a 14-year-old Jones among a crowd of onlookers as white students tried to block the path of some Black students attempting to enter his North Little Rock, Arkansas high school.

The piece focused on Jones, who is the Cowboys general manager, never hiring a Black head coach in the entire time he’s owned the franchise.

On Monday, Shan Shariff said it seemed a bit much to use that photo and article to paint Jones as some sort of racist.

“There’s certainly a bunch of stories out there that we know on and off the record about Jerry Jones that makes me question his morals,” he said. “We all have some skeletons in our closet, but to throw the weight of the word racist on anyone, you’re gonna have to come with more than that.”

Cowboys insider Bobby Belt, who was filling in for co-host RJ Choppy on Shan & RJ, said Jones has likely evolved like a lot of people do over time. He didn’t think it was fair to necessarily say Jones was racist.

“I’m not gonna speak for anyone else but I don’t believe he’s racist,” Belt said. “I think there are enough people who have dealt with him who are African American who would tell you they don’t think he’s racist. But it’s still not a thing that you can just write off to ‘Oh I was just standing there.'”

Jones admitted to the Post that his football coach at the time told him and other players not to get involved or be among the crowd for that moment, but he went anyway.

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Sports Radio News

DiPietro & Rothenberg: NFL TV Partners Should Schedule Jets and Giants at Opposite Times

Jordan Bondurant

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For the first time in a long time, both the New York Giants and the New York Jets are factors in the NFL playoff picture. After years of both franchises occupying the bottom portions of the league standings, fans in New York and the surrounding area have a reason to believe. On DiPietro & Rothenberg on ESPN New York, Dave Rothenberg said he thinks the league should put both teams in more marquee windows.

“When you start to think about flexing games, you start to think about you know what, the Giants and Jets should be flexed into better time slots,” he said.

Co-host Rick DiPietro said it sucks now that both teams are playing well, fans are essentially forced to flip back and forth between games.

“It’s awful. It really is,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that it ruins the Sunday because that would be hard. But it’s not my favorite.”

Still, it’s not lost on Rothenberg that football fans in the city now have something to cheer for NFL wise as the last chunk of the regular season approaches.

“When was the last time the Jets and Giants in December had meaningful football games?” Rothenberg asked. “Years and years and years.”

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