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John Clayton, Tom Wassell and Jim Moore Out At 710 ESPN Seattle

“The cuts were a mandate by 710’s parent company, Bonneville International and are considered a direct result of declining ad revenue during the global pandemic.”

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As COVID-19 cases are ramping up again throughout the country, so too are cost-cutting moves in the sports media industry. 

On Thursday, Bonneville’s 710 ESPN Seattle announced a round of layoffs, leading to another shake-up within their lineup which has seen multiple changes in the last 15 months. On-air personalities John Clayton, Tom Wassell and Jim Moore were let go, as were behind-the-scenes contributors Matt Taylor and Scott Blumenfeld. 

According to the director of programming for Bonneville Seattle Mike Salk, the cost-cutting moves are a direct result of declining ad revenue during the economic downturn stemming from COVID-19. Salk, who previously hosted morning drive for 710 accepted responsibility for the personnel changes, but by no means were these moves he wanted to make.

“Horrible day at 710 today. Hardest we’ve had. The financial effects of this virus caught up with us in a big way and that caused three great people to be laid off,” Salk wrote on Twitter. “I understand if you are upset by the changes. I take responsibility for it. One of the best things about radio is the relationship that forms between hosts and audience. It’s unique and real. We feel it just as much as you do. And it makes days like today even harder.”

For Clayton, this is the second time he’s been laid off in recent years. With 710, Clayton had been hosting their late morning show, but he previously spent a near quarter-century as an NFL reporter for ESPN. Clayton was part of a 2017 round of layoffs by ESPN which announced another 300 cuts last week. 

According to the Seattle Times, Clayton will continue working as a sideline reporter for Seahawks games on KIRO. Replacing Clayton on his late morning show will be Paul Gallant, who will host a solo hour from 10 – 11am. Gallant will continue to host 710’s morning show alongside Danny O’Neil. 

The 710 ESPN midday show will shift its timeslot up an hour, now filling the 11am – 2pm block, but they’ll do so without co-host Tom Wassell who was laid off Thursday after about a decade with the station. Stacy Jo Rost and Jake Heaps will continue as co-hosts of the show. Prior to working as a full-time host on 710, Wassell served as a producer for Brock and Salk

Jim Moore is a longtime radio personality on 710, spending most of the last decade as co-host of their afternoon show. Without Moore, Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman will continue in afternoons for 710, extending their show by an hour, now airing from 2 – 6pm. 

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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