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.
Bob Fescoe: “To Have the NFL Without Peter King Just Sounds Kind of Weird”
“He’s just developed a reputation and a rolodex and confidence with people that’s he talking [with] to become, I think, the preeminent NFL sportswriter.”
Longtime NFL columnist Peter King announced that he is retiring from writing on a full-time basis, revealing his decision in his Football Morning in America column for NBC Sports. The move comes after serving as a sportswriter for 44 years and covering the last 40 Super Bowl championships. Within his column, King explained the rationale behind retiring from his decision, some of which include his desire to try new things and a declining interest in the daily news cycle.
Although his work is oftentimes lengthy compared to other NFL reports, King’s columns are packed with news, analysis and insight that has been considered among the best in the business for many years. The most recent edition focused on his favorite moments in the NFL over the years, along with conversations with members of the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
“I do really like Peter King and I do read his column, but it takes me a while,” 610 Sports Radio co-host Josh Klingler said on Monday’s edition of Fescoe in the Morning. “The problem is that sometimes it’ll be out early in the morning and like, ‘Okay, do I need this? Is there anything interesting; nuggets for the show or whatever?,’ but it’s hard to get through in one sitting because he writes so much. His volume is unbelievable; I don’t know how he processes everything.”
Klingler, who also works on Kansas City Chiefs radio broadcasts, remembered that King was one of the last people he saw at Super Bowl LVIII. After the game, he met with head coach Andy Reid and then proceeded to turn around a comprehensive column recapping the week to appeal to football fans all over the world.
“The status in which he has attained; the level respective to which he has attained,” Klingler explained. “To me, unlike say the NFL Networks or the CBS or the FOXs and whatever who basically pay to get their access, Peter King just basically carved his own niche for the longest time and still has it through multiple employers.”
King began his career with Sports Illustrated and helped establish “Monday Morning Quarterback,” which was also the original name of his columns. Within his most recent edition of Football Morning in America, he took time to reflect on young journalists he mentored that are thriving in the business today. King has received laudatory messages for his storied career in sports media by industry professionals and football fans since his latest column was published by ProFootballTalk, some of whom cannot envision the sport without his contributions.
“It’s not like Sports Illustrated was buying, ‘We are the official whatever,’” Klingler said. “He’s just developed a reputation and a rolodex and confidence with people that’s he talking [with] to become, I think, the preeminent NFL sportswriter.”
Co-host Bob Fescoe appreciates that King discerns the information and intel he has gathered in his column rather than posting things separately on social media platforms. He compared him to Jay Glazer, who reveals information on editions of FOX NFL Sunday ahead of NFL on FOX matchups every week during the football season. King has developed professional relationships with those in the NFL and gained the respect of personnel associated with the league, making a reality without his weekly column difficult to realize.
“Peter King compiles it all on a Monday, and it’s a very good column about the entire weekend of the NFL and whatnot,” Fescoe said. “I’m going to miss kind of going through that and reading that because you’re right – for some of the nuggets for the show or some of the great stories he had.”
Both Fescoe and Klingler expressed their respect for King throughout the segment within their commentary and acknowledged that things will be altered without him. Nonetheless, the football world is grateful for his presence and columns and collectively wished him well as they saw the news on Monday morning.
“People respect Peter King maybe more so than anybody else in the NFL,” Fescoe added, “and to have the NFL without Peter King just sounds kind of weird. It’s different.”
Matty ‘Ice’ Hayes Signs Extension with 97.1 The Fan in Columbus
“The Fan has been my home for 10 years and I’m very excited to continue working at a
station that has been a part of my life for so long.”
97.1 The Fan in Columbus announced they have signed Matty ‘Ice’ Hayes to a multi-year extension. Hayes co-hosts Rothman and Ice in middays from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. each weekday along with Anthony Rothman. He also hosts The Fan pregame show on Saturday gamedays in the fall.
“The Fan has been my home for 10 years and I’m very excited to continue working at a station that has been a part of my life for so long,” Hayes said in a release. “Thanks to everyone who has supported me along the way, and I can’t wait for what’s next!”
Station Manager, Cody Welling commented: “Matt has been working extremely hard developing his broadcast talents. We value his point-of-view on topics, and he is the perfect duo for our highly rated midday show, Rothman and Ice. I’m happy that Columbus sports fans will be able to access Matt Hayes for years to come each weekday, and on college football gamedays.”
“Matty is just scratching the surface of what he can do,” said Matt Fishman, Program
Director/Operations Manager at The Fan. “I’m excited to continue to watch and listen to
him grow here at The Fan.”
Hayes has been at The Fan for ten years. He started his career at The Fan as a producer and has been the co-host of Rothman and Ice since 2020.
Scott McCarthy Joins Workhouse Media as President, Workhouse Sports
“McCarthy joins CEO Paul Anderson, EVP John McConnell, and EVP Keith Kauffman to expand Workhouse’s first-in-class talent and content business.”
Talent and content management company Workhouse Media is strengthening its leadership team. Former ESPN executive Scott McCarthy has signed on to serve as President, Workhouse Sports. McCarthy joins CEO Paul Anderson, EVP John McConnell, and EVP Keith Kauffman to expand Workhouse’s first-in-class talent and content business. His specific focus will be on the sports category.
The Los Angeles-based McCarthy spent 7 years in investment banking and venture capital before entering the media business. He spent over 25 years in audio, television, print, gaming, and digital, 12 with ESPN as a senior executive. Until companywide layoffs were issued in April 2023, McCarthy had served as Vice President of ESPN Audio.
“We are beyond fortunate to have Scott as part of the Workhouse family. Scott is a smart, disruptive thinker whose background and entrepreneurial drive make him the perfect person to lead our new sports vertical” said Paul B. Anderson, Principal & CEO of Workhouse Media.
“I’ve worked alongside and across the table from Scott for 30 years. He is a best-in-class executive and is perfectly positioned in this role” added John McConnell, Workhouse’s EVP.
“I could not be more excited or honored to be joining the Workhouse Media team and getting the opportunity to work alongside Paul, John, and Keith,” shared McCarthy. “Over the years, Workhouse has clearly established itself as the preeminent management company for talent and content developers to expand their brands and businesses across multiple entertainment platforms, and I look forward to helping Workhouse further develop their presence in the sports category.”
McCarthy will be in New York City for the upcoming BSM Summit. Those looking to reach out to Scott to congratulate him or learn about his new role can email here.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at [email protected].