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Al Dukes and Jerry Recco Examine State of Sports Radio

Brandon Contes

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Al Dukes and Jerry Recco from WFAN’s morning show used their Wednesday postgame podcast to analyze the sports radio format and what the audience wants from it. They didn’t have an answer, because there is no verified answer, but Dukes and Recco offered interesting insight.  

The concept of talking sports for a living sounds easy, but being tasked with holding people’s attention in a world that demands fast and immediate content is challenging. Recco and Dukes suggested shorter shows throughout the format, including the 6 – 10am morning show they contribute to daily. It was said tongue-in-cheek, but they posed changing WFAN’s lineup to feature Boomer and Gio from 6 – 9a, Dukes and Recco 9a – noon, Moose and Maggie noon – 3p, followed by Carton and Roberts 3 – 6p.  

They also discussed the balance of straying from sports during a sports radio show. I believe social media and podcasts have given sports radio the ability to be less informative than it once was, opening the door for less sports talk. If a listener wants immediate sports news, they’ll check Twitter. If they want in-depth statistical breakdowns featuring analytics, they’ll likely get it from a niche podcast. 

So where does that leave sports radio? Recco said relatable life-talk always connects with the audience and generates reaction, but noted, “you can’t force it.” 

As much as I’m a die-hard sports fan, I prefer when the truly entertaining hosts keep sports to a macro level, soliciting those unique and relatable discussions about 7-Eleven or finding squirrels in your pool. Sticking to the nuts and bolts of sports might not always be the more entertaining route, but it’s usually the safer route because not every host has the ability to navigate away from it. The deeper a show gets into a sports conversation, the harder it is to branch off into those real-life topics. 

Recco also mentioned he gets tired of resetting the same conversation when he fills in for Boomer or Gio. Covering repetitive topics about DeShaun Watson to the Jets for the tenth consecutive day can get monotonous for the host, and that energy resonates with the audience. If the host is bored talking about a topic, the audience is probably going to be bored listening. 

Listeners generate predisposed expectations of hosts and shows. Last week, Recco harshly told Boomer and Gio, he doesn’t want to hear them talk about the Nets. Recco’s a Nets fan, he enjoys Nets commentary, but he goes elsewhere for it. A listener’s predisposed opinion of Boomer and Gio might be that the hosts’ biases prevent them from having an honest conversation about the Nets.   

That rationale is also true for the balance of sports vs non-sports topics. Listeners expect to laugh when Craig Carton is behind the mic, they trust him to take the show in different directions. But if another host attempts a bit that’s deemed out of character, the audience won’t have enough trust to give it a chance the first time. 

Knowing you can’t please everybody while trying to entertain the majority is a difficult task. Even for longtime industry personnel like Dukes and Recco, there might not be a definitive answer on the best way to construct a sports radio show. But that’s not a bad thing, varying approaches to creating a show encourages diverse content.

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John Skipper: Media Has Not Treated Adam Silver Like He’s Teflon

“I don’t think anyone has hesitated to criticize him when he has done things that are controversial or difficult. Certainly, our friends at FOX News have not provided him with a Teflon coating.”

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Dan Le Batard hosted an interesting conversation on his Thursday show examining the performance of NBA commissioner Adam Silver during the press conference in which he announced the suspension of Suns owner Robert Sarver. David Samson and John Skipper joined Le Batard in the discussion.

Samson, former president of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, said of Silver “it’s amazing the level of Teflon he’s had, and I don’t know that it’s deserved in any way.” He added that the NBA commissioner’s performance was “not very well workshopped” when addressing the media.

John Skipper, co-founder of Meadowlark Media, acknowledged that the performance was not strong. He said that it was clear that Adam Silver was frustrated by the limitations his job put on what he could do about someone behaving in a way that he did not think was appropriate for the NBA. He did pushback on the idea that Silver had been immune from criticism.

“I’m not sure that I accept that he’s Teflon-like,” Skipper said. “He’s actually made most of the right decisions and done most of the right things and he’s gotten credit for that. I don’t think anyone has hesitated to criticize him when he has done things that are controversial or difficult. Certainly, our friends at FOX News have not provided him with a Teflon coating.”

Samson smiled during the answer, which Skipper addressed by acknowledging that Samson knows that Skipper is friends with Adam Silver. The Meadowlark boss called himself an “apologist” for Silver, but added

“I mostly think he’s done a fabulous job. If you want to hold up what commissioner has done most of the right things in the last seven or eight years, he’s not Teflon-coated, but he has a tremendous track record, which I think deserves our support.”

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Chris Long Tells Jim Rome He’s Gambled on Games to Keep Him Interested For His Podcast

“So you’re like alright I need to do my job tonight, and I’m tired I want to go to bed, but maybe I’ll just throw a couple hundred bucks on the Jaguars,” Long said. “And now I’m invested…”

Jordan Bondurant

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Placing bets on NFL games adds a whole other layer to the NFL viewing experience, and Super Bowl champion Chris Long understands that.

Long, who is not that far removed from his playing days in the league, was a guest on The Jim Rome Podcast, and said he initially considered gambling on football as something to compete at after retiring.

But now that he’s had some time to better learn the ins and outs of wagering, he’s become wiser and better informed. It’s helped him when talking about gambling on his own podcast, Green Light with Chris Long.

“I want to be responsible and give out good picks,” Long said. “I don’t want to just throw stuff out there because I’m getting paid by a casino. I’m really interested in the artform of gambling if that makes any sense.”

Long added that having that wagering itch definitely keeps him enthralled in watching football all day like a lot of other NFL fans, even those games people generally think won’t be that good competitively ahead of time.

He said it’s definitely helped with his show.

“I’m not even gonna lie, dude, sometimes you get burned out by football, right? I played it for a long time, now I’m covering it. So you’re like alright I need to do my job tonight, and I’m tired I want to go to bed, but maybe I’ll just throw a couple hundred bucks on the Jaguars,” Long said. “And now I’m invested and I can do my job more effectively because I’m gonna be glued to the TV. So like in a weird way it’s held me a little bit more accountable when it comes to staying on my game.”

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Shams Charania Signs New Contracts to Remain with Stadium and The Athletic

Shams joined those outlets in 2018 and had agreed to two other deals with them in that span.

Jordan Bondurant

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After speculation over his future, NBA insider Shams Charania is not going somewhere new.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported Wednesday night that Charania has signed new contracts to remain at Stadium/Bally Sports and The Athletic.

Shams joined those outlets in 2018 and had agreed to two other deals with them in that span.

Shams has been an integral piece in the growth and evolution of Stadium, elevating our content across both digital media and television experiences,” said Stadium CEO Jason Coyle. “He is one of the finest professionals and people in our industry, and we are truly excited to continue building upon our longstanding and trusted relationship.”

Charania, 28, is an integral part of Stadium/Bally Sports NBA coverage. He makes regular appearances on the Sinclair-owned networks on shows like Inside the Association and The Rally.

Shams has not yet addressed the news on his Twitter account, which has 1.8 million followers.

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