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Fred Toucher: Deadspin Used To Be ‘A Thousand Times Better’

What Deadspin is now, which I have not looked at in years… [has] the general vibe [of] ‘You’re all evil, and you should be fired, and let someone who is poor have your job.’”

Derek Futterman

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Toucher & Rich on The Sports Hub 98.5 WBZ-FM in Boston spoke about a recent article published by Deadspin headlined “So here’s one of the worst tweets of all time.” The article, written by former Chicago sports writer Sam Fels, centers around a tweet written by co-host of NBC’s Men In Blazers Roger Bennett.

Fels opines within the article about how he does not “subscribe to the well-held belief that Twitter is the ultimate cesspool of our society,” defining the user experience as something that is unique to each person every time they log on.

“…Every so often,” says Fels in the article, “it provides something so wholly bewildering that you really do have to question if it’s art or a vision into a plane/dimension where the rules are completely different.”

Additionally, Fels calls Men In Blazers solely a celebration of hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, the latter of who authored the referenced tweet, and how they are unique for being fervent soccer aficionados in the United States.

“It’s just a half-hour of two guys saying, ‘We’re awesome because we’re soccer fans and we live in the States and you have to think we’re awesome, too!’ It’s two Brits patting all us ignorant Yanks on the head for being fans and sticking a gold star on our nose.”

Fred Toucher, co-host of Toucher & Rich, shared his thoughts on the direction Deadspin has gone in ever since former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan won $115 million in an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media Group, the owner of the popular sports blog.

“The site was a thousand times better when [A.J. Daulerio] was the editor of it,” said Toucher. “What Deadspin is now, which I have not looked at in years… [has] the general vibe [of] ‘You’re all evil, and you should be fired, and let someone who is poor have your job.’”

As the article continues, Fels divulges why he considers the tweet sent out by Bennett to be foolish, especially with the advancements the sports media world have made in giving leagues the opportunity to disseminate their events and related pieces of content.

“Just to review, Roger Bennett — who apparently loves to read his own written words as much as he loves to hear his spoken ones — is claiming a show that has been on less than a year-and-a-half has done more for the popularity of an entire sport than… anything that has happened in the entire sport,” writes Fels. “Not various World Cup runs from either the USWNT or the USMNT, not a generation or two or three of people who grew up playing it becoming adults and watching it, not NBC making every game viewable for the first time, not the FIFA video game, none of it. A fictional show that’s been on 17 months…”

Sports media has certainly expanded its reach over the last decade, giving fans from all around the world opportunities to consume live sporting events. Toucher, in an apparent critique of Fels’ style of journalism, expressed that he was just seemingly stating the obvious.

“There’s a thousand more outlets now,” emphasized Toucher. “We have to look at it from a macro point of view. Good media journalism there. It’s a little bit easier to have soccer games on TV now given that there’s a trillion more platforms.”

Toucher continued by mentioning how soccer, while it attracts many kids who are looking to try sports, is ultimately boring and retains very few people over a long period of time. Among impassioned, zealous soccer fans though, the game engenders a tribalism communicated en masse, similar to how a television show attracts a subset of the population that becomes a fanbase who constantly talk about the show. Sure, it’s great for social media engagement and the spread of information, but it ultimately limits the audience to which the topic can be effectively marketed.

“These people — the Deadspin people — not only do they want you fired because of things that you’ve said,” expressed Toucher. “They rally around soccer, which makes me hate soccer even more. You’re watching television. You are not part of a scene. You are wearing a scarf that is sold by a manufacturer that manufactures these things… and sells them by the billions for… a markup. Let’s get over the fact that we’re so precious for liking soccer.”

Moreover, the sport, according to co-host Rich Shertenlieb, does not seem to have many marketable, recognizable American stars that someone could name if they were suddenly asked to do so on the street.

“I could ask ten people on the street [to] name one character from Ted Lasso,” said Shertenlieb. “I guarantee I get more people who know that than know one player on the U.S. Men’s National Team.”

The morning drive radio show concluded the discussion by hearing the perspective of a caller. He compared the tribalism associated with soccer to an underground rock band suddenly going national on a major platform such as MTV, helping it quickly garner worldwide acclaim.

“It’s so punk rock to like soccer,” said Toucher. “My daughter still plays soccer, and there’s nothing that is harder to sit through than one of the games.”

Sports Online

Big Cat: Consistency Has Been Key to Rise of Pardon My Take

“Having that consistency always being there for people I think makes you part of their routine and makes it anything than I could ever have imagined.”

Ricky Keeler

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With most people having a podcast in this day and age, it is very difficult to stand out when there are so many options for listeners to choose from. One of the keys to finding success is being reliable and having your audience know that you will be around consistently. Dan “Big Cat” Katz, one of the hosts of Pardon My Take, views consistency as a major key to the success of the Barstool Sports show.

Katz was a guest on The Old Man and the Three podcast with J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter and he mentioned that Pardon My Take never takes a break and always wants content out there for their listeners.

“Just being consistent with what you put out there is something that seems very easy but gets lost by a lot of people. Every single day you are going to wake up, you are going to see me produce this, this, and this. Started as blogging, moved to podcasting. PFT and I — outside of the holidays — we don’t miss shows. There’s never a show where ‘Hey, we aren’t feeling it’. No, no, we do the shows. Even when we go on vacation, what can we bank that we can put out while we are on vacation?

“Having that consistency always being there for people I think makes you part of their routine and makes it anything than I could ever have imagined.”

While Katz understands that not every episode or every interview is going to be the greatest, he told the guys that the key is putting everything you got into every episode.

“There’s shows that aren’t the best, there are interviews that aren’t the best. It all ebbs and flows. You can’t be the funniest, most insightful podcast every single time. But, just being consistent and saying here’s what we got, we are going to put our effort into it, we are going to enjoy what we do and it has helped us get where we are today.

“You have to be a part of people’s lives. Knowing that people view you as a friend even though you don’t know them. I take that very seriously and never try to take advantage of the fact that people are investing their time in listening to me talk. Making sure you are putting in the effort and always showing up for them.” 

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Sports Online

Stephen A. Smith: TV Personalities Afraid Of Being Wrong ‘Are Boring as Hell’

“In our business there’s a lot of people who truly, truly believe the definition of entertainment is showing people what you know. That’s not true.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Stephen A. Smith knows he can’t be right all the time, even when he’s debating someone on First Take.

Smith was a guest on the Barstool Sports podcast Pardon My Take this week, and host Dan “Big Cat” Katz asked him what his thought process is like when he does turn out to be wrong.

The topic of Stephen A. being wrong with six straight NBA Finals predictions came up, and Smith said you just have to embrace being imperfect.

“The beauty is in being wrong. It’s showing that you’re fallible – you’re flawed – you’re human just like everybody else,” he said. “Do you know many people are boring as hell on television because they are literally so rigid because they’re scared of being wrong? Tell me one person in the history of sports who’s been right every time. There is no one.”

Smith later said that not having an attitude of always being right, combined with just being as knowledgeable as possible, goes a long way in how you connect with your audience.

“In our business there’s a lot of people who truly, truly believe the definition of entertainment is showing people what you know. That’s not true,” he said. “How you communicate with them is what entertains them. Sure you have to know what you’re talking about for the most part. Doesn’t mean you’re flawless and you’re not gonna make mistakes. But for the most part you gotta know what you’re talking about.”

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Sports Online

Bussin’ With The Boys Headed to Radio Row

“They tried to keep us out. They tried to keep the boys down, but you’ve got to know better when you start to play with us.”

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After a little public pressure, the NFL has decided that at least one Barstool show is welcome to be a part of Radio Row in Arizona for Super Bowl week. After initially being denied credentials, Will Compton, Taylor Lewan, and their Bussin’ With the Boys podcast have been given everything they need to be a part of media gathering the week before Super Bowl LVII.

Compton made the announcement on Twitter earlier this week.

“Fortunately, the right people got on the phone,” he told Bussin’ With the Boys fans. “I don’t know if somebody nudged Roger in the hallway and was like ‘Hey man, I’m telling you we don’t want to go down this path. We took year ten from him. Let’s not be taking away his media credential.’”

J.P. Hovey, the show’s producer, will be a guest next month on The Producers Podcast here on BSM. He told host Brady Farkas that he never doubted how this would end.

“They tried to keep us out. They tried to keep the boys down, but you’ve got to know better when you start to play with us.”

Hovey said that the end result was more than just a product of the dedication of Barstool fans. In his video, Compton credited all of the media outlets that covered the story that two players were told that were not welcome on Radio Row.

“We got the passes. We got the access,” Hovey said. “Roger Goodell, thanks for trying, but you know, it was never in the cards for him.”

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