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Liberty Media Sells Off Interest in iHeartMedia

“The company still owns a 78% stake in SiriusXM and a 32% stake in concert promoter Live Nation.”

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Liberty Media purchased $600 million worth of iHeartMedia’s debt between November of 2017 and February of 2018. The move cost Liberty $490 million and was supposed to be an investment in Liberty building a radio empire. As of this week, those plans are dead.

According to an iHeartMedia Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Liberty Media owned 5.94 million shares of Class A common stock in iHeartMedia. Those shares have been dealt for $150 million, which is likely a relief to many.

“We appreciate Liberty’s support for iHeartMedia, originally as a holder of debt which then converted into a meaningful equity stake, and we are delighted that they received a good return on their investment,” a spokesperson for iHeartMedia told Variety

Do not weep for the future of Liberty Media. The company still owns a 78% stake in SiriusXM and a 32% stake in concert promoter Live Nation.

While iHeartMedia offered Liberty a strong digital presence, the only thing the company actually loses in the iHeart selloff is broadcast radio. SiriusXM may not have the same podcast audience that iHeartRadio does, but it is still very active in the space. What SiriusXM does not have that iHeartMedia does is more than 850 stations in more than 150 markets across the US.

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Nick Cattles To Fill In on 98.5 The Sports Hub

“No future guarantees, but it’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. Can’t wait to get back to do what I love to do.”

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Photo of Nick Cattles and a logo for 98.5 The Sports Hub

Nick Cattles, who was last heard on the air at the end of June 2023 at Sactown Sports 1140 in Sacramento and has been hosting podcasts, will get a chance to fill in Monday on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. Cattles posted about the assignment on his LinkedIn account.

“The wait is over,” he wrote. “It’s been almost a year since the last time I walked into a radio studio. I’m back. This Monday morning from 6a-10am, you can listen to myself, Ryan Johnston, and Kendra Middleton on 98-5 The Sports Hub. No future guarantees, but it’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. Can’t wait to get back to do what I love to do.”

Cattles was part of the Cattles and Ramie show in Sacramento and upon leaving said, “It’s just, we love our family more. Since moving to Cali, we’ve had to overcome a lot personally. Those challenges have been amplified the last two months. It’s no longer tolerable to be 3,000 miles away. Once we settle the home situation, we’re heading back.” He had started with Sactown Sports in 2021 and also had the program director title for a period of time.

Cattles worked at The Sports Hub from in 2017 and 2018, taking part in The Adam Jones Show in the evenings and hosting on the weekends. Cattles had other stints in Boston, Virginia and with ESPN Radio.

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Andy Bunker and Randy McMichael Celebrate 5 Years Together on 92.9 The Game

“To make it five years, we are proud of it because in the grand scheme of things in radio it is unusual.”

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Graphic for Andy and Randy on 92.9 The Game and a picture of hosts Andy Bunker and Randy McMichael
Graphic Courtesy: Audacy Photo Courtesy: Randy McMichael X Account

It was a milestone week for Andy Bunker and Randy McMichael, hosts of 92.9 The Game’s The Midday Show with Andy & Randy in Atlanta. It was this week five years ago they permanently took over the midday slot replacing John Michaels and Rick Kamla who had been released earlier that year.

The show celebrated on remote at a party with several listeners, friends and family members and spent time talking about their time together. “People listening right now, thank you, we appreciate that,” said Bunker. “We wouldn’t be doing this if you weren’t listening and if you hadn’t been listening the last five years…Making it five years on a radio show is not normal. I know it seems normal at 92.9 because we are a radio station that has a lot of stability. Dukes and Bell have been on for 10 years. The morning show that’s on right now is doing great, and the show before them was on for a lot of years.”

Bunker later added, “To make it five years, we are proud of it because in the grand scheme of things in radio it is unusual.” McMichael replied, “It has been a fun five years.”

Bunker had been hosting the evening show for three years prior to partnering with McMichael, and had previously been in sports radio in Seattle, Portland and Boston. McMichael had been with the station for about four years at the time, after an 11-year career in the NFL. Prior to that he was a three-year letterman at the University of Georgia.

The show amassed an 8.3 share for the most recent quarter, retaining their fourth place ranking it had in the fall. The show airs from 11a-2p EST.

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Gregg Giannotti: ‘We’re Going to Move On and Forget About’ TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’

“They’re living, they’re healthy and they’re rich. Big deal.”

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Gregg Giannotti
Courtesy: Peter Ackerman, Asbury Park Press

Since the end of the exclusive 90-day negotiating window between the National Basketball Association and its incumbent media partners, there has been augmented speculation surrounding a new media rights contract to commence in the 2025-26 season. Multiple reports have stated The Walt Disney Company to have exited the period with the framework for an agreement, whereas Warner Bros. Discovery did not reach a deal. Gregg Giannotti has seemingly been following these negotiations and understands the potential implications the end result could have.

A point of concern for basketball fans surrounding these reports has been the future of Inside the NBA, TNT Sports’ heralded studio program featuring Ernie Johnson, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. Barkley recently commented that he could consider taking the show independent through his production company and licensing it to a network should TNT lose broadcast rights to the NBA.

Barkley, O’Neal and Smith all reportedly have opt-outs in their contracts should the network no longer broadcast NBA games. The quartet all signed 10-year extensions with TNT Sports last October and recently won another Sports Emmy award for the program. WFAN host Gregg Giannotti, however, is growing tired of hearing about the show and ostensibly tried to put things in perspective on Friday morning’s edition of Boomer & Gio.

“They have a great show – it’s entertaining – they do a good job with the studio show,” Giannotti said. “The Beatles aren’t breaking up. This has been going on for two weeks now as if Yoko went in there and blew up the greatest combo of all time.”

Co-host Boomer Esiason, who recently left CBS Sports and The NFL Today after a 22-year run on the studio program, acknowledged before Giannotti provided his opinion that the rights fees have become “too exorbitant” and represents something that Warner Bros. Discovery cannot afford. Later on, he reminded Giannotti that the program has a special place for NBA fans whether or not the show appeals to him.

“I know they do,” Giannotti replied, “but we’re going to move on and forget about it like everything else.”

A new report from Lucas Shaw of Bloomberg divulged that Warner Bros. Discovery president and chief executive officer David Zaslav would not bid higher than $2.1 billion despite the NBA looking for $200 million more for a package of games. Moreover, subsequent reporting suggests that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was irked when Zaslav stated that the company did not need the NBA at a conference two years ago.

While Barkley was on the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, he explained that the situation has caused low morale and fear about what will happen to people who work on the NBA on TNT property. In addition to using an analogy pertaining to the quality of different wines to illustrate what executives at the company are doing during these negotiations, Barkley also stated that he has watched family members of the crew grow up and that a familial relationship exists. Giannotti, however, believes there has been adequate discussion and coverage pertaining to a potential end to the program.

“It’s like, ‘Alright, enough already. It’s over. So what? Everything in media ends. We’re all walking around with a guillotine over our head every single day, so tough,’” Giannotti said. “These guys made hundreds of millions of dollars throughout their careers, got paid handsomely and now they’re not going to do a show today. Oh, okay. Great. They’re living, they’re healthy and they’re rich. Big deal. We’ll be able to move on without the TNT Inside the NBA show.”

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