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OutKick, Skyview Networks Announce Partnership

“OutKick has tapped Skyview Networks to help them expand their radio presence, build market share, and maximize network advertising revenue opportunities.”

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A business trip to Nashville last week uncovered some industry news which gives radio operators another content consideration for improving their programming. It’s a move which Jonathan Hutton, Paul Kuharsky and Chad Withrow of OutKick 360 were very excited about, and it becomes official this morning

OutKick has tapped Skyview Networks to help them expand their radio presence, build market share, and maximize network advertising revenue opportunities for OutKick’s Sports talk network. The deal calls for OutKick to provide sports and pop culture commentary, headlines, interviews and entertainment, adding to Skyview Networks’ leading play-by-play sports and sports talk portfolio.

“We’re thrilled to work with Skyview to expand OutKick’s brand and reach,” said Clay Travis, founder of OutKick. “Beginning with the OutKick 360 show, we’re working with the best talent to bring authenticity, perspective and fun back to sports radio. Radio is at the core of OutKick, and we could not ask for better partners than Skyview to grow our network.”

Skyview Networks COO and President Steve Jones added, “We’re excited to be working with the OutKick team in launching a new sports network that provides radio stations dynamic and entertaining programming that will drive ratings and revenue. OutKick’s engaging and knowledgeable hosts with their fan-first sports perspective matched with sports wagering analysis to capture gaming revenue sponsorships fit perfectly with Skyview’s #1 local play-by-play sports position in network radio.”

The OutKick radio network launches with OutKick 360 featuring Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky. The trio spent years on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville delivering one of the highest-rated sports radio shows in the USA. OutKick 360 currently airs M-F 3p-6p ET and will be the first show offered by Skyview to potential radio affiliates. Stations looking to add the show to their airwaves can email affiliation@skyviewsat.com or visit www.skyviewnetworks.com/outkick for more information.

Additionally, OutKick recently hired Dan Dakich to host a new program for their network. The show is expected to debut today and air M-F 9a-11a ET. Dakich’s local show in Indianapolis has been one of the industry’s most recognized programs. Though Dan is just getting started on the network, this new deal with Skyview creates possibilities to expand the show’s reach in the future.

Sports Radio News

Mike Francesa Wants Giants to Pursue Sean Payton, Despite TV Interest

Payton was the Giants’ quarterback coach and offensive coordinator under Jim Fassel from 1999 to 2002.

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Sean Payton is probably the biggest story in sports media after stepping down as New Orleans Saints head coach on Tuesday. Earlier this week, reports circulated that Fox is showing interest in Payton but there’s some uncertainty as to whether or not that would be as a game analyst (possibly replacing Troy Aikman in the booth) or part of the Fox NFL Sunday studio crew.

But Payton will also be in major demand as a coach following his success with the Saints and may prefer to stay in that profession. If that’s the case, former WFAN host Mike Francesa believes the New York Giants have to pursue him for their head coach opening.

The “healthy respect” Francesa mentions is a reference to Payton being an assistant coach with the Giants. As NJ.com’s Mike Rosenstein explains, Payton was the team’s quarterback coach in 1999 before moving up to offensive coordinator on Jim Fassel’s staff from 2000 through 2002.

Francesa felt strongly about the Giants getting Payton before he announced his departure from the Saints, tweeting that the team should make a trade to get him.

As Francesa noted, NFL teams will be competing to hire Payton. Many link him to the Dallas Cowboys, with whom he was the quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach under Bill Parcells from 2003 through 2005. Mike McCarthy is still the Cowboys coach but after losing in the NFL Wild Card playoff round, it’s easy to imagine team owner Jerry Jones looking at an upgrade.

So if the Giants are interested in hiring Payton, they probably need to move with urgency.

However, it might be a moot point right now. Payton said he preferred not to use the word “retirement,” but admitted that his heart isn’t with a return to coaching next season. That would appear to indicate that Payton’s next move will be to broadcasting. During his press conference, he said he’d like to try television work.

“I’ve had some opportunities,” Payton said. “I talked to Drew [Brees] a little bit about it last night, I don’t know that part of it that well. But that would be something that would interest me.”

As mentioned previously, Fox is reportedly interested in Payton and previously reached out to him about broadcasting while he was serving a season-long suspension in 2012 for his involvement in the “Bountygate” scandal.

But ESPN could be a possibility as well, either as a studio analyst for its variety of NFL programming or as a commentator in the network’s Monday Night Football booth (and maybe with Al Michaels).

But if Mike Francesa gets his way, Payton won’t go into broadcasting and will be the man to restore the Giants to glory.

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Sports Radio News

ESPN Houston Colleagues Not Sold On Jeremy Branham’s DeShaun Watson Trade Idea

It started with Cody Stoots, co-host of the station’s afternoon show The Wheelhouse. He joined The Killer Bs immediately on Monday to tell Branham “that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever said.”

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Jeremy Branham took on some friendly fire this week. The ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 mid day host brought an interesting idea to the table when it comes to the often discussed trade of DeShaun Watson. Branham said on Monday that he would trade the quarterback to the Tennessee Titans simply to get the name, colors and logos from the Houston Oilers back.

Many in Houston have crowed about a trade for Watson having to include three first round picks. That may be a pie-in-the-sky kind of dream. Would any team give up that much to bring in a quarterback with the kind of baggage and unknowns that Watson has attached to him? Maybe not, but the expectation is clear. If the Texans are going to trade Watson, it better be for a package that helps them press fast forward on their rebuild.

Branham’s partner on The Killer Bs, Joel Blank, didn’t hate the idea of having the oil derricks and “love ya blue” back in Houston, but he wasn’t sold on it being enough compensation to part with Watson.

That was about the nicest reaction the idea received. The next two days were filled with co-workers questioning Jeremy Branham’s sanity and priorities.

It started with Cody Stoots, co-host of the station’s afternoon show The Wheelhouse. He joined The Killer Bs immediately on Monday to tell Branham “that’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever said.”

The drubbing continued Tuesday morning. A caller named Rolando asked John Granato and Lance Zierlein what they thought of the idea.

“Yeah no,” Granato answered. “I’d much rather have players than a name.”

Zierlein was less reserved. He started out by mocking the idea that memories of the Oilers were even valuable. He noted that there is a large segment of adults with little to no memory that there was professional football in Houston before the Texans.

“If you’re 25, you know what you’re saying? ‘No! I want the picks! I wasn’t even alive when they left,’” he said.

He also added that not every native or long-time Houstonian feels the way Branham does about the Oilers. Zierlein characterized his memories of the team as “all fine and good” but notes that those days are over and he has moved on.

Branham didn’t get much support for his idea, but he certainly created a conversation.

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Sports Radio News

Jay Williams Involved in Fender-Bender Before Talking to ‘Wolf & Luke’

“I’m trying to pay this taxi man. I’m trying to multitask here!”

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Athletes know very well about fighting through adversity to get the job done. No matter what may be going on away from the game, when it comes time to getting down to business, athletes can flip the switch.

ESPN Radio host Jay Williams, co-host of Keyshawn, Jwill & Max, hasn’t been in a game situation for a while. But on Tuesday, he still had to flip the switch when he joined Ron Wolfley and Luke Lapinski on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM for an interview.

Williams revealed at the start of the interview that he was involved in a fender bender earlier in the day.

“I’m okay, I’m here,” he said. “I got into a yelling match in the street and I decided not to be that angry person in New York City.”

“I’m a grown man, I don’t want to fight, but you just ran into the back of my car because you were texting!” Williams added.

Wolfley and Lapinski were obviously thankful that Williams was fine and could still make it for the interview. And as things progressed, Williams’ phone picked up a voice in the background. Turns out Williams was in a cab.

“I’m trying to pay this taxi man,” Williams said. “I’m trying to multitask here!”

“Why am I laughing?” Wolfley responded. “I’m sorry!”

“This is amazing,” Lapinski added.

Eventually, Williams talked about the Phoenix Suns and the weekend that was in the NFL playoffs without further issue. But things were certainly lively at the beginning of the segment. You can listen to it at the Arizona Sports 98.7 FM website and app.

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