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Colin Cowherd: Fox Can Let It Rip, ESPN Has To Be Disney

“The two covered everything from how Cowherd deals with critics to the differences between his two most recent network stops.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: FS1

Colin Cowherd is one of the rare top-tier media talents that has worked at both FOX and ESPN for extended periods. The Fox Sports Radio host opened up last week about his career and thoughts on the media landscape in an interview with Ethan Sherwood Strauss on the House of Strauss Substack.

The two covered everything from how Cowherd deals with critics to the differences between his two most recent network stops.

“I didn’t feel like I was in trouble a lot at ESPN,” Cowherd said about the power dynamics at the Disney-owned network. “ESPN is run by Disney and you could always feel the safety net of Disney hovering over ESPN. You could always feel Disney’s presence. Whether it was with budgets, topics, they avoided anything controversial. You were often encouraged to avoid a topic because they had their tentacles on everything.”

The different ownership structures are clear, and Cowherd appreciates the ability to take risks.

“They had so many leagues, so many commissioners,” Cowherd continued. “FOX is owned by a very entrepreneurial Australian family, the Murdochs. They have been in the crosshairs of criticism from day one on this soil. FOX News, Wall Street Journal, New York Post. They are entrepreneurial, they are naturally, innately, risk-takers.”

Cowherd sees a clear difference in how the two sides view social media—and the criticism it can spark.

“When I was at ESPN, that company was, there were times I thought it was run by social media,” Cowherd explained. “It was very reactionary to various media critics. I don’t even know if our bosses know half the media critics. Getting back to your question, I think there was just a different sensibility at ESPN. I was considered more of a loose cannon there, but at FOX, I’m just viewed as an employee.”

Cowherd is one of the industry’s leading opinionists, and he feels right at home in a place like FOX.

“At ESPN, SportsCenter was largely seen as a sports page, a bastion of journalism. The opinionists there were like ‘Ohhh, that’s a different part of the hospital, we don’t go down to that wing very often.’ Whereas at FOX, the entire brand now—we got out of the movie business—is opinion. ESPN.com is this journalistic enterprise. FOX is digital; FOX is opinion; FOX is sports; FOX is games; FOX is Super Bowls, World Series, the World Cup. I just think they are different companies, and I feel at FOX I can just let it rip. But at ESPN, I just always felt you could just feel the pressure of Disney on top of the company.”

Check out the full interview on House of Strauss here.

Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named New Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter

Vanessa Richardson, co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

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Vanessa Richardson

The Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season and it’s a familiar name in Houston sports talk radio.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted the extra news that Richardson would be leaving the show to pursue the Rockets gig full-time. It appears that Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show.

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason: Michael Kay ‘Swooping In’ On Stephen Nelson ‘Just Not Right’

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

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Boomer Esiason

Much has been made about the potential of New York Yankees television play-by-play announcer Michael Kay announcing Friday Night Baseball on AppleTV+ while slugger Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. During Boomer & Gio Friday morning, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti disagreed on whether Kay should have taken the gig from usual AppleTV+ announcer Stephen Nelson.

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

“I bet he put that out there to see what the reaction would be,” Giannotti said of Kay’s comments that he would be “big-footing” Nelson by taking the assignment. “And the reaction was like that, and was like ‘You know, I’m kinda uncomfortable doing this. Maybe I shouldn’t do it’. And no one wanted to see it anyway.”

“They shouldn’t do it,” said Esiason of AppleTV+ allowing Kay to step in for Nelson.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, and let’s say it was Pete Alonso chasing this record and there was AppleTV for potentially 61 or 62, you’re telling me that you’d want a fella named (Stephen) Nelson over Gary Cohen? There’s no way in hell!”, Giannotti countered.

“I want what’s right,” Esiason said.

“AppleTV’s not right to begin with,” Giannotti replied.

“But Michael Kay swooping in on some kid named Nelson, that’s not right. That’s just not right. You just can’t do that!”, argued Esiason.

“Yeah, but the fact that it’s on AppleTV to begin with is annoying,” Giannotti concluded. “It’s just annoying.”

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