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Danny Kannell, Ryen Russillo Reminisce On ESPN Layoffs

“When Kanell looked back at why he might have been laid off by ESPN, he thought back to two specific instances.”

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We are less than five years removed from the massive layoffs that claimed the jobs of people on camera and behind the scenes at ESPN. One of those people was college football analyst and co-host of Russillo and Kanell, Danny Kanell. 

Kanell was on The Ryen Russillo Podcast this week to talk not only about college football, but to look back at that time where both Russillo and Kanell felt uncertain about their positions at the company.

“I had talked to my agent and he was like you are good to go. College football is one of the biggest priorities of the company, you are one of the bigger voices, you’re good,” Kanell said. “Couple weeks would go by and you kind get a little more nervous. A lot of people were holding meetings trying to make sure they are in good standing and I would go play golf on the off-day…Then comes the day. No one knew when the day was going to be. It was like a Black Friday without knowing there was a Black Friday.

“I get a phone call and it was the number from ESPN. I didn’t answer the first time and then it calls back and then it was a call from one of our higher-ups in radio who said hey, can you come in? It was eerily similar to can you bring your playbook conversation. I didn’t ask on the phone, I said sure…When the time I hang up the phone, I call my agent and I’m like what is happening? He’s like I don’t know. I go in and they got the two higher-ups there because they want the witness, make sure nothing happens and it’s thank you for your time.”

Russillo had a meeting with John Skipper at the time to want to talk about where he stood with the company, but while Russillo wanted to talk, Skipper just wanted to vent on something that was bothering him, according to Russillo.

“I had gone in to meet with Skipper. We usually got together every 6 months and he was good to me in that way. I was like hey, this isn’t working out for me in radio. I know what’s going to happen. All the signs point to this. They don’t like the show with Danny and I. I don’t want to leave. I think there’s going to be value for me somewhere else. That was the whole plan.

“The meeting with Skipper was Tuesday. The Monday, there was a leak that all of these people on air were going to let go. We spent the entire meeting, I listened to him complain about leaks and I was like okay, we didn’t get anywhere. Selfishly, I needed some Ryen time. I was just kind of being his therapist for an hour while he was like I can’t believe these leaks, Ryen.”

When Kanell looked back at why he might have been laid off by ESPN, he thought back to two specific instances.

“Possibly because the person who I upset the most was asking me to be suspended for a tweet because I was trolling the SEC. It did tick off somebody and even though I apologized, I don’t know if that person ever got over it. That person since that time rose up the ranks where they were really powerful and had some influence whether or not I was there.” 

“The other thing I don’t know if it helped, even though it was a joke, was wearing the ‘make radio great again’ hat just because it was red and it appeared like a MAGA hat even though it wasn’t. I’m sure there were people that might have walked by a TV and double-take. One of those two things probably put the final nail in the coffin.” 

Russillo and Kanell were able to talk about that awkward moment and they took the listener inside what happened during one of the crazier times at ESPN as their show was coming to an end. 

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Advertising Strategy for 24/7 Businesses

With lower ad costs aimed at the audience who makes staying open late worth it, you can be ringing in the profits on the night shift.

Jeff Caves

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Graphic for a business sign "Open 24 Hours"

If you have prospects who are open for business between Midnight and 5 am, why not have them make it worthwhile and help them develop an advertising strategy? They might be surprised how inexpensive it can be.

Many companies operate 24/7:

– Convenience stores, gas stations, and truck stops.

– Fast food chains like Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, and McDonalds.

– Hospitals and Emergency Care clinics.

– Hotels, motels, and grocery stores.

– Airports, bus depots, and cabs.

With an effective marketing strategy, “it’s gonna be all right on the night shift.” Here are some insights and tips to give these prospects to help them attract and retain customers to their 24/7 business:

Understand the Night Owl

At night, customers seeking services or products often prioritize convenience, speed, and availability. Sometimes, price isn’t the controlling factor, nor is it even the best quality they seek. Make offers and go to market with these needs to better cater to your target audience and keep them returning for more.

Advertise: Digital Billboards

Digital billboards are great for visibility, especially at night when there’s less competition for attention. Consider strategically placing advertisements along busy freeways or nightlife hotspots to capture the attention of passersby and promote your business’s offerings and operating hours. If you can buy :15 ads on Times Square in NYC for $40, you may be shocked at what you will pay locally for rotating ads from Midnight to 5 am. 

Radio Ads on the Cheap

Radio is a powerful medium for reaching customers during the late-night hours. Larry King was America’s most listened-to-talk radio program in the late 80’s. For 16 years, he broadcast live between Midnight and 5:30 am from coast to coast. Select radio stations with programming tailored to your target audience’s preferences and air ads during peak nighttime listening hours. Pop music stations for night clubbers at 2 am or News Talk for late-night drivers wanting to stay engaged. Give incentives to overnight listeners to visit your business NOW. While the audience may only be 10% of the daytime crowd, so are the prices. And let’s face it, if they are driving and listening to the radio, that’s your #1 prospect! Expect rates at most stations under $25 per commercial in major cities and less in other areas. Promote late-night specials, highlighting convenience and speed of service. If you are a hospital, airport, or bus company, brand your business with the overnighters, reminding them you are open when they need you.

Mobile Digital Advertising

Target potential customers in the vicinity of your business during late-night hours. Use geotargeting to deliver ads to mobile phone users in high-traffic areas like concerts, ballgames, or nightlife districts. Drive foot traffic right through your front door. Promote time-sensitive offers or exclusive late-night deals through mobile ads. Don’t expect a price break, though, when purchasing them.

Easily Monitoring KPI’s

Regularly monitor the performance of your efforts and adjust as needed. Your late-night business is probably way less than daytime, and tracking key metrics such as foot traffic, sales, and customer feedback will be easier. If an offer is working on your radio campaign, look into buying more stations and cut back on areas that don’t work. Apply the 70-20-10 rule to your ad budget.

With lower ad costs aimed at the audience who makes staying open late worth it, you can be ringing in the profits on the night shift.

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Todd Walsh on Arizona Coyotes Sale, Relocation to Utah: ‘This Didn’t Have to Happen’

“My fear all along going into this for the last few years was at some point, someone’s going to walk up to a microphone in front of a bunch of cameras and say, ‘We did everything that we could,’ and I have a feeling we’re going to hear that.”

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Todd Walsh
Courtesy: Nicki Escudero

The National Hockey League Board of Governors has approved the relocation of the Arizona Coyotes to Salt Lake City, Utah, establishing a new NHL franchise under the ownership of Smith Entertainment Group. Hockey assets within the Coyotes organization will be transferred to the new team, which will play its games at Delta Center, the home of the Utah Jazz. The Coyotes concluded the 2023-24 NHL season on Wednesday night from Mullet Arena and defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. After the game ended, Coyotes studio host Todd Walsh anchored postgame coverage and concluded the broadcast with a heartfelt message to the Coyotes fans on the Scripps Sports broadcast.

Within his prose, Walsh explained what the Coyotes meant to him and the special bond shared among those who consider themselves members of the hockey community. He discussed how people were there for him when he lost his parents and uplifted him in difficult times. To close his message, Walsh stated to viewers that they all “walk together forever as Coyote fans,” advancing a well-known hockey quote, “Win today and we walk together forever,” from Fred Shero, former head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Although the Coyotes were never able to attain a Stanley Cup championship, the organization provided plenty of memorable moments on the ice and developed players who made a lasting impact on the sport. Shane Doan, Dale Hawerchuk, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk are just some of the players who energized hockey in the desert over the last 26 seasons. Walsh joined Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 on Wednesday to elaborate on his emotions surrounding the situation.

“As I said, I’ve been sort of preparing for this moment, but I never thought it would be when the team was turning out the lights after we were done with our broadcast and leaving town,” Walsh said, “but I just wanted to speak from the heart and I wanted to thank the game and acknowledge briefly somehow, someway the people in it, because if you’ve been around this sport even a minute, I think you start to understand [and] realize that there’s nothing quite like the sport of hockey and the people in it and the great reverence that they have for anyone who puts time into the game.”

Walsh imparted a lesson he learned over the years that states that if you are good to the game, the game will be good back to you. He was able to relate to that on a personal level, and woke up to see the sun rise in the morning to make sure that life would go on after the Coyotes. Co-host Dan Bickley asked Walsh to elaborate on how everything felt for him, especially having been a part of the organization over many years. In response, Walsh explained how people who had not seen each other made eye contact and took time to speak with one another, engaging in similar conversations with several people.

“The first words that one of us would say – it was universal – [were], ‘This didn’t have to happen,’” Walsh said. “That’s what I kept hearing, and then I started to repeat it and that’s how I feel today. I’m not smart enough to talk about finances when you’re getting into the billions of dollars, but I am smart enough to know how things can work and I’ve seen it work, and I’ve seen the due diligence that has been done and has to be done in a situation like this in cultivating a sport, and I’ve seen how it has failed.”

The interview with Walsh took place before the official announcement of the team’s relocation. This transaction includes a stipulation that Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has the right to reactivate the franchise if “a new, state-of-the art facility appropriate for an NHL team” is constructed within five years. Nonetheless, the outcome for many hockey fans in Arizona was disappointing, with Walsh describing the environment at Mullet Arena resembling that of a wake.

“My fear all along going into this for the last few years was at some point, someone’s going to walk up to a microphone in front of a bunch of cameras and say, ‘We did everything that we could,’ and I have a feeling we’re going to hear that,” Walsh said. “And I don’t want to hear it from the current ownership, but I feel like we’re going to hear that, and that’s what troubled me.”

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Sports Media Reacts to Awkward Caitlin Clark Press Conference Moment with Gregg Doyel

“I was just doing what I do, talking to another athlete, another person, and didn’t see the line – didn’t even know there was a line in the vicinity – until I crossed it.”

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Photo of Caitlin Clark
Credit: Clark Wade/IndyStar

By now almost everyone it seems has weighed in on an incredibly awkward situation at yesterday’s Indiana Fever press conference involving Caitlin Clark and Indianapolis Star reporter Gregg Doyel. Doyel’s strange exchange started with him making a heart gesture with his hands, something Clark flashes to her family after each game. “Start doing it to me and we’ll get along just fine,” was Doyel’s reply.

Doyel has since apologized and wrote a column about it which said, in part, “I’m devastated to realize I’m part of the problem. I screwed up Wednesday during my first interaction with No.1 overall draft pick Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever…I was just doing what I do, talking to another athlete, another person, and didn’t see the line – didn’t even know there was a line in the vicinity – until I crossed it.”

Several in sports media gave their thoughts on the situation, on the air and through social media:

Josh Klingler and Bob Fescoe played the audio from the press conference on 610 Sports in Kansas City and when it ended, Klingler said, “What the hell was that?”

Fescoe responded, “That’s just creepy and if I’m Caitlin Clark, I’m like, ‘I don’t want this guy around.’ What was he doing to begin with?…Don’t get creepy…that’s just disgusting.”

In Boston, The Greg Hill Show on WEEI highlighted the incident in a segment called ‘How Creepy Is It?’

“He’s kind of a dink,” Hill said. “…If I were Caitlin Clark, I wouldn’t accept the apology.”

“He was lightweight flirting with her, he tried to make a joke and it didn’t land,” said co-host Jermaine Wiggins.

Mike Mulligan and David Haugh talked about the issue on their morning show on 670 The Score in Chicago. “It just fell so flat, and it was so borderline sexist, misogynistic, it was just the wrong tone,” Mulligan said. “It was completely unprofessional for an introductory news conference.”

Haugh replied, “Well it was unprofessional, but what was worse is because it was a 22-year-old female, it was inappropriate, and he should have known better…His apology was clumsy itself.”

105.3 The Fan in Dallas’ RJ Choppy said about Doyel, “He was an idiot…He tried and attempted humor…and it backfired. He’s not part of the problem, he is a problem, in general.”

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