Sports Radio News
102.5 The Game Elevates Chase McCabe To Program Director
“McCabe has been with Cromwell for over nine years. During that time, he has served as the Assistant Program Director and as co-host of 102.5 The Game’s midday program ‘Darren, Daunic and Chase’.
Earlier today, Ryan Porth announced he was heading to Chicago to become the Assistant Brand Manager of 670 The Score. Porth spent nine and a half years in Nashville with Cromwell Radio including the past five serving as the program director of both ESPN 102.5 The Game and ESPN 94.9. His exit left the station with a key vacancy to fill.
Fortunately for the company, they didn’t have to look long or far to find their next leader.
Cromwell Radio has announced the internal promotion of Chase McCabe. The Nashville sports radio veteran will be responsible for both the programming strategy and operations of both ESPN 102.5 The Game and ESPN 94.9. His first day in the PD chair will be January 3rd.
“We are fortunate to be in a position to promote from within our ranks,” said VP/Market Manager Dennis Gwiazdon. “I’m confident that Chase will use this opportunity to sustain ESPN 102.5 The Game’s momentum and his promotion allows us to maintain continuity as we build on our reputation as Nashville’s Best Sports Talk.”
Gwiazdon continued, “We are excited for Ryan’s opportunity to be in the #3 radio market in the country. Throughout his tenure with ESPN 102.5 The Game Ryan has been instrumental in our success over the years. All of us at Cromwell Media are happy for Ryan and wish him continued success. I have no doubt that Chase will be his worthy successor.”
McCabe is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and a member of the BSM Member Directory. Similar to Porth, he’s been with Cromwell for nearly ten years. During that time, he has worked his way up from producer to assistant program director to co-host of The Game’s midday show ‘Darren, Daunic and Chase’.
“I am absolutely thrilled to lead ESPN 102.5 The Game and ESPN 94.9 and grateful for the opportunity that owner Bud Walters and Dennis have given me. I can’t wait to see what new heights we can reach,” said McCabe. “I have also been blessed to work with Ryan Porth for the last 9 years and have not only learned a lot from a colleague, I’ve gained a friend for life and wish him nothing but the best.”
ESPN 102.5 The Game is Nashville’s broadcast home of the Nashville Predators. The station features local programming each weekday starting with Robby and Rexrode in mornings, Darren, Daunic and Chase in middays, and Stillman and Company in afternoons.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
Sean Baligian Gets New Night Show at WJR
“The new show will be a revival of Sportswrap. It is one of many changes coming to the WJR lineup.”
Changes at WJR means good news for sports fans in Detroit. Sean Baligian is back on the air in the Motor City. He will be hosting a one hour show weekday evenings at 6pm.
Baligian most recently was part of the station’s morning show with Paul W. Smith. He is a staple of Detroit sports talk though. He was heard on WDFN multiple times in his career. He also hosted the afternoon show at the short-lived Detroit Sports 105.1 and a digital show for the Woodward Sports Network
The new show will be a revival of Sportswrap. It is one of many changes coming to the WJR lineup.
On Facebook, Baligian expressed his excitement. He also revealed that the start date for the new show is June 20.
In addition to hosting shows, Sean Baligian can also regularly be heard calling college football games. He has been the play-by-play voice of the Wayne State for more than a decade.
Sports Radio News
Ken Carman: You Don’t Have to Watch NBA Finals if You Aren’t Doing National Show
“I can go to bed; no big deal.”
The NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets were not expected to attract particularly high ratings. According to preliminary overnight figures from Nielsen Media Research, Game 1 of the NBA Finals averaged 7.62 million viewers and had a 2.21 rating in the age 18-49 demographic. This number is significantly down from the 11.4 million viewers in the Celtics’ matchup against the Golden State Warriors last year.
Sunday night’s Game 2 ratings have yet to be released, but based on the conversation between Ken Carman and Anthony Lima on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, basketball fans and media pundits should expect another report of low numbers.
“We all knew that there weren’t going to be as good ratings,” show co-host Ken Carman said. “The Heat do not generate the sense of outrage, [and] Denver does not generate the same type of passion as what LA and Boston do, clearly.”
Carman watched parts of the first two NBA Finals games, but opted to watch the morning recaps on YouTube instead of the game in its entirety. He surmises many basketball fans from around the country are doing similarly because of the ostensible lack of appeal – despite superstars Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jokić participating in the action.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the NBA Finals, Carman acknowledged that he would be watching; however, his wife gave him a reason to turn it off when she asked him to watch an episode of Succession. Neglecting to watch the entirety of a professional sports league’s final championship round is a practice show co-host Anthony Lima regarded as something new to modern media consumption.
“There used to be a time where you couldn’t even really do a show if you didn’t watch the NBA Finals or the World Series,” Lima told Carman. “That was not an indictment of you because there have been World Series games I haven’t watched…The ratings of the NBA had all been up until we got to the NBA Finals and they have crashed.”
The Walt Disney Company recently reported its most-watched playoffs on ESPN platforms in the last 11 years, averaging nearly 5.8 million viewers on broadcasts. Year-over-year, viewership of the Western Conference Finals was up 17% from last year’s presentation, which was on TNT, and 44% higher than the last time ESPN televised the proceedings in 2021.
Despite the intriguing NBA Finals matchup and storylines associated with the action, the ratings indicate that many basketball fans are choosing not to watch the action because of the lack of tradition involved in the matchup. The Denver Nuggets have never won a championship in franchise history, let alone qualify for the NBA Finals, while the Miami Heat have not taken home the Larry O’Brien Trophy since 2013. The team, at that time, was led by the ‘Big Three’ of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, all of whom are expected to be named members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“You’re basically saying there’s nothing that game could have done that would have made you stick with it?,” Lima asked Carman. “Jokić had a run in the third quarter where he made every play on offense and then was coming up with fast breaks, dribbling coast to coast; then he made a couple of defensive plays. You look up at the box score [and it is], ‘Holy crap, he’s going to score 40 easily.’”
Nonetheless, Carman recognized that his radio show is a local program, and in turn needs to appeal to its audience. As a result, he felt like it was safe to watch Succession and then fall asleep, recognizing just how fundamental topic selection is in terms of captivating and retaining listeners.
“If it’s not one of the three teams in Cleveland – if the Cavs were still there, fine, that’s the job,” Carman expressed. “If it’s this, even though it’s the Finals and I have no national show to do tomorrow, I can go to bed, no big deal.”
Sports Radio News
Rich Shertenlieb: Are we Watching Stephen A. Smith’s Me Too Moment?
“His intonation of his voice – he goes into horny tones.”
Amid the ongoing NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith has not been shy about his penchant for the city of Miami, Florida. Whether it is on First Take, NBA Countdown or his podcast, The Stephen A. Smith Show, Smith has expressed his inclination for the warm weather and ethereal atmosphere of the area.
In fact, after Sunday night’s 111-108 win to even the NBA Finals at one game apiece, Smith tweeted out a clip from First Take celebrating his forthcoming trip to Miami. His remarks on the locale have hardly gone unnoticed, and was the topic of discussion on the latest edition of the Toucher & Rich segment, “Stephen A. Smith is horny.”
The segment began with the show playing an older clip where Smith is being interviewed by a Latina reporter from TAB Sports, and he begins by giving an identification for the outlet.
“What’s up everybody? This is Stephen A. Smith from ESPN in the house, and you’re watching TAB Sports. Do not take your eyes off of it, for obvious reasons,” he said as he looked at the Latina reporter and gave a wink. Show co-host Rich Shertenlieb reacted to the clip, which was recently unearthed, and articulated how there is a marked change in the way Smith speaks in certain moments.
“His intonation of his voice – he goes into horny tones,” Shertenlieb said. “Horny tones is when he goes up high and he drops low. It’s like, ‘I don’t know Spanish, but maybe someone can help me.’ This is kind of almost a ‘Me Too’ moment here.”
While hosting his podcast, Smith began to make mention of the sunshine, palm trees and various other things he is looking forward to in visiting Miami. His producers then put a photo of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model on the screen, perhaps in an attempt to expose Smith’s concupiscence towards aspects of the city; however, he quickly shot it down to his listeners. His viewers, on the other hand, were presented with a wink as he vociferously told his producers to take the photo down.
“I wasn’t thinking about such things,” Smith said. “Get your mind out of the gutter; my mind wasn’t going there. Okay – it wasn’t going there at all. I’m just saying I’m looking forward to watching basketball at [Kaseya Center]; I think that’s safe to say.”
The clip elicited laughter in 98.5 The Sports Hub’s studios, and led to discussion about how obvious Smith is accentuating lustful desires to the tune of Barry White music.
“It almost gets to a tone where only dogs can hear it – it’s so low,” Shertenlieb said of Smith’s voice. “I should just take out everything else except for when he speaks low. It might be some good ASMR.”
The show then played a clip of Smith reacting to a recent tweet by New York Knicks guard Josh Hart, in which he asked his nearly six hundred thousand followers if they had ever tasted breast milk. Smith responded to the inquiry by stating he had never done so, but then continued to discuss the subject in a different, more voluptuous manner.
Smith welcomed Hart onto his alternate broadcast for Game 1 of the NBA Finals – NBA in Stephen A’s World – where he explained the rationale behind the tweet and described how breast milk tasted after he went ahead and tried it.
“I like breasts,” Smith said. “You don’t have to be a baby to like breasts. As a matter of fact, one could easily argue there are adults who like breasts more than babies; however, breast milk is a different matter.”
“I thought it was going to be, ‘Oh, well you’re crazy – but I’ll tell you what,” Shertenlieb reacted. “It’s ASMR – more like ASS-MR.”