Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, broadcasters have had to change the way in which they work. Whether by doing shows remotely and accepting the shortcomings that come with it, wearing a mask at all times in the facility, or taking frequent COVID-19 tests, the pandemic has required the industry to rethink the way it does business concurrent with stark changes in consumption trends.
Keeping oneself healthy, along with the spaces in which they work and interact with other people, has been a central focus throughout the pandemic, and radio is no exception. However, the physical space of a radio studio is not always deep-cleaned on a daily basis and can sometimes be filled with clutter and other materials that serve as an impediment to the comfort of producers and on-air talent.
Seldom is any radio broadcast space spotless – even the ones that are visible via a radio show’s simulcast on television or a streaming platform. That is something Clinton Yates of 710 ESPN Los Angeles would like to change.
With the first day of spring approximately one month away, Yates, who has been filling in this week for Allen Sliwa on Travis and Sliwa, voiced his concerns to co-host Travis Rodgers and the show producers about the cleanliness of the 710 ESPN Los Angeles studios after deep-cleaning them akin to a “spring cleaning” prior to Wednesday’s show.
“There are piles and piles of crap – headphones, pieces of paper, books, boxes, cords – and I was just like, ‘I’m sorry. This environment – I have to clean up a little – I have to tidy this bad-boy up,’” said Yates. “So yes – I deployed a little Lysol. I definitely wiped down a couple of things because I was moving stuff around.”
Rodgers then came up with the idea for a deep-cleaning and labeling session at the studios so people would know how to keep the space neat and organized. This got Yates thinking about ways he could maximize the opportunity in realizing his aspirations of maintaining a clean studio space while creating engaging content for social media.
“We should have a [session] where we come in, we organize everything and then we label it and then we have an instructional thing where we teach people, ‘This is where this stuff goes. This is all you have to do – just follow the checklist so the studio stays tidy,’” said Yates. “I would genuinely do this for a bit on social [media] if someone would join me. The full time lapse; we could detail the studio and organize things.”
After discussing trying to keep the studios clean, Yates arrived back at work Thursday morning, and with Rodgers working remotely, was immediately questioned whether he had engaged in another deep-cleaning of the space.
“I’m not in-studio, and that brings me right to kind of where I wanted to start this entire thing,” Rodgers said to open Thursday’s show. “Did you get out the power washer, the mop, what did you do because I was not in your way this morning to deep-clean the studio?”
“Since yesterday [when] I cleaned it, apparently the memo was gotten [and] nothing was added,” replied Yates. “This was a relatively clean space when I got here which is a good thing, so I’m happy about that.”
Rodgers proceeded to tell Yates that Mason and Ireland co-host Steve Mason was concerned about Yates, specifically because of the fastidious nature in which the studio was cleaned and the meticulous manner of the towel he folded. Mason called out Yates between shows for cleaning the studios, something Yates was taken aback by.
“I was like ‘Oh no. He was listening,’” said Yates. “It was embarrassing, but we’re good.”
“We are here to embarrass each other; [that’s] basically the role of these programs,” responded Rodgers.
NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role
The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.
NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.
The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.
NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.
Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.
Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.
In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.
In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).
One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.
Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.
Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance
Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.
The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.
Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.
Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”
Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”
Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”
Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”
Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”
And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”
The Rundown With Jeff Michael Coming To SportsMap Radio
“The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6.”
Jeff Michael is getting a promotion at SportsMap Radio. He is moving from the part-time staff into a new midday show.
The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6. The network describes the new two-hour show as energetic and fast-paced.
“Sports talk radio always meant the world to me,” Jeff Michael said in a press release. “Having an opportunity to reach such a large national audience is something I do not take lightly. While I’m so grateful for the opportunity, my focus will always be on creating captivating and informative content.”
Michael has been with SportsMap Radio since 2020. He has also been a prolific host in the podcasting space.
“I feel this is a perfect format for Jeff to excel,” CEO David Gow added. “From listening to fill-in appearances, you can tell he has tremendous command of his audience. You cannot easily teach what Jeff Michael already possesses.”