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Chris Russo Criticizes Players, Baseball Media For Coverage of MLB Lockout

“I could put in a thimble what Jeff Passan knows about contract negotiations. These writers should be ashamed of themselves.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Russo First Take

It has gotten testy in MLB labor negotiations, but it’s hard to wrap your head around the whole situation to fully grasp how these processes work if you’ve never been there before. That’s according to SiriusXM host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who was taken to task by New York Daily News sports media columnist Bob Raissman this weekend for his takes on what’s unfolded so far.

“They are going to say that I’m in the tank for the owners,” Russo was quoted by Raissman as saying “during his SXM Gabfest.”

But Russo did call a few in baseball media out over lockout coverage. Raissman said Russo contends “coverage of the contract negotiations is entirely tilted in the players’ direction.”

“I could put in a thimble what Jeff Passan knows about contract negotiations,” Russo said. “These writers should be ashamed of themselves.”

“Russo has taken the owner’s side,” Raissman wrote. “He believes the players should set their sights on making up the losses from their last negotiated contract ‘incrementally’ and not all in one fell swoop; he thinks the last offer the owners put on the table is a fair one.”

Ultimately, though, Russo may have to toe the line in his broader comments. Mad Dog does host High Heat on MLB Network, and Raissman mentioned how Ken Rosenthal ultimately parted ways with the network over fallout from comments written in columns about commissioner Rob Manfred.

But the point was made that the TV show is dependent on player and media interaction. So thinking that Russo is on the side of the baseball owners could make booking difficult in the future.

“This is really going to hurt me more than anybody,” Russo said. “I do a TV show. Do you think anybody is going to come on?”

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Ken Carman: Cavaliers-Magic Blackout Was a ‘Bleep You to Everybody for the Night’

“It is the internet – you can’t fix that type of mistake quickly?”

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Ken Carman
Courtesy: Audacy

As the Cleveland Cavaliers took a two-game lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Orlando Magic, several fans of the teams were incensed because of their inability to access the game. On Monday night, fans within the home marketplaces for the Cavaliers and Magic were blacked out from watching the game on NBA.TV both through the cable channel and utilizing an NBA League Pass subscription. Ken Carman, morning show host on 92.3 The Fan, was among the people affected by this circumstance.

When Carman was doing the preview show for the NFL Draft, he turned his television from NBA.TV to another channel and then checked social media where he saw complaints. From there, he placed his television back on NBA.TV to discover that he too was blacked out and unable to watch the game, despite being a regular cable subscriber amid an era predicated by hastened cord cutting. Carman then asked if there were people who had the Bally Sports app and were also blacked out from watching the contest. Carman’s co-host Anthony Lima then explained he had learned of an issue with the geotracking that was not recognizing the locale where devices from which users were trying to access the game.

“It seems like they were there, and there were people who were not cable subscribers who said that they were blacked out, and then there were people who said they had Fubo,” Carman explained. “So I have somebody here who says that they have Fubo and they were able to watch it, but I know for a fact there were people who said they had Fubo and they were not able to watch that game last night. That is a miss.”

Lima continued by stating that he had never before received such a deluge of texts pertaining to a big game in the Cleveland area. People were evidently wondering how they would be able to access the game, leading some users to experiment utilizing VPNs to try and watch.

“I saw people, influencers, making screaming videos, and I understand the frustration, but we know – me and you know – we have to be able to have every game available to us, so that’s why we get cable,” Lima said, addressing Carman in his comments. “I don’t know what to tell people who somehow, someway – unless there was a legitimate mistake made – did people think they were going to be able to get NBA.TV?”

“It is the internet – you can’t fix that type of mistake quickly?,” Carman replied. “That’s just a solid bleep you to everybody for the night.”

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iHeartMedia to Launch Women’s Sports Audio Network with Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment

“This partnership effectively moves the coverage of women’s sports from 15% to 90% overnight through the power of audio.”

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Logos for iHeartMedia and Deep Blue Sports and Entertainment

iHeartMedia announced it is partnering with Deep Blue Sports + Entertainment to launch the Women’s Sports Audio Network (WSAN). Deep Blue is led by Founder/CEO Laura Correnti and former WNBA star Sue Bird as Chief Strategy Officer.

The brand is described as the first-ever audio platform dedicated exclusively to women’s sports podcasts, daily sports reports, spotlights and audio vignettes, social content, promotion and industry event presence, and will be available across iHeartMedia’s broadcast, digital and podcast platforms and everywhere podcasts are heard.

The new network will offer talent and programming year-round with talent such as former ESPN personality Sarah Spain and former WNBA and US Olympic Basketball star Sheryl Swoopes. iHeart has committed to running dedicated women’s sports reports daily across its network of over 500 stations and digital streams.

iHeartMedia Chief Marketing Officer Gayle Troberman said, “Women’s sports are on fire and so is audio. The timing is perfect to deliver on the massive fan excitement today and most importantly use the power of iHeart’s massive audience reach to ensure women’s sports gets the attention it deserves. We all win when the athletes, the fans and the brands get to play together every day in the biggest audio arena on the planet at iHeart.”

Deep Blue CEO Correnti stated, “While women’s sports continue to break ratings and attendance records on a seemingly regular basis – it’s imperative the media marketplace and commercial investment keep pace to not just meet consumer demand, but sustain this growth market. By partnering with iHeartMedia, we’re unlocking the ability to immediately share more women’s sports stories with more fans while addressing the need for more discovery, visibility and scale – a common pain point for the advertising and media marketplace in this space. This partnership effectively moves the coverage of women’s sports from 15% to 90% overnight through the power of audio.”

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Audacy Launches Audacy Sports

“We’re thrilled to bring together our unrivaled sports portfolio under Audacy Sports.”

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Graphic for Audacy Sports
Courtesy: Audacy

Audacy announced it is launching Audacy Sports, a new name which covers their over-the-air, streaming, podcasts and live events. Audacy has 40 owned-and-operated all-sports radio stations along with 160 sports streaming channels on the Audacy app and a sports podcast network featuring over 600 titles and live events. This announcement follows Audacy’s recent unveiling of Audacy Podcasts.

“We’re thrilled to bring together our unrivaled sports portfolio under Audacy Sports,” said Lee Davis, Senior Vice President of Sports Monetization, Audacy. “Consolidating our cross-platform sellable assets under one name creates a compelling opportunity for brands to connect with listeners at scale – through our digital and broadcast network platforms or locally, through our owned sports stations – wherever and whenever they tune into Audacy content.”

Audacy Sports also serves as the home to 150 professional and collegiate teams and produces two national multiplatform sports networks, Infinity Sports Network and BetQL Network.

Audacy Sports launches at the NFL Draft in Detroit as it will have five stations broadcasting from the same location near the draft. 670 The Score in Chicago, WEEI in Boston, 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, 106.7 The Fan and The Team 980 in Washington D.C. will all take part in special draft week broadcasts.

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