Sports Radio News
Mass. Gaming Commissioner Says He is Frustrated With Toucher and Rich
“I was listening to the Toucher & Rich show… I actually got a little frustrated with it because they had a guest on and they were talking about sports betting and they made a comment that some think we might be able to make a bet in three weeks at our brick and mortar casinos…. and obviously that’s not going to happen.”
Nearly a month ago, the state of Massachusetts made sports betting legal. Since then, the discussion has been about how soon the state could get their wagers started.
Toucher and Rich were a part of the “when will it happen” discussion and on the show, regular guest and gaming analyst for 98.5 The Sports Hub Dan Lifshatz predicted that people would be able to make bets within a month based on what he’s heard. That frustrated the Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Brad Hill.
At the Thursday meeting of the commission, Hill spoke out.
“I was tuned into 98.5 today, I was listening to the Toucher & Rich show, which is a very entertaining show,” said Hill. “But today I actually got a little frustrated with it because they had a guest on and they were talking about sports betting and they made a comment that some think we might be able to make a bet in three weeks at our brick and mortar casinos and our simulcasting facilities, and obviously that’s not going to happen and it was frustrating because of the hundreds of thousands of people that listen to that show and think that they might be able to place a bet here in Massachusetts.”
Lifzhatz responded by saying what he had heard, as well as others in the gaming community, in regards to the start-date.
Sports Radio News
Stephen Strom Leaves Barrett Sports Media For Miami Marlins Radio Role
“Earlier this month, the team announced that Kyle Sielaf was moving from the studio host role into the broadcast booth.”
It is always a good day when Barrett Sports Media gets to congratulate one of our own. Stephen Strom made his debut Thursday as the studio host of Miami Marlins baseball coverage on 940 WINZ in Miami.
Strom came to BSM in 2022 to host the Sports Talkers Podcast. The show delivered 33 episodes and was consistently one of the best performers on the BSM Podcast Network.
Prior to announcing his new role in Major League Baseball, Stephen Strom served as a broadcast assistant for the Miami Heat, working with the team’s television voice Eric Reid. He also called games for Nova Southeastern and Florida International universities.
The new gig means Strom is leaving Barrett Sports Media. That means, unfortunately, that the Sports Talkers Podcast is coming to an end.
“Stephen is a bulldog. I am not surprised he landed this opportunity,” BSM Content Director Demetri Ravanos said. “I could not be more proud of him. This is just another significant step in what I am betting will be a long, successful broadcasting career for him.”
Earlier this month, the team announced that Kyle Sielaf was moving from the studio host role into the broadcast booth. He replaces Glenn Geffner, who had been on Marlins’ radio broadcasts for the previous 15 years.
“One of the great rewards of running Barrett Media is being able to give a platform to talented people and seeing them take advantage of the opportunity,” said Barrett Media President Jason Barrett. “Stephen Strom has done an outstanding job for us with the Sports Talkers Podcast and though we hate to lose him because he’s become someone we hold in high regard, I couldn’t be happier to see him advance his career, and take the next step with the Miami Marlins.”
Sports Radio News
Travis Rodgers: Angels Radio Broadcast ‘Is a Giant Middle Finger to Fans’
“You’re telling your fans ‘I’m 100% okay with giving you a product that is less than 28 other teams out there.”
The Los Angeles Angels are not going to get much slack on ESPN Los Angeles. The station may be a radio partner of the team, but that doesn’t mean the hosts are required to agree with the team’s decision regarding its radio broadcast.
In 2023, only the Angels and Toronto Blue Jays will keep their broadcast teams from traveling to away games. Team owner Artie Moreno said at a press conference that the broadcast experience does not justify the cost.
Thursday on ESPN Los Angeles, Travis & Sliwa blasted the team saying they were sending a very clear message to the fans.
“It is a giant middle finger to your fans,” Travis Rodgers said. “You’re telling your fans that listen to the games on the radio, particularly here in California where we have such a strong car culture, where people are in their cars a lot. We all commute. We’re all stuck in traffic, and if you’re a baseball fan, there is something very pleasant about listening to a baseball game on the radio.”
An article in The Athletic estimates that it would cost $200,000 for the team’s radio crew to travel to away games. Instead, Terry Smith and Mark Langston will stay back in Anaheim and call the action from the television feed.
Allen Sliwa is pleasantly surprised that the Angels are in the minority. He said that he expected between fifteen and twenty percent of Major League Baseball teams would quit sending broadcasters to away games after the Covid-19 pandemic changed the 2020 season.
Rodgers, on the other hand, was incensed by the amount of money Moreno is apparently trying to save.
“$200,000. Anthony Rendon makes $38 million per year,” he said.
Sliwa said the Angels’ radio broadcasts will feel like the MLB Playoffs that happened in a bubble in Texas in 2020 when so few people were in the stands. It was hard to feel any real energy at home. Rodgers said that on top of that, the broadcast will simply have a lower standard than those of other teams because there is so much that a broadcaster gains simply by being with the team on the road.
“You’re around the team. You’re with the players. You’re with the coaches. You’re with the executives.,” Rodgers said. “You learn things. You can add color to your broadcasts that you’re not gonna get if you’re around them half as much as your contemporaries and your colleagues. You’re telling your fans ‘I’m 100% okay with giving you a product that is less than 28 other teams out there. You don’t matter to me to give you the best experience possible when you’re listening to your favorite team on the radio because I want to save $200,000.’ That’s a rounding error in the economics of baseball.”
Sports Radio News
Ken Carman: NCAA Women’s Tournament Seeing Higher Ratings Isn’t An Indictment on NBA or ESPN
“Women’s basketball is a much bigger deal than it used to be, and is a much more popular sport than it used to be.”
A television ratings report earlier this week revealed that ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament game between Iowa and Louisville garnered 2.5 million viewers. That number is higher than any NBA game broadcast on the channel this season, but 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman believes that doesn’t necessarily mean the NBA is seeing a downturn on the Worldwide Leader.
“People know those NBA players, even though a lot of them are sitting on the bench, but it’s women’s basketball and we know women’s basketball gets a fraction of the love in this country,” co-host Anthony Lima said. “She’s not in the same stratosphere as those NBA guys.”
“It’s playoffs versus regular season, and I’m just not surprised,” Ken Carman countered, arguing that NBA games on a random Friday night have a different feel and energy to them compared to an Elite Eight contest.
“ESPN does a good job of promoting (the women),” Carman continued.
“Is this more about the statement of the women’s game or more of a statement about the NBA, where it has gotten stale and become an afterthought?” Lima questioned.
“Both these things can be true,” argued Carman. “The regular season in the NBA — they’re not sitting there talking about a mid-season tournament for nothing. People don’t care about the regular season, and they want people to care about the regular season. And women’s basketball is a much bigger deal than it used to be, and is a much more popular sport than it used to be.”
Carman concluded by saying that the NBA playoff games will have high television ratings, like always, and that comparisons of the two audiences simply boils down to regular season viewing against playoff viewing.
The 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on ESPN has garnered record highs this year, with first round viewership growing 27% compared to last year.