Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

Sports Radio News

Chris ’Mad Dog’ Russo, Suzyn Waldman and Jeff Smulyan Enter The Radio Hall of Fame

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

The radio industry gathered in Chicago for the 2022 Radio Hall of Fame. The event took place at the Radisson Blu, and saw a number of sports media professionals in attendance. Among them, Spike Eskin of WFAN, Chris Oliviero of Audacy New York, Mitch Rosen of 670 The Score, Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network, and Steve Cohen, Steve Torre and Eric Spitz of SiriusXM.

The event, which was hosted by KFI’s Bill Handel and created by Kraig Kitchin and Dennis Green, saw a total of 10 broadcasters inducted into the radio hall of fame. Hosts Ellen K, Lon Helton, Walt ’Baby’ Love, Mark Thompson, Carol Miller, Marv Dyson and ’Broadway’ Bill Lee all received recognition for their contributions to the industry, offering personal stories about their careers and thank you’s to those who helped them along the way. Thompson’s speech in particular stood out, especially when he talked about stirring the pot and reminding the room that “attention draws ratings, ratings mean money, and money saves jobs.”

Ryan Seacrest flew in to introduce Ellen K, legendary morning host Scott Shannon was in the building, as were industry executives Julie Talbott, Ginny Morris, Susan Larkin, David Kantor, and Erik Hellum among others. But it was the three most connected to the sports radio industry who we were on hand to support.

Chris ’Mad Dog’ Russo, Suzyn Waldman and Jeff Smulyan each took their place among the industry’s greats. Russo was the first of the group to be recognized. A video of some of his on-air moments ran first, followed by an exceptionally moving video tribute sent in by Stephen A. Smith. The popular ESPN talker shared how much Russo has meant to him personally and professionally, throwing in a few jokes and Mad Dog impressions along the way.

Russo then took the stage, promising to keep his speech short so everyone could get back to watching Game 3 of the World Series. After producing a few laughs, Mad Dog got serious and took everyone through his broadcasting journey. He shared how he got started in Jacksonville, got a break from Larry Khan, sent in a tape for a NYC job at WMCA that he saw in broadcasting magazine, became known as ‘Mad Dog’ thanks to Bob Raissman, and landed a weekend gig at WFAN.

He talked next about getting a break after Imus heard his weekend show, and an even bigger opportunity when Mark Mason paired him with Mike Francesa in afternoon drive. He talked about the Mike & the Mad Dog partnership, his decision to take a risk and move to SiriusXM, and all that he’s enjoyed and overcome to build an audience on Mad Dog Sports Radio.

After thanking his agent, his parents and wife, and sharing a story of how he and his wife first met, Chris explained that he’s had a great year but this honor is a big deal to him. As much as he’s loved First Take, Mike and the Mad Dog, and making more than thirty appearances on David Letterman’s former television show, radio is what he enjoys most. He shared how in late July he had just lost a Tennis match and was upset about it when his boss (Steve Cohen) called to tell him he had been chosen for induction into the radio hall of fame. Russo admitted he cried all the way home, and then exited the stage to a standing ovation.

The man who started the sports format, and operated some of the industry’s top radio brands in the biggest markets across the country, Jeff Smulyan, was next to address the room. After a classy video introduction from his longtime friend and programming boss Rick Cummings, Smulyan told the room his secret to success has been his family and surrounding himself with good people. He shared a few stories from his career and signed off by expressing his gratitude to the hall of fame for recognizing his work.

Wrapping up the night was Suzyn Waldman. The New York Yankees broadcaster who was the first voice on WFAN congratulated Chris ’Mad Dog Russo’ and Jeff Smulyan on their honors and thanked Chris Oliviero for putting her on the ballot for entry into the hall of fame. Waldman talked about being recognized as a trailblazer but never sought out to be one. All she wanted to do was talk about sports.

Suzyn pulled no punches, detailing how many hurdles she had to overcome during her career to get to where she is now. She pointed out some of the male jealousy and unprofessional behavior she had to put up with and thanked Joel Hollander for having her back through all of it.

Waldman also thanked Mark Chernoff for giving her a shot in middays, Eric Spitz for taking her calls whenever she was frustrated, and Steve Cohen for the tremendous remote work they did together with Yankee programs. She shared how bringing Yogi Berra and George Steinbrenner together became a big part of her career, and thanked the former Yankees boss for believing in her. She then thanked her friends and colleagues, the hall of fame, and brought the show to a close.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sports Radio News

Chris Curtis: It’s Obscene How Announcers Think Someone Else’s Achievement is About Them

“Allow the call to stand for what you are celebrating don’t make the call about you.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Screengrab of Chris Curtis of WEEI
Screengrab: WEEI

The city of Boston just went through a championship win with the Boston Celtics taking home the NBA Championship this year. But it was the championship won by the NHL’s Florida Panthers, their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, that had The Greg Hill Show on WEEI talking this morning. Hosts Greg Hill, Jermaine Wiggins, Courtney Cox and producer Chris Curtis had talked about the game earlier, but later got into the final call by the Panthers’ radio announcers and Chris Curtis was not a fan of it at all.

“Can we just get to this unbelievable sound?” Curtis asked. “…I really think we should rip someone that doesn’t work with us.”

Curtis then played the audio of the last ten seconds of the broadcast with Panthers broadcasters Doug Plagens and Bill Lindsay.

“Ten seconds left, 2-1 Panthers,” Plagens said. “A dream 30 years in the making is real. The Florida Panthers have won the Stanley Cup.” This was followed by Lindsay yelling, “Lord Stanley is coming hoooooome.”

“Stop it right there,” Curtis said. “First of all, Lord Stanley, if he was cryogenically frozen like Ted Williams, would never return to a place he never visited, which is Sunrise, Florida. There is more hockey in Sudan than there is in Southern Florida. It is obscene how these people all across radio, mostly Syracuse ‘johnnies’ that think someone else’s achievement is about them.

“You are the conduit to the audience to enjoy…Maybe there are a handful of people that grew up watching the Panthers. Yesterday meant a lot to them. Allow the call to stand for what you are celebrating don’t make the call about you.”

Then, Curtis really went in and started with a local announcer who does something similar to what he was describing the Panthers’ announcers did.

“Sean Grande does this all the effing time,” Curtis said. “He writes out soliloquies. Sean, you didn’t do anything, you’re just telling us what they did. It’s not about you, you dullards. Bill Lindsay screaming on Doug Plagens of course Syracuse master’s degree, that’s where you learn to talk like someone who sounds like someone you have never met in your life while they’re trying to be relatable.”

“He went to Newhouse, Curtis,” Hill chimed in.

“If you need to go to Newhouse to get a job, you’re not that good,” Curtis said.

Wiggins disagreed a bit with Curtis’ take saying, “I like a homer broadcaster who feels the emotion of getting into it. The color guy who played for the team who gets emotional when you win.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason: People Watch Stephen A. Smith ‘Because of Him and What He’s Going to Say’

“What other alternative or where else can he go?”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Graphic for the Boomer & Gio Show and a photo of Stephen A. Smith

With reports coming out that ESPN had made an initial contract offer of 5 years and $90 million dollars to Stephen A. Smith, various sports show hosts have weighed in and given their opinions. Such was the case during Boomer & Gio this morning on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti.

“Have you seen any of this Stephen A. Smith contract stuff that’s going on?” Giannotti asked.

“I have seen it, yes,” Esiason said. “Listen, the guy works his ass off, he is definitely a firestarter for that network and quite frankly he has built himself into a one man show.”

Giannotti replied, “He’s had success. He’s one of the bigger voices in sports if not the biggest voice in sports.”

Esiason added, “What’s different about him compared to Troy [Aikman] or Tony [Romo] or somebody else – people are going to tune in to watch the football game no matter who is doing it. People are watching him because of him and what he’s going to say.”

Giannotti reviewed the report of how much was offered and mentioned the other reports that say Smtih is looking for closer to $25 million per year. He also mentioned Dan Le Batard saying he thought ESPN had lowballed Smith with the offer.

Giannotti said, “This is one of those things that is just hard to calculate. I don’t know how much money they would lose if he wasn’t there. This is something I’d love to know…how many advertising dollars, how many things that they sell because he is there equates to a loss if he leaves?”

Esiason then said, “Here’s what I would ask. What other alternative or where else can he go?” He then later added, “In our medium on a national basis…both he and Pat McAfee have brought eyeballs or attention to ESPN for different reasons, and I think that if they can extract that kind of money out of those companies, good for them. I have no problem with any of it.”

Giannotti continued to ask about the ad dollars, but Esiason explained there were a lot of other factors that come into play.

“I don’t know about the advertising,” he said. “I think it’s more about the subscription services. I think it’s more about the fact that they use him in every single aspect they possibly can…He’s on that morning show…but then he’s all over the NBA playoffs, he’s all over the NFL playoffs. He’s all over everything. I couldn’t even imagine. I know what it was like for me when I was doing NFL Today, Monday Night Football and this radio program. It was exhausting…I know that he has complained about how much he is asked to do over there.”

All of this led to a discussion about a weekly Smith guest on First Take, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo. “I tell you what, when he is on there, I find him to be extremely entertaining,” Esiason said. “The interaction between the two of them is about as entertaining as it can get on television…If I was ‘Dog’ I would quit [SiriusXM] cuz nobody hears you and go over [to ESPN] and take a full-time spot over there and get paid.”

“I don’t know if they’re offering a full-time spot for him over there, he’s like a novelty,” Giannotti replied.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports Radio News

ESPN Chicago Announces 2024 Football Fest with Adam Schefter and Field Yates

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Graphic for ESPN Chicago's Football Fan Fest
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN Chicago on Facebook

ESPN Chicago announced the return of Football Fest, an event they started in 2022. The 2024 edition will take place at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on Sunday, August 25. ESPN NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Field Yates are back as guests and will share insights and engage with fans throughout the event.

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned,” said Danny Zederman, director of content for ESPN Chicago in a release. “We listened to fan feedback, and we’ve added new ways for fans to interact with their favorite ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities, as well as a live onstage version of our fan-favorite, unfiltered podcast Crosstalk Unhinged with Carm, Jurko, Waddle, and Silvy.”

ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities will be available for meet & greets with fans taking photos and signing autographs. The Good Karma Brands owned station says the event “will consist of live programming from local and national experts on the upcoming football season, fantasy football, as well as games, vendors, and more.”

$10 tickets for the event are on sale through Ticketmaster.com.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.