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ESPN New York 98.7 Begins Building For 2023 With Lineup Changes, Renewed Focus

“We’re going to give it all we have – 100% like we always do – but this is a great opportunity for us as a station and [for] these shows.”

Derek Futterman




Earlier this year in the first quarter, Good Karma Brands began operating 98.7 ESPN New York under a local marketing agreement as part of a larger transaction which resulted in the conglomerate acquiring ownership of ESPN New York 1050, ESPN LA 710 and ESPN 1000 in Chicago. As part of the agreement — which was made official in the first quarter of 2022 — all the newly owned stations continue to operate as ESPN affiliates and air network content, along with other local programming.

As it seeks to better appeal to New York sports fans, 98.7 ESPN New York recently announced a new lineup emphasizing local programming set to take effect on Jan. 3, 2023. On weekdays between 6 a.m. and midnight, the station will carry 16 hours of live and local programming – including the expansion of the DiPietro & Rothenberg morning show to four hours, the shift of Bart & Hahn to a local program, and ceasing airing ESPN Radio’s national morning show Keyshawn, JWill & Max featuring Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Max Kellerman.

“We’re always looking for ways to better serve the sports fans and the listeners,” said Ryan Hurley, program director of 98.7 ESPN New York. “The media world is changing all the time. With the changes that we made… we’re committed to bringing significantly more local programming and content throughout the day in the lineup.”

Since the launch of 98.7 ESPN New York, the station has often lost in key sectors in ratings books compared to its direct competitor in the format, Audacy-owned and operated WFAN. Often heralded for its plethora of local programming, WFAN has been a staple of New York radio since its launch in 1987, featuring prominent hosts such as Mike Francesa, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, Don Imus and Boomer Esiason over the years. Its emphasis on local programming, along with its live game broadcasts of the New York Yankees, New York Giants, and New Jersey Devils and influx of original podcasts have rendered it a trusted, reliable source keeping the voice of the fan in mind.

Contrarily, 98.7 ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show gives listeners live and local coverage with broadcasters who are indelible figures in local New York sports. In fact, the show recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, continuing its run as the longest-lasting sports talk radio show in the market. Yet it has often fallen short to WFAN’s afternoon programming, most recently Carton and Roberts, in the ratings despite beating the station in last fall’s book – perhaps because of the lack of additional local programming surrounding it.

“It gives us a little bit more of a chance to show what we have and get into the nitty-gritty of New York sports a little more than we have been maybe,” Hurley said. “There have been some big national stories that deserve focus, but maybe not so much here in New York, that we focus on. Certain national stories that take precedence and are big [are] definitely worth covering – but I don’t know about how in-depth on a certain level depending on where you are.”

Live and local programming in the New York metropolitan area is essential to attracting sports fans amid a media landscape where there are profusely more options than solely radio to discover appealing content. As a result, radio seeks to utilize its nascent ability to connect with listeners to differentiate oneself from digital outlets, regional sports networks and other forms of information and entertainment.

“New York is certainly a different animal,” Hurley expressed. “The amount of different teams that are represented here in the tristate and how many teams there are. Sports fans are craving that New York flavor throughout the day. That’s exactly what we want to deliver to them and that’s exactly what prompted these changes.”

Vinny DiMarco is the New York market manager for Good Karma Brands, meaning he has oversight of both ESPN New York 1050 and 98.7 ESPN New York. He had previously been working at ESPN as the senior director of sales of its audio partnerships division and helped facilitate a digital sales agreement with Good Karma Brands in 2015. The agreement was also extended as part of the transaction reportedly worth $15 million, and the partnership remains stable and strong.

Many people who worked with 98.7 ESPN New York are now with Good Karma Brands, fostering a mutual familiarity and respect between parties. Aside from DiMarco, Hurley works with various other executives at Good Karma Brands, including Founder and Chief Executive Officer Craig Karmazin, President Steve Politziner, Vice President of Content Evan Cohen and Executive Vice President Debbie Brown.

“The synergy between the two entities has been something that’s been existing for a long time in this industry,” Hurley said. “So far with the change that was made, the partnership has been excellent, the input’s great [and] there’s been a lot of people on that side we already do work with and have worked with.”

Scott McCarthy serves as vice president of business operation and strategy for ESPN Audio and was an integral part of this change. His leadership and expertise in the audio space helped guide all of whom were involved in the decision-making process as the broadcast outlet seeks to position itself for years to come.

“He has really helped and championed a lot of this stuff for 98.7 and has overseen a lot between local and network,” Hurley said of McCarthy. “He has been a real driving force in helping get things moving and helping behind the scenes.”

Hurley has worked with ESPN New York for nearly two decades, and the broadcast outlet has always had active discussions pertaining to how to best improve its standing in the marketplace. At this current predicament, 98.7 ESPN New York believes it is the right moment to go all-in on its commitment to providing local coverage of New York sports.

“This isn’t about, necessarily, the talent [that] is still on our air at the moment,” Hurley explained. “These are all talents that are good and established… broadcasters as well – and professionals that have done great work in their careers. It’s more about being able to deliver that New York content on a more consistent basis. We have that opportunity so this was the time that it presented itself and this is the time we took. We’re excited about it and are thrilled at the opportunity that was given to us here.”

Weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., Rick DiPietro and Dave Rothenberg will go head-to-head with WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti in the sports talk radio morning drive slot. The show has been broadcasting from 5 to 8 a.m. since its launch in January 2021, coinciding with WFAN’s The Warm Up Show featuring Al Dukes and Jerry Reco and two hours of Boomer & Gio. Now extended to four hours and in a new time slot, it seeks to pose stronger competition to Boomer & Gio, which was the number one morning show in all of New York City radio in the summer ratings book.

“What’s coming out of that room every morning has been entertaining [and] a lot of fun, and you’re getting incredible sports opinions and knowledge from two guys that have just worked so hard,” Hurley said. “….It’s just a great listen [and] a good way to start your morning off and we’re excited about it.”

Mike Greenberg’s nationally-syndicated show #Greeny will continue to broadcast in the 10 a.m. to noon slot, and it helps that he is from New York and an avid fan of the New York Jets. Yet over the summer months, Greenberg was rarely present to host his show, leading Pat McAfee to question his whereabouts in late August. Today, Greenberg is back to a regular hosting schedule and has recently had the shifts he missed covered by the national afternoon drive duo of Chris Canty and Chris Carlin.

Bart Scott and Alan Hahn continue to broadcast their show from noon to 3 p.m., but the duo will now be broadcast exclusively at the local level and thus more centered around New York sports storylines and topics. At the national level, ESPN Radio will pair Jason Fitz and Harry Douglas, both of whom have worked together on digital shows, to discuss the world of sports at large. In the ratings, Bart & Hahn has not fared well compared to WFAN’s Tiki and Tierney. However, both Scott and Hahn are beloved voices in the marketplace and also appear on television for SNY and MSG Networks, respectively, giving them a chance to effectively battle to gain larger shares of average quarter-hour persons.

“These are two guys that have been here at 98.7,” Hurley said. “….To be able to have their show and allow their show to fully focus on the New York market and our teams and our storylines [is] a big win for the fans.”

Remaining in the afternoon drive slot from 3 to 7 p.m. is The Michael Kay Show featuring Michael Kay, Don La Greca, and Peter Rosenberg. In the ratings, the show has been struggling to keep up with WFAN over the last year but still has a base of loyal and passionate fans, as evinced by the turnout at its 20th anniversary live broadcast.

As the play-by-play voice of New York Yankees baseball on YES Network and one-half of the KayRod Cast duo during select games on ESPN, Kay is renowned in the marketplace and is one of the original voices of 98.7 ESPN New York.

La Greca, whose voice was the first over the station, has been a mainstay on The Michael Kay Show since its launch in 2002 and continues to contribute to the station with his original hockey podcast Game Misconduct and play-by-play announcing and studio hosting within New York Rangers live game broadcasts.

Rounding out the trio is Rosenberg who brings his background as a music radio host and wrestling personality to the air; in fact, he is a co-host on HOT 97’s Ebro in the Morning on weekdays, pushing the envelope by actively broadcasting in two different radio formats.

“They are going to anchor that afternoon drive as they always have and it definitely helps having that credibility and the byplay between shows,” Hurley said. “The guys are all actually very tight and familiar with each other throughout the dayparts. It’s huge.”

Following the departure of Chris Carlin from the nighttime 7 to 10 p.m. slot to host afternoon drive with Chris Canty on ESPN Radio’s national network, 98.7 ESPN New York began an extensive search process to find its next host. While WFAN recently hired Keith McPherson — a podcast personality with no previous major market radio experience — to host from 7 p.m. to midnight, 98.7 ESPN New York opted for someone who had been within its walls for several years in promoting Dan Graca.

In 2003, Graca joined ESPN New York as an intern and was hired as a part-time employee just one year later, initially screening calls for The Michael Kay Show. For the last 12 years, Graca has worked with SiriusXM on Mad Dog Sports Radio, but came back to the station in 2018 on weekends to host New York Jets pregame and postgame shows.

Throughout his career in sports media, Graca has also worked in news at both WBBR Bloomberg 1130 and 1010 WINS in New York along with contributing and hosting on SNY. He returned to 98.7 ESPN New York in August to take over hosting duties on the station’s nighttime show.

“It was a tough search because there were a lot of great candidates that we spoke with,” Hurley said. “….We spoke to a lot of people but Dan has been a voice and has a tie to 98.7 and 1050 obviously for years. When it came down to it, it was a great choice that we made and he’s been doing great work for us.”

Larry Hardesty and Gordon Damer will continue on Hardesty & Damer from 10 p.m. to midnight, concluding the day of local programming. Yet there are times when these nighttime shows are preempted so the station can honor its media rights agreements and carry live game broadcasts. As the flagship home of live game broadcasts for New York Knicks basketball, New York Rangers hockey and New York Jets football and an affiliate of New York Islanders hockey, ESPN New York provides extensive coverage of these teams within and surrounding the live game broadcasts for fans to consume.

“It’s a conduit for us directly to the listeners with their favorite teams and obviously it’s providing entertainment content,” Hurley said. “[It is] not only just the actual games themselves, but the ancillary programming that comes with that and the relationships that are built with these teams is very important.”

While radio pundits and industry insiders will surely look at the Nielsen ratings to determine the success of this new, largely hyperlocal lineup, Hurley will deduce its effectiveness in other ways both quantitatively and qualitatively. In this method, he aims to divulge a more complete view of how the station is performing compared to its competitors in all sectors of media.

“Seeing the reaction from fans and listeners is what’s most important and just the feeling inside the building and studios as well,” he said. “It’s about the content – always – and you know when that’s off. You just know; you know when that’s off and it’s not working. We don’t feel that at all. We feel we have some excellent, excellent shows on our air and listeners and fans let us know that every day in how they consume and the feedback that we get.”

Keeping listeners captivated and absorbed in the programming is effectuated through the means in which content is delivered. The dynamic nature of production and distribution requires media outlets like 98.7 ESPN New York to actively evaluate its own practices and adapt to changes in the marketplace. At the same time, Hurley, as a program director, is responsible for recruiting and evaluating talent and his thoughts on the progeny of today’s generation of sports radio relates to more than just knowing a surfeit of facts or communicating a deluge of opinions about sports.

“Obviously sports knowledge is important here but it’s about entertaining here as well,” Hurley said. “The main focus of what you want to do is you want to make people feel like they’re missing out on being with people they want to be with. Every day, you want to become part of their routine and it’s important the talent can be entertaining and have that hook.”

Once the Times Square New Year’s Ball drops and signals the playing of the iconic “Auld Lang Syne,” 98.7 ESPN New York will nearly be set to unveil its new local lineup. Perhaps you could call it the station’s “New Year’s Resolution” to better serve its listeners as it affirms a commitment to live and local content. Nevertheless, the station will usher in the New Year looking to grow its audience and subsequently improve its standing in the marketplace.

“We’re here for the fan and the listeners and the New York sports hardcore consumer,” Hurley siad. “….We’re going to give it all we have – 100% like we always do – but this is a great opportunity for us as a station and [for] these shows.”

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BSM Writers

Unfortunately For Jim Trotter, The Truth Set Him Free

Holding those in power accountable will always give you a clear conscious and eventually his truth will set Jim Trotter free to even bigger and better opportunities…

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Your parents probably grew up telling you to always tell the truth because it’ll set you free from the bondage of secrets, lies, and the mishaps that come from those secrets and lies. What your parents didn’t tell you is that sometimes those truths will also set you free in the worst ways possible, as Jim Trotter recently learned. 

The football insider was allegedly the victim of layoffs happening at NFL Media after revealing he was told by higher ups that his contract — that expires today — would not be renewed.

Trotter believes his role in questioning NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the lack of diversity at NFL Media two years in a row played a role in his removal from the league’s network.

In a league where the majority of players are African-American (56.4 %, via Statista), Trotter doesn’t understand why NFL Network and its parent company have no black person in senior management and no full-time black people on the news desk. Trotter’s concern is that this could affect how players are covered because non-black journalists wouldn’t understand cultural cornerstones and experiences that players face while in the limelights. He’s right. 

We have seen what happens to athletes and their reputations when a certain narrative doesn’t get enough pushback. It doesn’t necessarily always mean that the narrative is invalid but there’s definitely not enough questioning and that within itself has consequences. Look at how it has affected Terrell Owens.

During his playing time, Owens was one of the biggest divas sports has ever seen. He craved the spotlight, adored attention, and was mean to members of the media at times. He created drama that was unnecessary. But he was still a badass on the field. He is second all-time in receiving yards and had the third most touchdown receptions ever by the time of his retirement.

Owens never committed a crime. He was dedicated to the game and showed up when it mattered. Coaches may have complained about his behavior but they could never complain about his commitment to the game. Despite that, it still took years for him to be elected into the Hall of Fame.

Reporters with votes couldn’t get over their antiquated, foolish grudges with Owens. They didn’t look at his situation from an objective point of view based on his stats. They judged what they perceived was his character. One reporter, Vic Carucci, said he didn’t vote for Owens because he was a “divisive force.”

As much as his character was fair game to be questioned, could they have understood the things that happened in his life that shaped him into the man he became? They didn’t take into account that Owens was raised without his father and the toll that put on him, didn’t take into account that he discovered who his father was after almost dating the biological sister he never knew, and didn’t understand the chip on his shoulder.

They didn’t take that into account because it wasn’t a cultural connection that could possibly have been in their purview. It wasn’t something they could relate to or that they have seen in their lives or the lives of others around them. It doesn’t make them racist. In fact, it makes them human that this was their natural thought process. But it shows why inclusivity matters. It shows why it is so important to avoid groupthink because it can literally change the lives of folks who are more deserving that what they are receiving. 

While Owens is doing well and luckily took care of himself financially while he was playing in the league, we’ll never know how many opportunities were robbed from him in his post-playing career because he wasn’t a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. We’ll never know what bigger role he could’ve played in the football world if there were journalists in the room who could speak to what Owens’ life experiences do to a person mentally and how it affected his plight as a black man trying to make it in the world out of a need for survival. 

The former Eagles and 49ers wide receiver was demoralized for so many years, sometimes deservedly so but many times at a peak that was over the top. 

On the other hand, another Hall-of-Fame athlete who was prominent during Owens’ playing time was praised like the second coming of Jesus. He also had a flair for dramatics. He could never decide whether he wanted to retire or not and he put up mediocre numbers on the football field (most career interceptions record).

He allegedly sexually harassed a content creator who worked for one of his former teams and now he allegedly could actually be a criminal after stealing government funds meant for poor people.

Brett Favre didn’t face the same judgement as Terrell Owens, though. He was a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. It is very fair to point out once again that his potential transgressions are still allegations but it shows the disparity of how some athletes are covered vs. others because of a lack of understanding each other from a cultural perspective. 

According to a 2021 report from the Associated Press Sports Editors, 79.2% of sports editors were while at 83.3% of them were men. 72% of assistant sports editors were white while 75.8% were men. 77.1% of columnists were while while 82.2% were men. 77.1% of reporters were white and 85.6% were men. 

It is difficult for stories of inclusivity to ever make to print or to air with so many people in the way who may not think the same way but haven’t experienced the same life as black and brown people in America. There’s just not many white people who wake up and have to remind themselves that they are white before they start their day, face microaggressions, are extra careful with their decision making and how they communicate in order to avoid being stereotyped. 

NFL Media had the opportunity to rectify the mistakes which the league made with Colin Kaepernick. They had the chance to actually hire black senior managers and black news desk reporters. At the very least, even if they didn’t make hires right away, they had the opportunity to create a transparent pipeline for these kind of opportunities to be possible for all types of minorities and subgroups that work at their company. Instead, they chose to do nothing. 

To top it all off, they took advantage of a downswing in the advertising market to get rid of an employee who wasn’t toeing the company line. Instead of acknowledging that there was a valid point made via the questions over the past couple of years, NFL owners and commissioner Goodell chose to live up to the role they’ve continuously stepped up to lately – cowards.

Because the world is unfair, being a coward sometimes earns you a multi-year contract extension, as it recently did for Goodell. And letting the truth set you free sometimes earns you a spot on the unemployment line. But holding those in power accountable will always give you a clear conscious and eventually his truth will set Jim Trotter free to even bigger and better opportunities than what he could’ve ever had at the NFL Network. 

Don’t believe me, just watch.

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BSM Writers

Jomboy’s Jake Storiale Puts Baseball on the Clock

“If you’re not having fun around it, you’re kind of doing it wrong.”

Derek Futterman




Just when sports critics said baseball was on the verge of dying, the sport perennially known as “America’s Pastime” found a way to reinvent itself. With a new collective bargaining agreement came the institution of rule changes – including a pitch clock, limits on defensive shifts, and larger bases. An Opening Day interleague battle between the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees finished in a crisp two hours and 33 minutes, down from last season’s average game length of three hours and three minutes. Despite being an avid Yankees fan and enjoying baseball, Jake Storiale knows these rule changes allow the game a greater chance of staying relevant in generations to come.

What may be more potent than any rule change, however, is in developing and embracing superstars. Over the last several years, Major League Baseball and its entities have been criticized for inadequately marketing emerging talents and veteran mainstays. Yet the World Baseball Classic, an international showcase of talent in the form of a preseason tournament, displayed the best the sport has to offer on a global scale.

It helped Major League Baseball players well-known in their home markets, such as St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar, gain 549,000 Instagram followers throughout the event. His WBC teammate and two-time American League Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani became the first major leaguer to reach 4 million Instagram followers, gaining approximately 2 million during the tournament alone.

A particularly revealing moment in the tournament was the reaction to the manifestation of a dream scenario – Los Angeles Angels teammates and top players in the sport facing off with a championship on the line. Even better was that the showdown took place in the ninth inning with two outs in a one-run game, rendering the result of Mike Trout’s at-bat against Ohtani pivotal for Team USA and Team Japan.

“I know we were talking with Trevor Plouffe, who we host Talkin’ Baseball with, [and] he coaches a Little League team and he said that all of his kids were talking about the Trout-Ohtani at-bat,” Storiale said. “They were all bummed out on Mike Trout because he lost one at-bat. He was trying to tell the kids, ‘Hey, baseball doesn’t really work like that.’”

Baseball, like many other popular sports, has an emphasis on the team and many local fans primarily focus on the groups to whom they have an allegiance. Storiale, for example, grew up in Connecticut and was always following the New York Yankees. Throughout his life, he has lived in Dallas and Denver and keenly noticed the Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies being discussed the most as it pertains to professional baseball. The World Baseball Classic shattered those walls

While he has always had an allegiance towards the Yankees and has experienced five World Series championships during his time as a fan thus far, he aims to utilize the platform he and his friend from Central Connecticut State University, Jimmy O’Brien, essentially created from scratch. Jomboy Media is prominent among baseball fans and has quickly cemented itself into one of the fastest-growing digital sports media outlets in the world.

The hard work and consistent pressure they felt to reach this point could perhaps be equated to New York Yankees outfielder and team captain Aaron Judge standing at the plate with the bases loaded in a full count with the game on the line.

“After a certain point, we treated it like a full-time job; it was kind of that fight or flight,” Storiale said. “I wasn’t working another gig. We were doing our Yankees stuff – it was either, ‘Make it work in a year or two,’ or it was going to be like, ‘Alright, we gave it a try and it didn’t work.’

Consistency and an indefatigable yearning to succeed kept O’Brien and Storiale going in their quest to build a company employing genuine fans and cultivating a voice that places “fun over funny.” Storiale’s path to sports media though was unusual in that he began working in energy solutions out of college – first with Consolidated Electrical Distributors in Chicago and then with Rexel Energy Solutions, where he worked his way to become a marketing manager in Denver.

Amid a crowded media ecosystem that projects to soon contain 500 million podcast listeners, being a distinct entity and generating unique, compelling content is a monumental task in and of itself. The chemistry between O’Brien and Storiale on their podcast, titled Talkin’ Yanks, is evident from the onset, and the duo informs and entertains their audience through their innate knowledge and expertise.

Most importantly though, they exhibit an ostensible passion for their work and the future of the company – which raised $5 million in a funding round led by Connect Ventures.

“Whenever we’re talking about anything, we’re talking about it passionately as a fan instead of where it’s different than a reporter getting hired [and going], ‘Okay, I covered Clemson football for one year. Oh, a job with the Timberwolves opened; I’m going to take that,’” Storiale hypothesized. “We talk about stuff that we’re passionate about.”

When he was growing up, Storiale was introduced to Yankees baseball through his father and watched the careers of all-time greats unfold, including Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite and Jorge Posada, better known as “The Core Four.”

Although it helps that the team widely regarded as the most accomplished and storied franchise in professional sports has not posted a losing season since 1992 – an unprecedented stretch of 30 years – Storiale’s interests went beyond the pinstripes. He is a proponent of the new schedule, which calls for all teams to play one another for at least one series during each regular season, and hopes it catalyzes the growth of baseball into more of a national sport while retaining its local appeal.

“I think baseball is a very regional sport,” Storiale said, “and I think baseball kind of fought that for a little bit.”

The new schedule comes at a time when a preponderance of sports talk radio stations are creating and refining digital content, emphasizing its expansion over the next year. Proof of quantifiable success in this regard can be found in its 1.72 YouTube subscribers and 319,000 Twitter followers and consistently high levels of engagement. Jomboy Media has been in the digital space early in its development through unparalleled video breakdowns and a wide variety of sports-based podcasts.

It has a considerable share of listenership from those in the 18-35 demographic and works to try to find new ways to reach its audience, whether that be through live game broadcasts, watch parties, or new forms of content. Although Storiale believes sports radio was at its finest when Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo were hosting together on ESPN Radio, his hosting style does not necessarily reflect the amicable contentiousness accentuated by WFAN’s Mike and the Mad Dog.

“I just want people to be as comfortable as possible,” Storiale said. “We just started doing our weekly Aaron Boone interview, and I think the more comfortable he is and the more conversational, the better answers you’re going to get in everything we cover.”

In welcoming the Yankees’ manager onto their program once per week, Jomboy Media made a statement to its audio competitors – primarily WFAN and 98.7 ESPN New York – regarding its legitimacy and growing influence in the sports media space. Nonetheless, sports radio remains an essential part of the consumption space, and something Storiale ascertains will continue to remain imbued in the industry vernacular.

The times are changing though, and listeners are valuing timeliness, authenticity, and accessibility perhaps now more than ever before, making the intrinsic synergy between O’Brien and Storiale especially valuable in the podcast niche.

“You’re just getting honest conversation with a lot of silly stuff around it because, at the end of the day, I think where sports are important and there’s so much money tied up in everything, sports in its soul is supposed to be fun,” Storiale expressed. “If you’re not having fun around it, you’re kind of doing it wrong.”

Since his video breakdown of the Houston Astros stealing signs throughout the 2017 regular season went viral, Jomboy Media has steadily developed into a force among baseball fans at the very least. While Talkin’ Yanks recaps every Yankees series over the course of the season, provides breakdown and analysis and guest appearances by enticing personalities, there is an expanding lineup of content offerings sure to engross all sports fans. Podcast hosts include former MLB Network host Chris Rose; Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ; and former major-league third baseman Trevor Plouffe among others.

“We want people to make what they’re passionate about,” said Storiale, who also works in business operations for the company. “….I’m a big believer, even coming from my previous companies, that things are kind of top-down driven. I used to work in different divisions where there’d be great leadership and you could feel it throughout the division. There were other divisions where you were like, ‘Oh my gosh. That person’s leaving the division?,’ and you could see the holes in it.”

In today’s social media era, consumers possess an amplifier to disseminate their perspectives and opine on content offerings, effectively putting them in the driver’s seat. It is through their habits, combined with innovations in technology, that fuel exponential growth and ideation in sports media.

Thinking about the voice of consumers as a consensus rather than meeting the individual needs of each is an effective way to view the landscape when attracting and captivating a larger audience. Many practitioners would argue against regarding an individual as picayune, perhaps regarding it as impudent and contemptuous; however, trying to please everyone in a world with a diverse set of interests and proclivities is near-impossible.

“It’s a balance of juggling comment sections,” he said. “If you read one negative comment but something’s got 100,000 views and everyone seems to like it, you can only do so much with that comment.”

As a company, Jomboy Media is seemingly tight-knit and fosters a congenial atmosphere, making it a place where people want to be and have the urge to perform. Many of the employees at the company consider each other to be family, and they all work in tandem to form and maintain a content powerhouse. O’Brien is enzymatic in demonstrating his commitment and persistence to engender the continued expansion and reach of the brand on its multiple platforms.

“Nobody outworks Jimmy,” Storiale affirmed. “I give him hell on my best weeks. I think that kind of sends a message throughout the company – if you want to do this; if you want to be in the content grind, you’ve got to go for it. At the same time, [go for it] with a little bit of a competitive edge but with a lot of family feel.”

Collaborations with NESN and YES Network, regional sports networks that broadcast games for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, respectively, have given the brand and its personalities increased exposure to those consumers who operate using traditional media. When he finds himself attending baseball games at Yankee Stadium, he feels he is being recognized more and commended for the job he does as a podcast host and an entrepreneur.

“There’s a lot of people that still come home and throw on the TV,” Storiale said. “There’s a lot of days where I’m that person; you just kind of want to turn off your brain and watch something good.”

Storiale will undoubtedly be invested in the Yankees this season, a team with a deep roster of superstars including Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, Carlos Rodón, and Giancarlo Stanton. He also finds himself watching other sporting events more often than before though, expanding his scope beyond baseball. The NFL Draft, for example, interests him, along with the upcoming Master’s Tournament and conclusion to March Madness in college basketball.

In the end, the success of the company boils down to its ability to relate to fans and differentiate itself from other content providers. As more companies adopt direct-to-consumer abilities, the chance to narrowcast nonlinear content is becoming more palpable, meaning they are, in a way, trying to catch up to what Jomboy Media and other digital brands have created.

Conversely, traditional media outlets have a fortified consumption base, and the challenge for these digital outlets remains in expanding their reach to new audiences. Storiale is excited to be on this journey and is swinging for the fences akin to No. 99, utilizing his fandom and friendship to generate not just ratings and revenue, but a voice and outlet for love of the game.

“Something we said early on that still lingers is, ‘Grow,’” Storiale articulated. “I know that sounds generic, but… we want to grow into whatever we are ready to grow into.”

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BSM Writers

7 Steps To Build Your Own Sales Brand

“Invest in the best, you, and don’t be like the rest.”

Jeff Caves




After the BSM Summit ’23, Barrett Media President Jason Barrett wrote about what stood out at the just concluded sports radio convention. JB mentioned that he was disappointed that more GMs and sales managers didn’t attend. He thought they could gain great insight from the Summit and challenged them to start acting and thinking differently. 

One idea I had, and others have as well, is personal branding. You gain skills from attending the Summit to improve your personal radio salesperson brand through education, networking, and speaking to others about your ideas. 

Here are some tips on how a radio salesperson can invest in personal brand development:


Write down what is important to you, your client-facing strengths, and your USP. Why you? Consider what sets you apart from reps in the market and how you can communicate that to prospects so they see the value in YOU. 


This should be a no-brainer. There are tons of platforms for you to do this. Here is but one. 

This will really build your brand faster. It’s like a LinkedIn profile come to life with graphs and pictures. Make it visually appealing to get around on, and put your info about your experience, client-facing skills, and services. Consider including testimonials from previous clients or business partners. They can google review you! 


Make LinkedIn and Instagram your regular spots to share content. Make posts that show you at your best and your personality. Always share content from others, respond to comments, and like others’ work. Publish white papers on LinkedIn. 


Do a studio session with a photographer specializing in business. Take headshots that showcase what you are all about on the phone, pc, or networking. Wear different outfits and jerseys of your favorite teams and bring your partner. 


Hit the ad fed, chamber of commerce, and any other business-minded group that resonates with you. Go to meetings with college boosters, causes you believe in, and anywhere you may meet small business people. Make it a weekly commitment. Attend BSM Summit 2024, stay current with the latest trends, and connect with other pros.


By writing blogs, video posts, and podcasts, you work on your beliefs and how to shape the pitch for others. The difference is you aren’t just standing and delivering a speech to a Rotary Club. Be a thought leader. Show what you are an expert in. If you aren’t, become one in something. Take the package of the month and make it yours. 


Don’t fake it til you make it, man. Being yourself will attract clients who want to be around you. You won’t have to tolerate them; you can partner with them. Let it fly, and you will be surprised at how that resonates. Don’t try to be all things to all people. 

I believe that there are four types of clients. One hates you, one loves you, and the other two are up for grabs. If you can get the ones who don’t care about you but like the results you can create, then you can click with 50% of your clients, not just 25%. 

Invest in the best, you, and don’t be like the rest. Brand YOU.

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