Tuesday, January 31st is probably a day Sactown Sports afternoon host Ramie Makhlouf will never forget.
The station’s afternoon show — Cattles & Ramie — began without him. Nick Cattles explained to listeners why Makhlouf was absent.
“I am here to tell you that my co-host, my friend Ramie Makhlouf is stuck in an elevator,” Cattles said. “This is not a joke. Ramie is stuck in his apartment building’s elevator. I have a lovely drive into work from Roseville — suburbia — and I was driving in, during this 35-minute trek I felt my pocket vibrating. I felt my phone moving. I thought ‘Someone is sending me a bunch of texts. Something is happening right now. I hope all is good’.”
Cattles then read verbatim the texts he received from his co-host as Makhlouf was stuck in the elevator.
“He usually does the crossover with Deuce and Mo, ’cause I get here too late…At 1:36 PM, Ramie texts in ‘Fellas, I’m currently stuck in the elevator of my building…no joke. Not even sure if you’re getting this. I’ll keep you posted’. I just imagine Ramie stuck in that elevator thinking ‘I hope they’re getting these texts, I hope they’re getting these texts’. Five minutes later, no one has responded to Ramie’s text yet. Ramie texts in ‘And the lights went out’.
“Three minutes later, at 1:44 PM, he texts in ‘Can someone please text me if you all are getting these texts?’ So I text back one minute later ‘I’m getting this’. Ramie then sends back a picture. A very dramatic, moviesque picture…a dark elevator, no lights on, looks like a blue hue in the top left, coming from some energy source, and then you can see the panel of the elevator — just to freak him out even more — with a red light on underneath.”
Cattles then had Makhlouf call into the show from the elevator, with the Sactown Sports host thankful he had his phone with him.
“Thank god for phones, man,” Makhlouf said. “Otherwise, I’d just be sitting here in the dark. I don’t get scared of the dark, I just lose my mind when it’s complete darkness and nothingness. I have the flashlight and the entertainment of Twitter, and you, and other friends I’ve texted to fill them in on my situation to get material out of. I’m fine, just chilling in here waiting to get me out of the elevator.”
After joking that he was stuck in the elevator literally feet away from his apartment, Ramie Makhlouf took listeners through the play-by-play of how he got in the predicament, before saying a technician was 10-15 minutes away. He later joked that his girlfriend offered to come talk to him through the elevator door, but was reserving that offer until he “really started to freak out”.
While on the phone with his co-host, Makhlouf was freed from his encapsulation and was on his way to the studio to resume the normal show.
Fred Toucher: 98.5 The Sports Hub is Responsible for 18% of Beasley Revenue
“If you don’t want to own this station, you don’t want to be in radio.”
On the air, Toucher shared that he has been receiving messages from prospective co-hosts looking to state their case as to why they should be considered to fill the position. However, he is not involved in reviewing résumés and conveyed that there is nothing he can do about it. The conversation started when station anchor and reporter Dan Roche asked Toucher if anyone had contacted him to inquire about the role.
“Not to insult anyone, but there have been people that have no background in radio whatsoever who have reached out to me with the sincere belief that they were qualified for the job due to the fact that they like sports, which makes me really think how little people think of this whole medium now,” Toucher said Tuesday morning. “People are just like, ‘Yeah, I like sports. I’ll just come on and do it. Why not? It’s Boston; I’ll just jump on the old Boston morning show and just do whatever I want.’”
At the moment, Fred Toucher is working with a variety of members at the station as the outlet searches for a new permanent co-host and felt bad for making fun of the prospective employees while on the air.
The aspect of the situation that concerns himr is the sentiment being perpetuated from people that anyone is able to work in radio. After the program yesterday, he revealed that he told station staff members that terrestrial radio had recently grossed around $12 billion annually, a figure that was down from the numbers before the COVID-19 global pandemic. In contrast, Fred Toucher asserted that podcasts generate $2 billion and cannot be monetized because of the deluge of different niche programming in the marketplace.
“So what big radio companies said was, ‘Alright, we’re going to acquire all these stations, and what we’re also going to do is move into podcasting,’” Toucher shared, “but what they realized was they couldn’t monetize podcasting.”
Toucher stated that he listens to the Rich Roll Podcast, a wellness program that implements guests from different industries to engage in conversations designed to inform and empower the listening audience to discover their most authentic selves. Although he enjoys the program, he questions how many people want to listen to a spiritual advisor discuss topics such as mindful meditation for two hours.
Within his commentary, he cited iHeartMedia and elucidated how the company has been unable to make any money based on its podcasts. Maintaining a reverence for terrestrial radio and the impact it continues to have within a dynamic media ecosystem is something Toucher seems to hope his next co-host will possess, propounded by depicting a hypothetical scenario symbolizing the mindset referenced therein.
“It’s kind of like picking up a baseball bat and walking into Fenway [Park] like, ‘Throw me a fastball,’” Toucher suggested. “You’ve got to at least intern somewhere or do something.”
At the beginning of the month, Beasley Broadcast Group – the parent company of Beasley Media Group – recorded quarterly net revenue of $60.1 million, which, in the three quarters of its fiscal year, totals $181.4 million. The company, however, reported an operating income loss of $85.5 million for the quarter, something it attributes to the impact of non-cash impairment losses totaling $88.8 million. Its net income finished at a $67.5 million loss, which equates to $81.5 million through its first three fiscal quarters.
Within its quarterly revenue, digital accounted for 18.6% as the company continues to remain focused on attaining its goal of the sector accounting for between 20% and 30% of total revenue. Toucher shared additional information about the role of 98.5 The Sports Hub within those earnings that had not been previously divulged.
“This station is… responsible for like 18% of the revenue for the whole effing company,” Fred Toucher said. “If you don’t want to own this station, you don’t want to be in radio. That’s kind of the thing. If you own The Sports Hub – you just own The Sports Hub; you bought The Sports Hub and you ran it, you’d get an incredible return on your investment.”
Not only is Fred Toucher unaware of the contents of specific résumés, but he is not interested in negotiating deals, an endeavor he claims is above his head. He knows what it takes to succeed in the marketplace and is excited for the next iteration of the program, which is set to be revealed at the beginning of 2024.
“All I can tell you is that it is what it is,” Toucher said. “If you think you’re coming in here and making a ton of money, you’re not. It’s up to them.”
Amanda Brown Named Program Director of Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan
Brown will begin her role with Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan next week.
Former ESPN LA 710 Program Director Amanda Brown has been named to the same position at Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan.
She replaces Raj Sharan, who exited the station earlier this month after leading the brand since February 2019.
Amanda Brown was part of the downsizing at ESPN earlier this year. She had worked for the company since 2002. After beginning her career in Dallas at ESPN 103.3, she moved to Bristol to work as a national producer on ESPN Radio. Brown worked on shows hosted by Mike Tirico, Scott Van Pelt, and Erik Kuselias while producing on the national level.
She later moved to ESPN LA 710 in 2010, first as a producer before eventually ascending to the role of Program Director in December 2019.
Brown will begin her role with Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan next week.
The station recently shuffled its lineup after suffering its first head-to-head ratings defeat in the summer ratings period. Josh Dover departed Altitude Sports Radio to join Brandon Stokley for middays. Meanwhile, Zach Bye and former Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay were paired for afternoons. In the reshuffling, Darren “DMac” McKee departed the station before joining Altitude Sports Radio in the spot vacated by Dover.
Anthony Gargano, Beasley Media Group Going to Settlement Conference
The settlement conference will take place on Jan. 17, 2024, one day after Gargano and ALLCITY Network are required to reply to the lawsuit from Beasley Media Group.
When Anthony Gargano was hired by ALLCITY Network to appear on its new PHLY Sports channel and national network, he was sued by Beasley Media Group for breach of contract. The former 97.5 The Fanatic host came to terms on a preliminary injunction that prohibits him from contributing to any sports media content that is specifically targeted to the Philadelphia marketplace, as the designated market area (DMA) is defined by Nielsen Media Research. Gargano’s original intent was to work at both outlets simultaneously, but he remained restricted for the last several months while continuing to work with FOX Sports Radio and starting a sports betting podcast with Parx Casino.
Gargano and Beasley Media Group will now be proceeding to a settlement conference, which will take place on Jan. 17, 2024 before Magistrate Judge Scott Reid.
Within the lawsuit, Beasley claims that Anthony Gargano is under contract with the company until Oct. 7, 2024, and that there are provisions within the deal and “the common law duty of loyalty” that preclude his ability to provide services to competing businesses. Inside Radio was the first to report the news of the disputation moving to this step in an effort to reach a resolution.
Should the settlement conference prove unsuccessful, a pretrial date has been set by the court for May 7, 2024, and a trial date is set for two years later. Beasley had previously agreed to a request by the defendants to extend the deadline to file a response to the complaint from Nov. 17, 2023 to Jan. 16, 2024.
Gargano and BSN Live (doing business as ALLCITY Network), his new employer, are legally required to respond to the lawsuit filed against them by Beasley by that time, according to an order filed on Nov. 16, 2023. For the settlement conference itself, lawyers have been directed to have their clients physically present for its duration and with “ultimate authority to settle.”
In a previous interview with Barrett Sports Media, ALLCITY Network Chief Executive Officer Brandon Spano explained how the goal of the company is to implement talent who are able to inform and entertain their audiences in various locales. The company also eliminated non-compete clauses from most of its contracts, with Spano stating that they were originally included because it was the industry-standard practice.
“I have a real problem with this idea that these major corporations are laying off dozens, if not hundreds of people, quarter-over-quarter, and then the people that they don’t lay off, they say they cannot look for jobs or work anywhere else,” he explained. “That’s just not good business, and it’s giving sports media a bad wrap. Sports radio right now, because of those actions, is giving sports media a bad look. It’s a very dangerous game.”
Gargano was originally included in the promotional video for PHLY Sports but has yet to appear on one of its programs. Concurrent with the launch of the company’s new national network, he was able to make his debut and has been contributing on the ALL NFL show with Brian Baldinger. Spano articulated that the company was about to reach profitability prior to the introduction of its Philadelphia and national networks and is preparing for another funding round later on. At the moment, the goal is to double the size of the company and launch in another local market as the outlet looks to expand and launch a free ad-supported television (FAST) channel in the future.