Sports Radio News
Jay Williams: ‘I’ve Been Forcing Nikola Jokic Into Conversation All Year’
“It is a problem but that’s why you have athletes in media trying to change the culture.”
The city of Denver is locked in on the idea that the entire sports media complex was lined up against the Nuggets and their superstar big man Nikola Jokic in the Western Conference Finals. Jay Williams wants people to know that isn’t true, at least for himself.
Williams talked to The Big Lead’s Liam McKeone at the Sports Business Journal Awards this week. He said fellow Blue Devil and ESPN commentor JJ Redick isn’t the only one that has pointed out that NBA media is too invested in a small handful of teams and stars.
“One of the things I’ve been on the whole year is, I’ve been forcing [Nikola] Jokic into conversations,” he said. “People quickly veer off because not everybody gets a chance to watch it because our primary focus is on star athletes. The Stephs, the LeBrons, the Kevin Durants, the drama. That’s all media.”
The Keyshawn, JWill and Max co-host says that Redick is not alone in his quest to change the way the media covers basketball. He pointed to another great story in the conference finals that former players are doing their best to put at the front of the conversation.
“I think what you have from the athlete side is that we’re trying to celebrate the stories that are worth telling. Like Caleb Martin. The fact that J. Cole got him on the team in Miami. You’re like, ‘Oh, I never knew that!’ but they’ve actually been talking about that all year long. It is a problem but that’s why you have athletes in media trying to change the culture.”
Jay Williams says he has taken a hands-on approach with his own show. He makes it a point to be present for production meetings both before and after the show so that he can have a hand in developing topics.
“I come on, I’m like, here are four or five things that I’m hot about and I want to make sure we’re able to have time to dedicate to that tomorrow,” he said. “Creative input, that’s what the show is all about.”
Sports Radio News
The Junkies Hosting First Ever Pickleball Competition
“The official slogan of the competition is ‘dink it against the donks and win some prizes.’”
Pickleball is having a moment in the US. It is a moment that The Junkies want to be a part of in the nation’s capitol.
The 106.7 The Fan morning show announced on Thursday that they are ready to host their first ever pickleball event in the coming weeks. The 2023 Junkies Pickleball Challenge will happen in Falls Church, VA on June 10.
The official slogan of the competition is “dink it against the donks and win some prizes.”
JP Flaim admitted that when Cakes Auville first got into pickleball, the entire show made fun of him. Then Eric Bickel started playing. Now, it is impossible to escape pickleball with public tennis and basketball courts around the DC area being converted.
“Pickelball is mushrooming in popularity,” Cakes responded.
Challengers can enter the competition for $75. There will be pool play prior to a playoff to determine an overall champion. The Junkies will also host a show live from the event that morning.
Demetri Ravanos is the Assistant Content Director for Barrett Sports Media. He hosts the Chewing Clock and Media Noise podcasts. He occasionally fills in on stations across the Carolinas. Previous stops include WAVH and WZEW in Mobile, AL, WBPT in Birmingham, AL and WBBB, WPTK and WDNC in Raleigh, NC. You can find him on Twitter @DemetriRavanos and reach him by email at DemetriTheGreek@gmail.com.
Sports Radio News
Darren McKee: Former Players Have To Careful With ‘You Didn’t Play’ Argument
“I do think you can put it in your back pocket for some circumstances. If you use it all the time, it’s pretty weak.”
Tuesday’s edition of First Take contained some fireworks between commentators JJ Redick and Stephen A. Smith. The two fiercley debated how the NBA was covered with Redick saying it was a disservice to the league that ESPN only focuses on a handful of teams and Smith arguing that it is a star-driven league and networks are just giving fans what they respond to.
“You didn’t play, Stephen A.,” Redick, a 15-year NBA veteran, said. “You don’t understand athletic mortality [with] three games at whatever… Winston-Salem State doesn’t count.”
“I got you. I understand,” Smith chimed back. “I got a degree and I’m here on TV with you; I must be doing something right.”
Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan’s afternoon program, The Drive, reacted to the light altercation amid the conversation about James. The show is hosted by former defensive end Derek Wolfe and commentator Darren McKee, presenting a similar type of dynamic with a former athlete and bonafide radio professional.
“I do think it can apply in certain circumstances,” McKee said Wednesday regarding former athletes accentuating their experience over all else. “I do think that you guys – ex-pros – I do think you can put it in your back pocket for some circumstances. If you use it all the time, it’s pretty weak.”
Wolfe replied by stating he does not try to use that epithet on the air because it does not make for a fair argument, but did assert that there are instances of events in locker rooms the media would be shocked to discover occur on a daily basis.
“Every day something wild happens,” Wolfe said. “It’s wild.”
While they took little issue with the back-and-forth between Redick and Smith, the part they were surprised about was First Take host Molly Qerim precipitously attempting to resume the conversation about James rather than letting the banter continue. At its core, sports studio shows provide both information and entertainment; however, they felt as if Qerim was acting in a paternal manner towards her colleagues.
“God forbid you have some fun conversation,” McKee said. “‘Oh come on guys. Stop it guys.’ Thanks Molly.”
The two apologized to one another on the air Wednesday to smooth over the situation, and Smith addressed it in detail on his podcast, The Stephen A. Smith Show. It is safe to say there is no hostility between the two, and that they will continue providing First Take fans with distinctive commentary. That is – unless Redick is named as the new head coach of the Toronto Raptors, as he reportedly interviewed to fill the vacancy earlier this month.
“I love JJ Redick by the way,” added Wolfe. “…People are seeing him say, ‘You didn’t play,’ but they’re not seeing the part where he took a shot at him to try to get it going.”
Sports Radio News
Carmen & Jurko: NFL Will Go to ‘Some Podunk Channel’ If They Get $1 Billion
“This is all because Jeff Bezos probably went running to Roger Goodell bitching and complaining about his slate of Thursday night games last year.”
Earlier in the week at the NFL Owners Meetings, the competition committee approved flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. As a result, the company will now have the ability to flex up to two games per season between weeks 13 and 17. Fans will be inconvenienced.
While the NFL is trying to make streaming a part of the normal broadcast landscape ahead of a reported opt-out in its 11-year pact with Amazon, ESPN 1000’s Carmen and Jurko believe the issue stems from a deeper place.
“This is all because Jeff Bezos probably went running to Roger Goodell bitching and complaining about his slate of Thursday night games last year, and how the ratings didn’t come close probably to what they had expected or anticipated,” show co-host Carmen DeFalco said. “And he raised a stink and he’s invested a lot in the league and he’s got a lot of clout and influence, obviously.”
In its first year, Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video averaged 9.58 million viewers. Amazon own metrics alter the average viewership figure to 11.3 million, and six of the 15 games averaged more than 10 million viewers based on the Nielsen data alone. These numbers were down from the 2021 season when games were aired on FOX and NFL Network and attracted an average of 13.33 million viewers per game.
Despite industry executives expressing their satisfaction with the performance of the broadcast property in its first year, they are surely looking for ways to improve in the future. Play-by-play announcer Al Michaels did not hide his dissatisfaction with parts of the schedule last year, but conveyed in an interview with Barrett Sports Media how he was pleased with the production and team the outlet assembled.
The conversation on Chicago sports radio moved to focus on another recent broadcast deal – the NFL and NBCUniversal’s OTT streaming service, Peacock, striking a deal to broadcast an exclusive playoff game for a reported $110 million. To the average sports fan, this latest agreement means they will need to subscribe to yet another streaming service.
“I don’t have Peacock,” said DeFalco. “I don’t pay for that. Not all of us have Peacock. Am I going to miss an NFL playoff game?
“You love Sunday football, Monday Night Football, you love it,” replied show co-host John Jurkovic. “But at what point is it going to be where you’re looking up some podunk channel because the NFL decided to take $1 billion from them?”