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Michael Kay Suggests Audacy Bankruptcy Within Calendar Year

“…would that be a failure [for Audacy] or just that industry has changed?”

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Michael Kay
Courtesy: YES Network

News broke on Monday of ESPN New York dropping its 98.7 FM signal, which it leases from Emmis Communications for $12.5 million annually, instead focusing on distribution through 1050 AM and other digital channels. Good Karma Brands owns and operates the AM frequency, but all programming on that frequency emanates directly from ESPN, while the company contributes to 98.7 FM through a local marketing agreement.

Recent data from the company demonstrates that 60% of ESPN New York listenership comes outside of radio, and eight out of 10 radio listeners are expected to find the station on its AM transmission. As a result, the value proposition of remaining on FM continues to diminish, providing a means for the company to focus its resources elsewhere.

When the lease of 98.7 FM ends on Aug. 31, 2024, Emmis will have the ability to lease the signal to another entity or sell it altogether. In order to sell it, the company is said to be looking for an offer around $50 million. When discussing the announcement on yesterday’s edition of The Michael Kay Show, the program informed its listeners that there are plenty of other ways to consume the program each day and that it is not set to end any time soon.

“We will still be everywhere, but we will not be on the FM dial anymore,” co-host Peter Rosenberg said on ESPN New York on Tuesday.

Sports talk radio consumers and other media pundits viewed this move as the company surrendering to WFAN in the New York ratings battle, the preeminent outlet in the locale for several years. In fact, WFAN Boomer & Gio producer Al Dukes posted an image of a white flag in response to the news. Kay and his program have an opportunity to gain a share in the ratings with the revamped WFAN lineup that includes a new pairing of Evan Roberts and Tiki Barber in the afternoons, but will soon no longer be directly opposed on the FM dial.

“Our competition – I don’t even know if I should say this,” Kay articulated. “I really believe within a calendar year, bankruptcy’s on the table, so would that be a failure of them or just the industry has changed?”

Audacy, the parent company of WFAN, was suspended by the New York Stock Exchange and under consideration for being delisted because of “an abnormally low selling price.” Within the next 12 months, $632.4 million in debt will come due and has reportedly commenced negotiations with lenders to restructure it to avoid bankruptcy. The aggregate total of Audacy’s debt equates to $1.9 million, and the company reported an operating loss of $135.3 million compared to operating income of $23.3 million in Q2 2022.

Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter equated to $14.4 million, down 62.5% year-over-year (YoY) concurrent with total revenues pacing down 4%; however, digital revenue is pacing up 7%. In an effort to avoid filing for bankruptcy, the company recently reached a deal to sell radio station assets in Phoenix, Ariz. and Boston, Mass. Within that filing, the company forewarned that if talks with creditors stall, the resolution of bankruptcy could occur thereafter.

The future of play-by-play rights with ESPN New York is in question following the news since the New York Knicks and New York Rangers have a clause in their contract regarding the cessation of broadcasts on FM radio. Conversely, the New York Jets do not have such a provision and could look to shop their rights to Audacy or iHeart stations, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. ESPN New York also carries New York Islanders games as a network affiliate; however, a preponderance of those broadcasts are moved to the AM signal when Knicks or Rangers games are occurring simultaneously.

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Tom Crean Added to SiriusXM NBA Draft Coverage

The former Marquette, Indiana, and Georgia men’s basketball coach will co-host SiriusXM’s NBA Draft Preview Show, alongside Eddie Johnson and Justin Termine.

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NBA Draft logo, SiriusXM logo and a photo of Tom Crean

The 78th edition of the NBA Draft will be the first to be held over two days. The first round will take place on Wednesday June 26 and will be followed by the second round on Thursday June 27. The draft will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. SiriusXM will provide full coverage on SiriusXM NBA Radio channel 86, and they have announced Tom Crean will take part in a preview show prior to each round.

The former Marquette, Indiana, and Georgia men’s basketball coach will co-host SiriusXM’s NBA Draft Preview Show, alongside Eddie Johnson and Justin Termine, on Tuesday, June 25 on Wednesday, June 26 prior to Round 1 at 4 p.m. ET, and on Thursday, June 27, prior to Round 2 at 2 p.m. ET.

Crean returned to ESPN as a college basketball analyst in December 2022 after having worked for them previously during the 2017-2018 season. Crean was fired after four seasons at Georgia, prior to his ESPN return.

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Dan Woike: ‘I Can’t Imagine’ JJ Redick and LeBron James Podcast Will Continue

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JJ Redick
Courtesy: Phil Ellsworth, ESPN Images

Following the conclusion of the 2024 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks, JJ Redick has reportedly agreed to a contract to serve as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Redick, who recently broadcast the best-of-seven series for ESPN on ABC with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, analyst Doris Burke and reporter Lisa Salters, is reportedly in the process of compiling his coaching staff for his first season leading the Lakers. Although Redick does not have any NBA coaching experience, he played 15 seasons in the league with six teams and has been an analyst for ESPN over parts of the last four years. Outside of his work with ESPN, Redick also built his ThreeFourTwo Productions company and co-hosted The Old Man and the Three podcast.

This past March, Redick launched a new podcast with Lakers forward and four-time NBA champion LeBron James titled Mind the Game. Episodes of the show contained nuanced basketball discussions that some people feel gave Redick an inherent edge in the head coaching search. Dan Patrick recently had Dan Woike, Lakers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, on his program, the Dan Patrick Show, and asked about the future of the podcast with James.

“I can’t imagine it’s going to continue,” Woike said. “Sad, right? We might get a season finale episode…. Who knows what’s going to happen here.”

Woike spoke about Redick’s eclectic interests that include basketball, broadcasting, golf, wine and fancy suits. Part of this transition that Woike will be watching is how Redick makes the adjustments and focuses the energy that he has. The organization, he stated, is not hiring a podcaster and believes that Redick has an aptitude and shrewdness towards basketball and is serious about the endeavor. While Redick and James have a good relationship with strong rapport, it is relatively new and something Woike perceives as critical to everything going on. Nonetheless, he does not think they can continue the show because it would be an “unnecessary distraction” to the team.

“They’re paying him to coach, they’re not paying him to podcast,” Woike said. “His divestment from his podcast empire is sort of an interesting media side-note to this to see kind of how much he steps back and kind of what happens to it because it’s been really successful for him.”

Rather than asking him another question, Patrick presented Woike with a sentence and asked him to complete it. The statement was, “If he doesn’t have the podcast with LeBron…,” and Woike proceeded to outline that the Lakers would then have more questions about his ability to coach James. Patrick then immediately followed up by asking if he still would have landed the Lakers’ head coaching job if he did not have the podcast, to which Woike replied that he believed it would still be possible. Former Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski was reportedly advising the organization throughout its head coaching search, and Redick previously played for him at the university.

Woike referenced a specific clip from the podcast in which Redick and James were discussing analytics and three-point shooting. At one point, James pushed back against the analytics by asking what would happen if a team missed 27 straight three-point shots, as the Houston Rockets did in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Redick quickly replied by asking if it had happened since, leading James to admit that he was right.

“Now how that plays in the locker room at halftime when you’re down 17 to the Charlotte Hornets and everybody’s tired, who knows,” Woike said. “That is a huge question, but I think, to be quite fair, there was going to be elements of question with that with Dan Hurley too.”

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ESPN LA 710 Announces New Fall Lineup

This follows announcements made earlier in the week which saw play-by-play partnerships added with USC and the LA Kings and a new contract for afternoon show co-host Scott Kaplan.

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Logo for ESPN LA 710 and a graphic for their new fall lineup
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN LA 710

ESPN LA 710 announced more news today, introducing a new lineup which will start on Monday, September 9. This follows announcements made earlier in the week which saw play-by-play partnerships added with USC and the LA Kings and a new contract for afternoon show co-host Scott Kaplan.

The new lineup will see morning drive start with Mike Greenberg’s Greeny , followed by Travis Rodgers and Allen Sliwa moving back an hour to start at 9a PT. Steve Mason and John Ireland will then air from 12p to 3p PT followed by the afternoon team of Jorge Sedano and Scott Kaplan moving to 3p-6p PT.

In addition to USC and the Kings, the station has play-by-play agreements with the Lakers, the Rams, the Angels and LAFC.

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