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Craig Carton is Making The Most of His Second Chance, This Time on FS1

“I know for a fact we do a really good sports show, but we just do it differently than everybody else.”

Derek Futterman



Craig Carton
Courtesy: FOX Sports

When Craig Carton was sentenced to a minimum of 42 months at a federal prison in Lewisburg, PA on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud, the future of his media career carried a sense of doubt. As he served his time, he thought about returning to WFAN in the future, yearning to reconcile his relationship with the audience.

Carton completed a nine-month, 500-hour cognitive behavioral program that curtailed the length of his sentence while also receiving good time credits that led to his early release. The thought of combining his work on the radio with a morning television show on a national network was inconceivable then, even though he had spoken with FS1 head of content Charlie Dixon before entering the federal penitentiary.

Dixon informed Carton that he had always wanted to work with him and had appreciated how he went about building his career and attaining success. In their meeting, he made Carton a promise that if he was released from prison and the timing was right, he would entertain a conversation about potentially working together.

Several years later, The Carton Show commences the network’s weekday programming lineup from 7 to 9:30 a.m. ET. The auspicious change in fortune and perception has re-energized Carton; however, the avenue of television was not of serious consideration until he made it back and succeeded at WFAN.

“I always dreamt and hoped that I’d be back on the radio,” Carton said. “Obviously the FAN was always the goal with no guarantee that it would happen, but that dream is what kind of kept me going, especially on dark and lonely nights where you’re sitting there, legitimately all by yourself, staring at a mattress six inches from your nose.”

In making it back to afternoon drive and finding success, Carton considers himself fortunate and does not take a day working in the industry for granted. The fact that he even had a decision to make between radio and TV is a testament to his natural talent, commitment to hard work, and professional connections.

Out of school, Carton took a role with WGR 550 AM, the radio home of the Buffalo Bills. Unbeknownst to him, the radio signal from Buffalo was a straight shot to Cleveland, Ohio, which opened the door to his next stop at WWWE. After becoming the nation’s youngest host working full time in sports radio in a major market, Carton would move on to Philadelphia and Denver, before receiving the call to finally return home to New York City.

His first full-time radio hosting role in “The Big Apple” was on WNEW-FM. It was there where he fostered a friendship with his board operator, Chris Oliviero, who ended up working on the corporate side of CBS Radio as a programming coordinator beginning in 2004. Oliviero quickly ascended up the ranks to become the senior vice president of programming and helped lure Carton from a successful afternoon program on New Jersey 101.5 to WFAN to host the morning show with CBS NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason in 2007.

“I never would have gotten to WFAN if Chris wasn’t an executive with the company – he made that happen, and he made it happen independent of anybody else’s voice,” Carton said. “A lot of people like to take credit for it now, but me getting the job and ultimately being partnered with Boomer – that’s why we call him ‘The Architect’ – he is responsible for it.”

The Boomer & Carton show succeeded Don Imus, who had been fired after making derogatory and insensitive remarks. Carton had been in discussions at the time with Infinity Broadcasting to replace Howard Stern on terrestrial radio after he inked a contract with the Sirius Satellite Radio Company, and he also spoke to Free FM, an upstart talk format cluster of stations, about joining the entity.

Carton ultimately decided to join WFAN, joining a known quantity and debuting a new product in the prime morning slot. Among Men 25-54, the program precipitously found a home at the top of the quarterly ratings book, leading MSG Networks to reach a deal with CBS Radio to launch a simulcast.

“I will be the first to admit that Boomer & Carton was special unlike anything else on WFAN since Mike and the Mad Dog,” Carton said. “We, for whatever the reason was – the big brother-little brother; the athlete-non-athlete – everything we did just worked, and our relationship on the air worked. I think Boomer & Carton will go down as one of the great shows in New York City radio history.”

Boomer and Carton’s rise would come to a crashing halt on a September morning in 2017 when the WFAN morning man was approached by an FBI agent and placed under arrest. Carton had solicited investments in ticket resale enterprises that purchased and redistributed concert tickets for a substantial profit, according to an SEC filing.

Shortly afterward, he resigned from WFAN and was convicted on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, and securities fraud. Despite the negative publicity and feelings of despondence and betrayal being perpetuated, Oliviero remained a friend and trusted confidante.

“He made a pledge to me that depending on when I got out of prison, if I got my life in order and I was in a good place, he’d be willing to have the conversation, but nothing was ever promised,” Carton said. “All he said to me was, ‘You call me and tell me when you’re good and you’ve got your life back in order, and I promise we can sit down and discuss the possibilities of not just working at the FAN, but working in radio,’ and he was true to his word.”

Oliviero visited Carton in prison and engaged in deep discussions with him upon his release after just over a year. Eventually, the door was opened for Carton to return home to his former radio employer, and soon a successful afternoon drive-time venture was formed with Evan Roberts. Roberts was known for his encyclopedic sports knowledge while Carton bolstered the program through his antics and hijinks. In reflecting on their time working together, he says Roberts added an ethos to the show that made people interested, and their camaraderie and chemistry was evident throughout the show’s 31-month run.

“There’s only two guys that have ever been No. 1 in mornings and afternoons in New York City, and that’s Howard Stern and me, and I take great pride in that,” Carton said. “The reality is that I also couldn’t have done it if Evan wasn’t a great broadcaster and [if he] wasn’t willing to take a leap of faith that he could trust me and that the show ultimately would succeed with him having to also evolve as a broadcaster.”

In the fall of 2022, Carton added a morning television program with FOX Sports to his plate, resulting in a strenuous work schedule that provided little time for him to spend with his family. Even though radio is in his blood, he knew that he couldn’t do both jobs in perpetuity, meaning he had a choice to make.

When his WFAN contract expired in November 2022, he was working by the month while contemplating his future. Nine months later, he announced that he was leaving WFAN to join FOX Sports on a full-time basis, citing a desire to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

“I have a 12-year-old at home, and I missed enough of his life,” Carton said. “I wasn’t willing to miss any more of it, and I was presented with this opportunity where I’m home before he gets home from school so I can pick him up every day from school. It’s allowed me to rebuild a relationship with my family and have the time to do it.”

Carton is grateful that both WFAN and FOX Sports were patient with him as he examined the potential benefits and ramifications associated with the move. Today, he is in the midst of his second year on the network’s airwaves.

“I’m having a blast doing the show,” Carton said. “It’s been reenergizing and I’m invigorated every day I get up to go in to see what we’re going to come up with for the next day’s show. I feel like we’ve built on TV in a short amount of time what I’ve been able to build on radio, and that is compelling content.”

His focus may now be on creating a winning television program, but that doesn’t mean Carton doesn’t keep up on the latest developments in broadcasting. Especially as it pertains to the New York City sports radio scene.

While on the air at WFAN, Carton made no secret of the satisfaction he took in defeating ESPN New York. The outlet recently announced plans to decline the renewal of its lease on 98.7 FM and will shift to 1050 AM and digital platforms after August 2024. The move comes just seven months after Michael Kay agreed to a contract extension to continue broadcasting his afternoon program, The Michael Kay Show, which directly opposed Carton & Roberts.

“98.7 was a joke – always has been a joke,” Carton said. “They never took being local seriously. They believed in one local show, and that show isn’t very good and never was. If you had to build your [station] around a failed afternoon show, I don’t know how you could ever expect to be successful from 6a to 7p.”

Carton remains on WFAN in a limited capacity as the host of Hello, My Name is Craig, a half-hour Saturday morning program that focuses its conversation on gambling addiction. It has been over five years since the last time Carton wagered, and he knows that by sharing his own experience and implementing guests, he is humanizing people’s suffering.

“It’s probably the most important content I’ve ever put out – not the most entertaining necessarily – but I think it’s among the most compelling content I put out because my story played out so publicly,” Carton said. “I am a compulsive gambler, and I’m blessed now to have come out the other side, and I’m doing really well.”

After two successful stints on WFAN, Carton is now tasked with trying to replicate his local success on a national level. The program maintains a Northeast focus while utilizing self-deprecating humor, vivaciousness, and sanguinity to attract and retain an audience. He says the audience may notice he does more sports talk per se but still approaches things in a similar manner to how he’s always performed.

“I know for a fact we do a really good sports show, but we just do it differently than everybody else,” Carton said. “We laugh at ourselves [and] we laugh at sports; we enjoy sports [and] we talk about sports the way real people talk about sports. I’m not sitting up there all stodgy trying to break down a 3-4 defense because that’s not how sports fans digest sports.”

Carton did not launch the show with a regular co-host but has since added David Jacoby in that role. Jacoby, the former co-host of Jalen & Jacoby on ESPN2, had been working on The Carton Show as a producer and assumed the additional responsibilities shortly before football season. Additionally, the production regularly utilizes former Jets offensive guard Willie Colon as a contributing analyst, someone whom Carton has known for several years and regards as a great broadcaster and personality.

“I’ve never viewed myself as a guy that works alone,” Carton said. “I’m far better working and playing off of other people…. I think the three of us together being there consistently every day is one of the reasons the show has grown so well.”

His current routine involves an early-morning wake-up call between 2 and 2:15 a.m. and arrival at the studio by 4 a.m. After a pre-show meeting at 4:30 a.m., Carton starts thinking about what he will present on the air so he is ready once the cameras are live at 7 a.m.

“You have to be much more succinct than you are on radio,” Carton said. “In radio, you can meander a bit and you can get to a point. If a punchline doesn’t work, you can come back around and massage it and get to the laugh that you’re looking for. In TV, you have to be very focused and very, very clear on what you’re doing [and] what you’re trying to do.”

Since Carton is no longer hosting the afternoon drive program on WFAN, he has found new ways to utilize his time. He is now regularly exercising and walking five to 10 miles a day, along with chopping wood and picking up his son from school. Moreover, Carton makes sure to spend time with him and the rest of his family and enjoy each and every moment.

“It’s been an amazing couple of years for me and certainly the last few months since I resigned from WFAN, it’s been like an awakening where I have all this free time now and I’m trying to figure out how best to use it,” Carton said. “It’s been really rewarding for me to reconnect with, not just my family, but other people who’ve been very supportive of me in my lifetime, and I’m just blessed.”

The interesting twist for Carton is that he finds himself in an underdog role after spending years as the favorite on local radio. While WFAN routinely won its head-to-head ratings wars with ESPN New York 98.7 FM, FOX Sports 1 finds itself in the challenger’s position, hoping to grow its audience and chip away at ESPN’s lead on television.

Driven by competition and the challenge of turning an upstart into a mainstay, Carton remains bullish on his ability to make an impact for FS1 while understanding how lucky he is to have been given a second chance. He carries with him some insecurity about his own performance but remains fueled by the doubt and those who have caused him difficulty during his career.

Just several years after his release from prison, Carton is utilizing the lessons he has learned and his inherent, shrewd media intellect to reach the audience through a new means of dissemination, all while staying true to his style.

“When I do look back at my career, it’s been pretty special, and it’s very unique in the level of success I’ve had in multiple major markets and now doing this TV show,” Carton said. “I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish, and I think it speaks for itself.”

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BSM Writers

Michelle Smallmon Didn’t Stumble Into Mornings on ESPN Radio

“The humanity and the relatability is what’s going to really bring people in.”

Derek Futterman



Michelle Smallmon
Courtesy: Missouri Athletic Club Connections

It all started with an accident. While vacuuming her apartment just two days before the first episode of her new national ESPN Radio program, Michelle Smallmon tripped over an air purifier cord. As a result of the maladroit blunder, she fell face first into her coffee table and hit the inside of her eye on a drinking glass.

When Smallmon looked into the mirror, she immediately saw that her eye was bleeding and swelling up and was in a state of disbelief, although she was not surprised that this happened to her because of her inherent clumsiness. The black eye that came out of all of this turned out to be an advantageous opportunity for the program, which opened its first hour on the air with this circumstance.

Smallmon works alongside Evan Cohen and Chris Canty weekday mornings on UnSportsmanLike, the new ESPN Radio morning show that leads off a refreshed national programming lineup. Since the program is also simulcast on ESPN2, there are cameras on inside the radio studio at the Seaport District-based radio studio, granting viewers of the premiere episode an opportunity to see Smallmon’s black eye for themselves. The incident, however, provided a means for the new hosting trio to introduce themselves and showcase their personalities in an atypical fashion by recalling a calamitous occurrence from the onset.

“We have to be ourselves,” Smallmon said. “People are coming for the sports, and hopefully with our opinions and our information and the knowledge that we provide, they’ll stick around, but they’re going to remember us for who we are. The humanity and the relatability is what’s going to really bring people in.”

Once the hosts of UnSportsmanLike were finalized, Smallmon met with Canty and Cohen to determine their collective philosophy for the program. At the crux of their conversation was how sports is supposed to be an enjoyable part of people’s days, making it important to be genuine with the audience and celebrate the festivities.

“I just think that audio provides a really great way for people to weave us throughout their day and it’s something that they can come back to, and I just feel like the audio space continues to grow,” Smallmon said. “So that is really exciting to me that there are so many different avenues for us to explore in the audio space.”

Smallmon and her colleagues understand that their program that was once anchored by Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg in the mornings for 18 years, who created a show that proved to be an enduring facet to sports radio as a whole. Today, UnSportsmanLike is competing for mindshare and attention span in a dynamic media ecosystem where people can consume various types of content by equipping myriad methodologies. The mission to serve the sports fan anytime, anywhere requires the hosts engage in deft preparation and fealty towards the audio vertical, never taking their positions for granted and understanding the privilege in being able to communicate en masse on the air.

“Any time anybody elects to listen to you, they are giving you a vote,” Smallmon said. “They’re choosing you [and] they are saying, ‘I want to spend a part of my precious time with you,’ and particularly in the mornings because we’re the first people that get the opportunity to talk about the games from the night before or to give our opinion on certain things.”

While Smallmon may have stumbled into an enthralling storyline to open the program and captivate the audience, she did just the opposite in landing a spot within the coveted morning drive daypart. Through years of indefatigable persistence and calculated risk-taking, she positioned herself to garner such a chance when the network was in the midst of developing a new lineup.

Despite having a successful morning show in St. Louis, Mo. on 101 ESPN that was finishing with high ratings and bolstering streams of revenue, Smallmon found herself yearning to live in a sprawling metropolis. Because of this, she started visiting her friends in New York City once per month and gradually became enamored with the locale, prompting her to meet with co-host Randy Karraker, program director Tommy Mattern and Hubbard Radio market manager John Kijowski to express her intent to leave the station.

“They have always been my biggest champions [and] they encouraged me every step of the way,” Smallmon said. “They were like, ‘This is going to be a tough transition for us because the show’s going so well, but we care about you as a person more than we do an employee, and if this is your dream and something you think you have to do, we’ve got your back.’ I will always and forever be indebted to them for not only finding a way to help me do that, but for supporting me and checking in with me every step of the way.”

When she was young, Smallmon frequently traveled to St. Louis with her father to attend sporting events, cherishing every chance she could to see a live game. Throughout her childhood, she watched football on television and remembers seeing sideline reporter Melissa Stark interview the players, prompting her to think about working in sports. Quotidian tasks were transformed into beacons of flourishing sports knowledge, catalyzed by her father’s creativity with abecedarian activities such as sorting and folding laundry.

Yet Smallmon concentrated in premedical studies at the University of Illinois, matriculating to try and become a dermatologist. Early on, she realized that she was not dedicated enough to pursue a profession in the field, resulting in a meeting with her advisor about her future plans. Upon being asked her ideal career path, Smallmon demonstrated interest in covering the basketball team with the goal of appearing on College GameDay as a features reporter in the future.

Amid an economic crash, Smallmon was able to land a job as a production assistant at KSDK, a local television station with which she had interned as a college student. Smallmon worked on the outlet’s morning show, Today in St. Louis, arriving at the studios around 3:30 a.m. every day to prepare and execute the broadcast.

Although her shift ended at 2 p.m., she would put in extra effort to stay later and interact with sportscaster Frank Cusamano and sports director Rene Knott, volunteering her time and trying to be productive. In displaying her aspiration to work in sports, she was eventually offered a position in the department, which first started with shooting and editing high school events.

“Most of the work that was done in sports was leading up to the 5 and 6 o’clock newscast until they took a big break before 10 p.m.,” Smallmon said. “I would use that time to just absorb as much as I could, watch the guys at work and try to make myself useful.”

Drawing inspiration from the aforementioned Stark, Smallmon had seen various women working and thriving in sports television; however, this was not the case in the sports radio format. Despite being familiar with the medium, she had never considered going on the air until Knott asked her to be a co-host of his new weekend show on 101 ESPN.

After some time, she received a note from an executive inquiring if she would be interested in applying for an open producer position available at the outlet. Even though she applied thinking she would not receive the job – a thought compounded when she discovered the producer role was for the program hosted by Bernie Miklasz – Smallmon made it to the final round of interviews. Speaking with Miklasz directly, he articulated that while he thought she was a good fit for the role, the other candidate had more qualifications and previous experience.

“I looked at him and I said, ‘Well, if that person is as great as you say that they are and have this much experience, they will have no problem finding another job when you hire me to be your producer,’” Smallmon averred. “I left there and I was like, ‘Man, I blew that.’”

Much to her surprise, Smallmon was hired and ended up working with Miklasz in the role for three years. In speaking with him and observing how he interacted with other people, she learned industry nuances and esoterica that made her even more adept at the role. Smallmon was eventually moved to The Fast Lane in the afternoons with Randy Karraker, D’Marco Farr and Brad Thompson, possessing a mentality of how to best position the show for sustained growth and success.

Smallmon took her skills to ESPN Radio in 2015 when she moved to Bristol, Conn. to work as a producer. The first stint with the network prepared her to excel on UnSportsmanLike, collaborating with hosts such as Ryen Russillo, Danny Kannel and Jorge Sedano, but she always felt a magnetic pull back towards St. Louis. Once Russillo was officially slated to leave ESPN, Smallmon was in talks with the company about different paths she could take and weighing her options. In the eleventh hour, Smallmon received a fortuitous call from Miklasz, who conveyed that he was thinking about changing up his show and wanted to know if she had any interest in co-hosting the program.

“It just felt like all of the cards were falling into place at the right time for me to make that move, and I’m a person that likes to take chances and challenge myself, and I don’t ever want to live with regrets,” Smallmon said. “I thought, ‘Maybe hosting and being on the air is not going to be for me; maybe it’s always going to be production, but I’d like to know.’”

Once she returned, Miklasz offered to change the name of the program to incorporate Smallmon, an entreaty that she declined because of fear that it would disrupt what was a known entity to listeners in the locale. Upon his exit from the station two years later, Smallmon started hosting with Randy Karraker, who implored her to add her name. Even though she never sought out to find the spotlight, she capitulated to the request once her co-host explained why it was important as not only an identifying factor, but also as the first female to be a full-time host on the station.

“I would hear from so many female sports fans across the area and parents whose daughters listened to the show and whose daughters paid attention to the show because someone who looked like them occupied that seat,” Smallmon said. “I really realized how important it was for me to establish myself in that way.”

As Smallmon made the move from St. Louis to New York City, her parents surmised she was recklessly upending her life. Subletting an apartment from a mutual friend in the city, she was working under a usages deal at ESPN Radio where she would deliver overnight updates and host SportsCenter All Night. Smallmon was grateful for the support of her parents and asked them to give her a year, during which she would work hard to land a full-time job in the city. Three hundred and sixty-six days later, Smallmon took to the air with a black eye to commence UnSportsmanLike, officially meeting her end of the bargain.

“It’s hard to explain to people how strange our job is,” Smallmon said. “The three of us sit in a windowless room and talk to one another for four-plus hours a day, so just by nature of spending that much intimate time with someone, you get to know them really well really fast.”

The workday for the morning episode begins the day prior several hours after the conclusion of the previous broadcast, independently reading articles, following sports news and reviewing games. In the preceding afternoon, the program holds a content call where everyone pitches ideas before an early rundown is sent out and added to throughout the day.

While the game of the night is on, Smallmon is in constant communication with her thoughts before getting sleep and preparing for an early wake-up call. There is a pre-show meeting to review the rundown before the four-hour morning show begins at 6 a.m. As soon as the on-air light is extinguished, the process starts again so the hosts are ready for it to illuminate again in 20 hours.

“It’s really a full-time commitment, especially during football season, to do a job like this,” Smallmon said, “but when you’re lucky enough to get the opportunity to host a show of this magnitude, you’ve kind of got to make it your life in a lot of ways.”

When she takes her seat behind the microphone in the morning, Smallmon believes that two of the most talented people she has ever worked with are sitting by her side. In her view, she needs to be at the same level as them on the program and effectuates that through her preparation and by bringing different perspectives to the air.

“I have zigged and zagged and occupied different roles throughout my time,” Smallmon said. “It’s really just been surprising opportunities that I have emerged and that I’ve really been grateful to have and that I want to take advantage of, but I don’t really think about the future and my motivation is not really driven by what’s next; it’s driven by the present.

For now, Smallmon is focused on attaining success in New York City and hopes to participate in the program for as long as possible. Down the road though, she knows that her career will entail a second return to St. Louis when she wants to be back in the community she loves and closer to her family. The gratitude she has in being able to regard the city as home is conspicuous and authentic, and those in the locale continue to listen to her on 101 ESPN for two hours each morning ahead of the station’s local morning program.

“My only goal right now is to make UnSportsmanLike the best show that it possibly can be, and if that is the case, hopefully we have an amazing run with the show,” Smallmon said. “That’s the goal is to make it as amazing as it possibly can be and ride that wave for as long as we possibly can.”

Smallmon never envisioned herself working in radio but now finds herself as a trusted voice in the mornings on a simulcast program within the network’s on-air lineup. Through it all, she has remained true to herself while exhibiting an evident commitment and passion for the craft, valuing every chance she has to go on the air.

“People will always say things to me like, ‘Oh, are you going to be the next Erin Andrews?,’ or things of that nature,” Smallmon explained. “And I say, ‘No, I’m going to be the first and only Michelle Smallmon,’ because the edge that I have over everybody else is that I’m me. There’s nobody else that’s me, and so if I can just be myself and be authentic every day and do that, anybody else can.”

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Desmond Howard Unnecessarily Threw Pete Thamel Under the Bus on College GameDay

Avatar photo



A photo of Desmond Howard

College football fans can be a crazy bunch, most of them are crazy in the sense they are doing stupid things that give you a good laugh but, every fan base has a lunatic fringe. Each fan base is more than willing to point out the lunatic fringe in the fanbase of their rivals but often are slow to acknowledge their own offenders. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist in any program that has any significant fanbase. The lunatic fringe affected College GameDay Saturday, and Desmond Howard didn’t help the situation.

As a fan, you can accept it as true or bury your head and assume you are the one singular program that has somehow avoided having a fringe lunacy.

Michigan is certainly a significant football program with a massive fanbase. Just the sheer number of Michigan fans tells you there is going to be a larger than normal number of fans that might fall into the category of “fringe lunatic”, it is just how the odds work.

That suggestion was made by ESPN during Saturday’s College GameDay which originated from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Just in case you are completely unaware of the biggest story in college football this season, during Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game, Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh was serving the final game of an agreed upon Big Ten Conference suspension. The game also happened to be the biggest game of the season so far, a virtual play-in game for the College Football Playoff.

The suspension of Harbaugh was the result of allegations that Michigan staffer Connor Stalions was running an “off the books” sign stealing operation and that Stalions was a little too closely connected with Harbaugh for the Big Ten’s comfort.

Stories like these only become mainstream by reporting and ESPN’s Pete Thamel was on the frontlines of that reporting. It should be said that, just because something is reported by ESPN, FOX, or CBS, doesn’t automatically make it true. Likewise, just because something reported about your team may not paint them in the best possible light, it doesn’t make it untrue. That was the gray area ESPN’s College GameDay found themselves in Saturday; one of their top college football reporters in the very midst of the fans that are upset with his reporting.

Thamel joins GameDay on site every week, normally delivering the breaking news on injuries and coaching changes, fairly normal stuff. He delivers his reports, not on stage, but among the actual team fans who are gathered behind the set for all the cameras to see.

Except Saturday when Thamel was not among the masses but inside the more controlled confines of Michigan Stadium.

Honestly, Thamel being inside the stadium, rather than among the crowd, would not have seemed at all odd to me until Michigan’s Heisman Trophy winner and GameDay analyst Desmond Howard made it awkward in this exchange:

Howard: “We’ve been doing this 12, 13 weeks and Pete’s always been in the crowd giving his reports, I’m like, ‘What the Hell’s Pete in the stadium for?’ That kind of just threw me all off, I’m like, ‘Put your big boy pants on and do it in the crowd like you normally do it.’”

Rece Davis: “He’s got some from the lunatic fringe, some ‘friends’. We’re just taking care of him.”

Howard: “We’ve got security. We’ll be ok. These guys are nice out here. These are nice fans. They’re not going to do anything.”

Davis: “It only takes one. That’s all.”

Howard: “He’ll be ok. Put the big boy pants on.”

I have no idea how many credible threats Thamel has received but there was, apparently, enough concern for ESPN to move him into an area that could be more easily secured.

Desmond Howard, though, seemed upset that ESPN doing that painted the fan base of his old school in a very negative light. I would make the case that even the most ardent GameDay viewers wouldn’t think it odd that Thamel was inside the stadium rather than among the crowd. Howard’s insistence on Pete not wearing his “big boy pants” only drew further attention to the fact Thamel was not in his normal spot.

Desmond Howard came off sounding like he was under some sort of pressure, personally created or applied from Michigan interests, to point out there was no reason Thamel should have any concern about Michigan fans. In doing so, Howard came off as something he’s never been accused of being, a poor teammate. The best way to handle the situation for ESPN would be to completely ignore the fact there was a change in Thamel’s location. In the event ESPN thinks anyone would notice, highly unlikely as it may be, just create a simple cover story.

To Thamel’s credit, he seemed content to not be the focus of this addition to the story, it was only Howard’s awkward interaction that brought it to light. It was completely unnecessary and only made everyone involved look a little worse.

In his NFL career, Desmond Howard averaged only one fumble per season, Saturday in Ann Arbor, he added another.

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Nick Wright, Danny Parkins, Andrew Fillipponi and Omar Raja Join The 2024 BSM Summit Lineup

All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Jason Barrett



The buildup to the 2024 BSM Summit continues with our next speakers announcement. Media professionals looking to attend March’s show can secure seats at We’ve already announced Jeff Smulyan, Mark Chernoff, Don Martin, Bruce Gilbert, Scott Sutherland, Chris Oliviero, Scott Shapiro, Spike Eskin, Mitch Rosen, Paul Mason, Bonnie Bernstein and Damon Amendolara will be part of the event. We’ll have additional big names to reveal in the weeks and months ahead too so stay tuned for more.

Before I get into the latest group of speakers, I want to pass along some Barrett Media news.

First, when you log on to BSM and BNM on Monday December 4th, you’ll notice both sites operating with a new, cleaner look. We pump out a lot of daily content on our websites but finding all of it can be intimidating. We’re hoping the modifications make it easier to find and digest our content and look forward to your feedback on what we roll out next week.

Secondly, I’ve spent months going through a process to identify an Executive Editor for Barrett Media. The type of leader I’ve been looking for different from what exists at some online publications. I’ve spoken to a lot of smart, talented people during this process, many who I know could make us better. However, there is only one job available. Fortunately after going through an extensive search, I’ve identified someone who I’m interested in teaming with to help take Barrett Media to the next level. I hope to announce that hire and the addition of a number of new writers next week. I think our readers, partners and clients will like what’s on the horizon.

Third, we have opened up voting on the Barrett News Media Top 20 of 2023. The deadline to cast votes for News/Talk PD’s is next Monday December 4th. We will present the News/Talk radio format’s collective feedback December 11-15 and December 18 on

There’s other stuff on the way as well, but I’ll save the rest for next week. Let’s dive now into the latest additions to the Summit.

It is my pleasure to announce the additions of Nick Wright of FS1, Danny Parkins of 670 The Score in Chicago, Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, and Omar Raja of ESPN to the 2024 BSM Summit speaker lineup. All four of these men are extremely talented and accomplished, and I’m grateful to each of them for making time to be with us.

Starting with Omar Raja, the work he did building House of Highlights into a powerhouse social brand is well documented. He now serves as a commentator for ESPN’s digital and social content, which includes being the leading voice behind ESPN’s SportsCenter Instagram account, and providing strategic social programming across ESPN’s social platforms. It’s not every day industry professionals gain an opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s top social media minds, so I’m hoping to see a lot of folks present when he shares his wisdom at the Summit.

Shifting from digital to on-air talent, one session I know many will be present for will include three personalities who have been highly successful in each of their careers, and share a lifelong bond through the friendships they formed while attending Syracuse University together. Nick Wright, Andrew Fillipponi, and Danny Parkins are three of the best in the business today, and all three will be on stage together to discuss their individual paths, their differing approaches to content creation, measuring and managing success, and much more. Having Damon Amendolara, another Syracuse graduate who’s been highly successful on the air, guide the session should make it even more interesting and entertaining for all in the room.

With these latest four individuals added to the lineup we’ve now secured sixteen top speakers for March’s show. I’m hoping to reveal the next group of participants in a few weeks. Once we get past the holidays I’ll start revealing the awards winners and a few executives who will be part of the conference.

I want to thank Steve Stone Voiceovers, Good Karma Brands, Bonneville International, Silver Tribe Media, Premiere Networks and the Motor Racing Network for returning as sponsors of the 2024 BSM Summit. If your group would like to explore a sponsorship opportunity for the show or review website or newsletter options for 2024, email Stephanie Eads at [email protected] to receive a copy of our advertising decks.

That’s the latest for now. More to come in December.

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