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Joe Benigno: No Ground Rules in Texting Jets Head Coach

“What else do you want me to say? There’s nothing else I can say.”

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Joe Benigno

With a losing streak that has reached five consecutive games and questions surrounding the team, the New York Jets endured several rounds of negative publicity on Monday. A report from Dianna Russini of The Athletic stated that Wilson was reluctant to reassume the starting quarterback responsibilities, while former WFAN host Joe Benigno revealed that head coach Robert Saleh told him in a text message that he does not like Wilson.

While Saleh addressed the first matter in a press conference yesterday and gave a vote of confidence to his quarterback, there has been several discussions surrounding what Benigno revealed Monday on WFAN. Benigno recognized that he misinterpreted what Saleh said and appeared on Boomer & Gio on Tuesday morning to clear the air. Rather than not caring for his quarterback, Joe Benigno revealed that Saleh was incredulous to the fact that he wanted Wilson to start again after suggesting to him for weeks that he should be benched. The matter was a topic of discussion to open Tuesday’s edition of the show, and Benigno called in to try and defend his actions.

“Well look, I wouldn’t call [it] me hammering him,” Joe Benigno said. “You think I’m sitting there hammering him; is that what I’m doing?”

Benigno did not seem to grasp an understanding of what he did to Saleh, who morning show co-host Gregg Giannotti surmises received a deluge of messages and feedback about the purported narrative. Giannotti presented a hypothetical situation to Benigno where he promulgated information that Benigno did not like his co-host Evan Roberts based on what he was told by him. After asking Benigno whether or not he would consider the action by Giannotti to be an example of throwing him under the bus, he concurred that it would constitute such a classification.

“Okay, well that’s what you did to Rob Saleh yesterday!,” Giannotti replied. “That’s my point.”

“I defended myself in the way that I have to,” Joe Benigno said back. “What else do you want me  to say? I shouldn’t have done it.”

Benigno has fostered a relationship with Saleh where they text back-and-forth about the team, but there have not been ground rules established in their interactions. After Giannotti inquired pertaining to whether or not certain things were off-the-record, he was surprised to learn that there were no set limitations about what to and not to disseminate. This caused him not to want to know whether or not Benigno heard from Saleh himself yesterday after the reaction it elicited.

Morning show co-host Boomer Esiason continued the discussion by asking Benigno how the owner of the Jets would feel if someone revealed information that was obtained through a text message that was willingly sent by the head coach. He also averred that Saleh would likely have plenty of time to text with Benigno in the future, surmising that he would be losing his job after the team’s performance this season. Benigno still did not understand how he harmed the reputation of the head coach, causing Giannotti to recapitulate what he had explained earlier.

“The fact that he wants to continue texting you about the team after this makes him look like a stone-cold moron,” Giannotti said, preceding his remarks by explaining that he intended to demonstrate no disrespect to Benigno. “If he didn’t learn his lesson this time around and he’s still going to go back and talk to you about the team, then he shouldn’t be the head coach because that is idiotic. I can’t even imagine the stuff that he heard yesterday from people.”

Although Benigno is not sure if Saleh will still text him about the team, the morning show co-hosts seemed to feel that he reached an understanding about the implications and consequences of his actions. After the call concluded, Esiason inferred that Benigno was feeling “sick to his stomach” about what he did on the air.

“Alright, well look,” Benigno said. “I guess only time will tell, alright. What else do you want me to say? There’s nothing else I can say. Obviously I made a mistake here; something I shouldn’t have done; totally misinterpreted it; and what can I do about it now – not much.”

“What you did actually,” Giannotti answered. “I think what you can do about it now is what you did, which is understand what happened; that’s all. At least we understand that you understand now, so now we can move on with an understanding.”

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KFC on WFAN: What Makes Barstool Sports Successful is the “Reality TV Aspect”

“Anybody that has success in entertainment and sports…I think there is going to be that desire to see behind the curtain and we just kind of opened the curtain willingly.”

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Kevin Clancy, aka KFC from Barstool Sports
Courtesy: Barstool Sports

Kevin Clancy, better known as ‘KFC’ from Barstool Sports, filled in for Boomer Esiason on WFAN this morning with Gregg Giannatti. The two hosts discussed the feuding going on between members of the 1990’s Chicago Bulls as some players, most notably Scottie Pippen, are disputing some of what was said in The Last Dance back in 2020.

They compared the situation to some of what they face at their offices, noting they spend a lot of time with their co-workers, who aren’t members of their family or in most cases their best friends and drama can sometimes ensue. “Barstool has taken that office drama to a level that no one else has achieved,” Giannotti said to KFC. “When we do stuff like that here [at WFAN], it’s very rarely serious. The drama that you guys have, it’s real and it’s out there and that’s got to be a really difficult thing to deal with if you’re not prepared for it.”

“We usually refer to it as “being in the mud,” Clancy responded. “And there’s only certain people that can really live in the mud…It’s part of what made Barstool successful, is that reality TV aspect of it in that it is kind of like a team, and there is internal drama like clubhouse drama, locker room drama and the way we usually handle that is let’s do it out there and on the air.”

KFC talked about being a fan of WFAN and seeing it from the outside looking in. He said as a listener you could sense who was not a fan of certain people. He used the example of the feuds which would take place between Mike Francesa and Craig Carton and then the subsequent feuds Giannotti found himself in with “The Pope” when he took over for Carton.

“Anybody that has success in entertainment and sports…I think there is going to be that desire to see behind the curtain and we just kind of opened the curtain willingly,” KFC said about Barstool Sports. “We will probably fight each other more than anything, but then when there’s an outside problem, we close ranks and we are like, let’s handle business.”

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Gow Media Parts Ways With Sports Map Radio Program Director Craig Larson

“With Larson exiting, Gow Media will make another change, tapping into its partnership with VSiN to satisfy its Sports Map Radio affiliate stations.”

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It’s been a tough week in Houston for Gow Media. First, the company made cuts to ESPN 97.5, parting ways with the midday team of Joshua Beard, Michael Connor and Andrew Carlson. Then yesterday, the company informed longtime network program director Craig Larson that he too was unfortunately a budget cut casualty.

Larson had been with Gow Media since the company acquired the Sporting News Radio network in 2010. He started with Sporting News Radio as a producer in Illinois, moving next to Los Angeles to take on programming duties for the network before relocating to Houston to lead the outlet following David Gow’s acquisition of the brand.

During the fourteen years that Larson managed the network, it’s gone through a few changes. Gow elected to change the identity from Sporting News Radio to Yahoo Sports Radio in 2011. That was followed by rebrands to SB Nation Radio and its current name, Sports Map Radio.

With Larson exiting, Gow Media will tap into its partnership with VSiN to satisfy its Sports Map Radio affiliate stations. The two groups have already been working together. This just gives the sports betting network an even bigger push. It also helps Gow stand out better in a crowded national sports radio marketplace.

As for Larson, this is his first trip to free agency in nearly a quarter century. When reached by BSM, he acknowledged that his time with the company had come to an end. He added, ‘It was an amazing 14 years in Houston. I’m proud of the work we put in, and there’s no better person in the world to work for than David Gow.’

Those interested in chatting with Larson about future possibilities can reach him at [email protected].

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Eli Gold Out as Voice of Alabama Football; Ends 35-Year Run

“I will not be returning. The university chose to not bring me back. I have not retired!”

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Eli Gold
Courtesy: Alabama Athletics

The Tuscaloosa News has reported longtime University of Alabama radio play-by-play voice Eli Gold will not be returning next season. Gold, who has been in the position for 35 years, told Birmingham FOX 6 Reporter Jonathan Hardison, “I will not be returning. The university chose to not bring me back. I have not retired!”

The report says Chris Stewart, who has been calling Alabama basketball for the Crimson Tide Sports Network, will take over the football broadcasts.

“Eli has been an invaluable member of our broadcast team,” Jim Carabin, Vice President and General Manager of the Crimson Tide Sports Network said in a statement. “We are grateful for his years of service and wish him all the best in this next chapter. CTSN is fortunate to have someone as part of our existing broadcast team in Chris to step up and seamlessly transition into this role.”

Gold missed the 2022 season for health reasons, otherwise he has been calling Crimson Tide games each season since 1988. Gold, 70, had been diagnosed with cancer just over one year ago but called home games in 2023. Stewart filled in for Gold both in 2022 and 2023.

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