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DiPietro Explores Sports Radio

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Rick DiPietro and Alan Hahn were supposed to be preparing for a radio show, but the conversation again had gone “off the rails,” as they like to put it. The subject: Batman vs. Superman.

“Batman is Inspector Gadget with a cool suit,” DiPietro said before veering into an analysis of Aquaman and his heroic limitations, which brought Hahn back to Iron Man, of whom he said, “Again, he’s just a guy in a crazy suit.”

This was Wednesday evening, an hour before the latest episode of a summertime radio bromance on ESPN New York that improbably has lasted past Labor Day and whose public reception has both surprised and heartened DiPietro, the former Islanders goaltender.

By 7:20, the discussion had found its way on to the air when DiPietro finally concluded, “Unless Batman’s suit is made of Kryptonite, he has no chance.”

Before they were done at 11, they had covered a range of sports topics and many other matters, including the old MTV reality show, “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,” and the tracklist of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

To say DiPietro, whose most recent job had been blocking vulcanized rubber disks for a living, is enjoying all this would be an understatement.

“It’s just so easy, man,” he said in the show’s Upper West Side studio as he studied a stack of newspapers — old school! — with a highlighter and a notebook full of potential material he neatly had written out during the day.

“My wife is like, ‘Isn’t four hours a lot?’ And we’ll look at each other at 11 o’clock and say, ‘That’s it?’ We could go for six. We could go for eight . . . It just goes so fast.”

Actually, Hahn and DiPietro do go for six or eight, in that their debates begin as they carpool from their homes in West Hills and Oyster Bay and continue on the ride back to Long Island.

It all works thanks to a relationship dating to Hahn’s time covering DiPietro and the Islanders for Newsday, one that continued into Hahn’s current job as a Knicks studio analyst on MSG.

DiPietro would text observations and/or wisecracks when Hahn was on MSG or hosting Saturdays on ESPN Radio.

“After the show I would text him back, like: ‘You should do this,’ ” Hahn said. “He would just say, maybe, yeah, maybe. I would tell him: ‘We’re going to do this one day. I’m going to get you in there one day.’ “

It happened Aug. 11, when DiPietro joined Hahn and SNY’s Brian Custer. Two nights later, Hahn was scheduled to work alone. He told DiPietro to come along anyway, figuring “no one needs to know.”

That night DiPietro landed a newsmaking interview with the Mets’ Matt Harvey, a friend of his.

Then Hahn was asked to work Labor Day afternoon, the traditional end point for summer radio fill-ins. He said he would do it if DiPietro could come along.

Soon they were doing nightly shows this week, while the usual host, Dave Rothenberg, joined the midday show with Ryan Ruocco, whose old partner, Stephen A. Smith, now has a satellite radio show.

They are set to work nights again next week. After that . . . “Who knows?” Hahn said. “I’m just riding it, having fun with it, and we’ll see what happens.”

That is DiPietro’s attitude, too. But unlike Hahn, he does not have another job waiting for him.

To read more visit Newsday where this article was originally published

Sports Radio News

Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’

“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”

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This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams

This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host. 

“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.” 

As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week: 

“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.” 

Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though. 

“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”

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Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”

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Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”

Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.

Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.

“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”

After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.

RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.

“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.

Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.

There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.

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Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”

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Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.

Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.

“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”

La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”

Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.

While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.

“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”

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