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ESPN Radio Revamps Weekends

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ESPN Radio is unveiling a revamped national weekend lineup, featuring varied voices and fresh perspectives from around the country, throughout the month of January. Eight new shows are being added, including the two-hour espnW Presents: Spain & Prim on ESPN Radio, co-hosted by espnW’s and ESPN Chicago 1000 Radio’s Sarah Spain and ESPN anchor and analyst Prim Siripipat, premiering on Saturday, Jan. 24, at noon ET.

Additional shows debuting in the new lineup are: Marty & McGee, Dave Rothenberg Show, Dickerson & Hood, Robin Lundberg, Coachman & Bretos, Ian Fitzsimmons and NBA Lockdown: Insiders. The ESPN Audio weekend schedule is headlined by hosts from across the country including Baltimore, Bristol, Conn., Charlotte, N.C., Dallas and New York.

Marty & McGee is hosted from Charlotte by ESPN bureau reporter Marty Smith and ESPN The Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee and is broadcast Saturdays from 2 – 4 p.m. The show began as a NASCAR- and motorsports-centric podcast that has expanded into a full two-hour program covering all sports.

The NBA Lockdown programs – the pregame NBA Lockdown and postgame NBA Lockdown: Insiders – showcase some of ESPN’s leading NBA reporters and analysts and offers in-depth coverage of the games of the day. NBA Lockdown returns, hosted by NBA reporter Israel Gutierrez.  ESPN basketball analyst Kara Lawson joins the show this year, bringing the perspective of a former WNBA All-Star. Insiders is an extension of Lockdown and will feature ESPN Insider and Cleveland reporter Brian Windhorst, Dallas-based analyst Marc Stein and Phoenix-based analyst Amin Elhassan.

“ESPN Radio has long featured unparalleled weekday talk and must-listen-to event coverage,” said Mo Davenport, senior vice president, ESPN Radio. “Our new weekend lineup expands our impressive array of content, with many engaging, new national voices that will soon be household names.”

Dave Roberts, vice president, network audio content, added, “This lineup gives ESPN Radio listeners access to shows based throughout the country, all hosted by passionate sports fans who will draw upon their experiences and backgrounds to provide entertaining programming.  The roster is also indicative of the popularity of digital audio content, with shows like Marty & McGee and NBA Lockdown: Insiders moving to network radio after podcast success.”

espnW Presents: Spain & Prim is a collaboration between espnW and ESPN Radio featuring a distinct perspective on sports that only espnW can provide. Spain — with her deep sports knowledge that comes from growing up, playing and reporting in one of the country’s biggest sports towns – and Siripipat, whose background as a reporter and elite athlete helps frame her take, examine the top stories in the sports world with a “Prim and Not-so-Proper” view.

The show will weave in espnW’s writers and contributors and include a “That’s What She Said” segment, based on Spain’s column for espnW.com, as well as the show-ending “P.S.” segment in which each host will give her thoughts on three timely topics.  ESPN.com senior writer and espnW contributor Ramona Shelburne will also join the debut.

Spain & Prim is yet another extension of espnW’s increasingly successful cross-platform expansion, and one we began fostering with ESPN Radio last year with our first show focused on domestic violence and the NFL’s reaction,” said Alison Overholt, espnW editor-in-chief. “Sarah and Prim will be an engaging and knowledgeable pair that, like espnW, won’t be afraid to push the envelope every now and then.”

Shows:

  • Dari & Mel (existing show) – an NFL- and college football-centric show, hosted by SEC Network anchor Dari Nowkhah (Charlotte-based) and ESPN NFL expert analyst Mel Kiper Jr. (Baltimore-based);
  • espnW Presents: Spain & Prim on ESPN Radio (launching January 24) – hosted by espnW columnist Sarah Spain and ESPN anchor and analyst Prim Siripipat, the show is a collaboration between espnW and ESPN Radio featuring a distinct perspective on sports that only espnW can provide;
  • Marty & McGee (launched January 10) – previously a podcast, a sports talk show infused with humor and storytelling, hosted by ESPN bureau reporter Marty Smith and ESPN The Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee. The show is broadcast out of Charlotte, N.C.;
  • Dave Rothenberg Show (launching January 24) – hosted by longtime New York radio personality Dave Rothenberg, the show incorporates listener reactions to the latest sports headlines;
  • Dickerson & Hood (launched January 10) hosted by ESPN Chicago voices Jeff Dickerson and Jonathan Hood, the show brings together listener interactions and previews and reaction to the day’s sporting events;
  • Robin Lundberg (launched January 3) – ESPN New York’s Robin Lundberg shares his perspective on the biggest stories in the sports world;
  • The Ian O’Connor Show (existing show)– hosted by ESPNNewYork.com columnist Ian O’Connor with reaction to the day’s top stories and a look ahead to the week’s biggest games;
  • Lupica (existing show) — Mike Lupica (New York and Bristol) offers his insight and expertise on everything from the Yankees to Mets, Knicks to Rangers, Jets to Giants and everything in between;
  • NBA Lockdown (launches January 25) — covers all of the latest NBA news with ESPN’s team of experts, hosted by reporter Israel Gutierrez (Miami-based) and basketball analyst Kara Lawson (Bristol-based);
  • Coachman & Bretos (launches February 15)– an opinionated, high-energy talk show hosted by ESPN studio hosts Jonathan Coachman and Max Bretos, based in Bristol;
  • Ian Fitzsimmons (launched January 11) – hosted by ESPN Radio sideline reporter Ian Fitzsimmons (Dallas-based) featuring his takes on the news of the day;
  • NBA Lockdown: Insiders (launches January 25) – an extension of NBA Lockdown showcasing ESPN reporters and analysts Marc Stein (Dallas-based), Brian Windhorst (Cleveland-based) and Amin Elhassan (Phoenix-based);
  • V Show with Bob Valvano (existing show) – longtime ESPN Radio host Bob Valvano (Louisville-based) discusses the hottest topics in basketball.

Sports Radio News

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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Sports Radio News

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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Sports Radio News

WFAN, WCBS Become New Flagship For Rutgers Football, Men’s Basketball

“The multi-year deal begins with the 2022-23 season.”

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Rutgers University and Audacy have announced an agreement that will make WFAN and WCBS the flagship stations for the school’s football and men’s basketball teams.

The multi-year deal begins with the 2022-23 season.

“Rutgers athletics is on the rise under Greg Schiano and Steve Pikiell in the Big Ten, bringing excitement and anticipation to Tri-State area fans,” said Chris Oliviero, Market President, Audacy New York. “WFAN and WCBS 880 will provide listeners with unmatched coverage of the Scarlet Knights and we are honored to add Rutgers to Audacy’s market-leading play-by-play portfolio.”

A 30-minute pregame and postgame show will air on WFAN for all Rutgers football games, while basketball games on WCBS will get a 15-minute pregame and postgame show.

Games will be able to be streamed locally on the Audacy app, and the company said both stations will promote the partnership on-air and digitally, in addition to on-campus events throughout the school year.

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