They will tell you it’s their last go-around.
But anyone who’s listened to “Marty & Miller” through two tumultuous decades — on three different sports talk radio stations — knows better.
“I believe we can still do it,” Miller said. “The buzz that has been created since it’s been announced exceeded my expectations.
“People love to listen to Marty and I talk sports. We’re just excited to do our show again.”
The origins of “Marty & Miller” date to the mid-1990s.
Miller, a Canadian by birth and a contrarian by nature, arrived in central Iowa on Memorial Day weekend of 1989 after being hired as a race caller at Prairie Meadows.
Tirrell, a carnival barker from Greenfield, Mass., who always seems mired in legal entanglements, moved to Indianola six years later, intent on pioneering a new radio format.
While meeting with potential advertisers at Prairie Meadows, it was suggested Marty meet Miller.
“I can remember the exact booth on the fourth floor where we were sitting,” Tirrell recalled. “We started talking and I knew right away, ‘That’s the guy.’ Like spontaneous combustion.
“I didn’t agree with a thing that came out of his mouth.”
Tirrell and Miller have reunited more often than Fleetwood Mac, once doing a show from inside a barber shop.
After Tirrell was fired from KXNO (1460 AM) in 2009 — following a profanity-laced tirade that was inadvertently caught on a live microphone — Miller began working with a variety of different partners.
“Matt Perrault and I had really good chemistry,” Miller said. “(Jim) Brinson and I took a long time to develop that. Ironically, at the end, I think it was better than it had ever been.”
When Brinson left for Arkansas, Miller drew strong numbers as a solo host.
KXNO then paired him with longtime media personality Heather Burnside, which lasted two days.
Miller was already exploring the possibilities of rejoining Tirrell and says his departure from KXNO is not a reflection on Burnside.
“It was going to be a challenge for me to argue with a woman,” Miller said. “People think I hate women. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. I hate women’s sports, but I certainly don’t hate women.
“I can argue with Marty and at the end of the day feel we had good banter, raised our voices a little. I’m not sure I could do that with a woman. And if I can’t, I have no chance.”
Tirrell, meanwhile, maintained a presence in the market despite working on low-power stations.
He’d pop up on morning television programs, as the play-by-play voice for the Iowa Energy or covering high school football and basketball games.
His name would also show up on court documents pertaining to creditors, his home being foreclosed, a dispute over payments for tickets to sporting events and a suit Tirrell filed against a former employer.
“I was never jealous of any one of Kenny’s partners,” Tirrell said. “I thought they all stunk. I really did.
“What I was jealous of was the time slot, and not being able to work with him. I missed him, but I wasn’t jealous of the partner.”
The Champ gives “Marty & Miller” a strong signal (10,000 watts), while they provide an afternoon jolt.
They’ll also be simulcast on KXLQ (1490 AM) out of Indianola
According to Radio Online, The Champ ranked 17th among Des Moines radio stations last winter, with 0.6 percent of total listeners 12 and older.
Miller helped KXNO, which will launch its new morning and afternoon programs on Monday, hold steady at No. 12 with 2.3 percent (second best among AM stations and tops in the sports talk format).
WHO (1040 AM) sets the bar, with 7.2 percent of listeners last fall.
“It means a lot,” said Robert Rees, program director for The Champ, “getting the guys who started sports talk radio in the market.
“It not only keeps us relevant — I actually think it’s going to give us a huge bump putting both of them on.”
In order to survive as long as Tirrell and Miller, however, you have to evolve.
Younger audiences prefer live-streams. Older listeners with hectic schedules often take an a la carte approach, catching up with their favorite shows via podcast.
So even if Tirrell and Miller tell you this is their last stop on the dial, it doesn’t mean they’ll fade away anytime soon.
“The way that the industry is changing, with all the new technologies, there’s various opportunities and avenues to listen to us,” Miller said. “There just came a time where we wanted to be the ones who made those decisions.
“And here we are.”
Credit to the Des Moines Register who originally published this story
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Rob Dibble, 97.9 ESPN Help Collect Nearly 5,000 Turkeys
“This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”
The station, along with other iHeart Connecticut stations, also raised more than $189,000 during the 23rd annual Turkey Tuesday at Connecticut Foodshare’s headquarters.
“We are continually grateful of the outpouring of donations from our listeners and Connecticut community on our annual events to ensure a Thanksgiving for all,” said iHeartMedia Hartford and New Haven Vice President of Marketing Vanessa Wojtusiak. “This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”
Dibble has been a longtime support of Connecticut Foodshare, hosting its director Al Marino on his show several times throughout the year to ensure families in Connecticut have access to the food bank.
Danny O’Neil is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously hosted morning and afternoon drive for 710 ESPN Seattle, and served as a reporter for the Seattle Times. He can be reached on Twitter @DannyOneil or by email at Danny@DannyOneil.com.
Ray Didinger Subject of NFL Films Feature, Tells Angelo Cataldi He’s Stayed Busy in Retirement
Former 94WIP host and Philadelphia Daily News and NBC Sports Philadelphia writer Ray Didinger retired earlier this year, but he told Angelo Cataldi he’s remained busy even though he stepped away from his media career.
“It’s been busier than I thought,” Didinger said. “Just because of the way things have gone in the city. The Phillies going to the World Series, the Eagles are 10-1, I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be this kind of run. Consequently, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I had no idea everyone in the world has a podcast so I’ve been getting all those calls. My name and my phone number are on way too many rolodexes all around the country. When somebody says ‘Hey, let’s do a piece about Philly’, my phone rings. It’s been busy but it’s been good. It’s been great to see what this has meant to the city.”
Didinger hosted shows from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays for 94WIP. In total, he spent more than 50 years covering the NFL before retiring in May.
After Cataldi asked for Didinger’s opinion on the 2022 Eagles, he asked the now-retired reporter if he was still using his yellow notepad. Didinger admitted he does still use the notepad, and Cataldi chastised his former colleague after he said he would retire the notepad. Cataldi joked when he retires after the Eagles season concludes, he hopes to lose co-hosts Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes’ phone numbers.
Didinger will be the subject of an NFL Films feature about his longtime career covering the league. The program will air on FS1 on Friday at 12:30 AM.
Colin Dunlap: ‘Insane’ What Tom Rinaldi Has Done During Last Week
“He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”
It was a banner week for FOX Sports during the Thanksgiving holiday, and no one got more work than the network’s Tom Rinaldi. 93.7 The Fan morning show host Colin Dunlap believes Rinaldi deserves props for his schedule.
“It’s insane what he’s done,” Dunlap said. “I wrote it down and I saw somebody tweet it. Listen to this schedule — and I don’t even know if it’s worth it — but listen to what Tom Rinaldi has done: Wednesday? Qatar. Thursday? Dallas for the Cowboys game. Friday? Back to the US-England match in Qatar. Saturday? In Columbus, Ohio for Michigan/Ohio State. Sunday? Kansas City for the NFL game.
“And then if you’ve gotta guess, he’s gonna be at the American game tomorrow so he’s travelling back to Qatar today. I don’t even travel back and forth to Baltimore like that. He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”
Dunlap, co-host Chris Mack, and producer Adam Crowley then discussed whether FOX Sports was using Rinaldi enough. While noting that he’s travelling to all these locations, they believe he isn’t being utilized enough for the bigger stories he’s been known for.
They also joked about whether Rinaldi was flying back and forth on Rupert Murdoch’s private jet and whether or not that would make life easier.