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Bruno Believes In Podcasting Model

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On the surface, everything seemed ideal. After nearly two decades away, veteran sports talk show host Tony Bruno returned to CBS Radio’s Sportsradio 94 WIP in January to team up with brash, upstart Josh Innes. In a little more than five months, the duo overtook rival Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic in what had been a bitter afternoon drive ratings war.

But behind the scenes, Bruno, 63, had tired of the grind of doing a daily five-hour show and didn’t like what sports talk radio had become. So after four decades spent working for large conglomerates, Bruno abruptly tendered his resignation earlier this month via email as Innes ranted about the situation on the air.

So what’s next for the long-time sportscaster? Bruno said he will turn his focus to podcasting rather than seek a return to terrestrial radio.

Do you regret going back to WIP after leaving The Fanatic last year?

I don’t regret coming back to WIP. I had left 97.5 and I heard Josh a few times at night. I did a few shows with him and it was fun. But once we started, there was all of this constant nonsense. But I would come to work and wonder what was going to happen today. It wasn’t like we didn’t get along. It wasn’t cause he was the alpha dog.

Josh always put people on who were going to rip him. Back in the day, you could have someone disagree with you without hating you. Every time I would go out somewhere, people would tell me how much they hated Josh. But they were listening. And we climbed to the top of the ratings. It’s not the reason I left but it was part of it.

Then why did you leave?

I was worn out from the daily nonsense and the podcasting was growing. I was putting in 10 hour days and coming home exhausted. I thought afternoons would be easier but you can’t do anything during the day, you come home at 7 p.m. and you are exhausted. It was really a quality of life issue for me. I am 63. I am not going to be one of those guys who is going to do this forever. I don’t want to die on the air. When I turn 65, I’m shutting this down completely and enjoying myself. But in the meantime, I can do the podcasts.

How tough is it to replace a host from a business standpoint?

You don’t need to be number one in the market to make a lot of money for your station. I was able to generate more money [via endorsements for sponsors] than they were paying me. So they didn’t want to see me go.

The biggest problem is from a sales standpoint is what happens to the endorsements when someone leaves. I had 13 different endorsements. So I am sure the sales department is disappointed with my departure because there is no guarantee they will hold on to those relationships. Anthony Gargano had a lot of endorsement relationships when he left WIP and I know there was concern that they would follow him to The Fanatic. It’s a big issue.

You can’t have Josh read 20 endorsements in five hours. He would be doing nothing but that. You need more than one person. When you hear the morning show, you hear Angelo [Cataldi], Al [Morganti], Rhea [Hughes] and even Keith Jones doing spots for different sponsors. So there could be a ripple effect. Do you replace 13 clients or will 97.5 swoop in and try and recruit them.

What’s the business model of podcasting?

The business model relies on whether you can sell it. Rita’s Water Ice signed on for six shows with me. I go out to their locations like it’s a public appearance. Except we do a show there and people can interact with us there and ask questions. There are no commercial breaks. I might read something from [a sponsor such as] FanDuel.com.

Podcasts can also tell exactly how many people are listening. And podcast listeners tend to be more loyal and likely to listen to your sponsor reads. They don’t tune out. I heard a stat that 24 percent of listeners to terrestrial radio buy the products of sponsors. For podcasts, that number is 75 percent.

So you can make significant money podcasting?

Adam Corolla makes $5 million a year with podcasting. So, yes. I’ve been doing it since October and it’s been growing, even while I was working full-time. And I’ve seen tremendous growth potential just over the last month. It’s like what DVR or Netflix are for television. People can listen whenever they want. I do one or two shows a week. I have a studio in my home and we also take it on the road. Sometimes it’s sports-related and sometime not.

What is the key to making it successful?

With podcasting, I control the content, brand and marketing. The success is contingent on how hard you are willing to work on it and you don’t have to deal with executives up this massive food chain. You don’t have any overhead. I do it for two hours. I get tons of calls. People want options and they want convenience. Terrestrial radio is about crunching numbers. This is the future.

Credit to the Philadelphia Business Journal who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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