The proverbial writing on the wall for The Steve Sandmeyer Show should have been evident following a pair of February sports events in Arizona just weeks apart.
The first was the Super Bowl, in which Seattle homegrown radio host Sandmeyer, 42, was forced to watch his beloved Seahawks on television for a second straight year instead of broadcasting on-location all week like his rivals. Then, a few weeks later, as the Mariners opened spring training ahead of their most-anticipated season in years, Sandmeyer and noted baseball analyst co-host Jason Churchill were again denied a travel budget.
So, it wasn’t a total shock two weeks ago when CBS 1090 The Fan had the plug pulled on its only locally-produced sports show. For Sandmeyer, who’d spent 2½ years waiting for CBS Radio’s head office in New York to give local management better resources, what hurts most is wondering what could have been.
“I was under the impression that eventually they would expand their local lineup and that the station would be more of a destination on the dial,’’ Sandmeyer said. “Because we were so new and just starting to gain momentum, it honestly seemed like an odd time to deliver this kind of news.’’
But ultimately, he adds: “CBS didn’t have the budget locally or nationally to support many of its affiliates.’’
So, when CBS Radio cut more than 200 positions nationwide, the No. 3 sports show locally behind time-slot counterparts on Sports Radio KJR and 710 ESPN Seattle wasn’t spared. That leaves 1090 The Fan with only nationally syndicated content, an outsider’s perspective on sports Sandmeyer and others say was already too prevalent and impeded his show’s growth.
The Sandmeyer Show was hands-down the best baseball talk in town and offered routine Huskies, Sounders, Storm, NHL and NBA topic alternatives for Seattle radio listeners weary of the usual two-dozen daily takes on Russell Wilson’s contract situation.
But without the budget to compete on big events, nor additional local programming to draw new listeners to the channel, ratings suffered and left the show vulnerable.
Sandmeyer is largely philosophical about it, noting CBS was among the last major networks to institute widespread layoffs in a “volatile” industry he still loves.
“I signed up for this line of work, so I have to take the bad with the good and I can’t complain when something like this occurs,’’ he said.
In many ways, the radio industry is experiencing what newspapers have grappled with the past decade: desperately seeking profits and listeners in a digital age where competition lines have blurred between print, audio and visual media.
Everyone involved says local management — including marketing manager Kevin McCarthy and program director Carey Curelop — did its best to support the show and scrape by on scant budget crumbs. But growth takes money and from its January 2013 launch onward, 1090 The Fan hasn’t deployed the resources to truly compete.
“Our Seahawks are in the Super Bowl two years in a row and they couldn’t send us because the budget wasn’t there,’’ Churchill said. “So, that was really frustrating.
“You lose a lot of traction. You get all this momentum going, we’re having really good shows and the Seahawks are the hot thing and they go to the Super Bowl and we’re nonexistent. We’re still here, we don’t have the guests and we don’t have the exposure. Those are missed opportunities.’’
The show didn’t have a dedicated, full-time executive producer until Brian Lambert was hired two months ago. But veteran on-air host Bill Swartz was dismissed at almost the exact same time. Now, Lambert, who’d barely moved in to his new office digs, is also back looking for work.
Nobody in CBS management, either local or national, would comment.
Churchill continues to run his popular Prospect Insider baseball website but says all options are open even if it involves leaving town. Sandmeyer says he can’t yet fathom leaving the area he’s grown up in and is exploring options locally.
“The fact that I have a lot in common with many of our listeners resonates with people,’’ he said. “Jason Churchill and I put on a damn good radio show. And I think we did it the right way.’’
Credit to the Seattle Times who originally published this article
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.”
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.”
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?”
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.
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.”
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.”