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A Conversation With Bernie Miklasz

Jason Barrett

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The Cardinals are in the midst of a remarkable season. They have the top record in all of baseball, and their pitching staff ranks among the best ever. But a string of injuries has compromised the offense, and the rival Pirates and Cubs are in hot pursuit. The Rams have looked shaky this preseason, perhaps destined for yet another losing year, but each new day brings a fresh round of speculation about whether the team will stay in St. Louis or bolt for Los Angeles. As the cooler weather last week reminded us, hockey season is just around the corner. And did we mention that Mizzou football is in the top 25?

Sports here are hotter than ever, but for the past couple of weeks, Bernie Miklasz hasn’t been around to help us make sense of the latest news, his familiar voice missing from the morning paper, his daily videos absent from the Internet. The venerable columnist, who’s been sharing his opinions in the pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since the 1980s, was busy preparing for a new challenge. He’s left the paper to join 101 ESPN, where he’ll host a three-hour morning radio show. It premieres at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

On Saturday, Miklasz took a few minutes away from plotting segments for the new show to chat with us, explaining the rationale behind his career move and previewing what we can expect from him in the new gig. We’ll jump into the full conversation below, but first, a few major takeaways.

1. Miklasz hasn’t given up writing. Though his focus will certainly be the new radio show, Miklasz still plans to write several pieces each day for the station’s website, keeping up the torrid pace that he’s set over the past few years as a prolific blogger. “I’m as committed to writing as ever, and I’m going to be delivering a ton of written content,” he says.

2. It’s not a done deal just yet, but Miklasz has been talking to Will Leitch—noted author, Deadspin founder, and big-time Cardinals fan—about possibly teaming up on a Cardinals podcast. For a preview of just how fun that could be, listen to this segment of Leitch quizzing Miklasz on trivia over at Sports on Earth.

3. The deciding factor that led Miklasz to make the move was a desire to connect with his audience in more ways—on the airwaves and on the web, through blog posts, videos, and the aforementioned podcast. But he also admits that the decline of newspapers, a trend from which the Post has been far from immune, was a factor.

So, without further ado, here is our (significantly abridged) conversation. One thing about Bernie, he’s never at a loss for words.

Obviously, after decades at the paper, this is a huge change, but you do have a lot of past experience in radio.

I was way ahead of the curve on that. I’ve had a simultaneous radio career in some form since like the early 1980s in Baltimore. I’ve always loved radio, and I’ve been fortunate enough to where people want to put me on the radio. It’s just a matter of being practical. There were times, it was just very difficult to do both jobs well. That frustrated me. I realized at some point I was just going to have to choose one over the other. I kind of put that decision off for as long as I could. This seemed like the ideal time.

What appealed to you about the specific opportunity at 101 ESPN?

It’s been hard for me to emotionally make the decision to leave newspapers, because it is such a huge part of my life for so long, but I’ve had this pull to go where I think the business is headed. I just think the way media is consumed in our culture has changed dramatically and it’s still changing. The notion that everyone is going to go to one place and not go anywhere else for their news and information, that is a hopelessly outdated and naive belief. Well, 101 ESPN offers me multiple platforms, and I think that’s the way you build an audience. I want to be able to present something for everyone. If you want to read, well, I’m going to be blogging like a crazy man at 101Sports.com. If you don’t necessarily want to read, but you want to hear me run my mouth on the radio, well, I got that for you, too. If you want some advanced video, that will be there.

What about podcasting? At the Post, you and beat writer Derrick Goold had a great Cardinals podcast.

I think podcasting is going to be big with 101 ESPN. I don’t want it to sound like it’s a done deal, but I’m hopeful that I’m going to team up with Will Leitch to do a Cardinals podcast.

From a more personal perspective, what made you want to make this move?

This will sound really self-serving. I don’t mean it to be. It’s just really honest. I’m 56 years old, and I’ve been in this business basically since 1980. I’ve never stopped trying to evolve. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten complacent. I’m really hungry. I’m really curious. I was doing radio in the early ’80s, when very few sportswriters in America were doing radio. I was way ahead of the curve on that. When the Internet became a factor, I started hosting a forum. This was maybe 15 years ago, maybe more. I had sportswriters around the country saying, “What the hell are you doing this for?” I said, “I’m investing in my future, because this is where we’re headed.” I say this with great pride, I think I was the first mainstream sports columnist in America to host an online forum. You got to adapt or you are going to fade or die. I really believe that. So for me, the next step for my career, even at age 56, was to put the old model aside and leave to go with what I consider to be the new model, which is multiple platforms, something for everyone, take advantage of technology.

Does changing career paths at age 56, after 26 years as a newspaper columnist, represent a risk?

I’m not an idiot. If I thought there was a distinct possibility or any possibility of failure, I would have never made this jump. To me, the risk is staying put. The risk is being afraid to try to reinvent yourself. I’m sitting at a desk all day, and I’m writing these pieces for STLToday. You’re just kind of in a rut. I enjoyed my work, but you’re just kind of bogged down with writing, writing, writing, writing, writing. After a while, I was wondering how many brain cells I was killing. It wasn’t a matter of getting complacent, because I will never be complacent. It was a matter of maybe wanting to challenge myself. I have had people say, “You could have worked there until you died.” That’s probably true. But am I really at a point in life and in my career where my goal is to run out the clock? No.

It also probably feels nice to have a company come to you and show that they value what you do.

This will sound self-serving, too, and I apologize, but frankly, I think they were intelligent enough to realize that I was a smart investment. They realized, we are going to have to pay this guy a lot of money, but he’s going to do this. He’s going to help grow the audience on the digital side. We’re going to have a local morning drive show, which we’ve never had. That’s new revenue. It just tells me they’re sharp in terms of recognizing the business opportunity. I’m just thrilled. To do this at 56, it’s just amazing. In terms of just optimism, and an extra infusion of energy and just having your creative juices recharged a little bit, it’s just gotten me really, really fired up.

How much did the slow death of newspapers play into this decision? Were you leaving a sinking ship?

My purpose is not at all the disparage the Post-Dispatch. I was very grateful for the vehicle they gave me. They gave me a chance. I’m eternally grateful. But we can’t sit here and pretend that there aren’t problems in the newspaper industry or that there aren’t problems with Lee Enterprises. The financial challenges are pretty extreme. There have been layoffs and more layoffs and more cutbacks. I mean what’s happening with the Post-Dispatch is happening everywhere. All newspapers have cut staff and the newsrooms are down to about as low as you can go. The people who are there who are excellent reporters want to do a great job. But they now have much more work put on their shoulders, and then there is another round of layoffs, and there is even more work put on their shoulders. It’s just really hard to not only maintain your physical and mental stamina to do the job, but also just to keep your morale up. It’s just becoming increasingly difficult. It’s just really sad actually.

To read the rest of the article visit STL Magazine where it was originally published

 

Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich Exits 107.5 The Fan

“Greg Doyle of the Indianapolis Star obtained an internal email from David Wood. The operations manager for Radio One confirmed to his staff that Dakich was out.”

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Dan Dakich

Dan Dakich will not be heard on local radio in Indianapolis going forward. His content disappeared from 93.5/107.5 The Fan’s website on Thursday afternoon. Later in the day, he took to Twitter to confirm that he would not return for his show on Friday.

Just last year, Dakich launched a new show on Outkick called Don’t @ Me. He says the demands of hosting two shows made it hard to give both the attention they require.

Greg Doyle of the Indianapolis Star obtained an internal email from David Wood. The operations manager for Radio One confirmed to his staff that Dakich was out.

Dakich had been heard in middays on the station for the last 14 years. He had been voted the #1 mid market midday show in BSM’s annual Top 20 an impressive four times.

The timing is strange as Dakich just signed a new contract with the station in February. At that time, 107.5 The Fan was owned by Emmis Communications. It was sold to Radio One in June.

In July, The Star documented two incidents that brought scrutiny on Dakich. Dana Hunsinger Benbow posted an audio clip of the host referring to a caller as a “meth head”. Then Greg Doyle reported that Dakich made off-color jokes at a station event that upset Radio One brass.

Dakich mocked the allegations. Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins chose not to answer questions about the incident or Dakich.

Outkick carries Don’t @ Me every weekday at 9 AM.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Missanelli On Potential Radio Return: ‘My Ears Are Always Open’

“You know, I’m not ready for the grave. I think I would listen to any opportunity if it was palatable.”

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Philadelphia sports radio listeners have been in a bit of a nostalgic mood all year as the farewell tour for Angelo Cataldi continues on WIP. On Thursday morning, it was a double dose of “the good ol’ days” as Cataldi welcomed Mike Missanelli to the show.

Cataldi introduced Missanelli, one of the original WIP sports radio hosts, as a “former star of WIP and other stations that I won’t mention here”.

The two visited for 15 minutes and covered a number of topics. Mike Missanelli was candid about his feelings on his past partnership with Howard Eskin, admitting that he never wanted to stop working with Steve Fredricks and saying that he “literally wanted to kill [Eskin] every day.”

“Eskin came back to radio from doing TV and they thought that putting us together would be a good show, but they kind of threw Steve out the door,” Missanelli says of the beginning of the duo’s partnership. “They gave him night hours or whatever. So, I wasn’t in favor of it and I didn’t think it would work because to me, our chemistry wasn’t good. Howard is what he is, but what he isn’t is a team guy.”

Cataldi asked Missanelli what he missed most about being on the radio.

“I’ll tell you where I missed it during that Phillies run was the everyday reaction from fans,” Missanelli answered. “So I’m doing podcasts now where you don’t get that immediate reaction. So like, that bias play was always good about what we did in sports talk radio.”

Mike Missanelli has been off the air since being let go from 97.5 The Fanatic earlier this year. Cataldi noted that it was the first time Missanelli’s voice had been heard on 94 WIP since 2006 and that it would have happened sooner if Missanelli didn’t have to wait three months for his non-compete clause to end.

Will it be the last time we hear Mike Missanelli on the radio? He told Cataldi that he isn’t opposed to doing a live show again.

“My ears are always open,” he said. “Like when this ended at the other station, I didn’t expect that I was going to do anything. Then all of the sudden, I started getting a couple of calls to do some things. You know, I’m not ready for the grave. I think I would listen to any opportunity if it was palatable.”

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Sports Radio News

Scott Hastings Details How Inside The NBA Video Came Together

“They got three people, two camera guys, a sound guy, and a producer. And she’s got the whole thing storyboarded out. I added some of my own flairs to it.”

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Inside The NBA analyst Charles Barkley and Denver Nuggets analyst Scott Hastings have an interesting relationship. During a game in 1990, Hastings took a swing at Barkley during a mele between the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers. Earlier this year, Hastings admitted he “sucker punched” Barkley during the altercation, with the two jokingly setting a date of May 19, 2023 for a boxing match.

During a recent Nuggets visit to Atlanta, Hastings stopped by the Inside The NBA studios to film a segment to provoke Barkley.

During Polumbus, Hastings, and Dover on Altitude Sports Radio Wednesday, Hastings detailed how the segment came to be.

“I said ‘We should do something and show up at the studios’ because of the Charles and I thing,” Hastings said. “We get there and one guy lets us in and waits for us at the loading dock. They got three people, two camera guys, a sound guy, and a producer. And she’s got the whole thing storyboarded out. I added some of my own flairs to it. There’s probably another 10 minutes of footage — maybe five to seven minutes. We got to the hotel at about 5:15 PM and asked if we could be there by 6:00 PM.”

Hastings said the Inside The NBA studios are located directly beside where the Nuggets were slated to practice, so he could both attend practice and go to the studio, which he called “cool”.

“You could play a two-on-two game. It’s that big. It’s probably not ‘NBA three’ wide, but we’ve all played on narrower courts. Honest to gosh, you’d have enough room — if you put a hoop at the big screen where they run to — you could play a game. It’s like an old catholic school court with the carpet up to the side.”

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